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NFL Week 4: Predictions and Power Rankings

JW NixSenior Writer IINovember 22, 2016

NFL Week 4: Predictions and Power Rankings

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    The first three weeks of the 2011 NFL season has brought a mix of pleasant surprises, like the Buffalo Bills, to disappointments like the Indianapolis Colts. A truncated preseason has effected quality of play for some of the younger teams, like the Saint Louis Rams.

    Week 4 will separate some pretenders from contenders, but it will also help determine the strength of teams perceived to be of championship material. The defending champion Green Bay Packers have seemingly already shown they are a viable option to repeat.

    There will be upwards to at least three games that will be big battles. The upstart Houston Texans will try to rebound from losing last week, but face a Pittsburgh Steelers team that has been on a mission the past few weeks. The New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens will most likely have a defensive struggle, while the New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders may have a track meet this Sunday.

    It may be too early to get a true grasp on who is going to be strong this season, but the fourth week is a better indication of what weaknesses each franchise has to work on. This is crucial because bye weeks will begin to start for teams next week.

Detroit Lions @ Dallas Cowboys

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    You have to admire the Cowboys victory last week, considering they are so banged up along their roster. Still, kicking six field goals will not get it done against Detroit. 

    Lions 27   Cowboys 20

New Orleans Saints @ Jacksonville Jaguars

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    The Saints cannot stop the run and the Jaguars best player is halfback Maurice Jones-Drew. Yet, in case you haven't noticed, Drew Brees is on fire. 

    Saints 30   Jaguars 16

Tennessee Titans @ Cleveland Browns

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    Chris Johnson has only 98 yards on 48 carries, showing why training camp is so important. But that Titans defense has carried the club, ranking first in the NFL in yards allowed and second in points given up. 

    Cleveland isn't doing much offensively yet, but their pass defense is ranked third best in the NFL in passing yards allowed. If Johnson stinks again, the Browns will have an advantage. 

    Titans 20   Browns 17

Buffalo Bills @ Cincinnati Bengals

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    Who here predicted the Buffalo Bills would start the season 3-0? How about 4-0? 

    Bills 24    Bengals 20

Washington Redskins @ Saint Louis Rams

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    The Rams will be happy to have star halfback Steven Jackson back in this must-win game against the Redskins. Washington has given up 252 yards on 41 carries to Ahmad Bradshaw, Beanie Wells and Felix Jones the previous three weeks. 

    That fact, and the fact opponents can always rely on Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman to make several key boneheaded plays each week, might be enough to get Saint Louis their first win this season. 

    Rams 20    Redskins 17

San Francisco 49ers @ Philadelphia Eagles

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    Frank Gore has struggled to just 148 yards on 59 carries so far. This hurts because the 49ers have one of the NFL's worst starting quarterbacks in Alex Smith. If Gore cannot produce against a beat up Eagles squad that is 30th in run defense, they have no shot. 

    The Niners are dead last amongst all NFL teams in yards gained, so the Eagles star studded secondary might have to swipe a few of Smith's mistakes and carry their team to victory. 

    Eagles 23   49ers 20

Minnesota Vikings @ Kansas City Chiefs

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    This might be interesting only in the fact that it could be the last time Donovan McNabb starts in his career. The Vikings cannot continue to sit back and watch him play poorly, or the season will soon be lost. 

    Vikings 27   Chiefs 17

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Houston Texans

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    Houston's defense looked like it was back in 2010 last week by coughing up 40 points after having given up just 20 total points the previous two weeks. The offense, led by halfback Ben Tate, already has 90 points scored. 

    Pittsburgh isn't scoring yet, getting just 54 points so far, but the defense has given up just 55 in three weeks. Their 2-1 record has been aided by playing two lousy teams the past few weeks. 

    This is a statement game for both teams. Houston needs to show they are the cream of the AFC South crop, as many have predicted they will be this season. Pittsburgh needs to prove they are still strong Super Bowl contenders, as well as disprove the recent whispers they are an aging team in many important areas. 

    Houston needs to generate a pass rush against a beat up Steelers offensive line. Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips may have a few special blitz packages drawn up for outside linebacker Mario Williams, especially since Houston has quite a few defenders dinged up with injuries. 

    The vaunted Steelers run defense has yet to play well, so they need to step up the week. Not only will they have Tate to deal with, 2010 rushing champion Arian Foster will see his first action this year. So it comes down to if the experience Pittsburgh has will prevail over the inexperienced Texans. 

    Texans 24  Steelers 21

Carolina Panthers @ Chicago Bears

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    Carolina does not run the ball, just relying on Cam Newton to pass practically every play. This lack of offensive balance should play nicely into the Bears savvy defense. 

    Bears 30   Panthers 24

Atlanta Falcons @ Seattle Seahawks

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    Disappointing is how you could term both of these 1-2 teams. Neither have yet to play as many expected, but the Seahawks offensive woes will be the difference here. 

    Falcons 28   Seahawks 17

New York Giants @ Arizona Cardinals

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    Kevin Kolb has had sufficient time to break in with the Big Red. Now is his time to show why Arizona gave up so much to acquire him. 

    Cardinals 31   Giants 28

Denver Broncos @ Green Bay Packers

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    Is there any doubt who wins this game? 

    Packers 37   Broncos 20

New England Patriots @ Oakland Raiders

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    Game of the Week 

    Oakland has the best rushing attack in the NFL, and are ranked the sixth best in points made. Their defense, however, is near the bottom of the league in many categories. 

    New England has the best passing attack in the NFL, but they too have a defense ranked near the bottom of the NFL in many categories and they will not have the services of starting defensive end Albert Haynesworth this week. Both teams also share the surprising distinction of losing to the Buffalo Bills late in their respective games. 

    Both teams need to win to keep from falling in their division. While the Raiders do not play in nearly as talented a division as the Patriots, this game could mean a lot, later in the season to both squads. 

    It comes down to if the Raiders can stop the pass or the Patriots can stop the run. It also may come down to the final play. 

    Patriots 38   Raiders 35

Miami Dolphins @ San Diego Chargers

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    The Dolphins were great on defense but lousy on offense in 2010. Now those roles have reversed. San Diego can score, but their defense has been erratic. 

    This could be a high scoring affair, but the Bolts have the edge of experience for these types of games. 

    Chargers 34    Dolphins 31

New York Jets @ Baltimore Ravens

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    The Ravens season has started pretty good, but not great. They rank 13th in the NFL in both yards gained and allowed. While their defense has given up the fewest points in the league, the offense ranks eighth in most points scored. 

    Jets head coach Rex Ryan knows this team well, having been the Ravens defensive coordinator just a few years ago. But his own vaunted defense is struggling much more than expected, ranking 31st in rushing yards allowed and 12th in points scored upon. 

    Ray Rice and Ricky Williams will need to have good games here. Both teams will keep it close until the final seconds. 

    Ravens 16    Jets 13 

Indianapolis Colts @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    It really doesn't matter if Curtis Painter or Whistler's Mother plays quarterback, the Colts just plain stink without Peyton Manning

    Buccaneers 27   Colts 10

Power Rankings

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    1. Green Bay Packers
    2. Detroit Lions
    3. Buffalo Bills
    4. Baltimore Ravens

    5. Houston Texans 
    6. Pittsburgh Steelers 
    7. Tennessee Titans
    8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 
    9. Oakland Raiders
    10. New England Patriots
    11. San Diego Chargers
    12. New Orleans Saints

     
    13. New York Jets
    14. Atlanta Falcons
    15. New York Giants
    16. Dallas Cowboys

    17. Philadelphia Eagles
    18. Chicago Bears
    19. Washington Redskins

    20. San Francisco 49ers
    21. Seattle Seahawks
    22. Cleveland Browns 
    23. Carolina Panthers
    24. Miami Dolphins


    25. Jacksonville Jaguars
    26. Arizona Cardinals
    27. Cincinnati Bengals
    28. Minnesota Vikings
    29. Saint Louis Rams
    30. Denver Broncos
    31. Indianapolis Colts
    32. Kansas City Chiefs

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