Season Predictions Record: 31-15
Week four of the NFL 2016 season is now over, there were many great games to watch this past weekend with results no one could have guessed. Three weeks of double digit picks correct, this season is shaping up nicely for me in my predictions. Teams are starting to show their true colors through four weeks, and we now can see who are the contenders and others who are just pretenders. But overall it was another great week of football in the NFL. Here are the game recaps for this past weekend.
Thursday Night Football
Dolphins 07 Team Grade: C
Bengals 22 Team Grade: A-
Game Recap: I love color rush! This game was exciting to watch for the uniforms alone. The only thing to make the uni’s better would have been if the Bengals had changed their helmet color to white. This game went as expected, the Bengals came out firing away and as I stated in my predictions, Andy Dalton and AJ Green dominated this game with their one-two punch combination in route to a blowout win over the Dolphins. Dolphins continued to struggle and will see a drop in the power rankings this week.
Player of the Game: AJ Green absolutely destroyed this Miami defense in route to 175 yards receiving and 1 touchdown.
Game of the Week
Chiefs 14 Team Grade: C-
Steelers 43 Team Grade: A+
Game Recap: A game that was never close. The Steelers set a team record for points in a first quarter with 22 this week against the Chiefs. This Steelers team who struggled against the Eagles last week, showed that it was a one-time fluke in route to a blowout victory over the Chiefs. Ben Roethlisberger was dominant with 5 touchdown passes in this game. The return of LeVeon Bell was just as good as you would expect as Bell showed his talent both as a runner and as a receiver in this game in route to a great stat line of 144 yards on the ground and 34 yards receiving.
Player of the Game: Big Ben gets the nod here as player of the game for tossing 5 TDs in this one and leading his team to a win in “Redemption Week” for the Steelers.
Colts 27 Team Grade: B-
Jaguars 30 Team Grade: B
Game Recap: Our first game in London for the season was a close one between the Jaguars and the Colts. Blake Bortles was impressive in this game, willing his team to victory in this one. The Colts were led by Andrew Luck who was able to orchestrate three fourth quarter touchdown drives, but ultimately came up short on a 4th and 1 with Dwayne Allen dropping his pass to preserve the win for the Jaguars. Both teams look unimpressive overall and look like teams that are 1-3 on the season. On the other hand, its great to see NFL games in Europe.
Player of the Game: Blake Bortles is still interception prone, but he did look like the last year version of himself, guiding his team to victory behind 207 yards passing and two touchdowns.
Panthers 33 Team Grade: C+
Falcons 48 Team Grade: A+
Game Recap: A game which I stated would be too close to call, and it turns out the Falcons mean business this season….well at least for the moment. Last year, Atlanta got off to a 5-0 start before completely falling apart at the end of the season so we will have to see how this Falcons team handles the success of this season. Julio Jones is an absolute monster and showed just how dominant he can be. The Panthers rolled the dice this offseason by letting Josh Norman go to free agency and they chose to rely on rookie corners. How has that worked out? Not well. They are 1-3 and are getting absolutely torched on defense, especially in the secondary. Matt Ryan is emerging as an early season MVP candidate with yet another impressive showing through the air with 503 yards and four touchdowns.
Player of the Game: Julio Jones. 300 yards and a touchdown should earn you player of the decade. This dude is the real deal.
Raiders 28 Team Grade: B+
Ravens 27 Team Grade: B
Game Recap: This game had me really worried for my predictions as the Ravens looked like they were going to improve to 4-0 against this good young Raiders team. Unfortunately for the Ravens, Derek Carr was unstoppable in route to four touchdown passes and a go ahead strike to Michael Crabtree with 2:12 in the game to win it in Baltimore. Crabtree looked like a hall-of-famer in this game as he was dominant from start to finish in this one. The Raiders are able to win games, even with the NFL’s worst defense, which shows just how talented this offensive unit is.
Player of the Game: Michael Crabtree showed signs of greatness in this one grabbing three touchdowns and 88 yards receiving.
Lions 14 Team Grade: C-
Bears 17 Team Grade: A
Game Recap: DA Bears! I counted them out last week after two straight horrible performances in the two previous weeks, but they pulled things together (somehow) and beat a talented Lions team. Stafford (whom I picked up this week in fantasy because of this matchup) was less than stellar against a depleted Bears defense. Give credit to John Fox and this coaching staff for the Bears for getting the Bears to believe and win a game even with an injury ridden lineup. Brian Hoyer showed that he can be trusted behind center with an impressive game. The Lions have much to worry about after this game, with this loss they fall to 1-3 and are not inspiring much confidence with two straight losses to division foes.
Player of the Game: Brian Hoyer threw for 302 yards and two touchdowns en-route to a victory for his team. He is showing flashes of why teams were willing to give him a starting job in previous years.
Titans 20 Team Grade: B
Texans 27 Team Grade: B
Game Recap: A close one in Houston as the Texans were able to edge out the visiting Titans at home in this game. The Titans, led by star running back DeMarco Murray, were in the game from the start, but did not do enough to pull away from this talented Texans team. The Texans were without JJ Watt for the first time since 2010 before they drafted him. The Texans, led by Will Fuller, the standout wide receiver out of Notre Dame was the impact player, pulling in 81 receiving yards and a touchdown before his game clinching 67 yard punt return for a touchdown. Fuller and Hopkins look to be one of the best 1-2 punches at wideout in the NFL. Look for Fuller to continue to impress as teams double DeAndre Hopkins.
Player of the Game: Will Fuller with 81 yards receiving, 1 touchdown, and a 67 yard punt return for a touchdown.
Bills 16 Team Grade: A-
Patriots 00 Team Grade: C-
Game Recap: This highly anticipated matchup between two AFC East Teams turned out different than expected as the Bills were able to beat the Patriots handily 16-0. The Brady-less Patriots played like a 0-3 team without their quarterback instead of the team that was undefeated going into this game. With mistakes all around the field, the Patriots gave this game to the Bills who had a perfect game plan behind the coaching of Rex Ryan. Rex is always coy when talking about a Patriots matchup, said his team expected to win this game. The Patriots will take this one in stride and will continue to improve from here on out as Brady returns this week as they face the Browns.
Player of the Game: Tyrod Tayor was the player of the game leading his team to the first shutout of the Patriots since 1993 by the Jets at home. Taylor is playing great as of late and continues to impress leading this Bills team.
Seahawks 27 Team Grade: A-
Jets 17 Team Grade: B
Game Recap: The Seahawks continue to improve this season behind the stellar play of Russell Wilson. The Seahawks were victorious in another impressive game against the Jets in New York. Wilson, who was playing with a sprained knee, was still able to throw three touchdown passes. Sherman was able to pull down two interceptions (not surprisingly, Fitzpatrick is giving out Christmas gifts early this year) in route to another dominant defensive win.
Player of the Game: Wilson was 23 of 32 for 309 yards and 3 touchdowns in this game, earning him the player of the game.
Browns 20 Team Grade: C
Redskins 31 Team Grade: B
Game Recap: The Redskins survived a scare at home to the Redskins as they were able to pull out the win. Kirk Cousins is returning to form, and that bodes well for this Redskins team who improved to 2-2 with this victory. Matt Jones also had his first impressive game of the year getting it done on the ground for 117 yards and a touchdown. Much was made about the Terrelle Pryor and Josh Norman matchup in which Pryor was able to beat Norman for a score, but as I have continued to say, Norman gets the better of the two in this one as his team earns their second straight victory.
Player of the Game: Kirk Cousins shows why he is the man in Washington with another solid performance with 183 yards passing and 3 touchdowns.
Broncos 27 Team Grade: A-
Buccaneers 07 Team Grade: C-
Game Recap: Another day at the office for the Broncos as they cruise to victory over the Buccaneers. The Broncos are yet again dominant on defense forcing turnovers and virtually shutting out opponents. The Buccaneers limped into this game with Winston playing horrible as of late, and it showed yet again as the Broncos took care of this Buccaneers team quickly. Unfortunately for the Broncos, Trevor Siemian had to leave the game with a shoulder injury, but it was the “next man up” mentality in Denver as Paxton Lynch made his NFL debut to go for 170 yards and a touchdown. Great game for the Rookie, to come in and help his team cruise to victory. Time to worry for the Buccaneers, they really need to right the ship before it’s too late.
Player of the Game: Paxton Lynch threw for 170 yards in one half along with 1 touchdown in his debut replacing Trevor Siemian, great performance showing why they picked him up in the first round.
Rams 17 Team Grade: A-
Cardinals 13 Team Grade: B
Game Recap: Those poor Cardinals, or those Great Rams? The Rams got another solid win over a divisional opponent this week, taking care of the Cardinals in Arizona. Los Angeles was impressive again this week as they were able to improve to 3-1 behind the play of their great defense and their emerging passing game with Keenum putting up sold numbers yet again. With teams keying on Todd Gurley, it has opened up the passing game for Keenum to beat teams through the air. Panic button has been officially pushed in Arizona. There are simply no excuses anymore, they need to get things right before they fall too far behind. And with their tough division with the Seahawks and Rams playing well, it might be too late for them. Cardinals should be worried with Palmer going down with a head injury in this game.
Player of the Game: Case Keenum was great and recorded solid numbers going 18 for 30 with 266 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Saints 35 Team Grade: B
Chargers 34 Team Grade: F
Game Recap: I’m sorry Charger fans (oh wait, I’m actually not) that your team is terrible at finishing games. This week was a shocker as the Chargers blew a 13 point lead with 5 minutes to play in losing to the Saints. The Saints get their first win behind Charger mistakes and improve to 1-3. The Chargers need to improve as they continue to turn the ball over in terrible situations, losing two fumbles deep in their own territory leading to two Saints touchdowns. Poor day for the Chargers, and this shows that there may again be changes coming in the coaching staff for the Chargers this season.
Player of the Game: I love giving player of the game to a fullback and I will do it this week as John Kuhn recorded 3 total touchdowns this week in this victory for the Saints.
Cowboys 24 Team Grade: A-
49ers 17 Team Grade: B+
Game Recap: In a close game in Santa Clara, the Cowboys looked impressive in coming back from a 14-0 deficit to beat the 49ers. Dak Prescott faced an uphill battle from the start as he saw his team fall behind early, but he led them roaring back behind two touchdown passes in the second quarter to even things up at halftime. Then Ezekiel Elliott took over, as he ran all over the 49er defense in route to 138 yards rushing and a touchdown in this game. Elliott is now the NFL’s leading rusher through four weeks and does not look like he will be stopped anytime soon as he continues to get a feel for the game behind that MONSTROUS offensive line of the Cowboys. The Niners looked good at first, but collapse late as they could not get things going on offense like they did in the first half.
Player of the Game: Ezekiel Elliot looks like a young Emmitt Smith behind that line, and ran for 138 yards and a touchdown in this win in which he dominated.
Monday Night Football Game
Giants 10 Team Grade: B
Vikings 24 Team Grade: A
Game Recap: The Vikings continued their hot streak this past week as they put a stop to OBJ and the Giants in a home win. The Vikings and that powerful defense continue to show just how serious we need to take them as contenders this year. Bradford looks like he has run this offense for years (not weeks) and the Vikings look to continue to improve with a favorable schedule in the coming weeks. The Giants tried to mount a comeback, but with their star player on lockdown and having a hissy fit, they could not get past this Vikings defense.
Player of the Game: Vikings defense gets the nod here as they continue to shut down quality opponents week after week.
Look for my game predictions for week 5 this Thursday as we begin another week in this exciting season of the NFL. What do you believe will be the biggest upset in week 5? Thanks for reading and I’d love to hear and read your comments on this week’s games and recap.