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Ace Tackles Week 4

Man, is the NFL great or what?
What other sport can get away with that poor quality of a product, and still be so popular and not lose ratings, but gain them. Of course, I am talking about the fiasco that happened Monday night in Seattle, which will forever go down as “the game” of the replacement ref era. Seriously, I mean the two refs looked at each other in agreement about the call, only to put up two different signals for the outcome of the play. Crazy.
Is it as “crazy” as some of these records, though?
Saints are 0-3.
Patriots are 1-2
Packers are 1-2
Cardinals are 3-0
Browns are 0-3.
OK, so maybe the last one isn’t a surprise, but the Vikings behind Christian Ponder beat what everyone considered the best team in the NFL last week. Without a doubt the NFL has as much parody now than ever before. That fact showed last week, as this blog got smoked with its predictions. Last week this blog went an awful 4-12 in straight up pick’em, and 5-11 ATS. What was interesting is that the underdog covered or straight up won 11 of the 16 games last week. Parody at its finest indeed.
Will that trend continue in week four? Only time will tell, but here are my picks to show you my opinion on the matter.

BROWNS @ RAVENS (-12.5)
The Ravens and Pats hooked up in a very physical and emotional game on Sunday Night, hours after the Browns were back at their homes on their couch following the defeat to the Bills. This is the wrong week for the Ravens to play on a Thursday Night after such a mentally draining game, but luckily the winless Browns come into town for the Ravens third home night game of the season. I think those factors, along with the parody phenomenon mentioned earlier, help the Browns keep it close early, but at the end of the day I can not persuade myself to pick a rookie QB playing one of the top defenses in the league, short week or not. Prediction: RAVENS over Browns 30-20.

PANTHERS @ FALCONS (-7)
The first three games point to this being a rout at home for the Falcons. Atlanta is the best team in the NFL right now, and remains my pick to win the Super Bowl. I believe they will be this year’s team that makes an undefeated push into the second half of the season. I am kicking myself for not going with my gut last week, and picking Norv Turner to be the coach that ruins Atlanta’s undefeated bid. Carolina is coming off extra rest, but the way Cam Newton is playing right now, one mistake on the road in a hostile environment can turn into a snowball effect. Atlanta wins this one big. They’re biggest concern should be keeping their players out of jail right now after two arrests in two weeks, because they are rolling on the field. Prediction: FALCONS over Panthers 30-17.

PATRIOTS (-4) @ BILLS
Remember when some experts thought the Pats could go 16-0? Yikes. Right now, they are just trying to right the ship, but you better believe their focus will be at an all-time high, as they risk falling to 1-3 to a division opponent in their second of back to back road games. This game certainly depends on the health of both the Bills starting running backs however, as they may need the big play threat to keep up with New England, who is still scoring almost four touchdowns a game. The Bills built their D to matchup as well as possible with the Pats O, and this will be the first true test to find out whether or not the money shelled out in the offseason was worth it. The Pats O-line has struggled so far, as Brady has been sacked seven times in three games. They are also missing a very valuable asset in Aaron Hernandez still, which helps Buffalo. While these matchups certainly play in Buffalo’s favor, the most important stat may be that the Pats, who are 14-1 against the Bills in their last 15 meetings, have not lost three straight in a whole decade dating back to ’02. The homer in me, however, is going to ignore that stat. Prediction: BILLS over Pats 28-27.

CHARGERS @ CHIEFS (OFF)
Right now this is a pick’em game. I am not a fan of either of these teams at the moment, but this should be an evenly match division rivalry game. The Chiefs have a well documented very tough home field advantage, but I think the Chargers D will be the difference in this game. I do not see San Diego’s 4th ranked run D allowing the same production as New Orleans did last week vs. Jamaal Charles. That, coupled with a banged up Peyton Hillis, means if the Chiefs are going to win this game, it will be done via the arm of Matt Cassel. This just in, you should not want to have the game lie in the hands of Matt Cassel. Prediction: CHARGERS over Chiefs 24-20.

SEAHAWKS (-3) @ RAMS
So much for the Rams putting up a fight in Chicago last week. Sheesh. It made me never want to give them credit again, but then I remembered the Seahawks are playing on short rest, and are not the same team away from home. Plus, we all know they should be 1-2 just like the Rams. This is a coin flip in my eyes between two bad teams. In the end however, maybe Seattle’s pass rush from last week gets transferred to St. Louis, who has given up 12 sacks to Sam Bradford in just three games. Seahawks improve to 3-1, but they still don’t scare me for when they visit the Bills in Toronto in December. Prediction: SEAHAWKS over Rams 20-17.

TITANS @ TEXANS (-12.5)
A lot of people are saying the Texans are the best team in the AFC. I am not buying that yet, as I want to see them beat a team like the Ravens or Pats before I give them that distinction. Until then, they are just very very good, and not elite. Very very good teams at home usually beat not very good teams pretty easily however, and Tennessee may be one of the worst teams in the NFL. I will pay anyone reading this $100 if Locker can throw for 378 yards agin this week against a very good Texans D. Houston will continue to feed off the weak in this one to improve to 4-0. Prediction: TEXANS over Titans 27-17.

RAIDERS @ BRONCOS (-6.5)
I said numerous times this summer that Peyton Manning is not a top 10 QB in this league anymore. Some experts thought otherwise, going as far as saying they are a SUPER BOWL TEAM! (Peter King, I’m looking at you) Listen, anything can certainly happen in this league, but right now I think most people would lean towards agreeing with me over Peter. The Raiders however have looked out of sorts at times, and their D is allowing almost 400 yards a game. Peyton may not be what he use to be, but he is still better than Carson Palmer. Prediction: BRONCOS over Raiders 27-23.

DOLPHINS @ CARDS (-6.5)
I can’t believe the Cards are 6.5 point favorites to go 4-0. Kevin Kolb, who wasn’t even good enough to beat out John Skelton, is their quarterback for goodness sake! Any game where Kolb and a rookie receiver transformed into quarterback are starting, packaged with two above average defenses has the makings of an ugly game, and that is exactly what I think this will be. In the end, the rookie Tannehill does not improve on his 1/5 TD/INT ratio, and falls to the Cards at home. Prediction: CARDS over Dolphins 20-16.

BENGALS (-2.5) @ JAGS
Once again, I am not too high on either of these teams, and think both will finish with losing records. The two AFC teams have combined to give up 830 yards per game to opposing offenses. I think the Jags will try and pound MJD against the Bengals porous D, but I still do not have the faith in Blaine Gabbert. I also think BenJarvus Green-Ellis aka the “law firm” could be in line for a career day against a Jags team avg 155 yards allowed on the ground. Prediction: BENGALS over jags 24-17.

SAINTS @ PACKERS (-7.5)
Start Aaron Rodgers in fantasy. That is all that needs to be said here. The Packers will come out with something to prove in this one after what happened Monday night. That should be easy against a Saints team allowing 477 yards per game. Both teams enter desperation mode, but only one can come out with a win, and my money is on the team that doesn’t have their head coach suspended. Rodgers and co. will put on a show in Lambeau. Prediction: PACKERS over Saints 38-24

REDSKINS @ BUCS (-3)
Well, at least my upset of the week pick last week in the Bucs covered. They had Dallas on the ropes, and proved that their D is better than the week two routing they gave up to Eli in the Meadowlands. I still believe in RG3 being able to put up points in bunches however, and I think that even though the Bucs should have no problem doing the same against a ‘skins D that is banged up, RG3 makes one more play than the pitiful Josh Freeman. Prediction: REDSKINS over Bucs 34-31

GIANTS @ EAGLES (-2)
This should be a good game, and the two high profile quarterbacks should be right in the center of the outcome, as America will watch how two particular trends develop in the Sunday Night game. Eli Manning has been on fire in the last two games, while Michael Vick has no idea how to protect the football right now. How that leads to the Eagles being favored I do not know, but turnovers will once again be the key in this one. It should be a close battle, but right now I see the Giants giving Eli one more drive with a short field, which is something that right now he will take advantage of. Prediction: GIANTS over Eagles 27-20.

BEARS @ COWBOYS (-3.5)
This is a matchup right now between two top ten defenses in terms of points allowed. With that being said both teams will need to protect the ball in order to come out victorious in this one. If I had to pick which QB will commit more turnovers between Cutler, and well anyone, I would pick against Cutler. However, Dallas has only one pick in three game, compared to Chicago’s six. That stat right there will be the difference in the Bears going into Jerry’s world on Monday Night and stealing one from their NFC opponent in a close matchup. Prediction: BEARS over Cowboys 23-20

“Lock of the week”
49ERS (-4) @ JETS

How lucky are the Jets that they escaped Miami with a win? The more I watch this team the more I am convinced they are not good at all and simply match up great vs. the Bills. Luckily for anyone who hates the Jets like me however, the 49ers are a completely different team than the Bills. That physical D will give Mark Sanchez fits to the point where I can see this being “the game” that the Tebow era begins for the Jets. No Revis will also obviously hurt the Jets here, especially considering they are somehow confident in having Joe McKnight, yeah you know, the RUNNING BACK, play significant time at corner for them. Give me a break Rex. Who do you think you are, “the hoodie?” If the Niners can avoid a dud because it will be a 10AM pacific kickoff, then this game shouldn’t even be close. Prediction: 49ERS over Jets 27-13

“Upset of the week”
VIKINGS @ LIONS (-5)

As afore mentioned, the Vikings win over the 49ers was the staple of the parody theory. Can they do it again on the road vs. a Lions team who is coming off their own heartbreaking loss? That answer in my eyes depends 100% on whether or not Matthew Stafford plays. Yes, Sean Hill is a good backup QB, but Stafford threw for 5,000 yards last year, and will be the reason the Lions win or lose on an almost weekly basis. I am taking the upset here and am saying he does not play, or if he does play, plays poorly. A hip injury is not one you want to have as a quarterback, as it helps you drive the ball with velocity. Vikings take advantage of that and pull off another upset. Prediction: VIKINGS over Lions 26-24

Remember, this week is the first with byes, as the Steelers and Colts both are off. Let’s see if Ace’s Advice has some better results this week at the window than last.

Thanks for reading and remember to always bet responsibly, but most importantly, GO BILLS!

-Ace

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