Thursday, September 30, 2010

Homecoming: NFL Week 4 Predictions

Even if this wasn't a Philly Sports blog, it would be hard not to lead off any column about football this week without talking about the return of Donovan McNabb to Philadelphia. The fact that Michael Vick is the starting quarterback and not Kevin Kolb, McNabb's supposed heir, makes the game even more intriguing. Expect McNabb to get plenty of cheers early on that will eventually give way to some boos after he makes a few nice plays. As an Eagles fan, it will be nice to be on the opposite end of a few throws in the dirt for once.

Here are my picks for Week 4. Remember, picks this year are made against the spread and I'll be using the spread values that ESPN uses in their Pigskin Pick'em game. Maybe this will finally be the week I get over .500?

Record Last Week: 8-8, .500
Overall Record: 23-25, .479

Byes:
Bucs, Chiefs, Cowboys, Vikings

Sunday Day Games:

Niners (0-3) @ Falcons (2-1, -6.5)
Things are not going well in San Francisco and they are only going to be worse after this game. The Falcons look like a legitimate contender in the NFC. My pick: Falcons

Jets (2-1) @ Bills (0-3, +5.5)
While this could be a letdown game for the Jets after two weeks of playing the big boys of the AFC East, the Jets defense will probably outscore the Bills offense by itself. This one might be closer than expected but the Jets should win by a touchdown. My pick: Jets

Bengals (2-1) @ Browns (0-3, +3.5)
For years, the Bengals had a great quarterback in Carson Palmer and not much else. Now, they have a great defense, some decent weapons on offense and it's Palmer that isn't carrying the weight. The Browns haven't been terrible so they are due for a win. My pick: Browns

Lions (0-3) @ Packers (2-1, -14.5)
As tempting as it is to go with the Packers to destroy the Lions, 14.5 points is an awfully big spread. Look for the Pack to get out to a big lead and for the Lions to pull out a late cover like they did against the Eagles. My pick: Lions

Broncos (1-2) @ Titans (2-1, -6.5)
I don't have a great feel for either of these teams yet. The Broncos passing game looks legit but the running game looks like a mess. As for the Titans, they have the look of a playoff team but they haven't beaten a good team yet. I like Tennessee to win but by only a field goal. My pick: Broncos

Seahawks (2-1) @ Rams (1-2, +0.5)
It's simple, really. If Steven Jackson plays, the Rams win. If not, they've got nothing to fall back on offensively and they lose. At this point in the week, it doesn't sound like Jackson is going to play. My pick: Seahawks

Panthers (0-3) @ Saints (2-1, -13.5)
This has all the makings of a trap game for the Saints. Coming off three tough, close games, the Saints appear to have a gimme against the terrible Panthers. Fortunately for the Saints, things look so hopeless in Carolina that I don't think they can make this one a game. Besides, the Saints offense is due for a breakout. My pick: Saints

Ravens (2-1) @ Steelers (3-0, -1.5)
The Steelers have to lose one of these games without Ben Roethlisberger, right? If the Joe Flacco from Week 3 shows up and Ray Rice plays, the Ravens win this one outright. It's ridiculous that the Steelers have basically been without a QB and they are going to be at least 3-1 against some pretty good competition. My pick: Ravens

Colts (2-1) @ Jaguars (1-2, +8.5)
After watching Jacksonville get hammered by the Eagles last week, you could double this line and I'd still be picking the Colts. It's time for David Garrard to be put out to pasture. My pick: Colts

Texans (2-1) @ Raiders (1-2, +3.5)
This game will be fairly close but I expect the Texans to have a nice bounce back week. If they don't, then everything Houston did in the first two weeks will be a waste and they will once again be all flash and no substance. My pick: Texans

Cardinals (2-1) @ Chargers (1-2, -8.5)
The Cardinals have been fortunate to have an easy early schedule that has helped them post a winning record. With games against San Diego and New Orleans the next two weeks, that winning record will soon be a distant memory. My pick: Chargers

Redskins (1-2) @ Eagles (2-1, -6.5)
If the Redskins can't even beat the Rams, how are they going to take down the Eagles? While McNabb will give the team a lift, look for the Mike Vick show to continue for at least another week. My pick: Eagles

Sunday Night:

Bears (3-0) @ Giants (1-2, -3.5)
These have been the two most surprising teams for opposite reasons. Seriously, Eli, what's with the lefty throw? While they aren't always winning pretty, the Bears are getting the job done, which is why I'm surprised the Giants are favored by anything more than 1. My pick: Bears

Monday Night:


Patriots (2-1) @ Dolphins (2-1, +0.5)
With a spread of 0.5, this game is essentially a pick 'em. After watching the Dolphins offense fail in the closing moments on Sunday Night, I don't think Miami will be able to keep up with the Patriots on the scoreboard. Sure, they'll put up points because the Pats defense is atrocious, but it won't be enough. My pick: Patriots

Those are my picks for Week 4 of the NFL Season. Check back every Thursday during the season for the latest predictions. Feel free to discuss, argue or make your own picks in the comment section!

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