NFL Week 4 Picks
August 5th NFL news ... NFL Week 4 Picks at nflweek4-picks.com
NFL Week 3 Picks: No way Jaguars beat Seahawks but they'll cover 19.5
It's an absurd line for a professional team playing a sport that prides itself on parity. And while nobody expect Jacksonville to go into Seattle and pull off the biggest upset since the Giants upended the undefeated Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, there's a chance for the Jags' first moral victory of the season.
According to ASHNSports.com, the NFL's biggest spreads since 1972 range from 21 to 27 points.
* Dec. 5, 1976: Steelers (-27) vs. Buccaneers. Pittsburgh won 42-0.
* Nov. 25, 2007: Patriots (-24.5) vs. Eagles. New England won 31-28.
* Dec. 5, 1998: 49ers (-24) vs. Bengals. San Francisco won 21-8.
* Oct. 11, 1987: 49ers (-23.5) vs. Falcons. San Francisco won 25-17.
* Oct. 2, 1977: Cowboys (-23) vs. Buccaneers. Dallas won 23-7.
* Dec. 23, 2007: Patriots (-22.5) vs. Dolphins. New England won 28-7.
* Dec. 12, 1976: Patriots (-21) vs. Buccaneers. New England won 31-14.
Of those seven games, only one of the favorites, the 1976 Steelers, covered. So that's encouraging for the Jagaurs. They'll lose, yes, but history suggests that they won't get their doors blown off.
Except that the Seahawks just put a whuppin' on the 49ers, 29-3, one of the NFC's best teams.
But there are a couple things working in Jacksonville's favor this week. For starters, Seattle's coming off a huge win and a modified version of the trap game* is a possibility. Plus: Jaguars players get paid too. They take no joy in getting curb-stomped every week and no doubt want to prove that. Unfortunately, they don't have the personnel to win on the road in Seattle, but they can be competitive. Then there's this: First-year Jags coach Gus Bradley arrived in Jacksonville from Seattle where he was best bros with coach Pete Carroll.
It's reasonable to think Carroll might take it easy on his former assistant. He only saves the beatdowns for arch-nemisis Jim Harbaugh, right? We're going with yes.
The Seahawks will win, duh, but the Jaguars will cover.
Other Week 3 games
Houston over BALTIMORE: The Texans whipped up on the Ravens during the 2012 regular season but couldn't find a way to beat them in the playoffs back in 2011. Maybe that changes this year. While we wait, we expect Houston to outplay the Ravens on Sunday, finally putting together a complete game, and head into Week 4 as unquestionably one of the two-best teams in the AFC. Baltimore, meanwhile, will continue to have issues with that suspect secondary, and depending on Ray Rice's health, they could need to find depth at running back, too.
Green Bay over CINCINNATI: We remain wholly unimpressed with Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, although some of that falls squarely on offensive coordinator Jay Gruden. Cincy's front seven could have a field day with Green Bay's offensive line ... except that Aaron Rodgers knows something about playing behind that group of pourous pass blockers. (At this stage of the proceedings, he's a rich man's Ben Roethlisberger, which, Monday's game aside, portends bad things for the Bengals.) How Dalton handles the Packers' pressure will go a long way in determining the outcome, and based on us liking Green Bay, you can probably deduce that we don't expect Dalton do have much success.
PITTSBURGH over Chicago: The Steelers can't start 0-3, can they? And does anyone really believe the Bears are a 3-0 team? We feel more confident in the latter than the former, especially after watching whatever that was Pittsburgh called an offense on Monday night. But we've seen Chicago do this before: Come out of the blocks hot only to peter out by midseason. This really is a must-win game for the Steelers. Because if they lose, we're going to have to have the "So, should they take Jadeveon Clowney next April?" conversation.
* Modified version of the trap came: When the favorite plays poorly, but not poorly enough to lose to a decidedly dreadful opponent.
Giants trade up to take Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib
The Giants created a little Tom Brady betting odds to win Poker Madden Betting Pandemonia buzz early Saturday, making a trade to move up and grab Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib as a backup for two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning.
''If he doesn't ever play, that would be great,'' general manager Jerry Reese said after the pick. ''That's a good problem to have. If he needs to play, we're hoping that whatever time that is that he'll be up and ready to go if it ever happens that way.''
Being Manning's backup is akin to not playing. Manning has started 135 straight regular-season games and 11 consecutive postseason contests. The last player to start for New York other than Manning was Kurt Warner in 2004.
Veteran David Carr has been Manning's backup in recent years and just the latest veteran to back up the 32-year-old Manning. That could change this year if Nassib beats out Carr or Tom Coughlin elects to go with three quarterbacks on his roster, something that he hasn't done in recent years.
Nassib is the first quarterback drafted by the Giants since Sam Houston State's Rhett Bomar in the fifth round in 2009. The previous year, they selected Kentucky's Andre' Woodson in round six. Each of them had a short stay with the Giants, as did free agent Ryan Perrilloux in 2011.
Entering the fourth round, Reese said Nassib, who started the past three years for the Orange, stuck out like a sore thumb.
''He had too much value,'' Reese said. ''We had been talking about developing a quarterback to back up Eli for a while and this was the perfect opportunity for us to get a young quarterback with a lot of talent.''
So the Giants shipped their fourth- and sixth-round picks to the Arizona Cardinals to move up six spots and grab Nassib, who some felt had first-round talent.
Marc Ross, the team's director of college scouting, said Nassib has more than arm strength.
''That's something secondary to me,'' Ross said. ''I look at leaders and winners and players who raise the level of the team and when they are on the field have a presence about them and those are attributes about him that stood out to me.''
Coughlin didn't want to say how many quarterbacks the team will keep this season, but he believes the competition between Carr and Nassib will help the team.
''This is a great opportunity for Ryan,'' said Coughlin, who noted he had not called Manning to explain the pick, saying there was no need to discuss something with a quarterback who still getting better. ''He'll be in the classroom with Eli and he'll get a chance to learn.''
Nassib completed 791 of 1,312 passes for 9,190 yards and 70 touchdown passes with the Orange, leading them to 21 wins in three seasons as a starter.
Nassib had just gotten home to West Chester, Pa., when Coughlin telephoned him after the pick.
''To be honest with you, I blacked out,'' said Nassib, who had not talked with the Giants much before the draft. ''I didn't get everything. What I did get from him was that first off I had to cut my ties with the Philadelphia Eagles and switch, which won't be a problem. He complimented me on coming from a good school and being a good football player and told me what I great opportunity I had to play behind Eli.''
The 23-year-old wasn't shy when asked about his abilities. He's confident and said that he is somewhat like Manning in that he was durable in his final three years in college, never missing a game or a practice. He was admittedly disappointed staying on the board until the fourth round.
''I always compared myself to Eli so it is going to be crazy that I am going to be playing with him,'' Nassib said. ''He is a tough, durable, smart guy who doesn't say much. That's the kind of quarterback I always wanted to be. Being able to sit behind him and learn from him, like some great quarterbacks did in the past, an elite veteran like Aaron Rodgers, it's going to be a great opportunity for me.''
Nassib is going to have some company with the Giants. They drafted Syracuse offensive tackle Justin Pugh in the first round. Pugh is from Holland, Pa., about 30 miles from Philadelphia.
''We're from the same area and had many a drive home from Syracuse,'' Nassib said. "I can't believe that of all the situations that we are going to be back together again.''
Pugh, the 19th pick overall, is expected to push David Diehl for the starting job at right tackle. The other offensive line taken was guard Eric Herman of Ohio University.
''He is a big, tough, nasty kid,'' Reese said.
Defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins of Ohio State and defensive end Damontre Moore of Texas A&M were taken on Friday with the second and third picks, respectively. They should help a defense that was ranked 31st oveall and allowed 129.1 yards rushing per game. Hankins is a run stopped, while Moore had 26 1/2 sacks in three seasons.
The other selections on Saturday were safety Cooper Taylor of Richmond, Herman and UMass running back Michael Cox, who was taken with the penultimate pick.
Taylor is 6-foot-4 and showed speed and a big upside. He had 78 tackles, four interceptions and free forced fumbles this past season.
A Michigan transfer, Cox only gained 715 yards rushing but Reese said he played on a weak team and gained most of it on his own. He has size at 6-3 and speed.
The Giants also needed help at linebacker and cornerback heading into the draft, but they were unable to find the right players. They will be looking to free agency and undrafted players to possibly fill the needs.
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