AFC Editor Matt Loede’s NFL Picks For Week Four

Last Week: 8-8
Season: 29-19

Detroit at Dallas – Can the Lions go 4-0? Yes, and they will in Big D this weekend, as the Cowboys had a win Monday night, but won’t be able to carry that over for two straight weeks. Calvin Johnson will eat up a Cowboys secondary that is still somewhat banged up, and the Lions will also run the ball again as well. Dallas needs to score touchdowns this week instead of field goals, and while they will get 1-2, it won’t be enough to stop the Lions train. Detroit 27 Dallas 17

Pittsburgh at Houston – Something odd has happened to the Steelers on the road this year – they can’t stop the run. Against the Ravens and Colts on the road, the Steelers have given up yards on the ground, which is not Steeler football. Against Matt Schaub and that Texans offense, I think the Steelers D is in trouble. I like Houston to be able to run as well as pass, and that Steelers offense was lucky to get out of Indy with a win with a last minute drive to win the game. Look for the Texans to get a big win here at home after a tough loss in New Orelans last Sunday. Houston 24 Pittsburgh 21

Carolina at Chicago – Cam Newton got his first win last week with a fourth quarter TD, but it won’t be so easy this week with the Cats going to play a hungry Bears team that lost to the Pack. The Panthers are a lot better this year, but that won’t put them in a position to win this Sunday. Newton will have issues with that Bears D, and the Bears offense with Jay Cutler will score enough to get to 2-2 on the year. Chicago 24 Carolina 10

Minnesota at Kansas City – How bout those Vikings? They have had big leads all three weeks, only to lose all three games, as they are off to an awful 0-3 start. The Chiefs are maybe the worst team in the AFC, as they are hurt, can’t score, and last week did hang in before losing to the Chargers on the road. They go home for the first time since a week one blowout to the Bills, but this one is a coin flip. The Chiefs are bad, the Vikings are bad – who wins. Take the home team. Kansas City 13 Minnesota 10

Buffalo at Cincinnati – After two comeback wins against two better AFC teams, the Bills head on the road for a game against the 1-2 Bengals. I like Ryan Fitzpatrick here to shred the Bengals D, and I think that the Bengals are right now seeing growing pains after their week one win over the Browns. Look for the Bills to get to 4-0, and for the Bengals to suffer another loss and even less fans to show up at PBS this weekend. Buffalo 31 Cincinnati 20

Tennessee at Cleveland – Is Chris Johnson ever going to step up? This would be a good week, as the Browns have pulled out two close wins after losing the opener to the Bengals. The Browns will get Peyton Hillis back this week, and look for Colt McCoy to try and get a few shots with Josh Cribbs and possibly Greg Little his week. I think Matt Hasselbeck doesn’t have the same success against Cleveland as he has the last two weeks, but it’s a week that the Titans run game get going, and that combined with a D that is ranked #1, the Titans will pull off a road win. Tennessee 20 Cleveland 17

Washington at St.Louis – The Redskins have played good football, but couldn’t finish the job against the Cowboys Monday night. The Rams were beat up – bad, against the Ravens at home. The Rams run game needs to get back on track with Steven Jackson and Carnell Williams. Rex Grossman has been good this year, but this will be the day that finally the Rams get on track with Sam Bradford and the run game controlling the tempo with a home win. St.Louis 17 Washington 13

San Francisco at Philadelphia – What happened to the so-called “Dream Team”? This week is a critical one here, as they need to find a way to top a 49ers team that won last week in Cincy. San Fran stayed out east this week to practice, so they won’t have the jet lag of going from west to east. I like the Eagles though to finally bounce back. They are starting to feel the heat, and Andy Reid and his coaches will have a plan together to top the Niners by 6. Philadelphia 23 San Francisco 17

New Orleans at Jacksonville – The Jags last week had a shot to win with rookie QB in Carolina, but after a gift TD at the end of the half, they couldn’t rally for any second half points, losing 16-10. Look this week for Drew Brees and the Saints to keep up the scoring parade they did last week against Houston. I like the Saints to pick on the Jags secondary, and for the Saints run game to also have a big day against the Jags as well. Blaine Gabbert needs more than 139 yards to keep the Jags in it, but even with a better game, the Jags are not going to win a shootout. New Orleans 31 Jacksonville 14

Atlanta at Seattle – What happened to the Falcons? From a 13-win team a season ago to one that is just looking lost this season three weeks in at 1-2. They have got to get it turned around this week in Seattle against a team that just stunned the Cardinals at home, but are still not very good. The Hawks got one of what I think will be 3-4 wins in 2011, and this week look for Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense to finally get things going. Atlanta 23 Seattle 10

NY Giants at Arizona – Eli Manning picked apart a pretty good Eagles secondary last week with 254 yards and four TD’s with no picks. I expect on the road for him to have a good game against the Cards and their secondary. Look for the Giants ground game with Ahmad Bradshaw to have a good game as well, as the Cards will have to counter with Benie Wells coming off a hammy injury. Last week the Cards had just 90 yards rushing, and they will need to have more to keep Manning off the field. I like the Giants though, as last weeks win in Philly was a confidence builder. NY Giants 24 Arizona 14

New England at Oakland – Last week Tom Brady had an awful week, throwing four picks and the Pats lost in crazy fashion in Buffalo. Now they play a Raiders team that is 2-1 and should be 3-0. Oakland is a team that has already shown they can run the ball, and they will need to if they want to beat the Pats. I can’t see Brady having bad back to back games, and I think the Pats will give up points, but win it in a shootout. New England 38 Oakland 30

Denver at Green Bay – Any doubt here that Aaron Rodgers and the Pack pick apart the Broncos at home? Didn’t think so. It’ll be a long day for Kyle Orton and the Broncos, who didn’t play well enough to get a win last week in Tennessee. Orton will need to get some big plays downfield, and I just don’t see the Packers D allowing that to happen, opening the door for Rodgers and company to get a win to get to 4-0 on the season. Green Bay 35 Denver 14

Miami at San Diego – The Fins dominated the stats and the time of possession in Cleveland last week, but it wasn’t enough to hold down Cleveland on the last drive when it mattered. It won’t come down to the last drive this week, as San Diego will score enough to get a home win to get to 3-1 on the year with a big Philip Rivers and offensive game. San Diego 27 Miami 16

NY Jets at Baltimore – Should be a bloodbath between two teams that love to hit each other. The Ravens offense was out of control last week going off on the Rams, and this week it won’t be as easy against the Jets. New York has had issues though on the road, and while Mark Sanchez will have to play better for this team to win, I don’t see it against a Ravens team that will be hyped up to play on National TV. Last year the Jets lost to the Ravens in the opener, and I see the same type of game here. Baltimore 20 NY Jets 10

Monday:

Indianapolis at Tampa Bay- Curtis Painter will start at QB for the Colts, and that equals bad news for Indy on the road. Last week he gave up a sack-TD to the Steelers, and a good D-line for the Bucs will try and force that again Monday night at home in a sold out Raymond James Stadium. The Colts will have little success running, and the Colts D will need turnovers to keep this close like they had against the Steelers. Won’t happen. Tampa Bay 27 Indianapolis 10


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