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NFL Week Four Preview: Five Things to Watch for

Kevin Roberts@BreakingKevinSenior Writer ISeptember 30, 2009

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 13: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers participates in warm-ups before a game against the Chicago Bears on September 13, 2009 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Bears 21-15.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

(Can Aaron Rodgers go into Minnesota and beat Brett Favre?)


Wrapped up in the switch from Brady Quinn to Derek Anderson in Cleveland or the passing of the torch (due to injury) in Miami from one "Chad" to another?

Yeah, me neither.

Take a look at the top five story lines heading into week four of NFL action, with some analysis, as well as a fantasy perspective.

As if we haven't already been blessed with three magical weeks of pro football, we could be in store for our best week yet.



5. Can Tennessee Really Drop to 0-4?

Sure, but it's probably not going to happen.

The only true threat week four's opponent, Jacksonville, has is their running game, and stopping the run is something the Titans are still very good at.

If Jacksonville is going to send the Titans to the depths of "out of playoff contention," they'll need big games from both Torry Holt and Mike Sims-Walker.

Fantasy Perspective: The odds are that the better overall defense wins here. That is, if Kerry Collins doesn't completely blow it and hand Vince Young back his job.

The Titans can both run the ball and stop the run as good as anybody, while their Achilles' heel is their pass defense. Ditto for the Jaguars, while Jacksonville is far from being great at stopping the run.

Look for Chris Johnson and LenDale White to work their one-two punch magic in Tennessee's first win in their last five games.



4. Can Detroit Make It Two in a Row?

Unlikely. The spirited performance by the rookie Matthew Stafford definitely has the makings of a feel-good movie, but it won't last, especially not against a team that actually has it together on both sides of the ball.

Jay Cutler has overcome his Sunday night debacle against Green Bay, and it's unlikely he falters against a Lions defense that usually doesn't stop elite quarterbacks, much less slow them down.

Fantasy Perspective: Kevin Smith wants to make this game, but even if he does play, take into consideration that Julius Jones was the first running back to have any kind of success on Chicago in the first three weeks.

As for Chicago, their passing attack is very much alive, and Jay Cutler now can spread the ball around as he pleases to Devin Hester, Earl Bennett, Greg Olsen, and the rookie Johnny Knox.

While Cutler should be on fire against a secondary that gave up 300-plus yards to Jason Campbell, look for Matt Forte to have his best game of the season.



3. Is Baltimore About to be 4-0?

It's entirely possible against a New England offense that has yet to top 26 points in a game. Tom Brady and co. have shown glimpses of 2007 magic, but both he and his receivers have been out of sync for much of the first three weeks.

Missing his bread and butter man Wes Welker probably has something to do with that. If Welker makes the contest, don't be shocked to see the offense move on Baltimore better than any team has so far in 2009.

Fantasy Perspective: Baltimore can flat-out run the ball, and now they can actually throw the ball pretty well too. If the Patriots can hold up their end of the bargain and put up more than 30 points, I have a feeling that Joe Flacco and his improved passing offense could match them.

Willis McGahee and Ray Rice should find some success against an average Patriots defense, as the Ravens try to team up with their strong run defense in an attempt at controlling the game's tempo. If that works, Baltimore could be 4-0 at Sunday's end.

Looking for the last two big story lines to follow? Hit up TRZR for previews on the Saints-Jets and Packers-Vikings Monday night battles.

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