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Oct. 3, 2009

NFL - Week four predictions

by Dennis Chae, Staff Writer, Ava Wallace, Online Editor-in-Chief and Rose Wynn, Online Sports Editor
As the upsets in week three slowly move to the back of our minds (well, maybe not all of the upsets), NFL week four promises to be thrilling. This weekend fans get to watch two outstanding quarterbacks duke it out, two distinguished franchises go head to head and two historic rivals battle for pride and victory.

Surprise week three victories by the Cincinnati Bengals and Detroit Lions peaked fan interest, but week four is shaping up to be just as fantastic. The Bengals now have a shot at their third win in a row, while the Redskins have to start walking the long road to redemption. The home team, especially player Jason Campbell, must take what they can from their losses and prepare for this Sunday.

But the Redskins' game shouldn't be the only one NFL fans watch this week. Mark Sanchez and the Jets take on Drew Brees and the Saints on Sunday afternoon, and fans will finally be able to directly compare these two stupendous quarterbacks. Also, Tom Brady and the Patriots look to give the Ravens their first loss of the season. Though the schedule guarantees quality entertainment on Sunday, the highlight of week four will premiere on Monday night.

Brett Favre will play against the Green Bay Packers for the first time in 16 years. To add insult to injury, Favre is playing for Green Bay's most bitter rival. Both teams know the stakes are high, so the game should be intriguing. Blazers, make time for football this weekend because you won't want to miss what NFL week four has to offer.

Standings:
Rose: 32-15
Dennis: 31-16
Ava: 34-13

Sunday, Oct. 4

Tampa Bay Buccanneers (0-3-0) at Washington Redskins (1-2-0)
Rose - Washington
Dennis - Washington
Ava - Washington

Rose says:
For this matchup, the odds are with the Redskins, although their loss against the Lions last week was a major disappointment. How could they let us down against such a weak team? All the SCO staffers were betting on their victory. But the Buccaneers are looking even more pathetic than ever with that goose egg on their record. Their last game against the Giants demonstrated a complete loss of power from the offense, which only produced 86 yards for the entire game. The home team for the victory.
Dennis says:
Washington has still not heard the last of their disheartening loss to Detroit last week. The only thing they can do is move forward and play harder in their fourth game. Despite the loss, QB Jason Campbell and WR Santana Moss performed impressively. Tampa Bay, on the other hand, was shut down against the Giants. With QB Josh Joshnson taking over the reigns for the first time in his career, the offense may still look a bit shaky. Redskins rebound this week.
Ava says:
The worst team in the NFL lost last week, and I'd never thought I'd say that after Detroit won. Nonetheless, I predict Washington will win, though it won't be a pretty victory. I just hope the Redskins don't bring us shame again; the Washington Post will have to live up to their fantastic headline last Monday: "Fail to the Redskins." Also, as a bonus, I predict that either Jim Zorn or Jason Campbell will be gone midseason.

Baltimore Ravens (3-0-0) at New England Patriots (2-1-0)
Rose - New England
Dennis - Baltimore
Ava - New England

Rose says:
John Harbaugh guided the Ravens to a secure 34-3 victory over Cleveland last week by telling the players to treat the game as a toss-up. The inspirational speech worked wonders, and now the Ravens are keyed up for another win. But their opponent this week won't be as easy to conquer. The Patriots' most recent win against the Bills marks the team's 400th victory since their beginning in 1960, and QB Tom Brady is now the 27th NFL player to achieve 200 touchdowns, thanks to his 36-yard touchdown pass to TE Chris Baker during the fourth quarter. I think history will be the determiner for this one; the Patriots will emerge victorious, if only by a small margin.
Dennis says:
This matchup is truly a test of AFC powers, and will determine which team has the greater chance of winning a trip to the superbowl. Baltimore's secondary stepped up last week with four interceptions, and the team needs to prove that they can do the same against the likes of New England's WR Randy Moss. The Raven offense is still looking surprisingly potent. In fact, both offenses look extremely powerful, but Patriots's RB Fred Jackson won't be able to get the same production against a Ravens's defensive line. Ravens go 4-0.
Ava says:
I think Tom Brady will give the Ravens their first loss of the year. The Patriots are hungry, and they know that they need to get their season off the ground. Also, Bill Bellecheck is currently the best head coach in football, so I'll follow "Sports Illustrated's" advice and bet for him.

Detroit Lions (1-2-0) at Chicago Bears (2-1-0)
Rose - Chicago
Dennis - Chicago
Ava - Chicago

Rose says:
The Lions' one win was not a walk in the park. Our home team could have defeated them...for some reason it just didn't work out. Regardless, their chances for a 2-2 record after challenging the Bears are slim to none. Chicago takes the victory.
Dennis says:
I've got to hand it to Detroit for finally ending their pathetic 19-game losing streak. That still doesn't make them a good team, but it's a start, right? On the other hand, Chicago is looking hot right now after having rallied past Pittsburgh and Seattle in the last two weeks. Plus, with Lions WR Calvin Johnson still without a 100-yard receiving game, the Bears may start another losing streak.
Ava says:
There, there, Skins fans. Detroit had to win eventually, though I predict it'll be a long time before they do it again. Chicago will have a fairly easy win.

Tennessee Titans (0-3-0) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2-0)
Rose - Jacksonville
Dennis - Tennessee
Ava - Jacksonville

Rose says:
Last week, Titan offense became the first to score legitimately on Jets defense (without resulting in field goals). On the other hand, the Jaguars managed their first win of the 2009 season with a significant contribution from Maurice Jones-Drew, who crushed the Texans' spirits (particularly high after their big victory against Tennessee the week before). But if the Titans still can't snag a "W," the Jaguars have the advantage.
Dennis says:
Let's face it: at 0-3 Tennessee is desperate. They need to win against Jacksonville if they want to see girdiron action in January. The Titans have talent, they just need to utilize it without making as many mistakes. In addition, QB Kerry Collins has to work on his accuracy because he failed 13 straight pass attempts last game. Jacksonville should be excited about the emergence of WR Mike Sims-Walker and the return of explosion in Maurice Jones-Drew, but neither will be enough to carry the team to a win over the Titans.
Ava says:
Jacksonville for the win. Maurice Jones Drew is still playing well with his three touchdowns last Sunday, and the not-so-mighty Titans are on a bit of a losing streak.


Oakland Raiders (1-2-0) at Houston Texans (1-2-0)
Rose - Houston
Dennis - Houston
Ava - Houston

Rose says:
The Texans were thrilled by the concept of a win against the Titans two weeks ago, but they haven't managed such a feat since. Then again, neither have the Raiders. But despite JaMarcus Russell's tough game against Denver, Oakland coach Tom Cable refuses to switch QBs. With drama surrounding the fact that Cable may be the cause of assistant coach Randy Hanson's broken jaw, the drama should weigh the team down. Houston will pull through.
Dennis says:
Oakland hasn't been able to get any production on offense. That's disappointing considering they have QB JaMarcus Russell and RB Darren McFadden as two first-round draft picks. In Houston, QB Matt Schaub has a hot hand right now; he's thrown 657 yards and has seven touchdowns. If DE Mario Williams and the rest of the defense can hold their own, Houston should have this in the bag.
Ava says:
Houston's quarter back Matt Schaub is doing well, and the Texans seem to be pulling things together. Their defense is still terrible, but against Oakland it shouldn't be much of an issue.


Cincinnati Bengals (2-1-0) at Cleveland Browns (0-3-0)
Rose - Cincinnati
Dennis - Cincinnati
Ava - Cincinnati

Rose says:
Carson Palmer's 71-yard drive with 14 seconds left in last week's game says it all. The Bengal touchdown speaks volumes about the team's potential, especially against defending champions! The 0-3 Browns have no chance, which is sad but true.
Dennis says:
Cincinnati is coming off one of their biggest wins in the last several seasons with a 27-23 victory over Pittsburgh. The Bengals made defensive plays in pivotal moments and RB Cedric Benson showed he could live up to his potential as a top-tier ball carrier. One the other hand, Baltimore deeply embarrassed Cleveland with their huge 34-3 win. Cleveland is without a proven leader at quarterback and has a defense with more holes than a slice of swiss cheese. The Browns? 'Who dey'?!
Ava says:
The Bengals have had two big wins in the past two weeks, and it seems as if Carson Palmer is finally getting into a groove. Something must be going on in the city because the University of Cincinnati's football team is also doing well with its first ever top 10 ranking. Whatever is happening, the Bengals have surely benefitted. They will run rampant over the 0 – 3 Browns.

Seattle Seahawks (1-2-0) at Indianapolis Colts (3-0-0)
Rose - Indianapolis
Dennis - Indianapolis
Ava - Indianapolis

Rose says:
The Seahawks thought they were handed a chance to rebound with their game against the Bears last week, but the team had no such luck. The Colts, on the other hand, have surprisingly dominated their games thus far. I think the odds are with yet another Indianapolis win. We wouldn't want to soil their perfect record!
Dennis says:
Peyton Manning has arrived! Having thrown four touchdowns with an unproven wide receiver corps, the Indianapolis QB looks to be back as the league's leading passer. Seattle had a sloppy performance last week against Chicago, with kicker Olindo Mare missing two easy field goals and WR T.J. Houshmanzadeh still without a touchdown. The Colts look to reveal even larger flaws in the Seahawks's secondary this week.
Ava says:
I've said it multiple times before, but Peyton Manning is too much to handle, especially at home. The man already has almost 1,000 yards this season, and is easily the second best quarterback in the NFL right now. If you're wondering, Drew Brees is number one and Tom Brady is number three. But we'll discuss the standings another day. As for Sunday? The Colts will get the "W."

New York Giants (3-0-0) at Kansas City Chiefs (0-3-0)
Rose - New York
Dennis - New York
Ava - New York

Rose says:
The Giants have had fairly solid wins so far, but their competition hasn't been top notch. The Chiefs have bucked against more strength, but haven't shown much for their effort. The Giants should overcome yet another mediocre team.
Dennis says:
New York is looking untouchable right now. They have been dominant on both sides of the ball. Kansas City simply has neither the offense to break the Giants's secondary nor the defense to stop their overwhelming, balanced attack.The G-men are a lock-in for this game.
Ava says:
Eli's turn! The Giants will definitely beat Kansas City. First, Brody Croyle is playing like garbage. In addition to a quarterback on a bad streak, Kansas City has running back Larry Johnson, who peaked around '05 – '06, and hasn't been able to produce as much since. In week three, Johnson had 19 attempts and only 38 yards. It's just not looking good for the Chiefs.

Buffalo Bills (1-2-0) at Miami Dolphins (0-3-0)
Rose - Buffalo
Dennis - Miami
Ava - Buffalo

Rose says:
The Bills lost to their division rivals (the Patriots) last week in a tough game that sent their egos soaring in a downward spiral. But Miami is experiencing a roster switch. The team created an open spot for QB Tyler Thigpen, who used to be on the Kansas City Chiefs and will be part of a private 2010 draft pick. But Miami is thinking too far ahead. The don't have the upper hand in their game against the Bills, so Buffalo will snag the win.
Dennis says:
Buffalo needs to find a way to get the ball in WR Terrell Owens's hands. The Bills's receiver didn't catch anything last week against New Orleans, and the rest of the offense suffered as a result. Miami lost their starting quarterback Chad Pennington, so Chad Henne and Pat White will have to step up in Pennington's place to maneuver the Wildcat offense. Miami takes it in a close match.
Ava says:
Miami's Chad Pennington went down for the count last week with a shoulder injury, and the Bills have been given a gift: a rookie quarterback! Please, Buffalo, take the gift. Unwrap it, love it and send a thank you note in the form of a "W." Right now, you can use a win.

New York Jets (3-0-0) at New Orleans Saints (3-0-0)
Rose - New Orleans
Dennis - New Orleans
Ava - New Orleans

Rose says:
Wow. Two 3-0 teams. But both have recently experienced undesirable events. While getting more than his share of bench time in their game against the Titans, speedy wide receiver David Clowney complained via Twitter. Coach Rex Ryan was infuriated. For the Saints, their pro bowl left tackle Jammal Brown will end his season prematurely and be put on IR due to hip injury. This may take its toll, but the Saints have won consistently by larger margins than their opponent Jets. This probably means New Orleans will take the victory, if only by a small margin.
Dennis says:
This game is bound to be intense. Both teams are unbeaten. New York is beginning to find consistency in its running and passing led by QB Mark Sanchez, while New Orleans is continuing their passing dominance with owner's dream QB Drew Brees. Brees will be looking to pick apart Rex Ryan's defense, and with wide receivers Devery Henderson and Marques Colston the chances are in his favor. The Saints come marching in for the fourth straight week.
Ava says:
Because he's used to playing in New York, I don’t think Mark Sanchez will be able to handle the humidity of New Orleans. The game could go either way, but New Orleans has got to be the stickiest place on earth. Oh, and Drew Brees is astoundingly sensational, that might have something to do with my prediction for a Saint's win. Just maybe.

St. Louis Rams (0-3-0) at San Francisco 49ers (2-1-0)
Rose - San Francisco
Dennis - San Francisco
Ava - San Francisco

Rose says:
The Rams have been weak this season, and even lost to the Redskins (who, admittedly, are not at their best for the 2009 season). The 49ers will conquer on this one.
Dennis says:
After Brett Favre scored at the last minute in the 49ers game last week, San Fransico didn't feel like they deserved the loss against Minnesota. Now, they want revenge. While the team won't be able to play the Vikings again this regular season, they will use first-time starter RB Glen Coffee and an able defense to take their frustration out on St. Louis. Meanwhile, the Rams have had little offensive success with the exception of RB Steven Jackson, who averages 4.8 yards per carry. The 49ers don't let the win slip away this week.
Ava says:
Tough loss last week, but luckily St. Louis isn't too great and the 49ers are at home. Shaun Hill did very well against Minnesota, despite the fact that Frank Gore was hurt, so Hill should be able to lead his team to victory.

Dallas Cowboys (2-1-0) at Denver Broncos (3-0-0)
Rose - Denver
Dennis - Dallas
Ava - Denver

Rose says:
With Cowboy RB Felix Jones a questionable player in this game because of his injury, the Broncos will be able to take advantage. Denver has trounced every team they have encountered, and the same tenacity is expected for this matchup.
Dennis says:
Did the 'Boys finally find their rhythm? It definitely looked like it on Monday night. DE Demarcus Ware tore up the Carolina offense and QB Tony Romo made some smart decisions against a powerful pass rush. Denver hasn't really faced any impressive defenses, so Dallas may very well end the Broncos's winning streak.
Ava says:
Though it will be a close game, Denver will get the win. The Broncos are 3 – 0, and Romo's arm is being iffy again (no surprise there). Perhaps he's got a new girlfriend; there must be some explanation! Seriously, though, Romo's got four years left with the Cowboys? Ouch.

San Diego Chargers (2-1-0) at Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2-0)
Rose - San Diego
Dennis - San Diego
Ava - San Diego

Rose says:
The Steelers just don't seem to have it this year. As evidence, coach Mike Tomlin has considered taking last year's second-round pick (wide receiver Limas Sweed) out of the game because of misplays last week. On the other hand, the Chargers are looking as strong as ever. They've put up great fights against strong teams, and should pull through this game victorious.
Dennis says:
Will San Diego be the third team to bully the defending champions? Pittsburgh lost two straight games against teams that really shouldn't have been victorious, so it seems like the Steelers have lost a step or two. Plus, Chargers's QB Philip Rivers has been carrying his offense with his play. If San Diego can add one of their two most prominent running backs (either Darren Sproles or LaDanian Tomlinson) to the equation, they should be able to take home the "W."
Ava says:
There's a reason this game airs on Sunday night: it will be worth watching in prime time. Philip Rivers has been doing well lately, and Pittsburgh had a tough loss against Cincinnati last week. San Diego for the win.

Monday, Oct. 5

Green Bay Packers (2-1-0) at Minnesota Vikings (3-0-0)
Rose - Minnesota
Dennis - Minnesota
Ava - Minnesota

Rose says:
There's drama wound up in this game. Last spring, QB Brett Favre wanted revenge with a Packers game. He wanted to "stick it" to general manager Ted Thompson, the man who traded him. Now, he claims revenge is not his main motivation; instead, he simply wants to prove he's a great player. Well, that will certainly be the case, as his 32-yard touchdown pass in last week's game against the 49ers proved his worth. The Packers are certainly formidable opponents, but Minnesota will remain undefeated after this game.
Dennis says:
Rivalry games are always so exciting to watch, and this one won't be any different. The two main focal points in this game are the starting quarterbacks on both teams. Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers is looking to show his longtime mentor, Brett Favre, that he's made some major improvements to his game. Favre, now a Viking, is going to go 100 percent in trying to beat his former team. Don't count out Vikings runningback Adrian Peterson (also the league's leading rusher) as a significant factor in the game. Vikings steal the show.
Ava says:
The NFL saved the best for last this week; this clash of historic rivals will be a close game. It's a good thing that the temperature is supposed to be in the upper thirties on Monday night in Minneapolis because, as we all know, revenge is a dish best served cold. And you can bet that La Farve is hungry.



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