NFL Week 4: Sunday Games Picks & Predictions with Colin Cowherd’s Balzin’ 5

Carolina Panthers @ Houston Texans, NRG Stadium, 1:00 PM (Texans -5.5, O/U: 47.5)

Allen gets his second start but against an always hungry defense. The Texans have been in fairly close games all season so far due to the lack of running game which gives the offense an overall inconsistency despite the excellent passing game. With all the weapons Allen has, expect the Panthers to keep it close. Take the Texans to win but the Panthers to cover in the over, Texans 27-24.

Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Ravens, M&T Bank Stadium, 1:00 PM (Ravens -7.5, O/U: 46.5)

The Browns are struggling mightily to score only averaging 16 points per game. Baker looks to have regressed with additional weapons while only completing 56.9% of his passes. The Ravens have had an offensive output unlike ever seen in this organization. They’ve averaged 36.7 points and went toe to toe with the supreme offense of the Chiefs last week in a close losing effort. Lamar Jackson has completed 63% of his passes for 863 yards, 7 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Take the Ravens to cover in the win, in the over, Ravens 31-20.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Detroit Lions, Ford Field, 1:00 PM (Lions +7, O/U: 54.5)

The Chiefs have been one of the top offensive teams in the league since week 1 of last year. This year they are averaging 33.6 points and even without Tyreek Hill the last 2 weeks. Sammy Watkins, Travis Kelce, Demarcus Robinsons and newly signed LeSean McCoy have all stepped up when needed. The Lions are a scrappy team who surprisingly lead the NFC North while beating a road tough Chargers and upsetting a championship team in the Eagles in their house. They come home to try their hands at another upset. Stafford has been efficient but the running game with Kerryon Johnson has been lacking which takes a dimension away from this team. Take the Chiefs to cover in the under, Chiefs 31-21.

Los Angeles Chargers @ Miami Dolphins, Hard Rock Stadium, 1:00 PM (Dolphins +14, O/U: 44.5)

The Chargers are always a tough road team. They’ve missed key players and especially on defense with Derwin James. Phillip Rivers has been exceptional and especially with top target Keenan Allen, expect that to continue with Fitzpatrick now a Steeler. The Dolphins handed the keys to Rosen last week and given how bad the defense was and the many drops his receivers had, overshadowed the good things he did. Expect him to have a his best outing of the season today. Take the Chargers to cover in the under, Chargers 34-17.

New England Patriots @ Buffalo Bills, New Era Field, 1:00 PM (Bills +7, O/U: 41.5)

The Patriots defense has started out very strong, probably the strongest any Pats defense have ever started by blowing out the Steelers, Dolphins and the Jets, only allowing 17 points. Brady has completed 68% of his throws for 911 yards, 7 TD’s and zero picks. The rushing game hasn’t really been there but it hasn’t been needed with how efficient Brady has been. The Bills have been scrappy and impressive with wins against the Jets and Giants on the road and beating the Bengals in a close one at home. You should rarely if ever bet against Bill Belichick and the Pats even though this one will be tough for them. Take the Patriots to cover in the under, Patriots 27-17.

Oakland Raiders @ Indianapolis Colts, Lucas Oil Stadium, 1:00 PM (Colts -6.5, O/U: 46.5)

The Raiders have looked ok to start off the season. Sure they had a bad week against the Vikings but they held the Chiefs scoreless in 3 of 4 quarters the week before and beat the Broncos in week 1. Josh Jacobs has looked like an offensive rookie of the year candidate averaging 5 yards per carry. Carr has completed 73% of his passes but has 4 TD’s and 3 picks. The Colts have kept all games under a touchdown and have won 2 of them. Brissett has also completed over 70% of his passes and Marlon Mack has averaged 4.9 yards per rush on 61 carries for 299 yards. Both teams have allowed 70+ points in the first 3 weeks but the Colts have faced one team that is mediocre at best on offense where the Raiders have faced a top team in the Chiefs and held them to 28. Take the Colts to win but the Raiders to cover in the under, Colts 21-20.

Tennessee Titans @ Atlanta Falcons, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, 1:00 PM (Falcons -3.5, O/U: 46.5)

Tennessee has been inconsistent as a team since drafting Mariota and having him lead this team. The one thing Mariota has done well is not throwing picks. What has helped him do that is the rushing game with Derrick Henry and Mariota’s own legs. The Falcons have been shockingly average given the big names on this offense. The rushing game has been non existent and the big performances by Julio Jones to nab 4 reception TD’s and 2 for Hooper and Ridley, to be 1-2 with 2 road games and barely coming away with a win against an Eagles team who lost their 2 top receivers in the opening quarter at home is concerning for their defense and if they can hold an average Mariota. Titans defense can be stout but I expect the better quarterback to be more careful with the ball and start to turn it around. Take the Falcons to cover in the over, Falcons 31-17

Washington Redskins @ New York Giants, MetLife Stadium, 1:00 PM (Giants -3, O/U: 48.5)

The Redskins are choppy but hang in games for some reason. Keenan is a never give up guy and is very fiery. Keenan has completed 69% of his passes despite having a big name but we may see a big name emerging for them, Terry McLaurin who has 16 catches for 257 yards and 3 scores. Chris Thompson has been amazing out of the backfield with 16 catches and 195 yards as the second leading receiver on the team. Danny Dimes has breathed life into this team but it came at the expense of losing Saquon Barkley for at least 1-2 months with a severe sprain of his ankle. Evan Engram has been their top receiver, surprisingly. Given the Barkley injury, expect this one to be close.  Big late injury report has McLaurin out for the game as well. Take the Giants to cover in the under, Giants 24-13.

Seattle Seahawks @ Arizona Cardinals, University of Phoenix Stadium, 4:05 PM (Cardinals +5, O/U: 47.5)

The Seahawks defense hasn’t been anywhere close to what they had been but Wilson has bailed them out with big time consistency, completing 71% of his passes for 901 yards and 7 TD’s with zero picks. Tyler Lockett has been the main target while D.K. Metcalf has emerged as another favorite target. Chris Carson has been a bruiser of a back but relatively ineffective. The Cardinals have played tough to start the season marking a tie against the Lions, going toe to toe with the Ravens and losing by less than a touchdown and suffered mightily against the Panthers at home. The defense hasn’t been great and they start slow in the first half, being outscored but have outscored opponents in the second half as you saw against the Lions. Take the Seahawks to cover in the over, Seahawks 27-21.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, 4:05 PM (Rams -9, O/U: 48.5)

Jameis Winston has been highly inconsistent only completing 60% of his passes while tossing 5 TD’s and 4 picks. Ronald Jones has been a bright spot of the offense, emerging as their top back averaging 5.29 yards per carry but is not used as much as he should be given they’re often behind in games. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin have been Winston’s top receivers. A big win against the Panthers makes you question their power but their losses haven’t been terrible. The Rams are looking as powerful as ever and Cooper Kupp being back shows how much Goff missed him while catching a team best 23 passes while seeing the teams best 31 targets for a team best 267 yards and a team best 2 reception TD’s. Cooks and Woods are right behind him and are virtually seeing the same amount of targets. The duo of Gurley and Brown have been powerful and effective in mixing it up, keeping defenses on their toes. Take the Rams to cover in the over, Rams 34-23.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Denver Broncos, Broncos Stadium at Mile High, 4:25 PM (Broncos -2.5, O/U: 37.5)

The Jags new found quarterback Gardner Minshew has taken the world and the meme world by storm. He’s come out firing and efficiently while also using his legs when in need. He’s been so good that Jalen Ramsey now doesn’t want to be traded. Minshew has completed 73.9% of his passes for 692 yards and 5 TD’s and just 1 pick. Fournette has been good enough when used but Minshew has 80 yards on 11 carries. DJ Chark and Chris Conley have been the top air targets with both averaging at least 16+ yards per catch, which is astounding. The Broncos thought the savior to their offensive troubles was the signing of Joe Flacco, who is trying to stave off retirement. they’ve played tough teams to start the year and have lost to them all but they weren’t terribly bad losses. He’s completed 69% of his passes but low yardage (773) and only 2 TD’s with 2 picks. Courtland Sutton has been his top target but has yet to reach the endzone while Emmanuel Sanders is showing he still has it being the second favorite target and 2 scores. With all of the big time players on this defense and defensive front, they are without a sack, which is a big deal! Take the Jaguars to cover in the win, in the over, Jaguars 24-21.

Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears, Soldier Field, 4:25 PM (Bears -1, O/U: 38.5)

The Vikings have been an up and down team so far this year, beating 2 teams that are also inconsistent and tough. It almost seems like the Vikings don’t want Cousins to throw the ball given his inconsistencies, completing only 59% of his passes for 3 TD’s and 2 picks. Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison have been the real leaders of this offense with over 500 yards combined, both averaging over 5 yards per carry and 5 TD’s. The Bears offense has been stagnant and also don’t fully trust Trubisky throwing the ball. The best quote about him was from the Packers Tramon Williams who said the key to their planning on defense was making Trubisky play quarterback. If that doesn’t scare you about your QB situation, I don’t know what will. Take the Bears to win in the under, Bears 20-17.

Dallas Cowboys @ New Orleans Saints, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, 8:20 PM (Saints +3, O/U: 48.5)

Dak has been unbelievable to start the year, completing 75% of his passes for 920 yards, 9 TD’s and 2 picks.  He’s playing for a contract so expect him to be at the top of his game against a banged up Saints defense.  Zeke has been averaging over 5 yards per carry. Cooper, Gallup and Cobb have been going nuts on the offense and have seen many targets because it’s just too tough to cover all of them.  Bridgewater shocked everyone in the Seattle game with the win but he didn’t look great.  Going against a much tougher defense will expose him greatly.  Take the Cowboys to cover in the over, Cowboys 31-24.

Colin Cowherd’s Blazin’ 5:

  • Tennessee at Atlanta – Tennessee (+3.5)
  • Cleveland at Baltimore – Baltimore (-7)
  • Oakland at Indianapolis – Oakland (+6.5)
  • Seattle at Arizona – Arizona (+5.5)
  • Dallas at New Orleans – New Orleans (+2.5)

Where doesn’t Allen Robinson fit in?

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My first blog writing gig for a website has come with morethanafan.net and their cfbroundtable.com site.  I accepted a position covering Penn State Nittany Lions football.  So, being a long time Michigan fan, I will always love Michigan, but now I have to draw my attention to PSU.

I’ve never disliked PSU and always rooted for them since they pluck a bunch of local kids from around where I grew up, to play for them.  So I never looked at them as “rivals”.  Plus, who didn’t like JoPa through his 30 plus years of coaching?  He taught a lot of kids through the program some very important values that they have taken to heart over the years and applied to their lives and even though he had a lapse in sense on what to do with the Jerry Sandusky situation, he is still revered by former players, coaches, alumni, and the university for the non-football contributions he made.

Having pulled up the current roster, 2014 schedule, and the departing players to the draft, I came away with an overall good feeling about the upcoming season.  Towards the end of the summer is when I will start to analyze the team more in depth along with their schedule.  Right now PSU students are going home for the summer and some senior football players including junior Allen Robinson, are hoping they hear their name called in the remaining 6 rounds of the draft tonight and tomorrow.

One of the best scouted prospects coming out of PSU this year is 6’2″ wide receiver Allen Robinson.  He is in a very packed wide receiver draft class where he was pegged by “mock draft experts” to go somewhere late in the first round or in the second round.  To say the least, there were a lot of surprising picks in the first round and a bunch of teams who need receivers passed on them and went for another need.  Teams in need of a wide receiver as a top 3 need are as followed: Rams, Jaguars, Browns, Raiders, Lions, Steelers, Jets, Eagles, Chiefs, 49ers, Broncos and Seahawks.  Plenty of teams to land on for Robinson who is considered by some “mock draft experts” the 7th best remaining receiver.  Robinson’s pro day improved on his combine numbers and with his size and his 4.49 speed, he would be an asset to any of the teams listed above.  Not to mention that he could be the complimenting receiver to another big named receiver currently on  a team or be your number one guy given his stature.

Upcoming second round picks from the list of teams above that need a wide receiver: 3rd Pick – Browns, 4th Pick – Raiders, 7th – Jaguars, 8th Pick – Seahawks, 12th Pick – Rams, 13th Pick – Lions, 14th Pick – Steelers, 17th – Jets, 22nd Pick – Eagles, 24th Pick – 49ers, 29th Pick – 49ers, 31st Pick – Broncos, 32nd Pick – Seahawks.

14 chances that a wide receiver could be taken, 14 chances that it could be Allen Robinson depending on how the teams have graded him on their board.  Size, Speed and great leaping ability (39″ vertical) will compliment any receiving core and he will be a red zone threat since he doesn’t mind the contact aspect of football (as seen when he ran his own lineman over to grab a few more yards against Syracuse last year.)  I could see him being taken early on to mid 2nd round but I would be shocked if he fell to the 20th+ picks of the second round.  It really all depends on how teams graded him and where they have him in the ranks of all of the other wide receivers.

News came in that an assistant coach saw the 1st round draft board of the Vikings and they had Johnny Manziel and Teddy Brdgewater 1 and 2 on their draft board.  Most of America didn’t have Bridgewater going in the first round after his pro day but it goes to show you that teams grade guys differently and that nothing is to be expected.  Personally, Carr would’ve been the pick there since he hasn’t missed where Bridgewater has in the throwing game and has more of a cannon.  So take in the next two rounds tonight, teams will look to pick up a great amount of solid left over players.