NFL Office Pool Picks Week 4
by Trevor Whenham - 9/23/2014
After a completely haywire week of games two weeks ago, last week's action made a whole lot more sense. Now we are entering into a new phase of the season - -six teams enjoy their bye week this week, so there are only 13 games to pick. That can be good news for our office pools, though it does mean that there is less margin for error. Here's how I see this week's slimmer roster of games playing out:
New York Giants at Washington: All hail Kirk Cousins! Washington lost last week, but it became very clear that Robert Griffin III should not be the quarterback. What a fall from grace. The Giants are coming off a win, but they benefited from a truly horrifying display of quarterbacking from the Texans. This is a step up in class, and they are not ready for it. Take the Redskins.
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Green Bay at Chicago: I would have liked to have seen more from the Bears in the second half on Monday night, but they had already done what they needed to do. They are coming off two solid games in a row and are playing good football. The Packers, meanwhile, look out of sync and frustrated. They will figure things out at some point, but until they do take the Bears.
Buffalo at Houston: Houston was just horrible offensively last week -- especially in the first half. Buffalo is strong enough to give the Texans more issues. It's scary picking a team with issues on the road, but it is the right thing to do here. Take the Bills.
Tennessee at Indianapolis: I have defended Jake Locker for a long time after being a big fan coming out of college, but my patience is wearing thin. He just isn't progressing like he should. He's outclassed again here, and it isn't going to end well. Take the Colts.
Carolina at Baltimore: The Panthers have been a big disappointment for me this year -- especially last week. They were so solid last year, but they botched the offseason, and there are issues galore. Baltimore has both distractions galore and injuries to deal with, but it hasn't mattered the last two weeks. Take the Ravens.
Detroit at New York Jets: Geno Smith was a liability on Monday night, and his issues are not the kind that get remedied quickly -- or potentially at all. Detroit's first road trip was a disaster, but the matchups are decent here, and I like their chances of being able to move the ball through the air. Take the Lions.
Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh: I wanted to believe in the Bucs this year, and I wasn't alone. Lovie Smith is talented, but he is proving that he isn't a miracle worker. There are too many issues to count here -- including an injured QB. I don't love much about the Steelers right now, and they have serious injury issues on defense. Still, they are playing the Bucs. Take the Steelers.
Miami at Oakland: This is a tougher game to call than it should be. Oakland has offensive challenges, but they were surprisingly effective defensively last week against the Patriots. Miami has been lousy the last two weeks, and reports indicate that the relationship between QB and coach is far from stellar. I didn't think I would say this all year, but take the Raiders.
Jacksonville at San Diego: The Chargers are a team I was very optimistic about coming into the season, and the last two weeks have only strengthened that feeling. The Jaguars, meanwhile, have been disappointingly awful, and Blake Bortles is not going to be able to remedy that in the short term. Take the Chargers.
Atlanta at Minnesota: I hate this game. I am either forced to trust Teddy Bridgewater in his first start, playing without the security blanket of a running game worth talking about, or a Falcons team that shows up only when it feels like it. I have to go with the clear talent edge here, but I don't like it. Take the Falcons.
Philadelphia at San Francisco: A month ago this would have been an easy game to pick. It still is. All that has changed is the team to back. The Niners have been lousy on defense -- absences are really hurting them. Their offense has looked out of sorts as well. Philadelphia starts slow, but when they get rolling they are very impressive. Take the Eagles.
New Orleans at Dallas: Something is wrong with the Saints on offense. Their only trick seems to be to force it to Jimmy Graham. It's predictable and underwhelming. Dallas' defense can help any team get back on track, though. Take the Saints.
New England at Kansas City: The Patriots tried their hardest to lose to the Raiders last week, and their thoroughly underwhelming offense has again been exposed. They don't have a deep threat, and Rob Gronkowski just isn't good enough right now. Kansas City has not been lousy the last two weeks, and they are home now. I'll gamble and take the Chiefs.
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