Last Week: 8-8 Season Record: 14-18
NFL picks have been hard as Hell this year. So many upsets that it makes me look like I don’t know shit about football. Kind of makes me tear up a little bit. But I digress. I picked the Patriots for Thursday Night Football, however I anticipated a shootout. Still counting it in the win column (lord knows I need it). On to the picks.
Buffalo Bills (3-1) vs Cincinnati Bengals (1-3)
How the Hell are the Bills 3-1?? It’s one thing to beat the Jets, but the Falcons and Broncos? Rookie head coach Sean McDermott has inspired life into this defense as they have yet to allow a 20 point game on the season. Rookie corner Tre’Davious White (whom they traded down 17 spots to take) has had a seamless transition from LSU to the pros. He looks to lead the stopping forces against a Bengals team that’s coming off its first victory of the season, a 31-7 thrashing of in-state rival Cleveland. The offense finally looks like a real NFL unit and the defense has been as good as ever. I think this one ends up being a low scoring game and I’m going to have Buffalo getting to 4-1.
Projected Score: Bills 23 Bengals 17
New York Jets (2-2) vs Cleveland Browns (0-4)
So much for tanking, I guess. The Jets are coming off back-to-back victories over the Dolphins and Jaguars in OT and their defense has been playing really well since getting stomped by Oakland. They face a Browns team that still appears to be a mess, but a less filthy mess at that. Top overall pick Myles Garrett is set to make his professional debut after dealing with a high ankle sprain since the preseason. I think he has a big game and inspires life in this Browns team that gets their first win of the season.
Projected Score: Browns 20 Jets 10
Carolina Panthers (3-1) vs Detroit Lions (3-1)
Carolina’s offense finally broke out against the Patriots last week, as Cam Newton was 22-29 for 316 yards and 3 TDs. They are currently dealing with the drama about some comments Cam made and it’s a bad time to have anything else on your mind when going up against this Lions team with as physical a defense as anyone in football. They’ve shut down the Cardinals, Giants, and Vikings offenses and were able to cause some chaos against a very good Falcons offense in their one loss on the year. I have Detroit winning this one, but Carolina makes it interesting late.
Projected Score: Lions 24 Panthers 20
San Francisco 49ers (0-4) vs Indianapolis Colts (1-3)
The 49ers have yet to really get anything going this season aside from a 39-point outburst against the Rams. They came extremely close to beating the Cardinals in OT last week and they look to ride that momentum into Indianapolis to take on a Colts team that held its own in Seattle for about 2 and a half quarters. They are still without Andrew Luck and while Jacoby Brissett has been serviceable, the Colts need their signal-caller back if they’re going to have any hope of salvaging this season. I think San Francisco finally gets over the hump and gets their first win.
Projected Score: 49ers 28 Colts 17
Tennessee Titans (2-2) vs Miami Dolphins (1-2)
Both of these teams are coming off of really bad losses. The Titans got their bell rung against the Texans 57-14 in Deshaun Watson’s coming out party while the Dolphins return from London having gotten shut out by the Saints. Marcus Mariota may not be able to go in this one after injuring his hamstring in the loss to Houston. He’ll be a gametime decision. The Dolphins haven’t scored a point with time on the clock since Week 2 against the Chargers. Jay Cutler has been poor for the Fish and it begs the question of whether the Dolphins should go with Matt Moore. I think the Titans win this game in a blowout if Mariota plays or a low-scoring affair if Matt Cassel has to start.
Projected Score: Titans 27 Dolphins 7
Los Angeles Chargers (0-4) vs New York Giants (0-4)
Who the Hell is scheduling all of these matchups between weak teams? This season has been a disaster for the Chargers as not only have they not won a game yet, but nobody is showing up to see them lose. They’ve been unable to sell out the league’s smallest stadium and there are even talks of whether or not the league should send the team back to San Diego. There is a bright side for the Chargers: if you lost, but nobody is around to see you lose, did it really happen? The Giants have begun to show a pulse in these last couple of weeks, as they’ve lost on last second field goals to the Eagles and Buccaneers (yes, the Buccaneers actually hit a field goal). They face a Chargers team that just wants this year to be over with and I think this is when the G-Men finally get that first win, though I’ve picked them each of the last two weeks and they’ve let me down each time. So I’m still picking the Giants, but the Chargers will probably win just to spite me.
Projected Score: Giants 35 Chargers 21
Arizona Cardinals (2-2) vs Philadelphia Eagles (3-1)
Arizona is coming off an OT win over the 49ers and are somehow 2-2 despite all the problems they’ve had offensively. They face a challenging Eagles defense that has made life Hell for opposing offenses, allowing the seventh fewest points per game and the third lowest total yardage allowed. Their offense has been solid as well. Tight end Zach Ertz is having a breakout year while Carson Wentz continues to grow as a QB. Both Cardinals losses have come against good teams and their two wins have come against bad teams. The Eagles are a good team. The Cardinals will lose.
Projected Score: Eagles 27 Cardinals 10
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2) vs Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1)
I have literally no effing clue of what to make of the Jaguars. Their games have gone as follows: murder the Texans, get crushed by the Titans, embarrass the Ravens, suck against the Jets. By that logic, we should assume that this will be a good week for the Jaguars, as their performance has been good-bad-good-bad. But they face a Steelers team that shut down the Ravens almost as well as Jacksonville did and their one loss was a fluky OT blunder against the Bears. The Steelers defense has been solid and will look to stop an inconsistent Jaguars offense. I think this game comes down to the wire, but the Steelers outlast the Jags.
Projected Score: Steelers 31 Jaguars 28
Seattle Seahawks (2-2) vs Los Angeles Rams (3-1)
The Seahawks are coming off a win over the Colts where they were really sluggish in the first half but woke up in the second half and stomped on their throats. Chris Carson has been a revelation for this Seahawks team in dire need of a runningback. They still have a LOT of issues on the offensive line, but the offense is starting to show some life. The Rams have been a lot of fun this season and Sean McVay has Jared Goff looking like Aaron Rodgers. This Wade Phillips defense has been flying around the ball and they caused a lot of problems for a good Cowboys team in Jerry World. I think the Rams take this game and make a statement to the rest of the league that they’ve arrived.
Projected Score: Rams 35 Seahawks 20
Baltimore Ravens (2-2) vs Oakland Raiders (2-2)
Both teams are riding 2-game losing streaks where they have gotten nothing to work. Something has to give. The Ravens offense has been putrid since their laughable performance in London while the Raiders, who had been scuffling, will lose star quarterback Derek Carr to a back injury for an unknown period of time, however he surprisingly practiced this week. It’s going to be EJ Manuel at QB for the Raiders and I think that’s all Baltimore needs to get back on track.
Projected Score: Ravens 23 Raiders 14
Green Bay Packers (3-1) vs Dallas Cowboys (2-2)
This is probably going to be the best game of the week. These teams have played instant classic playoff games in two of the last three seasons and they have both provided some exciting football on the year. The Packers offense has been inconsistent but the defense has been impressive with the exception of Week 2 against Atlanta. Meanwhile, Dallas has been really up-and-down this season. They put on a good showing against the Giants and Cardinals in prime time games, but they’ve struggled mightily when the game has been during the afternoon. This game is at 4:25 this week and I think the Packers will take a fun one.
Projected Score: Packers 38 Cowboys 31
Kansas City Chiefs (4-0) vs Houston Texans (2-2)
The Chiefs have been the best team in football through the first quarter of the season and they are the lone unbeaten team in the NFL. Alex Smith has come back down to Earth a bit but Kareem Hunt continues to be a maniac, leading the NFL in rushing by 140 yards. Their defense has also been good despite losing team leader Eric Berry for the season in Week 1. They face a Texans team whose offense finally has an identity under Deshaun Watson, who seems to get better every week. This will be a close game, but I think Kansas City pulls it out and gets to 5-0.
Projected Score: Chiefs 28 Texans 23
Minnesota Vikings (2-2) vs Chicago Bears (1-3)
The Vikings are still without Sam Bradford however that may not be for much longer, as he reportedly feels “much better” on his injured leg. The defense has been impressive all season while the offense has been inconsistent, though losing stud rookie Dalvin Cook for the season to a torn ACL is going to hurt. The Mitchell Trubisky era has begun in Chicago as the Bears benched Mike Glennon in favor of the second overall pick in the draft. Trubisky had a reallly impressive preseason and Glennon has struggled this season, especially in last Thursday’s game against the Packers. The Bears’ offense will be a little neutered in starting the rookie and I think the Vikings defense takes over this game.
Projected Score: Vikings 21 Bears 7
Teams on Bye: Washington Redskins, Denver Broncos, New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons
Those are my picks for this week, hopefully I can get a winning record for the first time all season. Do you like my picks? Do you think they’re the worst thing since Joe Flacco’s London QBR? Let me know in the comments below or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter @jimwyman10.