NFL Week 4 Picks: Can Chicago Bears Go To 4-0, San Deigo Chargers Rebound?
The penalties added up last night and left the Bears alone atop their division. The question will now be whether or not they can hold on.
Now that the teams have three games behind them, trends are starting to gain ground and teams are showing their true colors.
For some teams, that's a good thing, but for others it leaves them biting their nails.
So who's got the goods this week?
New York Jets Vs. Buffalo
Predicted Outcome: Jets win 30-13
Why: The Buffalo Bills may have had a strong showing against the Patriots, but the Jets defense is in a class of its own. Quarterback issues can't be ignored for Buffalo. They owe a lot of last week's success to return man C.J. Spiller.
This week, it will be a case of the Jets defense crushing the Bills offense, while the Jets run game finally gains significant ground against a middle-class Bills defense.
Denver Vs. Tennessee
Predicted Outcome: Titans win 24-20
Why: Both teams will serve up some quality offense, but Chris Johnson's rushing genius will be the deciding factor. Denver's pass defense has some solid skills, but they remain fractured against the run. Johnson will quickly exploit these weaknesses and Vince Young may even have more chances to pull the ball down and sprint forward.
Kyle Orton should continue putting up eye-opening numbers, but the Denver ground game will remain a meager sideshow.
Detroit Vs. Green Bay
Predicted Outcome: Packers win 42-13
Why: Fantasy owners of Aaron Rodgers are likely drooling over this matchup. Rodgers will light up the Lions secondary and make mincemeat of them.
Detroit is still without offensive savior Matthew Stafford and while Shaun Hill is a decent No. 2, he is showing the familiar struggles of his past.
It could be a rather painful day for the Lions in this divisional matchup.
San Francisco Vs. Atlanta
Predicted Outcome: Atlanta wins 17-13
Why: Both defenses will hold steady, leaving it up to the offensive magic that can be conjured by each team.
Unfortunately for San Francisco, this may prove tricky with the turnover at offensive coordinator. While it means that they should be full of surprises, it also means that they will have a stinted playbook.
Ultimately, the Falcons ever-growing chemistry on offense will prevail, especially with the momentum gained by their victory over the Saints.
Seattle Vs. St. Louis
Predicted Outcome: Rams win 20-14.
Why: The Rams are gaining confidence through the play of their rookie quarterback, Sam Bradford. The injury to Steven Jackson needs to be monitored, but we know that he can play through pain.
The primary question marks lie on defense for the Rams now. However, the Seahawks have shown splotchy play on offense. Matt Hasselbeck is at least three years past his prime at this point.
The Seahawks won last week on the incredible special teams play of Leon Washington. It's hard to duplicate that kind of moment and this week will be no exception.
Carolina Vs. New Orleans
Predicted Outcome: Saints win 31-19
Why: In the Superdome, the Saints will beat down the Panthers. Drew Brees is still Drew Brees. His ball distribution will make it impossible for the Carolina secondary to lock down any one player.
The Panthers made an ill-advised move in throwing Jimmy Clausen into the starting seat. He'll have a rough time against the excellent play of the Saints defensive backs, who will likely have a field day against the rookie.
Baltimore Vs. Pittsburgh
Predicted Outcome: Steelers win 16-10
Why: Troy Polamalu has injected the magic back into the Steelers defense. As the field roaming point-man of the secondary, Polamalu has already put on clinics against opposing quarterbacks and receivers. He'll have a difficult task ahead of him, but we all know he is up to the challenge.
Yes, the Ravens are a very talented squad, but the Steelers have the momentum. Baltimore will also be watching Ray Rice after his knee contusion.
This will be a top-three game to watch this week between two powerhouses.
Cincinnati Vs. Cleveland
Predicted Outcome: Bengals win 21-6
Why: The Bengals secondary will be the downfall of whoever starts at quarterback for the Browns. Turnovers will be created by a dangerous Cincy defense and the Browns will have difficultly answering.
Of course, the Browns have grown in great strides on defense themselves, but they will have a tough time keeping up if their offensive counterparts can't gain some ground to give them a rest.
Indianapolis Vs. Jacksonville
Predicted Outcome: Colts win 34-16
Why: It's Peyton Manning. He can do it all. He's thrown nine touchdowns with zero interceptions so far. The Jacksonville defense won't stand a chance.
The Jaguars are rapidly losing their faith in David Garrard. Maurice Jones-Drew can't do it all on his own, even if he is Pocket Hercules.
Manning should have his way with the Jaguars, but does that really surprise anyone?
Houston Vs. Oakland
Predicted Outcome: Texans win 20-13
Why: The Texans will return to their hot streak with a victory against a Raiders squad that was improved with the promotion of Bruce Gradkowski. Unfortunately Oakland still has to find a rhythm with the turnover.
Receiver chemistry is still questionable, as is the overall quality. Tight end Zach Miller is a bright spot for the Raiders, though the linebacking corps of the Texans will give him trouble on Sunday.
Let's not forget that the Texans still feature arguably the best receiver in the NFL and quarterback Matt Schaub is no slouch himself.
Washington Vs. Philadelphia
Predicted Outcome: Eagles win 27-20
Why: The big story here is Donovan McNabb's return to Philly after the blockbuster trade that sent him to Washington. How he is received is up in the air, but there is one thing for certain: Michael Vick will run out to the field to cheers.
If Kevin Kolb were starting at this point, I would likely call the game for the Skins, but Vick brings a whole new level of electricity to the offense.
It's going to be two scramblers against solid defenses. In the end, however, Vick's laser throws and quick feet will trump the steady experience of McNabb.
Arizona Vs. San Diego
Predicted Outcome: Chargers win 23-20
Why: Philip Rivers is likely stewing over the weekend loss to the Seahawks. That will simply be fuel to the Rivers fire. His receivers have stepped up and tight end Antonio Gates is still top of his class.
The Cardinals need a better solution at quarterback. Derek Anderson has been sloppy and unproductive.
The Chargers are looking forward to returning to their winning ways and this week will be the first step in the right direction.
Chicago Vs. New York Giants
Predicted Outcome: Bears win 14-13
Why: The Bears are on fire. Head coach Lovie Smith may have saved his job by bringing in offensive coordinator Mike Martz.
The defense has shown flashes of its past greatness.
Of course, the Giants are far from an easy win. These teams employ heavy-handed defenses and a deep group of receivers. It will be an exciting Sunday evening that comes down to the wire.
New England Vs. Miami
Predicted Outcome: Dolphins win 27-21
Why: The Dolphins may have suffered under the Jets, but the Bills were busy proving that the Patriots are not perfect.
Miami will be watching that game tape closely to find out how they can pound down the Patriots defense. The key will be maintaining offensive momentum and running the clock with Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams.
Tom Brady can only do his thing if he is on the field. If time won't permit it, he can't do it.