by Ryan Meehan
Although the big story this week is the officials’ inability to control the madness that ensues when a bunch of men in pads show up to make sure everyone has the exact same amount of concussions, the more disturbing story here is the fact that the Jets have lost Cornerback Darrelle Revis for the remainder of the season after he was hurt on a non contact play in the Jets’ 23-20 victory over the Dolphins on Sunday.
Of course I’m kidding, we all know what the big story of the week is. I already addressed that in Tuesday evening’s column and I’m not going to talk about it anymore. We all know mistakes were made and all of the bitching and moaning in the world isn’t going to fix any of that, so let’s move on.
Changing subjects, this is the time of year that I start to get real bummed out that there has to be a schedule – Who wouldn’t want to see the Texans play the Falcons in a couple of weeks? But such is the curse of covering such a well-structured sport. Let’s see how the following thirty teams should fare in week four…
Thursday Night: Cleveland Browns (0-3) at Baltimore Ravens (2-1)
Yet another example of how stupid these Thursday night games are: The Ravens played a late game on the East coast Sunday night that went very late, and just 96 hours later there they are in the same time zone playing another professional football game. Thankfully for the Ravens, they are a great team and Cleveland might be the worst team in the entire league. This should be a relatively easy win for Baltimore, I couldn’t imagine that the Ravens could find a way to lose this one.
Prediction: Ravens 22, Browns 7
Carolina Panthers (1-2) at Atlanta Falcons (3-0)
Since I was so certain that my lock pick last week (49ers over Vikings) was a sure thing, I’m a little hesitant to make the same comments about something that appears to be such an obvious choice. The Falcons are in the same category that I put the Texans in: They are hard as hell and they mean serious business. And after that beatdown that the Giants planted on the Panthers last Thursday, they should still be noticeably shaken even with three extra days they got off.
Prediction: Falcons 39, Panthers 18
New England Patriots (1-2) at Buffalo Bills (2-1)
I would guess the Patriots are a little bit on the irritated side of the emotional spectrum, having lost their last two by a combined 3 points. They’ll get a chance to take it out on the Bills, who are the lesser of the two teams despite what the AFC East standings say. I heard someone mention that maybe Tom Brady is getting up there and that will happen eventually, but the person who said that to me was very stupid and I don’t think that time is now.
Prediction: Patriots 27, Bills 15
Minnesota Vikings (2-1) at Detroit Lions (1-2)
The Vikings are on cloud nine after they knocked off the 49ers, a team that most football fans are saying has the pieces in place to win it all. Detroit has lost two straight and had they not made a crucial communication error in the Tennessee game they might have won that game and everybody in the NFC North would have the same record. But they didn’t do that, and now they will need to claw their way back to the top in order to find some breathing room. I believe they’ll do it against the Vikings, this is a home game for Detroit and they should be able to produce enough offense to get back on track here.
Prediction: Lions 23, Vikings 20
San Diego Chargers (2-1) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-2)
Jamaal Charles says he feels like his old self again, and he certainly proved it with last week’s performance rushing for 233 yards. The Chargers have got to be the worst 2-1 team in the history of the league, and don’t forget about how badly they got worked at home by the Falcons last week. Sure Atlanta looks unstoppable, but the Chargers think they are too and that’s way worse than being a shitty team and still admitting it.
Prediction: Chiefs 28, Chargers 16
Seattle Seahawks (2-1) at St. Louis Rams (1-2)
Before the shame went viral in the Monday Night Game against Green Bay, Seattle was putting on a defensive clinic up there in Washington. They were doing whatever they pleased with that offensive line and even when they were giving up completions they were allowing very few yards after the catch. However, I am still doubtful as to whether or not they can put on that type of a performance away from the 12th man. Even though I was disappointed by the Rams last week, I still believe in God so I have to trust that he’ll do the right thing here. In this instance, street justice prevails but of course the Packers probably don’t want to hear any of that.
Prediction: Rams 24, Seahawks 17
San Francisco 49ers (2-1) at New York Jets (2-1)
This should be the most exciting game of the week to watch because it features the opportunity to allow the 49ers to bounce back from that humiliating loss to Minnesota last week by exposing Mark Sanchez as the average quarterback that we all know he really is. The injury to Revis is key here: As we well know the 49ers have tons of offensive weapons at the wideout position, so you can bet your bottom dollar that SF coach Jim Harbaugh will be trying to take advantage of that. Combine a high powered passing game with the way that they are able to ground and pound with Frank Gore, and they should be able to work the New York Jets no questions asked.
Prediction: 49ers 31, Jets 17
Tennessee Titans (2-1) at Houston Texans (3-0)
I was kind of surprised that the Titans were able to pull out that game against the Lions in week three. I was even more surprised that Locker was able to lead that offense in such a high scoring affair, even when you take away the two special teams touchdowns. However something tells me they are about ready to meet their maker fr one of the first of two times this year. One of the headlines on NFL.com this week said “The Texans are 3-0 and are among the NFL’s best. Underestimate at your own peril.” I couldn’t have said it better myself, and it’s high time everybody starts realizing that the Texans aren’t going to just slowly march along all year without letting everyone know that they are for real. To top off all that, it’s the franchise’s tenth year of existence, giving them that extra incentive to make it special. Houston could cause some problems for the rest of the AFC this year, and that’s just the way it is.
Prediction: Texans 27, Titans 21
Miami Dolphins (1-2) at Arizona Cardinals (3-0)
Yes, the Arizona Cardinals are 3-0. Yes, their defense is much improved this year. Yes, they will likely win against the Dolphins against the Dolphins and control sole possession of first place in the NFC West. But, it’s still early and they still don’t know who their starting QB is. I would think that now they have to give the job back to Kolb, because he’s the healthier of the two and in Skelton’s absence he’s done enough to prevent them from losing so far. It’s hard for me to have enough patience to talk about the Dolphins this late in the evening.
Prediction: Cardinals 28, Dolphins 13
Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2)
This one has the potential for a blowout, but Jacksonville did show some strength and resilience last week. The Bengals have shown improvement in their offensive strengths, but I need to see some big stops and forced turnovers against a team they should be able to do that against on the defensive side of the ball. It looks like the Ravens have defied me in my assessment that they are aging, so Cincinnati is going to need to win games like this in order to get a playoff seed they can actually use.
Prediction: Bengals 27, Jaguars 18
Oakland Raiders (1-2) at Denver Broncos (1-2)
The Raiders are about to snap back to reality after that late game rally against the Steelers because now they have to face the Broncos and that brutal defense. Denver did lose last week, but against a division opponent here they will step their game up and put the hurting on Oakland in a big way. The Carson Palmer that you will see in this matchup will be the pedestrian style player that you saw in the first two games (against Oakland and Miami) as opposed to the QB you saw come from behind and shock the Steelers. Plus, the game is in Denver and that’s never good news for the Raiders.
Prediction: Broncos 31, Raiders 9
New Orleans Saints (0-3) at Green Bay Packers (1-2)
When the schedule was released for the 2012 season, this was a game that I couldn’t wait to see. Now, I want to turn my eyes away from it because this could be super ugly. Just when this situation couldn’t get any worse for Drew Brees and company, the Packers will be hosting a game in which they are going to be super bitter, and New Orleans has the unfortunate task of somehow trying to diffuse that. Dream on…looks like the Saints are headed to 0-4.
Prediction: Packers 30, Saints 24
Washington Redskins (1-2) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-2)
I’m taking Washington here in a game that is sure to be a waste of your hard earned attention. That is, until the last play given what’s happened in Tampa Bay games the past two weeks. I’m hoping for curiosity’s sake that the game won’t be as close as my prediction states, because I would like to see if Bucs coach Greg Schiano pulls that same bullshit on Robert Griffin (whom the league cares very much about protecting as a rookie quarterback) and the Redskins if they’re down by more than one possession.
Prediction: Redskins 17, Bucs 16
Sunday Night Football: New York Giants (2-1) at Philadelphia Eagles (2-1)
This going to sound like a total homer thing to say, but the Eagles are the worst out of all of the 2-1 teams. Their offense line is pathetic, which is leaving Vick confused and running for his life. Sure, that’s what he’s good at, but it just so happens that no one is getting open either. Make no mistake, the Philadelphia Eagles are a hot mess. Although the Giants’ coverage map is spotty at times, for the most part they don’t drop calls. (Hard to tell I’m doing this at work, isn’t it?) The fact that last week’s game was an away game for New York didn’t seem to phase them much, and although the Eagles aren’t the Panthers they might as well be the way they’re playing.
Prediction: Giants 30, Eagles 21
Monday Night: Chicago Bears (2-1) at Dallas Cowboys (2-1)
Out of all of the games to pick this week, I found this one the most difficult. I can’t tell which team is going to show up for each squad, so it’s hard to accurately gauge what will happen here. It is possible that Cutler could come out to a rough start in enemy territory, but it’s also possible that Romo could come out and lay an egg. One thing is for sure, this will be a sloppy ass football game.
Prediction: Bears 24, Cowboys 22
Bye Weeks: Indianapolis, Pittsburgh
Indianapolis probably could stand to spend a lot of time during their bye week watching film, as they have not only a young quarterback but a young roster as well. Pittsburgh has most likely spent a majority of the past few days wondering how the hell that happened to them, and I don’t blame them.
There is no summary this week, I’m brownbaggin’ it.
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