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Thursday, August 16 2018

NFL Predictions 2007: Week 4

SportFinally a decent week and it usually takes me a couple to round into form. Another 11-5 straight up leaves me at 62.5% for the season (30-18). A positive 10-5-1 against the spread, pushing me above .500 overall (23-21-4) but again I stumbled at 6-10 on the over/under where I stand in the red (21-27).
Houston (2-1) @ Atlanta (0-3): pick HOU -2.5/over 39
 
I wouldn’t want to be the geniuses who decided the Falcons decided they should trade Matt Shaub this week. He’ll be on full display in their stadium where you can expect plenty of creative signs from the fans. The Falcons have only lost about 13 yards of offense per game over last year, but more importantly their identity has changed. It only took Joey Harrington three games to do what Michael Vick has done only twice in 74 – throw for 300 yards. Harrington’s 361 were better than either of his predecessor’s efforts (337, 306) and possibly proved that the receivers on hand just need to be utilized. Perhaps they could have been by Schaub who had a decent 236 yards last week despite missing his #1 receiver Andre Johnson. Neither team has been able to run the ball so far which is why I emphasize quarterback play. Atlanta has a worse run defense and better pass defense. This might lead to Houston having a little more balance. I trust the Falcons will be up for this one. They don’t want to be shown up. It won’t matter: Houston 27, Atlanta 21
 
NY Jets (1-2) @ Buffalo (0-3): pick BUF +4.5/under 37.5
 
Suddenly it is the Patriots and three college teams in the AFC East. This is a pivotal game for New York as they complete their first round of division play. Early losses to division champs from a year ago (New England, Baltimore) can be defended. This would put them in a serious hole as they try for another wild card run. Can the Bills really beat anyone though? They rank dead last in yards for/against, pass yards for/against, rushing yards against and points for. That’s six of the eight major team categories. If you’re looking for a positive try rookie Marshawn Lynch who has helped them to a +11 yards in rushing offense over last year. Mind you, the Jets are not statistically a whole lot better. They rank in the bottom 6 of yards for/against, pass offense for against and points against with bottom 12 rankings in the remaining categories. This is going to be stingy football with a lot of punting. I just want to know if we’ll get to see more Pac-10 quarterbacking. Clemens (Oregon) is breathing down Pennington’s neck for the Jets while the rookie Edwards (Stanford) saw time last week for the Bills. In a game with so much defense I see more playmakers in green: NY Jets 16, Buffalo 13
 
Baltimore (2-1) @ Cleveland (1-2): pick BAL -4/over 40
 
The Browns are a timeout trick away from being in contention. Their season likely rides on this game as they close up round 1 in the AFC North. A loss all but assures them of a 1-4 start considering they visit New England next week. A win might leave them 3-3 into their bye week considering Miami comes into Cleveland after the Patriots. The Ravens have yet to establish the swagger of last year’s 13-3 team. This might be a good time. Jamal Lewis can gain a measure of revenge over the team that discarded him, but the Ravens are #1 in run defense. It won’t help Cleveland if Kellen Winslow is banged up, but in quarterback Derek Anderson’s brief career he does have a successful start against Baltimore. In a 27-17 road loss he was 23/32 with 223 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. On the downside he was sacked 5 times. Heck, we could have another Pac-10 duel with Anderson (Oregon State) taking on Kyle Boller (Cal) who should see some playing time. Ultimately the visitors will have an easier time on offense because the home team can’t stop the run whatsoever. McGahee should surpass 100 yards rushing for the first time in a purple jersey: Baltimore 26, Cleveland 17
 
St. Louis (0-3) @ Dallas (3-0): pick DAL -13/under 47
 
The Rams were supposed to be experiencing a revival of the “Greatest Show on Turf”. Instead they will be looking across the field at the real high powered offense with the top scoring Cowboys. Perhaps the best way to describe why St. Louis has faded to #25 in yards and while taking three games to score what used to be their usual week (32 points) is the new ingredients. Peanut butter tastes good and so does watermelon, but not necessarily together. Tight end Randy McMichael hasn’t fit in yet and neither has Drew Bennett. The latter replaced Kevin Curtis who is still scoring touchdowns against Detroit as we speak. Now Steven Jackson is down. Can it get any worse? The only thing preventing a huge Dallas win is overconfidence. They have a solid backfield tandem of Jones and Barber having totaled 380 yards rushing and 4 touchdowns with another 109 yards receiving. Owens is doing his thing and Witten is in Pro Bowl form at tight end. Romo is playing like he wants a fat contract. The defense hasn’t been stout, but they will look that way this week: Dallas 28, St. Louis 13
 
Chicago (1-2) @ Detroit (2-1): pick DET +3.5/under 45
 
Could the two year reign of the Bears in the NFC North be coming to a close? Their next three games, all within the division and the first two on the road, will tell the story. Head coach Lovie Smith must realize the importance and chose to switch quarterbacks for the crucial stretch. Griese only threw 32 passes last year scattered over five games. Instead of totally melting down he will instead only make one or two mistakes per start. Something had to be done for an offense ranking in the bottom 5 in yards total, yards passing/running and points scored. The defense has shown signs of wearing down under the burden. That pressure will be immense this week because the Lions can move the ball down the field at will. Four of their wide receivers have 10+ receptions and 150+ yads on the season. Kitna is averaging 326.7 yards passing. I want to believe the Bears can rally behind Griese to get their season back on track, but they sputter in domes offensively. Even with six straight wins indoors they have almost all been close and those were during the past two seasons in the midst of dominating seasons. This isn’t looking like one: Detroit 23, Chicago 21
 
Oakland (1-2) @ Miami (0-3): pick OAK +4/under 42
 
Lane Kiffin has brought immediate respectability to the Raider offense. They now rank in the top half for total yards and points. The totally inept running game from last season (94.9 yards, #29) is among the NFL’s best (159.3 yards, #3) this year. Culpepper swears there will be no ill will towards his former team if he winds up starting for the beaten up and largely ineffective McCown. Players always say that. The Dolphins don’t have a quarterback controversy even if Green has been pretty mediocre. They have a backfield issue because Ronnie Brown is looking sluggish. Oakland’s defense has yet to show their shutdown ability from 2006, but their opportunistic linebacker tandem of Morrison and Howard has 5 interceptions. The front line is bolstered by Warren who made his presence known in Denver with a sack for a safety. I expect a lot of defense, but thus far the Dolphins have shown little ability to stop the run. The Raiders might just smash it right at them: Oakland 17, Miami 14
 
Green Bay (3-0) @ Minnesota (1-2): pick GB -1/over 37.5
 
Is it 1996 again? The Packers are on fire. They are playing so well no one has noticed they can’t run the ball (57.0 yards, last in NFL) to save their life. Rookie receiver James Jones has helped revitalize Favre and the passing game though. The young defense is also stepping up their game. In the draft the Vikings got their franchise running back Adrian Peterson and a lot of experts thought Cal’s Marshawn Lynch would fall to the Pack at #16. It didn’t happen and at least for now that gives Minnesota a big edge on the ground. Their run defense is awesome once again (67.3 yards, #3) which means Favre will be throwing it 40+ times. The last five times these teams have met Favre has averaged 40.8 pass attempts with 33+ in each game. His teams are 3-2 and all the outcomes were decided by a touchdown or less. I’m just not sure Minnesota’s offense can keep up this time around. Peterson is 49.7% of their production. That’s too much for a rookie, even a very talented one. I think the Packer linebackers keep him from long runs and contribute to a win: Green Bay 26, Minnesota 15
 
Tampa Bay (2-1) @ Carolina (2-1): pick CAR -2.5/under 39.5
 
Suddenly this is a very big game in the NFC South. Atlanta is looking hopeless at 0-3 while New Orleans has also dug a winless hole. The winner of this one takes control of the division at the quarter pole. The Panthers are perennially viewed as contenders, but often fade under the expectations. This is the second of three consecutive division games which could define their season. The Bucs might see their surprising start crumble before their eyes if they can’t get a win here. Next week they visit Indianapolis, and then play upstart Tennessee before traveling to another surprise contender Detroit and returning home for in-state rival Jacksonville. If they aren’t careful they might see “3-5” in the standings next to them at the end of that stretch. This one starts up front where Carolina is +47.0 yards over their opponents running the ball while Tampa Bay is -5.0 yards. Both teams have the home run threat at wide receiver, but the team that can run should be a lot more effective. That’s the Panthers behind Foster and Williams: Carolina 23, Tampa Bay 12
 
Seattle (2-1) @ San Francisco (2-1): pick SEA -1.5/under 41
 
At the tail end of their Super Bowl season in 2005 the Seahawks beat the 49ers 41-3. It was a loss they apparently remembered because SF swept them last year. Now they are playing for first place in the NFC West. Both teams have given up more yards to their opponents overall. Seattle is trying to keep Alexander on the field through injuries while San Francisco has yet to see the same production from Gore’s breakout 2006 campaign. Hasselbeck vs. Smith really isn’t a contest. Branch, Engram and Burleson each have 10+ receptions, 150+ yards and at least 1 touchdown. They have made the injury to D.J. Hackett a non-issue. Only former Seahawk Darrell Jackson is on the radar for Smith with 11 receptions for 166 yards. Disgruntled tight end Vernon Davis, the team’s third leading receiver, is out. It will be up to the San Francisco defense to carry the day, and they might. It is hard to pick against the 49ers given their recent success against the Seahawks, especially at home where they always elevate their play. This just feels right: Seattle 23, San Francisco 17
 
Pittsburgh (3-0) @ Arizona (1-2): pick AZ +6.5/under 43
 
There will be extra incentive for the home team this week. Ken Whisenhunt might feel like the successor to Bill Cowher should have been him for the Steelers. Instead they chose Minnesota defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin and he went west to head up the Cardinals. Thus far Pittsburgh has no complaints. We knew the schedule was soft to start for them, but after three games their average margin of victory is 32-9. They have a silly rushing offense (#1, 198.3 yards per game) and the #2 overall defense (244.3 yards). Roetlisberger was coming off a Super Bowl hangover season where he averaged 1.56 turnovers and 2.88 sacks taken per game. This year those numbers are have been more than cut in half to 0.67 and 1.33 respectively. His QB rating is 102.9, the best of his career. Now comes the hard part, keeping up with an Arizona offense that can keep them guessing. On paper the Cardinals are more dangerous than they have shown thus far. Fitzgerald is moaning his way out of town so his production is down (15 receptions, 192 yards no TD) but Boldin and James are both doing their part to keep the chains moving. The quarterback controversy began last week with Leinart’s shoddy play and perhaps attitude mixed with Warner’s stellar relief effort. This is a huge trap game for Pittsburgh. They have the better team, and it is up to them to show it: Pittsburgh 20, Arizona 17
 
Denver (2-1) @ Indianapolis (3-0): pick DEN +11/under 47.5
 
Can we get the schedule reshuffled so we don’t have to see this game for about another 5 years? We saw it twice each in 2003 and 2004 with the Broncos beating up the backup Colts late in meaningless regular season games only to get crushed in the playoffs. The 2006 edition featured a nearly flawless Manning (32/39 345 yards 3 TD/0 INT) beat them again 34-31 on this very field in what has been the only exciting game in recent memory between these horse loving teams. Indy is scary again. Their defense was supposed to be vulnerable, but it’s not. Rookie Anthony Gonzalez has contributed in the slot and Addai is fine carrying the rushing duties without Rhodes. Denver on the other hand is not looking like the perennial playoff contenders. On paper they look great which is always the case, but dig deeper for the real story. Their #3 overall defense is flawed because of a porous run defense (#29, 166.0 yards per game). Their #6 overall offense has managed just 17.3 points per game. At least they can boast an ex-Colt at wide receiver with Brandon Stokley, but unless he goes Kevin Curtis it won’t matter. It is not likely to be a blowout, glamour win because the Broncos can deal with Harrison and Wayne with Bailey and Bly. However, the champs will get it done: Indianapolis 26, Denver 19
 
Kansas City (1-2) @ San Diego (1-2): pick SD -11.5/over 38.5
 
Suddenly the AFC West isn’t looking so hot. These were their two playoff teams from a year ago. The loser of this one will be in last place, possibly alone if Oakland wins at Miami. Their high profile running backs are both struggling. Larry Johnson has a 2.8 yard rushing average and just 211 total yards with no touchdowns. For a guy coming off two seasons over 1,700 on the ground alone and 2,000+ overall with 21 and 19 scores that’s bad. Tomlinson is playing like he was on the Madden cover with 2.3 yards per rush, 229 total yards and 2 touchdowns. He has hit 1,600 total yards during each of his six previous seasons and had 111 TD in 95 games entering 2007. Which guy will get right this week? The one at home, with a better quarterback. About the only thing KC can boast in this game is that their first round LSU wide receiver Dwayne Bowe has been more productive (135 yards, 2 TD) than San Diego’s Buster Davis (46 yards, 1 TD). Their defense hasn’t been as good statistically, but has faced tougher offenses. At some point the talent on this team has to get going. Coaching changes can’t ruin a 14-2 team: San Diego 30, Kansas City 15
 
Philadelphia (1-2) @ NY Giants (1-2): pick PHI -2.5/under 48
 
The loser of this game can forget about the NFC East title because Dallas won’t be coming back to the pack. After two tough losses the Eagles apparently just needed ugly uniforms to play like the Super Bowl team many expected them to be. Following two games giving up a total of 80 points New York made an unlikely goal line stand to get into the win column. I don’t think the Giants can really compete here and it comes down to running the football. Ward is no Barber at the end of the day. They could always lean on Barber in tough games, sort of like Philly will do with Westbrook in this one. I think the Eagles will be stingy against the run, prevent big plays down the field through the air and be consistent on offense. McNabb might have had his “coming back out” party last week. Now he gets a chance to do it on national television: Philadelphia 22, NY Giants 18
 
New England (3-0) @ Cincinnati (1-2): pick NE -7/over 52.5
 
If there ever was a trap game this is it. The Patriots have rolled to three wins without breaking a sweat. Brady is razor sharp (79.5% completions, 10 TD/1 INT) Moss is rejuvenated (403 yards, 5 TD) and the backfield of Maroney/Morris is churning out yards (4.62 average rush). The defense is #1 in total yards, #5 against the run, #2 against the pass and #3 in points allowed. Offensively they are in the top 4 of all those categories. On the other side we have a Cincinnati team that gave up 51 to Derek Anderson and his band of Browns. Rudi Johnson is banged up and their backup plan (Kenny Irons from Auburn) is already out for the season. Can Palmer just chuck the rock 60 times and beat this defense? If he does at least three of them will be picked off. This defense preys on situations like these. I am repulsed by the “Cheatriots” and now more than ever wish they would start losing, but it won’t happen this week: New England 35, Cincinnati 23
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NFL Predictions 2007: Week 4
Authored by: dbsmall onSunday, September 30 2007
Only two differences on straight up winners.  Not surprisingly,...they both deal with bay area teams.  (norcalfella and I are both Raider fans, and neither like the Niners...I sure hope that's what painted his predictions.  Because otherwise, we're very similar in our expectations this week.)


Week 4 Norcalfella Dbsmall Betting Line O/U
SUN, SEP 30 Comments Home Away Home Away


Green Bay at Minnesota
15 26 20 21 GB-1.5 38

Oakland at Miami
14 17 27 26 MIA-4 41

NY Jets at Buffalo
13 16 17 21 NYJ-3.5 37.5

Houston at Atlanta
21 27 17 24 HOU-3 39.5

Chicago at Detroit Ncf's as crazy as me! 23 21 24 14 CHI-3 45

Baltimore at Cleveland
17 26 10 27 BAL-4 40.5

St. Louis at Dallas
28 13 27 14 DAL-13 46.5

Tampa Bay at Carolina Eerily similar predictions 23 12 24 13 CAR-3 39.5

Seattle at San Francisco
17 23 24 17 SEA-2 40.5

Kansas City at San Diego
30 15 21 20 SD-11.5 38.5

Pittsburgh at Arizona
17 20 14 21 PIT-6 41.5

Denver at Indianapolis
26 19 34 17 IND-10 46

Philadelphia at NY Giants
18 22 21 26 PHI-3 47.5
MON, OCT 1







New England at Cincinnati
23 35 19 27 NE-7.5 53.5
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NFL Predictions 2007: Week 4
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NFL Predictions 2007: Week 4
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