NFL Insiders Predict: Week 4’s upsets, fantasy sleepers, more

Our NFL Insiders make their predictions for Week 4: The biggest upsets, fantasy sleepers and busts, the best 3-0 team, bounce-back players, and the 1-2 team that worries them the most.

What’s your biggest upset for Week 4?

Newton already has five interceptions, three more than a year ago. He threw three interceptions and was sacked eight times in Sunday’s loss to Minnesota.

“It’s really going to come down to us,’’ Newton said of turning things around. “Just like this past game, it wasn’t anything that they did outside of us executing. We have to understand our role. We have to take the personal challenge to ourselves knowing we’ve got to be better.

“If we do that, nine times out of 10 we put ourselves in the best situation. Then it comes down to how good the individual is.’’

Brown apparently switched his shoes for the second half in Philadelphia, where Brown finished with 12 catches for 140 yards.

Luke Willson was used in an H-back-type role and was heavily involved in the run game.

“He did well,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “He was comfortable with it. He’s really pumped up about anything that he gets to do to add to the team, so he was excited about the chance and he looked pretty comfortable. He’ll definitely improve in the next couple weeks. It’s a really good role for him, and it makes us a little versatile in that substitution. That’s a good positive thing for us.”

We’ll see in future weeks whether this was a game plan deal or something the Seahawks intend to use regularly. My hunch is they’ll still be mostly an 11 personnel (one RB, one TE) team.

Kirk Cousins: Teammates’ frustration ‘understandable’

With a lifetime’s worth of financial security hanging in the balance, Kirk Cousins is under as much pressure as any quarterback this season.

After tossing three interceptions and missing a host of open receivers through two games, he’s facing increased scrutiny.

Washington Redskins wide receivers have already grown frustrated with their quarterback, particularly for locking onto primary reads, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported on Monday’s edition of Up To The Minute.

The only consolation for San Diego is the fact that 2015 first-round pick Melvin Gordon seems to be finally running with purpose. Gordon posted 159 yards and three touchdowns over his first two games this season, while Woodhead added 116 yards on the ground and 35 yards through the air.

Receiving backs like Woodhead are not easy to come by, especially ones who can navigate complex protection schemes and operate out of the backfield as a safety net pass catcher. Last year, Woodhead caught 80 passes for 755 yards and six touchdowns.

Undrafted free agent Kenneth Farrow and former Giants draft pick Andre Williams round out the team’s depth chart. Neither have much experience as a receiving back. San Diego signed wide recevier Griff Whalen on Monday after moving Woodhead to IR.

Woodhead has never really gotten the credit he deserves. If an NFL team lost a receiver who produced 80 catches on 106 targets and averaged nearly 10 yards per reception, their fanbase would be in a whirlwind wondering how exactly to replace him.

Woodhead, though, might prove even harder to replace.

Broncos must decide where Paxton Lynch fits on QB depth chart

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Denver Broncos went into Thursday night’s preseason finale against the Arizona Cardinals with a list of roster questions they hope to answer correctly in the coming days. And one of the biggest questions is whether or not they believe prized rookie quarterback Paxton Lynch has advanced far enough on the learning curve to be the team’s No. 2 quarterback behind Trevor Siemian.

And as a highlight, he picked his opening touchdown pass of the preseason — an 8-yarder to tight end John Phillips in the loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

“Scored a touchdown, my first NFL touchdown, that was a pretty special moment,” Lynch said.

Lynch consistently said throughout the offseason program, into training camp and almost right until the time Kubiak named Siemian the starter, that he believed he had kept himself in the mix to be the starter. And Thursday night he said he’s “excited” for the regular season and believes he will be ready for whatever the Broncos have in store for him in the weeks and months to come.

“A dude that wants to just bond,” Haden said Wednesday. “He wants to have a friendship, he wants to have a bond between all of his teammates. Like me, wants to be liked.

“Doesn’t feel like there’s [any] reason to have anybody walking around and not talking to everybody. That’s really special. I think that’s why the team picked him as a captain.”

Griffin said he was “extremely happy” to be chosen.

“Not satisfied, but happy with where I’m at, the opportunity that’s been blessed upon me and being here with these guys, it’s really a blessing,” Griffin said. “I can’t speak enough about how this [locker room] has been awesome.

“I’ve been able to grow as a player and as a leader in this locker room.”

Browns coach Hue Jackson said that he didn’t expect the results of the vote.

“I’ll be very honest with you: I was surprised,” the first-year coach said. “Because obviously Robert hasn’t been here very long, and we haven’t played a real football game yet. For him to be voted captain, he should feel good about that. His teammates feel good about him.

“The testament of Robert being named captain is that it came from his teammates. They voted on it. Coaches had nothing to do with this; this was all his teammates. So obviously he’s embedded within the organization and his team, his teammates. I think he’s shown them he’s somebody they can depend on and look to.”

Seahawks’ Cliff Avril checks on Tony Romo after hit injured Cowboys QB

Cliff Avril followed through with plans to reach out to Tony Romo and received an optimistic response from the Dallas Cowboys quarterback, who suffered a fractured bone in his back after a hit by the Seattle Seahawks defensive end.

“You take care of the NFC West, we will see yall in the playoffs,” Romo texted to Avril, the defensive end told the Star-Telegram on Friday.

How does Harrison celebrate? By needling himself instead of the league.

At 3:29 a.m. Friday — five hours after the Pittsburgh Steelers concluded their preseason finale against the Carolina Panthers — Harrison posted an Instagram picture of himself undergoing an intense form of acupuncture called dry-needle therapy.

Harrison must have gone straight from the team plane to the therapy.

“Grind never stops,” said Harrison in the post.

Harrison got into dry-needle therapy around 2010 to alleviate muscle tension from back surgery that repaired a herniated disc. The routine is painful enough that some teammates won’t do it with him.

Harrison, 38, believes the healing powers of the therapy have prolonged his career.

“It’s painful as hell … but very powerful,” Harrison said. “It makes you sore the next day, but the day after you feel fine. I’m not the only person that does it. Three to five people [in the locker room] do it.”

Gabbert started each of the first three preseason games, leading the 49ers offense to touchdowns on three of the eight possessions he played. He finished 12-of-22 for 146 yards with a touchdown for a passer rating of 90.3. He also rushed for 33 yards on five carries.

Kaepernick started the preseason finale against the Chargers and fared better than he did in his exhibition debut against the Green Bay Packers. Kaepernick finished 13-of-24 for 117 yards for a passer rating of 67.5 and led one touchdown drive. He also rushed for 56 yards on eight carries.