Another week, another 1-2 performance. I will be turning things around this week. The Cardinals were myCan’t Miss Pickand I should’ve listened to my week one self. I said I didn’t trust this offense and Carson Palmer. Looks like I was right. Not only did this team make my weekly selection wrong, they knocked me out of my suicide pool. They’re now in the dog house for the year and I will never forgive them. Regardless of Arizona, it’s time to look back, then forward.
Biggest Takeaway: We’re a long way from the NFC Championship; the Cardinals/Panthers saga
In 2015, the Panthers beat the Cardinals in the NFC Championship game. They are a long way from repeating last year’s success. Both teams have looked dismal this season, finding their early season records at 1-3. Carson Palmer is ruled out for week five and Cam Newton is questionable. Both QBs have been hit a lot this season and we’re only through four NFL weeks.
Before the season started, I said the Cardinals wouldn’t win the division. I will be sticking by that statement. I did pick the Panthers to repeat as NFC South champs and make their way back to the NFC championship game, then the Super Bowl. I believe the Panthers will turn it around, make the playoffs, and be a threat in the NFC this year, but they have work to do. The O-line needs to protect Cam and the defense better hope that letting Josh Norman go wasn’t a mistake.
Best Week 4 Win: Oakland Raiders
My lonely correct upset pick from week four is the Raiders over the Ravens. The AFC West is shaping up to be one hell of a conference. Derek Carr is proving to be a much better QB than his brother David, who was the first person to man the helm when the Texans joined the NFL. This was a team building win for the Raiders. Their defense again played much better this week. They held the undefeated Ravens in check until about the fourth quarter, which is the quarter the Ravens have thrived in all season. Derek Carr threw four TD passes, three of them to Michael Crabtree. Carr threw a beautiful ball to Crabtree with just over 2 minutes in the game to go up by one, which ended up being the difference. Great character, comeback, and road win for a young, rejuvenated Oakland franchise. I can’t wait for the first match-up against the Broncos.
Worst Week 4 Loss: San Diego Chargers
San Diego could easily be a 4-0 football team. They lost a heart breaker in Week 1 after blowing a 17 point 4th quarter lead to the Chiefs. In Week two, Andrew Luck hooked up with TY Hilton with 1:17 left in the fourth quarter to take a four point lead and win. Now, they blow a 13 point fourth quarter lead after two costly fumbles. Melvin Gordon started the downfall after fumbling in San Diego territory, which lead to a Brees TD. Next, Travis Benjamin fumbled in San Diego territory leading to ex-Packer favorite, John Kuhn, to punch in his third TD of the game. If the Chargers could figure out how to maintain a lead, they’d be my surprise team of the year. Alas, they have imploded three times in four weeks to falter to 1-3. Unless something special happens, they will be in the bottom of the AFC West this season. You can’t give away wins and expect to make the playoffs in the NFL. On a more fun-fact note, this was Drew Brees’ first game in San Diego since he left the team in 2005. An enjoyable return capped with a win for the Saints captain.
Week 5 Predictions:
Can’t Miss Win: Patriots over Browns
Poor Cleveland. The Browns have been blessed to be the first team to face Tom Brady since his four game suspension. This will probably be the most confident, “Can’t Miss Win,” selection I will make all year. I love the saying and movie, “Any Given Sunday,” but not this Sunday, Brown fans. Tom will step back on the field with a chip on his shoulder and air the ball out. Joe Haden can’t cover everyone on the field. Gronk will get back to spiking the ball in the end zone, Edelman will put promise back into fantasy owners who held on to him through the first four games, and Tom will be slamming his helmet against his teammates all afternoon. Good luck to Cody Kessler, and I send my prayers to the loyal dog pound, you’ll need it. Patriots by at least 14 points.
Intriguing Match-up: Atlanta at Denver
This is a great match-up. Atlanta will travel to the Mile High City to take on the Broncos on a crisp, late afternoon kickoff in Denver. Both of these teams have surprised me this year. The Falcons are coming off a huge win against the Panthers and are the NFL’s best offense so far in 2016. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones lit up the Panthers secondary. Jones became the 6th NFL WR to record 300 yards receiving in a game, while Matty Ice became the 19th QB to throw for 500+ yards in a game. The biggest concern for this team moving forward is their defense. They’ve let up 31, 28, 32, and 33 points in their first four games. Each match-up seems to be a shootout.
Unlike the Bucs, Raiders, Saints, and the surprisingly struggling Panthers, the Broncos defense is no joke. They lead the league with 17 sacks and are among the NFL’s top five in most, if not all, defensive categories. The question here is will Trevor Siemian start on Sunday. The seventh round draft pick expects to start but is still listed as questionable if you talk to Head Coach Gary Kubiak. Whoever starts, I’m assuming Siemian, this will be a must watch. It’s a marquee match-up between the NFL’s best offense and the NFL’s best defense. If this game was being played in Atlanta, I’d probably take the Falcons. But Denver is at home, the fans will be rocking, and we all know defenses win championships. Denver by one score in a great afternoon matchup.
Biggest Upset: Bills over Rams
The Rams have found themselves in my upset or can’t miss section three of the first four weeks. Give this team credit, they are 3-1 and first in the daunting NFC West. I thought they would be mediocre because of their offense, which is partially right, but this defense has been able to win them ballgames.
However, they are on upset alert. For some reason the Bills are 2-0 since they fired Greg Roman. They beat the Cardinals and a Brady-less Patriots team since starting 0-2. They have a good offense and an improving defense. The Bills will come into LA and beat the Rams by being able to score more than 20 points. I’m still not sold on the Rams. Todd Gurley has struggled all season, except when they played Tampa, which is the only game this offense has looked threatening. This is an interesting battle for two under the radar teams, looking to find themselves in the playoffs this season. Bills by 6.
Now, let’s enjoy looking forward, and hope we were right when we take a look back. Enjoy week 5 everyone.
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