Lions and Bears on Monday night, oh my
Week four was chock-full of storylines, from Andre Johnson going down, to Aaron Rodgers airing it out for 408 yards and four touchdowns (not to mention two on the ground), to the Lions and 49ers coming back to beat the Cowboys and Eagles, respectively.
As we gear up for another week of NFL action, let's check in on how our experts our doing. Jacob extended his lead last week, going 13-3. The rest of our panel is looking to bounce back in week five.
Sunday, Oct. 9
New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers
The Panthers are improving but they'll have a tough time against Drew Brees' offense.
It wouldn't be surprising if there are 700 combined passing yards in this game. Cam Newton has exhibited some serious talent so far, but the rest of the Panthers really haven't. Saints win on Sunday.
The Saints' only loss of the season is to the undefeated Packers and they have wins against the stellar Bears and Texans. The offense is fifth in the NFL in points scored with an average of over 30 points a game.
Although both teams have solid quarterbacks, the Saints are by far the more consistent offensive team.
Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings
Both of these teams are struggling, but the Vikings are struggling just a bit more. I'll go with Arizona on the road.
Ugh, both of these teams are bad. Donovan McNabb should be feeling a sense of urgency – a Week five loss could easily cost him his job as starting QB – but I'm not sure whether this will push him to a win or mess with his head.
It's time for Minnesota to win a game, and there is no better time to do so than against the Cardinals. The Vikings are bad, but the Cardinals are worse.
McNabb is having another tough season, and Beanie Wells is on fire recently.
Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans
With Andre Johnson out, Houston's passing game will suffer tremendously. McFadden runs wild on the Texan defense, and the Raiders improve to 3-2. Oakland wins this one for Al Davis.
Arian Foster of the Texans will get the better of the Raiders at home, but Darren McFadden will make his way into the highlights, too.
Houston is my runaway pick to win the AFC South and while the Raiders will be in the hunt in the AFC West, they cannot keep up with the Texan offense.
Arian Foster had a spectacular game last week, and because Andre Johnson is hurt, Foster will get a lot of carries and deliver big again.
Philadelphia Eagles at Buffalo Bills
I guess I jumped on the Bills bandwagon a little too early, calling their Bengals matchup a "piece of cake" after having just beaten New England. The "super team" is 1-3 and last in the NFC East, but I have a feeling Philly will pull this one out.
While Philadelphia has, so far, spectacularly failed to live up to its preseason expectations, the men in Buffalo have easily surpassed theirs. Despite losing last week to an inferior Bengals team, the Bills can definitely play with anyone in the league. Philly, on the other hand, looks mediocre at best right now.
The magic of Buffalo has finally ran out, but Philly has yet to play a good game leaving them at 1-3. It will be a shootout, but Fitzpatrick and the Bills will come out victorious.
This is a tough one, but my first instinct is to go with the Eagles. I feel like Michael Vick is still trying to prove himself this season, and hopefully his defense will support him.
Seattle Seahawks at New York Giants
Eli Manning isn't great, but he'll be able to pick apart a sorry Seattle D. Look for a big game out of Ahmad Bradshaw on the ground.
Seattle just doesn't have that much talent.
The Giants look good at 3-1 and the Seahawks look terrible at 1-3. Last year's playoff stunners will not see any daylight in New York.
Eli Manning will destroy the sad Seahawks defense.
Cincinnati Bengals at Jacksonville Jaguars
I honestly have no clue here. The Jaguars will have the best player on the field in Maurice Jones-Drew, so I'll take Jacksonville.
The Bengals managed to win in Buffalo last week, while the Jags lost again, falling to 1-3. Andy Dalton will follow up his strong road performance with another one in Jacksonville.
Both teams have rookie QBs at the helm but the results have been very different. Andy Dalton and the Bengals have scored twice as many points this year than Blaine Gabbert and the Jags.
Since the Bengals have the number one ranked defense right now, it's likely they'll have no trouble fighting off the Jaguars.
Kansas City Chiefs at Indianapolis Colts
Curtis Painter leads the Colts to their first win of the season. That sentence sounded really weird.
I don't think the Colts can lose every Manning-less game, and a match-up at home against the Chiefs is as good a chance as any to break their winless streak.
The Chiefs got a win against the Vikings in week four but the Colts won't stay winless any longer. Indy has been playing its games much closer than the Chiefs have, and even against the Vikings, the Chiefs looked bad. Curtis Painter and Pierre Garcon have good chemistry and that will show against the Chiefs D.
Even though the Chiefs' defense is having a rough time, they're playing poor Curtis Painter, so…Chiefs.
Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh's 2-2 and have gotta break out at some point – week five against a soft 3-1 Titan team is the perfect opportunity.
Tennessee has been on a roll, but also has the fewest rushing yards in the league. This week, Matt Hasselbeck will face off against a team that leads the NFL in preventing the pass. Pittsburgh will bounce back from their week four loss with lockdown defense.
Even though the records show otherwise, the Steelers are the favorite to win, especially at home. I'm going with the Titans, though, because the Steelers have played worse than their record shows.
Chris Johnson will lead his team to victory once again.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Francisco 49ers
LaGarette Blount rushed for 127 yards and a score in a win over the Colts on Monday night. Expect more of the same against the Niners in week five.
Frank Gore will lead the ‘Niners to their fourth win in what will be a great NFC matchup.
Josh Freeman is leading a good young team that will win in this deceptively good game. Both teams are 3-1, in first place in their division, with similar point differentials. The X factor is at QB for the Bucs. Tampa won't lose.
Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers coach, has helped San Francisco vastly improve since last year.
New York Jets at New England Patriots
Brady only completed 16 passes last week yet still threw for 226 yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile, the Jets fell to Baltimore 34-17 on Sunday night. Pats move to 4-1 on the year.
The Jets will really need to step up their offense if they want to compete with the Patriots, although this shouldn't be too difficult given that the Pats aren't great on the defensive end. This game, though, will lie in the arm of Tom Brady, and that's a good thing for Pats fans.
Game of the week and I really wish I could say that the Jets will win. The fact is that they have no chance. The Patriots are a far better team and the Jets' overrated D will be trounced.
Mark Sanchez (who I consider one of the worst quarterbacks in the league) doesn't stand a chance against the Patriots' defense. New England has this one in the bag.
San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos
The Broncos took a beating from Green Bay in week four, losing 49-23 at Lambeau Field. The Chargers are playing well and Phillip Rivers is airing it out on a weekly basis. San Diego wins.
The Chargers haven't won on the road yet, but Denver's not a bad place to start.
The Chargers feature a deadly offensive attack, balancing Phillip Rivers' excellence at quarterback with a strong running duo of Ryan Matthews and Mike Tolbert.
I don't have much to say about this game, except that the Chargers will out play the Broncos in this matchup.
Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta's defense gave up 28 points to the Seahawks last week. Imagine what the Falcons will give up to Green Bay.
This year's Falcons don't appear to be as talented as last year's, while the Packers have been every bit as good as the Super Bowl champions they were in 2010-11. Aaron Rodgers has been passing with extreme precision, and if he doesn't have any receivers open, he can always just run for two touchdowns like he did in week four.
Another great game this week, but the undefeated Packers simply will not be stopped. Aaron Rodgers had the best game of his career in week four, tallying six touchdowns.
Aaron Rodgers…so yeah, another win for the Packers.
Monday, Oct. 10
Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions
For the second straight week, the Lions came back from down 20 to stay undefeated. Calvin Johnson is a god, and Detroit will stay perfect.
After an incredible comeback in Dallas, it appears that nothing can stop the Lions.
They are still 4-0 in Detroit after an incredible comeback against the Cowboys. The Bears are better than the Cowboys, but they will have to settle as the third best team in the division this year.
Matthew Stafford is having a great season and will out-play the Bears lagging defense.
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