NFL Week Four predictions

Oct. 1, 2005, midnight | By Abe Schwadron, Josh Zipin, Pratik Bhandari | 16 years, 3 months ago

Redskins back on tap, three hours of my life on Sunday gone

So, amazingly, we all (even Phil) did better this week. I know, I know, I'm in last place. But I needed to give the young 'uns a bit of confidence before I demolish them, right? Besides, if I really needed to, I could change all of their picks at the last minute. But I wouldn't do that or so I say...

Pratik 23-23-0
Abe 26-20-0
Phil 23-23-0
Josh 25-21-0

Sunday, October 2, 2005
Buffalo (1-2) at New Orleans (1-2) " 1:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Buffalo New Orleans Buffalo Buffalo

Pratik says: Both of these teams stand at 1-2. Both have inconsistent quarterbacks and strong running games. The Bills, however, have a shut down defense that will lead them to victory over the troubled New Orleans Saints.

Abe says: With the loss of leader and linebacker Takeo Spikes on defense (think Ray Lewis to the Ravens) and an inexperienced quarterback, I like the Saints at their new home in San Antonio.

Phil says: The Saints finally have a home game! Sort of. It's still a different town with different people but it will still be a stadium full of fans rooting for the Saints. Yet with the way New Orleans is playing there won't be much to cheer about. Coming off their second straight loss, in which they fell to the lowly Vikings, the Saints don't look like they could beat anyone. Look for Willis McGahee and the Bills to play ball control offense and let their defense win the game.

Josh says: New Orleans plays a spirited game in their first "home" game of the season but loses to a better Buffalo team. Willis McGahee rushes for over one hundred yards and helps the Bills improve to 9-0.

Denver (2-1) at Jacksonville (2-1) " 1:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Jacksonville Jacksonville Denver Denver

Pratik says: Denver is a very streaky team. If they get on a roll, then it's hard to find any team that can beat them. But when they're not on a roll, even San Francisco"well, maybe not San Francisco"but just about any team can beat them. Also, Jacksonville is turning into a pretty good offensive team to complement their above average defense, what with Byron Leftwich and Jimmy Smith connecting on a couple of big plays a game and Fred Taylor, surprisingly, not injured! If things continue to gel well for them this year, they could sneak into the playoffs as a wild card team behind the Colts.

Abe says: Denver's defense is solid, but the Broncos play better at home, and Jacksonville's defense will stuff the running game. Reggie Williams has finally emerged as a big-time WR in Jacksonville, and QB Byron Leftwich has a cannon for an arm.

Phil says: After three weeks both teams are two and one and have played unpredictably. As pathetic as Denver looked in their week one loss to Miami, they have bounced back and beat two talented division rivals, culminating in their 30-10 destruction over 2-1 Kansas on Monday night. They have controlled the ground as always, gaining over 120 yards rushing in each victory. Though the Jaguars have played well losing their only game to the high powered Colts in week two, their defensive line won't be able to contain the running tandem of Mike Anderson and Tatum Bell which will open the field up for Jake Plummer's famous bootlegs and roll outs. Denver wins with a great offensive performance.

Josh says: Last week both of these teams won in impressive fashion. The Jaguars won an overtime thriller over the struggling Jets and Denver dominated a Kansas City team known for its high-powered offense. Denver's zone blocking scheme has proven to be the best in the NFL and Mike Anderson proves why this Sunday when he runs over the Jaguars defense. Expect a close contest however, as Byron Leftwich has arrived as an NFL quarterback.

Detroit (1-2) at Tampa Bay (3-0) " 1:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Tampa Bay Tampa Bay Tampa Bay Tampa Bay

Pratik says: Detroit has looked like trash the last two weeks " I mean they got punished by the Bears! Also, Tampa Bay has just been running over everybody, literally. Cadillac Williams is probably going to need to retire after three years if he keeps getting the ball at this rate. They'll have to remember to send him off to Jiffy Lube every 3000 miles.

Abe says: Detroit is perhaps the most disappointing team in the NFL, while Tampa Bay could be the most surprising. The Bucs ride Cadillac " the best running back in the NFL through three weeks " to another big win.

Phil says: Joey Harrington had to spend the bye week reminiscing his five-interception performance resulting in a 32-point loss to the Chicago Bears. On the opposite side of the spectrum, the Bucs have been revitalized with the emergence of rookie running back Cadillac Williams. Last week he broke Alan Ameche's NFL record for most yards in the first three career NFL games by rushing for 158 on a sprained left foot. The Lions gave up 139 yards to Thomas Jones, so Cadillac and the Bucs will literally run Detroit out of town.

Josh says: How can I not pick Tampa Bay? Still riding their brand new Cadillac, Tampa Bay has been dominating on the ground. Cadillac Williams blazes past the skimpy Detroit defense to another 100-yard rushing performance and a Tampa Bay win. The Bucs' handed the ball to Williams 37 times last week and 35 the week before, so if a team can stop Williams, the Bucs' offense may sputter. Don't look for that this week.

Houston (0-2) at Cincinnati (3-0) " 1:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Cincinnati Cincinnati Cincinnati Cincinnati

Pratik says: Remember how Peyton Manning and the Colts looked pretty much unstoppable on offense last year? Remember how you just knew that they were going to score a touchdown 75% of the time they got the ball? Well, it's happening again, only this time instead of the Colts it's the Bengals. That's right, I said the Bengals. It's been forever since they've been good, but I guess the time has finally come. Cincinnati fans rejoice!

Abe says: Carson Palmer is the future of the NFL at quarterback. He's got a gun, and though he can't move like Michael Vick, he's not a statue like Byron Leftwich. Plus, he's got Chad Johnson and Rudi Johnson supporting him. The Texans slide to 0-3.

Phil says: Cincy! My bandwagon team keeps rolling. Houston can't do any thing offensively; David Carr has been sacked 13 times and the defense has allowed 704 total offensive yards in two games. They have been out scored 49-14. I don't even need to go into how good the Bengals are.

Josh says: Cincinnati is absolutely hot. Carson Palmer and Chad Johnson are the best quarterback-receiver tandem in the NFL right now. Houston on the other hand is struggling to get any offense. Domanick Davis, Andre Johnson and David Carr have all struggled so far this year and don't look for Houston to get back on track this week against the Bengals.

Indianapolis (3-0) at Tennessee (1-2) " 1:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Indianapolis Indianapolis Indianapolis Indianapolis

Pratik says: Does anyone think this is going to be a real tough contest? If so, please get in touch with me, I have some"uh"monetary issues I could get taken care of by placing a couple of bets here and there with you.

Abe says: QB Peyton Manning and the Colts haven't put up the astronomical numbers they did last season, but they've been lead to a 3-0 record by their defense. I think I might dress up as Dwight Freeney this year for Halloween- that guy is scary.

Phil says: Peyton "MVP" Manning only has two touchdown passes in three weeks, a low he never reached at any point last season. Yet the defense led by Dwight Freeny and the running of Edgerrin James is making up for anything Manning is lacking. Since Tennessee could not stop the Ram's offense they are doomed against Indianapolis.

Josh says: Tennessee has surprised a lot of people so far, just by winning a couple of games but Indianapolis is just too good to have a team like Tennessee beat them. Tennessee is tough, but Indianapolis' defense is vastly improved and still features Dwight "The Beast" Freeney. Look for Peyton Manning to have his first four or five touchdown performance.

San Diego (1-2) at New England (2-1) " 1:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
San Diego New England San Diego New England

Pratik says: Yes, I saw the Pittsburgh game last week. And yes I saw how Brady was perfect in the fourth quarter and Vinatieri proved why he's worth two million dollars, but did you also notice that the Pats lost Harrison. He, more than anyone else, was the key player in this defense. Find someone else with his coverage skills, run-stopping ability, leadership and knowledge of the defensive system. There is absolutely no one that can replace him. And Schottenheimer finally learned what every fantasy football geek could have told him three years ago. Ball + LT * n (where n> 25 ) = winning percentage >75%. Gosh"sometimes when I see these guys coaching, I just want to rip my hair out. I'm sure it's a lot harder than it looks and that the pressure must be unbelievable, but at some point things turn into common sense calls don't they? Anyway, put me down for LT over New England and pray.

Abe says: LT is the best offensive weapon in the NFL. Unfortunately, he can't play defense. The Patriots are almost unstoppable at home, so I'll take the Pats by a touchdown.

Phil says: This one is tough. The Chargers are only 1-2 but both losses were only by field goals in heartbreak fashion. The Pats pulled out the W against Pittsburgh last week, a team I hold in high esteem, but I think the edge goes to anyone who has LaDanian Tomlinson. He has been unbelievable scoring seven times including one passing TD last week. What can't he do? Tom Brady has been inconsistent and inaccurate in his first few weeks. If the Chargers defense can stop Corey Dillon from running well, this one should go to the Bolts.

Josh says: New England and Tom Brady displayed their poise last week, beating the Pittsburgh Steelers in a very close game. Kicker Adam Vinatieri did what he does best and that is kick game-winning field goals. Look for New England to have an easier time against San Diego. LT continues his already stellar season and keeps his consecutive games with a rushing touchdown streak going.

Seattle (2-1) at Washington (2-0) " 1:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Washington Seattle Washington Washington

Pratik says: All right, you have a great runner in Shaun Alexander playing a great run defense. And I don't care if it's a clich" but, defense wins championships. Go 'Skins.

Abe says: I'm a Redskins fan, but I'm not stupid. Mark Brunell is not the answer at QB, and if he goes down or throws three picks, who would the 'Skins throw into the fire? Washington's defense will have to find a way to stop RB Shaun Alexander, who rumbled for four touchdowns in week 3. Look for a low-scoring affair with the 'Hawks on top.

Phil says: Coming off one of the franchises most significant victories in years the Redskins will, odd as it seems, be fighting to stay undefeated. Those two bombs from Mark Brunell to Santana Moss may have much longer lasting effects than just beating Dallas. The Seahawks will have to keep safeties back for fear of suffering the Cowboys fate, opening up running lanes for Clinton Portis. This combined with the genius of defensive coordinator Greg Williams will bring the Skins to 3-0.

Josh says: I would love to analyze this game like all the others, but I cannot root against the Redskins. The 'Skins will win at home.

St. Louis (2-1) at New York Giants (2-1) " 1:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
New York New York New York St. Louis

Pratik says: St. Louis away from home is like trying to start your favorite video game without plugging in the PlayStation first. They need the extra home-field turf advantage to totally dominate. Without it, they are a very beatable team.

Abe says: Both these teams can put up big points, so expect a close shootout. However, the Giants can back it up with a solid defense. Steven Jackson has rushed for an average of less than 70 yards per game this season, not enough to make me like the Rams in this one.

Phil says: St. Louis's offense finally showed up on offense last week in their victory over the Titans but this week they face a much more balanced New York team. Tiki Barber and Eli Manning can no longer be taken lightly and will lead the Giants to the W.

Josh says: The Giants stumbled last week against the Chargers but look for a closer game this week against the Rams. However, look for the Rams to attack the Giants weak secondary and beat Eli Manning and company. Torry Holt is one of the elite wide receivers in the NFL and he shows why this week against a defense that let Ladainian Tomlinson throw a touchdown pass against them.

New York Jets (1-2) at Baltimore (0-2) " 4:05 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Baltimore Baltimore Baltimore Baltimore

Pratik says: Ugh"winning by attrition has never really made me happy, but I guess that Baltimore is the least screwed up team of the two"I mean, they're only playing with their second-string quarterback, not the third, right?

Abe says: The Jets lost starting QB Chad Pennington to injury last week. Then they lost backup QB Jay Fiedler to injury. That means New York will start third-stringer Brooks Bollinger on Sunday. And who does he get to face? The Ravens. Nuff said.

Phil says: It's the NFL. You can't win without a quarterback, and Brooks Bollinger doesn't qualify as one. He'll throw more touchdowns to the Ravens than the Jets, making the difference in the game.

Josh says: The Jets season is over already. They were struggling when they had their first string quarterback in and two injuries later they are looking to third-stringer Brooks Bollinger to carry them. Kyle Boller is not a proven starter by any standards but he is better than Brooks Bollinger. Baltimore wins this game in a defensive-oriented contest.

Dallas (2-1) at Oakland (0-3) " 4:15 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Oakland Oakland Dallas Oakland

Pratik says: Three reasons: 1) I hate Dallas, 2) Dallas almost lost to San Francisco last week. That's right, San Francisco and 3) Santana Moss destroyed the Cowboys secondary in week two; what do you think Randy Moss and Jerry Porter are gonna do?

Abe says: San Francisco nearly upset the Cowboys last week, while Oakland lost a tight battle with the Eagles in the waning seconds of the game. Kerry Collins and his big receivers will air it out and run up the score against Dallas.

Phil says: Dallas has recovered from their fall to the Skins in week two by pulling one out against San Francisco. Oakland hasn't proven they can do anything right on defense, so the Boys should have little trouble there. The Cowboys ability to guard the deep ball has been exposed by the Redskins Santana Moss and the 49ers Brandon Lloyd in consecutive weeks. The Raiders only chance will be Randy Moss, but I don't think it will be enough. Dallas wins again (sigh).

Josh says: Drew Bledsoe has found a target in Terry Glenn but the Cowboys and Julius Jones cannot score enough points to beat the Raiders at the Black Hole. Randy Moss and Kerry Collins are still getting used to each other and look for them to connect this week at home.

Minnesota (1-2) at Atlanta (2-1) " 4:15 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Atlanta Atlanta Atlanta Minnesota

Pratik says: Chalk up last week's offensive explosion by the Vikings to the New Orleans Saints. Compare New Orleans defense with Atlanta's: which would you rather have? Besides, the Falcons haven't done anything to get knocked off of my playoff list, their only loss has been to a surprisingly good Seattle team.

Abe says: This game might be the most entertaining game of the weekend, especially with Daunte Culpepper and the Vikings back in winning form. Atlanta's defense bullied the Bills last week, and with no running game to speak of, Minnesota will see the same fate. Gimme the Falcons by a deuce.

Phil says: Minnesota finally won but won't be making it two straight this week. They gave up over a century in rushing yards every week and against the "DVD"(Warrick Dunn, Michael Vick and T.J. Duckett ) this will be their down fall.

Josh says: The best game of the week by far. Minnesota comes into this game off of a performance that people expected from them from the beginning of the season. Two fluke performances by Daunte Culpepper were corrected by last week's excellent effort. I have to go with Minnesota because they looked so well rounded in their last game. I hope they have another game like last week to make me look smart.

Philadelphia (2-1) at Kansas City (2-1) - 4:15 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Kansas City Philadelphia Philadelphia Philadelphia

Pratik says: The news coming out of the city of Brotherly Love about Donovan McNabb must be setting Eagles fans on edge. Latest word is that he's suffering from a "sports hernia" and that as long as he can withstand the pain, he can play. Another case of the Madden Curse perhaps? Anyways, McNabb hasn't looked the same in the last couple of games. Sure he can still whip up on the 49ers and he can scrape by Oakland, but he's not the same dynamic out of the pocket player he was a year ago and at this point, if I were a defensive coordinator, I'd roll my secondary towards T.O., double team Westbrook, man up on Smith, blitz McNabb for all I'm worth and make him prove to me that he's capable of what he could do a year ago. On that note, KC looks to rebound from a tough loss to Denver at Denver and I don't think you can keep Larry Johnson and Priest Holmes down for two games in a row.

Abe says: The Chiefs lost to Denver last Monday Night, while the Eagles snuck by the Raiders in Philly. This game boils down to Philly's offensive efficiency and marquee defense versus K.C.'s lackluster D and inconsistent play-calling on offense.

Phil says: Kansas City was absolutely destroyed by the Broncos on Monday night. Their defense looked like its old self last week, giving up big play after big play. This is not the way to get ready for one of the best big play teams in the league like the Eagles. Donovan McNabb should have a field day completing the NFC East domination in week four.

Josh says: Kansas City showed on national television last week that they are a little rough around the edges, losing to the Denver Broncos 30-10. Philadelphia's Brian Westbrook had a career game last week, catching six balls for 140 yards. Donovan McNabb seems to have put his feud with Terrell Owens behind him, last week hooking up with him for a touchdown last week and two the week before. Look for Philadelphia to continue their winning ways against a lost Chiefs team.

San Francisco (1-2) at Arizona (0-3)in Mexico City - 8:30 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
San Francisco San Francisco San Francisco San Francisco

Pratik says: Sure, the 49ers aren't going anywhere fast, but at least they aren't going backwards like the Cardinals. What started out as a year of optimism in the desert has wilted faster than a poor petunia left to survive under the scorching Arizona sun. Expect San Francisco to win with about a hundred thousand Mexican citizens cheering them on (that is the capacity of the stadium they're playing in).

Abe says: Arizona is the home team in this one, but the game is being played in Mexico City. Arizona QB Kurt Warner could be out of the starting spot, and San Fran has been impressive on offense against the Cowboys and St. Louis. The Cards just can't catch a break, so I like the 49ers.

Phil says: Wow. Here are two teams many picked to be surprise playoff qualifiers. No dice. San Francisco came out strong but hasn't won since the first week. Neither team deserves the W but the 49ers at least have a defense worth something bringing them a win in week four.

Josh says: An ugly game to be played outside the United States. San Francisco keeps Arizona winless in a game featuring two terrible starting quarterbacks. On the season Cardinals' quarterback Josh McCown is 15 for 33 for 149 yards, no touchdowns and a dismal 33.6 quarterback rating while San Francisco's Tim Rattay has a 75 quarterback rating. Rattay is the better of the two and he has found a favorite receiver in Brandon Lloyd. Look for the pair to connect a couple more times this weekend and beat the Cardinals.

Monday, October 3, 2005

Green Bay (0-3) at Carolina (1-2) " 9:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Carolina Carolina Carolina Carolina

Pratik says: Green Bay has no defense (and no hope). Period.

Abe says: Green Bay would be better off staying home and munching on some cheese than showing up on Sunday. Their defense hasn't shown up at all this year, so the result will be the same. Blowout, Panthers-style. Jake Delhomme and Steve Smith hook up for another huge week in Carolina's win.

Phil says: Green Bay has looked awful even for a team starting 0-3. Carolina on the other hand has handled some tough teams to a record of 2-1. Unfortunately there will be no serious competition in this week's nationally televised game. Monday night this week should be announced, " Are you ready for a slaughter?"

Josh says: I wish I could pick Brett Favre to win on Monday Night Football but I just can't. Carolina is a much better team than Green Bay with a lot fewer holes " especially on defense. Steve Smith was an absolute madman last week catching 11 passes for 170 yards and three touchdowns and look for more of the same this week against one of the worst defenses in the league.

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Abe Schwadron. Abe is a huge basketball, baseball, and football fan that likes to read up on sports in SLAM, Sports Illustrated, and ESPN magazines. Hobbies include streetball, poker and film-making. A sneaker addict, Abe likes to keep his kicks fresh. Abe likes reggae and hip-hop music, … More »

Josh Zipin. Josh Zipin has trouble paying attention for more than three seconds at a time... More »

Pratik Bhandari. Pratik Bhandari is (now) a 5'6" SENIOR who (still) weighs about 125 pounds. He came from India, which could explain his diminutive stature and lived there for three years before moving to Albany, the capital of New York believe it or not, and finally to … More »

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