Thursday, September 30, 2010

NFL 2010: Week 4

The 4th week of the NFL 2010 season will be a test if some emerging trends are true while it also features some powerful divisional rivals going head-to-head. Week four is also the first week of the bye. For most, the 4th week would seem too soon for the bye, but for Dallas and Minnesota, two teams that were supposed to be NFC leaders who are lucky to be 1-3 so far, they must use their week off as time to regroup and prove that the first three weeks were a false stop. For Kansas City, a team that no one thought was going anywhere and stands at 3-0, it must be frustrating to have the fun come to an end. Surely, they don’t want a week off to cost them their momentum. Tampa Bay is the 4th team off this weekend. Surely, they would have liked to have been able to wait.

The first big rivalry game has the Baltimore Ravens hoping the Appalachian Mountains to Pittsburgh. No team has found the Steelers missing Ben Roethlisberger for the first four games an advantage since the Steelers are 3-0. The Ravens are one game down unable to beat Cincinnati a long toilet’s flush down the Ohio River from Pittsburgh. Joe Flacco and the Baltimore offense only took control in game 3 against Cleveland though one could argue the strength of the Jets’ defense was the story in week one. The Ravens can’t afford to be still letting the new pieces be settling in this week. Their new found strength with their overhauled receiving corps must function effectively to beat Pittsburgh. Meanwhile, on defense, without Ed Reed, the Ravens must show the kind of defense they’ve played almost every quarter so far. The Pittsburgh home environment is one of the most hostile environments in sports. The Ravens should pull this one out.

The other rivalry games are Washington visiting Pittsburgh and New England travelling to Miami.

There are only three undefeated teams. No one is expecting an undefeated big story around Thanksgiving. Pittsburgh and Kansas City are 3-0 in the AFC. Chicago is the last team standing in the NFC.

Here are our picks for week four.

Baltimore @ Pittsburgh -1.5
The Ravens should win by about a field goal. This is Pittsburgh’s toughest test without Big Bad Boorish Ben.

San Francisco @ Atlanta -7
San Francisco stood as an overwhelming pick to win the NFC west this year but have been nothing short of awful. Flying coast to coast to play the Falcons is no script for recovery. Atlanta should handle the 49ers and then some.

New York Jets -5.5 @ Buffalo
The sun is setting on Ralph Wilson’s tenure with the NFL. In his 90’s, his dream was to assemble a team capable of one last run, but the Bills are at best a cut above the worst teams in the league. After Ralph Wilson’s passing, one has to wonder what the future of football will be in Buffalo with a crappy old stadium and Toronto not far away, a world class city with the mighty Rodgers Center (Skydome).
Carolina @ New Orleans -13.5
At least when Carolina loses this year, they can’t blame it on Jake Delholme. However, the Panthers are just plain awful. The Saints should be playing Dixieland on Sunday.

Denver @ Tennessee -7
Two teams very hard to predict meet Sunday in Nashville, but the Titans should be worth a touchdown over the Broncos.

Seattle -1 @ St. Louis
It would seem the point spread should be broader. Pete Carroll will win coaching his 4th game with grownups.

Cincinnati -3 @ Cleveland
Cincinnati should win convincingly unless the Cinco/TO sideshow gets more involved with their dog and pony show than playing football.

Detroit @ Green Bay =14.5
Detroit is so awful it’s hard to see how much better they are than in their winless season. Still the cheese heads will be loving life – not much competition here.

Indianapolis -7 @ Jacksonville
No contest, the Colts will win convincingly.

Houston -3 @ Oakland
Oakland isn’t the walkover they were a year ago, but Houston is strong and should win.

Washington @ Philadelphia -8
Before anyone awards this game to Philadelphia and crowns the dog-killer as the stud QB, remember those victories were against Detroit and Jacksonville. Washington has a stronger defense. Still, until Washington masters the chaos and Shanahan’s leadership turns into performance on the field, winning won’t come easy. It’s hard not to pick the Eagles, but there’s no telling how fired up McNabb will be. Washington beats the 8 point spread, but the Eagles should squeak out the win.

Arizona @ San Diego -8
San Diego is probably just getting its engines warmed up. A slow starting team should be ready to flatten the much depleted desert birds.

Chicago @ New York Giants -4
Chicago beat Green Bay, a better team than the Giants, and is 3-0 so far. What do the Giants have besides their fancy new home field advantage? Give it to Dah Bears.

New England -1 @ Miami
This is a tough one to call. New England is not the dominant team of a few years ago. The Dolphins enjoy some new tricks particularly Brandon Marshall adds on offense. We’ll go with the experts and give New England a slight edge.


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