Already at the One Quarter Mark- Believe it or not by the time the Monday Night football game between Dolphins and Saints comes to an end, the NFL will officially be 1/4 of the way through their regular season. Outside of the Packers and Panthers who are the first two teams this season to have their bye weeks, each team will have played four games of their 16 game schedules. The 49ers are already at the quarter mark with mix reviews after four games, with two big wins over the Packers and Rams sandwiched in between two perplexingly bad losses against the Seahawks and Colts. The surprise teams so far are Kansas City, Chicago and Miami who nobody expected to be 3-0 after three games. Nobody in either Kansas City, Chicago or Miami expected this either. How far each of these teams goes remains to be seen, but you certainly cannot argue with their early success so far. Seattle and Denver are not surprises because everyone knew they were both very strong teams before the season started. As for the disappointment, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, the New York Giants have been horrible. With the Vikings, they have performed better than the Steelers and Giants and have mainly been just flat unlucky. The Steelers and Giants are on a collision course to see who gets to draft or avoid Johnny Manziel. Seriously, the Steelers and Giants will eventually find wins however both may already be long shots for the post season just based on the way they have played through three games injuries not withstanding.
The Kingshark Line survived Week 3 with a 10-6 record, with obvious disappointments being the 49ers, Steelers, Vikings, and ofcourse the Giants who became the first ever Kingshark pick to get shutout. The Packers losing to the Bengals wasn't a bad hit to take considering the game was a virtual toss up and was arguably the days' best game. The Rams got slaughtered in Jerryworld, then the 49ers showed the rest of the country Thursday Night the Rams are who we thought they were afterall. Just Sheep. They are Baa-aaa-aaa-aaad (okay, I couldn't resist). Despite the bad picks (I will admit they were), there were also teams that came through such as the Ravens, Saints, Titans, Dolphins, Chiefs, and Jets. This week is another challenging week for the Kingshark Line (35-14 overall, 1-0 in Week 4) which seeks to equal or best it's 10 win mark in Week 3. Let's have a look at Week 4:
Baltimore@Buffalo- An intriguing game in Western New York as the defending Champion Ravens take on an upstart Bills team who has had three games this year that could have gone either way. The Ravens after a bad start in Denver seemingly have found their defensive mojo in shutting down the Browns and Texans. The problem the Bills are going to have is facing their stiffest test on offense going up against the Ravens defense which right now is playing strong football. EJ Manuel will make some plays but may have more challenges thrown at him than in the previous three games put together. The Ravens offense meanwhile has combined for just 30 points in the last two games. However special teams and their defense have done more than enough to help Joe Flaco in company get back to knowing that they don't have to light up the scoreboard to win. Ravens 16 Bills 13.
Cincinnati@Cleveland- The Battle of Ohio Part One takes place in Cleveland this weekend. Last week the Browns went on the road and upset the Vikings while the Bengals won a wild game at home against the Packers. Between the two teams, the Bengals seem to just have the better combination of offense and defense and have played the better football. The Browns need this game and with it will even their season mark through four games. This game will be a close one for at least a half. However I cannot see Brian Hoyer outplaying Andy Dalton. Bengals pull away in second half. Bengals 30 Browns 20.
Chicago@Detroit- The Bears impressed the nation last Sunday Night with a statement win in Pittsburgh versus the lowly Steelers. Chicago's offense clicked on all cylinders and have moved the ball effectively through their first three games. Jay Cutler is playing with poise and confidence that he has not shown before. The Lions meanwhile have won two of their first three games and should have won the one they lost in Arizona. Matthew Stafford has held tough in the passing pocket and has given the Lions reason to believe. The Lions will be down a receiver this week as Nate Burleson's attempt at home pizza delivery did not end well. The rest of the team has Dominos in speed dial. Another tough game to pick out of the NFC North which is also one of the reasons to watch it. For some crazy reason, I've got to go upset special here. Lions 33 Bears 30.
Seattle@Houston- In the last two weeks we have seen the Seattle Seahawks show the nation that they are without equal the best home team in the NFL. Now the Seahawks go on the road to see how their act will play against a good AFC team in the Texans. Houston is a good team that showed great character with last play wins in their first two games. Last week however the Texans traveled to Baltimore and got crushed. Can Seattle go from their 12th man to the area where just 95 miles away the original 12th man was born (and rightfully belongs)? Can the Texans rebound from a tough loss to the Ravens and use the home cooking to their advantage? This will be a close game. Right now the Seahawks are playing the better football between the two teams. This alone does not guarantee a Seattle win, however if the game becomes a track meet the Texans will be the ones needing to keep up. Seahawks 38 Texans 31.
Indianapolis@Jacksonville- Things are so bad in the Jaguars camp that they will probably be a double digit underdog all season. The Colts were very impressive last week in a surprising rout of the 49ers in San Francisco. The Jaguars got two garbage time touchdowns at Seattle last week as the Seahawks called off the dogs. The Jaguars may play a better game here only because they cannot play worse...maybe. It wont be near enough to beat the Colts however. Colts 34 Jaguars 10.
NY Giants@Kansas City- The football Giants so far have turned out to be an even bigger disappointment that the baseball Giants this year. 2013 has not been a year to be a Giant in the sports world. The Chiefs under Head Coach Andy Reid are playing with great confidence as Alex Smith has found the perfect situation for himself. Reid also probably has forgotten more about the Giants than many coaches around the league know. The Giants will probably play a better game as (just in the Jaguars case) they cannot play any worse then they did in Charlotte last Sunday versus the Panthers. The Chiefs right now are playing with a level of confidence not seen in Kansas City in awhile. Nobody in their right mind would have picked the NY Giants to start their season 0-4. Right now I cannot see how the Giants avoid it. Chiefs 24 Giants 13.
Arizona@Tampa Bay- Josh Freeman made the wrong kind of statement by showing up late for the team photo. Now Freeman has not only been benched in favor of Mike Glennon, Tampa is also trying to find a way to unload Freeman as they have realized he's just way too overrated and expensive. The 0-3 Buccaneers have been their own worst enemy this season in two close losses before a not so surprising blow out loss in New England. Arizona has not had much go right either so far this season and last week were pasted in New Orleans. However between the two teams the Buccaneers seem to have more issues overall off the field. Arizona has just had some bad luck before getting run over last week. Someone must win this game. Tampa's luck has to turn around. However that will be tough when starting a rookie at quarterback. Carson Palmer would have the experience edge over either Freeman or Glennon. Cardinals 17 Buccaneers 10.
Pittsburgh vs Minnesota (@London)- Both teams are 0-3 and are both staring bad seasons square in the face. You could sell this game in London as a rematch of SuperBowl 9, but that will only go so far. The Vikings will be the "home" team as a formality. The bright side for Vikings season ticket holders, though you basically lose a home game because of Roger Goodell's insistence in playing two games in London this year, you also saved $128 in the cost of a ticket plus another $20 or more in parking at or around the Metrodome. Meanwhile I cannot get out of my mind a mental picture of a kid with a long face by the third quarter telling his dad "I thought you said we were going to see Manchester United, not this bloody mess!!!". This game will be the NFL's version of a soccer game only with more point values assigned. Steelers 10 Vikings 7.
NY Jets@Tennessee- Last season these two teams combined for arguably one of the worst Monday Night football games in that franchises history. For whatever reason, ESPN wanted no part of this one. Too bad in a way though as both teams have actually for the most part have played decent football so far this season. Geno Smith has done fine as the Jets QB as he has done nothing to embarrass himself or the team. Jake Locker last week against the Chargers led a game winning touchdown drive in the final moments which has to be a huge boost for his confidence. The team that wins this game will be 3-1, which means even the team that looses will have a respectable 2-2 mark all things considered. The Jets have rallied around the embattled Head Coach Rex Ryan and have played well beyond expectations. Likewise the Titans have been both tough and impressive throughout. A tough choice here however the Titans at home get another squeaker. Titans 24 Jets 20.
Philadelphia@Denver- The Denver Broncos so far have shown through three weeks why they are one of the best teams in the AFC if not the entire NFL. Peyton Manning & Company had another impressive win this past Monday Night at home versus the Raiders. This week the Philadelphia Eagles come hobbling into town with a 1-2 record which includes a loss in a game the should have won, and other loss against a team which simply was better. The problem for the Eagles here is that the Broncos are simply better on both sides of the ball. In some positions it's not even close. Michael Vick is a battler and expect nothing less from him here. However Denver has Peyton Manning and a better defense to boot. Not close here. Broncos 45 Eagles 24.
Washington@Oakland- The Oakland Raiders may be 1-2, however they have been very respectable. Though I'm not a Raider fan myself, you have to be pleased if you are one. The Raiders in their first three games have never taken a down off and have played solid football. In the two losses to the Colts and Broncos, the Raiders never gave up on the game. Even when it was clear Denver was going to win this past Monday Night, the Raiders never stopped playing. This is to their credit and is a sign that their organization is turning a corner. The Washington Redskins are a mess at 0-3. RGIII has no line protection and has been getting beat up. The Redskins defense at times seems either overwhelmed or at times even a bit lazy. This said the Raiders cannot take the Redskins for granted. Of concern for the Raiders is the health of QB Terrelle Pryor who suffered a concussion last week however has been medically cleared to play. If Pryor cannot go or cannot finish, this could be a problem for the Raiders. However Matt Flynn is not exactly chopped liver either. Raiders 23 Redskins 20.
Dallas@San Diego- The Dallas Cowboys last Sunday showed the NFL that they are tired of teams partying at Jerryworld at their expense as they buried and exposed the Rams. The Chargers meanwhile lost a heartbreaker in Nashville to the Titans last week after missing out on a game securing interception (just two plays before Tennessee's game winning touchdown). The Cowboys actually have played decent football this year and proved last week they are a team to take seriously in the NFC (forcing me to rethink my earlier criticisms). The Chargers have played respectable games too however have the frustration of losing two that they could have won. The star in the Cowboys win last Sunday was their defense which had their best game in awhile. The Chargers are a team that are very hard to get a read on. However for all of the promise they can show mostly on the offensive side of the football, the defense tends to gas out easy. The Chargers offensive line is also a huge liability as they are getting beat often. Tony Romo may or may not out-duel Phillip Rivers, however the Cowboys edge is their defense. Cowboys 27 Chargers 23.
New England@Atlanta (SNF)- The Patriots and Falcons match up in a game that should be an entertaining one to watch. Tom Brady versus Matt Ryan. The Patriots are 3-0 while the Falcons are 1-2, dropping tough games in New Orleans and Miami. Ryan so far this season has thrown for over 900 yards passing and has six touchdown passes to Brady's five. Ryan has very reliable targets in Julio Jones, Tony Gonzales, Jason Snelling and Harry Douglas. Brady meanwhile looks to Julian Edelman, Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins and when healthy former Ram Danny Amendola. New England however has relied mostly in their defense which has been solid the last two weeks. The same cannot be said for the Falcons defense which have surrendered a good deal of points. The Falcons are probably the team more and need at this point, however the Patriot defense will be a much tougher test then the Dolphins defense they saw last week. For the second straight week, the Kingshark Line is going with the team that needs the Sunday Night game more. Atlanta at home finds a way. Falcons 28 Patriots 27.
Miami@New Orleans (MNF)- The Miami Dolphins at 3-0 are one of the good stories in the NFL this season. The Dolphins have not played flawless football however have found a number of ways to get the job done this season. The Saints are also 3-0 as Sean Peyton has returned to the sidelines and has reignited a team that clearly struggled without him. Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill has thrown for over 800 yards in three games as Miami's offense has been one of the more confident attacks this season to date. Brian Hartline, Charles Clay, Brandon Gibson and former Steeler Mike Wallace have all impressed this year. The defense has been decent despite giving up an average of nearly 25 points a game. The Saints meanwhile have once again quietly emerged as one of the better teams in the NFC. Drew Brees has already thrown for over 1,000 yards and has six touchdown passes. Jimmy Graham, Marques Colston, and Darren Sproles have been keys to a Saints offense that can always move the ball effectively. The Saints defense has been very tough allowing only 38 points through three games. The Saints on the whole have a better balance on their team and seem to be the more efficient of the two. The young Dolphins are learning how to win (and so far are learning well). Meanwhile the Saints know how to win. With the game in New Orleans this will be a different environment than the young Dolphins are use too. Saints 34 Dolphins 24.
*Mandatory Disclaimer: The Kingshark Line is stickily for entertainment purposes only. I have the same exact information that anyone else has and do not claim to know any more or less than the next guy. This is not to promote or encourage gambling on football or any other sport. No point spreads are played here or implied in any way. Scores are for entertainment purposes only and are only based on team trends, team reports, etc. There is no inside information given here or implied. This is just for your information and entertainment. Enjoy the games.
Follow Me on Twitter @Kingshark49