by Robert Ferringo - 09/30/2005
Here is One Man's View of the National Football League in Week 4.
Denver at Jacksonville (-4), 1 p.m. on Sunday
Denver is hoping that they put up a better showing than their last trip to Florida, a 34-10 drubbing in Miami in Week 1. The Broncos looked outstanding on Monday Night, but as my friend Cody used to say, "Win on Monday, lose on Sunday". The Broncos better be prepared for a muggy, 85-degree day in the panhandle, with scattered thunderstorms throughout.
Jacksonville is just trying to keep pace with Indianapolis, which has another cakewalk in Tennessee. The Jaguars should try to take advantage of the fact that Champ Bailey is expected slowed by a hamstring injury. The Jaguars are 7-1 ATS in their last eight games, while Denver is just 3-5-2 in its last ten.
Seattle at Washington (-1.5), 1 p.m. on Sunday
Seattle has been rolling at home, beating a good Atlanta team 21-18 and then trashing a terrible Arizona team 37-12. However, the Seahawks haven't traveled well the last two seasons (6-11 on the road). I don't see them winning more than three road games this season, and this is a great opportunity to get one of them.
Yup, they're undefeated. Washington has claimed its two wins by a total of three points over the Bears and Cowboys. The Redskins are coming off a bye, so they've had two weeks to fortify their home defenses, and Seattle has to make that West Coast-East Coast trip that they like so much. They'll need Clinton Portis to finally bust out if they want this game.
St. Louis at New York Giants (-3), 1 p.m. on Sunday
Like it or not, one of these teams is going to be 3-1 after this week. Each of these clubs is putting up serious offensive numbers, with New York averaging 30 points per game and St. Louis putting up 24.3. The Rams are 2-7 ATS in their last nine away games, and the Giants are 5-1 ATS in their last six games.
The Giants had some team dissension this week. Plexico Burress was benched for the first quarter of New York's loss to San Diego Sunday night by Tom Coughlin for tardiness to team meetings the week before. Both Burress and Jeremy Shockey came out in the media and criticized the move as "unfair" after the game. A comment like that isn't surprising coming from two guys who have displayed their immaturity over and over again throughout their young, underachieving careers.
San Francisco at Arizona (-3), in Mexico City, 8 p.m. on Sunday
As you can see, I think these are two of the worst teams in the league. However, I do think that this is an opportunity to for some people to cash in. Arizona is the favorite even though they've been absolutely terrible thus far. The main reasons they're favored - because they're the "home" team, and because they're severely due for a win. However, they've been blasted twice, and lost a "real" home game to St. Louis. Kurt Warner is out, meaning the Josh McCown shit-show is back in business. They can't run the ball, can't stop anyone, and they can't finish drives (though kicker Neil Rackers is a fantasy stud).
San Francisco, on the other hand, did get blasted by Philadelphia and did choke against Dallas. But they at least have a win, and only lost by three to a good Dallas squad. They're building confidence, and their front seven has shown an ability to get to the quarterback (11 sacks). Also, it's supposed to rain all day in Mexico City on Sunday, meaning sloppy conditions. I'm not trying to openly campaign for the 49ers (don't underestimate Arizona's Due Factor) but I'm just saying not to completely dismiss this game.
Week 4 NFL Power Rankings1) Indianapolis Colts (3-0) - If they hold the Titans to single digits, they'll join the 1962 Packers as the only teams to achieve that feat in their first four games. But, statistically, the Colts are only 21st (322 yards per) in the NFL.
2) New England Patriots (2-1) - Seventh most penalties, 30th in rushing, and now they're down a defensive leader and a starting lineman. The Pats have the league right where they want them.
3) Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1) - I know they like to pound the ball, but they have to at least attempt to get Willie Parker outside and in space at least once or twice a game.
4) Philadelphia Eagles (2-1) - The Eagles offense (444 yards per game) is tops in the league, even though McNabb has been playing hurt since opening week. The main reason: free-agent-to-be Brian Westbrook.
5) Cincinnati Bengals (3-0) - They are dominating time of possession (35 to 25) and swarming on defense. It doesn't hurt when Carson Palmer is completing 71 percent of his passes.
6) Jacksonville Jaguars (2-1) - The Jags look and play like San Diego and the Jets did last season. And like those teams, kicker Josh Scobee (7-for-9) will play an important role in this team's fate.
7) Atlanta Falcons (2-1) - Top rushing team is averaging 187 yards per game on the ground, and are earning 5.3 yards per carry. They should walk through Minnesota's D. However, their secondary is gutted, and the Vikings could shred through it.
8) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-0) - The most important thing about Cadillac running the ball so well is that is sets up third-and-short. The result: the Bucs are converting 49 percent of their third downs.
9) Denver Broncos (2-1) - On the flip side, the Broncos are scoring 20 points per game, but they're only converting 25 percent of their third downs.
10) Washington Redskins (2-0) - It will be interesting to see if the bye week stunted their momentum, or gave them time to regroup and work the kinks out of the offense.
11) Kansas City Chiefs (2-1) - Trent Green took more shots on Monday night than I think he's taken over the past four years. Their home-field edge will be tested by Philly.
12) Dallas Cowboys (2-1) - Looks like Parcells' guys might have a little left in the tank after all, eh? They just better make sure they don't blow their load too early in the season.
13) Carolina Panthers (1-2) - If they're really a Super Bowl contender they will thrash an inferior Green Bay squad in primetime on Monday Night.
14) Seattle Seahawks (2-1) - Ho-hum. The Seahawks are second in total offense (399 per game) and eighth in total defense (283 per). But they still have to prove they can win on the road.
15) Miami Dolphins (2-1) - It's still too early to get too excited. As maligned as their offensive line has been, they've only surrendered two sacks thus far.
16) San Diego Chargers (1-2) - This team is in a great position to pick up a road win, but only if they aggressively attack a decimated Patriots defense.
17) St. Louis Rams (2-1) - These guys are still a sloppy mess. However, they have one mark of a good team: defensively they're stopping teams on third down 75 percent of the time.
18) New York Giants (2-1) - Well, this isn't your father's G-Men. They score in bunches (30.7 per game) and they can't stop anybody (408 yards given up per game).
19) Chicago Bears (1-2) - Any game that Kyle Orton has to throw the ball 39 times the Bears are going to lose. It's such a shame that this outstanding defense is getting wasted on such a piss-poor offense.
20) Detroit Lions (1-1) - Well, Motor City Kitties, what team do you want to be? Overachievers or underachievers?
21) Buffalo Bills (1-2) - They were porous against the run (174 per) even before losing TKO, and the offense is getting restless. They're throwing for only 100 yards per game, and both Eric Moulds and Lee Evans voiced displeasure about it this week.
22) New York Jets (1-2) - Is the Brooks Bollinger Era over before it begins? It wasn't really an NFL season until Vinny Testaverde was involved. OK, now everyone can start playing for real.
23) Baltimore Ravens (0-2) - For their sake, they better have regrouped during the bye week. They need a win over the Jets just to get back into the AFC North race.
24) Tennessee Titans (1-2) - The Titans were aware that Travis Henry was in the league's substance abuse policy before they traded for him, so the suspension shouldn't be too big of a surprise.
25) Minnesota Vikings (1-2) - Offensive coordinator Steve Loney is still calling the plays, kind of. Loney gives them to Tice, who relays them to Culpepper. Tice did change some calls during Sunday's win over New Orleans.
26) New Orleans Saints (1-2) - I know they have excuses, but having the second-worst turnover ratio (-7) and the worst penalty numbers (12 per game) is just sloppiness.
27) Oakland Raiders (0-3) - The front seven has played well, but they wear down in the fourth quarter in part because the offense is 28th in time of possession (27:41). They've had a brutal schedule so far.
28) Cleveland Browns (1-2) - Their offense is only on the field for 26 minutes a game. I bet the Ravens wish they still had Trent Dilfer (who is completing 67% of his passes).
29) San Francisco 49ers (1-2) - Though playing at home, Tim Rattay had to move out of the shotgun and under center last week against Dallas because Cowboys fans were too loud.
30) Houston Texans (0-2) - The Texans reshuffled their deck during the bye week. They better hope for a good hand against a Cincinnati team that's dealing.
31) Green Bay Packers (0-3) - A -8 turnover differential is the NFL equivalent of moldy cheese.
32) Arizona Cardinals (0-3) - It's amazing that the media-savvy NFL execs really picked the Cardinals and Niners to go to Mexico and represent the league in a new market. How do you say "McCown sucks!" in Spanish?
Questions or comments for Robert? e-mail email@example.com.