NFL Week 4: 9 Teams That Really Need To Win
It should go without saying that every NFL team needs to win every game. There are certain points in a season, though, when a team needs to win to maintain, or change, momentum.
It's too early in the season to say a game is a "must win" game. Some need a win now to keep things going or prevent a collapse.
Week 4 finds nine teams in that position.
The Bears whipped Atlanta in Week 1. Since then, they have lost to New Orleans and Green Bay. Those are two quality teams that are generally considered better than Chicago.
This week, Carolina comes to town.
The Bears can't afford to lose this game to the Panthers and Cam Newton. If they do, they run the risk of being three games down in the North.
To say that one regular season win was the biggest for a franchise in a decade is a stretch.
The Bills' win against the Patriots might qualify. The Patriots had won 15 in a row, and 19 out of 20, vs. the Bills.
Now that Buffalo has beaten a good team, they turn their attention to a lesser team.
A mark of a good team is to beat the lesser teams, even on the road. The Bills get their chance against the Bengals.
They need to keep focus.
The Lions are unbeaten and have won seven straight going back to last year.
While not throwing water on the fire, it must be noted that two of their wins were against winless teams.
Winning the first three is no guarantee of the playoffs.
The Lions schedule will get tougher. It features Green Bay and Chicago twice, Atlanta, New Orleans, San Diego and Dallas.
How they do in Dallas will be a good barometer of where this team is truly at.
The Texans are always next year's team. The problem is, they never have the breakout year.
This year, Jacksonville and Tennessee are in transition, and Peyton Manning is sidelined. This gives Houston a golden opportunity to win the AFC South.
Winning the division is one thing; winning in the playoffs is another. The Texans will have to beat elite teams in the playoffs. They failed to beat an elite team last week. They gave up 40 points to the Saints.
They get a shot at redemption this week against Pittsburgh.
Any team that loses the first three obviously needs a win. Another loss could be a death sentence for the season.
Another loss could also be a death sentence for Donovan McNabb's career. There are rumblings to replace him with Christian Ponder.
Playing the Chiefs, who give up points in bunches, might save his job for another week.
The Dream Team's season is becoming a nightmare. They haven't been the same since Michael Vick left the Atlanta game.
Can Vick finish the season? Can he finish a game?
They get the 49ers at home, then go to Buffalo and Washington.
St. Louis Rams
To be winless in any other division would be a disaster. Fortunately for the Rams, they reside in the NFC West.
It's not real surprising that they have lost every game. They've played the Eagles, Giants and Ravens.
The Rams have come far since Sam Bradford was drafted No. 1 in 2010. However, they are still a work in progress. Bradford needs more weapons to compete with quality teams. Their closest game was a 12-point loss.
They seriously need to beat the Redskins.
After that it's bye week, then at Green Bay, at Dallas, then home vs. New Orleans.
The Falcons have two problems.
First, they are turning the ball over too much. They have eight turnovers already. They had 17 all of 2010.
Second, they haven't played a complete game. They don't wake up until the fourth quarter. The Falcons have scored 30 fourth quarter points while giving up none.
If they would show that sense of urgency from the opening kickoff, the Seahawks could be in for a long day.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a big win last Sunday. They beat the Atlanta Falcons, ending a five game losing streak to them.
It was their first win against a quality team in the Josh Freeman era.
Last year, they had feasted on a sweep of the NFC West, two wins vs. Carolina, the Bengals, Brown and Redskins. They also beat New Orleans in a meaningless (for the Saints) season finale.
They need to keep momentum by beating the winless, hopeless Colts.