Week 4 Matchup Predictions
Browns @ Ravens: The Ravens are returning to the east coast's loudest stadium to play a far inferior team that is missing, arguably, their best defensive player in Joe Haden. Flacco has eaten up every defense besides the Eagles, and I expect him to continue his excellent play against the Browns.
Ravens win 30-14.
Panthers @ Falcons: The Falcons have proven that they have an elite offense, and the Panthers are coming off of a miserable Week 3 defensive performance against the Giants. If the Panthers want a shot at winning, they'll have to count on Cam Newton to make play after play to keep up with the Falcons' firepower. With Cam's recent struggles, and the Falcons' impressive defense early in the season, I'd be surprised if the Panthers could keep up in Atlanta.
Falcons win 35-21.
Patriots @ Bills: The Patriots lost here last year, and they know how important this division game is to them. They have a 1-2 record, the first time they're under .500 since 2003. The Bills will almost definitely be without the NFL's leading rusher, CJ Spiller, and if Fred Jackson does return, he may not be at a hundred percent. Brady and company are seasoned enough to respond well to adversity, and they will on Sunday to pull out a much needed victory.
Patriots win 31-24.
Vikings @ Lions: The Lions defense looked absolutely horrendous against the Titans. The Titans had scored 23 points through their first two games, and the Lions let them score 44. The Vikings, on the other hand, are coming off a momentous win against the 49ers, and Christian Ponder is starting to come into his own as the Vikings quarterback. Another week means another step forward for Adrian Peterson getting into game shape, and Jerome Simpson returns from suspension to add a much needed field stretching presence. With Lions' QB Matt Stafford dealing with a hamstring injury that may or may not hold him out on Sunday, the Lions offense could potentially struggle.
Vikings win 27-23.
Chargers @ Chiefs: I think it's official - beating the Saints isn't that impressive anymore. The Saints are now 0-3, and each of their opponents are 1-2, meaning that none of their opponents have beaten anyone but the Saints. In saying that, I'm not going to jump on the Chiefs (who beat the Saints on Sunday) against the Chargers, who got spanked by an exceptional Falcons team last week. Jamaal Charles is a beast, but the Chargers won't let him run for eight thousand yards like the Saints did. I'm still looking at a Chiefs team that lost 35-17 against the Bills in Week 2, and a Chargers team that's ranked fourth against the run.
Chargers win 24-20.
Seahawks @ Rams: The Seahawks are always tricky, because you could see them completely dominate a team at home, then go out and look like a completely different group of guys on the road. With the real referees returning, they won't get the game gift-wrapped and handed to them - but they won't need it to be. Their defense is spectacular and Marshawn Lynch should have his way with the league's 21st ranked run defense.
Seahawks win 27-17.
49ers @ Jets: The 49ers are coming off of a bad loss to the Vikings, but I'm going on record now saying that was a fluke game (I'm sure many people would agree with me on that). The Jets are coming off of an overtime victory against the Dolphins, in which kicker Dan Carpenter missed two very make-able field goals that would have won the game for Miami. The Jets, without Darrelle Revis, now face a far superior team in the 49ers, who are very angry about losing last week. This vicious 49ers team will take their anger out appropriately on the football field.
49ers win 28-13.
Titans @ Texans: The Texans have won in relatively impressive fashion in each game this season. They finally got their first real test against the Broncos last week, and took off to a 31-11 lead. The Broncos closed in on them in the fourth quarter, but I expect the Texans exceptional defense to hold up better in the future. With no running game, the Titans offense will have an incredibly hard time getting anything done against the Texans 4th ranked pass defense.
Texans win 30-10.
Dolphins @ Cardinals: Well, I'm sold. The Cardinals are a legitimate team. Their defense is solid and their offense is efficient - sort of like a poor man's 49ers - but I guess while the Cards lead the Niners in the NFC West, we'll have to say that the 49ers are a poor man's Cardinals. The loss of Beanie Wells will prove to be a good thing in Arizona, as I believe Ryan Williams will respond very well to a heavier workload. The Cardinals return home to a crowd that is eager to see their team be relevant again, and the struggling Dolphins will travel out west only to be sent home with a loss.
Cardinals win 27-13.
Bengals @ Jaguars: The Jaguars' lone victory came as a result of a miracle 80 yard touchdown pass with 45 seconds left. The Bengals lone defeat came against a popular Super Bowl pick in the Ravens. The Bengals' defense is good enough to give Blaine Gabbert some migraines, and Andy Dalton will continue his nice year against the league's 21st ranked pass defense.
Bengals win 28-14.
Saints @ Packers: As I said earlier, beating the Saints isn't even that impressive anymore. However, beating the Packers doesn't seem nearly as impressive as it once was either. Even so, the Saints defense looks so bad that Cedric Benson is poised for a breakout game running the ball, and Aaron Rodgers just might put up the type of numbers he was expected to put up in each game this season. With the Packers' defense looking good, Brees won't be able to offset his team's defensive deficiencies.
Packers win 38-28.
Redskins @ Buccaneers: The Bucs have played in two very low scoring games, with a very high scoring game sandwiched in between. It's tough to know what to make of this team. RG3 so far has found a way to put up points in every game for the Redskins, so I'm going to bank of the Bucs offense being somewhat inefficient (which it has been two out of three times this year) and the Redskins sticking to scoring around 30 points.
Redkins win 30-20.
Giants @ Eagles: This just seems like the type of game the Giants lose. If they were 1-2 coming off a loss to the Panthers, I'd probably pick the Giants, but with two straight wins and everything going well, I feel like they head into Philly and disappoint. The Eagles are coming back home after a demoralizing loss to Arizona, and will certainly be fired up to play their arch nemesis from New York. This is the hardest game for me to pick this week - I guess that's why they put it on Sunday Night Football. I think we're going to see the Eagles that played the Ravens, rather than the Eagles that played the Cardinals.
Eagles win 30-27.
Bears @ Cowboys: This is the week that the Cowboys offense will finally start clicking. Witten will stop dropping passes, Dez Bryant breaks out, and Miles Austin will just continue his solid year. The Bears defense has been impressive for two weeks, but Jay Cutler seems off his rocker lately, and with Matt Forte unlikely to play, the offense won't be able to do enough against the Cowboys' solid defense.
Cowboys win 24-17.