Welcome back for Week 4 of the 2011 NFL Season. This week we have some great games. It looks like 5-6 games could be decided by less than a touchdown.
Our weekly previews will briefly look at each game and I’ll pick a winner with a margin.
Enjoy this week’s preview!
Carolina Panthers @ Chicago Bears
Current Odds: Carolina ( 3.65 ) Chicago (1.30 )
The Panthers average 100 more yards per game than the Bears. The Bears have played 3 of the most highly ranked teams from 2010 and struggled but this week at home against the Panthers Cutler shouldn’t be pressured by such aggressive defenses and hopefully not sacked as much. Newton will put up some impressive numbers again but Cutler is the better quarterback and should torch the Carolina secondary.
Hopefully the Bears have spent time this week fixing their running game to provide some rushing threat.
- Chicago by 10
Buffalo Bills @ Cincinnati Bengals
Buffalo (1.67 ) Cincinnati (2.27 )
The Bills have been a offensive juggernaut this year, averaging 430 yards per game and while the Bengals have struggled to maintain offensive momentum this looks like another game that could be decided in the final 5 minutes. If the Bill’s defense can hold back the Bengals attack then the Bills will cruise to 4-0. The Bengals defensive line can get to Fitzpatrick and if they can rattle him early this could be a close game.
This game feels like the moment the Bills explode for another 30 points and the Bengals continue to struggle.
- Buffalo by 13
Tennessee Titans @ Cleveland Browns
Current Odds: Tennessee (1.87 ) Cleveland( 1.95 )
This game is all about the Tennessee offense. Will Chris Johnson return to the CJ of old and scorch the Browns? Who do you throw to now that Kenny Britt is injured? The loss of Britt should allow the Browns safeties and linebackers to play closer to the line and pressure Hasselbeck a little more. Colt McCoy is a gun slinger but I suspect the game will be out of his reach by the end of the 3rd quarter. Look for Hasselbeck to carry the Titans to an impressive win away from home.
- Tennessee by 3
Detroit Lions @ Dallas Cowboys
Current Odds: Detroit ( 1.74 ) Dallas (2.15 )
Pain is the word of the day. The Detroit defensive line (Avril, Suh, Williams and Vanden Bosch) might just tear Romo in half this week. The Dallas offensive line was sloppy and distracted last week against the ‘Skins and while Romo will play but there is no way he will be 100% - probably only 80-85%. This Lion defense is brutal and with Stafford leading the offense the Lions will win in style.
- Detroit by 10
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Houston Texans
Current Odds: Pittsburgh ( 2.65 ) Houston (1.50 )
The Steelers are ranked 23rd rushing in the NFL while Houston are scoring 30 points per game this season. These stats are contrasting reflections of the teams we know. Houston looked impressive last week in New Orleans scoring 33 points as the Steelers struggled to put down the Colts. This game will be decided out wide as Johnson battles Taylor deep and Jones faces off against McFadden. If the Texans can get the ball to their receivers outwide and deep early this game could be over. Wallace is Pittsburgh’s most valuable player on offense and should have an easier day against the Houston safeties. This will be one of the best games of the day.
- Pittsburgh by 2
New Orleans Saints @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Current Odds: New Orleans ( 1.31 ) Jacksonville (3.60 )
New Orleans might set a new points scoring high this weekend. Brees will have a field day manipulating the Jacksonville defense while Gabbert faces a terrifying task in his second start at quarterback. Greg Williams (New Orleans defensive coordinator) will bring defensive schemes the rookie has never seen before. New Orleans will win comfortably.
- New Orleans by 14
Minnesota Vikings @ Kansas City Chiefs
Current Odds: Minnesota ( 1.63 ) Kansas City (2.35 )
The “Suck for Luck 11” campaign starts this week. The loser (or winner if you will) of this game will have the inside running on the 1st pick in the draft. Kansas City have lost some of their top players and in turn lost some of the swagger they earned last year, but Minnesota too have been terrible so far in 2011. The Vikings are outscoring opponents 54-7 in the first half while being outscored 67-6 in the second, a major issue. Peterson expressed frustration with the play calling last week, wanting the ball more often. If the Vikings listen to their star they can run all over this soft Kansas City defense. This game smells like a double over time 13-10 game.
- Minnesota by 3
San Francisco 49ers @ Philadelphia Eagles
Current Odds: San Francisco ( 4.55 ) Philadelphia ( 1.22 )
With all the hype surrounding the Eagles no one thought they would be hungry so for a win heading into week 4 against San Francisco. Vick says he will be ready to go at 100% - he seems fiercely intent on proving his critics wrong. This could be the game where he goes for 400 yards and multiple touchdowns. However Andy Reid might keep him on a leash for one more week and limit him to short throws and hands off’s to McCoy. The 49er’s offense is slow and ineffective, Gore has lost his sparkle, Crabtree cant get it going and Smith is just blah
. Philadelphia get the train back on the tracks this week.
- Philadelphia by 14
New York Giants @ Arizona Cardinals
Current Odds: New York ( 1.83 ) Arizona (2.00 )
Expects points and lots of them this week. Both defenses are allowing 20 points per game and the offenses averaging 21 points each. Manning has looked much better than expected while Kolb has looked mediocre. The Giants pass rush is beastly and should rattle Kolb 2-3 times this week. Any team that has Fitzgerald out wide will always be be chance to cause a upset late in the game and Arizona have one of the strongest home field advantages out west. I think this will be a tight game with the better team prevailing.
- New York Giants by 6
Atlanta Falcons @ Seattle Seahawks
Current Odds: Atlanta ( 1.45 ) Seattle ( 2.85 )
Atlanta are the best team in all areas but continue to struggle making this game closer than it should be. The Seahawks have hung around against the 49ers and Cardinals and might just do it again. Atlanta have set their hearts on throwing the ball this year only using the run sparingly. The Seahawks linebackers should be easy prey for Ryan but the weather could be a issue. Rain and 40F is forecast so it might be time for the Falcons and Hawks to settle into running the ball.
- Atlanta by 7
Denver @ Green Bay
Current Odds: Denver ( 5.40 ) Green Bay (1.17 )
Rodgers thinks the Packers can get better: "I think we have the potential to get better, and I don't know how many wins that means or the playoffs or whatever, but I just think we can play better football." I wouldn’t want to be the team standing in their way this weekend. Denver is constantly struggling to avoid the pass rush and has been struggling to get any kind of a run game going. Green Bay by 2 scores looks like the outcome here.
- Green Bay by 17
New England Patriots @ Oakland Raiders
Current Odds: New England (1.41 ) Oakland (3.00 )
How will each team respond to surprising performances last week? Can Oakland replicate the running game that held the Jets at bay last week ? What will the Patriots do to minimize turnovers? It’ll be a tough matchup for the Patriots who have the worst passing defense in the league and a equally poor running game. Fortunately they play a team with a equally bad pass defense. I expect Brady to come out and dismantle the Raiders but the Oakland running game could control the clock and possession keeping this game close towards the end.
- New England by 7
Miami Dolphins @ San Diego Chargers
Current Odds: Miami (3.40 ) San Diego (1.34 )
The Chargers play their 3rd home game of the year and look to continue an impressive start to the year. Miami have a shocking record at home but recently have played better on the road. Both teams are lead by veteran quarterbacks looking to improve upon their own games, Rivers is averaging 2 interceptions a game while Henne is only completing 50% of his passes. Miami signed Slaton this week, when they manufacture a running game they can be competitive. Henne is adequate but just is not capable of putting up more then 14-17 points per game.
- San Diego by 4
New York Jets @ Baltimore Ravens
Current Odds:New York ( 2.95 ) Baltimore (1.42 )
The Baltimore defense has looked bone-crushing this year. Shutting down the Steelers and Rams so far they now host the Jets . History is with them and the Ravens have owned the Jets and since 2001 they are 4-0. The line is set at Bal -3 and that looks about right as this should be a game that comes down to the last possession. An error could blow this game open and put either team in a hole they cant get out of as both offenses and defenses are deadly. Sanchez is a big game player while the Ravens have been lethal when throwing deep. I think home field will be enough of an advantage for Baltimore to steal one.
- Baltimore by 2
Indianapolis Colts @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Current Odds: Indianapolis ( 4.80 ) Tampa Bay (1.20 )
Indianapolis look to avoid starting 0-4 for the first time since 2001 when they travel to Tampa Bay this Monday. The Colt’s defense looked stout against the Steelers on Sunday Night Football last week. Tampa played the most aggressive and attacking style of defense I have seen them play in years against Atalanta on sunday. The Colts biggest issue wont be the Tampa defense, it will be their stagnant offense. Last week Collins was knocked unconscious and is dealing with a concussion so they will start their third-string quarterback Curtis Painter who, frankly, has looked average. Tampa will need to maintain the momentum it gained last week in its win over the Falcons. Josh Freeman will should be able to manipulate the Colt defense, expect to see the Indianapolis safeties back pedaling as Freeman continues to throw deep. Tampa will protect the ‘Ray Jay’ by 2 scores as the Indianapolis offense struggles to score.
- Tampa Bay by 13
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