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Kibbles and Picks 2021 - Week 4

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And the trend continues.

I felt pretty okay about my 10-6 record in Week 3. Not bad, right? Right – except Stella went 12-4 and pushed her lead to three games. Yes, it’s still early and there’s plenty of time to right the ship, but let’s be real – when have I EVER righted the ship?

That said, I do have a shot to make some noise this week, as Stella and I differ on fully half of the week’s slate. Now, eight games means that I could conceivably erase Stella’s entire lead. However, it also means that Stella could bury me in a hole from which I’ll be hard-pressed to escape, even with three-quarters of the season left.

Remind me again why I put myself through this?

First up is Washington visiting Atlanta. I’m going with the Football Team here, even though I haven’t been super impressed with what I’ve seen so far. This is less about the pros of the WFT and more about the cons of the Falcons. Still, if the Washington defense can play to its potential and the offense can put the ball into the hands of its handful of playmakers, they should win. Stella thinks people are sleeping on the Falcons a bit – she doesn’t think they’re a great team, but she also thinks you overlook them at your peril. She’s believes that rookie tight end Kyle Pitts is poised for a breakout and thinks that that could happen as soon as this week. She also likes the Falcons against a still-shaky young QB like Tyler Heinicke. It’ll be an ugly game, but she thinks Atlanta comes out on top.

From there, we’re off to JerryWorld, where the Cowboys are playing host to the Carolina Panthers. I’ve got the Cowboys winning at home here. Sure, they’ve had some struggles with consistency, but it is tough to argue about the sheer talent they spot on the offensive side of the ball, from Prescott to Elliott and Pollard to Cooper and Lamb and on and on. The Panthers have been an early surprise, but I expect Dallas to bring them back to Earth. Stella concedes the talent on the Dallas roster; she also understands that the Christian McCaffery injury is a massive blow to the Panthers offense. However, she’s of the mind that this Carolina team is feisty enough to push the Cowboys. She thinks that the Panthers defense will slow Dallas enough to allow Sam Darnold and the rest of the Carolina offense to keep up and eke out a win.

I’ve got Miami winning at home against Indianapolis in a game that I can’t imagine many people outside those two cities really care about. Stella’s going with Indy, but she feels similarly. The truth is that both teams are dealing with QB injuries and have struggled to get anything going this year. Neither of us feel super confident about our pick here, but one thing on which we wholeheartedly agree? We won’t be watching this one.

In my biggest reach of the week (non-homer division), I’m picking the Giants to go on the road to New Orleans and beat the Saints. I honestly don’t know why I’m making this choice – guys like Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley and the like have been … fine? I guess? And the Giants defense leaves a lot to be desired. But the Saints have been so up-and-down, I can’t pick them. Stella thinks I’m an idiot for this one. This is the first home game for New Orleans since the hurricane-induced flooding hit the city. They are going to be firing on all cylinders and will have a huge boost from a sure-to-be-raucous home crowd. Plus, Alvin Kamara is her pick for best player on the field. She thinks the Saints will win and that it won’t even be particularly close.

Next, we’ve got the Seattle/San Francisco tilt. I was back and forth on this one, but ultimately, I settled on the Seahawks. I like Russell Wilson to get it done in a game against a divisional rival. Running back Chris Carson has looked strong carrying the ball. And while the Seattle defense might not be at its former legendary levels, it’s still pretty good. Stella likes the 49ers here, though she’s a touch concerned about whether the brewing QB controversy will impact the play of current starter Jimmy Garoppolo. She also recognizes the injury concerns among the San Francisco running back corps. However, she loves the Bosa-led pass rush and thinks that the Niners D will almost certainly generate a big play or two – and those plays will be the difference in the game.

After that, in what might be the most hotly contested game of the week, I’m picking the Ravens on the road against the Broncos. Things are a little wonky in Baltimore these days, but even so, you can do a lot worse than putting money on Lamar Jackson to have a big game. The Denver defense is no pushover, but I expect that Lamar will put on a show for this one – enough to grab the W. Stella’s a Lamar fan from way back, but she’s still going with this Broncos team. While there’s no one on this roster as spectacularly talented as Jackson, she sees a team that is decent-to-good in all aspects of the game. It’s not sexy or anything, but she thinks that across-the-board quality will be enough to hold off the Ravens.

In my ACTUAL biggest reach of the week, I’m going with New England over Tampa Bay. Look, you know it’s ridiculous, I know it’s ridiculous (and Stella DEFINITELY knows it’s ridiculous), but I’ve got a glimmer of a hint of a hunch that the Patriots will win this one. I think they pull out all the stops and throw the kitchen sink at Tom Brady and this Buccaneers squad. If they keep the scoring down, Mac Jones and company might just pull it out. Stella scoffs at my nonsense – she’s a loving pup, but brutally unsentimental when it comes to her football picks. She’s of the opinion that Brady is going to come into New England and absolutely torch the Patriots. She expects him to put on a clinic, spreading the ball around and generally being Tom Brady. Oh, and she’s basically guaranteeing at least one Gronk TD catch. She thinks all of Brady’s talk about this not mattering is bullcrap – he’s going to roll in and emphatically prove a point.

Lastly, in the Monday night game, I’m going with the Raiders on the road over the Chargers. I wasn’t a believer in Vegas before the season, and I’m still not – not really. But they’ve looked pretty good in the early going, and they have the pieces to get some work done here. There are some injury concerns, but if they can push through, they’ve got a shot at taking down the Chargers. Stella thinks that the Chargers are going to win for a couple of surprisingly specific reasons. She saw what the Chargers did to Kansas City’s stud tight end Travis Kelce last week; she figures they’ll be able to handle Dustin Waller – the best offensive option on the Raiders – at least as well. And she thinks that the Raiders are poorly set up to handle the diversity that Austin Ekeler brings to the field from the running back position. So long as Justin Herbert is feeling okay, Stella figures the Chargers will win this one going away.

And there you have it – eight games. I’d love to gain back some of the ground I’ve already lost this season, but honestly, as long as Stella doesn’t demolish me, I’ll be satisfied. Enjoy the games!

(winners in caps)

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ALLEN’S PICKS

Thursday, Sept. 30

Jacksonville at CINCINNATI

Sunday, Oct. 3

WASHINGTON at Atlanta

Houston at BUFFALO

DETROIT at Chicago

Carolina at DALLAS

Indianapolis at MIAMI

CLEVELAND at Minnesota

NY GIANTS at New Orleans

TENNESSEE at NY Jets

KANSAS CITY at Philadelphia

Arizona at LA RAMS

SEATTLE at San Francisco

BALTIMORE at Denver

Pittsburgh at GREEN BAY

Tampa Bay at NEW ENGLAND

Monday, Oct. 4

LAS VEGAS at LA Chargers

Week 3 record: 10-6

Season record: 28-20

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STELLA’S PICKS

Thursday, Sept. 30

Jacksonville at CINCINNATI

Sunday, Oct. 3

Washington at ATLANTA

Houston at BUFFALO

DETROIT at Chicago

CAROLINA at Dallas

INDIANAPOLIS at Miami

CLEVELAND at Minnesota

NY Giants at NEW ORLEANS

TENNESSEE at NY Jets

KANSAS CITY at Philadelphia

Arizona at LA RAMS

Seattle at SAN FRANCISCO

Baltimore at DENVER

Pittsburgh at GREEN BAY

TAMPA BAY at New England

Monday, Oct. 4

Las Vegas at LA CHARGERS

Week 3 record: 12-4

Season record: 31-17

Last modified on Thursday, 07 October 2021 10:53

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