NFL Picks Week 4: Projecting Sunday's Biggest Upsets
The first three weeks of the 2013 NFL schedule have brought forth more than a handful of upsets, which is why a number of one-time postseason contenders now sit winless heading into Week 4.
At this stage of the season, the Redskins, Vikings and Giants are each 0-3, while previously average squads such as the Dolphins and Chiefs have stormed out of the gates to undefeated 3-0 starts.
Now, with a full slate of Week 4 tilts on tap, here's a look at which Sunday clashes will end in upsets.
Week 4 Picks
|Date||Visiting Team||Winner||Home Team|
|Thursday, Sept. 26||San Francisco 49ers||San Francisco||St. Louis Rams|
|Sunday, Sept. 29||Cincinnati Bengals||Cleveland||Cleveland Browns|
|Sunday, Sept. 29||Baltimore Ravens||Baltimore||Buffalo Bills|
|Sunday, Sept. 29||Arizona Cardinals||Arizona||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|Sunday, Sept. 29||Indianapolis Colts||Indianapolis||Jacksonville Jaguars|
|Sunday, Sept. 29||Seattle Seahawks||Seattle||Houston Texans|
|Sunday, Sept. 29||Chicago Bears||Chicago||Detroit Lions|
|Sunday, Sept. 29||New York Giants||New York||Kansas City Chiefs|
|Sunday, Sept. 29||Pittsburgh Steelers||Minnesota||Minnesota Vikings|
|Sunday, Sept. 29||New York Jets||New York||Tennessee Titans|
|Sunday, Sept. 29||Washington Redskins||Washington||Oakland Raiders|
|Sunday, Sept. 29||Dallas Cowboys||Dallas||San Diego Chargers|
|Sunday, Sept. 29||Philadelphia Eagles||Denver||Denver Broncos|
|Sunday, Sept. 29||New England Patriots||New England||Atlanta Falcons|
|Monday, Sept. 30||Miami Dolphins||Miami||New Orleans Saints|
Cincinnati at Cleveland
This Sunday brings us an intriguing edition of the battle of Ohio, as the Bengals will head to Cleveland to take on the Browns,
On paper, Cincinnati would appear to be the overwhelming favorite, because let's face it, the Browns, especially after trading former No. 3 overall pick Trent Richardson, looked like a team that had thrown in the towel on the season.
However, in Week 3, the Browns put forth a gutsy effort on the road behind former third-string quarterback Brian Hoyer against the Minnesota Vikings (a postseason team in 2012), and they came away with a feel-good victory.
Yes, it was a win over a winless Vikings squad, but Hoyer showed why the Browns picked him over former former Washington first-rounder Jason Campbell to start in Brandon Weeden’s absence, and he seemed to have chemistry with Jordan Cameron (three TD catches), Josh Gordon (146 yards receiving, one score) and Davone Bess.
And, with the Bengals’ secondary currently depleted with injuries to cornerbacks Brandon Ghee and Dre Fitzpatrick, as well as the uncertainty regarding Adam Jones’ status (via CBS Sports), Hoyer should be able to put together another solid effort through the air, assuming Brandon Weeden’s unable to return to action.
Of course, Richardson’s departure means that Willis McGahee is the Browns’ No. 1 option in the backfield, and that’s not exactly comforting for Cleveland fans.
Nonetheless, McGahee, despite his injury problems, is a two-time Pro Bowl back for a reason, and he’s still a much more effective weapon than he was during his first game with Cleveland, when he posted just nine yards on eight carries.
Assuming he gets more comfortable with his new team’s offense, McGahee has the ability to force the Bengals to respect the Browns’ ground-based attack, which will open things up for Hoyer to take advantage of the Bengals’ limping secondary.
However, Dalton will be going up against a surprisingly stingy passing defense, and if Cleveland was anywhere near as effective as they were against Christian Ponder and the Vikings, they’ll edge their cross-state rivals in a thriller.
Prediction: Browns 24, Bengals 21
New York at Kansas City
Right now, the Giants are looking like arguably the worst team in the NFL not named the Jaguars, especially after their overwhelmingly demoralizing 38-0 loss to the Carolina Panthers in Week 3, which saw Tom Coughlin’s squad get thoroughly beaten in every aspect of the game.
And so far, Eli Manning has looked nothing like the two-time Super Bowl MVP that he is, as the former No. 1 overall pick has tossed a dreadful eight picks in three games, but it’s not as if he’s had much help from his offensive line.
That being said, this is a team that is less than 24 months removed from a Super Bowl victory, so one has to think that there’s enough talent and heart in the Giants’ locker room to turn things around.
Manning, Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz are all elite-level offensive talents, and despite the Chiefs' success under Andy Reid and Alex Smith, I think the G-men have all the tools to score a major upset over undefeated KC.
During the Chiefs’ emotional victory during Reid’s return to Philadelphia, Smith, Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe did enough to get the win, but KC was very fortunate to have their opponents turn the ball over five times, in comparison to the visitors’ none.
Furthermore, while Charles has put up 224 yards on the ground, the Chiefs and Giants both rank among the league’s bottom-third in terms of rushing offense, so if you’re picking KC to win, you’re expecting Smith to outgun Manning, which is something I simply don’t see happening.
In addition, though the Giants’ defense hasn’t been getting the job done on the whole, with Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul on the field, New York always has the potential to ruin any quarterback’s day, even if the sacks haven’t come yet.
And don’t forget that this is the same team that Smith went 12 of 26 against during the 2011 NFC Championship Game.
I realize that Manning’s turnover numbers and lack of production are brutal thus far, but this is a quarterback who is currently on pace to throw 42 interceptions this season, and he’s simply too good and too smart of a signal-caller for that to happen.
The Giants consistently produced better results than Reid’s Eagles, but more importantly, there’s too much talent on this New York team for them to go 0-4.
Prediction: Giants 31, Chiefs 23
Miami at New Orleans
This one should be a doozy, as both teams enter this clash undefeated at 3-0, but given that we’re talking about a quarterback showdown featuring one of the generation’s best in Drew Brees and a relatively unproven second-year starter in Ryan Tannehill, the Saints have to be viewed as favorites.
However, after seeing how the Dolphins’ defense was able to get after two elite signal-callers in Andrew Luck and Matt Ryan during Miami’s previous two games, there’s reason to believe that Tannehill and company can keep the unexpected winning streak alive for another week.
With Brian Hartline, Lamar Miller, Charles Clay and Tannehill all exceeding expectations early on, Miami may have just enough firepower to edge the Saints on the road.
Against the Falcons, Miami got thrashed on the ground, and though that isn’t likely to be a problem against the pass-happy Saints, the Dolphins’ defense has to be better against both the rush and pass in order to move to 4-0.
The biggest factor for the Dolphins will certainly be the status of Cameron Wake (via CBS Sports), but at the very least, the gradual improvements shown by No. 3 overall selection Dion Jordan has to be encouraging.
Overall, the Dolphins are a top-five team in terms of interceptions, and rank among the league’s best in forced fumbles as well, so I think if Wake’s on the field the Dolphins will get to the usually calm and collected Brees just enough to squeak out a victory.Prediction: Dolphins 24, Saints 21
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