Sep 29 2016

NFL 2016 Week 4 Gameplan

As the month of September draws to a close, the 2016 version of these teams are starting to take on some real definition. Fading away are the memories of the past season and how we shape how good (or bad) these teams are. That being said, 28 teams have shown that they can win a game through three weeks, while five teams remain undefeated.

I took a step back from my pace to start the season, but I still stayed over .500 for the third week in a row, going 9-7 in the Week 3 picks. Let me break down the seven games I missed:

– The Cardinals still haven’t won in Buffalo since 1971, losing 33-18. The Bills offensive line allowed four sacks, but Buffalo only turned the ball over once. QB Tyrod Taylor and RB LeSean McCoy accounted for all but 22 yards of offense for the Bills when taking Taylor’s pass yards into account.

– The defending Super Bowl champions are 3-0 after the Broncos went to Cincinnati and beat the Bengals 29-17. Nothing but praise for Denver QB Trevor Siemian, who became the first player in NFL history to pass for 300 yards (312) and four TDs without an INT in his first career road start. Denver WRs Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas both went over 100 yards and scored a TD, with Sanders hitting paydirt twice. Denver TE John Phillips also received a TD pass.

– The Ravens avenged a close loss to the Jaguars last year, winning in Jacksonville 19-17. Baltimore held Jacksonville to 48 rushing yards on 23 attempts (2.3 average), and had six tackles for losses, including two each by OLBs Terrell Suggs and Za’darius Smith.

– I’m sick over what happened in Miami, with the Dolphins beating the Browns 30-24 in overtime. Three missed field goals by newly signed K Cody Parkey, including a 46-yard attempt as time expired in regulation, set up Miami RB Jay Ajayi for a game-winning 11-yard TD run in overtime. The Dolphins overcame three turnovers by QB Ryan Tannehill, who was only sacked once.

– Washington got a key division win in New York, defeating the Giants 29-27. Washington’s offensive line played a big role in the win, allowing only two sacks while Washington QB Kirk Cousins had zero turnovers in a game that saw Washington win the time of possession, holding the ball for 33:26.

– The Los Angeles Rams scored touchdowns! Five of them! They went to Tampa Bay and defeated the Buccaneers 37-32 in another game that featured strong pass protection, as Los Angeles QB Case Keenum was only sacked once and hit twice after a bad 1st quarter INT was returned for a TD by Tampa Bay ILB Kwon Alexander.

– And we have our first team of this season to blow up my season preview projections. The hometown Philadelphia Eagles have officially exceeded expectations in September following a 34-3 win over the Steelers. Now I have to get a Carson Wentz jersey! The Philadelphia rookie QB is off to an incredible start, having yet to throw an INT through three games. Wentz split the Steelers for 301 pass yards and two TDs, a 12-yard toss to WR Jordan Matthews and a 73-yard TD pass to RB Darren Sproles. Sproles lost a yard as a runner but had 128 receiving yards to lead the team.

We have bye weeks now, so that’s cool. Only the Eagles and Green Bay Packers are chilling this week. The Eagles were last 3-0 in 2014, a season that ended with a 10-6 record but no playoffs. So pump the brakes a little bit. Meanwhile, the Packers are 2-1. The last time they started a season 2-1 was 2010 – the season Green Bay won Super Bowl XLV.

The Seattle Seahawks go to New York to take on the Jets this week. The Seahawks, a former AFC team until 2002 realignment sent them back to the NFC, have not beaten the Jets on the East Coast since 1983, the season of their first postseason berth. The Seahawks forced seven Jets turnovers in 1983, and the Jets are coming off of a game in which they turned the ball over eight times – six of them being INTs by QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick and Arizona QB Carson Palmer threw four INTs each in the fourth quarter in Week 3. The last time a QB threw four fourth quarter INTs was in 2001, when New England QB Tom Brady melted down at Denver.

Miami at Cincinnati: The last time these two teams played was in 2013, also on TNF, a game that ended with an overtime safety by Miami DE Cameron Wake. Cincinnati has made the playoffs five years in a row, while the Dolphins haven’t made the playoffs since 2008, but the Bengals haven’t beaten the Dolphins since 2007. The Bengals get LB Vontaze Burfict back, which should further discourage Miami’s middling run game from getting going. The question is whether or not the Bengals get RBs Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard going in the same game. Hill broke out some last week, but Bernard has only 15 scoreless rushes this entire season; he had more than 5 rushing attempts in 14 of 16 games last season. This should be a matchup where the Bengals finally look like last year’s team.

Carolina at Atlanta: The Panthers lost only once in the regular season last year, and it was at Atlanta. Now, the Panthers have lost two games this season, and they’re looking up to the Falcons headed into this game. The absence of Carolina RB Jonathan Stewart puts more on QB Cam Newton’s plate, and he’s coming off of a game where he was sacked eight times and threw three INTs. Fortunately for Carolina, they’re getting the Falcons after Atlanta played on MNF, and Atlanta has only three sacks and 12 QB hits this season. Atlanta WR Julio Jones only caught one pass last week, but he a season-high 178 yards on the Panthers in Atlanta last year, so expect Carolina’s defense to focus on containing him and forcing QB Matt Ryan into mistakes.

Kansas City at Pittsburgh: The Chiefs haven’t won in Pittsburgh since 1986, but they did beat the Steelers last season. And for what it’s worth, former Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson just beat the Steelers last week as the new Eagles head coach. It would be helpful if Kansas City got RB Jamaal Charles in the lineup for the first time this season, though RB Spencer Ware has handled more and more of the work in his stead. Pittsburgh will be getting RB Le’Veon Bell in the lineup for the first time after serving a suspension to start this season, and he’s a safe bet for 20 touches 1 Kansas City S Eric Berry had an INT against the Steelers last season, and the Chiefs are coming off of a game in which they had no sacks but forced eight turnovers, so getting pressure on Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger will be their key to a big road win.

New York Giants at Minnesota: For some reason, these teams only play in primetime. The Giants went to Minnesota without suspended WR Odell Beckham Jr., and they got smashed 49-17. The Giants have a better lineup this year with Beckham, WRs rookie Sterling Shepard and Victor Cruz, and $200 million worth of defensive upgrades. Meanwhile, Minnesota is down QB Teddy Bridgewater, RB Adrian Peterson, and OT Matt Kalil. But Minnesota QB Sam Bradford hit the Giants for two wins as Philadelphia’s QB last season, 2 RB Jerick McKinnon had 89 rush yards and 2 TDs vs. the Giants last season, and Minnesota’s defense is coming off back-to-back weeks of destroying former MVP QBs Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton. 3

The Panthers were 14-0 when they entered the Georgia Dome last season - but including playoffs, they're only 4-4 since. They didn't avenge their loss in Super Bowl 50, so can they avenge their Week 16 loss at Atlanta? (PC: AP Photos)

The Panthers were 14-0 when they entered the Georgia Dome last season – but including playoffs, they’re only 4-4 since. They didn’t avenge their loss in Super Bowl 50, so can they avenge their Week 16 loss at Atlanta? (PC: AP Photos)

Show 3 footnotes

  1. My favorite note about Le’Veon Bell: he has only fumbled once in 799 career touches, the most touches with no more than one fumble by any player since 1944.
  2. averaging 300.0 pass yards in the process
  3. Not to mention, New York QB Eli Manning has thrown 5 TD and 14 INTs while losing five of eight career games to the Vikings.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.