The New England Patriots will attempt to accomplish what seemed impossible back on July 15. The Pats will go for their fourth straight victory without Tom Brady Sunday afternoon in Foxboro against the Buffalo Bills. This would be an exquisite piece of retribution for Pats fans coveting another piece of revenge against 345 Park Avenue for their botched sting.
NFL Sunday begins early this weekend thanks to the first of three games being played this season in London. The Colts play Jacksonville in the Jaguars’ new home away from home, at 9:30 am eastern time. Pity the fool who decides to watch the game on his phone at church but either forgot to hit the mute button or has his volume to his earphones on too loud.
Fox has the doubleheader this week, but since the Patriots are at home the NFL does not allow them to broadcast an early game in the Boston area. Sorry transplanted New Yorkers, good luck trying to watch the Jets in a Boston area sports bar while the Patriots are playing.
In the late game Fox has in its infinite wisdom decided to broadcast the Dallas-San Francisco game to about 95% of the country. News flash to Fox executives: the Niners suck, and there about a dozen teams that football fans would rather watch than the Cowboys. Hopefully the ratings are low enough to give them a wake up call.
NFL Week 4 Predictions and Picks Against the Spread
★★ Indianapolis Colts vs Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium, London
Sunday, October 2 at 9:30 am ET on CBS; Greg Gumbel, Trent Green
Colts -2½ (opened at -1) . . . . over/under 49 . . . . IND -140, JAC +120
Broadcast in all markets.
Blake Bortles and Andrew Luck are supposed to be among the group of quarterbacks that will soon replace veterans such as Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger, but they are off to rough starts to 2016. Bortles has thrown more picks (six) than touchdowns (five) and his 75.0 passer rating ranks 28th. Luck is averaging just 7.36 yards per pass (18th). Two weeks ago he stared down his receiver and it resulted in a game-losing pick six to Aqib Talib. Last week the Colts avoided an 0-3 start thanks only to a blown Jason Verrett tackle with 1:17 remaining, resulting in a 63-yard game winning touchdown. Only four teams have turned the ball over more often than Jacksonville, resulting in a defense that is allowing 28.0 points per game.
Prediction: Colts 28, Jaguars 20
Colts -2½ . . . . . under 49 . . . . . Indy -140
Final Score: Jaguars 30, Colts 27 x
Colts -2½ x …. under 49 x …. Colts -140 x
★★ Cleveland Browns at Washington Redskins
Sunday, October 2 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon
Skins -7½ (opened at -6½) . . . . over/under 47 . . . . WAS -350, CLE +290
Broadcast in DC, Philadelphia, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia.
The line on this game has been all over the place this week, ranging from 6½ to 9½ points. While this may be a lackluster matchup, Terrelle Pryor makes it worth checking out. Last week the quarterback-turned-receiver set an NFL record, becoming the first player with 140-plus receiving yards, 20-plus rushing yards and 30-plus passing yards in a game. Considering how Bill Belichick values versatility, it is surprising that the Patriots did not sign him last September after bringing him in for a workout. Instead, the Pats waived Chris Harper and traded for Keshawn Martin to bolster the wide receiver position.
Prediction: Browns 24, Skins 20
Browns +7½ (two units) . . . . . under 47 . . . . . Cleveland +290
Final Score: Redskins 31, Browns 20 x
Browns +7½ xx …. under 47 x …. Browns +290 x
★★★★★ Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots
Sunday, October 2 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts
Patriots -7½ (opened at -3½) . . . . over/under 44 . . . . NWE -330, BUF +270
Broadcast in New England, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, south Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, western Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York (except NYC), Oklahoma, South Carolina and Wisconsin.
Wide receiver Sammy Watkins is not only out for this game, he has been placed on injured reserve due to a foot injury. Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia’s defensive game plan is usually focused on limiting the opponent’s best weapon, and forcing a secondary player to beat the Pats. That means the Patriot defense will concentrate on RB LeSean McCoy, and dare QB Tyrod Taylor to make plays. The Patriot offensive line has played remarkably better than last season, a testament to those outside of New England who doubted the positive effect of the return of Dante Scarnecchia.
Prediction: Patriots 20, Bills 17
Bills +7½ . . . . . under 44 (one unit) . . . . . Buffalo +270
Final Score: Bills 16, Patriots 0 x
Bills +7½ ✓ …. under 44 ✓ …. Bills +270 ✓
★★★★★ Seattle Seahawks at New York Jets
Sunday, October 2 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch
Seahawks -2½ (opened at -3½) . . . . over/under 39½ . . . . SEA -135, NYJ +115
Broadcast in the northeast from Maine to Ohio (except Boston), south Florida, and from the Rockies west.
Seattle has four players in new positions on their offensive line, and it showed early on. In the first two games the Seahawks scored a total of only 15 points, but that unit began to gel last week as they lit up the scoreboard for 38 against the Niners. This game will give us a better indication of where the Seahawk offense is, as they face a Jet defense that is allowing just 3.3 yards per rush, forcing opponents into poor down-and-distance situations. The big question though is how Ryan Fitzpatrick responds from his horrendous week three disaster.
The Jet QB lived up to his FitzPick moniker, throwing six interceptions last week. Now he faces a defense that ranks second in scoring (12.3 points per game), yards per play (4.5) and passing yardage (163 yards per game). And just to throw gasoline on the fire, now the backup quarterback is piling on to the quarterback controversy as well. Seattle is not impressive this year and is not the same team on the road. I just don’t have faith in their offense against a solid defense, and the Jets should bounce back from last week’s debacle.
Prediction: Jets 16, Seahawks 13
Jets +2½ . . . . . under 39½ . . . . . Jets +115
Final Score: Seahawks 27, Jets 17 x
Jets +2½ x …. under 39½ x …. Jets +115 x
★★★★ Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons
Sunday, October 2 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Dick Stockton, Chris Spielman
Panthers -3 (opened at -3½) . . . . over/under 51 . . . . CAR -170, ATL +150
Broadcast throughout the south from North Carolina to Texas, with the exception of south Florida and Houston.
Cam Newton should get a bit of a much needed breather this week. The reigning MVP has been sacked twelve times thus far, and taken far too many vicious hits already. Atlanta does not generate much of a pass rush and is allowing 313 passing yards per game, 29th in the NFL. Although Jonathan Stewart is again out with a hamstring injury, Carolina should still be able to run the ball against a Falcon defense that is giving up 4.8 yards per rush (28th). Atlanta’s top ranked offense (34.7 points per game, 7.0 yards per play) still makes the team dangerous though. However, those numbers were compiled against Tampa Bay, Oakland and New Orleans. I don’t see the Panthers falling to 1-3.
Prediction: Panthers 31, Falcons 27
Panthers -3 . . . . . over 51 (two units) . . . . . Carolina -170
Final Score: Falcons 48, Panthers 33 x
Panthers -3 x …. over 51 ✓✓ …. Panthers -170 x
★★★ Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears
Sunday, October 2 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston
Lions -3 (opened at -2½) . . . . over/under 47½ . . . . DET -170, CHI +150
Broadcast in Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, eastern Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
The Chicago offense is dismal, and the loss of RB Jeremy Langford makes a bad situation worse. The Bears rank 30th in scoring (15.0 points per game), 27th in yardage (311 per game) and 30th in rushing (72 yards per game). Only seven teams have turned the ball over more often, putting too much pressure on a defense with too many backups on the field filling in for injured players; overall Chicago already has twelve players on injured reserve.
Prediction: Lions 27, Bears 20
Lions -3 (one unit) . . . . . under 47½ . . . . . Detroit -170
Final Score: Bears 17, Lions 14 x
Lions -3 x …. under 47½ x …. Lions -170 x
★★★ Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans
Sunday, October 2 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Tom McCarthy, Adam Archuleta
Texans -4½ (opened at -4½) . . . . over/under 40½ . . . . HOU -200, TEN +170
Broadcast in Indiana, Tennessee and Texas.
With ten days to stew about the fiasco in Foxboro, Houston will be playing with a vengeance. Head coach Bill O’Brien will take over play calling duties, which should help what has been a moribund offense. Too often the Titans settle for field goals. The Tennessee offense has been the most inefficient in the league, averaging 25.5 yards per point. Even with J.J. Watt done for the year, the Houston defense should still dominate this game.
Prediction: Texans 24, Titans 16
Texans -4½ . . . . . under 40½ . . . . . Houston -200
Final Score: Texans 27, Titans 20 ✓
Texans -4½ ✓ …. under 40½ x …. Texans -200 ✓
★★★★ Oakland Raiders at Baltimore Ravens
Sunday, October 2 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Andrew Catalon, Steve Tasker
Ravens -3½ (opened at -3½) . . . . over/under 46½ . . . . BAL -175, OAK +155
Broadcast in Arizona, California, Idaho, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, Pennsylvania (except Philadelphia), Oregon and Washington.
Oakland is the most unbalanced team of the year. I’m not referring to mental state of mind, but the disparity between the two sides of the ball. The Raider offense ranks second in total yards (436 per game), yards per play (6.7) and rushing (148 yards per game). However the defense is a sieve, surrendering 340 passing yards per game and 7.4 yards per play – both worst in the league. Baltimore’s 3-0 record is a bit misleading; those three opponents have a combined mark of 1-8. Oakland has the unenviable task of traveling from the west coast to play an early game in the eastern time zone for the second consecutive week.
Prediction: Ravens 27, Raiders 24
Raiders +3½ . . . . . over 46½ . . . . . Oakland +155
Final Score: Raiders 28, Ravens 27 x
Raiders +3½ ✓ …. over 46½ ✓ …. Raiders +155 ✓
★★★ Denver Broncos at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sunday, October 2 at 4:05 pm ET on CBS
Broncos -3 (opened at -4) . . . . over/under 43 . . . . DEN -160, TAM +140
Broadcast in Chicago, Detroit, New York City, Colorado, Florida (except Miami and West Palm), Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
With eight giveaways and a minus-six turnover differential, the Bucs are making things too easy for opponents. Tampa Bay opponents are averaging a mere 11.0 yards per point as a result, ranking 32nd in the NFL. It’s not all on the offense though; with only two takeaways the Buc defense needs to create more turnovers. Considering what Arizona was able to do in terms of pressuring Jameis Winston, what will Denver be able to accomplish?
Prediction: Broncos 24, Buccaneers 17
Broncos -3 . . . . . under 43 . . . . . Denver -160
Final Score: Broncos 27, Buccaneers 7 ✓
Broncos -3 ✓ …. under 43 ✓ …. Broncos -160 ✓
★ Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers
Sunday, October 2 at 4:25 pm ET on FOX; Joe Buck, Troy Aikman
Cowboys -2 (opened as PK) . . . . over/under 45 . . . . DAL -135, SFO +115
Broadcast in all markets with the exception of Alabama, Arizona, southern California, Tampa FL, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and St. Louis.
San Francisco has been outscored 83-45 in the last two weeks. Carolina and Seattle both scored more points against the Niners than they did in their two other games combined. Why Dez Bryant made the trip rather than stay in Dallas for rehab and treatment is baffling, but this is the Cowboys we are talking about.
Prediction: Cowboys 31, Niners 20
Cowboys -2 (one unit) . . . . . over 45 . . . . . Dallas -135
Final Score: Cowboys 24, Forty Niners 17 ✓
Cowboys -2 ✓ …. over 45 x …. Cowboys -135 ✓
★★★★ New Orleans Saints at San Diego Chargers
Sunday, October 2 at 4:25 pm ET on FOX; Chris Myers, Ronde Barber
Chargers -4 (opened at -4) . . . . over/under 53½ . . . . SDG -200, NOR +170
Broadcast in Alabama, San Diego CA, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi.
An already mediocre New Orleans defense has been ravaged by injuries at all three levels. San Diego is once agian dealing with injuries of their own. The Chargers have lost top playmakers Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead for the season, and Antonio Gates has yet to play this year. I would not expect either punter to get much of any action in this game.
Prediction: Chargers 34, Saints 31
Saints +4 . . . . . over 53½ . . . . . New Orleans +170
Final Score: Saints 35, Chargers 34 x
Saints +4 ✓ …. over 53½ ✓ …. Saints +170 x
★★★ Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals
Sunday, October 2 at 4:25 pm ET on FOX; Thom Brennaman, Charles Davis
Cardinals -8 (opened at -8) . . . . over/under 43 . . . . ARI -360, LA +300
Broadcast in Arizona, southern California (except San Diego) and St. Louis.
Broadcasting the game between two teams that fled St. Louis in the Gateway City seems like a cruel joke. The Rams front seven has the ability to force Carson Palmer to turn the ball over and keep this game close. Jeff Fisher will find a way to mismanage the clock or play calling though, and the Cardinals will manage to win a close one.
Prediction: Cardinals 17, Rams 13
Rams +8 (one unit) . . . . . under 43 (two units) . . . . . Los Angeles +300
Final Score: Rams 17, Cardinals 13 x
Rams +8 ✓ …. under 43 ✓✓ …. Rams +300 ✓
★★★★★ Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers
Sunday, October 2 at 8:30 pm ET on NBC; Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth
Steelers -4½ (opened at -4) . . . . over/under 47 . . . . PIT -220, KAN +190
Broadcast in all markets.
Every team has that one WTF game each year, and for the Steelers that happened last week. Pittsburgh will respond in a positive way with the return of running back Le’Veon Bell. This should be a great game to cap off football on Sunday.
Prediction: Steelers 28, Chiefs 24
Chiefs +4½ . . . . . over 47 . . . . . Pittsburgh -220
Final Score: Steelers 43, Chiefs 14 ✓
Chiefs +4½ x …. over 47 ✓ …. Steelers -220 ✓
★★★ New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings
Monday, October 3 at 8:30 pm ET on BSPN; Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden
Vikings -4½ (opened at -3½) . . . . over/under 42½ . . . . MIN -210, NYG +180
Broadcast in all markets.
Minnesota is playing great football despite the absences of Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson. The Viking defense leads the NFL in yards per play (4.4) and is third in scoring (13.3 points per game). The offense has only turned the ball over once, and the plus-8 turnover differential is the league’s best. The Giants could easily be 0-3 right now and have lost their top two running backs to injuries.
Prediction: Vikings 24, Giants 14
Vikings -4½ (two units) . . . . . under 42½ . . . . . Minnesota -210
Final Score: Vikings 24, Giants 10 ✓
Vikings -4½ ✓✓ …. under 42½ ✓ …. Vikings -210 ✓
★★★★ Miami Dolphins at Cincinnati Bengals
Thursday, September 29 at 8:30 pm ET on NFLN
Bengals -7½ (opened at -7) . . . . over/under 46½ . . . . CIN -350, MIA +290
Prediction: Bengals 31, Dolphins 10
Bengals -7½ (two units) . . . . . under 46½ . . . . . Cincinnati -350
This went about as expected, other than Cincinnati settling for field goals to keep the score somewhat close.
Final Score: Bengals 22, Dolphins 7 ✓
Bengals -7½ ✓✓ … over 46½ ✓ … Bengals -350 ✓
3-Team Parlay (one unit): ✓
Vikings -4½ vs Giants ✓
Cardinals-Rams under 43 ✓
Panthers-Falcons over 51 ✓
3-Team 6-Point Teaser (three units): ✓✓✓
Browns +13½ vs Redskins ✓
Vikings -10½ vs Giants ✓
Cardinals-Rams under 49 ✓
Tale of the Tape
Week 3 Results:
6-10 Straight Up
6-9-1 Against the Spread
3-unit plays: 0-2-1, -690
2-unit plays: 1-2, -240
1-unit plays: 2-3, -130
3-Game Parlay: 0-1, -110
4-Game Teaser: 0-1, -110
22 units invested
3-9-1, -1280 on $2200 risk
Year to Date Results:
26-22 Straight Up
25-22-1 Against the Spread
3-unit plays: 2-5-1, -1080
2-unit plays: 9-2, +1360
1-unit plays: 10-5, +450
Parlays: 0-1, -110
Teasers: 0-1, -110
21-14-1, +510 on original $2310 risk.
22.1% ROI on original $2310 bankroll.
7.4% ROI on $6930 total weekly investment.
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