NFL Week 4 Predictions
Be gone, replacement refs, be gone! Now that we got that taken care of and good ol' Ed Hochuli is back signaling touchdowns and holding calls with his guns-that-we-traditonally-call-biceps, we can get back to what's important. Pick 'em!
Jeremy Bergman: 49ers 23, Jets 9
The issue for the Jets this week won’t be the absence of their MVP and guiding light Darrelle Revis; the Niners wide receiving corps isn’t impressive enough to dismantle the Gang Green secondary. But Rex Ryan’s crew will have absolutely no answer for Vernon Davis, the most athletic tight end in the league running routes against a team with horrid tight end coverage.
Evan Budrovich: 49ers 28, Jets 13
Jim Harbaugh’s boys will be extra motivated after staying in Youngstown, Ohio for the week and will take down the New York Jets. The loss of Darrelle Revis will be difficult for the Jets to overcome especially with big-time targets Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree coming into town. On offense, the Jets ground and pound will be stifled and bombarded all day by the strongest front-seven in the NFL.
Aaron Fischman: 49ers 21, Jets 10
In the absence of the injured Darrelle Revis, former USC running back Joe McKnight will supposedly get some snaps at cornerback. Interesting. On offense, the Jets will struggle against the stingy 49er defense.
Jacob Freedman: 49ers 27, Jets 13
The 49ers suffered a letdown last week against Minnesota, but now get to face a Jets secondary in its first week post-Revis. When Alex Smith is able to move the ball consistently and balance the offense, the 49ers are near impossible to beat if the defense does its part. The Jets had one huge offensive game, but the San Francisco defense will be dominant once again and make Marc Sanchez look less and less like he should be starting for the Jets.
Max Meyer: 49ers 27, Jets 10
No Darrelle Revis and Mark Sanchez against the 49ers defense equal a disaster. Also, the Jets' run defense has allowed over 180 rushing yards in two of their first three games, so expect the 49ers to run the ball down the Jets' throats.
Law Murray: Jets 12, 49ers 10
Well, the Jets just lost their best player on either side of the ball when CB Darrelle Revis tore his ACL. Call me crazy, but this is not an easy trip for the 49ers. This is Rex Ryan's best chance to show that he can coach despite his talent on the field, and the Jets can win a muddy game in New Jersey if the 49ers try and get cute like they did last week in Minnesota.
Matthew Tufts: 49ers 21, Jets 10
The 49ers dominant defense couldn't get a hold of Christian Ponder in last week's upset loss to Minnesota, but expect them to harass Mark Sanchez at the Meadowlands. The Jets are 2-1, but escaped Miami with a lot of luck in their last game. Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree will make the Jets will feel the loss of Darrelle Revis, and San Francisco will get back on the winning track.
Bergman: Falcons 45, Panthers 21
Sound the air raid horn! Bombs will be flying in the ATL on Sunday. Two of the most explosive offenses in the NFL will have total disregard for human life, attempting to destroy the other’s secondary. What separates these two? The Falcons know how to play defense. Oh, and Matty Ice doesn’t lose in the Dome.
Budrovich: Falcons 24, Panthers 13
Atlanta will come out a bit slow off their impressive win over San Diego, but will do just enough to take down Cam Newton and company. The Panthers have been successful when running the football; however, Cam will look to throw the ball deep this week which will pay dearly. The Atlanta Falcons ball hawk secondary will make some big play to give their dynamic offense great field position all afternoon.
Fischman: Falcons 30, Panthers 17
The Falcons are still a heavy favorite in this one despite their second player arrest (this time, DE John Abraham) in as many weeks. Atlanta should be able to control both sides of the ball.
Freedman: Falcons 31, Panthers 17
I might sound like a broken record, but Matt Ryan is looking like an elite quarterback. Julio Jones is bucking his sophomore slump so far, and, combined with Roddy White, lead a Falcons attack averaging 31.1 points per game. Cam Newton went off against the Falcons last year, but the surprisingly anemic Panthers running game is leaving him with less options and more pressure. The Falcons are one of three undefeated teams left, and I'm looking at them to keep on rolling.
Meyer: Falcons 38, Panthers 17
Carolina's defense is very bad, and facing off against Atlanta's passing game will not help improve it. Expect Cam Newton's pouting to continue for at least another week.
Murray: Falcons 30, Panthers 21
Panthers QB Cam Newton has got to be better after last Thursday night's meltdown, and having RB Jonathan "Daily Show" Stewart back should help the running game. But the Panthers ceded 31 points to the Falcons twice last year, and that was when the Falcons were nice enough to give RB Michael Turner the ball 20+ times a game. Come to think of it, the way the Panthers are defending the run, they shouldn't totally ignore Turner and RB Jacquizz Rodgers.
Tufts: Falcons 28, Panthers 10
In order to regain his form from last season, Cam Newton will have to face one of the league's better pass defenses in Atlanta. Matt Ryan on the other hand, will have no trouble picking apart a Panthers' defense that has been know to give up big plays. Matt Ryan will boost his already league-leading passer rating, and the Falcons will cruise past Carolina.
Bergman: Packers 31, Saints 14
The Saints ain’t marching in; they’re marching out…of playoff contention…in a hurry. Fresh off the controversial finish on Monday night, Green Bay will be fighting for a win harder than they have all year – which isn’t saying much. They’ll have no problem against the Saints’ new bounty-less, motivation-less defense.
Budrovich: Packers 31, Saints 24
The two talented QB’s who keep complaining about the replacement referees will square off this weekend. Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees will have their teams motivated to avenge equally gut-wrenching losses. I will take the home team in this matchup that has actually posted the fourth-ranked defense this season in yards per game. Brees has become turnover prone this season, 5 INT in 3 games, so expect that trend to continue this week giving the Packers the victory.
Fischman: Packers 38, Saints 24
Each team is hungrier than ever for a win, as the Saints don’t have any and the Packers were robbed of one by the replacement officials. The Saints have easily the worst defense of the Packers’ first four opponents. Expect Aaron Rodgers to have a field day, throwing for three or four touchdowns.
Freedman: Packers 38, Saints 31
When you think of subpar quarterbacks, you don't think of Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers. So far this season, the statistics argue otherwise. That being said, the Packers defense has looked competent this season, while the Saints might as well be playing 7-on-7 the way their defense has been exploited for big plays so far this season. After a questionable referee call to decide the game last week, Aaron Rodgers and the Pack will take out their frustrations on the hapless Saints.
Meyer: Packers 35, Saints 24
If Green Bay cannot run against New Orleans' defense, they should simply abandon their rushing attack for the rest of the season. Also, expect this game to be Aaron Rodgers' first big game of the year.
Murray: Packers 31, Saints 28
I'm really not that interested in the "Packers got screwed" narrative or the "Packers will take it out on the next team" drama. The Packers played poorly enough Monday night to have the game put in the perilous control of the referees, and the Packers' offensive line is lucky that QB Aaron Rodgers is 1) still standing after taking eight sacks in one half, 2) not named Jay Cutler, and 3) gets to go up against a Saints defense that has been pitiful, especially in the front seven.
Tufts: Packers 27, Saints 24
Winless New Orleans has a tall task ahead of them against a Packers team that is still sore from their controversial loss to the Seahawks. Although Green Bay hasn't been off to a stellar start either, there will be an interesting matchup in this game between Drew Brees' pass-heavy Saints' offense, and the top rated Packers' pass-defense. Expect this game to be close, but Green Bay will come out with the narrow victory.
Bergman: Giants 20, Eagles 16
The Philly sports talk radio was ablaze this week with talk of Andy Reid replacing Mike Vick at quarterback with Nick Foles. For now, all this talk is a combination of media rumor and miscommunication. But after JPP, Umenyiora and Tuck are through with him, Vick will come out of the game for sure – battered and bruised.
Budrovich: Giants 32, Eagles 17
In a matchup for NFC East supremacy, expect the G-Men to trounce the Eagles in Philadelphia. The Giants pass rush is always daunting, and we have seen this season how inconsistent the Eagles pass protection has been. Expect Eli Manning to not throw for 500-plus yards this week but control the game with Martellus Bennett and Victor Cruz running wild in the secondary.
Fischman: Giants 27, Eagles 17
Although Michael Vick has really struggled in two of three games this season, expect a really close game between these divisional foes. Philadelphia has won seven of the last eight head-to-head meetings. That said, the Giants appear to be the slightly superior team.
Freedman: Giants 24, Eagles 20
Michael Vick's accuracy so far is not stellar (6 INTs), but he's still moving the ball through the air to the tune of over 300 yards per game. That's the good news for the Eagles. However, this focus on the passing attack means the underutilization of LeSean McCoy, one of the NFL's best running backs. The Giants defense ravaged Cam Newton last week, and Vick probably loses sleep thinking about Jason Pierre-Paul collapsing on him from the outside. Expect another NFC East slugfest, but expect the Giants to pull through despite the absence of Hakeem Nicks.
Meyer: Giants 24, Eagles 20
When the Giants are on the road and when they are underdogs is when they perform best. Philadelphia is a very overrated 2-1 team, and they will not win this game if they continue to average four turnovers a game.
Murray: Eagles 29, Giants 24
Not to hype this game up or anything, but ... Eagles head coach Andy Reid, QB Michael Vick, and RB LeSean McCoy are playing for all of their pride in this game. At Philadelphia, prime time? This game will decide a playoff spot (see: Eagles losing to Giants in Week 3 last year). Further turnovers from Michael Vick will cause Andy Reid to pick employment over loyalty, and nothing else needs to be said about the McCoy vs. Umenyiora feud. And the Eagles' defense held the Giants' offense to under 300 total yards and 10 points when the two teams met last year on SNF.
Tufts: Eagles 20, Giants 17
This matchup of NFC East foes features two highly touted offenses. However, the Giants will have a much tougher time passing the ball against an extremely talented Eagles secondary. The Eagles' defense will be the difference in this game as they improve to 3-1.
Bergman: Bears 28, Cowboys 27
Two big market teams that have been underwhelming average so far will face off on the first Monday night since the Inaccurate Reception. This baby will come down to the wire as well, but no replacement ref will get in the way of Jay Cutler’s game-winning drive to win the game, and win back his reputation.
Budrovich: Cowboys 18, Bears 13
This matchup features two strong teams that will be in the hunt to win the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC. On this night, the Cowboys will ride a strong performance from Tony Romo leading them to a victory. The Cowboys have played much better on defense this season especially in the secondary. The Bears are loaded on offense but will struggle to move the football in the redzone, which will become their undoing.
Fischman: Cowboys 21, Bears 17
In their last Monday Night football meeting in 1996, the Bears limited Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith to 201 and 75 yards, respectively, en route to a 22-6 victory. Interesting, but not really relevant. My bad. Despite the Cowboys’ recent offensive struggles and the Chicago’s tendency to force turnovers, the Cowboys have the slight edge with the game in their dome.
Freedman: Cowboys 23, Bears 16
This one is difficult. On one hand, Tony Romo's performance has been progressively worse, and the Bears lead the NFL with 14 sacks. On the other hand, Matt Forte is still unsure for Monday night, and Jay Cutler playing in the limelight on the road doesn't exactly fill Bears fans with confidence. Romo knows that if he struggles early, the boo birds will come out in droves at the Jerry Dome. Don't think he wants that. Expect a Cowboys win and an inciting comment in the post-game presser.
Meyer: Bears 27, Cowboys 21
Yes, DeMarcus Ware versus the Bears offensive line worries me. However, I think the Bears' superior defense and special teams will be the difference in this Monday Night showdown. The Bears are hoping that Matt Forte returns and runs effectively as well.
Murray: Cowboys 20, Bears 17
For these teams both being in the NFC, this will only be their fourth meeting since 1998. Both offenses are relatively out-of-sync, but the Cowboys are at home and will have a sense of balance at least. The Bears are just hoping they won't have to triple-team Cowboys OLB DeMarcus Ware.
Tufts: Cowboys 17, Bears 13
Two very good pass defenses will keep this game fairly low scoring. In a close game, the difference could easily be one big play late in game by Brandon Marshall or Miles Austin. Both quarterbacks have shown inconsistency, but Tony Romo will put together a late, winning drive for the Cowboys.
Law Murray 4-1
Jacob Freedman 11-5
Matthew Tufts 11-5
Evan Budrovich 8-8
Aaron Fischman 8-8
Max Meyer 8-8
Jeremy Bergman 7-9