The first three weeks of the NFL have been great. There have been several good games, upsets and memorable performances.
Week 4 looks to be a good one with teams like the Jets and Patriots aiming to bounce back after disappointing losses last week, while some teams like the Lions and Bills will look to stay hot.
I will be attempting to correctly predict the result for the five biggest Week 4 games. If you disagree with any picks, please post in the comments below.
Cam Newton got of to a fast start in his rookie season, and last week he got his first victory. But apart from the passing game Carolina has been terrible on both sides of the ball. The Panthers have been run over by average running backs (Beanie Wells and James Starks), and their own running game hasn't done well either, as they haven't had anyone rush for more than 59 yards this season.
Their pass defense has been decent considering they've had to play Kevin Kolb, who's had a good season so far, and Aaron Rodgers. When they played rookie Blaine Gabbert, they only allowed him 139 yards.
After a big Week 1 win the Bears have had a tough two weeks, losing to the Saints and Packers. In order for the Bears to be considered contenders, they have to be able to compete against those type of teams.
After Week 3 it's pretty obvious that Chicago are a pass-first team. Jay Cutler has spread the ball well and put up impressive numbers. This is all thanks to the numerous option that he has, Matt Forte in particular. The defense seems to be alright considering they've against Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. The run defense won't be a big concern this week against Carolina.
Prediction: Bears 34-27
The game will be a shootout between both quarterbacks. All the Bears need to worry about is getting to Cam Newton and putting some pressure on him. The Bears should give him the most amount of pressure of any team he's played so far.
On offense Jay Cutler should continue to play it safe and let his receivers do the work after the catch. Newton will manage to keep the game close but no one player can win a game by himself.
The Lions have shocked the NFL world by starting 3-0, all thanks to impressive performances on both sides of the ball. So far Matthew Stafford's ability to find receives has carried the offense. Calvin Johnson and Brandon Pettigrew are his favorite targets, while Jahvid best has done a great job getting yards after short dump-offs and screens.
Although Best hasn't been that good of a running back he makes up for it in the receiving game. On defense the Lions are unstoppable. Ndamukong Suh leads a defense that gets to the quarterback and forces a lot of turnovers.
Say what you want about Romo, but he's put up some good numbers. He might have blown the game against the Jets in the clutch, but he led game winning drives that beat the 49ers and Redskins. He's also cut down on the interceptions. Against the Redskins he was without Miles Austin, and against the Niners he was without Dez Bryant, his two best receivers.
If it weren't for Romo there's a good chance that the Cowboys would be without a win going into Week 4. Felix Jones managed to lay some pressure of Romo with a big game against the Redskins, something that could prove very helpful for the Cowboys offense. On defense the Cowboys have been able to stuff the run well, even against Frank Gore.
Prediction: Lions 23-20
For the most part the Cowboys offensive line has been decent, but the Lions pass rush will prove to be too much. On offense Matthew Stafford should be able to hit his receivers with ease against a weak Dallas backfield and he has Jahvid Best to dump the ball of to if he feels some pressure. Romo has enough reliable options to keep the game tight but in the end the Lions will be too much for the Cowboys on offense and defense.
Apart from the Bills, the Patriots have the best offense in the NFL. Tom Brady continues to shine, like he always has, and Wes Welker is putting up some ridiculous numbers. Hernandez and Gronkowski have each been able to get there fair share of touches, even while sharing time.
If you add a good running back you get a legendary offense. The only problem is that New England's defense has allowed teams to keep up with the offense. The defense remains too young and despite a couple of big plays they have opposing quarterbacks to pick them apart. They gave up 416 yards to Chad Henne, for goodness' sake.
The Raiders are one of the biggest surprises of the season, and look to be legitimate contenders for a playoff spot. So far Darren McFadden has been great, rushing for an incredible 171 yards against a great Jets defense. Campbell has also been good, and with Jacoby Ford out he's gotten some help from Denarius Moore. On defense the Raiders have done enough to win games, and only struggled when they had to go up against the Bills, probably the best offense in the league.
Prediction: Patriots 38-27
The Patriots are coming off of a hugely disappointing loss, and they are hungry. The Raiders won't have enough to contain the majesty that is the Patriots passing game. The Raiders will put up some points against the young Patriots defense, and McFadden will have a great game, but in the end Brady will pick apart the Raiders defense put up points early and often en rout to a big win.
The Jets have been a hard team to judge. The defense made enough plays to beat the Cowboys and destroyed the Jaguars, but they gave up 171 yards to McFadden and 34 points to the Raiders. Sanchez has thrown for a lot of yards, as well as four interceptions. LaDainian Tomlinson had 154 total yards last week after being non existent in the first two games.
The Jets have the ability to make big plays on both offense and defense, which they tend to rely on to get wins. As long as someone steps up the Jets get wins, but the inconsistency on both sides of the ball is a big concern.
The Raven's biggest concern has to be the offense. If the Raven's defense plays well they can do great things, like they did against the Steelers and Rams. But if the defense doesn't do well, the offense isn't good enough to carry them.
If the defense is unable to relieve any pressure from Joe Flacco, then the young quarterback seems to be unable to perform well, the same goes for Ray Rice. Lucky for the Ravens their defense almost always does well, but the game against the Titans certainly showed us a lot about Joe Flacco and the offense.
Prediction: Ravens 27-10
The Raven's defense will prove to be too much for the inconsistent Jets offense. Of course this means that the offense has less pressure on them and they can perform well. When all of the pieces are in place the Ravens play like a champion, and against the Jets they will give us another example of just how great the Ravens can be. If the Jets defense steps up they can keep it close, but it's hard to say whether they will step up.
Ben Roethlisberger said that it's difficult to overthrow Mike Wallace, and the receiver has been proving Big Ben right. Along with Wes Welker, Mike Wallace might be the best receiver in the NFL.
Rashard Mendenhall has yet to have a big game, which shows that the Steelers have become a pass first team. The offensive line continues to be a big concern, and they almost cost the Steelers the game when they gave up two sack-fumbles that led to 10 points for Indianapolis.
Coming into the season the biggest concern was Pittsburgh's defense being too old. Considering they have been proving the critics right having only caused one turnover in the first three games.
Houston seems to be on pace to finally reaching the playoffs. Matt Schaub continues to prove that he is a top-five quarterback in the NFL, while Ben Tate has played great in place of the injured Arian Foster.
With Foster set to return, the Texans might just have the best running game in the NFL to complement their great passing game. The Texans defense seemed to struggle when they finally got to play an elite quarterback in Drew Brees. For the most part they have pressured the quarterback well and have gotten a couple of sacks.
Prediction: Houston 31-24
The Steelers defense won't be able to keep up with the great passing game and running game of the Texans. The offensive line will continue to struggle against Houston's good pass rush. The Roethlisberger-Mike Wallace connection should keep the Steelers in the game, and Roethlisberger should have a good game like Brees did, but it looks like Pittsburgh's struggles are starting to finally catch up with them, which would force Tomlin to make a lot of changes to his defense and offense.