NFL Picks Week 4: Browns over Bengals among Possible Upsets
The 2010 NFL season is full of surprises.
The Kansas City Chiefs are 3-0 and the San Francisco 49ers are 0-3, when most experts had picked the Niners to win the NFC West.
What is most alarming is the play of the Pittsburgh Steelers. They are 3-0 heading into a key conference matchup with the Baltimore Ravens, starting Charlie Batch while waiting for Ben Roethlisberger to come back from his four-game suspension.
There are no guaranteed wins in the NFL, as seen with the Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys starting 0-2 before picking up wins last week.
Another pleasant surprise is the play of Michael Vick. He is putting up better statistics this season than he did his entire career in Atlanta.
Some of it is because of the weapons he has in Philadelphia, but also because he has matured as a quarterback.
Week 4 in the NFL is crucial to the success of many teams. Here is a list of five possible upsets for this week, and my reasons for these upsets.
Note that I say "possible" upsets.
Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns: Browns WIN
The Cincinnati Bengals travel to Cleveland to take on the Browns in a key AFC North matchup.
The Browns are 0-3, but in every game this season, they had a lead in the fourth quarter.
They lost to the Tampa Bay Bucs in Week 1, who are much improved from a year ago. The Browns also lost to an undefeated Kansas City Chiefs team and a Baltimore Ravens team that most experts picked to win the NFC North title.
The Browns lost all three games by a combined 13 points. They could easily be a 3-0 team heading into this week's matchup with the Bengals.
Another strong note is the play of running back Peyton Hillis, who came over from Denver in the Brady Quinn deal.
Hillis, a converted fullback from Arkansas, ran for a career-high 144 yards on just 22 carries against a Ravens defense that is supposed to have a strong rush defense, but ranks 23rd in that category this season.
Seattle Seahawks at St. Louis Rams: Rams WIN
The 2-1 Seattle Seahawks travel to St. Louis to square off against the 1-2 Rams.
The Rams are coming off a surprising 30-16 win over the Washington Redskins, where they snapped a 14-game losing streak and won for just the second time in 29 games.
Sam Bradford is starting to evolve into an NFL quarterback.
Bradford is coming off his best completion percentage of the season against the Redskins. Even though they rank 31st in passing defense, the Redskins played against stiff quarterbacks in Tony Romo and Matt Schaub.
With a victory, the Rams will continue their rebulding process, and tie the Seahawks with a 2-2 record. The NFC West is very poor, and any team can win it.
Denver Broncos at Tennessee Titans: Denver WINS
The Denver Broncos are playing the Tennessee Titans in Nashville in Week 4 of the NFL season.
The Broncos (1-2) are off to a slow start, but quarterback Kyle Orton played well against the Indianapolis Colts last week. They are first in the league in passing yards per game.
Tennessee is playing well after defeating the New York Giants last week, but have not been consistent this season.
They destroyed Oakland in Week 1, putting up 38 points, but then turned the ball over seven times in a loss the following week to the Steelers.
The Titans also put up 29 points last week against the Giants, and now play the Broncos.
The game will be much closer than most experts think.
Chicago Bears at New York Giants: Bears WIN
The Chicago Bears (3-0) take their undefeated record into New York to face the struggling Giants.
The Giants are a three-point favorite, and I can't begin to fathom why this is the case.
Eli Manning has thrown five touchdowns and six interceptions. The Giants cannot win if Manning continues to struggle.
They beat a weak Carolina Panthers team in Week 1, but then were blown out against both the Indianapolis Colts and last week at home against the Tennessee Titans.
Jay Cutler is playing like the player the Denver Broncos drafted him to be. He had a quarterback rating of 105 in two of the three games this season, and his turnover margin has greatly improved.
The Bears are first in the league in rush defense, and are among the top in turnover margin. The Bears will lose this season, but not this week.
Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles: Redskins WIN
Donovan McNabb and the Washington Redskins (1-2) travel to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles in a matchup that football fans were anticipating since the Eagles traded McNabb to Washington.
The Redskins suffered a 30-16 loss at the hands of the struggling St. Louis Rams, but that is because they were looking ahead to the Eagles. The Redskins will get what they were waiting for this weekend.
McNabb will be out to prove to the city of Philadelphia, Andy Reid, and the entire organization that they made the wrong move in trading him to Washington.
Michael Vick will come back to earth. He is playing lights-out, passing for six touchdowns, without throwing a single interception.
He will not do it a third week in a row.
Donovan McNabb will show why he is still one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, and do just enough for the Redskins to come away with a key NFC East victory.