I know that Dan is hurting about our half-point miss after the Seahawks won by a solitary point Thursday that sees me fall to 1-4 for picking Thursday night games, yet 3D (Dan’s Devious Dad) has fallen to 0-5 for Thursday picks but given he’s still kicking us with his trivia them I don’t want to make too much out of it so let’s move onto this week’s trivia before we start picking games.
‘How many rushing yards did DeShaun Foster run in the 2002 regular season?
I’ll allow 50 yards either way and there are 2 points for a correct answer’
Now, this is a real needle in a haystack question, and my first thought is to guess a big number but I can’t claim to be too familiar with DeShaun Foster’s career and so I’m becoming somewhat hesitant to guess big. In the end I’m going with 666 yards to amuse myself and because I’m running an unofficial who can get closer to the answer in my head against Dan who being an offense guys will likely go big.
As for the theme, looking at the answers for the entire year I’m completely lost, I see championships and expansion teams but nothing seems to fit for all of the answers so far. I’ve got nothing this week…
‘This weeks trivia answer could literally be anything – it seems so random. And as a result, I’ve used a Random Number Generator to decide on my answer. I’ll be guessing at 1039
Anyway, as for the theme, I’m going to guess at Franchise Records? I had thought it could possibly be ‘moments captured on channel 4’ from the days before Sky Sports, but this week’s question threw that out of the window!’
Falcons @ Texans (-4.5)
I have no feel for the Atlanta Falcons at all and the Houston Texans seem to be competitive without truly convincing as they have plenty of flaws. In fairness most teams in the NFL have flaws and I do fancy the Texans to win at home but this is too many points for me to lay on them.
Gee’s Pick: Falcons
Dan’s Pick: Falcons
Bills @ Titans (-2.5)
The Buffalo Bills almost get credit for a close loss to the Patriots last week but this is a tough road game, particularly as Josh Allen has been in the concussion protocol this week. They travel to face a Tennessee Titans team who seem to be highly variable and Marcus Mariota could really struggle against a tough Bills’ defence. The Bills look like they could be starting Allen but I’m not convinced that he will have been able to prep as he needs to so I’m reluctantly backing the Titans. A stay away game if that was a choice!
Gee’s Pick: Titans
Dan’s Pick: Bills
Bears @ Raiders (+4.5)
The Oakland Raiders came across the country and then flew over to the UK to take on the Chicago Bears in the Khalil Mack revenge game hosted in London at the new Spurs ground. The Raiders have hung in to get to 2-2 but there is a big difference between these two teams by DVOA and it feels like the team who arrives later in the UK have done better than those who have been here a week so even though this is a lot of points to give away, the Raiders aren’t truly at home and I don’t trust them whilst the Bears defence is scary good.
Gee’s Pick: Bears
Dan’s Pick: Bears
Cardinals @ Bengals (-4.5)
This pick is entirely an emotional hedge, although I also think the number is too high given the Bengals are 0-3 but I’m picking the Cardinals and hoping to be proved wrong.
Gee’s Pick: Cardinals
Dan’s Pick: Cardinals
Vikings @ Giants (+4.5)
The Minnesota Vikings are suffering from the kind of disruption you might not expect from a team run by Mike Zimmer, but having watched the Vikings’ offence this week for coaching tape, whilst you can’t absolve Kirk Cousins of everything I do feel like the focus on the run is coming from the head coach and that is what could be driving the Stefon Diggs situation. That said, the for all that the New York Giants have won two games with Daniel Jones as their quarterback, they should have lost against the Buccaneers and Washington is falling apart. This is a lot of points and I could regret this, but I don’t trust the Giants so I’m going to back the Vikings to get back to something like themselves this week.
Gee’s Pick: Vikings
Dan’s Pick: Giants
Patriots @ Washington (+15.5)
I want nothing to do with this game as the New England Patriots really struggled on offence last week as the Bills had the hoodoo over them, but they didn’t need Brady to win that game. The mess in Washington is systemic and stems from the ownership and front office so I very much expect the Patriots to win, but with the faltering offence of last week will they get the big win? However, Washington lost to the Giants by twenty-one points last week so I kind of have to pick the Patriots even if I don’t want to lay this number of points.
Gee’s Pick: Patriots
Dan’s Pick: Washington
Buccaneers @ Saints (-3.5)
This is a sneaky good game as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are coming of a win against the LA Rams and are 2-2 this season. I haven’t had a great feel for them as I got scared off early, but it does seem like Bruce Arians is getting there with Jameis Winston whilst Todd Bowles has already managed a big improvement to a defence that was bottom of the league by DVOA last season. The question is whether this will be enough to defeat a New Orleans Saints team who are 3-1 despite losing Drew Brees. I like the Saints in this one, but given the matchup of an improve Buccaneers defence against a Teddy Bridgewater led offence the extra half point to the Saints has spooked me. I could be massively overthinking this one but I’m playing a hunch in taking the points.
Gee’s Pick: Buccaneers
Dan’s Pick: Saints
Jets @ Eagles (-13.5)
The 0-3 New York Jets come off a bye but will still be without Sam Darnold whose spleen has still not recovered from his mononucleosis and so it is not safe for him to play. That didn’t stop him from taking some reps in practice this week, but it will be Luke Falk who gets the start again. This is all a way of saying that the Jets’ preparation hasn’t been great, whilst the Philadelphia Eagles looked a lot better last week and Carson Wentz is playing well. This is a lot of points, but I really don’t like the Jets and with CJ Mosely still out with injury, the Jets defence hasn’t played well and so I’m going to risk laying another large points total.
Gee’s Pick: Eagles
Dan’s Pick: Jets
Ravens @ Steelers (+3.5)
This is an intriguing game as the Pittsburgh Steelers got their first win of the season last week, but still are not exactly convincing whilst it would appear that there are some real questions about the Baltimore Ravens’ defence for the first time in a long while. I like the Ravens to win this game but it feels really strange for the Steelers to be getting this many points at home so I am really torn. In the end I’m going to grab the points as after a strong start against two poor teams the Ravens have come back to the pack a bit.
Gee’s Pick: Steelers
Dan’s Pick: Ravens
Jaguars @ Panthers (-3.5)
This is a matchup of backup quarterbacks who have turned round their team’s seasons and one of them is going to get their first loss as a starter this week. I’m not at all sure which way this is going to go, but despite their top five by DVOA defence the extra half point is making me nervous and with the Jaguars seeming to find their feet I’m going to nervously grab the points. I really hate the lines this week.
Gee’s Pick: Jaguars
Dan’s Pick: Jaguars
Broncos @ Chargers (-6.5)
The LA Chargers have battled to 2-2 despite the injuries, but basically don’t have a homefield advantage and this week welcome a winless Denver Broncos team who at least got some sacks last week and kept the game close. The Broncos have played a couple of teams close this season, but not on the road and so this leaves me in another quandary. I don’t want to back the Broncos, but this is a lot of points for an injured team I don’t trust, but having lost by picking against them last week with more points I’m going to pick the Chargers. Urgh…
Gee’s Pick: Chargers
Dan’s Pick: Chargers
Packers @ Cowboys (-3.5)
My worry for this game is that the Dallas Cowboys offence seems to be regressing as they work Ezekiel Elliott back into the lineup after his holdout, but the Green Bay Packers offence is not quite clicking either. There is a big difference between these two team by DVOA ranking, but the Cowboys could actually run the ball on a Packers defence that has struggled against the run. In the end I’m going to take the points with Aaron Rodgers, but once again I don’t feel strongly about it.
Gee’s Pick: Packers
Dan’s Pick: Packers
Colts @ Chiefs (-10.5)
The Kansas City Chiefs are unbeaten for a reason, even if they did have a tough time against the Lions last week, but they welcome an Indianapolis Colts team who will still be missing Darius Leonard and TY Hilton is only questionable. This is a lot of points and the Colts have been competitive, but with their defence’s simple scheme and missing Leonard I think the Colts are vulnerable so whilst I don’t like the points, I’m picking the Chiefs anyway.
Gee’s Pick: Chiefs
Dan’s Pick: Chiefs
Browns @ 49ers (-3.5)
The last game of the week is my final chance to say urgh. The Cleveland Browns got back into the division race with a good win over the Ravens last week and it appears that first year head coach Freddie Kitchens is starting to find his way with this team. This week they travel to face a rested and unbeaten San Francisco 49ers team who have looked good on offence thanks to Kyle Shanahan’s scheme and whose defence is currently ranked second in the league by DVOA. I’m not saying the Browns can’t win this one, but I like the 49ers in this spot and we’ll find out over the next couple of games just how real the 49ers are.
Gee’s Pick: 49ers
Dan’s Pick: 49ers
DVOA is Football Outsiders statistic for measure a team’s success on every play versus the league average and you can read more about it and other football topics at https://footballoutsiders.com.