Every week....starting now! I'll be giving you the rundown of all the things going on in the NFL for the week. Come here every Friday for the Throwdown.
About Last Night
The good Kevin Kolb giveth, and the bad Kevin Kolb taketh away. The Arizona Cardinals lost their undefeated record last night, going down to the St. Louis Rams. The Rams weren't particularly effective on offense, with quarterback Sam Bradford missing 12 straight passes at one point, and finishing only 7/21 on the night.
The Cardinals were even worse getting into the endzone though, as they managed only 3 points and were stopped multiple times in the 4th quarter after getting into the redzone and threatening to cut the lead.
The Rams improved to 3-2 on the season, and are an impressive 3-0 at home, while the Cardinals fall to 4-1.
Game Of The Week
Denver Broncos(2-2) vs. New England Patriots(2-2)
This isn't so much a great game as it's a soft week for games. What's left of Peyton Manning's arm is going to New England to face a suddenly rejuvenated now that the regular referees are back Patriots team, led by Tom Brady.
The Broncos were supposed to have one of the best defenses in football, but have been lit up thus far by teams with good passing games. The Patriots were supposed to have a terrible defense and have spectacularly lived up to the billing.
Both quarterbacks tend to show up in a big way when they play eachother. The problem is, Peyton Manning's arm isn't as strong as, say, your average Plainfield Junior Cat's anymore. Tom Brady seems to take pleasure in running up the score on rivals whenever possible. Both quarterbacks will probably throw at least 45 times, and the scoreboard should reflect that.
The Betting Line: The Broncos are getting 6.5 points on the road and while it might stay that close, the line is right at a point where it would be tough to bed against the Patriots, because, after their kicker missed several field goals last week, they might be more interested in simply running up the score.
My Pick: Patriots 38 Broncos 27
The Rest Of The Games
Miami Dolphins(1-3) at Cincinnati Bengals(3-1)
Last year, everyone was summing up the quarterback draft class as Cam Newton as the best, then everyone else falling in line behind him. Spoiler Alert: Andy Dalton may end up being the best quarterback of the bunch.
Dalton is 5th in the NFL in passer rating while throwing a 2:1 TD to interception ratio. He is completing 67.5% of his passes, better than everyone not named Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, or Robert Griffin III. He isn't stuggling as a sophmore in the league and has shown team leadership, unlike Newton's weekly pouting act.
The Betting Line: The Bengals are only -3.5 points at home. As long as their offensive line doesn't get Dalton killed, they should cruise this week.
My Pick: Bengals 24 Dolphins 10
Green Bay Packers(2-2) at Indianapolis Colts(1-2)
As we all know, Green Bay should be 3-1 right now. That said, they aren't, and they are a dropped Darren Sproles pass away from potentially being 1-3 going into the week.
Indianapolis has been fluky, but downright viable to an extent. Their defense probably isn't terrible coming off the bye week. Plus, they have had two weeks to prepare for the Packers, who are coming off a hard fought win over the Saints last week.
That said, the game is indoors and Green Bay is not going to lose this game. Jordy Nelson all the other speed receivers that Green Bay has been hoarding should have a huge game this week. The game might be close, but not THAT close.
The Betting Line: The Colts are +7 at home. The Packers are ready for a blowout game. I'll take the boys in green and yellow.
My Pick: Packers 45 Colts 24
Baltimore Ravens(3-1) at Kansas City Chiefs(1-3)
This game has a chance to get very, very ugly in a hurry. Do you know who Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel's backup is? You might want to get to know Brady Quinn in a hurry, because the Ravens very well might send Cassel off the field on a stretcher.
Or he'll just get benched for being bad. Because he's really really bad. This game could be wrapped up in the 3rd quarter, as a friendly warning to everyone starting Joe Flacco this week.
The Betting Line: The Ravens are -6.5 points tonite, which sounds about right only because they are on the road. If the game was played in Baltimore, the spread would be closer to 11 ponts. The Ravens are that good. The Chiefs are that bad.
My Pick: Ravens 30 Chiefs 7
Cleveland Browns(0-4) at New York Giants(2-2)
I don't know about you, but dear god, I think this game is going to be unwatchable. The Browns aren't good but they stay in the game just long enough for their quarterback, Brandon Wheeden, to screw things up for them.
The Giants are phoning it in til November, as they always do. Tom Coughlin gets red faced, then gets back into the locker room and takes a nap. The Giants have proven how meaningless the first two months of the football season are. Hey, lets try to win a couple and not get injured. We'll see ya in week 9.
The Betting Line: The Giants are -8.5 points at home. The Giants seem to be really bad about showing up to home games. Cleveland somehow keeps things close against good teams. Can't. Help. It. I. Like. The.....Browns...
UPSET OF THE WEEK
My Pick: Browns 20 Giants 17
Philadelphia Eagles(3-1) at Pittsburgh Steelers(1-2)
The Eagles are not a very good 3-1 team. The Steelers are not a bad 1-2 team. The Battle of the Keystone State might turn into a "who can hurt the other team the most" contest, with the Steelers looking extra ready after a bye week and with the return of James Harrison and Troy Polamolu.
This is gonna be a battle of quarterbacks who try too hard not to get tackled and sustain too many injuries because of it, pitting Michael Vick and Ben Roethlisberger. There will be at least 8 sacks in the game and one person's season will end in this game. Dun Dun Dunnnnnnnn
The Betting Line: The Eagles are +3.5 points on the road, which leads me to believe Vegas thinks as much of the Eagles' start as I do.
My Pick: Steelers 24 Eagles 17
Atlanta Falcons(4-0) at Washington Redskins(2-2)
I'd like to personally thank Matt Ryan for making it a point to not throw to Julio Jones as often as possible last week. Seriously, well done. Reeeaaaaalllllyyyyy helped my fantasy team there, chief.
The Falcons probably should have lost to the Panthers last week, if not for Ron Rivera proving himself to be completely overmatched at coaching, and Roddy White proving to be super human. Since one undefeated team went down this week, lets go for another!
The Betting Line: Atlanta is -3 on the road, which is funny, because I can see the Falcons losing straight up this week. Robert Griffin III looks more comfortable every week and isn't being sacrificed to the football god of sacks quite as badly as he was over the first couple weeks of the season.
My Pick: Redskins 28 Falcons 27
Chicago Bears(3-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars(1-3)
As long as the Bears actually show up to the game, they should be fine. Maurice Jones Drew is one to watch, but even if he does get his running game going, the Bears should have no problem shutting down future backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert.
Just a programming note, Bears fans: The game is at 3 p.m. this week, so sleep in, do some yard work, sleep in, talk to loved ones, sleep in...
The Betting Line: The Bears are -5 this week on the road. But unless you think that Jones-Drew is going to run for 3 touchdowns, or the Jaguars defense will mysteriously show up this week(they have 2 sacks all season) then the Bears are an easy choice.
My Pick: Bears 30 Jaguars 7
Seattle Seahawks(2-2) at Carolina Panthers(1-3)
Ughh. This game won't be fun to watch. Here are the things i'd recommend doing with your time instead of wasting 3 hours of your life on it: Learn to Yo-Yo, take a nap, read an issue of US Weekly 9 times, watch YouTube videos of cat-acrobatics, drink, drink heavily, read a biography on one of our less liked presidents(looking in your direction, William Henry Harrison).
The Betting Line: The Panthers are -3 at home, so, ya know, why not.
My Pick: Panthers some number Seahawks a lesser number
Tennessee Titans(1-3) at Minnesota Vikings(3-1)
So the Vikings are good. Not many people saw that one coming. They already have beaten the 49ers, the presumptive favorite to make it to the NFC Championship game. The Vikings have a really easy schedule until mid-November. In their final six weeks, they get the Bears and Packers twice apiece. So they need games like this to pad their win/loss record.
The Titans are bad, but in an entertaining way. You never know what trick play they might pull out, and at any given point, Chris Johnson could just stop and have a kicking, crying temper tantrum right out in the middle of the field.
The Betting Line: The Vikings are -6 at home against a bad team that likes to put up points but utimately poop the bed. The Vikings seem like that slow and steady team that you don't really pay attention to, and then all of a sudden they are 8-2.
My Pick: Vikings 24 Titans 23
Buffalo Bills(2-2) at San Francisco 49ers(3-1)
Mario Williams, i'd like you to meet Albert Haynesworth. Albert, this is Mario. You two should get to know each other, talk, laugh, and have money fights with all the dollars you guys got in free agent deals before completely playing your way out of jobs.
Ryan Fitzpatrick will pull off his normal Ryan Fitpatricky routine, which is to throw 4 touchdown passes but to also throw four interceptions. At least one interception will be thrown for a touchdown. Also, Buffalo's offensive line ran out of running backs to get injured, so now they are recycling through Fred Jackson again, so there's that.
The Betting Line: The Bills are +10 which makes them off to be a bad team, which they are. But they are also a bad team that likes to throw and the 49ers aren't exactly the Kurt Warner era Rams out there. Do the 49ers really get out to a big enough lead that Fitzpatrick can't throw enough in garbage time to get under 10 points?
My Pick: 49ers 31 Bills 25
San Diego Chargers(3-1) at New Orleans Saints(0-4)
The San Diego Chargers are really do for a no-show. The Saints are going to be fired up because suspended coach Sean Payton and suspended General Manager Mickey Loomis(no, not the guy from the Monkees) will be allowed to attend the game as Drew Brees attempts to break Johnny Unitas' record for most consecutive games with a touchdown pass, a record that has stood since black and white television and Johnny Unitas' haircut still being a thing.
The Betting Line: The Saints are -4 even though they haven't bothered to win a game yet this year, and seem to be actively trying to tank their season to get the number one pick in the draft, kind of like how the San Antonio Spurs did years ago when David Robinson was injured and they said screw it, tanked the year and ended up getting to draft Tim Duncan.
THAT SAID, I still think the Saints are going to show up to this game in a big way. Their offense will, at least, because the defense is not only the worst in football, it might be the worst defense any football team has put out in many, many years.
My Pick: Saints 52 Chargers 45
Houston Texans(4-0) at New York Jets(2-2)
This is an exciting game. No, not because the outcome is in question. The Texans are the best team in football. It's going to be exciting because at home, on a Monday night, with an unruly fan base, the Jets may be forced to bring in Tim Tebow if Mark Sanchez struggles again.
This will be like Christmas for me. The Jets players love Mark Sanchez and have said that they don't want Tim Tebow as the regular quarterback. If Tebow comes in, the offensive line will turn into a turnstile and Tebow will be crushed. Needless to say, i'm not a Tim Tebow fan.
The Betting Line: The Texans are -9 on the road, which says a lot about how good the Texans are. It also says a lot about how bad the Jets are. Don't let that gaudy 2-2 record fool you. They should be 0-4.
My Pick: Texans 38 Jets 10
Fantasy Football alert, going into week 5, here are my top three rising players, and my top 3 falling players:
Players on the Rise:
1: Brian Hartline, WR, Dolphins. If you are in a league where he is somehow still available, grab him. Now. Also, if you are in that league, you need new friends who actually pay attention. That guy has been a ghost on most fantasy waiver wires for a while now. He's leading the league in most receving stats
2: Brandon Bolden, RB, Patriots: The Patriots just might be screwing with us, because Bill Belichek enjoys doing that oh-so-much. But if he starts to get consistent carries on a week to week basis, he could be a guy who averages 80 rushing yards and 35 receiving yards, along with a touchdown, on a week to week basis.
3: Leonard Hankerson, WR, Redskins: Nobody else seems to be able to stay healthy in the Washington Wide Receiving corps. He's going to be a boom or bust player, but Robert Griffin III likes to throw the deep ball to him.
Players on the Fall
1: Arizona Defense: Yeah, they are okay, but they aren't the "holy cow, they are carrying the team" defense that they were in the first two weeks of the season.
2: Malcom Floyd, WR, Chargers: WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU? You were supposed to become the number one receiver for the Chargers after Vincent Jackson left for the Bucaneers. Instead, you've essentially no-showed the entire season, thus far.
3: Everyone on the Lions not named Calvin Johnson: Really guys, thats the best you can do? Bully to everyone who pickedup Mike LeShoure after week 3 only to see him do absolutely nothing in week 4.
Every week, I give the top 5 teams, and the 5 worst teams in the league, heading into the week's action.
1: Houston Texans-They play offense well. They play defense well. They don't do things that are so traditionally Texanish. They haven't lost an ounce of sleep since Mario Williams took the money train to Buffalo.
2: Baltimore Ravens-The Ravens have been winning with offense this year, as opposed to their customary way of winning: Ray Lewis terrifying the other team into submission.
3: Atlanta Falcons-Matt Ryan is the MVP of the league so far this season. Roddy White is just out there doing Roddy White stuff, and the whole DUI thing hasn't slowed down Michael Turner as much as you'd think.
4: San Francisco 49ers-The loss to the Vikings notwithstanding, this team is beating up on opponents. After last weeks game agaist the Jets, cornerback Carlos Rodgers said that the other team didn't want to be on the field. Who would? Patrick Willis and Navarro Bowman are the best linebacking duo in the NFL.
5: Minnesota Vikings-They aren't blowing teams out, but they are winning, and they are winning in all facets of the game. The game changer, this year has been the added use of Percy Harvin in different elements of the offense.
The Bottom 5
28: Detroit Lions-Yea, who would have thought that when, during the offseason, seemingly half of their team was arrested while the team did nothing to fix their secondary, that their success of last year might not be sustainable?
29: New York Jets-This team is bad, and not just bad, obnoxiously bad. They aren't fun to watch, they aren't fun to listen to during press conferences. They are bad on a different level than the other teams.
30: Carolina Panthers-I feel like, a week and a half ago, when wide receiver Steve Smith got in the face of Cam Newton, he didn't go far enough. He should have slapped Newton around on national TV for acting like a petulant child. Kind of a "this is my team, and you are gonna act however I act. Got it?" kind of way.
31: Kansas City Chiefs-I can't remember the last time a team was as good at one aspect of their game(running) and then so atrocious at every other aspect. They drafted Dontari Pope in the first round of the draft this year to be their new nose tackle. So far, the only thing he has had a nose for was Golden Corral's Buffet.
32: Cleveland Browns-I feel bad for the city of Cleveland. Their quarterback is nightmare, their running back is a china doll, their team leader was nearly decapitated last week, and they still have to live in Ohio. Look at it on the bright side, Clevelanders, GQ Magazine named you guys the "Best Old School Beer Drinking City in America." So there's that...
Enjoy the games this week.