Alex Smith and the Chiefs are the AFC’s lone unbeaten team in 2017
By: Elias McMillan
Last Week: 8-8
Big Five Games of the Week
Detroit @ Minnesota – Detroit lost a heartbreaker last week in a game that they played well enough to win. And that was against one of the better teams in the NFC. Despite the disappointment of that loss, I think the Lions should move forward from last week with at least some sense of confidence. Minnesota is coming off a strong home victory against Tampa Bay, which saw Case Keenum probably have his best day of his career. Keenum looked so comfortable last week at home but I don’t want to buy too much into last week’s performance. Maybe Tampa Bay’s secondary is really bad. I think Detroit can be the healthier and better team on Sunday, even on the road. Minnesota’s running game and defense could make the Vikings a tough out at home, but I feel confident in Matt Stafford. Prediction: Lions 25 – Vikings 23
Pittsburgh @ Baltimore – I thought the deal was if you played in London, you would have a bye week and following week. That is not the case. Man, did Baltimore pick a great time to play their worst football in a long time. After getting their teeth kicked in last week by Jacksonville, they go home to face the rival Steelers. Pittsburgh is coming off their annual, per usual, loss on the road against a opponent that they should have crushed. Plus, with the entire national anthem fiasco, head coach Mike Tomlin is fed up and I think that attitude will trickle down to his football team. Besides all of the media hoopla, I think Pittsburgh is just generally upset about how they played last week. I can’t explain what happened to the Ravens last week and I know they usually find a way to play Pittsburgh close. But I think the Steelers will truly “unleash hell” in Baltimore on Sunday. Prediction: Steelers 30 – Ravens 14
Tennessee @ Houston – The Texans were really close to gaining an impressive road victory in New England last weekend. Houston’s defense will keep them in games this season and things will really get interesting once rookie QB Deshaun Watson gets more comfortable. Tennessee took care of business at home last week but they’ll face a major road hurdle this week in Houston. Tennessee would like to leap frog the Texans in the AFC South this year but I don’t see them doing that with the lack of playmakers on their defense. It would be something if QB Marcus Mariota could put this Titans team on his back and carry them to a big road victory but I just don’t see that happening. Prediction: Texans 28 – Titans 21
Oakland @ Denver – The Raiders looked horrible last week. Maybe it was the cross-country traveling? I don’t know but the offense was absolutely unproductive. I don’t see things in Oakland getting better this week as they will visit an angry Denver team that is also coming off a bad loss in Buffalo. If Washington’s defense was able to stifle the Raiders offense, I think Denver’s should be able to least hold their own. Prediction: Broncos 27 – Raiders 20
Washington @ Kansas City – Washington has been a lot better than I expected so far in this young season. The defense is active. The running game was working last week. And QB Kirk Cousins is coming off a strong performance. Washington will face their greatest challenge so far this season on the road against a red hot Kansas City team. The Chiefs have been the most impressive team in the AFC so far this season. Rookie Kareem Hunt could be on his way to rookie of the month honors but QB Alex Smith deserves a lot of credit as well. The Chiefs are also covering well for the injury to defensive leader Eric Berry as the defense hasn’t really missed too many beats without him. Kansas City has a great home field advantage at Arrowhead and Washington could potentially be walking into a buzz saw on Monday night. But I’ll give Washington credit as they have been playing good football recently. I don’t see Kirk Cousins winning this big game on the road. Prediction: Chiefs 31 – Washington 24
The Rest of Week 4
Packers over Bears – Both Chicago and Green Bay are coming off overtime victories. I don’t think the Packers are very good this season but I don’t think the Bears have the defense to stop Aaron Rodgers.
Saints over Dolphins – London games are silly. You know what else is silly? Losing to the New York Jets. Miami better get it figured out.
Falcons over Bills – Atlanta survived last week and they’ll face a Bills team on home that doesn’t travel well.
Bengals over Browns – Cincinnati actually looked like a football team last week. If they drop this one at Cleveland, Marvin Lewis might as well not come back to southern Ohio.
Cowboys over Rams – I’m still waiting on the Dallas wet towel. But the Cowboys responded well on the road last week. The Rams looked impressive last Thursday and have the extra rest. I don’t trust that QB though. Dallas has the league leading sack getter. WATTBA.
Patriots over Panthers – Carolina is 2-1 but its time to start panicking about Cam Newton. He is truly not himself. Tom Brady is though. He never changes.
Jaguars over Jets – Man, I don’t trust either of these teams. It would make sense that the Jets would play well in a second straight home game. But then again, Jacksonville looked real strong last week. But this week’s game is not in London. Hmmm.
Cardinals over 49ers – If Arizona doesn’t get their offense figured out, San Fran could make this a game.
Fantasy Football Picks of the Week
QB: Alex Smith (Chiefs) – I know Washington’s defense completely shut down David Carr last week but I don’t see Smith and the Chiefs being gun shy at home.
RB: Mark Ingram (Saints) – Miami is having trouble with stopping the run.
WR: Doug Baldwin (Seahawks) – Baldwin is underappreciated and he usually has strong showing at home.
TE: Zach Ertz (Eagles) – Ertz is coming off a great game last week. Philly will attack LA through the air this week.
DEF: Dallas – I can’t believe I’m saying this. But Dallas currently has the league’s top run defense and sack leader. I don’t feel great about Jared Goff on Sunday.
Eagles over Chargers – Philly almost blew a 14-0 4th quarter lead last week. The Chargers seem to blow it every week.
Giants over Buccaneers – So much for that Jameis Winston hype train. Tampa must respond at home this week against a winless and desperate Giants team.
Seahawks over Colts – I think Seattle is really tired of Richard Sherman’s act. The guy was an absolute disgrace in Tennessee last week. But home visit for Seattle seem to work like a magic elixir.