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Nostrathomas Predicts: Week 4 of the 2015 NFL Season!

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Oct 01, 2015



By Tom Pollin

Nostrathomas, seer of Sayers, was feeling a correction in the force during the early games last Sunday but recovered in fine fashion to finish 13-3 straight-up and 10-6 against the spread, the third straight week that Nostrathomas has finished .500 or better against the house this season.

Record for the year is now 35-13 straight-up and 31-17 against the spread.

Week 4 is the first bye week of the season. The New England Patriots take a break from the Belichick/Brady screw Goodell and the NFL tour while the Tennessee Titans reflect back on the first three weeks of the Marcus Mariota era.

As always these predictions are for entertainment purposes only. If you lose money you have only yourself to blame and should have listened to your mother about the evils of gambling. If you win, Nostrathomas reminds you that soothsaying is tough, thirsty work and beer ain’t exactly cheap these days.

Thursday Night

Baltimore Ravens -3 @ Pittsburgh Steelers

The Ravens are 0-3 but favored on the road against their AFC North rival. The Steelers hold the statistical edge against Baltimore but that was with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback.

Mike Vick took over last week with 5:06 remaining in the third quarter and struggled to move Pittsburgh’s offense the rest of the way. The only scoring drive he engineered Antonio Brown Stiff Armwas after Will Allen returned a Nick Foles interception to the St. Louis 31. Three plays and eight yards later Josh Scobee put the Steelers up 12-6.

Baltimore nearly pulled off the upset at home last week against the Bengals with a 17 point fourth quarter but Joe Flacco only led one touchdown drive in that comeback. The other touchdown came from a C.J. Mosely fumble recovery and 41-yard return. Of Flacco’s 362 passing yards against Cincinnati, 186 went to Steve Smith, who caught 13 out of the 17 passes targeted his way.

Both teams need to win this game to keep the first place Bengals in sight and stay relevant in the playoff race. This is the toughest call of the week but the Steelers are at home and will still be tough to move the ball against, especially if Flacco continues to concentrate so intently on Smith.

Pittsburgh Steelers 23 Baltimore Ravens 20

Sunday Morning - London

New York Jets -2 @ Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins are the home team in name only with this game being played at Wembley Stadium in London. Look for defense to be the key to who wins this NFL matinee.

The Jets have only allowed 41 points in three games this season, best in the NFL. They also top the league in creating turnovers, 11 so far, one more than the Denver Broncos. In defensive Quality Stats the Jets are second in Real Quarterback Rating and fourth in both Real Passing Yards per Attempt and Defensive Passer Rating.

The Dolphins’ defense is reeling after giving up 41 points to Buffalo last Sunday. The most telling indicator for how bad they’ve been is in the Defensive Hog Index, which combines rankings for Rushing Yards per Attempt, Negative Pass Play percentage and Third-Down percentage.

Even with the addition of Ndamukong Suh to the middle of their line Miami’s Defensive Hogs are last in the NFL. They rank No. 22 in Rushing Yards per Attempt and Third-Down percentage while sitting at the bottom of the league in Negative Pass Play percentage. The Dolphins only have one sack and two interceptions in three games.

The Jets can’t come from behind; they spotted the Eagles to a 24-0 lead before finally denting the end zone with 12-seconds left in the first half, but won’t have to against Miami. The Dolphins disappoint their London “home” crowd and fall to 1-3.

New York Jets 26 Miami Dolphins 18

Sunday – Early Games

Houston Texans @ Atlanta Falcons - 6.5

The Falcons spotted Dallas to a 21-7 second quarter lead before their defense stiffened and the offense found its groove. Matt Ryan connected with Julio Jones for 164-yards and two touchdowns. On the ground, Devonta Freeman took over Atlanta’s No. 1 running back job with 141-rushing yards and three touchdowns. He finished with 193 all-purpose yards for the game.

The Texans have a decent trio of receivers, DeAndre Hopkins, Cecil Shorts and Nate Washington, plus running back Alfred Blue, who ran for 130-yards and a touchdown last week, but they’re at a disadvantage with Ryan Mallet starting at quarterback.

Unless J.J. Watt can rush Ryan while also covering Jones, Atlanta will roll to a victory at home in a game where they won’t have to mount a comeback.

Atlanta Falcons 29 Houston Texans 17

New York Giants @ Buffalo Bills - 5.5

The Bills have dominated in games not against the Patriots so far this season while the Giants finally won a game last week that they were leading in the fourth quarter.

Eli Manning has played pretty well for the Giants so far this season with a 97.9 Passer Rating and four touchdowns against zero interceptions but Buffalo’s defense will be the Sammy Watkinstoughest he’s seen so far in 2015.

The Patriots are responsible for all eight of the sacks against Buffalo’s Tyrod Taylor this season which is why they held the Bills to 13 points in the first three quarters of their game in Week 2. The Giants only have three sacks so far in 2015 so it’s doubtful they can dial up the pressure needed to keep Taylor in check.

The Giants have lost five of their last six road games against AFC competition and the Bills won’t be rolling out the welcome mat for them this Sunday.

Buffalo Bills 32 New York Giants 23

Oakland Raiders - 3 @ Chicago Bears

With Jimmy Clausen starting at quarterback for the injured Jay Cutler last week in Seattle the Bears possessed the ball 10 times and punted after each. They reached the Seahawks’ side of the field only once all afternoon.

The only reliable asset the Bears have on offense is running back Matt Forte, currently second in the NFL in rushing yards with 276 and yards from scrimmage with 345.

For the Raiders, they’ve won two straight games after losing to Cincinnati in a disastrous Week 1. Derek Carr is gaining confidence each week at quarterback and has established a strong rapport with rookie receiver Amari Cooper. Carr has also enjoyed protection from a line that’s currently No. 1 in the Offensive Hog Index. He’s only been sacked once in three games.

In three games the Bears have surrendered the most points in the NFL on defense and have only outscored San Francisco on offense.

Cutler is back on the practice field for the Bears but only in a limited capacity. If Cutler starts on Sunday the Bears win this game but it’s more likely Clausen steps in again. This prediction is based on that scenario. If it is the case the Raiders will put together their first two game road winning streak since 2011.

Oakland Raiders 26 Chicago Bears 16

Kansas City Chiefs @ Cincinnati Bengals - 4

Since their 27-20 win to start the season the Chiefs have been beaten badly in two straight games. They lost the chance to take control of the AFC West by giving away their Week 2 game at home against the Broncos and were thoroughly outplayed by the Packers last week (don’t let the two garbage time touchdowns fool you).

Cincinnati has been en fuego so far this season behind Andy Dalton at quarterback. He has the second best passer rating in the NFL through three weeks and is also second in Real Passing Yards per Attempt and Real Quarterback Rating.

The Chiefs can’t expect to win, let alone cover four points, on the road against a team that has been a lot better than them through the first three weeks

Cincinnati Bengals 28 Kansas City Chiefs 22

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Indianapolis Colts - 9

In the last five games these two have played the Colts have won by double-digits each time. Still, this year Indianapolis has been an enigma. The Colts barely squeezed out a win last week against Tennessee after taking a beating their first two games of the season.

The Jaguars shouldn’t have a chance to win this game, let alone cover, but Andrew Luck also shouldn’t be the worst starting quarterback in the NFL through three weeks, and he is.

There’s not much choice here. Picking the Jaguars to cover any spread on the road is a fool’s play but the Colts have damaged a lot of bankrolls this season.

Last week Nostrathomas picked two inferior teams to cover large spreads and was bitten by both. If you’re compelled to put action on this game take the Colts to cover the two-score spread at home and wear your underwear outside your pants the next three days to send some added good fortune the Colts’ way.

Indianapolis Colts 24 Jacksonville Jaguars 14Cam Newton Touchdown

Carolina Panthers - 3 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Obviously oddsmakers have as much respect for the Carolina Panthers as Ed Hochuli does for Cam Newton. Nostrathomas hasn’t seen a spread this ridiculous since he began putting chisel to tablet.

The Panthers are one of the 3-0 pretenders in the NFL but the only way the Buccaneers get within three points against Carolina is if they sabotage the scoreboard, even if Luke Kuechly does miss his third straight game on Sunday.

Carolina Panthers 24 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13

Philadelphia Eagles -3 @ Washington Redskins

There’s a lot to consider with this game outside of evaluating the two teams. Current weather forecasts calls for plenty of rain at game-time and that doesn’t take into account whether Hurricane Joaquin makes landfall in Virginia and tracks up the east coast through Washington D.C. This game could potentially be postponed due to dangerous winds and threats of flooding.

Since Nortrathomas can only predict football games and not the weather let’s look at the best-case scenario, a game played in rain and muddy conditions.

Sunday’s scenario could be a blessing in disguise for the Eagles. Sam Bradford is No. 28 in the league in Passer Rating with only three touchdown passes to four interceptions but Philadelphia has Ryan Mathews and all-purpose back Darren Sproles who could thrive in those conditions.

Philadelphia has played a tougher schedule than Washington so far and they’re tougher on defense.

Philadelphia Eagles 19 Washington Redskins 14

Sunday – Late Games

Cleveland Browns @ San Diego Chargers - 7.5

As long as Mike Pettine insists on starting 36-year old quarterback of the next year or so Josh McCown instead of continuing to develop 2014 first round draft choice Johnny Manziel the Browns are going nowhere.

The Chargers are back home and attempting to wash the taste of last week’s 34-14 thrashing in Minnesota out of their mouths by welcoming the Browns to San Diego.

The 7.5 points the Chargers will be giving is a lot for a 1-2 team, a backdoor cover could be hiding around the corner in this one, but don’t underestimate the ability of the Browns to play down to their head coach’s level.

San Diego Chargers 26 Cleveland Browns 16

Minnesota Vikings @ Denver Broncos - 7

This will be the best game remaining on the Week 4 slate when it kicks off Sunday afternoon. The Broncos have ridden a dominant defense and a just good enough Peyton Manning at quarterback to a 3-0 record early in 2015. The Vikings are 2-1 on the strength of Adrian Peterson’s return to form at running back.

Denver is strong against the run which means Teddy Bridgewater will eventually need to make a couple of plays for Minnesota to keep this game close. San Diego put the clamps on Bridgewater last week but couldn’t overcome Peterson or Minnesota’s pass pressure.

The Broncos have won nine straight at home and has the defense to cover the spread in win No. 10. The Vikings are a young team and need to mature before they can be Bethel Touchdowncounted on as a road dog.

Denver Broncos 26 Minnesota Vikings 17

St. Louis Rams @ Arizona Cardinals - 7.5

The Arizona Cardinals pushed the gas pedal to the floor in Week1 and haven’t let up since.

As long as Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer stays healthy, the Cardinals are Super Bowl 50 contenders, as long as St. Louis quarterback Nick Foles stays healthy, the Rams have a chance to win as many games as they lose this season.

Arizona has won three straight against their NFC South rivals and will run that to four on Sunday.

Arizona Cardinals36 St. Louis Rams16

Green Bay Packers - 9 @ San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco has won four straight games against the Packers but these aren’t your slightly older brother’s 49ers.

The last time San Francisco played at home they dominated the Minnesota Vikings 20-3. Since then they’ve been outscored 90-25 by the Steelers and Cardinals.

The 49ers can run Carlos Hyde all they want, and they should do that because rushing defense is Green Bay’s only weakness, but at some point Colin Kaepernick will have to attempt to throw the ball, and that’s where things have been going downhill for San Francisco’s offense.

The Packers have done everything so far this season and Aaron Rodgers is playing on a different plane of existence than the rest of the NFL

San Francisco may prove to be a better team at home than on the road this season but that won'e be good enough to get within nine points of Green Bay.

Green Bay Packers 35 San Francisco 49ers 13

Sunday Night

Dallas Cowboys @ New Orleans Saints – No Line

Will this game feature Brandon Weeden vs Luke McCown or Weeden vs Drew Brees? NBC is prepared to sacrifice Bob Costas to the football gods if it means Brees starts at quarterback for the Saints Sunday night.

Dallas was having its way with the Falcons last Sunday, even with Brandon Weeden at quarterback, before Atlanta hit the afterburners. One curious stat in that game was that the Cowboys failed to score in the second half.

Even if Brees plays, he hasn’t been himself in the passing game so far this season and will still be feeling the effects of his shoulder injury. New Orleans has also struggled with their ground game so far this year. On the other side of the ball, the Saints will have to overcome a defense that’s No. 30 or worse in nearly all major Quality Stats defensive categories.

With no line for this game at this writing, Nostrathomas only gets to pick a winner for this game, and that will be the Cowboys.

Dallas Cowboys 25 New Orleans Saints 20

Monday

Detroit Lions @ Seattle Seahawks - 9.5

Picking this game doesn’t come down to deciding whether or not the Seahawks will win, they will, just whether or not they can cover the 9.5 point spread. Prior to their 27-17 Sunday night loss to the Packers in Week 2 the Seahawks had won nine straight and 13 of 14 regular season prime time games.

Chicago kept the Seahawks close in the first half last week with a heavy reliance on their running attack but the Lions don’t have that option. Detroit is tied with Denver for last in the NFL with 2.6-yards per carry.

The Lions have felt the sting of not having linebacker DeAndre Levy on the field yet this season and he’s not expected back for Monday night.

The Seahawks have covered the last four times they were 9.5 point favorites or more with an easy cover of 14.5 points against the Bears last week. They should have no trouble doing the same against Detroit.

Seattle Seahawks 30 Detroit Lions 15

Past Nostrathomas Predictions

Week 1                                    Week 2                                         Week 3

Contact Nostrathomas…er, Tom Pollin @tjpollin on Twitter if you have comments about this article or other football topics. I follow back and always enjoy discussions about the Bears and NFL with fans. Also visit and like my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/FootballAtoZ.com.


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