NFL Week 4 Predictions: Early Look at the League's Biggest Games

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistSeptember 24, 2013

Sep 15, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch (24) runs for yardage after making a reception against the San Francisco 49ers during the second quarter at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Week 4 of the NFL season is shaping up to be a good one, and it is never too early to take a look at some key games that everyone will be talking about. 

The disappointing start of some teams have taken away the luster of some matchups, like the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Minnesota Vikings in London on Sunday. However, other squads have taken the role of contenders and will be tested mightily over the weekend.

Here is a look at the most highly anticipated games of Week 4, with a prediction for each.


Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 22:  Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears drops back to pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the game on September 22, 2013 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Bears moved to 3-0 with a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night, but they did it in their usual ugly fashion. The Bears continue to get plenty of scoring from their defense while their offense has been incredibly inconsistent.

However, Chicago always seems to make a big play when needed and that has kept the Bears unbeaten to start the year.

Against the mistake-prone Lions, it should be easy to get such huge momentum swings on both sides of the ball.

Detroit will certainly be able to move the football with one of the best passing attacks in the NFL. Unfortunately, the Lions will simply be unable to keep up against the divisional rival.

Prediction: Bears 31, Lions 21


Seattle Seahawks vs. Houston Texans

Despite the fact that the Texans lost in Week 3 and have not looked great this year, the reigning AFC South champions still have a chance to pull off the upset this week.

As good as the Seahawks have been in their past two games, they still struggled offensively when they went on the road against the Carolina Panthers in Week 1. They escaped with a 12-7 win, but it served as a reminder that the Seahawks did go 3-5 on the road last year.

Meanwhile, the Texans are starting to find a quality balance on offense after relying on Arian Foster and Andre Johnson in the past. DeAndre Hopkins is proving to be a useful No. 2 receiver while Ben Tate has been extremely productive out of the backfield.

If quarterback Matt Schaub can simply avoid turnovers, it will lead to a big win for the Texans.

Prediction: Texans 20, Seahawks 17


New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 22:  Quarterback Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots throws downfield against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half at Gillette Stadium on September 22, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Winslow Townson/Gett
Winslow Townson/Getty Images

If the Patriots can get to 3-0 while still struggling, that is not a good sign for the rest of the league.

Tom Brady had a hard time connecting with his rookie receivers in the first few weeks, but he seems to be getting on the same page with Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson. Add a healthy Rob Gronkowski to the equation, and this will be a tough offense to stop.

That is especially true for the Falcons, who have had a tough time of defending the pass to start the season. Atlanta has seemed intent on stopping one opposing player in each of their games so far (the Saints' Jimmy Graham, Rams' Jared Cook and Dolphins' Mike Wallace), but has ended up paying the price with big performances from everyone else .

Brady will be able to pick apart this unit and the Patriots' defense will continue playing well enough to earn another victory. 

Prediction: Patriots 27, Falcons 24


Miami Dolphins vs. New Orleans Saints

NEW ORLEANS, LA - SEPTEMBER 08: Jimmy Graham #80 of the New Orleans Saints scores a touchdown in front of Thomas DeCoud #28 of the Atlanta Falcons during a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on September 8, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints defe
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

A game between these two teams last year would not have made headlines. However, this is the only matchup of undefeated squads in Week 4.

Miami has gotten off to a great start this season, thanks to the improved play of Ryan Tannehill. He has looked poised in the pocket and is making better decisions with the ball than he did last season.

However, Tannehill will have to face a Saints' defense that has surprisingly carried the team this season. The unit is fifth in the NFL in points allowed per game and the Saints have done a great job of forcing turnovers.

That will be enough to slow down the Dolphins' offense, giving Drew Brees the opportunity to find Graham and Marques Colston enough times to win.

Prediction: Saints 28, Dolphins 20


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