NFL Bold Predictions; Week 4
The Lions and Vikings will combine for over 80 total points
Holy smokes Case Keenum! The veteran stepped in again for an injured Sam Bradford and delivered a whopping 369 yards and 3 touchdowns, a stat line that no bold prediction could’ve foreseen. Despite being associated with their defensive prowess, the Vikings currently rank 2nd in total offense, a position that I don’t see wavering too much considering their dynamic receiver duo, versatile rookie running back, and red zone guru tight end.
The Vikings host the aerial assault of the Lions, a team that has been driven by an impressive Matthew Stafford. Detroit’s quarterback has been much maligned for inconsistent accuracy and poor decision-making. Although Stafford has made regrettable plays in the past, his arm strength and sheer talent to push the ball have never been questioned. The elite (yes I feel comfortable giving him that title) quarterback has an improved offensive line and one more weapon with rookie Kenny Golladay.
This Sunday in Minnesota, both offenses will lean heavily on their passing attacks because, beyond Darius Slay and Xavier Rhodes, their defensive backs are fairly unimpressive. Minnesota will set the tone with a few drives ending in touchdowns (at least one coming from Stefon Diggs), which will force Stafford to air it out. Ultimately, both offenses will be forced into pass-heavy schemes to stay competitive. The final score… 42 to 38, Lions for the win!
The Rams upset the Cowboys with a game-winning drive
This game will be another test for the Rams, one that will determine if they’re true contenders for the NFC West title (I already think they are because the Seahawks have looked terrible in the first few weeks). Jared Goff and company head into Dallas to face the still efficient Cowboys. Although the Boys are clearly the favored to win this game, I wouldn’t count out the Rams just yet.
Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott will play like their usual selves, score a handful of touchdowns after methodic and extended drives. However, the surprise will come from Goff, Todd Gurley, and their 7th ranked offense. The budding tandem will mount a pair of TD possessions in the second half, both of which will come off the heels of defensive stops from an Aaron Donald reinforced defense.
With the game all knotted up at 28, Goff will orchestrate a balanced drive down the field, which an exhausted Dallas defense (one that struggled against Carson Palmer) won’t be able to stop. In the waning minutes of the play clock, Greg Zuerlein will punch through the game-winning field goal. Despite the strong performances from Prescott and Elliot, it’s going to be Goff’s 350 yards and 3 touchdowns that will draw the attention of fans and analysts abound.
Tarik Cohen and Jordan Howard finish with 100+ yards from scrimmage each and 3 total touchdowns against the Packers
There isn’t a lot to like from the Bears this season. They’re likely to finish near the bottom of the standings along with the Jets and the 49ers. However, their lone bright spot is the backfield. The tandem of Cohen and Howard are basically the entirety of Chicago’s offense. The two young backs are fast, strong (more so Howard, but don’t underestimate Cohen), and great pass-catchers.
This Thursday the duo travels to Green Bay to continue the long legacy of their divisional rivalry. The Packers defense has had impressive showings but still struggles to contain their NFC North foes (they gave up 27 to the Bears in their last contest). Also, they’ve had difficulty stopping dynamic running backs in the early goings of the season (Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman, and Joe Mixon all had solid showings against the Packers).
I envision a game in which Howard rips off multiple big runs to keep the first half of the matchup close. After Aaron Rodgers starts piling on 3rd quarter points, the Bears will be forced to catch up through the air. However, the fear of a Mike Glennon turnover is going to result in plenty of screen and quick dump-offs to Cohen. Inevitably the Packers win, but fantasy owners of Howard and Cohen will be thrilled by their outputs.
The Ravens defense forces 4 turnovers against the Steelers
Week 3 of the NFL left viewers everywhere dumbfounded. The Thursday game started things off with an absurdly high scoring and close game between the Rams and 49ers, which was immediately followed by a Baltimore thrashing courtesy of the Jaguars (something about London really brings out the best in them). Although the Ravens were demolished, this upcoming game will be different for two critical reasons.
For starters, the Ravens will be playing at home. This isn’t a major advantage for the Ravens; rather, it’s more of a disadvantage for the Steelers. Well documented by NFL analysts, the Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger in particular, are notoriously awful on the road (Chicago defeating Pittsburg was amongst the week 3 surprises). Big Ben looked inaccurate in the early games of the season. The veteran quarterback hasn’t eclipsed 300 yards yet and has struggled to move the ball.
Now Big Ben will have to square off against a Ravens defense that has had an insane 10 takeaways against divisional opponents. This unit will look to bounce back from their embarrassing loss in this rivalry matchup. Aside from pride, the Ravens will also be motivated because of the divisional significance. A win in this matchup would place Baltimore atop the north with a commanding undefeated divisional record. Obviously, it’s too early to make playoff predictions (that’s too bold), but this game could shift the balance of power to the Ravens.
Deshaun Watson scores 2 rushing and 2 passing touchdowns against the Titans
Despite the rookie quarterback’s progression since officially becoming the starter, 4 total touchdowns might seem too bold of a prediction, and perhaps even downright ludicrous. However, in his first two performances as the lead signal caller, Watson has posted 426 passing yards, 108 rushing yards, 2 interceptions, and 3 total touchdowns. This upcoming Sunday, the rookie quarterback squares off against a divisional contender at home, which I think will turn out to be a prime opportunity for his first breakout performance.
For starters, the Titans defense has played some rather pedestrian football. The unit certainly isn’t the worst in the league, but they’re not going to pose an imminent threat to Watson. Also, Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota led offense is stacked with talent! They have the 2nd ranked rushing attack and the 5th ranked total offense thus far. The Titans are going to score in bunches, subsequently testing Watson’s ability to keep pace.
Similarly to his game against the Patriots, the onus of scoring is going to fall squarely on Watson’s shoulders (sorry Texans running backs). The difference in this game that will push Watson to his statistical edge is going be experience and necessity. The inexperienced quarterback kept up with the Super Bowl champs until the very end, a feat no one expected, something which likely established further confidence in Watson and his abilities. More importantly, a win against the Titans will provide the Texans with an advantage in securing a playoff spot in a now competitive AFC South. Who knows, a victory this Sunday could make all the difference in the pursuit of a championship? That’s simply too bold.