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Friday, September 30, 2011

NFL Week 4 Picks - Eric


Detroit Lions +1 @ Dallas Cowboys

Troy Aikman said earlier this week that the current incarnation of the
Detroit Lions reminds him somewhat of the early '90s Cowboys. I can see
where he's coming from. I don't think they have the depth of those Dallas
teams but that's more of a function of a hard salary cap. Dallas once
famously swindled the Minnesota Vikings by trading away their biggest star.
The Roy Williams trade is certainly of a lesser magnitude, but it appears
some retribution was levied on Dallas.

Matthew Stafford's putting up great stats and running an offense that's putting
up over 30 a game. Calvin Johnson is the most unstoppable receiver in the
league right now. His rare combination of size, speed, and athleticism
makes him a tough out for the beleaguered Dallas secondary. However, it's
not all Johnson. WR Nate Burelson's still got some gas in the tank (as we
saw with his 7 catches for 93 yards in week 2), RB Javid Best has more yards
receiving than rushing and just as many TD's, and the Tight End combination
of Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler provide Stafford with a formidable
arsenal. Granted, Dallas' defense has been stout overall but they're weak
in the secondary and Stafford's proven he can stay cool under pressure. He
will stand in the pocket and take big hits and sacks but still deliver the
ball when left with any time. The running game has been ho-hum thus far and
Dallas doesn't give much up on the ground anyhow. There's just too much
fire power here for Rob Ryan's defense.

On the flip side, no Miles Austin, Romo's still injured as is Felix Jones
and Dez Bryant. Last week the Cowboys won in spite of their center losing
his damn mind and hearing voices and the wide receivers acting like they
blacked out the night before and woke up on the field. Field goals won't
cut it this time around and I hate the matchup between Suh and Rookie guard
Bill Nagy. Dallas will have to account for this mismatch all day, further
limiting their ability to move the ball in their normal offense. A fully
healthy Dallas could go toe to toe with the Lions high powered attack, but too
Dallas bodies are either out or playing hurt.

Eric's Prediction: DETROIT 34 - Dallas 17

Buffalo Bills @ Cincinnati Bengals -3

The return of Ryan Fitzpatrick to Cincinnati. He'll go up against the team
that spurned him to bring back the Quarterback turned malcontent Carson
Palmer. Where's Fitzpatrick now and where's Palmer? I don't think anyone
really cares about any of that but, like ESPN, I can make up a fake subplot.
This feels like a hangover game for Buffalo. The past two weeks the Bills
have made incredible comebacks to win the game. The win last week took on
all kinds of significance for the team, it validated their success thus far.
Andy Dalton and AJ Green give this team a fighter's chance. Remember the
Bills gave up over two hundred yards to Welker last week knowing he
and Gronkowski
were the only receiving threats. My man Leodis (McKelvin) will likely draw
Green. Soon to be convicted felon Jerome Simpson provided balance in the
receiving game, but he only caught 1 ball last week and who knows what the
Bengals have in store for him this week. Cincy runs the ball well, something
New England didn't do at all. However, the Bills fared well against the
Raiders running attack only giving up 72 yards on 20 carried to McFadden.

Defensively, the Bengals have been pretty good. This is, of course,
according to the stats in their games so far. They've played the Brows, the
Broncos and the 49er's…not exactly murderer's row. This will be their first
test of the season. Leon Hall and Nate Clements provide a nice CB combo but
they'll struggle to keep pace with Johnson, Nelson, Jones and Chandler.
Fred Jackson is the key, he will open up the passing game (and perhaps even
contribute to it). The Bills are the better team but will they get up for
the game? They'll find a way to win, but it won't be pretty.

Eric's Prediction: BUF 24 - CIN 23

Washington Redskins -2 @ Saint Louis Rams

I've been wrong on just about everything so far this season except for
jumping off the Rams NFC West bandwagon (of course I picked Seattle to win
it instead but still). They pay a tough schedule and don't have enough
going for them. I'm not sold quite yet on Bradford developing into Kurt
Warner 2.0, Steven Jackson is on the decline and their best receiver Danny
Amendola suffered a dislocated elbow. Thus far, the Rams played the Giants,
Eagles, and the Ravens…this week they draw the surprisingly frisky Redskins,
(after their bye) the Packers, then Cowboys, and then Saints. It's completely
conceivable they will start 0-7. If they're going to get off the snide this
is the week to do it. Unfortunately, I've seen nothing to get excited
about. Skins harass Bradford all day and Hightower helps pull my fantasy
team to .500.

Eric's Prediction: WASH 20 - Rams 12

New York Jets @ Baltimore Ravens -4

As Flacco goes, so goes the Ravens. Ray Rice has a monster (by Jets
defensive standards) game putting the Jets dominance into question. The
Purple Patio at Mother's celebrates another big win on Sunday night, the
entire city calls in sick. Someone's got their foot in their mouth...Rex.

Eric's Prediction: BALT 31 - NYJ 14

Indianapolis Colts @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers -10 ½

Curtis isn't a great name for a QB, or even a football player for that
matter. They played their hearts out last week but Indy didn't lure Kerry
Collins out of retirement for no reason. The Bucs are for real and this week
they will prove it against an inferior opponent on Primetime television.

Eric's Selection: TAMPA 24 - Indy 12

Denver Broncos +13 @ Green Bay Packers

The Broncos are terrible but the Packers will lose interest at some point.
Green Bay let the Panthers hang around in the forth quarter last week,
I don't think they will put away the Broncos either. Take the points.

Eric's Prediction: GREEN BAY 24 - Denver 13

Miami Dolphins +7 @ San Diego Chargers

Phil Rivers hasn't looked like he belongs in the top tier of QBs thus far.
Chad Henne has shown me enough that he is a competitor and I like
him in this situation. San Diego always has bad September's, could this
make it a 2-2 start?

Eric's Prediction: CHARGERS 24 - Dolphins 23

New England Patriots -5 @ Oakland Raiders

Both recent victims of Bills comebacks. Brady's 4 picks were a fluke but
it's an intriguing matchup. The Raiders have speed and power that will give
the Patriots a fit but they won't be able to keep up. I think that's what
you have with this Pats team, "Screw it, we'll just out score you". They do
here as Brady will have yet another monster day, and Campbell will
play like he had his old Redskins jersey on.

Eric's Prediction: NE 38 - OAK 23

New York Giants -1 @ Arizona Cardinals

Who knows what to make of this Giants team? Larry Fitzgerald upgraded from
Derek Anderson to Kevin Kolb, but so far that's like upgrading from a Honda
to an Accura…yeah it's better but you really wanted a BMW. The Cardinals
have not impressed me yet this season, a win here would impress me. They'll
leep it close, but Manning will shut the door late in the 4th quarter.

Eric's Prediction: NYG 24 - ARI 20

Atlanta Falcons -5 ½ @ Seattle Seahawks

Atlanta let me down last week with a lack luster performance. Hopefully all
they need is a dose of Tavaris Jackson to get them back on their feet. Seahawks
won't win two in a row, Falcons won't lose two in a row, and Matt
Ryan will have
a "step-it-up" game.

Eric's Prediction: ATL 28 SEA 7

Carolina Panthers +7 @ Chicago Bears

It would kill the haters in the media that dismissed Cam Newton'
talent prior to
the NFL draft if he upsets the Bears on Soldier Field. I say this game has
great potential to be an upset victory. But, the lack of an
established running
game is going to hurt the Panthers in this game. Williams is struggling and
is likely frustrated, while Stewart is not struggling but is likely
frustrated that
he isn't getting more touches. Newton on the other hand, is playing great,
but the Bears secondary won't allow Steve Smith to have a big play, and
the Bears linebackers are too fast for Olsen and Shockey.

Eric's Prediction: BEARS 21 - Panthers 20

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Houston Texans -4

Can the Steelers score enough to keep pace? They put up a season best 24
against the hapless Seahawks, it'll take more than that this week.
Matt Schaub
will find success against the Steelers secondary as long as he gets
rid of the ball
quickly. Also worth noting, whether is Foster or Tate, the Texans
will likely struggle
to run the ball against the Steelers front 7, so look for Houston to
use the screen
game and some delay routes for the running backs to get the ball in
their hands
in open space.

Eric's Prediction: HOUSTON 31 - Pittsburgh 20

Minnesota Vikings -1 @ Kansas City Chiefs

I don't care about this game at all. Both teams will be worthless in
a few weeks.
I'd like to see the Vikings play Percy Harvin more often, and to
increase AP's workload
in the second half. As far as the Chiefs go, can Cassell get that
feel back from last
season where she was killing it with you and Bowe.

Eric's Prediction: MINN 24 - KC 14

Tennessee Titans (Pick) @ Cleveland Browns

How many fantasy season is Chris Johnson ruining? It continues this
week, BUT the
Titans get it done on the road.

Eric's Prediction: TENN 17 - CLE 12

San Francisco 49er's +9 @ Philadelphia Eagles

Already too much Kafka. The question is now whether Michael Vick can make
it through an entire game let alone a full season.The 49ers stayed in
Ohio all week so
this won't be like playing a 10am games for the West Coast squad.

Eric's Prediction: PHI 27 - San Francisco 20

New Orleans Saints +7 ½ @ Jacksonville Jaguars

Drew Brees will out perform Blaine Gabbert who is making his second
official NFL start.
I like Gabbert, he could be a good player down the road.

Eric's Prediction: NO 38 JAC 14

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