Pocket Doppler Prognosticators: Week 4 plus a Bonus Badgers/Cornhuskers pick
Last year, each Friday the 3 Founding Fathers of Pocket Doppler (yours truly, BigSnakeMan & Chris Richards) would square off in picking the winner of the Packers, Sunday night & MNF games in an attempt to prove their football acumen and entertain. We’re not sure either of those things happened. So this year, the Founding Fathers will be joined by two Pocket Doppler veterans: favored stepson Rich & Senior Angel Colleen. Like last year, we’ll keep a running tally throughout the season.
Welcome to this week’s edition of the Pocket Doppler Prognosticators. Entering into Week 4 the current standings are:
Some movers and shakers here in the standings after last week with Colleen & Rich getting all three games correct, creating a logjam at the top. Will we see someone break out after this week? Will I be able to get out of the cellar? Will Rich have his little sister make his picks again? Let’s find out.
BSM made a huge tactical error in last week’s picks. While I correctly anticipated the struggles Dallas would have on offense due to their injuries, I failed to take into account the “Grossman Effect” for Washington, which ended up being the equalizer in the Cowboys Monday night victory. It was a rookie mistake that tarnished my previously unblemished record and one that won’t be repeated.
Broncos at Packers – It has often been noted that the most popular player on a losing team is the backup quarterback. In Denver, they’ve taken that concept one step further, bypassing backup Brady Quinn and going directly to 3rd stringer Tim Tebow, without even passing ”GO” and collecting $200. Never mind that most folks outside of Colorado think the team wasted a first round draft pick on a developmental H-back, Broncos fans have anointed Tebow as the savior that will take them to the promised land. Now, I’m sure Tim Terrific is a nice, friendly guy; that doesn’t mean he’s qualified to be a starting QB in the NFL. Meanwhile, starting QB Kyle Orton doesn’t have enough of a team around him to make them a winner, which isn’t likely to garner him any support among the Bronco faithful. For their part, Green Bay approaches this game potentially without the services of running back Ryan Grant and right tackle Brian Bulaga, who were injured in last week’s game. Fortunately, it won’t matter in this contest and the Packers would be wise to rest them both. They can get by without Grant for this week and Marshall Newhouse performed reasonably well in relief of Bulaga last week. He should be even better with a full week of practice reps. The Broncos will be unable to buck the Packers this time.
Jets at Ravens – As we’re all painfully aware, New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan has never been bashful about talking up his team and usually it’s at the expense of others. That being the case, Ryan must have had trouble reconciling New York’s loss at Oakland last week. Jets icon Joe Namath even cautioned against Ryan’s approach, suggesting that his players’ focus might be undermined by telling them how good they are all the time. Ryan responded that his Jets are the most prepared team he has ever coached. In effect, that presents Ryan with something of an unintended Catch-22; either his team was unprepared for last week’s game or they’re simply not as good as the Raiders. I predict that Ryan will have some more convoluted explaining to do this week as New York flies to Baltimore. These Jets will be grounded by ‘bird strike’.
Colts at Buccaneers – For the second consecutive week, the NFL is subjecting a prime time audience to the Indianapolis Colts. Indy turned in a surprisingly credible performance last Sunday night before ultimately falling to the Pittsburgh Steelers. At this point, I’m not sure that doesn’t say more about Pittsburgh than it does about any improvement in the Peyton Manning-less Colts. Tampa Bay is 2-1 and coming off a big win over division rival Atlanta but I still have a hard time buying in on them as a playoff contender. I really don’t have much to add regarding these two nondescript teams other than to take the home field Bucs for the win, making Indianapolis the clear frontrunner in the “Suck for (Andrew) Luck” sweepstakes.
BigSnakeMan’s Picks: Packer, Ravens & Buccaneers
Nebraska at Wisconsin – The Cornhuskers invade Camp Randall this Saturday night in their historic Big(12)Ten debut. While the Badgers haven’t played anyone of consequence to this point in the season, they have nonetheless been impressive. From what little I’ve seen, Nebraska has yet to live up to their preseason hype. I doubt that Nebraska will be able to do much more than slow down Russell Wilson and the UW offense. If this game were being played in Lincoln, I’d be a little more guarded in my optimism. But, since it’s in Madison, I feel pretty confident in calling this the first step in Bucky’s eventual return to the Rose Bowl. Cardinal & White bleeds out Big Red. Pick: Wisconsin.
Broncos at Packers – I know the Packers haven’t exactly looked like a 3-0 team thus far, but they’ve done what has needed to be done, winning two of those games on the road (and all inside the conference). That is a notable start. While concerns linger about GB’s defensive backfield, and while it will be interesting to see how Marshall Villaneuva, er, Newhouse, holds up at RT after a team has a week to game-plan to exploit his inexperience, I am having a hard time contriving a situation in which The Kicking Horses somehow win in Lambeau. I know, I know…this is the NFL and anything can happen (and often does) but even I expect the Packers to break the Broncos and improve to 4-0.
Jets at Ravens – A pair of 2-1 teams known for defense but ironically named for things that fly collide at Enmity Bank Stadium. (Check that, they will play at M&T Bank Stadium, which is a damn shame as I like my banks with a hard, bitter edge.) My gut says “Jets” but my head says “Ravens.” But there’s something hinky about the Jets, and BAL has been impressive in boatracing the Rams and the Steelers. Moreover, Edgar Allen Poe’s favorite team is playing at home, so I’ll take the black birds in what I expect to be a close, hard fought game (so you should expect a blowout).
Colts at Buccaneers – The Colts, at this particular point in time, are a joke. Tampa Bay is a solid 2-1 and coming off a nice win at home v. ATL. What makes me nervous about this game (besides the uncomfortable visage of TB’s old logo, the orange one with the flamboyant “pirate” with the cutlass in his teeth) is that the Bucs really haven’t beaten anybody who’s been playing well and their offensive and defensive numbers are, in a word, bland. But IND seems to be a team completely discombobulated: Peytonless, winless, and, perhaps, hopeless. I just think TB has more talent, and they boast the homeship advantage. I’m a bit uneasy about this, but I will go with Tampa and try to forget the image of that orange guy with the flowing hair and feather in his hat.
Chris’s Picks: Packers, Ravens & Buccaneers
Nebraska at Wisconsin – Vegas likes UW by ~10, and why not? The Badgers have destroyed the cupcakes they played in the “pre-season” in impressive fashion. But the Huskers are also undefeated at 4-0, except their defensive has proven to be a bit leaky at times, something I look for UW to test. Wisconsin will have an advantage playing at Camp Randall, but that might be negated to some extent as 20,000+ NE fans are expected to invade Madison for the game. Moreover, I look for Nebraska to be highly motivated in their inaugural Big (12) Ten outing. I think that emotion to carry the Huskers to an upset over Bucky on Saturday night. Pick: Nebraska.
Broncos at Packers – It’s not necessarily if the Packers will win this game but rather by how much. If there was a game for Ryan Grant & Bryan Bulaga to take off because of injury I’m glad it’s this one. I think the spread is around 14, but I expect the Packers to win by 3 TD’s & Clay Matthews will also get the ‘sack monkey’ off his back and notch at least two this game to quiet some of his detractors.
Jets at Ravens – This should be a slobber-knocker of a game which at the end of I think the Ravens end up on top. Oh, and if you haven’t seen this “PSA” by Jim Leonhard from Athletes Against Stickers check it out right now.
Colts at Buccaneers – Another game where NBC is ‘This looked like such a good match-up in August’. Here’s the most interesting thing about the Colts this year, if they continue to lose (and they will) what happens come draft time if they’re in the position to pick Andrew Luck? I think they would be wise to pick him in a heartbeat. I expect Manning to be back next year and the Colts could follow what the Packers did with Rodgers by having Luck sit for 2-3 years. I also think Manning would be a helluva better mentor/teacher than Favre was which also makes the situation better for the Colts. Oh, and the Colts lose.
Wally’s Picks: Packers, Ravens & Buccaneers
Nebraska at Wisconsin – We’ve all been waiting for this game since The Big Ten schedule came out. We’ve seen the Badgers beat up on lesser opponents & Nebraska’s vaunted “Blackshirts” defense not live up to their reputation. In essence, this is a coming out party for both teams: Nebraska’s debut in The Big Ten & Wisconsin’s first quality opponent. Both teams have something to play for and it’s really the same thing, proving they belong at the top. At the end of the game, I believe the team that will come out on top is the Wisconsin Badgers, handing Nebraska their first loss of the season as well as their first ever Big Ten Conference loss. Pick: Wisconsin.
Broncos at Packers – I hate the Broncos. I hate hate hate the Broncos. I hate Mr. Ed John Elway. At one point in my life, I was somewhat of a fan, starting when I was a child. After all, they were consistently on my TV screen (consisting of one channel in Podunk, Nevada) and they had the Orange Crush defense. I liked Orange Crush. After repeated choke jobs by Mr. Elway, however, I gave up in disgust and assumed my intense dislike. (Unlike the Packers, who were so bad they were never on TV, but still I loved them.) Then came that infamous Super Bowl. Now, especially with Elway being in charge of the team, I want the Packers to demolish the Broncos into tiny little molecules of mediocrity, and send them back where they came from.
Did I mention I hate the Broncos? Plus, they’re in no way as good as the Packers.
Jets at Ravens – John vs. Rex. Joe vs. Mark. Solid, dependable and calm against loudmouthed, show-off and flashy. If I had to go with who I liked better, I’d pick the Ravens. However, I honestly think these teams are fairly evenly matched. Looking a little deeper, however, it looks like the Jets are having issues on their defense, while the Ravens defense is, as it always seems to be, solid. Sanchez may be worried about his broken nose getting more broken and ruining his budding modeling career. All he needs is to find his Gisele and he’ll be Tommy Bieber, Jr.
Colts at Buccaneers – Well, I seem to be having an effect on teams who by all the laws on Earth should be blown away by their opponents. First week was the Miami Dolphins, then last week the Colts really made a game of it. Of course, they were playing at home and that always helps. So here the Colts are again. Not playing at home. Not playing particularly well on offense, to put it kindly. I haven’t seen much of the Bucs, so I’m flying a little blind here, but I think they are much, much better than the Colts. No contest this week.
Colleen’s Picks: Packers, Ravens & Buccaneers
Nebraska at Wisconsin – Since what I know about college football with the possible exception of Boise State (because I can’t avoid it) and Nevada (because I want to keep up with it) would fit in a thimble, I am totally useless to making even an educated guess on this game. Still, there’s only one school that taught me how to Bucky. Pick: Wisconsin.
The Brewers just claimed the NL Central for the first time in my lifetime, Ryan Braun may be the top choice for NL MVP, the undefeated, #7 Wisconsin Badgers are taking on the #8 Nebraska Cornhuskers at Camp Randall this weekend, Yankees GM Brian Cashman was caught on camera smitten with a woman who was NOT his wife, Ashton and Demi are on the outs, the NBA lockou…snore…Patriots head coach Bill Bellicheck enjoys dressing like a pirate, John Clayton thinks the Detroit Lions are the 2nd best team in the NFL (huh?), the Packers are 3-0, and I cannot comprehend it all. Better yet, I don’t want to. For Wisconsonians…er, Wisconsinites, we’d be hard-pressed to pinpoint a better time for Wisconsin fandom and well, sports in general. This is awesome.
That said, we’re here for one reason: flip a coin and hope heads means the home teams wins.
Broncos @ Packers – There’s little I can say about this game. Green Bay is far and away the better team, in most if not all respects. Denver, on the other hand, is in the midst of a silly quarterback controversy between a talented neck beard, a Muscle Milk commercial, and the hand of Midas who spends spring break vacations circumcising children, seriously. There’s definitely talent – Elvis Dumervil, Knowshon Moreno, etc – on the Denver sidelines, but not enough to match up with the Champs. The Packers bully the Broncos all over the field and unsheathe the knife midway through the 4th quarter. “Now I’m done.”
Jets @ Ravens – Rex Ryan and I have a very odd relationship. Every time I want to part ways with him, he and his Jets prove me wrong. Following a tough loss to the Raiders, with Mark Sanchez turning the ball over left and right – not to mention (which I’m now mentioning) suffering a broken nose – the Ravens should be able to manage something similar to what they did to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the season opener. Odds certainly favor the home team. And yet, I can’t complete the clean break with Sexy Rex. It’s late at night (literally, it’s 3:40am), and the Jets are outside my window with a boom box and trench coat. When backed into a corner they somehow get it done, while I drop down a rope ladder. Dang you, Rex. Jets win.
Colts @ Buccaneers – If Tampa Bay wants to be considered something resembling a contender in the NFC, this is a game they must to win. I’m still hesitant on the former, but the latter? Done and done.
Rich’s Picks: Packers, Jets & Buccaneers
Nebraska at Wisconsin – WILSON! Wilsonnnnnn! Wilson! -Tom Hanks Pick: Wisconsin.