Week 4 is highlighted by classic divisional match-ups between winning teams with DET v MIN, PIT v BAL, OAK v DEN. Who do our insiders have winning?
Our SQ Insiders discuss Week 3 results and what they’re looking forward to in the NFL this Week. Plus, get their picks for all 16 games across the league this week.
Adrian: We were pretty damn bad last week gentlemen, pretty damn bad. But I’ll take it, because that was one of the most exciting weeks of NFL football that I can remember. From the Broncos losing because Von Miller went retro with the Sike, to the Falcons winning, losing, and winning a game in a matter of minutes, to the Bears running wild in overtime but not going the extra foot at the end of the first half, to some no-name kicker getting cheesesteaks for life, it was one hell of a week. Week 4 can’t possibly live up to this past slate of games, but what do you guys have your eyes on?
Mitch: Well I hate to agree with you on that, but you’re right Adrian, we stunk last week. Then again, I don’t really know who could’ve honestly predicted the Skins, Jags, Bears, and Jets to win. This week, I’ve got my eye on a couple division rivalries in Detroit at Minnesota and Pittsburgh at Baltimore. It’ll be interesting to see who comes out as the biggest threat to Aaron Rodgers and the Pack in the NFC North. Case Keenum looked impressive last week, but if Sam Bradford isn’t back, can Keenum really lead this team to back-to-back wins? In the Ravens vs. Steelers matchup, I’m interested to see the high-powered offense of Ben, Brown, and Bell take on the lockdown, takeaway-machine Ravens D. Both looked mightily unimpressive last week, but they both still pose serious threats in the AFC playoff picture.
Nick: Those matchups should be a lot of fun to watch. I’m particularly interested in Oakland at Denver and New York at Tampa Bay. The Raiders and Broncos looked fantastic in Week 2, only to suffer road losses in Week 3 that weren’t exactly close. Both teams will be looking to bounce back, which should make for a good watch come Sunday. Derek Carr struggled in divisional games last season, so this week is his chance to prove he can rise to the occasion in big games.
I’m interested in the Giants and Buccaneers showdown for a couple reasons. Like many teams so far this year, the Bucs have looked outstanding one week and awful the next. This meeting will provide clarity on their true identity and whether they are a legit playoff contender or not. The reason for my interest in the Giants is a bit simpler. Another loss and their season is as good as done. Can they grab a road win with their backs against the wall or is it time to talk about Ben McAdoo’s replacement? We’ll see if desperation can save their ship from sinking.
|Chicago at Green Bay|
|New Orleans at Miami|
|Buffalo at Atlanta|
|Cincinnati at Cleveland|
|LA Rams at Dallas|
|Detroit at Minnesota|
|Carolina at New England|
|Jacksonville at NY Jets|
|Pittsburgh at Baltimore|
|Tennessee at Houston|
|San Francisco at Arizona|
|Philadelphia at LA Chargers|
|NY Giants at Tampa Bay|
|Oakland at Denver|
|Indianapolis at Seattle|
|Washington at Kansas City|
Why They’ll Win
Why They May Not
|Chicago at Green Bay||13-25||Green Bay could very well be 0-3 to start the season given that their two victories were by a combined 11 points, but they have this guy called Aaron Rodgers who maybe you’ve heard of. Rodgers is simply the most talented thrower of the football that I’ve ever seen. He gives the Packers the edge in this and nearly all contests.||In the words of Merril Hoge, the Bears have themselves a couple of factor backs. Lead runner Jordan Howard has 240 combined rushing and receiving yards already through three weeks and his backup Tarik Cohen has 280. The Packers are only 21st against the run and could be in for a tough day against these two.|
|New Orleans at Miami||25-26||The Dolphins have talent on offense, which has been a common theme of the teams New Orleans has struggled against. The Saints gave up 29 points to the Vikings and 36 to the Patriots. They will struggle to contain the likes of Jay Cutler, Jay Ajayi, Devante Parker, and Jarvis Landry.||Miami just lost to the Jets. By 14. And were down 20-0 for more than some time. Miami has the talent to win and is coming off a wild card berth, but if their offense sputters for a second straight game, the Saints will make them pay.|
|Buffalo at Atlanta||20-31||Having ground out wins over tough opponents on the road, the Atlanta Falcons return home where they always seem to play a lot better. A team already ranked fourth in total offense will have its crippling speed appear even faster on the turf of Mercedes-Benz Stadium.||Buffalo surprised folks with a win over a strong Denver team anchored by a ruthless defense. Currently ranked eighth in total defense, this team has a chance to slow the Falcons down enough for a few timely plays by Lesean McCoy and Tyrod Taylor to be the difference.|
|Cincinnati at Cleveland||19-18||Although winless, Cincinnati held a double digit lead, on the road, late, against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Dalton seems to have bounced back to playing like an average quarterback (what praise) and if they can build on that momentum, they can beat a Browns team which may be the worst in the league.||Cleveland has yet to win, but each of their games has at least been competitive at some point, which is more than you can say about the Bengals. They also are playing at home, and in a pick ‘em game like this, that three point home team advantage is huge.|
|LA Rams at Dallas||21-30||The Cowboys seemed to have righted the ship with a tough, road win against the Cardinals on MNF. Although they haven’t dominated to the level of last season, their defense has looked better than advertised.||Dallas won last year by mauling teams upfront and running the ball down their throats. They finished second in rushing yards but are only 22nd so far this year. If Dallas struggles to run the football, then the suddenly high-powered Rams offense will have more opportunities to stay on the field and do damage.|
|Detroit at Minnesota||24-21||Simply put, Matthew Stafford is off to the best start of his career. Meanwhile, the Vikings still have Case Keenum at quarterback as of now, and Minnesota’s defense has underperformed, allowing the 11th-most yards with only three takeaways.||As much hate as Case Keenum gets, he looked quite impressive against the Bucs last week, throwing for 369 yards and three touchdowns. If he can play just as well, the Vikings will take this matchup.|
|Carolina at New England||13-30||New England is nearly unstoppable at home and Tom Brady has eight passing TDs over the last two weeks. If Carolina can’t compete with New Orleans in their own stadium, they can’t reasonably expect to beat the Pats on the road.||The Panthers allowed just six total points over the season’s first two weeks. If the defense can get back on track and slow down Tom Brady, the Panthers may have a shot. After all, Houston was seconds away from defeating the Pats in Gillette Stadium this past week.|
|Jacksonville at NY Jets||22-14||Jacksonville enters Week 4 with the best pass defense in the league. The secondary is led by Jalen Ramsey, who may be the NFL’s best CB in just his second season. The Jets won’t have much of an answer on offense and are unlikely to put up enough points to hang around.||Although Blake Bortles looked outstanding in Week 3, it’s clear his performance was an outlier. If he doesn’t throw multiple interceptions like he’s known to do, the Jets could pull off an upset like they did against Miami last week.|
|Pittsburgh at Baltimore||19-17||The Ravens just allowed Blake Bortles and the Jags’ “weapons” to pick them apart for 44 points. Even at home, the Ravens will have a hard time slowing down the Steelers’ array of offensive weapons.||Baltimore allowed just 10 points through Week 2. If the defense can get back to their pre-London form, the team has a real chance of taking down Pittsburgh in a rivalry that always produces close, exciting games.|
|Tennessee at Houston||21-15||The Titans’ offense has looked potent behind Marcus Mariota and DeMarco Murray, while Houston’s defense has not looked nearly as stout as last year.||While the Texans looked ugly in Weeks 1 and 2, they competed with and almost beat the Patriots if not for Tom Brady’s magic. If Week 3 is any sign, the Texans are definitely improving.|
|San Francisco at Arizona||23-28||Losing David Johnson will have Cardinals fans wondering what 2017 could have been, but Arizona still boasts a talented defense with Tyrann Mathieu, Patrick Peterson, Karlos Dansby, and Chandler Jones. Comparatively, they have the talent to shut San Francisco down.||Despite remaining winless through three games, the 49ers have put up tough fights against the Seahawks and the Rams the past two weeks. As one of five remaining winless teams, San Francisco will fight hard for their first win in Arizona.|
|Philadelphia at LA Chargers||24-25||Though the Chargers are 0-3, they have had tough matchups against the Broncos, Dolphins, and Chiefs, who were all playoff teams a year ago. When all cylinders are firing, this team has a potent offense behind Philip Rivers and Melvin Gordon.||The Eagles have impressed so far, with their only loss coming to the 3-0 Chiefs. Carson Wentz is improving, and if this defense plays well, Philadelphia could improve to 3-1.|
|NY Giants at Tampa Bay||19-26||The Buccaneers looked like a completely different team on the road in Week 2. Luckily, they’ll be back at home against the winless Giants, and have plenty of talent in their front seven to wreak havoc on New York’s putrid offensive line and Eli Manning, who has already been sacked eight times this season.||The Giants have their backs against the wall and know another loss could close the door on their playoff hopes. Must-win games rarely come so early, but the Giants are facing one now and could put enough heat on Jameis Winston to force him into costly mistakes.|
|Oakland at Denver||22-24||Despite an ugly game in Washington on Sunday night, the Raiders are still one of the most talented teams on both offense and defense. Derek Carr will look to bounce back from the worst game of his career in Denver.||The Broncos’ dismantling of the Cowboys in Week 2 showed the world they’re still a premier team in this league. After Washington’s defense picked apart Derek Carr and his offensive line, who’s to say Denver’s lockdown D can’t produce at least the same results?|
|Indianapolis at Seattle||12-33||Seattle’s defense had an uncharacteristic Week 3, but should have no problem with Jacoby Brissett and the Colts’ offense. Offensively, the Seahawks are coming together after Russell Wilson had a career-high in passing yards last week with 373. The Colts’ secondary is banged up, and wasn’t that talented to begin with, providing a dream matchup for Wilson and company.||Seattle’s offensive line still has many issues, and could revert back to how it looked in the season’s first two weeks. If the Colts can get to Wilson and force some turnovers like they did last week against Cleveland, they have a fighting chance in this matchup.|
|Washington at Kansas City||20-30||The Chiefs’ offense is currently third in the league, largely due to rookie sensation Kareem Hunt, who leads the NFL in rushing by a wide margin. Until anyone can slow him down, the Chiefs will continue to rack up wins.||Washington looked outstanding in Week 3, as Kirk Cousins got back on track with 365 yards through the air. Going into Arrowhead is never an easy task, but if Washington’s pass offense and pass rush can replicate what they did last week, the Redskins can give the Chiefs a run for their money.|
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