2013 Week 4 Review & Week 5 Picks
Week 4 Review (Week 3-2-0, Season 8-10-2)
Outside of the Chicago game, Week 4 unfolded largely as expected. Kansas City looked dominant, New England won outright (though Atlanta did move the ball well), New Orleans' defense tamed Miami at home while Brees and company wracked up points, and Tampa Bay's defense continued to be great, though some questionable coaching decisions down the stretch cost them the game. Going forward, we continue to like KC, but would like to see them beat some better teams, we think New England is hugely undervalued, and we believe New Orleans might just be unbeatable at home. On the other hand, we have to unfortunately stay away from Tampa Bay who is just too inept offensively to back. Furthermore, we think Chicago may have been exposed a bit at Detroit, showing some scary flashes of the poor pass protection and high volume of turnovers that used to define them.
Week 5 Picks
Cleveland -3.5 vs Buffalo
Just two weeks ago it seemed as if Cleveland had given up on their season, but now, it looks like they may be a moneyball team in the making. They loaded up on pass rushers in the off-season and now have a top 10 defense, even against the run. They traded away a star running back, and yet are getting similar production--albeit very minimal production--from a stable of nobodies. Then of course there is Brian Hoyer who has played aggressively and with the confidence of a long time starter. Finally, the emergence of Jordan Cameron and the return of Josh Gordon have made this offense a passible compliment to a great defense. On the other hand, Buffalo has not been good on the road and is hobbled at RB. We expect Cleveland to shut down the run, Joe Haden to shut down Stevie Johnson, and force the rookie combo of Manuel and Woods to beat them on the road, on a short week, in primetime. Long odds indeed.
Miami -3 (EV) vs Baltimore
For the last few years, Baltimore has been great at home and below average on the road. That dynamic is holding true this year, and as a result, Baltimore is getting too much backing after destroying Houston 2 weeks ago at home. Similarly, Miami isn't getting enough backing following a primetime loss versus at New Orleans (i.e. the place where Drew Brees has won 9 straight MNF games). We think Miami should win by more than 3, and like the value here.
New England +1 @ Cincinnati
New England looked great at Atlanta while Cincinnati struggled against Cleveland, making this line a little surprising. Most likely, it is the result of the Wilfork injury, which is a tremendous loss. At the same time, we think that Wilfork should be more replaceable in this multiple front defense than he was in years past when New England ran a 3-4. We think this game will be closer than the Atlanta game, but still like a sneaky good New England team to win outright on the road.
Philadelphia +1 (+105) @ New York
Philadelphia's defense is bad, but New York's is terrible. Furthermore, Philadelphia has played a significantly more difficult schedule and yet has still looked much better. The run heavy Philadelphia offense should have no trouble moving the ball against the 28th ranked rushing defense in the NFL. While we do think New York will score more points than in weeks past, we also believe that this team has way too many issues on both lines to be a favorite in any game.
Denver -6.5 (125) @ Dallas
In general, it is not advisable to lay almost a touchdown on the road, but Denver is a team for whom home field doesn't seem to matter and Dallas is a team that has historically been bad at home. But of course, that is just a minor reason to like Denver in this game. It is a given, that Denver will score points, but on top of that, we think Dallas may be overrated after reevaluating their wins against hapless New York and 1-3 St. Louis. The only impressive game for Big D may have been their close road loss to Kansas City. Eventually we will begin to fade Denver, but right now they are just too good..