The first week in October in the NFL means the bye weeks have begun. While several teams take the time off to recoup, there are several key match-ups between division leading teams. Here are the five can’t miss games and the NFL predictions from Week 4.
Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots
October 4th at 1:00pm on CBS
The New England Patriots quieted critics last week by knocking off the Atlanta Falcons with a dominating offensive performance. Can they keep this up against a Baltimore Ravens defense that absolutely demolished the Cleveland Browns?
The Patriots offense that racked up 445 yards of total offense last week will need to break through the stout defense of the Ravens. Easier said and done after the Ravens sacked the Browns quarterbacks twice and intercepted the ball four times.
The Patriots will have a good chance to win the game if Fred Taylor is able to rush for 100 plus yards for the second week in the row. Through the first three games of the season, the Ravens have not allowed a rusher to gain more than 52 yards.
In the end it is going to come down to Tom Brady versus Joe Flacco and who makes the least amount of mistakes. The Patriots will come away with a win in a close high scoring game.
Prediction – New England 28 Baltimore 24
New York Jets at New Orleans Saints
October 4th at 4:05pm on CBS
The New York Jets continue to run right through their competition with a dominating defense while the New Orleans Saints are an offensive juggernaut. Something will have to give when these two teams meet in the Bayou.
If you thought the Saints were one dimensional before, running back Pierre Thomas will change that perception. In his first game of the season, he ran for 126 yards and scored twice against the Bills. This could be a problem for the Jets who allowed the Titans to run for 127 yards.
The key to this game will be the Saints wide receivers versus one the Jets suffocating secondary. Quarterback Drew Brees used only four receivers in the win against the Bills, something that will need to change if they want to win. The Jets cornerbacks, Lito Sheppard and Darrelle Revis, will be tested on every down.
While defense wins championships, offense dominates during the regular season. Though the Jets will be able to slow down the potent offense of the Saints, it will not be enough as the Jets earn their first loss of the season.
Prediction – New Orleans 21 New York Jets 17
Dallas Cowboys at Denver Broncos
October 4th at 4:15m on FOX
The Denver Broncos are off to a surprising 3-0 mark mainly earned against inferior teams while the Dallas Cowboys are trying to keep up with the NFC division leaders.
The Broncos, led by quarterback Kyle Orton, racked up 372 yards of offense during their win at Oakland. Running back Knowshon Moreno will be tested by a Cowboys front line that held the Giants Brandon Jacobs to less than 60 yards.
One of the keys to the game will be Tony Romo’s performance against the Broncos defense that absolutely shut down the passing game of the Raiders’ JaMarcus Russell who completed 57.1% of his passes for 61 yards and two interceptions.
Though the Broncos will have the advantage of the Mile High home crowd, it will not be enough for them as the Cowboys win by a field goal.
Prediction – Dallas 24 Denver 21
San Diego Chargers at Pittsburgh Steelers
October 4th at 8:20pm on NBC
The Pittsburgh Steelers enter this game in need of a win to stop a two game slide while the San Diego Chargers are coming off a victory secured by a defensive touchdown.
While the Chargers running game has been lacking with LaDainian Tomlinson injured, quarterback Phillip Rivers has taken the reins once again. In the last two games he has passed for 739 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Though the Steelers defense limited the Bengals offense to less than 300 total yards, they did not stop them when it was needed in the fourth quarter.
Tomlinson will have his team prepared this week for a battle on their home turf. The defense will come out hard and ready to prove something against the Chargers. Look for at least one defensive touchdown to be scored as the Steelers win the game.
Prediction – Pittsburgh 17 San Diego 13
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
October 5th at 8:30pm on ESPN
There is a chance the NFL and MLB will be at odds when this game takes place on Monday night. Though the Detroit Tigers and the Minnesota Twins might need to play in a playoff tiebreaker in Minnesota, the NFL said they are not moving their game.
This will mark the first time quarterback Brett Favre will go head to head against his former team, the Packers. While we learned Favre still has the magic touch when needed, the Packers have shown their ability to be an offensive threat as well.
The key to this game will reside on the Vikings side of the ball and the performance of rookie Percy Harvin. He has already scored a touchdown in every game this season, including a 101 kickoff return against the 49ers.
The front seven of the Packers defense will be exposed by Adrian Peterson who will have one of those days as the Vikings earned their fourth victory of the season.
Prediction – Vikings 24 Packers 20
The Rest of the Games
Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns October 4th at 1:00pm on CBS
Look for the Bengals to roll right over the Browns and earn their third victory of the season.
TampaBay Buccaneers at WashingtonRedskins October 4th at 1:00pm on FOX
This will be one of the lowest scoring games of the weekend, with the Redskins earning their second victory of the year and saving Jim Zorn’s job for a week.
Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears October 4th at 1:00pm on FOX
Though the Lions got the monkey off their back, this is going to be a tough road game for them. The Bears will come away with a win against their division rival.
New York Giants at Kansas City Chiefs October 4th at 1:00pm on FOX
The big question for this game is can the Giants defense hold the Chiefs offense to less than 200 total yards? The Giants win this one going away.
Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars October 4th at 1:00pm on CBS
The loser of this game will find themselves in the cellar of the AFC South. Look for the Titans to get back on the winning track.
Seattle Seahawks at Indianapolis Colts October 4th at 1:00pm on FOX
Two teams going in opposite directions, Manning and company will show why they are still the class of the AFC.
Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans October 4th at 1:00pm on CBS
The Texans offense will be too much for the Raiders defense as they earn their second win of the season.
Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins October 4th at 4:05pm on CBS
The Dolphins are a team who desperately needs a win and will come away with a close one in front of the home town crowd.
St. Louis Rams at San Francisco 49ers October 4th at 4:15pm on FOX
The 49ers lost a heart breaker to the Vikings last week and will be ready to take their frustration out on the lowly Rams. 49ers will win and keep pace for the division lead.
YEAR TO DATE RECORD 8 – 6