NFL Week 4 Picks And Preview
Every week, Neon Tommy NFL analyst Mike Green predicts winners and breaks down the weekend's biggest games. Last week he was 9-5.
Here are his picks for Week 4.
The Big Three:
Baltimore Ravens (2-1) at Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0)
The Pittsburgh Steelers have done pretty well for themselves despite the absence of Ben Roethlisberger. Charlie Batch – who, contrary to popular belief, did not fall off the face of the earth several years ago - has filled in admirably for Big Ben at quarterback, guiding the Steelers to a perfect start. He will have to contend with a Ravens defense that ranks first against the pass and has given up the fewest total yards in the NFL through three games.
Baltimore finally climbed its way out of the offensive abyss last week with 365 yards of total offense against the Cleveland Browns. But running back Ray Rice has yet to score a touchdown after a breakthrough 2009 campaign. The Ravens will need Rice, who has been dealing with a knee injury, to show some of last year’s explosiveness against a Pittsburgh defense that is giving up an NFL-best 11 points per game.
The Verdict: Two of the league’s top defenses will attempt to make the opposition cry “uncle” at Heinz Field this Sunday. It's been Pittsburgh putting Baltimore in a full nelson at home in recent years. But, with no Roethlisberger to contend with in this matchup, the Ravens’ defense will pin its ears back against Batch. Look for Baltimore to be road warriors this week and be the last team left standing in a heavyweight bout.
Predicted Winner: Baltimore Ravens
Washington Redskins (1-2) at Philadelphia Eagles (2-1)
Donovan McNabb has said he expects Eagles fans to rest their booing muscles when he makes his return to Philadelphia this week. And if Washington plays like they did against the St. Louis Rams last week, Philly fans should be thrilled by the prospect of their former franchise quarterback coming home. Despite the attention McNabb’s return is getting, the game will ultimately be decided by how well Washington’s defense contains the other quarterback on the field.
Michael Vick has been all bite and no bark for the Eagles since taking over as starting quarterback in the second half of Week 1. The man who was originally recruited by McNabb has left behind a troubled past to become a model citizen and team leader for Philadelphia. After tearing apart two suspect secondaries, he now gets a shot at a Washington pass defense that has given up the second most yards in the league.
The Verdict: The story lines surrounding this game will provide more entertainment than the final product on the field. McNabb should get a warm reception in his return to Philadelphia, but Vick is now captaining a ship of superior quality.
Predicted Winner: Philadelphia Eagles
New England Patriots (2-1) at Miami Dolphins (2-1)
It’s a fact that little throbbing hearts replace Chad Henne’s pupils every time he stares longingly into the eyes of receiver Brandon Marshall on a third and long. Marshall presently ranks fifth in receiving yardage and looked absolutely dominant in a losing effort against the New York Jets in Week 2. The love connection will be back in full force against the Patriots in a game that will force Henne to air it out early and often.
To nobody’s surprise, Tom Brady has carried the Patriots on his back to start the season. But Miami’s pass defense will make it hard on the future Hall of Fame quarterback this week. New England’s own personal law firm – BenJarvus Green-Ellis – had a breakout game rushing for 98 yards on 16 carries last week and will be relied on again to provide valuable support in the running game in this matchup.
The Verdict: Both these teams will be hungry for a win in order to keep pace with the New York Jets. But Miami’s offense is not equipped to keep up with Brady’s bunch. New England will outpace their division rival on Sunday.
Predicted Winner: New England Patriots
The S.H.I.T. (Super Horrible Infinitely Terrible) Game of the Week
Carolina Panthers (0-3) at New Orleans Saints (2-1)
The blowout that will ensue after the Saints match up against Carolina this Sunday will be more embarrassing for Jimmy Clausen than the photos that were taken during his experimental days at summer camp.
The Panthers have been awful in all things offense to start the season, ranking last in points scored and second to last in total yards. Matching Carolina up with New Orleans is like dropping a blind mouse inside a python cage.
This game is going to make some of the scenes from Deliverance look like a Disney production. Hopefully Sean Payton will at least offer to cuddle with John Fox after this one is over.
Predicted Loser: Carolina Panthers
San Francisco 49ers (0-3) at Atlanta Falcons (2-1)
San Francisco 49ers (0-3) at Atlanta Falcons (2-1)
Mike Singletary sure has mastered the art of getting other people fired in recent weeks. Now, with KPIX anchor Dennis O’Donnell and offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye gone, Singletary is running out of people to blame for his team’s misfortunes.
Nobody likes throwing out the phrase “must win” this early in the season but that’s pretty much where the 49ers find themselves in Week 4. Expect a desperate group to rally and catch the Falcons by surprise.
Predicted Winner: San Francisco 49ers
New York Jets (2-1) at Buffalo Bills (0-3)
With the recent release of quarterback Trent Edwards, Ryan Fitzpatrick has been chosen to guide Buffalo for the remainder of the season… which is about the equivalent of being chosen to lead the Donner Party to California.
Predicted Winner: New York Jets
Seattle Seahawks (2-1) at St. Louis Rams (1-2)
The fact that Matt Hasselbeck is healthy and the Rams have a win three weeks into the season is proof that football makes absolutely no f!@#ing sense sometimes. The sun will continue to shine out of Pete Caroll’s ass this week as Seattle manages not to lose yet again.
Predicted Winner: Seattle Seahawks
Denver Broncos (1-2) at Tennessee Titans (2-1)
The Tennessee Titans are more difficult to understand than a Fall Out Boy song. The authors of the Music City Miracle face an equally erratic Denver squad this week. Let’s give the benefit of the doubt to the home team.
Predicted Winner: Tennessee Titans
Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) at Cleveland Browns (0-3)
Carson Palmer will dial up Chad Ochocinco often this week. But he better check the number twice to make sure it's not a sex line. The Browns’ defense will offer Cincinnati more scoring potential than a box of Ochocinco’s as the Bengals cruise to victory.
Predicted Winner: Cincinnati Bengals
Detroit Lions (0-3) at Green Bay Packers (2-1)
Detroit has suffered some tough breaks on its way to an 0-3 record, losing by less than a touchdown in two of its first three games. The bad luck will continue this week as the Lions go up against a Green Bay team that is looking for revenge after a disappointing Monday night loss to the Chicago Bears.
Predicted Winner: Green Bay Packers
Indianapolis Colts (2-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2)
David Garrard has been about as motivational as Eeyore for the Jaguars offense. Meanwhile, Peyton Manning is jumping up and down the field like Tigger on acid as of late. Look for Indy to hop all over the Jags come Sunday.
Predicted Winner: Indianapolis Colts
Houston Texans (2-1) at Oakland Raiders (1-2)
After suffering their first loss of the season, the Texans face a Raiders unit that is well versed in the subject. Houston running back Arian Foster leads the league in rushing and figures to pad those stats against a sieve-like Raiders rush defense. Expect Oakland to fall deeper into the black hole with a loss this Sunday.
Predicted Winner: Houston Texans
Arizona Cardinals (2-1) at San Diego Chargers (1-2)
San Diego’s special teams play has been awful as of late. The unit is largely responsible for the Chargers' two losses to start the season. Unless Arizona returns three kicks for touchdowns, however, the Cardinals don’t have what it takes to run with the Chargers.
Predicted Winner: San Diego Chargers
Chicago Bears (3-0) at New York Giants (1-2)
Apparently Eli Manning’s latest community service project has been gift-wrapping turnovers for hungry opposing defenses. The current league leader in interceptions will go against last year’s defending champion in the form of Jay Cutler. Chicago is coming off of an impressive win against the Green Bay Packers, but New York will take the win in a rebound game at home.
Predicted Winner: New York Giants
To reach staff writer Michael Green, click here.
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