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Wednesday, 28 September 2011

NFL Week 4 Picks and Previews

The NFL has had plenty of strange results over the first 3 Weeks of the season, but there is probably nothing more surprising than seeing the Buffalo Bills at 3-0, the only team in the AFC that is yet to be beaten and sitting higher than New England and the New York Jets in the East.

Before I get on with the Picks from this Week, I am going to go over a few points from Week 3, before putting up my top 10 in the Power Rankings, and then my personal top 5 and bottom 5 teams in the NFL.

WEEK 3 Thoughts
1) Michael Vick's complaints about referee treatment: Michael Vick griped that he is not given enough protection from the NFL referees as he doesn't get as many flags for late hits as some other QBs do.

His comments seem to have separated people into two camps- there are some that think Vick is moaning for no reason and others that think he has a point.

I tend to sit with the latter camp- Vick is not protected as much as others as he is a mobile QB, but Ben Roethlisberger is another who could make the complaint but chooses not to. However, Vick was hit late on at least 2 occasions against the Giants last week that should have drawn flags, and you can understand why he was so frustrated after the game, especially as at least one of those hits was a player leading with his helmet.

Steve Young put it best when saying on MNF that the 'more mobile a QB, the less likely he is to get a flag for a late hit', but Vick is at least trying to stay in the pocket and must be offered more protection than he is getting at the moment.

2) 'Suck for Luck' hots up: Andrew Luck is clearly going to be the Number 1 Pick in the NFL Draft next April, which means there is a genuine reason to lose games for some teams.

The leading contenders so far are Kansas City, Miami, Indianapolis and Minnesota (I ruled out St Louis who already have their franchise QB settled in Sam Bradford)- all 4 of those teams suffered close losses in Week 3 and there could be some GM's looking ahead to getting a little more 'Luck' in the future.

In my mind, the latter two teams are unlikely to make the play as I think they either win enough games to move away from this discussion (Minnesota) or they have enough faith in the QB they have (Peyton Manning at Indianapolis barring any long term issue with the neck) which leaves Kansas City and the Dolphins.

Mark down November 6th in your diaries as that could be the day this whole issue is decided- that is the day the Chiefs visit Miami.

3) Which team is more likely to sustain early season form- Buffalo or Detroit? Both teams have opened up as 3-0, but it is Buffalo who are the more surprising.

I liked the Lions a lot before the season started so I would pick them, but that is assuming Matt Stafford can remain healthy.

Detroit's Defense looks tough and will only get better when Nick Fairley is good to join Ndamukong Suh in wreaking havoc in the backfield, but the Offense is reliant on Stafford as the drop off to Drew Stanton and Shaun Hill is too much for them to overcome.

Buffalo have been brilliant so far during the first 3 weeks of the season, and Chan Gailey needs to be given a ton of credit for keeping faith with Ryan Fitzpatrick. However, they are in a tough Division and that Defense is giving up far too many points, while it is hard to see them continuously coming back from large half time deficits as they have done in their last 2 games.

4) Phantom call in the Chicago-Green Bay game ruins best Special Teams play I have seen in a long time: I have seen some strange decisions in the NFL over the years, but there was nothing stranger than the 'holding' call given near the end of the Chicago-Green Bay contest.

The Oscar this year must go to Devin Hestor who fakes trying to catch the ball, while Johnny Knox scampers away virtually untouched on the other side of the field.

I got away with a lot of luck that the holding penalty came in (had picked Packers - 3.5 Points), but it was a bogus call and the officials have to be questioned- maybe the umpire also had a - 3.5 point ticket stamped.

5) Green Bay remain the team to beat in the NFL: The SuperBowl Champs are looking unstoppable at this moment, with Aaron Rodgers leading an Offense that can put up a bunch of points on any team they play.

They have found a running game (big criticisms of that last season) and Jermichael Finley really does provide an added bow to the Offense. With a deep receiving corps too and one of the best QB's in the NFL, it was only the Defensive unit that was worrying me.

The first 2 weeks of the season saw the Defense struggle, however they looked better on Sunday and I do think it will be hard for any team to keep up with the Pack at this moment in time.

Power Rankings Top 10
1) Green Bay Packers: Obvious choice, 3-0 to start this season meaning they have now won 9 in a row since last season and looking unbeatable.
2) Buffalo Bills: 3-0 start and beating New England from 0-21 down is impressive
3) Detroit Lions: That Defense is tough, but the Offense looks really good with Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson.
4) Baltimore Ravens: If Joe Flacco and the Offense can keep their high flying start to the season going, the Defense can make enough big plays to keep them winning.
5) New England Patriots: Need the Defense to step up as they face bigger challenges than Chad Henne and Ryan Fitzpatrick this season.
6) New Orleans Saints: Powerful Offense and not far from being 3-0 themselves this season.
7) New York Giants: The last 6 Quarters played have been impressive
8) Pittsburgh Steelers: Need to stop shooting themselves in the foot, particularly the Offense.
9) Oakland Raiders: Should really have started the season 3-0
10) Dallas Cowboys: Overcome injuries on the OL and in the receiving corps to beat Washington on Monday Night and are a fumble in the opponents Red Zone away from being 3-0.

My Top 5 and Bottom 5
1) Green Bay                             32) Kansas City
2) New England                         31) Indianapolis
3) New Orleans                          30) Miami
4) Baltimore                               29) Cincinnati
5) Pittsburgh                              28) Seattle

WEEK 4 Picks and Preview
My Picks for Week 4 will be appearing below. They will come out in staggered sessions due to work commitments, but I will update on Twitter (@DavAulak) whenever I have put some up.

I will put up picks with the previews available in the links so keep checking out the updates over the next few days.

Week 4 Picks:

New Orleans Saints Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-11879-Jacksonville-Jaguars-v-New-Orleans-Saints.htm)- LOCKED IN EARLY FOR THE 6.5 POINT SPREAD

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Houston Texans Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-11880-Houston-Texans-v-Pittsburgh-Steelers.htm) LOCKED IN EARLY FOR THE 4 POINT SPREAD

Detroit Lions @ Dallas Cowboys Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-11906-Dallas-Cowboys-v-Detroit-Lions.htm) LOCKED IN FRIDAY

Atlanta Falcons @ Seattle Seahawks Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-11908-Seattle-Seahawks-v-Atlanta-Falcons.htm) LOCKED IN FRIDAY

Minnesota Vikings @ Kansas City Chiefs Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-11910-Kansas-City-Chiefs-v-Minnesota-Vikings.htm) LOCKED IN FRIDAY

San Francisco 49ers @ Philadelphia Eagles Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-11914-Philadelphia-Eagles-v-San-Francisco-49ers.htm) LOCKED IN THE 8.5 POINT SPREAD ON FRIDAY

New York Giants @ Arizona Cardinals Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-11916-Arizona-Cardinals-v-New-York-Giants.htm)

Denver Broncos @ Green Bay Packers Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-11917-Green-Bay-Packers-v-Denver-Broncos.htm)

Miami Dolphins @ San Diego Chargers Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-11918-San-Diego-Chargers-v-Miami-Dolphins.htm)

Indianapolis Colts @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-11919-Tampa-Bay-Buccaneers-v-Indianapolis-Colts.htm) LOCKED IN SATURDAY FOR THE 10 POINT SPREAD

Washington Redskins @ St Louis Rams (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-11932-St-Louis-Rams-v-Washington-Redskins.htm)

MY PICKS: New Orleans Saints - 6.5 Points @ 1.92 Pinnacle (4 Units)
Pittsburgh Steelers + 4 Points @ 1.92 BetFred (2 Units)
Detroit Lions + 2.5 Points @ 1.92 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Atlanta Falcons - 4.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (3 Units)

Minnesota Vikings - 2.5 Points @ 1.92 BetFred (2 Units)
Philadelphia Eagles - 8.5 Points @ 1.92 Paddy Power (2 Units)
New York Giants - 1 Point @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Green Bay Packers - 12 Points @ 1.92 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
Miami Dolphins + 7 Points @ 1.92 BetFred (1 Unit)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 10 Points @ 1.92 Pinnacle (2 Units)
St Louis Rams + 3 Points @ 1.83 Bet365 (3 Units)


  1. A few trends for this weeks games:

    WAS @ STL Line 43.50 Take Under Because:

    Under is 4-1-1 in Redskins last 6 games when playing on Sunday following a Monday night game.
    Under is 5-2 in Redskins last 7 games as a road favorite of 0.5-3.0.
    Under is 4-0-1 in Rams last 5 games as a home underdog of 0.5-3.0. Under is 6-2-1 in Rams last 9 games as an underdog of 0.5-3.0.
    BUFF @ CIN - Take ov43.50

    Over is 4-0 in Bills last 4 games as a road favorite of 3.5-10.0.
    Over is 8-2-1 in Bills last 11 games as a favorite of 3.5-10.0.
    Over is 4-0 in Bengals last 4 games as a home underdog of 3.5-10.0.
    Over is 4-0 in the last 4 meetings in Cincinnati.

    NO @ JAX- Take Over 45.5

    Over is 5-2 in Saints last 7 games as a road favorite of 3.5-10.0.
    Over is 4-0 in Jaguars last 4 games as a home underdog of 3.5-10.0.
    Over is 7-2 in Jaguars last 9 games as an underdog of 3.5-10.0.

    Car @ CHI - Take Over 42

    Over is 6-0 in Panthers last 6 games as a road underdog of 3.5-10.0.
    Over is 4-0-1 in Panthers last 5 games as an underdog of 3.5-10.0.
    Over is 4-0 in Bears last 4 games as a favorite of 3.5-10.0.

    NYG @ ARI - Take oV 44.5

    Over is 5-0 in Giants last 5 games as a road favorite of 0.5-3.0.
    Over is 6-1 in Giants last 7 games as a favorite of 0.5-3.0.
    Over is 6-2 in Cardinals last 8 games as a home underdog of 0.5-3.0.
    Over is 12-5 in Cardinals last 17 games as an underdog of 0.5-3.0.
    but...Under is 5-1-1 in the last 7 meetings in Arizona.

    ATL @ SEA Take Ov 38.5

    Over is 4-0-1 in Falcons last 5 games as a favorite of 3.5-10.0.
    Over is 4-1 in Seahawks last 5 games as a home underdog of 3.5-10.0.
    Over is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings.

    IND @ TB - Take Over 40.5
    Over is 5-1 in Colts last 6 games as an underdog of 3.5-10.0.
    Over is 19-6-1 in Colts last 26 games as a road underdog of 3.5-10.0.
    Over is 3-0-1 in Buccaneers last 4 games as a favorite of 3.5-10.0.
    Over is 3-0-1 in Buccaneers last 4 games as a home favorite of 3.5-10.0.

    So basically take overs :S

  2. I will say this- the Overs was kicking the books asses in the first 2 Weeks of the season, but it became a lot leveller last week.

    Think some of the Over totals have been inflated because of this early trend so I'll have a look at the games and put up my thoughts on the Over/Under for the games listed above as I go through my analysis.

  3. First game I have looked into and made my pick is the Atlanta-Seattle game from the trends put on here by Lamps in the comment section.

    I don't like the overs here because I really think Seattle suck as an Offense and they may not score the points to help this go over.

    In saying that, I would not advocate the unders either as it takes a pick 6 to ruin these or, more likely, Atlanta could go off and put up 30 + points themselves meaning Seattle won't need too many more to go over.

    I feel much more confident that the Falcons can win this one big.

  4. The New Orleans-Jacksonville game is interesting in terms of over/under as it is again down to whether the underdog can score enough points.

    I think the Saints win while covering the spread, and they are more than capable of scoring 30 points or more but the question remains whether you think the Jaguars will score the 16 points to cover the overs?

    I had the Jags scoring 17 points against this Defense that allows points, so I would pick the overs with a gun to the head.

    However, I feel more comfortable with the spread on this one

  5. The Trends posted by Lamps would have gone 2-2, with 3 to play (Atlanta game already got 21 points scored at it's only in the 2nd Quarter).