NFL Picks Week 4: Teams That Will Continue Hot Start

Andrew GouldFeatured ColumnistSeptember 26, 2013

JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 08: Justin Houston #50 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates a sack during a game  against the Jacksonville Jaguarsat EverBank Field on September 8, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

These NFL teams are rolling, and the locomotive isn't stopping anytime soon.

The first three weeks have transpired smoothly for these three squads that enter Sunday at a combined 8-1. While the Indianapolis Colts have a loss to their tally, they're riding high after a demonstrative victory over the San Francisco 49ers.

With great results come greater expectations, creating a feat that a letdown is on the horizon. Nope, at least not this weekend. Nothing should stop these clubs from cruising to another victory on Sunday.


Kansas City Chiefs (vs. New York Giants)

Believe in the Chiefs yet?

They rattled a sizzling Michael Vick during the Thursday night display, holding him to 13 interceptions while picking him off twice in a 26-16 victory. At 3-0, the Chiefs show no signs of slowing down any time soon.

One of the NFL's finest defenses is witnessing another star blossom. Justin Houston recorded 4.5 sacks to increase his league-leading total to seven to give the Chiefs a deadly linebacker unit. They're all menacingly rubbing their fingertips Mr. Burns style before facing the Giants.

Offered no protection at all, Eli Manning was sacked six times in the first half of last week's 38-0 debacle against the Carolina Panthers. New York's minus-nine turnover differential also more than doubles that of the next-worst club (San Francisco at minus-four).

With Jason Pierre-Paul clearly not at full strength, the Giants have only recorded three sacks, so Alex Smith should have all day to pick apart a depleted secondary that has already surrendered seven passing touchdowns. The Chiefs will march to 4-0 while the G-Men plummet further at 0-4.

Prediction: Chiefs 31, Giants 17


Indianapolis Colts (at Jacksonville Jaguars)

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 22:  Ahmad Bradshaw #44 of the Indianapolis Colts reacts after he rushed for eight yards during the fourth quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on September 22, 2013 in San Francisco, California. The Co
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

This is half praise of the Colts' performance last Sunday and half just picking the team facing the Jaguars.

After losing to the Miami Dolphins in Week 2, all the concerns of the Colts regressing to the mean seemed to have bubbled to the surface. Andrew Luck is good, but he can't keep saving game after game late in the fourth quarter. Eventually they're going to drop some of those close calls.

So despite San Francisco swallowing a tough defeat of its own the previous week, Indianapolis looked primed to slip to 1-2 and begin its trip back to normalcy.

Then the Colts pulled a dominant run game out of their backside to demolish the 49ers, 27-7.

Credit the Trent Richardson acquisition all you want, but he only rushed for 35 yards during his team debut. It was instead the man who was there all along, Ahmad Bradshaw, who led his team to victory with 95 rushing yards on 19 carries. Maybe they should have given Bradshaw the ball before trading a first-round pick for another running back.

While Jacksonville's defense isn't half bad, the atrocious offense has averaged 230.3 total yards and 9.3 points per game. Indianapolis will take care of business before entering a brutal patch in its schedule that sees Seattle and Denver come to town in October.

Prediction: Colts 23, Jaguars 10


Denver Broncos (vs. Philadelphia Eagles) 

Peyton Manning. What else is there to say?

The washed-up, 37-year-old geezer who was supposed to have nothing left in the tank because he didn't carry everyone to fantasy championships last December is playing the best football anybody has ever played.

Through three incredible games, Manning has completed 73 percent of his passes for 1,143 yards, 12 touchdowns and zero interceptions. ESPN Stats & Info's Twitter account put that magnified touchdown total into perspective.

Manning is on pace to finish the season with 6,096 yards and 64 touchdowns, which is of course an unsustainable clip for any mortal. He has to slow down eventually, but the Eagles are not the team to stop him.

Philadelphia ranks 29th in passing yards allowed, and that's against Robert Griffin III in his first game back from a torn ACL, Philip Rivers and Alex Smith. Its shallow secondary won't keep up with Denver's multitude of top receivers.

Expect another eye-popping stat line from Manning and the Broncos this weekend.

Prediction: Broncos 40, Eagles 27