Penthouse Picks

NFL Watch List Week 4

iStock_000060671160Hey folks, it’s Week 4 in the NFL, which means two things: The wheat is starting to separate from the chaff, and the league is set to launch its annual series of three games (per season) in … London!

That’s right, the NFL has been staging games in London, that famed hotbed of the more accurately named football, for years, and the league recently expanded the stunt to three games per season. This Sunday, instead of attending the blockbuster matchup between Arsenal and Manchester United in North London, scads of Limeys will have the opportunity to head west to Wembley Stadium to watch the 1-2 Miami Dolphins take on the 2-1 New York Jets. They won’t even know—or care—that the Dolphins are terrible and the Jets, with their weak-armed quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick, are mediocre.

But enough chaff; onto the wheat of this week’s schedule.

 

Sunday, October 4

Kansas City (1-2) at Cincinnati (3-0)

The Bengals are one of the league’s six remaining undefeated teams. Are they for real? We’re on the fence about that, but not about ginger QB Andy Dalton and receiver A. J. Green, who caught ten passes for 227 yards and two touchdowns last week against Baltimore.

 

Minnesota (2-1) at Denver (3-0)

Remember Adrian Peterson, that running back who got suspended for 15 games last season for thrashing his four-year-old son with a switch? (A switch, like it was 1874.) Yeah, he’s back, and the time off seems to have rejuvenated him: He currently leads the league in rushing. Can he do it against the Broncos’ decent run defense?

 

St. Louis (1-2) at Arizona (3-0)

Did you know the Cardinals were 3-0? The farther you live outside the Phoenix area, the greater your chances of answering “no” to that question. But they are, with a high-powered offense and a defense that returned two interceptions for touchdowns last week against San Francisco. If 36-year-old quarterback Carson Palmer and his surgically repaired knee can hold up, the Cardinals could be contenders.

 

Green Bay (3-0) at San Francisco (1-2)

The Niners have a losing record, but their starting QB, Colin Kaepernick, is 3-0 as a starter against Green Bay, including a win over the Pack in a 2014 wild-card game at Lambeau Field. Aaron Rodgers—who threw five touchdown passes last week—will be looking to make amends for that wild-card loss. He also might want to acclimate himself to the surroundings, as the 49ers’ stadium in Santa Clara, California, is the site of this season’s Super Bowl.

 

Houston (1-2) at Atlanta (3-0)

The Falcons are seven-point favorites at home to extend their surprising undefeated start to the season. They were 6-10 last year (and 4-12 the season before that), but with quarterback Matt Ryan lofting passes to superstar wide receiver Julio Jones, an improved defense, and a potential keeper in running back Devonta Freeman—who rushed for 141 yards and three TDs last week—there’s more hope in Atlanta than there has been in years.