NFL Week Four Picks: From New England Patriots Fans' Perspective

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NFL Week Four Picks: From New England Patriots Fans' Perspective
(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

It’s the fourth week of the NFL regular season, and we continue our weekly series of Patriots fans’ picks with TR, Steve Frith and Glenn Card.

I thought I’d share a few thoughts on the teams that get to take the week off. Who gets a bye week?


Atlanta Falcons

This is good chance for a break for the Falcons. They are a good team that got a bit of an education in New England’s Gillette stadium in their last outing. The Falcons had been riding a high; now they know that there are other good teams that they will have to strategize for. This 2 – 1 team will come back from their bye week smarter and a bit stronger.


Philadelphia Eagles

I thought the Eagles production might fall off a lot with the loss of McNabb; I maligned the back up Kevin Kolb and he completely showed me up. Even if McNabb still is hampered by his broken rib and isn’t ready to go after this bye week the Eagles still have some life with their back up QB.


Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals report that they really don’t need a bye week right now as their team has not had a rash of injuries that needs healing. I might contend that after the bitch slap they received from the Colts this last week they are going to need a little time to let that bruise to their psyche heal.

They go up against the inconsistent Houston Texans next game up, depending on which Texan team shows up the Cardinals might be happy that they have an extra week before that outing.


Carolina Panthers

This team needs a bye week. The Panthers are not a bad team but are surely not playing up to their potential. Right now they stand at 0–3 but the next three games after the bye are against teams that they should be able to beat and put them on the winning side of the tote board. It’s the right time to get their heads right.

We are trying to gather a few more guest writers but the logistics have not worked out so far. If you are A) interested in joining us with your picks and B) a Patriots fan…then drop anyone of us a line and we’ll work you into the rotation.

For the record I put together a spreadsheet for how the current participants are doing so far.

 

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Overall

 

Terry Robinson

12 - 4

10 - 6

13 - 3

35 - 13

73%

Steve Frith

 

8 - 8

10 - 6

18 - 14

56%

Glenn Card

12 - 4

9 - 7

 

21 - 11

65%

 

Now, let's move on to the picks.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Detroit @ Chicago

GC: The lions are going to be a little punch drunk from their recent win. Da’ Bears are going to remind them how much more work needs to be done before the Lions can be seen as competitive. Speaking of competitive, Jay Cutler has been able to accomplish for this team what a number of predecessor quarterbacks could not do, make them believe that they can win.

TR: I have to agree with Brother Card here. It would be tempting for the Lions to believe they could win this, but Cutler has surprised the heck out of me, and Da Bears are sky high, taking this one at home.

SF: I agree with Glenn’s comment about the Lions being punch drunk still-with their last win, they ended the longest losing streak in NFL history.  They’ve got a lot of momentum going into this game against Da Bears.  With that said, Da Bears are no joke, either.  They’ve shown that they can hang with the best, and beat the Steelers who are (were) the No. 1 pick to win the Super Bowl.

Da Bears will have their hands full with the Lions, who don’t want to lose any more….ever again.  I’ll give this one to the Lions, simply because they got a taste of winning after forgetting what it’s like, and they want more of it.


Cincinnati @ Cleveland

GC: The Browns benched Brady Quinn, their rookie quarter back. At this writing it is not clear if the veteran Derek Anderson or Quinn will be leading the Browns in this game. I don’t think it will matter because I think the Bengals found a bit of hidden defense in their roster and they will use it like a new toy to full advantage against the Browns. This will be a high scoring game for Cinncy.

TR: In the battle for Ohio, it is pretty clear that A) Cleveland is a team in despair and disarray, and B) Cincinnati is better than some of us thought. Carson Palmer’s numbers have not been gaudy, but they have been adequate, and Cedric Benson is doing a good job on the ground.

And yes, they have a little D. Having knocked off the Steelers last week for the first time in a few years, the Bengals are set to invade Cleveland and come away with a convincing win.

SF: Bengals.  The Bengals will easily take care of the Browns this Sunday, and will leave the Browns fans (and probably upper management) wondering what the hell Mangini is doing.  Mangini needs to pull something out and stop marching his team to what could easily be a defeated season.


Seattle @ Indianapolis

GC:There is not one good reason why I should pick Seattle to upset the Colts, not one. The Colts will lock this one up early and add another “W” to their total making this season a 4–0 start.

TR: There is indeed little to recommend the Seahawks here. I have pored over the stats, believe me, and I also can’t find one good reason for the Colts not to win big. And you know I tried.

SF: I like Peyton Manning.  The Colts…not so much; As much as I want the Seahawks to pull this one off, I just don’t see them defeating Peyton-specially with T.J. Houshmandzadeh not playing as well as the Seahawks hoped, and with Hasselbeck still out with a broken rib.  I’m going to have to give this one to the Colts.


NY Giants @ Kansas City

GC: The Giants are as good as everyone thought they would be. The Chiefs have not played nearly as good as I thought they would be. The thing is, I never envisioned them to be good enough to be the Giants. The Giants win this away game to become 4 – 0 also.

TR: I find it amusing that anyone expected the Chiefs’ season to start any differently than it has. Regardless of anything Matt Cassel has or has not been able to do, any team that is giving up 28 points per game just does not have a chance. The Giants will roll all over KC’s chaotic defensive line and win big.

SF: Dear God; Father, who art in heaven, please make the Giants lose.  Allow Lazy eyed Eli to throw more interceptions than completions, and multiple fumbles.  Grant the Giants fans the ability to not talk trash and humble them with a loss, not just for this Sunday, but every Sunday. 

Grant Matt Cassel and the Chiefs the ability to connect with the long bombs, the audacity to run with the ball for many, many yards, and the strength to be victorious.  It is in your name we pray for a Chiefs victory, Amen.


Baltimore @ New England

GC: The Ravens are playing some hard-nosed football and winning games. They come into New England sporting a 3–0 record. They saw what the Jets defense and their former head coach did to the Patriots in week two. They will use a similar scheme to upset the Pats offense and keep Brady off balanced through pressure, pressure, pressure.

The Ravens' Joe Flacco is another young QB in his sophomore year that is avoiding the sophomore slump. They are going to sorely test the Pats on both sides of the ball. They are playing in Gillette stadium so I’m giving the edge to the home team. The Patriots win this one by a touchdown.

TR: The Ravens are an elite team right now, without a doubt. Joe Flacco has turned in some pretty great work, and the two-headed rushing monster called Rice and McGahee has been almost unstoppable. Their defense has been as scary as we have come to expect from them, very stingy in every category.

The Patriots, meanwhile, look to be just now finding their true identity. The NE defense is much better than many of us thought; check the stats if you don’t believe me. Belichick will try to keep the Ravens guessing when Flacco has the ball, the Patriots’ running game will be emphasized again, players will limp off the field, and in the end my colleague will be right: Patriots win at The Razor.

SF: While the Giants found the weak link in the Patriots armor with a solid rush the QB game, and the Jets set the standard for the rest of the NFL to follow when playing the Pats to stop their passing attack.  No doubt that Belichick has taken notice to this, and has come up with a plan. 

Couple this with these two things:  1) Brady seems to be finally starting to get back into the swing of things, and 2) The young defense has started using their speed and now swarm the ball with ease. 

If the Pats (Brady) can keep from making mistakes that Flacco and the Ravens can, and will capitalize on, then the Pats can pull this one out.  If the Pats don’t bring their “A” game, and Brady continues to overthrow, then you can expect Flacco to stick it to the Pats.  I’m going to give this one to the Pats-I feel that the young defense can hold the Ravens at bay.

Tampa Bay @ Washington

GC: The Buccaneers are another team that benched the starting quarterback; Leftwich out and Josh Johnson is in. I couldn’t tell you what I expect from the Bucs either way. The Redskins on the other hand should win this home game and convincingly otherwise it will be another nail in the coffin for head coach Jim Zorn.

TR: There is no reason to believe that the Bucs can take the ‘Skins at home. It’s really kind of pathetic.

SF: I’m going to echo what Glenn said already.  The Bucs are in Turmoil-they’re pulling a Mangini and switching QB’s.  Zorn and the Skins had better win this one, or it might very well be the start of the end for Zorn’s career.


Tennessee @ Jacksonville

GC: Oh the Titans, what the hell happened to you guys? If they don’t turn their season around in this game then they will probably not be important at the end of the year.

For the Jaguars they played and lost to two tough teams to start the season; they should look at their win over Houston as a reason for winning this one. The Jaguars will win this home game. They need to keep the wild card slot in mind as they roll forward through the season.

TR: I wonder if the Titans might be unimportant already. Granted, they have a few things going for them, mainly a run defense that is ranked second in the NFL. And Chris Johnson is one of the biggest surprises I’ve seen, averaging better than six yards per carry.

But everything else about them looks mediocre, and they are just not winning. The Jags have some ground game themselves, and it will be fun to watch and see what Jones-Drew does this week. But with the Jags’ one win having come against Houston, I’m not ready to jump on that bandwagon. Tennessee wins this one, not by much.

SF: Didn’t the mighty Titans start out last season with a 10-0 record?  What the hell happened to them?  I’m going to give this one to the Jags-if anything because of their home field advantage. 

The Titans have struggled and will continue to struggle, and the Jags need to work on their defense.  Sadly, this is one game that I won’t care to miss, as I don’t think it’ll be all that exciting.


Oakland @ Houston

GC: I’m just not sure who to pick in this game. Oakland is trying to win games and the Texans never give me a great feel for who they should beat. I’ll make some friends in Houston and say that the Texans win this home game. Raider fans should rejoice because every time I pick Houston to win, they don’t.

TR: I was happy to see Houston win one, since I have the same problem with them that Glenn and everybody else seems to have: The Texans are just so inconsistent, I never know what to expect. They should win this game, but Oakland has made a lot of progress over last year, and I believe their defense can shut down Matt Schaub and company. There, I said it: Oakland wins.

SF: At the start of the season, the Raiders defense looked great-even in games they didn’t win (except maybe last week).  In week one, they punched the Chargers in the mouth controlling the game defensively.  If the Raiders can bring that feisty defense back, then it’ll be a win for the Raiders.  If not, then it’ll be a close game with a win going to the Raiders.


NY Jets @ New Orleans

GC: This will be another test for the Jets. So far they have shown a lot of growth and look to be legit (I thought the same thing last year though). We all know what the Saints are capable of. The Saints have studied the game films and know the blitz is coming. As they say, live by the blitz and you shall die by the blitz.

The Saints have an answer for the Jets defense and Mark Sanchez doesn’t have enough fire power to keep up with King Brees. The Saints will win this home game with big numbers.

TR: Sanchez has been amazing in leading the Jets to a 3-0 record, but it’s just a matter of time before somebody reminds all of us that he is a rookie, after all. New Orleans is vulnerable against the pass, but they are so dominant offensively, they are my Pick of the Week to win at home.

SF: The Jets need to be taken down a few notches.  Let’s hope that Brees and the Saints can slap the trash talk out of the Jets’ mouth.  I don’t see Brees struggling with the Jets pass rushing defense-Brees has one of the best arms in the NFL.  Look for him to “Brees” past the Jets with a win for the Saints.


Buffalo @ Miami

GC: This is an interesting AFC East divisional match-up. I expected and predicted that all the AFC East teams would finish the season with 10 wins or better but here are 2 teams that can’t seem to find their wheels. Miami has played some good games but haven’t been able to seal the deal.

Now with Pennington out they will find it even harder to get that first elusive win. The Bills on the other hand should bounce back from the drubbing they took from the Saints. They really got to find a way to get TO the ball and spread the field.

I’m picking the Dolphins to find a way to overcome the loss of their starting QB, It’ll be a ball control game with a lot of wildcat offensive plays.

TR: Tough break about Pennington, who might be done for good this time. Miami has acquired Tyler Thigpen from KC; I don’t know how much he will add. The Miami defense has been hard to run on, and Buffalo’s rushing game has been fairly successful, so I look for that battle to be one key.

The other will be, as Glenn pointed out, enough different Dolphin offensive looks to keep the Bills confused. It’s a toss-up for me. But I’ll go with Miami at home.

SF: Look for the Bills to play hard, being fiery on defense and in your face on offense.  They’ll rush whoever starts at QB for the Dolphins and will still rush the Dolphins “wildcat” offense, which I fully expect to see.  Look for the Bills to pull this one out, helping the Dolphins to yet another poor season with more losses than wins.

Saint Louis @ San Francisco

GC: I’ll make this one short. I like what the 49ers are doing to win games and they’ll win big at home this week.

TR: I’ll keep it brief for another reason: the Rams just, well, suck. They are averaging eight points a game: Eight, people. That is just sad, and on the road? Not a chance.

SF: This will be an exciting game.  They’re division rivals, they’re both hungry for a win, and they’re both looking to better their records.  I’m going to give this one to the Rams simply because they don’t want to go 0-4 (does any team?). 

The Rams will rely heavily on Jackson to gain yardage-but the 49er’s are ranked 4th against the run.  The Rams on the other hand are ranked 27th against the run.  Look for the Rams to pull this one out late in the 4th quarter.


Dallas @ Denver

GC: Raise your hand if any of you thought that Kyle Orton would have “0” interceptions going into week four of the season. That’s what is going to make the difference in this game, turn-overs. The Broncos are not going make those errors to let the Cowboys capitalize; Broncos win at home.

TR: I’ll keep this brief: Denver’s defense will stuff the Cowboys down their own throats. Thank you, that is all.

SF: Another exciting game-this one with lots of aerial attacks; Look for the Cowboys to pull ahead with an early lead and the Broncos making a nice comeback.  Romo blows it in the fourth quarter sealing the deal for the Broncos.


San Diego @ Pittsburgh

GC: The Chargers have to go into Pittsburgh, be glad it’s not winter. The Steelers haven’t found a running game yet and they keep putting the games on Big Ben’s shoulders. He can’t win them all by himself. The Chargers could make a statement with a win in this game and they will.

TR: With so many injuries, I have been amazed by the Bolts’ play. Major props there. However, it is their misfortune to be heading into the Steel City after Pittsburgh has lost two in a row. Philip Rivers will torch the Steelers, but that guy they call Big Ben will make some of those things they call big plays. Pittsburgh wins a heart-breaker.

SF: Here we Chargers, here we go! (Clap, clap!).  Yes, that’s me cheering on the Chargers.  I hate the Steelers, and don’t have enough hours in a day to list the reasons.  If I ever hope the Steelers win a game, I’ll kick my own ass.  The Steelers are in trouble now, with their only victory coming in a field goal in overtime. 

Tomlin is trying to turn the team around, but it’s a big boat and will take a while to get them going in the right direction.  The Chargers on the other hand, have found that they still have a play maker in Sproles with Tomlinson out with a bad ankle, and when Sproles can’t run the ball effectively, then some guy named Philip Rivers is lighting up the sky with passes (he leads the league right now with 991 passing yards).

The Chargers pull this one out allowing the Steelers to continue their losing streak (yippy!).


Monday, October 5, 2009

Green Bay @ Minnesota

GC: How could you not be interested in the drama of this game? The Packers actually are playing some pretty good ball but they are going up against a Vikings team that is undefeated and they have home field advantage with Favre behind center; Vikings win.

TR: This is exactly the game that drama-queen-attention-junkie Favre was looking at when he made the decision to sign with Minnesota. What more dramatic and visible stage at this point in the season?

Green Bay’s lone loss was to the surprising Bengals, and that one came down to the wire. Nevertheless, besides home field, the Vikings have one thing the Pack does not: Adrian Peterson. They will also wind up with the win.

SF: Brett Favre against his old team-who won’t want to watch that one?  If the Vikings win this one, it’ll be because of their running game.  I don’t care who says what-Adrian Peterson is a play-maker, and could very well be the deciding factor in this game.  While all the talk will be about the teams two QB’s, keep your eye on the running game.  This one goes to the Vikings thanks to Peterson.

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