Joel Bartilotta hopes to build on his 2-3 record in Week 3 with five fresh picks for Week 4.
Man, how frustrating was last week? I actually started off 2-0 thanks to the under in the Thursday game and the 49ers beatdown of the Giants. Things fell apart after that though, with one stupid game. It actually appeared that I was well on my way to a 3-0 start when the Falcons were up by 16 points with 6:30 left against the Bears but they had an epic collapse to cost us that bet. From there, the Chargers and Dallas/Seattle games let us down and it just seemed like nothing could go right after that ridiculous Atlanta choke. In any case, a 2-3 week isn’t a nightmare, bringing my season record to 6-4.
Pick 1: Cincinnati Bengals (-3)
I might be insane making this pick but the talent discrepancy between these teams is just too much for me to overlook. Go position by position: We have Joe Burrow vs. Gardner Minshew, Joe Mixon vs. James Robinson and A.J. Green/Tyler Boyd vs. D.J. Chark/Keelan Cole. I believe that the Bengals have the advantage at all three of these positions and that doesn’t even take into consideration that their defense is better too.
It’s also one of the few opportunities that Cincy knows they can win a game this season and that’s going to make them hungrier than ever to grab that first victory. The 0-2-1 record isn’t even that bad when evaluating the teams either, facing the Chargers, Browns and Eagles in the first three weeks. It looks even better when you consider that all three games were decided by five points or fewer and they look to be headed in the right direction.
Pick 2: New Orleans Saints (-4)
This line tells us that the Saints are only 1.5 points better than the Lions on a neutral site. Does that sound right to you? Yeah, me neither. We’re talking about a Saints offense who ranks 8th in points scored, facing a 26th-ranked Lions defense. What’s even worse is that Detroit ranks 22nd in rushing yards, facing a New Orleans club that ranks 5th in yards-per-carry against. That means they’ll have to win the game by beating Drew Brees through the air and that’s never a good proposition. What makes that even worse is the fact that Detroit ranks 28th in sacks and not getting pressure on Brees is a recipe for disaster. That doesn’t even take into consideration the best player in this game, with Alvin Kamara being the best running back in football right now. There are just too many mismatches for Detroit to compete with New Orleans and I truly believe that we could be looking at a double-digit blowout.
Pick 3: Darrell Henderson Over 64 Rushing Yards
People have been confused about this backfield all season long but it appears that Henderson is starting to take reigns on the job. What I like is his increase in usage, going from three carries, to 12 in Week 2, to 20 in Week 3. He’s been amazing with those carries too, totaling 201 yards, equating to a 5.7 YPC. If he continues that YPC average, Henderson would need just 12 carries to reach this total and that appears to be the floor when looking at his 20-carry, 114-yard gem in Week 3. That Buffalo matchup is way harder than this one too, with the Giants ranked 20th in rushing yards allowed. That doesn’t even take into consideration that Los Angeles is a 13-point favorite, possibly leading to even more carries for Henderson. If he gets 20 carries again, there’s no way he’s not reaching this total.
Pick 4: Zach Ertz Over 5.5 Receptions
Ertz’ value scared me early on with Dallas Goedert taking a ton of his usage but that’s not a worry anymore. Goedert is out with an ankle injury for at least three weeks, joining Alshon Jeffrey, Jalen Reagor and DeSean Jackson on the sidelines. That leaves Ertz as one of the only weapons left and it seems likely that Carson Wentz will go back to his security blanket with so many guys missing.
In the one game without Goefert last season, Ertz has eight catches and it would be hard to imagine him not duplicating that again here. We’re also talking about a guy who’s averaging 5.9 receptions on nine targets a game since the beginning of last year and Philly will need to throw the ball as a 7.5-point underdog.
Pick 5: A.J. Green Over 60 Receiving Yards
This directly correlates with our Bengals pick. While the former Pro Bowler has been struggling on the stat sheet early on this season, the underlying numbers tell us that a monster game is right around the corner. What we really like is his usage, posting 373 air yards this season while collecting 28 total targets. That air yards total ranks second in the NFL while the targets put him seventh. That means he’s averaging 9.3 targets and 122.3 air yards per game and if he duplicates that here, he’s going to surpass that 60-yard total with ease.
The matchup only adds to his intrigue, with Jacksonville owning one of the worst secondaries in football after getting rid of Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye. I also like Joe Mixon to surpass his 65 rushing yard total as well.