By Brett Malamud
Week four was full of blowouts, and it was pretty easy to point out the studs and duds of the week. The week began on Thursday night with a 45-14 Giants blowout in Washington, and ended with a 41-14 Patriots blunder in Kansas City on Monday night. It was quite the shock for many, and even though it feels like the season just started, the week could play a big role in the end of season standings for certain teams. Here’s week four’s edition of Studs and Duds:
Stud: Eli Manning, New York Giants
Eli Manning…a stud? In a shocking twist of fate, Manning finished the week leading the entire league in fantasy points with 32 (in ESPN standard leagues). Talk about a comeback. Eli threw for 300 yards and four touchdowns in what was nothing short of a blowout in Washington.
Dud: Tom Brady, New England Patriots
Tom Brady…a dud? Yes, Tom Terrific wasn’t so terrific on Monday night in Kansas City. The future hall of famer fumbled twice and threw two interceptions. Brady also was limited to one touchdown pass on the day. Brady will not be able to produce anything positive if he’s stuck behind an offensive line that cannot protect him. He was replaced by Jimmy Garoppolo in the fourth quarter in the midst of a slaughtering.
Stud: Andrew Luck, Indianpolis Colts
This is the second straight week that Luck made the studs list, and for good reason. Luck threw for 393 yards and four touchdowns in a 41-17 crushing blow to the Tennessee Titans. Looking ahead, Luck will face the Baltimore Ravens, a team that ranks 24th against the pass, in Indianapolis.
Dud: Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins
This is proof that you can move from stud to dud in one week. Kirk Cousins did just that, after coming out flat against the Giants. Cousins threw four interceptions and lost a fumble. Looking ahead, Cousins could stay on the duds list for another week, as the Seattle Seahawks travel to Washington for a week five matchup.
Stud: Steve Smith Sr., Baltimore Ravens
Smith faced his former team, the Carolina Panthers, in Baltimore this week. A 61 yard capped off a day to remember for Smith. He finished the game with 139 yards and two touchdowns on seven receptions. Smith continues to produce for his new team, and leads Ravens receivers in all major categories.
Dud: LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles
For the man they call Shady, it was a very disappointing week. The 49ers were ranked seventh against the run headed into this game, and proved that ranking to be true this week. While Darren Sproles only had one carry for four yards, I felt that as a backup, it wouldn’t have been fair to be classify him as a “dud.” Instead I point at McCoy, who ran for just 17 yards on 10 carries. With that, McCoy has ran for just 39 yards on 29 carries in his last two games. I’d tip him about $0.20 for that performance.
Stud: Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs abused Tom Brady this week, and forced a fumble and two interceptions, one of which was returned by FS Husain Abdullah for a touchdown. The entire team was happy to have the return of Jamaal Charles, who scored three total touchdowns in the game. Looking ahead, the Chiefs now will look to pair Charles with Knile Davis, who took over the starting job while Charles was out of the lineup with injury, to create a one-two punch that many teams have this season in the backfield. They’ll travel into San Francisco next week before heading into their bye week.
Dud: Oakland Raiders
The Oakland Raiders have a lot of work to do. The men in silver and black traveled to the beautiful Wembley Stadium in London, England, hoping for a last gasp of air before they head into their bye week. Unfortunately, they failed to get much of anything going. Rookie and starting quarterback Derek Carr suffered a high ankle sprain and sprained MCL and had to be replaced by third-string quarterback Matt McGloin. Why the third-string quarterback, you ask? Backup quarterback Matt Schaub didn’t travel to England with the team after his wife underwent an emergency c-section a week ago to deliver their baby several months prematurely. The team decided that it was best for him to stay home, rather than travel to London. That didn’t help the quarterback troubles. The day can be best highlighted by a shotgun formation snap in the third quarter that went about a foot to the left of Carr, landed behind him, and was scooped up by Dolphins CB Cortland Finnegan, who brought it back 50 yards for a touchdown. The game ended in a in a 38-14 Dolphins victory that sent the winless Raiders to 0-4 on the season. The bad news continued, as the Raiders announced Monday night that head coach Dennis Allen was fired. Allen was 8-28 as Oakland’s coach. An announcement on the interim coach is expected today. Many believe that offensive line coach Tony Sparano will be given the job, after he recently was the head coach of the Miami Dolphins from 2008-11, and has the most coaching experience of the likely candidates. We’ll see what ultimately happens but it’s a relief that the coach will have two weeks to prepare themselves with the bye week coming up.
Stud: Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings
The rookie quarterback entered the day with high expectations and finished the day with no regrets. Bridgewater was excellent in the first start of his career, taking over for the injured Matt Cassel. The second round pick out of Louisville threw for 317 yards and rushed five times for 27 yards and a touchdown. He was carted off of the field with a sprained ankle but Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer remains completely optimistic that Bridgewater will start Thursday against the Green Bay Packers.
Stud: Terrance Williams, Dallas Cowboys
Tony Romo attempted just 29 passes in a run-heavy game for the Cowboys. But Williams made the most of his opportunities. The second year wide receiver was targeted a team high seven times, and he hauled in six of those for 77 yards and two touchdowns. As teams focus on stopping the Cowboys run game, Tony Romo will be given the option to pass. The man with the spotlight on him is Dez Bryant and with that, Williams should be able to produce a lot of strong stats moving forward.
Brett Malamud is a Computer Science Major at Binghamton University. He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Todd Bertuzzi. You can follow him on twitter at @brettnyy
Jack Allen is a writer for dabuzzza.com. He is a fan of the New York Mets, New York Islanders, New York Knicks, New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Mariners, Queens Park Rangers, and West Virginia Mountaineer football and basketball. His favorite athletes are David Wright, John Tavares, Geno Smith, Allen Iverson and Charlie Austin. He is a very passionate and determined fan. You can follow him on twitter @JackAllen99.
By Matthew Wieselthier
1:00 PM ET
Jets 24, Bills 13
The Jets are arguably the most surprising team this season. After being projected as one of the worst, the Jets are in playoff contention, and there is one big reason why. The “Sons of Anarchy.” The defensive line for the Jets, comprised of Muhammad Wilkerson, Damon Harrison, and Sheldon Richardson, has tortured quarterbacks and offensives in general with the pressure they’ve put on QBs. The offense should also get a lot stronger this week with WR Santonio Holmes and TEs Jeff Cumberland and Kellen Winslow returning from injuries (suspension for Winslow).
Buccaneers 28, Falcons 24
The Buccaneers may have looked bad most of the year, but the past few weeks, they have started to look like a decent team. The Falcons, on the other hand, are the most disappointing team this season, going from Super Bowl favorites to the favorites for a top 5 draft pick. The Buccaneers have looked like a good team since Mike Glennon took over at QB. The one thing they needed was a W. They got that last Monday versus the Dolphins, and the momentum should continue into this week.
Lions 31, Steelers 16
The Lions have looked very strong the past few weeks. We can say this over and over again. Matthew Stafford has looked very strong, a big thanks to WR Calvin Johnson. The Lions new two-headed rushing attack of Reggie Bush and Joique Bell has been stellar. If anything goes wrong with the Lions offense against the tough Steelers defense, the terrible Steelers offense should help them out. There has been no running game from the Steelers and QB Ben Roethlisberger hasn’t looked great either. The Lions should have ease in taking this game.
Eagles 34, Redskins 31
The Eagles are on a nice hot streak. Nick Foles has looked great in the past few weeks and so has LeSean McCoy in the running game. Meanwhile, the Redskins are exactly where they were last year. 3-6 last season, the Redskins racked up a 7 game winning streak to win the NFC East title. The Redskins are once again 3-6 and things are once again looking gloom. A miracle happens once, not twice, and not this year.
Cardinals 28, Jaguars 14
The Cardinals are another team in the running for most surprising team this season. Their most surprising player is RB Andre Ellington, who is averaging 7.2 yards per carry, is still sharing time with Rashard Mendenhall, but still taking advantage of his time and showing why he deserves to be seriously considered as a decent RB in the league. The Jaguars are still one of the worst teams in the NFL despite upsetting the Titans last week. Don’t expect that fact to change against a tough NFC opponent.
Texans 37, Raiders 17
Isn’t it about time that Case Keenum got his first victory as a starting QB in the NFL? He has played fantastic since getting the job, holding a 105.1 passer rating and throwing 7 TDs with no interceptions. The Raiders have their own QB issues. Starting QB Terrelle Pryor is out with a knee injury, prompting the first start in the career of Matt McGloin. This is a very interesting matchup of previously undrafted QBs starting against one another.
Bears 23, Ravens 10
The Bears have a nice situation in which they can trust their backup QB when Jay Cutler gets injured. Josh McCown has been quite successful this year, throwing for a 60% completion percentage and a 103.2 passer rating. The Ravens still don’t look that great and against a tough Bears defense, that fact shouldn’t change.
Browns 27, Bengals 23
The Browns haven’t played two games against the Bengals in a season since 2002. That fact may change with the way both teams have been performing recently. Since putting on an offensive show versus the Jets in Week 8, the Bengals have dropped two straight games against teams they should have dominated (Dolphins and Ravens). Now they play another division rival and need things to change before their bye week with a struggling Andy Dalton. The Browns have a chance to shock everyone with a win this week. They are in second place in the AFC North and have a chance to be one game back after this week. QB Jason Campbell has been very successful since taking over in the Cleveland QB debacle.
4:00 PM ET
Chargers 32, Dolphins 17
The Chargers are another team on the rise and surprise this season. QB Philip Rivers is having a comeback season with 18 TDs to 7 interceptions and a 105.9 passer rating and looking like the Rivers of old back when the Chargers were a regular playoff favorite. The Dolphins also looked like they were on the rise until they lost to the previously winless Buccaneers on Monday Night, not even showing up in the first half and looking dreadful all night.
Giants 24, Packers 13
The Giants may be the luckiest team in the league at the moment. After starting off 0-6, the Giants have taken down 3 straight either bad or injury riddled teams. This week, they get another injured and limping team with the Cheese heads. The Packers not only lost QB Aaron Rodgers, they lost their backup QB Seneca Wallace to injury last week. Scott Tolzein is making his first career start and he won’t have the Packers best check down target/tight end Jermichael Finley, who had spinal fusion surgery since being put on the IR, possibly ending his career. The Giants are getting very lucky. Don’t expect that to last much longer though.
Seattle 38, Vikings 14
The Seahawks were looking like they were on the decline, playing close games against not great opponents, headlined by having to squeak out an OT win versus the Buccaneers. They finally came back last week in an absolute destruction of the upsetting Falcons. Expect that to continue because the Seahawks are a top team with a top defense and a solid offensive attack against a horrible Vikings team who have not much upside.
49ers 27, Saints 25
The 49ers are very strong and arguably still underrated after losing such a tight game against the Panthers last week. QB Colin Kaepernick is back to being a top QB after a weak start to the season. The defense is also very strong, as shown last week when they held a strong Panthers offense to only 10 points. The Saints are very strong too, but tough defenses haven’t had that much trouble in stopping them. That fact should stay the same this week.
8:30 PM ET
Broncos 20, Chiefs 14
The two top teams in the NFL going against each other on Sunday Night. What more can anyone ask for? The Chiefs and their top defense in the NFL are going face to face with the Broncos’ top offense. The Chiefs are arguably the worst 9-0 team ever, that being that they haven’t played anyone with a winning record. But at the same time, the Broncos have only played one team with a winning record in their only loss of the season to the Colts. Peyton Manning is still the best QB in the league and that should propel the Broncos to victory in this AFC West showdown.
8:30 PM ET
Panthers 35, Patriots 24
The Panthers are arguably the hottest team in the NFL right now. They have the 2nd best defense and their offense is just getting better and better. The Patriots are still the walking wounded on the defensive side and Tom Brady has looked awful this entire season. Don’t bet against the hot streak. Carolina should be able to bring home the W in this week ending primetime showdown.
Matthew Wieselthier is the Sports Director at WPOB 88.5 FM, Plainview. He is also the PA announcer at all sporting events at POBJFKHS. You can follow him on twitter at @wieselsports66.
Doug Tyburski is a graduate of Nassau Community College & Suny Stony Brook. He has always been a huge sports fan and his favorite team’s include the NY Islanders, Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Eagles, and Brooklyn Nets. You can follow him on twitter at @dtybur