Looking at the NFL’s Week 4 lineup may give some people a false sense of security when making their weekly picks, but like on any given Sunday, you never know what’s going to happen.
That’s why they play the games.
If there are going to be any “upsets” in Week 4, these are a couple of the most likely scenarios.
Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions
The 2-1 Vikings are clear-cut underdogs in their Week 4 matchup against the Detroit Lions. While no one expected the Vikes to beat the high-powered San Francisco 49ers in Week 3, they’re starting to take notice after that big win.
Still, respect is earned and the Minnesota Vikings need to prove they can win consistently before people start taking them seriously. This week against the Lions is a perfect chance for Christian Ponder and Adrian Peterson to make a statement.
If beating the undefeated 49ers wasn’t good enough for you, take a chance on the Vikes and their surprisingly efficient offense. Adrian Peterson is a huge threat and now that Ponder has a season under his belt, he is beginning to gain confidence with each throw.
The Vikes are used to playing in a dome and will be ready for whatever the Lions and their home-town crowd throw at them at Ford Field.
If Minnesota hopes to win and begin its season at 3-1, it will need to slow down the No. 1 passing offense in the NFL. The best way to beat the Lions is to get inside Matthew Stafford’s head and stop the running game, putting all of the pressure on him.
New Orleans Saints vs. Green Bay Packers
The Packers are playing on a short-week and are going up against an emotionally deflated New Orleans Saints team who lost its third consecutive game to a winless Kansas City Chiefs team.
Green Bay has some emotional issues of its own. Monday night’s loss at the hands of the replacement officials will surely make them hungry for a win after falling to a disappointing 1-2 early on in 2012.
So what’s gone wrong for the Saints to this point? The team’s defense has been absolutely eaten alive in their three performances to date. Currently they are being absolutely torched on the ground, allowing a league-high 215 yards per game on the ground.
Luckily for the Saints, the Packers don’t run the ball enough or have an explosive runner who can gouge them as easily as Jamaal Charles and the talented backfields of the Washington Redskins and Carolina Panthers.
On the surface, it doesn’t look too great for the Saints. They’re beaten up and reeling from three consecutive losses. But there’s one thing they do have in their favor: Drew Brees. Brees is an all-pro talent at the quarterback position and has the ability to go toe-to-toe with any offense in the NFL.
Anything is possible in a game like that.
The key for a Saints win will be their ability to neutralize the Packers' pass rush with an effective short passing game and by staying balanced by involving Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram into the game plan.
Mike Hoag is a Breaking News team writer with Bleacher Report and also covers the Cleveland Browns and the NFL for the site.