Week 4 was a classic illustration of the fine line between success and failure when picking games. Case in point:
- I was 1-2 in OT games.
- In two other games, the team I picked lost by two points.
- Four of the teams I picked won by three points.
- One of those three-point wins was a gift, due to an egregious officiating error.
Based on all of that, I’ll gladly take 10-5.
Meanwhile, in other news, the New England Patriots return to action this week after having an early bye week. The Pats, and particularly Tom Brady, have looked nothing short of spectacular during their 3-0 start. It’s hard to believe that just a hair over five weeks ago, with just a week to go before the Pats opened the season against the Steelers, New England fans were understandably tense over facing four weeks without their star QB. Now, Brady’s on top, Roger Goodell is practically invisible, and Pats fans are feeling downright festive.
Bears at Chiefs
Jay Cutler led the struggling Bears, underdogs at home against the Raiders (ouch), to a narrow victory despite having a depleted receiving corps. The Chiefs have lost three in a row now, including one they should have had against division rival Denver, and followed by two sound beatings by the superior Packers and Bengals. KC needs a win at home. Winner: Chiefs
Seahawks at Bengals
The Seahawks come to Cincinnati riding a two-game winning streak. I’m not impressed. Much like at the end of last season, when they scored a string of victories against some really terrible QBs, Seattle has won at home against some mediocre competition. Add to that the fact that they barely beat the Lions on Monday night, and only as a result of an officiating mistake. One of the reasons for the Bengals’ hot start is their pass rush, led by the resurgent Geno Atkins, and it would be an understatement to say that Seattle does not protect Russell Wilson very well. As well as they’ve played, I’m surprised at how little respect Cincy has gotten. That should change after this weekend. Winner: Bengals
The Falcons probably won’t have it as easy this week as they did last week against a Texans squad that just didn’t show up. Having said that, Atlanta is riding high based on a tenacious defence, a strong running game, and the usual excellence of the likes of Julio Jones and Matt Ryan. Winner: Falcons
Jaguars at Buccaneers
The Jags almost pulled it off last week against the Colts, and should pick up a win against interstate rival Tampa and their overmatched rookie QB. Winner: Jaguars
Saints at Eagles
Philly’s offence has been a massive failure thus far. Fortunately for them, they get to face a terrible Saints D this week. That, plus a stout defensive effort by the home team should help secure a close victory. Winner: Eagles
Browns at Ravens
A close win against a Big Ben-less Steelers team doesn’t indicate that things are suddenly rosy for Baltimore, but they still should be able to beat the Browns at home. Winner: Ravens
Rams at Packers
The Rams have shown that they will live and die on defence with their pass rush. Aaron Rodgers’ quick, accurate passes should take care of that, while the Pack’s surprisingly good defence should take care of the rest. Winner: Packers
Bills at Titans
The Bills have shown an appalling lack of discipline in their two losses this season by piling up the penalty yards. Rex Ryan says he’ll get that fixed, and I believe him. Facing a soft defence, and a rookie QB, will help a lot this week. Winner: Bills
Cardinals at Lions
There’s no shame in losing to a superior defensive effort, as the Cards did to the Rams last week. Losing to the Lions, even if it is in Detroit, would be truly shameful for an elite team like Arizona. Winner: Cardinals
Patriots at Cowboys
That the Brandon Weeden-led version of the Dallas offence couldn’t get it done against New Orleans last week speaks volumes. That the most talk I’ve heard about the Cowboys this week involves a miserable human being saying stupid things shows how far the team’s fortunes have fallen. The New England Patriots 2015 Revenge Tour marches on. Winner: Patriots
Broncos at Raiders
Has Peyton Manning ever had the support of a defence this good? I say no. Winner: Broncos
49ers at Giants
The Giants stunned the favoured Bills in Buffalo last week, thanks in part to a spirited defensive effort. With Philly and Dallas struggling, this division is wide open. I told you not to quit on Coughlin, Giants’ fans. (And, happy belated b’day to devoted Giants’ fanatic and all-around meatball Chad; hope you had a good one, buddy.) Winner: Giants
Steelers at Chargers
I struggled with this pick. The Chargers have played well on offence, despite problems on the offensive line, but not as well on defence. The Steelers’ pass rush has led an extremely effective defensive effort, which could cause problems for Philip Rivers. Offensively for Pittsburgh, Michael Vick has had some extra time since last week’s Thursday night game to work with the first team offence, and the running game is sound. This should be a close one, but I’m counting on the return of TE Antonio Gates to help Rivers and co. gut out a victory. Winner: Chargers