With Week 4 approaching, we should be settled into the NFL season. We definitely have a clearer understanding of teams, athletes and the way they are used. This week also gives us the first bye weeks of the year, with the New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans taking the week off.
Another change in this week’s schedule is the Miami Dolphins hosting the New York Jets at Wembley Stadium in London. It’s an early-morning Sunday matchup, so get your Picks in early if you plan to use any Dolphins or Jets.
Here are some Picks I like this week:
Michael Vick (QB) will have at least 300 passing yards
Perhaps the biggest fallout of Week 3 was the knee injury to Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who is on the shelf for several weeks and is being replaced by Vick. Injuries always provide an opportunity for us with Picks, and Vick should be able to take advantage in his first start.
Thursday games are typically low-offensive affairs and Vick is getting ready for his first start with Pittsburgh on a short week. But the Steelers are home and Vick has a variety of players at his disposal in the passing game, such as receiver Antonio Brown, tight end Heath Miller, a resurgent Darrius Heyward-Bey, and a reliable pass catcher out of the backfield in Le’Veon Bell.
Also, the Ravens have been torched through the air the past two weeks by Oakland’s Derek Carr and Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton. Baltimore has allowed at least 350 yards passing the past two weeks and have the league’s fourth-worst pass defense after losing top pass rusher Terrell Suggs.
Suggestion: 15 Points x 4.00 Offer = 54.25 Return
Derek Carr (QB) will have more passing touchdowns than Peyton Manning
We saw Carr light up the Ravens and then do the same last week against the Cleveland Browns. We’re not looking at two stellar defenses, but Carr has another good matchup this week. Chicago’s yardage numbers against opposing quarterbacks looks good on the surface but the scoring numbers show the true story. The Bears have allowed eight passing touchdowns this season.
Plenty has been made about Manning’s dip, his age and his strange fit with coach Gary Kubiak’s offense. The Broncos have shown they can still pass the past two weeks and are adaptable to Manning’s strengths. But Denver’s offensive line has been a mess and in comes Minnesota, who has battered Matthew Stafford and Philip Rivers in back-to-back weeks.
The Broncos and Vikings, much to surprise, could be a defensive showdown with two fierce pass-rushing units, while Carr should have plenty of opportunities.
Suggestion: 25 Points x 4.00 Offer = 100.00 Return
Amari Cooper (WR) will have at least 125 receiving yards.
We’re picking on Chicago for the third-straight week, with good reason. The Bears might have the league’s worst defense, as they are allowing a league-high 35 points per game. Sticking with Oakland against Chicago, I’ll take Carr’s top weapon, rookie receiver Amari Cooper.
We saw last year that rookie receivers could come in and contribute right away, and Cooper is showing plenty of polish and doesn’t look the part of an NFL freshman. Last week, Cooper had 134 receiving yards against Cleveland’s Joe Haden, who is regarded as one of the league’s top cover cornerbacks. Cooper has put up at least 100 yards in two straight weeks and should make it three against the Bears.
Suggestion: 25 Points x 6.06 Offer = 151.50 Return
Melvin Gordon (RB) will have at least 100 rushing yards
The rookie running back from Wisconsin has had trouble getting going in his first NFL season and had just 51 yards rushing last week against Minnesota. Expect Gordon’s breakout game to come this week against the Cleveland Browns.
San Diego coach Mike McCoy said the team needs more from its rushing attack after last week’s loss, and Gordon will be the player to help McCoy and the offense. Gordon has had between 14 and 16 carries each week. In a close game against Cleveland, Gordon could top 20 carries. The Browns also happen to be the league’s worst run defense, allowing 158.3 yards per game.
Suggestion: 25 Points x 6.06 Offer = 151.50 Return
Richard Sherman (DEF) and Earl Thomas will combine for at least one interception
I tried out the Seattle Seahawks’ secondary last week, with no luck. I thought Sherman, who had 24 interceptions the past four seasons, would get his first of the year against Chicago. I’m going back to the same spot this week, with some insurance of safety Earl Thomas added in.
Through three games, Seattle is still looking for its first interception as a team. It could come this week against Matthew Stafford of Detroit on Monday night. Something to watch for on Monday night; Stafford will be under plenty of pressure at Seattle, the noise will be an issue, and Stafford has already thrown five interceptions in three games this season. Typically careless with the ball, Stafford will likely let one get away this week, too, against a Seahawks’ defense that disrupted the Bears plenty last week.
Suggestion: 10 Points x 4.00 Offer = 40.00 Return