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Oct. 2, 2004

NFL: Week Four predictions

by Isamu Bae, Page Editor, Pratik Bhandari, Page Editor and Michael Bushnell, Page Editor
For those that live in this area and root for the Redskins, Week Three was simply a week of blown calls. For many other teams, however, Week Three designated a need for drastic courses of actions due to injuries. The Bears, for one, will look to tough out this season after losing two key playmakers this season, including young quarterback Rex Grossman last week.

Izzy31-15-0
Pratik31-15-0
Nick31-15-0
Mike26-20-0

Sunday September 26, 2004
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh – 1 p.m.
(Pittsburgh - 4)

Izzy's PickPratik's PickMike's PickNick's Pick
CincinnatiCincinnatiPittsburghCincinnati


Izzy says:
Cincinnati must be hurting. That was some trampling Jamal Lewis put on them last week. Luckily for the Bengals, the Steelers do not boast a running game bearing any resemblance to their bygone days- nor Jamal Lewis. Carson Palmer made two key mistakes last week and is proving that if he can cut down on key mistakes, he can succeed at this level. This is a match up of a sophomore vs. rookie quarterback, and I'm going to go with the highly touted sophomore Carson Palmer and the Bengals over Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers.

Pratik says:
Cincinnati comes off an old-fashioned whupping after Jamal Lewis and the Ravens basically ran the ball right down the throats of the Bengals. Also, Baltimore beat up on Carson Palmer. A lot. To put it in perspective, he looked like one of those car crash dummies. Pittsburgh comes off their Sunday Night win over Miami in the midst of Hurricane Jeanne's torrential downpour. Pittsburgh beat Miami because they forced five fumbles and because they had a couple of key defensive stops. However, the Cincinnati offense is much more dynamic than the Dolphin's offense, especially since the Dolphins also lost Lamar Gordon. The experts who make the betting lines think that Pittsburgh is the favorite in this one. Well, I'll go with Cincinnati because they not only have a good running game, but also a better passing game (as long as Carson Palmer gets some time to air it out to Chad Johnson). So I say that Cincinnati will pull this one out in Heinz Stadium on a field goal, or two.

Mike says:
It was only one game, but considering it was his first start ever, and was in the middle of a hurricane, Steelers' QB Ben Roethlisberger looked pretty good. He wasn't afraid to run, but was heady in a 13-3 win at Miami in torrential downpours last week. He has been rushed into the quarterbacking role with the injury to Tommy Maddox, but I like Pittsburgh's new QB karma for at least one more week, even though Roethlisberger's win came against a horrendous team in Week 3. I'm not sold on Cincinnati winning away from home either, plus the fact that their run defense has been nothing short of atrocious, giving up over 165 yards per game. These teams won't light up the scoreboard, but I'll take the Steelers at home.


Indianapolis at Jacksonville – 1 p.m.
(Indianapolis -4)

Izzy's PickPratik's PickMike's PickNick's Pick
IndianapolisIndianapolisIndianapolisIndianapolis


Izzy says:
The Jaguars have now officially proven they are one of the league's more surprising and potentially elite teams. They face a new test, however. Up until now, all the teams they have shut down have been run oriented (Tennessee actually is passing oriented, but McNair got injured, so they do not count). Peyton Manning and the Colts, however, simply point to last week's shoot-out victory with Brett Favre as a response. This will be sophomore QB Byron Leftwich' first true test, as he will likely have to pick up his team and lead them to victory, if that is at all possible. Not yet, Byron, not yet.

Pratik says:
Why does Jacksonville keep winning? It's a combination of clutch plays by Byron Leftwich who, I have to admit, is better than what I thought he'd be. Also, Fred Taylor is really producing well taking the load off of the young second-year quarterback. But most importantly, the Jaguar's defense, minus Hugh Douglas mind you, has somehow gotten better since last year. Over three games this year, the Jacksonville Jaguars are second in terms of points allowed, giving up a ridiculous 9.3 points per game. To put that in perspective, the beleaguered Redskin's would be 3-0 instead of 1-2 with that defense, but I digress. Anyway, the Jaguars defense faces the most prolific offense in the league on Sunday in the Indianapolis Colts and this will be a great marker for how far the Jaguars have really come. Even though the Jaguars are 3-0, I'm not going to put any faith in them until they play Indy and win. Can the Jaguars stop the Colts offense? I think not, but we'll see. Indy wins on a Reggie Wayne touchdown.

Mike says:
Jacksonville has managed to be 3-0 without scoring more than 15 points in any game. Want to know how that is done? It's done thanks to amazing defense that has created early comparisons of them with last year's NFC Champion Carolina Panthers. They won at Tennessee, so give them some due praise. However, with that in mind, Indianapolis is going to light it up again this weekend down South. I don't believe that if the Jags go down early, that Byron Leftwich is good enough to bring them back, not this early in his career at least. Indy wins.


New England at Buffalo – 1 p.m.
(New England -5.5)

Izzy's PickPratik's PickMike's PickNick's Pick
New EnglandNew EnglandNew EnglandNew England


Izzy says:
This was probably not the outcome the Bills were hoping for when they fired head coach Gregg Williams last season. Now a baffling 0-2, the Bills need some sort of sparkplug game to bring them back into playoff contention, especially in a tough division with the Patriots and the Jets. Unfortunately they play the Patriots this week, who are motivated to repeat and to tie the NFL record winning streak. The Patriots are better than last season, while the Bills have regressed. No contest.

Pratik says:
I keep looking at the Patriot's schedule and I'm amazed. The Patriots have a legitimate chance of going 16-0 as the only challenging teams they have on their schedule are the Seahawks and the Ravens. Let's face it, Buffalo doesn't stand a chance of winning this game. The Patriots are just superior on all fronts. They have a better defense, a better offense and a better coach. The only thing going Buffalo's way is that the game is being played at Ralph Brown Stadium instead of Gillette Stadium. Oh, wait. This just means that the Bill's will be booed by their own fans. Have fun guys… Patriots win in a blowout.

Mike says:
Both teams are coming off of bye weeks, so the clubs should have peak performances. And while Buffalo's peak is the equivalent of Kilamanjaro, the Patriots' peak is more like Mount Everest. Weird mountain references aside, the Patriots are a better team. They are healthy, and are playing great out of the box, starting the year 2-0. New running back Corey Dillon has been amazing, and Tom Brady has been his usual self, which is better than about 95% of other NFL quarterbacks. As for Buffalo? Eh, not so good. They're 0-2, Drew Bledsoe's struggles have carried over from last year. The Pats won 31-0 the last time these two have met, and have won six of the last seven meetings. Look for that to become seven of the last eight.


N.Y. Giants at Green Bay – 1 p.m.
(Green Bay -7)

Izzy's PickPratik's PickMike's PickNick's Pick
Green BayGreen BayGreen BayGreen Bay


Izzy says:
Brett Favre is going to tough out his left shoulder and he will definitely have to. The Colts exposed the inexperienced secondary the Packers have, and now former NFL MVP Kurt Warner will step up for the Giants to try to beat the Packers through the air. The Giants do not boast playmaking receivers out of their ears like the Colts, though, and they'll find that the battered, wounded pride of the Packers secondary is out for blood.

Pratik says:
Wow. That's all I can say after that epic battle between Manning and Favre at the RCA Dome. It was like watching an offense-only practice; the defense just wasn't there for either team. With the Giants beating the Browns, they are a surprising 2-1 while Green Bay is 1-2. For some reason, the Giants just seem to look slow and dilapidated; just not up to NFL speed. Look for the Packers to exact revenge on Kurt Warner and the hapless Giants as both teams go to 2-2.

Mike says:
Kurt Warner is seeing some sort of crazy renaissance, as he has played well in back-to-back New York wins. That said, they can't win in Green Bay. Ahman Green will not lay it on the turf like he has so far this season, and the combo of Favre to Javon Walker has looked incredible this year. New York does not have the firepower to put up the points the Colts did last week when they beat the pack last Sunday, but Green Bay can stop the Giants. It's just very hard to pick against Green Bay at Lambeau Field, so I won't. Green Bay wins.


Oakland at Houston – 1 p.m.
(Oakland -2)

Izzy's PickPratik's PickMike's PickNick's Pick
OaklandHoustonOaklandHouston


Izzy says:
A close game on paper, but the Raiders are beginning to fuse on all fronts. Their offense, now handed to Kerry Collins with Rich Gannon's injury, has found playmaking receivers all over the place. Their defense is still underperforming but are capable of keeping the Raiders in the game enough for a few big offensive plays to turn the entire thing around. Houston, on the other hand, coming off of an emotional come-from behind victory against the Chiefs, are looking for a winning streak- any winning streak- so that QB David Carr can cut his hair. This still is not the time, however. Sheer experience will let the Raiders overcome a slow start en route to a victory over the Texans.

Pratik says:
Houston beat Kansas City by three points last week and Oakland crushed Tampa Bay by ten. Both of these teams have great offenses but they need to improve on the defensive side of the ball. Houston has the better defense but Oakland has the better offense. Both of these teams are 2-1, but I think that at this point, Kansas City is a better team than Tampa Bay so I'll pick Houston to win.

Mike:
Before everyone drinks the Houston Kool-Aid after their win at the Chiefs last week, let us remember that Kansas City will be really, really bad this year. I like Oakland (again) because I don't trust the Texans' offense to hold on to the ball. QB David Carr has thrown four interceptions and running back Domanick Davis has fumbled the same amount of times. That's not good for three games. The Texans' defense has allowed nine touchdowns this year, and alarming statistic. Look for Oakland quarterback Kerry Collins to shine for the Silver and Black as they will win deep in the heart of Texas.


Philadelphia at Chicago – 1 p.m.
(Philadelphia -9)

Izzy's PickPratik's PickMike's PickNick's Pick
PhiladelphiaPhiladelphiaPhiladelphiaPhiladelphia


Izzy says:
This is horrible. First the Bears play the Vikings with a backup secondary. Now they play the Eagles, but this time without starting QB Rex Grossman (placed on the IR with an ACL injury). TO's going to be so open McNabb will be able to hit him blindfolded.

Pratik says:
Philadelphia is really making a run at the playoffs right now. Already 3-0 after playing a couple of tough teams, the Eagles are just awesome on offense and pretty good on defense. Last week, they crushed Detroit by 17 points. Against a Chicago team that is reeling with the loss of Mike Brown, Jerry Azumah and Charles Tillman, McNabb and Company will air it out in the chill Illinois air. If Philly doesn't win by at least two touchdowns, this will be a disappointment.

Mike says:
Not much to say on this game except that the Eagles are about to go 4-0. They are really, really good. Terrell Owens has not let anybody down, and Donovan McNabb looks like he's been eating his Chunky Soup, playing with flair not even Rush Limbaugh could question. Chicago, however, has seen their starting quarterback, Rex Grossman, go down with an injury that will cost him the season. These two teams are very different, and by that I mean, Philly is great; Chicago is not.


Washington at Cleveland – 1 p.m.
(Washington -2.5)

Izzy's PickPratik's PickMike's PickNick's Pick
WashingtonWashingtonWashingtonWashington


Izzy says:
A sure way to find out if a team is in trouble: if the biggest news of a game is that their QB did not, in fact, get a 0.0 passer rating this time. The Browns are struggling heavily after losing their rookie TE Kellen Winslow for the season, and their outmatched offensive line is being exposed (linebackers do not have to double Winslow anymore). The Redskins, on the other hand, are feeling rather dumb after giving away a victory due to clock mismanagement. Even if the fundamentals are not down pat, one thing is clear- the Redskins are beginning to gel offensively to complement their dominant defense. Look out, Browns.

Pratik says:
Ay yi yi yi yi! (At least I think that's how you say it…) Cleveland is 1-2. Washington is 1-2. Washington played the first game against Tampa as if they were the Gibb's team of old. Now, they just look old. The wide receivers keep dropping balls. Ramsey and Brunell are way too inaccurate. The offensive line, dubbed the "dirtbags" by Joe Bugel are playing like it. The lone bright spot is defense and they're not even doing that well after last week against Dallas as they were victimized on a halfback pass from Richie Anderson to Terry Glenn and couldn't generate a pass rush to pressure statuesque Vinny Testaverde. Also, with the loss of LaVar Arrington, the Redskins linebacking corps is very shaky with Mike Barrow injured as well. However, they play a Cleveland team that was shellacked by the Giants. Seeing as the Redskins almost beat the Giants even though they had seven turnovers, I have to deduce that Washington has more talent than the Giants. Therefore, Cleveland is gonna be 1-3.

Mike says:
The Redskins are 1-2 but have played much better so far than the Browns. Cleveland has looked sloppy, and are without Kellen Winslow II, their star tight end, who is out for the year. Washington knows they have to have this game or their season is a good as dead four weeks in. I can't see how Joe Gibbs lets this team lose. I take Washington.


Atlanta at Carolina – 1 p.m.
(Carolina -3.5)

Izzy's PickPratik's PickMike's PickNick's Pick
CarolinaCarolinaAtlantaCarolina


Izzy says:
Atlanta's resurgent defense has been the talk of the town- maybe switching back to 4-3 was the magical cure after all. However behind the beautiful cover lies a menacing faηade: opposing teams have converted 42.6% of 3rd down attempts and a whopping 100% of 4th down attempts (3 of 3). While the currently-struggling Vick has traditionally run all over Carolina, a healthy LB Mark Fields will put an end to that, forcing Vick to beat them with his arm. Sorry, I just don't see that happening against the Panthers.

Pratik says:
Atlanta looked downright ugly after their 6-3 win over lowly Arizona, whereas Carolina crushed Kansas City in Week Two. If the Arizona defense can contain the Atlanta offense, the Carolina defense should be more than enough, no? Also, what with the Atlanta defense being horrendous against the run and DeShaun Foster lighting up Kansas City (whose run defense is as bad as Atlanta's), I think Carolina will win this one after corralling Vick and Dunn and the rest of the Atlanta offense.

Mike says:
Amusement park ride or not, Michael Vick has not looked amazing this year. His passer rating is 18, and the Falcons won 6-3 over the horrendous Arizona Cardinals last week. Essentially, it was the ugliest win you could imagine. That said, Vick is really, really good, and has whooped up on Carolina in the last three contests between these two teams. He has passed for over 650 yards and run for 250 in those last three games total. Even though this game is in the beautiful city of Charlotte, I still will take Atlanta based on those last three Vick outings against Carolina, all Falcons wins. How about making it four in a row?

New Orleans at Arizona – 1 p.m.
(New Orleans -3.5)

Izzy's PickPratik's PickMike's PickNick's Pick
New OrleansNew OrleansNew OrleansNew Orleans


Izzy says:
Aaron Stecker has proven detractors wrong with a strong ground game against the St. Louis Rams last week. This time he'll be let loose against an ailing Arizona Cardinals squad that has found difficulty stopping anything. Josh McCown might be able to mount a good game here, but against an explosive Saints offense, the chances are slim that he can keep it up without making too many errors.

Pratik says:
Another blowout of Week Four arrives in Arizona. Well, I guess whenever Arizona plays it's a blowout, right? Anyway, with the great Aaron leading the Saints, Arizona is bye-bye. By the way, I mean Aaron Stecker who racked up over a hundred yards including a 42-yard touchdown run over the St. Louis Rams. That other Aaron will have a pretty good day as well against a struggling Arizona secondary. Once again, if New Orleans doesn't win by at least two touchdowns, it'll be a disappointment.

Mike says:
In a very quirky scheduling issue, the Saints have played all four NFC West teams in their first four games. Forgive them if they still think that they play in that division. Luckily for them, it's a terrible division, and if they beat the Cardinals, who I've repeatedly called "horrid," "putrid," "awful," "horrendous," and other such words, New Orleans will be 3-1. Deuce McAllister, the Saints' running back, is hurt and won't play, but never fear, Aaron Stecker is here. He ran for over 100 yards last week, and could get that again in the desert. After all, the Arizona defense has allowed over 180 yards per game rushing this year. Awful. Just awful. Saints win.


Denver at Tampa Bay – 4:05 p.m.
(Denver -3)

Izzy's PickPratik's PickMike's PickNick's Pick
DenverDenverDenverDenver


Izzy says:
Denver now sits atop the league defenses, and well deservedly. Having shut down LT and Antonio Gates is worthy of immense praise, even if they are only two players on an otherwise horrible San Diego club. The Bucs, however, are not that much better than the Chargers, as they have lost tailback Charlie Garner for the season. Easy pickings for Denver.

Pratik says:
Tampa Bay is reeling from a 0-3 start to the season because they have no receivers to throw to as Joe Jurevicius and Joey Galloway are injured and Keenan McCardell is holding out for a better contract. Denver is a healthy 2-1 with their one loss to the fairy-tale Jaguars. What with Charlie Garner inured and no wide receivers to throw to, Denver is just gonna blitz all day. Good luck Michael Pittman. Good luck Brad Johnson. You're gonna need iy.

Mike says:
It's about time that Denver running back Quentin Griffin snapped out of his slump. He was downright horrendous the last two weeks, gaining just two yards or so a carry, for a paltry 76 yards over two games. This is a team that lost 7-6 at Jacksonville because Griffin fumbled as the Broncos were just trying to get into field goal position to win the game. Denver is a safer bet, but just like the Tennessee-San Diego game, this one could go either way. If I were betting on this game (which is wrong, and you should never, ever do), I would take San Diego and the points. But in this game, which should be low scoring, I'll take Denver by a nose.


N.Y. Jets at Miami – 4:15 p.m.
(New York Jets -5.5)

Izzy's PickPratik's PickMike's PickNick's Pick
New York JetsNew York JetsNew York JetsNew York Jets


Izzy says:
I pity the Dolphins secondary. Chad Pennington will have them running all over the place trying to stop his homing missiles to his receivers. Tailback Lamar Gordon is out for the season for the bad-luck Fins, causing me to wonder, what's the point of this game?

Pratik says:
Ha! Its another blowout! Jets with resurgent Curtis Martin vs. Miami without a running back. There's no chance Miami wins this game. Zach Thomas actually said that Miami should be ashamed of how they're playing and wondered why anyone would buy Dolphin's tickets this year. Just look at it this way, Chad Pennington vs. A.J. Feeley. Curtis Martin vs. Leonard Henry? I pick the Jets to make Pro Player Stadium into No Player Stadium.

Mike says:
There was a debate in Miami on Thursday, but even President Bush and Senator Kerry could agree that the Jets are a lot better than the Dolphins. Miami's offense has been stagnant, and even while I like the fact that Jay Fiedler is getting the start, replacing A.J. Feeley; who got benched because he's terrible; I feel that the Jets will continue to make this nightmarish Miami season even more of a reality. Curtis Martin is averaging 157 yards rushing per game, Chad Pennington has completed 3/4th's of all his passes, and Santana Moss has been supernatural, averaging four catches a game. Things have been going very well for the Jets, and will continue to be that way.


Tennessee at San Diego – 4:15 p.m.
(Tennessee -3)

Izzy's PickPratik's PickMike's PickNick's Pick
TennesseeTennesseeTennesseeTennessee


Izzy says:
Even if McNair does not play this game, there is a reason why at least four clubs vied for backup QB Billy Volek's services. Volek will be more than enough to handle the hapless Chargers who will lean upon tailback LaDainian Tomlinson and tight end Antonio Gates to lead their offense again. Chris Brown must be dreaming about Sunday already, he's leading the league in rushing yards and now he gets to go against one of the worst defenses?

Pratik says:
Who made the schedule for this week? There's blowouts everywhere! San Diego vs. Tennessee is just another in a long list this week. Tennessee is still smarting from the loss to the Jaguars and the fact that Steve McNair might be out for Sunday's game. However, if I know McNair at all, he'll play no matter how much his sternum hurts.

Mike says:
It's not really a Titans season until Steve McNair spends at least two nights in a Nashville hospital. This man bruised his sternum, and still wants to play. But it looks like it will be Billy Volek under center for Tennessee. The Titans loved this guy, so much so that they paid him $6.8 million over four years to hold a clipboard. This is a tough game to pick, so, when in doubt, take the better statistical team in recent times. That team is Tennessee, though I wouldn't be shocked if the Chargers do win this game.

St. Louis at San Francisco – 8:30 p.m.
(St. Louis -4)

Izzy's PickPratik's PickMike's PickNick's Pick
St. LouisSt. LouisSt. LouisSan Francisco


Izzy says:
Had the Niners kept half their team, this game might actually be worth watching. Now the only reason why you would watch this team is to see Tutu-man (Torry Holt) and Isaac Bruce absolutely shred the Niners.

Pratik says:
If St. Louis doesn't win this one, Mike Martz is really in trouble. But it's okay because his team is playing the 49ers who were shut out for the first time in almost 30 years last week by the Seattle Seahawks (who don't even have that great of a defense). If the Rams can avoid stupid penalties and turnovers, they should be able to take this one easy over the struggling 49ers.

Mike says:
St. Louis, at 1-2, could be 0-3. However, San Francisco, actually is 0-3, and just got whooped up on by Seattle 34-0. The 49ers had not been shut out in 27 years, which goes to show you how terrible this team is. The Niners' run defense has been good, but I don't think their defensive backs can stop Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce. St. Louis will win by the Bay.


Monday September 27, 2004
Kansas City at Baltimore – 9 p.m.
(Baltimore -5)

Izzy's PickPratik's PickMike's PickNick's Pick
BaltimoreBaltimoreBaltimoreBaltimore


Izzy says:
There cannot be as many one-sided MNF games like this. The Chiefs have been dreadful in stopping the run, and a nice hefty dose of Jamal Lewis will not make them feel any better. On the other side of the spectrum, the Chiefs, based around the running game of Ex-Raven Priest Holmes, now look straight into the helmet of linebacker Ray Lewis. Oof.

Pratik says:
I guess at the start of the season, this may have looked like a good game, but now it just looks bad. With the Chiefs at 0-3 going up against their stiffest competitors up to now, this is going to be a slaughter. With Kansas City's abysmal run defense, I wouldn't be surprised if Jamal Lewis broke his own single-game rushing record. Anything less than 150 yards and two touchdowns from Lewis would be a disappointment. Furthermore, with the Raven's stifling defense triple-teaming Tony Gonzalez and Priest Holmes and harassing Trent Green, the Chiefs are in real big trouble. All I can say is for Dick Vermeil to keep Holmes safe because he's the key to the Chiefs offense (and he's on my fantasy team).

Mike says:
Like I said earlier, Kansas City is really, really bad. But can they be 0-4 bad? Well, sadly for them, they face a good Baltimore club that will send them down that road into oblivion. Jamal Lewis can run until he faints on this terrible defense, and Kyle Boller has shown he can light it up. Baltimore has an advantage in almost every facet of this game, and they will win Monday night.




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  • Nick Falgout (View Email) on October 3, 2004
    Okay guys, so we disagree too much. Sue us.
  • jon on October 3, 2004
    Browns won.
  • cant we ever learn? on October 3, 2004
    ugh. the redskins top guys need to start acting like a team.
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