NFL week 4 open thread

Jazz: We interrupt this message for a brief editorial note from the HR department.

HELP WANTED:
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Part time opening for moderately talented writer with at least a passable knowledge of the NFL. Duties will involved writing a single blog article per week on Sundays for the duration of the NFL season. Qualified candidate will need to be able to randomly guess the correct outcome of at least two out of seven NFL games of their choice for that week. Current job occupant has proven unqualified. No reasonable offer refused.

#Sigh. Last week I managed to go 2-5, sinking to 7-12 for the season. The only game Ed lost, on the other hand, was where he joined me in thinking that the Jets could actually go 3-0. (Spoiler alert… they couldn’t.) It’s going to take a lot of doing to claw my way back into this unless my new strategy involves putting LSD in Ed’s Peeps supply. Failing that I may have to start picking cricket games.

Ed: Aren’t Peeps already hallucinogenic? Those wild colors, man … groovy. My 6-1 week brings my season record to 16-4, even though my book project has kept me from keeping a close eye on the games. (It’s almost ready for production; GOING RED from Crown Forum will come out next April.) Jazz is at 6-14, which is a slow start but not unrecoverable. The two games I got to watch this past week were the Broncos spanking the Lions, and the Steelers somehow trying to take the foot out of football.

Jazz: We’re not going to include either of the “home teams” in the picks this week. The Steelers already put on a Jetsesque performance on Thursday night against Ravens, so that saves Ed a loss. The Jets will have already played by the time this post goes live because the NFL is still stupidly sending teams to London to play with massive jet lag (no pun intended) and this week it’s New York’s turn in the barrel there against the Dolphins. So we’ll pick the Vikings game and five more below this. Minnesota visits the Broncos (4:25 pm FOX) this week and they’re coming into it as a seven point underdog. Adrian Peterson looks pretty good but that’s not enough magic to take out the entire defense. Denver doesn’t look quite as awesome as predicted during the preseason but I think they’re up to the task here. I’ll take the Broncos 24-17.

Ed: As I write this, I notice that the Jets are leading the Fins in London in the second quarter, so Jazz may have a better day than he realizes. The Vikings won’t be so fortunate on the road. Denver has the league’s top-ranked defense overall, and they’re sixth against the run. Minnesota has the last-ranked passing offense, which will be a big problem if the Broncos stop Peterson. The Vikings’ D is only 17th overall and 16th against the pass, and Peyton Manning looks like he woke up against the Lions last week. Broncos 35-17 over the Vikings.

Jazz: Here are the other five games for this week. (All times eastern)

  • Texans at Falcons (1:00 pm, CBS) – Houston is off to a 1-2 start and they are playing undefeated Atlanta on their turf. On top of that, Julio Jones has been on fire. I’ll pick Atlanta to go 4-0 beating the Texans 31-22.
  • Eagles at Redskins (1:00 pm, FOX) – Philadelphia is coming into Washington a three point favorite somehow, though they’ve only managed to beat the Jets so far this year. Kirk Cousins is looking good, but the rest of the team isn’t really holding up their end. Both of these teams are 1-2 but I’ll pick the Eagles to make it to .500 this week beating the Skins 27-19.
  • Packers at 49ers (4:25 pm, FOX) – Green Bay is undefeated and the much heralded 49ers are at a paltry 1-2. I really want to pull the trigger on a massive upset here with the 49ers at home so I’ll open the door for another easy pick for Ed. San Fran for their second win over Green Bay 27-24.
  • Cowboys at Saints (8:30 pm, NBC) – The Sunday night game features the Saints who have somehow yet to win a game. They are hosting the 2-1 Cowboys but Dallas doesn’t look as good as their record. This one is nearly a tossup in Vegas, but I don’t see New Orleans starting the season 0-4. Saints over Dallas 31-28.
  • Lions at Seahawks (Monday 8:30 pm, ESPN) – There’s no reason to pick this game other than it being the Monday night match up. Seattle doesn’t look anywhere near as good as they were expected to be and their 1-2 record is well earned. But the Lions are simply awful and Matthew Stafford might as well be moved to the practice squad. I’ll go with Seattle in a blowout 31-13.

Ed:

  • Texans at Falcons (1:00 pm, CBS) – Atlanta’s playing at home with their 5th-ranked offense against Houston’s 12th-ranked defense. The flip side, though, is that Atlanta’s D is only ranked 21st, while Houston’s offense is 15th. I think it’ll be closer than Jazz does, but the outcome will be the same — 27-24, Atlanta.
  • Eagles at Redskins (1:00 pm, FOX) – The Eagles finally showed up last week, but they still have the 31st-ranked O. Washington’s offense is in the top half of the league, and they have the 2nd-ranked defense. I’m picking the Redskins in this one, 21-16, in a plodder.
  • Packers at 49ers (4:25 pm, FOX) – Jazz is kidding, right? Green Bay is not quite as good as its undefeated record shows, but San Francisco just isn’t very good at all. The Pack will come back with a 38-20 win.
  • Cowboys at Saints (8:30 pm, NBC) – The irony here is that the Saints were probably better without Drew Brees than the Cowboys were without Tony Romo, even though most people would choose Brees over Romo head to head. Brees is listed as probable today, so we should expect to see him taking control of the game early. Saints 31, Cowboys 24.
  • Lions at Seahawks (Monday 8:30 pm, ESPN) – The Lions actually looked better last week, but got outclassed by the Broncos and its improving offense. Seattle’s offense looks mediocre so far this year, but its defense is #3 in the NFL, and they’re playing at home. I’ll go with the Seahawks in a low-scoring game, 21-10.
Ed Morrissey Nov 29, 2021 8:25 AM ET