Week four was another rough one for my predictions, so hopefully after a few difficult weeks I’m able to get back on track. The interesting thing of note from this early portion in the NFL season is how some of the teams with the best records are winning so far. Despite the focus being on the ever increasing passing games, defense has continued to win games. Just look at the Broncos, Vikings and Eagles for example. All three teams remain undefeated, and while they’ve put up some points their defense has been what sets them apart. It will be an interesting trend to follow as the first quarter of the season is now in the books.
Last week: 7-8, Season: 34-29
Last week against the spread: 78, Season: 30-33
Game of the weak: Titans vs Dolphins: Not only is this a game between two struggling teams, but it features two young quarterbacks who have had their struggles. Now in his fifth year, Ryan Tannehill’s are more explainable. The odds are that this might just be what he is as a quarterback. On the other spectrum is Marcus Mariota, who had flashes of brilliance as a rookie last season and has statistically been one of the worst starters to this point in 2016.
Mariota couldn’t of regressed to this extent so quickly, so my guess is this falls on scheme fit. Mike Mularkey has unveiled “exotic smashmouth” to start the year and while DeMarco Murray has had success, it significantly hinders the strengths of the Titans potential franchise quarterback. Having an offense in today’s NFL based on the quarterback lined up under center and running every other down is the NBA equivalent of centering your offense around iso ball and long twos in an era of pace and space. Essentially, Mularkey’s offense is stuck in 2003. This is even more so the case when Mariota has still shown those flashes when the offense picks up tempo and he can line up in wide formations like he showed last year and during his time in Oregon. Unless Mularkey is willing to adjust to his quarterback’s strengths, this should be another long year in Nashville. Titans 16 Dolphins (-3.5) 23
Game of the week: Falcons vs Broncos: We don’t know if this is an annual Kyle Shanahan offensive scheme that peaks this time of year yet, but to date the Falcons offense has been ridiculous. through four weeks. Heck Matt Ryan is averaging over 10 yards an attempt so far that’s almost unheard of at the pro level.
Now, they have obviously their toughest challenge to date facing the undefeated Broncos and their vaunted defense. To this point we don’t know if Trevor Siemian will be healthy enough to go or if Paxton Lynch will make his first career start. Despite that, the Broncos even against a potent offensive attack probably only need to put up 20 to 24 points and win 90 percent of the time with the defense they have. Falcons 20 Broncos (-5.5) 24
Redskins 21 Ravens (-4.5) 26
Patriots 35 Browns (+10.5) 23
Eagles 23 Lions (+3.5) 17
Bears 20 Colts (-4.5) 24
Texans 16 Vikings (-6.5) 23
Jets 17 Steelers (-7.5) 28
Bengals 26 Cowboys (+1.5) 20
Bills 14 Rams (-2.5) 17
Chargers 21 Raiders (-3.5) 26
Giants 20 Packers (-7.5) 28
Buccaneers 21 Panthers (-7.5) 31