Last Minute Emergency Lineup Changes: Week 4
The NFL season is off to an exhilarating and completely unpredictable start. I mean who would have guessed that after 3 weeks, the Patriots would be tied on the bottom of the AFC East with the Miami Dolphins. How about the fact that there are only 3 unbeaten teams and one of them is the Arizona Cardinals, or that there are only 2 winless teams, one of which is the highly touted New Orleans Saints. While the Replacement Refs made a slight mockery of the NFL through the first three weeks, they are gone now and sanity will prevail once again. There are a lot of quality week 4 matchups which will require a lot of quiet players to come out of their shells to help their team’s. Here are my top 5 picks for players that you might want to consider starting for this upcoming weekend.
Jacquizz Rodgers: Sunday 1:00 PM EST
After starting the season 3-0, the Atlanta Falcons must be thrilled to have a matchup at home against their divisional foes, the Carolina Panthers. In 2011, Cam Newton had 2 of his 4 worst passer rating games against the Falcons, and Atlanta has only gotten better while the Panthers have seemed to regress just a little. A lacking Panthers offense means more time for Matt Ryan and company to dominate the game. While Michael Turner absolutely ate the Panthers defense alive last year, I feel that the torch will be passed to the man with the coolest name in the game, Jacquizz Rodgers. Rodgers is listed as the #3 tailback for the Falcons, but those rankings are deceptive. Atlanta consistently switches running back formations and they always keep their opponents guessing. Carolina’s defense has been guessing wrong through the first 3 weeks and teams have been running and passing all over them. Luckily for owners of Rodgers, he is both a beneficiary of the pass and run game. Just in his 2nd year out of Oregon State, Rodgers is yet to have that breakout game. Wait no longer, because I feel Jacquizz will be a big factor in this game.
Predictions for week 4: 10 rushes for 70 yards and a touchdown, 4 receptions for 40 yards
Deion Branch: Sunday 1:00 PM EST
The Patriots are in last place in the AFC East? Sure, as a Jets fan I am jovial with that news, but as a realistic Jets fan, I know exactly how long that will last. Tom Brady is not a losing quarterback and, the best cheater in the world, Bill Belichick, is one of the best coaches ever. In this divisional game against the 2-1 Buffalo Bills, the Patriots will come in fast and hard because of the anger they are carrying over from last weeks controversial Sunday Night Football call that cost them the game against the Baltimore Ravens. A lot of players are injured for the Pats right now, so for Brady to be successful he will need his supporting cast to really step it up, especially against a Buffalo defense that seems to be finding its footing. I feel that the recently resigned veteran, Deion Branch, will be Tom’s ace in the hole. Branch has been playing with Brady for the majority of his 11 year career and knows how Mr. Bundchen thinks and operates. While Branch doesn’t have the same power and speed he once possessed, he is still a very intelligent receiver and will do his darnedest to find the openings on the field. Buffalo’s secondary has been suspect in the early stages of the season, so I predict that Brady will have his way with them.
Predictions for week 4: 6 receptions for 105 yards and a touchdown
Brandon Gibson: Sunday 1:00 PM EST
While I don’t feel that there will be many reasons to watch the St. Louis Rams this season, I think Brandon Gibson will give us one on Sunday. Danny Amendola has been Sam Bradford’s favorite target in the early going this year, having his receiving yards account for nearly 50% of Bradford’s total. That is why the quality Seahawks defense will have majority of their secondary focus on Amendola. Enter Gibson! Sam Bradford is an average QB that shows signs of a very good one and while Amendola has been the only player who really has excelled this season on the Rams receiving core, Gibson has shown signs of stardom in his fourth season. I am expecting Seattle to completely shut down the St. Louis rushing game which will force Bradford to find solace in the passing attack. I am also expecting Amendola to be double teamed the entire game which will give Gibson some freedom to receive one-on-one coverage. Brandon found the endzone in each of the first two games but was nearly completely shut down last week against Chicago, as was his whole team. This will be a good recovery week for the Rams and especially for Brandon Gibson.
Predictions for week 4: 6 receptions for 90 yards and a touchdown
Brandon Stokley: Sunday 4:05 PM EST
I guess this is the week where washed up veterans or just people named Brandon will have an impact. There was once a time, long ago, when a young QB out of Tennessee helped rebuild a franchise into an AFC powerhouse. That young man was Peyton Manning. Peyton is trying to rejuvenate his career with the Denver Broncos and while it hasn’t been easy sailing thus far, he has shown signs of his former self. He has two extremely young and talented receivers in Decker and Thomas but his wildcard is the one I’ll be watching this weekend. In Indianapolis, Peyton had a lot of “toys” to play with and one of his favorite was Brandon Stokley. Now Stokley has rejoined his friend Peyton and is the #3 option for a Broncos team that went from a primarily rushing attack formation to a pass friendly system to accommodate their big FA acquisition. Stokley has always been a reliable receiver and has great field awareness. Peyton is going to feast on the Oakland Raiders defense all game long. I am picturing a Peyton-esque performance with nearly 400 yards and 3 touchdowns. I am also expecting Stokley to be one of the big recipients of a lot of Peyton bombs.
Predictions for week 4: 8 receptions for 120 yards and a touchdown
Ramses Barden: Sunday 8:20 PM EST
While I would love to see my Jets be the best team in New York, I don’t feel that will happen as long as Eli Manning is on the Giants. In a huge divisional Sunday Night Football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Eli Manning will look to be at his absolute best. Both teams are sporting a 2-1 record and while the game is being played in Philly, that might end up being an advantage for Eli since he is without question the best road QB in the game. Manning has his obvious favorite targets in Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks, but what Eli discovered last week has Giants fans extremely happy. While Hakeem Nicks was out with an injury, which he might be again, Eli needed someone to step up big time. Barden ended the game with an impressive 9 catches for 138 yards. Some people are comparing Barden’s instant stardom to what happened with Victor Cruz last year. To me, Barden is a must start and will have a huge game that could end up being the difference between a win or a loss. The Eagles defense has proven to be much improved this season and their primary focus on Sunday will be on Cruz and Nicks, if he plays. This will leave Barden with a lot of opportunities to prove last week wasn’t just a fluke.
Predictions for week 4: 8 receptions for 110 yards and a touchdown
Here is our free advice for you to take now and thank us later. We will be posting 5 players every week who we feel will make a significant impact for that week. If you agree or not with our predictions let us know. If you take our advice and are successful because of it congratulations and tell your friends.