Prior to last week’s game Quarterback Aaron Rodgers told nervous Packer fans to relax, and delivered a big game against the Bears to get the Pack back on track. They don’t have long to savor the win as they are in this week’s Thursday Nighter against Vikings. Minnesota is also coming off an impressive win behind Teddy Bridgewater. However, later in their win over the Flacons the Vikings rookie quarterback sprained his ankle. Although I expect him to play, on the road in Lambeau is tough for a veteran let alone a rookie. I see the Packers continuing the momentum they found in Chicago to get to 3-2.
Two teams coming off stinging losses meet hoping to end their slide. The Panthers defense has been gashed the last two games on the ground and through the air, but their biggest concern may be the health of QB Cam Newton, who is still recovering from cracked ribs. The Bears meanwhile have a secondary that is completely ripped apart by injuries. Though the Bears have won twice on the road, they were outplayed in every game this season and the Panthers with Luke Kuchely are just a bit better on defense and should be able to get back on the winning side of the ledger.
All those who feared the Cowboys would have one of the worst defenses ever can now relax as they have shown through four games they are not a bad unit. The Cowboys offense has been a big help by taking pressure off the defense with a strong offensive line and the running of DeMarco Murray who is the leading rusher in the NFL through the first month of the season. Murray’s running has also taken pressure off Tony Romo. This is the formula for success for any team. In the battle of Texas I see the Cowboys continuing their strong play as the Texans will eventually begin to pay for not having a strong quarterback.
The Bills have pushed the panic button, benching Quarterback E.J. Manuel after losing in Houston last Sunday. Manuel has played poorly and the Bills after starting 2-0 have come crashing back to earth. However, to believe Kyle Orton is the answer is foolhardy. Orton may play well here and there, but Buffalo is not going far if he is going to start the rest of the season. The Lions meanwhile have looked sharp on both sides of the ball and should continue their winning ways at home, as the new coaching staff has given them the discipline they have been lacking for years.
The Ravens have been able to get past the Ray Rice controversy with three straight wins, as Steve Smith Sr. has found the fountain of youth and given a big boost to the Baltimore passing game. The Colts meanwhile are getting big numbers every week from Andrew Luck who is already starting to enter the conversation as one of the best quarterbacks in the league. Luck will once again have a big game and the Colts should get the win, but the loss of LaRon Landry is something that could be an issue of concern if Smith has another big day.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off one of the worst losses in years as the Buccaneers rallied to win at Heinz Field with a drive in the final seconds. The Steelers secondary got exposed and will need a big game to bounce back. The Jaguars meanwhile may be 0-4, but rookie quarterback Blake Bortles has already made the team look better. Coming home, I see Bortles having a strong game against the bruised egos of the Steelers and delivering a home upset win.
The Saints are the proverbial bully, bashing teams at the Superdome, and shrinking on the road. The Saints have lost all three road games and have not looked very good. However, in the comfort of their dome sweet dome they should get back on track, especially playing a Buccaneers team that has already surrendered 56 points this season inside a dome. Look for Drew Brees to have a big game as the Saints once again bully a team in the Bayou.
The Falcons must be concerned about their game in Minnesota, as the Vikings went through their defense like a hot knife through butter. The Falcons also saw three offensive linemen suffer injuries, forcing them to use a Tight End on the line. The Giants meanwhile appear to be getting comfortable with Bob McAdoo’s offense. Eli Manning had a strong game against the Redskins last week and coming home they look to continue their momentum. With Jason Pierre-Paul off to a strong start the Giants should be able to keep the pressure on Matt Ryan as the Falcons struggles away from home continue.
The Eagles who rallied to win their first three games, suffered their first loss of the season, despite jumping in front early. The Eagles scored all 21 points last week on defense and special teams, as the 49ers smothered the Eagles. The Rams are a lousy team and playing with a third string quarterback, this is the perfect game for a Philly bounce back as they run up and down the field and get their offense back in explosive mode.
Where have the Titans that been the Chiefs on the road in Week 1 gone? Ever since that win the Titans have been awful, getting blown out in their last three games. The Browns meanwhile coming off a bye have been in every game so far this season, winning one and losing twice with each game being decided by a Field Goal at the final whistle. The Browns will once again go to the wire and beyond and once again come up short as the Titans getting a big game from Shonn Greene win in overtime.
The Cardinals have been terrific so far winning their first three games. However, now they face a big test on the road against the Broncos, who although they lost their last game in a Super rematch in Seattle have the look of a team that could be heading back to the big game to be played in Arizona. This game here is in Denver and the Cardinals though sharp are not ready for the Broncos will give them. Look for another big game as the Cardinals get exposed in the Mile High city.
No team is happier to be on the road this week than the Jets. After winning the opener, Gang Green has dropped three straight and Quarterback Geno Smith is regressing. Unlike Buffalo, the Jets are sticking with Geno and the fans are no very happy. Last week fans were chanting for Michael Vick and being away from the Meadowlands they won’t be able to hear the Jets fans groan as the Chargers pick them apart. The Jets secondary is not very good, while the Chargers are getting big games Quarterback Philip Rivers and their receivers especially Eddie Royal and Antonio Gates.
This is going to be an emotional game for Chiefs Quarterback Alex Smith as he returns to face his former team. The 49ers made Smith the number one overall pick in 2005 and he struggled early in his career. In 2011 he began to play like a top pick as the Niners reached the NFC Championship Game. He was also playing well in 2012 before an injury trusted Colin Kaeperenick into the starting job. The 49ers meanwhile are coming off their best game of the season and will look to get another solid defensive effort. The Chiefs coming off a big home win over the Patriots on Monday Night will not be able to run the ball the way and will come up just short in their pursuit of a third straight win.
What makes a champion? Often it is the ability to bounce back off bad losses. It is the ability to rise up when the doubters begin gathering at your door step. The Patriots for the last 14 years have become expert at both. Following a 41-14 loss in Kansas City and a thus far subpar season from Tom Brady have begun to hear the whispers. Is Tom Brady beginning to show his age? This is when the Patriots always bounce back and that nine head beast that has controlled the AFC East. The Bengals have been the best team in football so far, but their play under the lights of primetime has always been suspect. I see the Pats with a nice bounce back win to get fans of the ledge in Foxboro.
People like to talk about the Seahawks edge at home, and it is a big one, but last season on the way to the Lombardi Trophy they were nearly as good on the road. The Seahawks secondary is still one of the best in the league and Kirk Cousins coming off a terrible game is going from the frying pan into the fire. The Redskins defense meanwhile has been quite shaky, with the Seahawks coming in off the bye I see them making a statement on Monday Bight and winning easily.