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Breaking Down the Pivotal Moments of NFL Week 4

Eli NachmanyCorrespondent IIIOctober 1, 2012

Breaking Down the Pivotal Moments of NFL Week 4

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    With many close games up through Sunday night, the NFL's fourth week was one to remember for the rest of the season.

    From blowouts to games that came down to the final seconds, the week featured a number of pivotal moments that will likely help us forecast the rest of the season.

    While some were clearly defined, other moments didn't mean as much in the short term, but will mean something for later in the year.

Matt Ryan Leads the Falcons Back

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    The best offensive player in the NFL right now, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, has been just too good for opposing teams this season as his team improved to 4-0.

    Down by a score with just a little time left, Ryan and his Falcons drove the field and won the game in the final seconds.

    While it's great to see blowouts, the most important wins come in the last two minutes, and the Falcons proved they are here to stay.

The Texans Assert Their Defensive Dominance, Stay Undefeated

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    One of just three undefeated teams, the Texans win games by being efficient on offense and utterly dominant on defense.

    J.J. Watt has played like the best defender in the NFL and if the season ended today, he'd be the defensive player of the year.

    Are the Texans the best team in the NFL? It's certainly a story worth following.

The Cardinals Make a Stand, Show Tremendous Heart

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    In the fourth quarter, it seemed as though the mighty Cardinals would finally fall. The Dolphins are a good team, but it would have been a big upset.

    Kevin Kolb, however, led his team back to tie the game, then the Arizona defense made a stand in overtime. The Cardinals went on to win the contest.

    A 4-0 Cardinals team is a serious contender, surprisingly leading the NFC West by a game. They have the inside track to a division title.

New Orleans Can't Win a Close Game

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    Another week, another loss for the 0-4 New Orleans Saints. This ship is missing its captain and going astray.

    Sean Payton meant a lot to the Saints and it's easy to see that now. It's not been one individual player who hasn't played well; the entire team is underachieving.

    If the Saints were getting blown out, it wouldn't be as bad. The team has no heart and is losing in close games.

Jim Harbaugh Shows Offensive Flexibility

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    The 49ers have completely mastered situational football, utilizing quarterback Colin Kaepernick in an option-like attack in the middle of the game.

    Kaepernick has the speed and the size to be a successful option signal-caller in this league and should be a solid player for the 49ers.

    All things considered, Jim Harbaugh opening up the 49ers iso-style attack gives the team more flexibility down the road.

Percy Harvin's Kick Return

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    This game was over from the opening kickoff, and that's not an exaggeration.

    Percy Harvin and the momentum-crazed Vikings opened up the game with a 105-yard kick return, putting away the Lions early.

    The Lions look bad and have gone 6-10 since starting 5-0 last season. Conversely, look for the Vikings to be a fun upset pick as the season goes on.

Lawrence Tynes Misses the Field Goal, Philadelphia Wins a Close Game

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    In the ugliest way possible, the Eagles won another game and are 3-1 to start off the young season with a key win over the Giants.

    Philadelphia finally got LeSean McCoy going for over 120 yards on the ground, but still can't find success in the red zone.

    The Eagles just find ways to win, and it's exciting to watch this team play.

    Follow me on Twitter @EliNachmany

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