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NFL Week 4: Ultimate TV Schedule Guide For the 10 Games To Watch

Elliott PohnlFeatured ColumnistSeptember 29, 2010

NFL Week 4: Ultimate TV Schedule Guide For the 10 Games To Watch

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    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    NFL Week 4 marks the beginning of the bye weeks, with Kansas City, Dallas, Minnesota, and Tampa Bay all enjoying time off.

    Without the upstart Chiefs or the polarizing Cowboys and Vikings in action, this weekend's slate of games might not be as strong as usual.

    But that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of contests worth watching.

    Here's a closer look at 10 of the most intriguing games in Week 4.

No. 10: Seattle at Saint Louis

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Edward Jones Dome, 1 PM, FOX

    Star Power: Don't laugh, this game should be worth watching. The traditional star power might not be there, especially if Steven Jackson isn't able to go with his groin strain. At the same time, Sam Bradford has quietly impressed this season while Matt Hasselbeck just keeps hanging on for the Seahawks.

    Potential Drama: Although the game will be worth watching, it probably won't be a thing of beauty. Both teams have little margin for error, which should keep things close. It could come down to a field goal to decide the winner.

    Playoff Implications: The NFC West is so bad that both of these teams are considered contenders at this point in the season. If Bradford is able to pick apart on of the league's worst pass defenses and the Cardinals lose to the Chargers, the division could suddenly go through Saint Louis.

    Prediction: Saint Louis 20, Seattle 17

No. 9: Denver at Tennessee

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    LP Field, 1 PM CBS

    Star Power: Chris Johnson wasn't a big factor in Tennessee's win over the Giants last week, and Denver's defense has held up against the run this season. Both of those trends are likely to change Sunday. Meanwhile, scruffy Kyle Orton has set aside any talk of Tim Tebow getting more snaps by playing like a Pro Bowler in the first three games of the year.

    Potential Drama: Vince Young isn't out of the woods quite yet. Young made some nice plays against the Giants, but it's difficult to shake the memory of what happened the last time he played in front of the home fans against Pittsburgh in Week 2. With a quarterback controversy looming, the game could be interesting.

    Playoff Implications: Denver isn't likely to get involved in the AFC West race this season, but the Titans are expected to make the postseason. Tennessee needs to avoid home losses to teams like Denver to make those expectations become a reality.

    Prediction: Tennessee 27, Denver 16

No. 8: Detroit at Green Bay

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Lambeau Field, 1 PM, FOX

    Star Power: Aaron Rodgers is one cool customer. Even while facing a ultra-motivated Julius Peppers Monday night, the bright young star looked calm and collected while helping Green Bay's offense march up and down the field despite no running game. On the other side, Jahvid Best has been dynamic this season but is dealing with a turf toe injury that could limit his playing time and production.

    Potential Drama: The Lions have played horribly in Green Bay historically, but this year's team appears to have some impressive resolve. If Detroit hangs around, the pressure on the Packers to avoid what would be a crushing home loss could make things interesting.

    Playoff Implications: Green Bay is still a trendy Super Bowl pick despite the absence of Ryan Grant, a mediocre offensive line, and a young defense that did more bad than good against the Bears. Week 4 should offer up the chance to record a fairly easy win.

    Prediction: Green Bay 31, Detroit 13

No. 7: Cincinnati at Cleveland

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    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Cleveland Browns Stadium, 1 PM, CBS

    Star Power: The Bengals have it in the form of aging receivers who haven't really produced yet this season. Elsewhere, Cedric Benson and Peyton Hillis have taken very different paths to success, but both are among the better running backs in the AFC this season.

    Potential Drama: The Browns have lost the first three games this season, but played well defensively and had a chance to win all three. Carson Palmer has struggled for the Bengals this year and wasn't very effective against Cleveland last year. All the makings for an upset are in place.

    Playoff Implications: Like several of their counterparts in Week 4, the Bengals are playing a game that should produce a win. The AFC playoff race will be close all season long, making it imperative that bad losses are kept at a minimum.

    Prediction: Cleveland 23, Cincinnati 17

No. 6: Houston at Oakland

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    Larry French/Getty Images

    Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, 4:05 PM, CBS

    Star Power: Matt Schaub, Mario Williams, and Andre Johnson lead a Texans' team loaded with stars.  Oakland has a blossoming star in Darren McFadden, who has been one of the best running backs in the NFL this season.

    Potential Drama: The Raiders are one of the more unstable franchises in the NFL, and this year's quarterback controversy has added another layer of drama to head coach Tom Cable's relationship with ancient owner Al Davis. Bruce Gradkowski will have to play his way out of the lineup at this point, and that probably won't happen Sunday.

    Playoff Implications: The Texans played very poorly in the Week 3 loss to the Cowboys, and a win over the young Raiders would help improve the chances of landing a bye or home field advantage in the postseason. It's never too early to start looking ahead.

    Prediction: Houston 23, Oakland 21

No. 5: Baltimore at Pittsburgh

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    Larry French/Getty Images

    Heinz Field, 1 PM, CBS

    Star Power: It's all about the defenses. Troy Polamalu has bounced back from a year lost to injuries and Ray Lewis just keeps on destroying his opponents. Both offenses could have a nightmarish time Sunday afternoon.

    Potential Drama: Since neither team is likely to run away and hide, this game should come down to the very end. Even field goals won't come easily Sunday at Heinz Field.

    Playoff Implications: Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch have not only kept the Steelers afloat with Big Ben suspended, they have vaulted them into the top spot in the race for AFC supremacy. Meanwhile, the Ravens have some growing to do on both sides of the ball but still have the talent to embark on an impressive run.

    Prediction: Baltimore 13, Pittsburgh 10

No. 4: Chicago at New York Giants

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    New Meadowlands Stadium, 8:20 Sunday Night, NBC

    Star Power: Jay Cutler and Eli Manning need to play like Most Valuable Players in order to give their teams a chance to make a run at the postseason. For the moment at least, Cutler has done a better job of leading his team's offense. Despite taking a beating, he has racked up yardage, kept his interception totals down and produced three wins.

    Potential Drama: Tom Coughlin's reaction to the Giants' mistake-filled loss to the Titans Sunday suggests that he has run out of patience. His biggest complaint has been a lack of leadership, which is an issue that is often difficult to address during the season.

    Playoff Implications: Don't look now, but the Bears have a decent chance to start the season 8-0 if they beat the Giants. It gets much tougher towards the end of the season, so piling up wins early is essential to fulfilling playoff hopes. Meanwhile, the Giants can't afford to suffer a third-consecutive loss.

    Prediction: New York 24, Chicago 16

No. 3: San Francisco at Atlanta

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    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Georgia Dome, 1 PM, FOX

    Star Power: Matt Ryan has lived up to the hype, while Alex Smith hasn't and finds himself with another new offensive coordinator after Jimmy Raye was fired this week. Ryan should be able to hook up with Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez all afternoon against the 49ers.

    Potential Drama: The pressure is getting to the 49ers, and dropping a fourth-straight game could produce a volcanic eruption of sorts from Mike Singletary. A feeling of desperation is drifting over the Bay Area, even after just three weeks of the season.

    Playoff Implications: Could the 49ers turn things around and make a run at the postseason?  Even if they lose Sunday, it's possible given the state of the NFC West. Meanwhile, the Falcons are fresh off a win over the Saints in New Orleans and will likely be a postseason team this year.

    Prediction: Atlanta 27, San Francisco 14

No. 2: New England at Miami

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Sun Life Stadium, 8:30 PM Monday Night, ESPN

    Star Power: Tom Brady and Randy Moss take on Chad Henne and Brandon Marshall. Henne could take a big step in gaining respect by helping the Dolphins to a win over their divisional foe.

    Potential Drama: This week's game should go down to the wire, with both offenses having an edge over the defenses.

    Playoff Implications: The winner would get a big early boost in the AFC East race, which is likely to be close all season long. If the Dolphins want to take the next step, avoiding back-to-back losses to teams in the division is essential.

    Prediction: New England 24, Miami 23 

No. 1: Washington at Philadelphia

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Lincoln Financial Field, 4:15 PM, FOX

    Star Power: Donovan McNabb returns to the City of Brotherly Love to face the reborn Michael Vick. It doesn't get much better than that. Both quarterbacks have speedy targets on the outside, with Santana Moss off to a good start this season and DeSean Jackson doing his thing.

    Potential For Drama: Will the Eagles fans be cold or gracious to McNabb when he is introduced? Once the game actually begins, his play will be compared to Vick's throughout the evening. As if the NFC East rivalry needed any more intrigue.

    Playoff Implications: The win over the Cowboys in the season-opener is all but a memory now in Washington D.C. after last week's puzzling loss to the Rams. A loss to the Eagles would drop the 'Skins to 1-3 and make the trade of McNabb look even better.

    Prediction: Philadelphia 26, Washington 20

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