Sunday, October 2, 2011

Week 4: Packin' It In

Josh McDaniels may no longer be the coach in Denver,
but the Broncos are still suffering the consequences of
McDaniels stripping this team of all its young talent.
Another late week for our picks, but hopefully we can get in a better rhythm as the season goes on.  Now that the New Hampshire Motor Speedway is packing up for the year, Stally should have more free time.  And Austen, well, he'll just have to cut down on his Aaron-like excuses and get after it.

Week 4 seems to offer a slate of uninspiring games.  There are several blowout opportunities and some boring coin flips near the bottom of the league.  Stally gets first pick in Week 4.  Here are the predictions:

Stally (Eight-Point Pick) - @Green Bay over Denver

Stally: I might have taken the Patriots first overall in the season draft, but I'm loving the Packers early season matchups.  I've now taken them first in both weeks I've had the first choice.  This one's simple: Green Bay is one of the best teams in the league, Denver's one of the worst and this game's in Wisconsin.

Austen: Denver does not have a chance in this game. I am still standing strong thinking that Green Bay is the best team in the NFL. Oh yea, and I still think the Broncos are one of the worst teams in the NFL. This is clearly the best choice of the week.

Austen (Eight-Point Pick) - New Orleans over @Jacksonville

Austen: The Saints are almost unbeatable with their high powered offense and their defense that tends to get a lot of take aways. The Jags are one of the worst teams in the league and I cannot see a scenario in which they fall to the Jags.

Stally: The only thing Jacksonville has going for it is that it's the home team.  I can't argue this is a pretty sure bet.  I think Blaine Gabbert is good for the team's future but he'll be inconsequential in the early going.

Stally (Seven-Point Pick) - @San Diego over Miami

Stally: Ok, so San Diego almost burned me at home last week against the Chiefs.  But, they still won!  I view Miami in a similar sinking boat to Kansas City's.  I'll go back to the well on a far better San Diego team and assume this is a safe choice.

Austen: I am really regretting betting on the Dolphins being 7-9. They look to be much worse than that and the Chargers should easily roll over this struggling team. Stally would feel more comfortable if this game was in Miami because shockingly the Dolphins are significantly better on the road.

Austen (Seven-Point Pick) - @Philadelphia over San Francisco

Austen: As bad as the Eagles have been, the 49ers have been worse. The 49ers have been one of the worst teams in the NFL and the Eagles are no where in that category. Shady McCoy should single handedly run over this team.

Stally: Did you not read what I wrote last night!? San Francisco 49ers, "best" team in the NFC West, baby!  Although it's definitely very liberal use of the word "best."

Stally (Six-Point Pick) - New England over @Oakland

Stally: I almost took this one as my first pick, I'm that confident, but then realized that didn't make mathematical sense as I could take it later.  I'm buying Oakland is a decent football team, but after last week's collapse, there's no chance Tom Brady plays nice with the Raiders.  He'll torch this team this week.  Take that to the bank!

Austen: The Pats never lose two games in a row, but I cannot remember the last time the Pats' defense was this bad. The long road trip could hurt the Pats the same way it did the Jets last week. This game will be closer than most think it will be. The Pats' offense should get back on track, but Oakland's offense might be able to keep up and control the clock with their run game.

Austen (Six-Point Pick) - New York Giants over @Arizona

Austen: Look for Victor Cruz to have another big game this week. The Giants are WAY better than the Cards and I think they will run and pass at will against this team. They just need to make a few stops on defense to make this a blow out. They also know Kevin Kolb well from his time with the Eagles and they know how to play him.

Stally: I'd be easier to find Victor Cruz if we had any idea who he was.  You're setting the bar high for a guy that's made five career catches!  And, how do the Giants know Kevin Kolb?  He was the backup the entire time he was in Philadelphia and hasn't taken a snap against the Giants in his career!  All in all, I find you logic flawed and I think that a mediocre Giants team traveling across the country is very susceptible to a loss.

Stally (Five-Point Pick) - @Chicago over Carolina

Stally: Carolina might not be the worst team in the league this year, but let's not get excited and think they're one of the better ones.  Chicago tends to be pretty air-tight at home, especially against lesser opponents.  I don't think the Panthers are good enough to make this a close game.

Austen: Cam Newton will really struggle with the Bears' defense that limits big plays and they should dominate this team. The Bears should finally get their run game back on track and dominate this game. The Panthers have no chance in this one.

Austen (Five-Point Pick) - @Tampa Bay over Indianapolis

Austen: The Colts have been as bad as any team this year and I will continue to bet against them. The Bucs have not been great, but their defense has been solid and LeGarrette Blount should dominate. The Colts should continue to struggle and the Bucs should remain a tough opponent, especially at home.

Stally: What a snoozer for Monday Night Football!  I understand ESPN couldn't see the Colts collapse coming when they set the TV schedule, but Tampa Bay is just one of the most boring and mediocre teams in the league.  I'm not buying the Colts at all, but I'm content waiting for them to pull one out and burn Austen.

Stally (Four-Point Pick) - Atlanta over @Seattle

Stally: I don't like this one bit.  Atlanta struggles on the road and Seattle is good at home, but there's a limit.  The Falcons have far more talent and if they lose this, it's time to hit the panic button on last year's best team in the NFC.

Austen: The Falcons struggle on the road and the Seahawks are dominant at home. This one could go either way. Watch for Sidney Rice to have another big game and continue to prove that he is one of the best young receivers in the NFL. 

Stally: Thanks for adding the bit about the Falcons struggling on the road and Seattle being good at home.  Not sure if Kelli would have figured that out after I already said it.

Austen (Four-Point Pick) - Buffalo over @Cincinnati

Austen: As I said, the Bills are a decent team, and the Bengals are one of the worst teams in the NFL. At home or not, the Bengals should lose this game and the Bills should remain unbeaten.

Stally: I can buy that logic.  I find this game boring and see no need to add further commentary.

Stally (Three-Point Pick) - @Baltimore over New York-J

Stally: The Jets burned me last week by losing in Oakland.  I think that the Ravens had a small hiccup in Tennessee, but that they're on their way to becoming an elite team in the AFC.  If the Jets want to be considered among that group, going on the road for this night game would be a good time to prove it.  I just hope this is better than last year's 10-9 MNF dud!

Austen: The Jets are better on the road and Flacco has struggled against top ranked opponents. The Jets have not forgotten their terrible performance against the Ravens at home last season and they are out for blood after an embarrassing loss to the Raiders. I cannot see them dropping two in a row.

Austen (Three-Point Pick) - Minnesota over @Kansas City

Austen: The Vikings are one of the worst teams in the league, but the Chiefs are probably the worst in the league. AP should run all over the Chiefs and make the difference in this game.

Stally: The Chiefs are usually much better at home than on the road, and the same can be said about the Vikings.  Neither of these teams are any good, but I'm going to stick with the home team for this one.

Stally (Two-Point Pick) - Pittsburgh over @Houston

Stally: I'm not too confident about this pick, but while I like the Texans to win a weak AFC South, I'm not sold yet that they're a top team in the AFC.  I'd need to see them win this game before I give them the respect they're asking for.  It will also be a telling sign for Pittsburgh on whether the ugly Week 1 loss to Baltimore was an early-season fluke or a sign of things to come.

Austen: I think my boy Mike Wallace will really hurt the Texans and the Steelers will prevail in this matchup. It will be a battle to the end, but this one could go either way. The Steelers run defense has been suspect and the Texans are coming in hot with their two headed monster: Arian Foster (finally healthy) and second year player Ben Tate. They might be the difference in this game. 

Austen (Two-Point Pick) - @Cleveland over Tennessee

Austen: I think Peyton Hillis will dominate the Titans D that has struggled this season. Colt McCoy has also looked really good this season and I can't see the Titans prevailing without Kenny Britt. Facing the Dog Pound is no easy task, especially since Browns fans finally have something to cheer for.

Stally: I just don't think the Titans are as bad as you think they are.  They have one of the best running backs in the league in Chris Johnson, and, while the loss of Kenny Britt will definitely hurt him, Matt Hasselbeck has looked rejuvenated now that's he's finally left Seattle behind.

Stally (One-Point Pick) - @St. Louis over Washington

Stally: The word is that Steven Jackson will be back an healthy, and I haven't fully bought into Washington yet.  If they're going to make that playoff push we both expected, the Rams are going to have to win games like this one.

Austen: I think the Redskins will rebound this week after a tough loss against the Cowboys and dominate the Rams. The Rams defense is way too inconsistent to hold up against the improved Redskins offense that has seeming found weapons out of nowhere.

Austen (One-Point Pick) - @Dallas over Detroit

Austen: This is a tough one, but I am going to side with the Cowboys, even if they are down their top two receivers. I think this will be a shoot out, but I see the Cowboys prevailing against a much improved Detroit team. The Lions are still not ready to play a tough team on the road.

Stally: I, obviously, had the same reservations you did, which is why I avoided picking this game.  I still think Dallas is the better team, despite Detroit's recent play, so I would have picked them as well.

Pick 'Em

Carolina @ Chicago - 1 p.m.
Stally: Chicago
Austen: Chicago

Buffalo @ Cincinnati - 1 p.m.
Stally: Buffalo
Austen: Buffalo

Tennessee @ Cleveland - 1 p.m.
Stally: Tennessee
Austen: Cleveland

Detroit @ Dallas - 1 p.m.
Stally: Dallas
Austen: Dallas

Minnesota @ Kansas City - 1 p.m.
Stally: Kansas City
Austen: Minnesota

Washington @ St. Louis - 1 p.m.
Stally: St. Louis
Austen: Washington

San Francisco @ Philadelphia - 1 p.m.
Stally: Philadelphia
Austen: Philadelphia

New Orleans @ Jacksonville - 1 p.m.
Stally: New Orleans
Austen: New Orleans

Pittsburgh @ Houston - 1 p.m.
Stally: Pittsburgh
Austen: Pittsburgh

New York-G @ Arizona - 4:05 p.m.
Stally: Arizona
Austen: New York-G

Atlanta @ Seattle - 4:05 p.m.
Stally: Atlanta
Austen: Atlanta

Denver @ Green Bay - 4:15 p.m.
Stally: Green Bay
Austen: Green Bay

New England @ Oakland - 4:15 p.m.
Stally: New England
Austen: New England

Miami @ San Diego - 4:15 p.m.
Stally: San Diego
Austen: San Diego

New York-J @ Baltimore - 8:20 p.m.
Stally: Baltimore
Austen: New York-J

Indianapolis @ Tampa Bay - 8:30 p.m.
Stally: Tampa Bay
Austen: Tampa Bay

This might be the most amount of games in one week that we have disagreed upon. Let the games begin!

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