PFT’s Week Four picks

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It’s harder then ever to predict the outcome of NFL games. Or maybe we just stink.

Regardless, MDS and I had a do-the-opposite 7-9 showing in Week Three. The putrid performances put MDS at 25-23 for the season, and yours truly at 24-24.

We’ll try to improve (and likely fail) in Week Four, where we disagree on four of the 15 games. So check out the picks below. And assume that, as to each game, the opposite outcome is guaranteed.

Dolphins at Bengals

MDS’s take: The Dolphins finally got a win on Sunday, but needing overtime at home to beat the Browns isn’t inspiring. The Bengals should win comfortably.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 28, Dolphins 14.

Florio’s take: An early-season desperation game for a pair of teams trying to avoid falling to 1-3. Miami has played well enough to be undefeated. They play up and down to the level of competition, and with coach Adam Gase starting to strongly assert himself, the Dolphins could be ready to get everyone’s attention, only a few days after nearly blowing it at home against the Browns.

Florio’s pick: Dolphins 27, Bengals 20.

Colts at Jaguars

MDS’s take: How does the NFL always manage to find bad games to send to London? The 1-2 Colts aren’t exactly setting the world on fire, but the 0-3 Jaguars might be the worst team in the league through three weeks.

MDS’s pick: Colts 24, Jaguars 13.

Florio’s take: The NFL keeps exporting race-to-the-bottom matchups to England, even if this one wasn’t supposed to be an early-season battle for the AFC South basement. The Jaguars scored 51 against the Colts last year, but that was against an Indy team that lacked Andrew Luck. So it’ll be closer this time, but Blake Bortles and company should be able to find a way to get their first win of the season.

Florio’s pick: Jaguars 31, Colts 27.

Titans at Texans

MDS’s take: As bad as the Texans looked last week against the Patriots, and even without J.J. Watt, I still think their defense is good enough to shut down the Titans’ “exotic smash mouth” attack.

MDS’s pick: Texans 20, Titans 10.

Florio’s take: The Texans can overcome not having J.J. Watt, at least against Tennessee. Against other teams, that may not be the case.

Florio’s pick: Texans 24, Titans 17.

Browns at Washington

MDS’s take: In the preseason, this game was circled as the return of Robert Griffin III. Now there’s nothing much interesting about it, other than a good opportunity for Washington to improve to 2-2.

MDS’s pick: Washington 21, Browns 13.

Florio’s take: Left for dead at 0-2, Washington scratches and claws its way back to .500 against a Browns team that won’t be a pushover.

Florio’s pick: Washington 31, Browns 23.

Seahawks at Jets

MDS’s take: The Seahawks’ defense is great, as usual. The Jets’ offense is a mess, with Ryan Fitzpatrick looking nothing like the solid passer he was last year. Seattle should win this easily.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 28, Jets 10.

Florio’s take: The Jets had a “come to Jesus” meeting, but it’s the Seahawks who are returning to their Garden of Eden, where they won Super Bowl XLVIII.

Florio’s pick: Seahawks 23, Jets 20.

Bills at Patriots

MDS’s take: Although I was impressed with the way Rex Ryan had his guys ready to play last week against the Cardinals, I wouldn’t pick them to win at New England whether it’s Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo, Jacoby Brissett or Julian Edelman at quarterback.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 22, Bills 9.

Florio’s take: Jimmy Garoppolo, Jacoby Brissett, Julian Edelman, A.J. Derby, Drew Bledsoe, Tony Eason, Steve Grogan. It doesn’t matter. With 10 days to get ready for the last game of the #DeflateGate suspension, Bill Belichick would win even with Stephen Gostkowski at quarterback.

Florio’s pick: Patriots 24, Bills 10.

Panthers at Falcons

MDS’s take: My eyes tell me the Falcons have been a better team than the Panthers this year. But my head tells me the Panthers are the better team, even if they haven’t shown it. This feels like one of those games where I’m going to kick myself no matter which team I pick.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 21, Falcons 20.

Florio’s take: The Panthers have faced two championship-caliber defenses in three games. After Sunday, they will have faced two in four games.

Florio’s pick: Panthers 37, Falcons 28.

Raiders at Ravens

MDS’s take: The Ravens have a good defense and bad offense. The Raiders have a good offense and bad defense. Who wins? I’ll go with the team with the better special teams.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 24, Raiders 21.

Florio’s take: The Ravens keep on finding ways to win, thanks to a very good defense and a good-enough offense. It won’t be a Siragusa-on-Gannon flattening, but the Ravens will do just enough to emerge with the win.

Florio’s pick: Ravens 17, Raiders 14.

Lions at Bears

MDS’s take: The Lions have been fairly disappointing through three games, but the Bears are at a whole different level of disappointing.

MDS’s pick: Lions 28, Bears 17.

Florio’s take: This old-school black-and-blue division showdown will leave anyone who watches it needing a punch to the jaw to wake up.

Florio’s pick: Bears 16, Lions 13.

Broncos at Buccaneers

MDS’s take: That great Week One showing from Jameis Winston feels like a long time ago. The Broncos’ defense is going to give Winston another rough game.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 27, Buccaneers 14.

Florio’s take: The first overall pick in 2015 squares off against a seventh-rounder. The seventh-rounder has a far better defense. Advantage, seventh-rounder.

Florio’s pick: Broncos 28, Buccaneers 21.

Rams at Cardinals

MDS’s take: This feels almost like a must-win game for the Cardinals, who would find themselves two games back and down a tiebreaker with a loss. I think Bruce Arians will have his team ready for a big game.

MDS’s pick: Cardinals 31, Rams 10.

Florio’s take: The up-and-down Cardinals find their groove for a week, until they lose it again for another week, as the Rams get back on their 7-9 pace.

Florio’s pick: Cardinals 34, Rams 20.

Saints at Chargers

MDS’s take: The Saints’ defense remains a mess, and things won’t get any easier against a Chargers offense that has looked pretty good with Philip Rivers throwing and Melvin Gordon running.

MDS’s pick: Chargers 27, Saints 20.

Florio’s take: Drew Brees returns to San Diego for likely the last time, regardless of whether the team moves. The spirit will be willing, but the defense will continue to be weak.

Florio’s pick: Chargers 34, Saints 27.

Cowboys at 49ers

MDS’s take: That 28-0 49ers win in Week One feels like it was from some alternate universe, because in the two weeks since then the 49ers have looked like they’d struggle to beat a college team by 28 points.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 20, 49ers 10.

Florio’s take: No Romo, no Dez. No problem, for the 49ers — especially since coach Chip Kelly knows the Cowboys well after playing them six times in three years with the Eagles.

Florio’s pick: 49ers 20, Cowboys 17.

Chiefs at Steelers

MDS’s take: The Steelers took a serious beating in Philadelphia on Sunday but I don’t think they can possibly look that bad two weeks in a row. They’ll bounce back in a big way this week.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 24, Chiefs 21.

Florio’s take:  Doug Pederson figured out how to shut down the Steelers. His mentor, Andy Reid, may not be thrilled about that, since Pittsburgh now has even greater reason to figure out how to get back on the right track.

Florio’s pick: Steelers 31, Chiefs 21.

Giants at Vikings

MDS’s take: If the Vikings’ defense keeps playing the way it has through three weeks, they have a chance to be this year’s Broncos, a team that can win a Super Bowl no matter who plays quarterback. The Vikings should improve to 4-0 on Monday night.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 20, Giants 7.

Florio’s take: Last year, the Vikings developed a reputation for failing to get it done in prime time. This year, with a great defense and excellent coaching, the Vikings will get it done no matter what time of day the games start.

Florio’s pick: Vikings 27, Giants 20.

68 responses to “PFT’s Week Four picks

  1. Mike, as your remarked in your take, the Pats have had 10 days to prepare for the Bills.

    One question you may want to ask is how often have the Pats had extra days to prepare for a Bills game in the past several years . . . ?

    I am not saying that the Bills have been the better team in the past several years, but it is quite odd . . . .

  2. pwb44 says:
    Sep 29, 2016 11:35 AM
    Mike, as your remarked in your take, the Pats have had 10 days to prepare for the Bills.

    One question you may want to ask is how often have the Pats had extra days to prepare for a Bills game in the past several years . . . ?

    I am not saying that the Bills have been the better team in the past several years, but it is quite odd . . . .

    ——————————————————

    Don’t strain yourself. It evidently doesn’t matter whether BB has 10 days or 2 to prepare because either way, he’ll use the time frame to his advantage. That aside, given Rex Ryan’s extracurriculars this week, he apparently has plenty of time to burn.

  3. Re AFC North:

    I look for Baltimore to handle Oakland
    Pittsburgh to bounce back against Kansas City
    Cincinnati to beat Miami at home

    And for the REDSKINS to throttle Cleveland.

  4. I don’t like it when my team is predicted to win — I prefer to whine like a goober that my team gets no respect.

  5. Fins needed to be at home playing against a team with their 3rd string QB and a backup kicker who missed 3 FGs to get their one win. They don’t pick up their 2nd win tonight…..from a realistic Fin fan.

  6. pwb44 says:
    Sep 29, 2016 11:35 AM
    Mike, as your remarked in your take, the Pats have had 10 days to prepare for the Bills.

    One question you may want to ask is how often have the Pats had extra days to prepare for a Bills game in the past several years . . . ?

    I am not saying that the Bills have been the better team in the past several years, but it is quite odd . . . .
    ———————-
    Not only have they not been the better team the last couple years, they haven’t been the better team for the past 20 years.

  7. If the Bills get defensive calls like last week, NE is getting torched. AZ is considered a Super Bowl contender and simply got smothered trying to throw he ball against the Bills. The Bills are 3rd against the rush on defense so how exactly are the back up QB’s going to torch Buffalo ??

  8. Last year, the Vikings developed a reputation for failing to get it done in prime time.
    ______

    Actually, that reputation was forged over many seasons. Last year, they blew up the script and started turning it around. The last two games of the season were Sunday night games and the Vikes beat the Giants 49-17 and the Packers at Lambeau 20-13.

  9. I’d rethink Jets/Seahawks. 10AM eastern time zone games are always a struggle for Seattle. Expect a tight game or an upset.

  10. The fact that everyone assumes that Belichick and the Pats can beat the Bills at home with an elderly blind, lame priest at QB concerns me. I know that neither BB or the Pats are going to be overconfident or underestimate the competition, but life and fate has this way of making people look like idiots in situations like this. Even I, a Bills fan, was thinking along those lines. I’m beginning to think we’re all going to look like morons.

  11. Amazing that a team in first place in its division, having beaten your #9-ranked team and #18-ranked team, is ranked #26 in your power rankings. Amazing.

  12. Ravens might be w/o the left side of the O-line this week; Ronnie Stanley in a boot & Alex Lewis is concussed…James Hurst & Ryan Jensen are MAJOR drop offs. Hoping, wishing, praying that at least one of the two starters can go bc having a brand new side of the line is how you lose to Oakland @ home…

  13. skoobyfl says:
    Sep 29, 2016 11:57 AM

    If the Bills get defensive calls like last week, NE is getting torched. AZ is considered a Super Bowl contender and simply got smothered trying to throw he ball against the Bills. The Bills are 3rd against the rush on defense so how exactly are the back up QB’s going to torch Buffalo ??
    _____________________________________

    As a Bills fan I would like to say this in the most compassionate way possible, but did you watch the Jets game? Fitz threw for over 4oo yards. Forte had 100 yards and 3 TDs. One impressive win proceeded by 2 ugly losses does-not-a-good-team-make.

    Hate to say it but I suspect one of three things happened last week. The Cards have regressed significantly, they got caught in an east coast non-conference trap game against a desperate team, or most likely, some combination of both. The Patriots clearly still have the upper hand. The Bills have a chance, it’s possible the first 2 weeks were just growing pains, but 1-3 is quite possibly in our future. I give the Bills a 20-30% chance of pulling out a win, and it will probably hinge on whether or not one of these back-up QBs has a back-up-QB-like implosion.

    The goods news is we have a soft spot coming up in the schedule after this week.

  14. Florio-“Miami has played well enough to be undefeated”. No, they’ve played bad enough to be 0-3. If Cleveland had a decent kicker, the game would have been theirs.

  15. The Patriots are the team to beat in the AFC and the Vikings are the team to beat in the NFC. The two teams are on collision course to Houston in February.

  16. osiris33 (bandwagon since 1976) says:
    Sep 29, 2016 12:05 PM

    I’d rethink Jets/Seahawks. 10AM eastern time zone games are always a struggle for Seattle. Expect a tight game or an upset.
    _____________________________

    I agree with you. I really hope they open up and attack like they did against the ‘9ers. Hopefully Ifedi can really help keep some pressure off and allow time for the play to develop down the field.

  17. As a Bills fan I would like my team to win on Sunday. As a realist I see The Hoodie putting #Schmuckcoach and his Fat Sister back on their butts where they belong……

  18. Don’t strain yourself. It evidently doesn’t matter whether BB has 10 days or 2 to prepare because either way, he’ll use the time frame to his advantage. That aside, given Rex Ryan’s extracurriculars this week, he apparently has plenty of time to burn.

    Oh yeah that two second phone call man..he really wasted valuable game planning time, moron.

  19. Patriots 17 Bills 13 The run game will really come in handy for the Patriots in this game and I suspect Jacoby Brissett will be the quarterback. Bills make a mistake like a fumble or a pick and the Pats capitalize to escape the Bills. As much as the Patriots have beaten the Bills it usually isn’t via a blowout. My upset of the week is Chiefs over Steelers 31 to 24. The Steelers defense looks absolutely awful and the Chiefs offense is time consuming which will be just enough to pick up the win.

  20. The Bills always play well against the patsies and I think the matchup this weekend with questions at QB and Gronk not 100% favor the Bills. I expect a low scoring game and the team that makes the least mistakes will win. Just my take on it.

  21. I have a lot of faith in Belichick and his coaches to develop a game plan that addresses any contingency. And no question the Patriots will play to win. But there is no need for a “pull out all the stops” type of approach. So there’s no way he’s going to put Gronk at risk by targeting him on every second play or if Edelman is called to play quarter back, he’s going to be releasing or handing off the ball quickly. Both are much more important weapons once Brady gets back than to put them at long term injury risk in a non essential game.
    Belichick has the steel willpower to make that type of decision. Very few other coaches do.
    Sorry Ryan twins. But beating you is just not that important to the Patriots right now.

  22. There’s something funny to me how MDS says the Ravens have a bad offense and Florio says the Ravens have a good (enough) offense. Fairly wide gap in defining the same unit on the field there.

    Ravens 24
    Raiders 19

  23. “Florio’s take: This old-school black-and-blue division showdown will leave anyone who watches it needing a punch to the jaw to wake up.”

    Seriously? These two soft & pathetic defenses might make this the most exciting game this week. This might be the closest thing to playing Madden with your buddies. Heck Hoyer might look like a HOFer after this game.

  24. 3 thoughts:

    * The Rams beat the Cardinals last year in Arizona. Don’t be too quick to pick ARZ

    * Just a hunch: Giants 27 Vikes 24

    * It’s Bilichik vs. Ryan in an important AFC East game…just for fun, Bilichik might put Blount in at QB since the PATS will be up by 30 or more

  25. The Chargers have a soft head coach that will be fired after they manage to show up flat and lose this one in the 4th quarter again. They manage to make so-so teams look like Super Bowl contenders. N.O. gets a W simply because there is no pass rush and the Bolts cannot stop the run. Someone will inevitably go down in San Diego (Verett, Rivers, or my pick will be M. Gordon) and they will look like overmatched pop warner players. My Raiders will beat the Ravens by 3. And that’s all.

  26. You should try predicting how much the NFL’s TV ratings will drop each week.

    Hail to the Redskins!

  27. Well you guys have the right jobs. I’m not seeing you make any money sports betting, but you are humorous :). I won’t make money sports betting either, but I’m going Bills over Pats.

  28. How you know coach Tomlin sucks? With that offense, imagine if Belichick was the Steelers coach. Eagles would have had their wings clipped and talons extracted.

  29. bobthebillsfan says:
    Sep 29, 2016 1:03 PM
    The Bills always play well against the patsies and I think the matchup this weekend with questions at QB and Gronk not 100% favor the Bills. I expect a low scoring game and the team that makes the least mistakes will win. Just my take on it.

    ———
    If the “Bills always play well against the Patsies” then why are the Bills 3-27 against Brady and BB? Seriously man…..if Rex cannot find a way for the Bills to beat the Pats this week….he never will.

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