Last week in Week 3 I predicted 12 correct victors in the NFL picking home wins for the Dolphins (v Falcons), Panthers (v Giants) and Titans (v Chargers) as well as picking the Jets and Ravens in close encounters. Much like everyone else I incorrectly selected the Packers and 49ers over the Bengals and Colts respectively. Regretfully I expected the Eagles to bounce back at home versus Andy Reid and his chefs, sorry Chiefs.
The Eagles are really cocking up by playing too quickly and not giving their underappreciated defence not enough time to recuperate. They allowed a competent QB in Alex Smith enough time to keep the ball and churn time off the clock culminating in a nine-minute TD drive in the fourth quarter. The Chiefs had the ball for nearly 40 minutes and did not do many mistakes and got some big time stops and sacks from their defensive line. The Chiefs may be good enough for a play-off spot if this continues, although they still have to play in their division.
In Week 4, two teams have byes the Packers (1-2) and the Panthers (1-2). The Packers need to get some people fit on offense and the Panthers will feel good following their shut out of the belittled Giants.
49ers at Rams
The Rams beat and drew with the 49ers last year, Jeff Fisher seemingly figuring out the read option system and stopping Kaepernick. This is not a bad time to play the Niners who have lost two games consecutively and looked very sub-par in both defeats. Defences have seemingly figured out Kaepernick and they have few weapons on offense. The Rams have a still under-rated defence and Sam Bradford can expose some secondary worries by stretching the field with Chris Givens.
Prediction: Rams by 3
Ravens at Bills
EJ Manuel looked like the rookie he is at the Jets last week. The Ravens won without Ray Rice but have a capable replacement in Bernard Pierce available, expect the Ravens to win this one easily but then we said that about the 49ers versus the Colts last week.
Prediction: Ravens by 7
Bengals at Browns
Brian Hoyer is not the second coming, but it is a start for Cleveland who traded Trent Richardson to the Colts last week. Hoyer won his second professional start and hooked up well with Josh Gordon (another trade piece), although please note this was against the woeful Minnesota Vikings who travel to Wembley this week. The Bengals resolve after taking a 14 point lead but then going 16 point behind to the Packers was most impressive, and that defence is making plays time and time again. If they can make Aaron Rodgers look more journeyman, what will they do to Hoyer.
Prediction: Bengals by 10
Bears at Lions
A NFC North smash mouth encounter. Hopefully the Lions will have Reggie Bush back as this will be vital to their outcome of this tie. The Bears defence is back to its illustrious best with return TDs for Major Wright and Julius Peppers; and Jay Cutler is playing solid with Matt Forte getting good numbers also. This is a battle of two stud recievers to, Brandon Marshall v Calvin Johnson.
Prediction: Bears by 6
Giants at Chiefs
The Chiefs are on a roll and making mistake-free football. Alex Smith secures the ball better than anyone, Jamaal Charles is getting runs and passes. The D-line suffocated Michael Vick last week, sacking him six times. Eli Manning has been sacked nearly a dozen times already and intercepted nearly the same number; the Chiefs should overpower this transitional Giants team
Prediction: Chiefs by 9
Cardinals at Buccaneers
The word is that rookie Mike Glennon is going to get the start with the Bucs finally fed up with Josh Freeman. This is unfair of Freeman, as it was not his two defensive mistakes in the first two games to leave them winless. The Cardinals also have a good defence and the return of Rashard Mendenhall will pay dividends in this one.
Prediction: Cardinals by 3
Colts at Jaguars
The Colts are not a dumb team, and it is doubtful they would succumb to the dumb Jaguars on the road. They now have the one-two punch of Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw to compliment Andrew Luck's peerless throwing.
Prediction: Colts by 7
Seahawks at Texans
Seattle did well to get through the banana skin of the Jaguars last week, but a lot of starters sat the fourth quarter. This will definitely be more tricky, with the Texans offensive options. However, it comes down to defences and the Seahawks will flat out bully DeAndre Hopkins and Andre Johnson, if his concussion clears up.
Prediction: Seahawks by 4
Steelers at Vikings (at Wembley Stadium)
Two 0-3 teams headline the first International Series game at Wembley Stadium. The Steelers did show some life on offence in the defeat to the Bears on Sunday night, and the Vikings have been scoring points but not winning games. Rushers have had joy versus the Steelers so if AP can get his wheels going he could be the difference maker on this occasion as he has been so many times before. But do not expect a classic
Prediction: Vikings by 3
Jets at Titans
The Titans defence has impressed many, and Geno Smith underthrows and forces some throws at times. Jake Locker like Alex Smith is making few mistakes and Chris Johnson is due a big rushing day, perhaps against the weakest part of the Jets defence.
Prediction: Titans by 5
Redskins at Raiders
RG3 showed signs of life in the loss to the Lions last week. He threw better and stronger off his legs and it looks like his legs are getting back to match sharpness. The Raiders had some joy versus the Broncos scoring three touchdowns but Darren McFadden rushed for only 9 yards total. The Redskins may have found the game to turn the corner.
Prediction: Redskins by 3
Eagles at Broncos
In this game, you will see the difference between a high tempo offence and a high powered offence. Peyton Manning is throwing touchdowns for fun, spreading the love from game to game. Eric Decker had 133 receiving yards and one TD reception coupled with one for Wes Welker and DeMaryius Thomas each. The Eagles need to even out the time of possession otherwise Manning will control the clock and score at will, which is what he is doing anyway.
Prediction: Broncos by 10
Cowboys at Chargers
Would like to think the Chargers can win this one, but they are suffering injuries at inopportune times. The Cowboys, however, are doing okay with Des Bryant looking to fulfil that immense potential he contains and the defence doing okay.
Prediction: Cowboys by 6
Patriots at Falcons
This is a huge encounter for both teams. The Patriots will want to maintain the 100% record in case the Dolphins lose on Monday night and the Falcons dare not fall three games behind the Saints should they triumph versus the Dolphins. Two big offences go head to head. Tom Brady looked to have clicked with his receivers better this week and there is a certain tight end, Rob Gronkowski, expected to start at last this week and the defence of the Patriots has been a nuisance all season thus far.
Prediction: Patriots by 4
Dolphins at Saints
A great match up for MNF with the impressive Dolphins playing the seemingly restored Saints. Both teams are 3-0 so someone is going to go home unhappy. The Saints have the better defence plus that raucous home crowd as their 12th man; although they need to get pressure to Ryan Tannehill who continues to prove the doubters wrong week on week.
Prediction: Saints by 4
Finally, can I extend a pleasant thank you to the Americarnage (@Americarnage) crew who gave me a very surprising plug for my blog on their latest podcast. Many thanks Gents and I look forward to meeting up with you all soon.