Parity is the name of the game so far in 2010, with only three teams making it to Week 4 undefeated (Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs, and Chicago Bears). It’s getting tough to tell what games are upsets and what games are simply the case of unfounded expectations, but it’s made for a very exciting NFL season so far.
For my Week 4 Power Rankings, click here. To check out Joshua Huffman’s awesome 2010 NFL Pick ‘Em Contest, click here.
Last week’s prediction record: 8-8
Record on the season: 18-14
Upset Special record: 1-1
Here are my predictions for Week 4 of the 2010 NFL season:
Bye Week Teams: Kansas City Chiefs (3-0), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1), Dallas Cowboys (1-2), Minnesota Vikings (1-2)
San Francisco 49ers (0-3) at Atlanta Falcons (2-1)
This was supposed to be the year the 49ers won the NFC West. Now, the 49ers would probably be happy just to win a game. It’s difficult to imagine San Francisco, who have been outscored 62-16 in their two road games so far in 2010, will be able to knock off an Atlanta team that just knocked off the defending champion Saints in overtime. Matt Ryan should feast on the 49ers defense while Alex Smith continues to struggle in what may end up being his last year as the 49ers’ starting QB.
2010 Week 4 Prediction: Atlanta Falcons defeat San Francisco 49ers
Carolina Panthers (0-3) at New Orleans Saints (2-1)
The Saints had a chance to go 3-0, but kicker Garrett Hartley’s struggles continued in overtime against the Falcons. In Week 4, they get to take their frustrations out on a hapless Carolina team. Jimmy Clausen looked rattled in his first-ever NFL start, throwing one interception and losing two fumbles in their loss to the Bengals. He’s still a better long-term option than Matt Moore, but Carolina has to be ready for some growing pains as Clausen gets used to playing against NFL defenses.
2010 Week 4 Prediction: New Orleans Saints defeat Carolina Panthers
New York Jets (2-1) at Buffalo Bills (0-3)
I still don’t know if Mark Sanchez is a good enough QB to lead the Jets deep into the playoffs, but he should be good enough to beat the Bills. Buffalo is a marginally better team with Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback instead of Trent Edwards, but they are still easily the worst team in the AFC East.
2010 Week 4 Prediction: New York Jets defeat Buffalo Bills
Baltimore Ravens (2-1) at Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0)
For the first two weeks of the season, Baltimore didn’t allow their opponents to score a touchdown, but struggled to find any offense. Against Cleveland, they finally had some positives on offense (Joe Flacco’s 3 TD passes and no interceptions), yet allowed a weak Browns offense to score two touchdowns. The Steelers, meanwhile, absolutely dominated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Their defense stifled Josh Freeman and company, and the Steelers offense was able to move forward consistently despite having Charlie Batch as their starting QB. It’s looking likely that the Steelers will be 4-0 when they get Ben Roethlisberger back from his suspension.
2010 Week 4 Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers defeat Baltimore Ravens
Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) at Cleveland Browns (0-3)
The Bengals offense has been less-than-stellar through the first three weeks of the season. How they play against the Cleveland Browns and their mediocre-at-best defense will say a lot about Cincinnati’s overall potential for the season.
2010 Week 4 Prediction: Cincinnati Bengals defeat Cleveland Browns
Detroit Lions (0-3) at Green Bay Packers (2-1)
The Packers offense played well against a tough Bears defense, but Green Bay also tied a team record by committing seventeen penalties. A home game against the Lions should give the Packers a chance to correct some of their errors, and will also tell us whether Green Bay has what it takes to compete without an effective running game.
2010 Week 4 Prediction: Green Bay Packers defeat Detroit Lions
Denver Broncos(1-2) at Tennessee Titans (2-1)
Surprisingly, Kyle Orton and the Denver Broncos have thrown for over one thousand yards through just three games. Unfortunately, the rest of the Broncos team hasn’t played up to that level, and they are still reeling from the untimely death of Kenny McKinley. Vince Young and the Titans got a huge confidence boost after shredding the New York Giants, and should be able to make easy work of this Broncos team.
2010 Week 4 Prediction: Tennessee Titans defeat Denver Broncos
Seattle Seahawks (2-1) at St. Louis Rams (1-2) **Upset Special**
Seattle was thoroughly outplayed by the San Diego Chargers last Sunday, yet still managed to get the win thanks to two kick return TDs from Leon Washington and some sloppy play from the Chargers. The Rams, meanwhile, have looked better with each game they’ve played this year. Sam Bradford is coming off his first NFL win, and he should be able to find continued success against a weak Seahawks secondary.
2010 Week 4 Prediction: St. Louis Rams defeat Seattle Seahawks
Houston Texans (2-1) at Oakland Raiders (1-2)
The Texans are going to have to shake off their loss to Dallas and get back to business. The Achilles heel of this Houston team appears to be the pass defense, but luckily for them Bruce Gradkowski is not exactly an elite NFL QB.
2010 Week 4 Prediction: Houston Texans defeat Oakland Raiders
Indianapolis Colts (2-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2)
Maligned Jacksonville secondary, meet Peyton Manning. If the Jags weren’t able to stop (or even slow down) Michael Vick, how do they plan to deal with Manning, who is playing out of his mind right now? This game could get really ugly if David Garrard plays like he did in Week 3 against Philadelphia.
2010 Week 4 Prediction: Indianapolis Colts defeat Jacksonville Jaguars
Washington Redskins (1-2) at Philadelphia Eagles (2-1)
Michael Vick has definitely proven that he’s back into football shape. He absolutely dominated the Jacksonville defense, throwing for 3 TDs and rushing for another last week. The Redskins are a loss or two away from officially being in a freefall, and playing against Vick and the talented Eagles wide receivers isn’t going to be easy.
2010 Week 4 Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles defeat Washington Redskins
Arizona Cardinals (2-1) at San Diego Chargers (1-2)
The Cardinals are lucky to be 2-1, as they probably should have lost to the Oakland Raiders. The Chargers, meanwhile, should be 2-1, but they committed too many errors against the Seattle Seahawks. The Chargers need to start digging themselves out of their hole in the AFC West, and playing against Derek Anderson and the Cardinals is definitely the way to start winning again.
2010 Week 4 Prediction: San Diego Chargers defeat Arizona Cardinals
Chicago Bears (3-0) at New York Giants (1-2)
The Bears have three close wins, and just as easily could be 0-3 instead of 3-0. That being said, Jay Cutler is playing the best football of his career, while Giants quarterback Eli Manning has struggled through the first three weeks. The Bears have a lot of momentum going into this matchup, and the Bears defense is probably the strongest the Giants have faced this season. If New York couldn’t solve Indianapolis’ mediocre defense, how are they going to fare against Brian Urlacher and Julius Peppers?
2010 Week 4 Prediction: Chicago Bears defeat New York Giants
Monday Night Game: New England Patriots (2-1) at Miami Dolphins (2-1)
The Patriots defense has been horrendous so far, allowing 24 points to the Bengals, 28 to the Jets, and 30 points to the Buffalo Bills. The Dolphins are 2-1, but just as easily could be 0-3 after a couple of very close wins to start the year off. It’s tough to bet against Tom Brady, but he’s not going to be able to win a shootout every night.
2010 Week 4 Prediction: New England Patriots defeat Miami Dolphins
All stats and standings from espn.com