Week 4 Predictions for the 2014 NFL Season
Pretty close games and finishes this past week. I think in a few weeks, we will start seeing some teams rounding into form and start playing well week to week (Patriots and Colts for example); while other teams, like the Bengals and Cardinals, are in their mid-season form already.
Bye Week: Cardinals, Bengals, Broncos, Browns, Rams, Seahawks
Giants @ Redskins: Will the Giants get 3 turnovers off of Washington? If anything, maybe one turnover that New York will recover will be based off of a fumble. There is no way they get those turnovers off of interceptions. Kirk Cousins has showed us that he is capable of playing at a high level. Washington did well stopping the run last week and they will take that element away again from New York. There will be a hefty amount of passes that will be thrown. The Giants are making a positive strive, but I think their defense won't do enough in this game.
Packers @ Bears: This should be an easier game for the Packers' offense as compared to last week when they were only held to a touchdown. No disrespect to Chicago's defense of course, but Aaron Rodgers will not make the same mishaps as the Jets did early in their Monday night game. Expect Rodgers to be highly motivated and for their run game, which has been mediocre at best, to have a good showing.
Bills @ Texans: The Texans defense can't do it all, as we saw last week that they managed one sack. The 3 interceptions by Fitzpatrick gave the Giants scoring opportunities because Houston was still on their side of the field when the interceptions were thrown. It will be easier for Buffalo to win because their defense is more consistent (concerning points allowed) and EJ Manuel is more trusting.
Titans @ Colts: The Colts' defense should be gaining some momentum coming off a three turnover game last week. It was against the Jaguars, but this might give a concerning defense in Indianapolis belief looking forward. A tough game last week for Tennessee, it won't be easier for this game either. Andrew Luck is starting to get into a rhythm and it will difficult for the Titans to break it.
Panthers @ Ravens: Baltimore will have to make due for a while without Dennis Pitta who re-injured the same hip that sat him for nearly the entire season last year. For Carolina, at least they won't be going up against the Steelers' running backs in this game. So 175 rushing yards allowed for Carolina won't happen. However, the Panthers will be up against another physical defense in Baltimore that had given them issues last week. Not to mention you have Steve Smith playing against his former team.
Lions @ Jets: A similar situation in this game as what I mentioned early in the Packers/Bears match-up. However, both teams will face better/similar defenses as compared to the prior week. Both the Lions and Jets round up the top 2 in terms of yards allowed per game and total rushing yards allowed. 100 yards rushing combined for both teams is a little generous. Looking at the passing attack, the Jets will have a tough time with Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate (much like last week). Also Geno Smith will continue to struggle in bad situations that Detroit's defense will put him in.
Buccaneers @ Steelers: Coming off a big win against Carolina Sunday night, Pittsburgh will be facing a Tampa Bay team that is coming off a forgettable loss against Atlanta last Thursday. The Buccaneers allow the second most points in the league while also scoring the fourth fewest. Their defense overall is bad. With Mike Glennon starting instead of McCown, hopefully he will spark the offense.
Dolphins @ Raiders: Almost forgot that this game is in London. That should take away the home field advantage for Oakland but with Dolphins Head Coach Joe Philbin non-committal on who will be starting for this game, and then Ryan Tannehill saying that he will start, I think that will hurt Miami. Derek Carr is also playing pretty good for the Raiders.
Jaguars @ Chargers: The Jaguars lack of a run game will once again be an issue, as rookie quarterback Blake Bortles will make his first NFL start against a Chargers defense that has sacked the quarterback seven times in three games. Meanwhile, San Diego is playing at their best offensively and have a great match-up against a bad Jaguars defense.
Eagles @ 49ers: Much like Indianapolis and New Orleans last week, San Francisco has their backs against the wall. They had a terrible showing in their home opener 2 weeks ago and they can't let lay an egg again at home. The 'Niners had 2 consecutive games not allowing 100 yards rushing and a depleted Eagles offensive line will give them an advantage in defense. This will be the game San Francisco turns it around.
Falcons @ Vikings: Another rookie quarterback will make his first NFL start in Vikings' Teddy Bridgewater. He showed some promise against a blitz-happy New Orleans defense and gave Minnesota's offense some life after subbing in for Matt Cassel. Atlanta will be away in this game and will be without that Georgia Dome crowd. Now the last time they were away, the Falcons gave up big plays in a 14-point loss to the Bengals. In truth, the Vikings aren't the Buccaneers team that got blown out in Atlanta last Thursday. Bridgewater will continue to impress in this game and the defense will come out angry after what happened in New Orleans.
Saints @ Cowboys: This will be a test for New Orleans to see if they can stop the Cowboys' ground game. If New Orleans can stop Dallas' runs short on some drives, they have a chance. If that doesn't work, the Saints can always rely on Murray to fumble again. He has been doing that lately. Whoever wins the turnover battle will win the game. If no turnovers are committed, then we'll see which team commits the fewest mistakes. New Orleans will make up with a win here after losing the first 2 games in the season.
Patriots @ Chiefs: This will be a close game because New England hasn't been themselves lately. Oakland would've won last week if it wasn't for the tipped pass that just so happened to land on Vince Wilfork's arms. Strange things have happened to the Patriots before in primetime games (Denver and Carolina last year). With Knile Davis and a possible return of Jamaal Charles, the Patriots will have their hands full. This game will go in New England's favor because they will need to end off on a high note because they will play the Bengals next week.