Week 4 NFL Predictions: Shocking Upsets You'll Never See Coming
Week 4 of the NFL schedule is going to feature some pretty shocking upsets. Whether it's an upstart team proving it is for real, a team that will finally catch a break, or a team that continues to surprise everyone, this week will be filled with exciting games.
Which are the most shocking upsets you'll never see coming? Read on to find out.
Cleveland Browns over Cincinnati Bengals
Cleveland shocked the football world last week, and it will do so again this week.
After looking pretty good against Minnesota, Brian Hoyer looks to solidify his hold on the starting quarterback job. He threw for 321 yards and three touchdowns and instantly looked better than Brandon Weeden. Coach Rob Chudzinski was effusive in his praise of the quarterback, telling the Cleveland Plain-Dealer:
I thought it was a gutsy performance. He had some turnovers in the second half and made some throws I know that he'd like to have back, but that didn't faze him, and when we needed to rise up to the occasion on the last drive, he was able to do that and make the play ultimately that helped us win the game.
The defense was on point last week, holding Adrian Peterson to just 88 yards on the ground and not allowing a touchdown through the air.
Of course, the Bengals are 2-1 and coming off a win against the Green Bay Packers. They are a better team than Minnesota.
Still, it looks like the big trade of Trent Richardson might have been the shake-up the Browns needed. Brian Hoyer is a competent quarterback, Josh Gordon is showing signs of being a big-time receiver and the defense has been good all season.
Look for the Browns to continue their shocking revival, winning this game by a score of 21-17.
San Diego Chargers over Dallas Cowboys
The Chargers are 1-2, but could easily be 3-0. They've had some late-game meltdowns, but that doesn't take away from the fact that they are a talented bunch.
The Cowboys are 2-1 and look like they could be the class of the surprisingly weak NFC East.
Despite that, and despite the fact that the Cowboys have the second-ranked rush defense, Dallas will find itself on the losing end of this one.
For one, the Chargers have been pretty good on offense. They have the 11th-ranked pass offense and the 19th-ranked rush defense. Dallas gives up 274.7 yards per game through the air. That means Philip Rivers should have a big game, as should Antonio Gates.
Keep this in mind—the Cowboys gave up 450 passing yards to Eli Manning and the Giants, despite forcing three interceptions and recovering three fumbles. Without the turnovers, the Cowboys could've easily given up over 500 passing yards.
Rivers and Gates have had good chemistry again this year. Gates has 228 receiving yards and a touchdown, and could explode against a porous Cowboys pass defense.
The Chargers defense isn't great, either, and Dez Bryant should have a big game. But the Chargers, despite having a losing record, may in fact be the better team than the Cowboys.
It'll be a good game. The Chargers will squeak out a victory by a score of 28-24.
Miami Dolphins over New Orleans Saints
Don't look now, but the Miami Dolphins are 3-0. They have impressive wins over the Indianapolis Colts and Atlanta Falcons, and Ryan Tannehill looks like a franchise quarterback. He's thrown for 827 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions.
The Saints are also 3-0 and a big reason for the revival is their defense. Much-maligned in recent years, the defense looks like a completely new unit. In the last two games, they've given up just 137 yards per game through the air, and their pass defense is ranked fourth on the season.
But other than Matt Ryan—who threw for 304 yards and two touchdowns against the Saints—New Orleans has not faced a big-time quarterback. They dominated Josh Freeman and Carson Palmer.
Right now, Tannehill is better than those two players. He's shown poise and accuracy, and has a burgeoning connection with Brian Hartline and Charles Clay. Hartline has been particularly good this year, catching 18 passes for 238 yards, good for a gaudy 13.2 yards per reception. If Harry Douglas can gain 93 yards against the Saints, then Hartline can easily gain 120.
Quite simply, the Saints defense is a bit of a mirage, benefiting from playing weak teams like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Arizona Cardinals. Miami is for real and it is going to challenge New England for AFC East supremacy.
New Orleans will put up points, and Drew Brees will continue to do what he does so well. But the Dolphins are going to pull off the upset, and prove to the football world that they are legit. They'll win this by a score of 31-24.
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