Last week’s Record: Tom 9-7, Jesse 8-8
Overall Record: Tom 30-18, Jesse 29-19
NFL 2013 WEEK FOUR: BYE-O-DOME
San Francisco at St. Louis
Jesse: This season has already had its share of surprises (The collapse of the Giants and Steelers; Pacman Jones waiting until Week 3 to get arrested again), but nothing has surprised me more than the shellacking the Niners have received the last couple of weeks. The Niners have been outscored 56-10 the last two weeks, with their dominant offense and defense having been rendered completely ineffective. This seems like a prime chance for the Rams to steal a win, and I’m sorely tempted. However, I’m still not willing to pick a team with Sam Bradford as its quarterback. I may regret this, just as surely as I’ll regret watching another awful disjointed Thursday night game, but . . .
Tom: As long as we wait for football to return, can you believe we are already ¼ of the way into the season? And with that, here come the byes! So make sure you check those FFL rosters closely, and for the love of all that is holy, don’t pick up Josh Freeman this week to replace Aaron Rodgers.
Now, on to this game…where the Rams have done a decent job of handling the 49ers for some reason. Between the two teams, they scored a combined 14 points last week, so that shit they feel stinging right now is pride. After being betrayed by the ‘stache last week, I’ll have to lean with the team I do think is the better overall group of players…but I wouldn’t doubt if the Rams pull one out. Again.
Baltimore at Buffalo
Tom: Manuel showed Buffalo fans what drove FSU fans crazy for so many years last week. If it weren’t for the Jets 42 penalties last week, that game wouldn’t have even been close. This week he faces the Ravens. Not good for him. But seriously? These are the types of games he wins. But I’ll still going with Baltimore.
Jesse: Baltimore stomped Houston last week, and seem to be well on their way to getting in position for an eventual playoff run, which seems inevitable given the division they’re in. Buffalo is playing with confidence on both sides of the ball, but the Ravens’ D against a rookie QB? E.J. is doomed.
Cincinnati at Cleveland
Jesse: I was originally going to spend this entire column ranting about the Trent Richardson trade as an example of my favorite team once again blowing it . . . then the Browns went out and promptly won at Minnesota. Browns fans are rightfully thrilled, but keep in mind that Cleveland barely won thanks to two trick plays, and Brian Hoyer also had 3 INTs. Cincinnati is not Minnesota. In fact, they’re one of the best teams in the AFC right now. I think it’ll be close, but Cincy takes this one.
Tom: The Bengals almost choked away another game, but helped by a costly turnover and some questionable offensive playcalling by the Packers, they came away with the W. The Browns blew everyone’s minds by trading away maybe their best offensive player, then not only won but scored a lot of points doing it. Now comes this AFC North matchup that probably means a lot more than it did at the start of the season. The Bengals should win this one handily, but I have a feeling the Browns feel rejuvenated and will play them tough.
Chicago at Detroit
Tom: From (Bengal) Tigers to Lions and Bears, oh my! The Bears are far and away the most well-balanced team in the NFC North, and unless Green Bay starts figuring out how to stop teams from scoring, the Bears have no challengers within the division. Will that lead to an overconfidence going into Detroit? Probably not. I think the Steelers put enough of a scare into them last week to remind them that it’s not all cookies and cream, even if you’re up 17-0 before the first quarter is over. This is the NFL, after all (stop crying, Jags fans).
Jesse: So THIS is what Chicago looks like with an offensive line! Jay Cutler has to be thrilled. After Nate Burleson broke his arm trying to save a pizza (and became my new hero), the Bears will be able to lock in on Megatron. Of course, this won’t stop the Lions from throwing the ball 95 times. Bears win handily, and Matthew Stafford gets tons of fantasy points in garbage time.
NY Giants at Kansas City
Jesse: The Giants are notoriously slow starters, but this year feels different. I would usually pick a desperate Giants to come back after such an embarrassing loss, but I’m wondering if they have the players to do it. The Giants’ sieve of an offensive line attempting to stop the Kansas City D could be a car crash. The Chiefs’ offense is too boring and conservative to go off on New York, but I think Kansas City wins in a close one.
Tom: Yeah, the Chiefs are a shocking 3-0, and are at home. Reid has ‘em believing in KC again. That defense is strong, and Alex Smith is playing conservatively…although I have a feeling the “play not to lose” attitude will come back to bite them sooner than later. I think Eli Manning has more picks than Romo, Vick, and RGIII combined. And that’s saying something.
Arizona at Tampa Bay
Tom: Here’s my “ugh” game of the week. Josh Freeman is likely the next QB for the Jacksonville Jaguars, and Mike Glennon is here to show us all how to play QB like a professional. Arizona’s defense will have something to say about that, so the Bucs shall remain winless, methinks.
Jesse: Josh Freeman was simply too lackadaisical for humorless psycho Coach Greg Schiano, but I’m not entirely sure Mike Glennon is the answer, considering he wasn’t even the answer at North Carolina State. Glennon’s ability to have more than one facial expression could provide a spark for the team that the blank Freeman couldn’t, but I’m thinking the Cardinals will be eager and ready after getting crushed by the Saints last week. Sorry, Richard Dickson.
Indianapolis at Jacksonville
Jesse: Trent Richardson was still learning the playbook last week, but he didn’t show any of the promise that the Colts had hoped for when giving Cleveland a first-rounder. However, I’m guessing he’s going to look like a cross between Jim Brown, Barry Sanders and Walter Payton this week, because he’s playing the Jags. This doesn’t mean that he’s good (can you tell I’ve talked myself into this trade?), but this week, he’ll look GREAT.
Tom: The Jags will eventually have one of those weeks where they will sneak up on a team and win. If you think it’s hard to go 16-0, it’s possibly even harder to go 0-16. This is a divisional game, therefore I think it will be a lot closer than folks think, especially with the Colts being high off thumping the 49ers last week.
Seattle at Houston
Tom: Well, here we are, Seattle is away again. Foster can’t seem to be the Arian Foster everyone wants him to be, and this is not the defense to just “try” against. Even though they are away, they’re not East Coast away, so I presume the Seahawks will wake up in time to win this game and possibly send Kubiak back to the hot seat.
Jesse: The Texans are who they are: stout defense, great running game, and a thoroughly average quarterback. Matt Schaub understands the offense inside and out, but his limitations are known to all. Even his name inspires a shrug: “Schaub.” Say it out loud. “Schaub.” The second least inspiring word in the NFL, right behind “Gabbert.”
Pittsburgh at Minnesota
Jesse: The Steelers are in trouble, and it starts with Todd Haley, another in a long line of coaches who care more about players fitting in with their system than doing what’s best for the personnel that’s available. With the Cardinals and Chiefs, Haley was caught several times in screaming matches with his players, and apparently just last week he had another shriek-off with Antonio Brown. However, the Steelers are headed to London (UGH, London games, the European version of Thursday night games) to face a Minnesota team that is reeling. Trust me, any team that loses to Cleveland is reeling. I think the Steelers win a game that’s borderline unwatchable, and Haley will start an international incident by yelling at the Queen.
Tom: Ponder has hurt ribs so Matt Cassel possibly might get the start. I think Haley would love nothing better to beat his old QB, so maybe he’ll actually let Ben run the no-huddle a bit more than usual. At times, the Steelers looked somewhat competent vs. the Bears, and then the wheels would come off. I know they benched Jones because of his fumble, but unless Bell proves something this weekend (he’s supposedly going to play), I still believe he’s their best bet at a decent running game. And please stop with the Troy at LB thing. From what I watched of the game, I saw him cover the wrong guy which led to a 10-12 yard gain, and miss (at least) two tackles. I expect to completely be wrong on this one, but hopefully I’m not. 0-4 is not where either team wants to be. This re-match of the Steelers first Super Bowl win will hopefully end in a similar fashion.
NY Jets at Tennessee
Tom: As I mentioned earlier, the Jets had the chance to blow the doors off the Bills but committed 1,248 penalties that allowed Buffalo to hang around. I correctly took the Titans last week to break their losing streak against the Chargers, and it took them almost the entire game to do it, but they did. The Titans defense is miles beyond the Bills, especially in the secondary, and I don’t think Geno will have the time he had last week to air it out. And Jake Locker thinks he’s a QB, even if it’s just for another week. And that’s so cute.
Jesse: The Titans seemed to come of age last week, with Jake Locker playing his best game yet. With Justin Hunter catching the game-winning pass, I’m guessing we’ll see more of him while the waste of space known as Kenny Britt stands on the sideline, waiting for the time on his Titans tenure to run out. The Titans’ improved defense should shut down Geno Smith, and Tennessee beats the Jets, on their way to a wild-card berth.
Washington at Oakland
Jesse: Mike Shanahan’s best coaching efforts have always been against the team that unceremoniously fired him, but with Al Davis dead, will Shanahan still have that spiteful edge against Al’s Tommy Boy of a son? I say no. Terrelle Pryor will outperform RGIII, and Washington’s season will officially be in trouble. Pryor was knocked out of last week’s game against Denver, tweeting the next day that he couldn’t remember who hit him. I think he’ll be cleared to play in another example of the NFL caring about player safety (jerkoff motion).
Tom: The Redskins looked better last week, but still lost to the Lions and their coach, Jim “Fuck this headset” Schwartz (thanks to Chad on the boards for the gif). Matt Flynn (hey guys, remember when I was a hot commodity?) came in as relief to the concussed Pryor and didn’t exactly set the world on fire…hey that rhymed! Anyway, I’ll swing with RGIII here as I don’t think either team is that great, but I think Washington is just a wee bit better.
Philadelphia at Denver
Tom: Peyton shows Chip Kelly how a fast break offense is run in the NFL. After every TD pass, I pray that Manning looks over at Kelly and says, “Quack Quack, Motherfucker”. I will pick the Broncos in every game the rest of the season if that happened even once.
Jesse: This game will be fun to watch, but it won’t be close. Ever since that first half in the season opener against Washington (which served as inspiration for another of Rick Reilly’s insipid columns), the Phila-Ducks have been grounded. Denver’s defense is nasty, even without urine-switching goon Von Miller. I’d be surprised if Vick lasts the entire game. Oh, and Peyton Manning’s good, too.
Dallas at San Diego
Jesse: After two weeks of returning to his old bitch-faced self, Philip Rivers fell to Earth last week, ending the Titans game by desperately kicking the ball across the field. It was great. The Cowboys whipped the Rams at home last week, but losing Anthony Spencer from the d-line for the rest of the season hurts. I think the Chargers win, and for one week at least, the bitch face is back!
Tom: Dallas rammed the Rams last week and now hope to charge over the Chargers. Sorry, I caught a case of the fleeds this week and I’m still getting over it. Jesse and I have been pretty simpatico this week, so just to shake things up, I’ll go with America’s Team. Why the hell not?
New England at Atlanta
Tom: Living in Atlanta, I’ve heard the moans and groans of losing to Miami last week, but hey, I think Miami’s a decent team. The Pats might be starting yet another RB and are still looking for someone besides Edelman to throw the ball to. New England’s defense has been the Achilles heel for the team the past few years, but now they’ve been what’s gotten them to 3-0. The Pats offense has averaged under 20 points a game and is in the bottom third(!) of the NFL in passing yards. If Amendola can come back and last a whole game, their odds are better. And even if Gronk returns too, I think he’ll show a bit of rust, particularly without Hitman Hernandez on the other side of him. The Falcons need to prove to their fans and themselves that they can close out a team like the Patriots at home. And hopefully they will.
Jesse: The Patriots are off to a 3-0 start, but it doesn’t feel very impressive, does it? The offense is thoroughly meh, and holding Tampa Bay to 3 points isn’t exactly a feat. Atlanta will be their stiffest test yet, and I don’t think they’ll be up to the challenge.
Miami at New Orleans
Jesse: This might be the game of the week, as the Dolphins are a genuinely good team. However, the Saints have been winning thanks to their defense, and I think Rob Ryan, in all of his Fat Kenny Rogers glory, will come up with a defensive game plan that shuts down Ryan Tannehill.
Tom: We make references to folks on the message boards here, and I’d like to point out Duke Fleed as one of them. He is a die-hard Dolphins fan, and has a unique way of punning his way through a forum post. In his honor, I continue riding the Dolphins train all the way up the Tanne..HILL to victory.