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Kibbles and Picks 2017 - Week 4

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So as of the end of Week 3 … I’m winning.

I’ll be honest, I’m not sure how to feel right now. Granted, I’m only winning by a single game – hardly a dominating lead. And I got that lead only because my own consummately mediocre performance (8-8) barely topped Stella’s frankly hocking sub-.500 tilt (7-9).

Granted, it was a weird week, so no surprise we struggled a little. Everybody who made picks struggled a little. Just one of those anomalies every NFL season features.

But now we’re back for Week 4. And the truth is that Stella is gunning to get that lead back – and she’s not afraid to do whatever it takes to do so. We differ on half-a-dozen games this week, though generally, we’re both leaning pretty heavily on the home teams in these matchups.

First up, we’ve got New Orleans going against Miami in London. I’ve picked the Dolphins to win this game, though I’m not super confident about it. I like the talent of the Miami receivers and think running back Jay Ajayi is due to get going, so I’m thinking the Dolphins can put up numbers against the suspect Saints defense. Stella agrees with my take on the New Orleans D, but not the ultimate outcome. She thinks Miami will struggle to stop the Saints passing attack and that Drew Brees and company will win this game in a shootout.

Next, in the battle of crappy teams from Ohio, we have Cincinnati going into Cleveland to play the Browns. I picked the Bengals. I have no idea why I picked the Bengals other than the fact that I don’t think they’ll lose all of them and this is a decent shot at a W. Stella gives this Browns team a bit more credit than most – particularly on the defensive side – and thinks that Cleveland can pull out a win at home against a Bengals squad that looks to be in freefall.

It has become conventional wisdom that Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger struggles on the road. In this game at Baltimore, Stella scoffs at the conventional wisdom. She doesn’t think that Pittsburgh will need to score a ton considering that the Ravens offense has been as anemic as the defense has been effective. She thinks it’ll be a low-scoring slugfest with the Steelers on top. I think that the Ravens will be nursing their pride after a shellacking against the Jags in London last week. I agree that the scoring will be low, but Baltimore will do enough to shut down Pittsburgh.

The Tennessee/Houston tilt could be one of the best games of the week. I like this Titans team a lot and think that the pieces are there for this offense to be extremely potent. There’s a massive game coming from Marcus Mariota, and even though Houston’s defense is stout, I think it might come this week. Stella’s not buying it. She likes the poise that rookie QB Deshaun Watson has shown thus far and LOVES the Texans front seven. So while she’s also high on this year’s Titans squad, she doesn’t think they can take down the Texans in Houston.

The Eagles are a banged-up bunch right now – especially on the defensive side of the ball – but I still like them to put the pieces together and stick it to the Los Angeles Chargers. Mostly because the Chargers have given no indication that a defense needs to be competent to shut them down. Stella thinks I’m being a bit too flip; while she acknowledges that Philip Rivers has looked bad and old in the season’s early going, she also thinks that Philly will struggle to get past the injuries to key personnel. She likes it to be close, but she’s going with the Chargers.

Finally, I’m going out on a limb and taking the Raiders on the road in Denver. On an intellectual level, the pick doesn’t make a ton of sense, but my gut tells me that Oakland is fired up for this game and will be able to find ways to overcome the exceptional Broncos defense behind Derek Carr, Marshawn Lynch and the receiving corps. Stella thinks my gut is talking crazy – she’s betting that Denver totally shuts down the Raiders and marches to an easy victory. Her call is that the Broncos win by a touchdown in a game that doesn’t feel even that close.

And there we have it. I’m in the driver’s seat, but I can already hear Stella’s cute little fuzzy footsteps gaining on me.

(winners in caps)

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ALLEN’S PICKS

Thursday, Sept. 28

Chicago at GREEN BAY

Sunday, Oct. 1

New Orleans at MIAMI

Buffalo at ATLANTA

CINCINNATI at Cleveland

LA Rams at DALLAS

DETROIT at Minnesota

Carolina at NEW ENGLAND

JACKSONVILLE at NY Jets

Pittsburgh at BALTIMORE

TENNESSEE at Houston

San Francisco at ARIZONA

PHILADELPHIA at LA Chargers

NY Giants at TAMPA BAY

OAKLAND at Denver

Indianapolis at SEATTLE

Monday, Oct. 2

Washington at KANSAS CITY

Week 4 record: 8-8

Season record: 29-18

 

STELLA’S PICKS

Thursday, Sept. 28

Chicago at GREEN BAY

Sunday, Oct. 1

NEW ORLEANS at Miami

Buffalo at ATLANTA

Cincinnati at CLEVELAND

LA Rams at DALLAS

DETROIT at Minnesota

Carolina at NEW ENGLAND

JACKSONVILLE at NY Jets

PITTSBURGH at Baltimore

Tennessee at HOUSTON

San Francisco at ARIZONA

Philadelphia at LA CHARGERS

NY Giants at TAMPA BAY

Oakland at DENVER

Indianapolis at SEATTLE

Monday, Oct. 2

Washington at KANSAS CITY

Week 4 record: 7-9

Season record: 28-19

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