The Ravens enter Week 4 in desperation mode following three frustrating losses to start the season. Each game was close, and each game the Ravens had a chance to win either leading late or driving late but lost on one big play. This week they are on Thursday Night facing the hated Steelers at Heinz Field. The Steelers come in without their biggest gun Ben Roethlisberger who is sidelined with a knee sprain. Three days may not be enough time to get Michael Vick up to speed with the offense, this should open the door for the Ravens who always play their best against the Steelers.
The Miami Dolphins can’t escape the bonds of mediocrity created by a lack of accountability from the front office to the ticket takers. Free agents come and go and turn into busts, from Brandon Marshall to Mike Wallace to the so far lackluster Ndamukong Suh who is roaming free without guidance from the coaching staff. The offensive line can’t block the Royal Family from getting to the quarterback and the running game is lame. The Jets defense is set to come in and dominate in London as the Dolphins will be lucky to even get a Field Goal. Last year the Dolphins won in Miami and the Raiders left their coach behind, Miami fans can only hope Joe Philbin will suffer the same fate.
The Falcons have been strong to the finish in winning their first three games, rallying from fourth quarter deficits in each game. Thus far it has been the Falcons offense giving them flight as Julio Jones has been an unstoppable force, while Devonta Freeman has giving them a weapon in the back field they have lacked in recent years. The Texans meanwhile continue to plod along with J.J. Watt trying to do it all. The only thing Watt can’t do is throw the ball. Sadly for the Texans neither can Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett the Texans two quarterbacks who have done nothing to distinguish themselves.
Coming off a much need win over the Redskins the Giants face a test in Western New York against the Bills. The Bills are 2-1 and looking strong with a defense that is good at exposing weak offensive lines. The Giants line has had its problems in the first two weeks. The Giants secondary also has been questionable and with Tyrod Taylor off to a good start and the Bills playing at home, the Bills are set up well to get the win, despite being without LeSean McCoy. However, rookie Karlos Williams has impressed so far coming off his first career 100 yard game.
Dreams of a winning season are dancing in the heads of fans of the Silver and Black as the Raiders are 2-1, with Derek Carr off to a terrific start throwing to Amari Cooper. In Chicago meanwhile the fire sale had begun with Jon Bostic and Jared Allen being dealt away. The Bears are not done dealing as Matt Forte is likely next with hopes of being able to dump “injured” QB Jay Cutler who has long worn out his welcome. The Raiders offense should have a field day as the Bears look like the worst team in football on both sides of the ball, but especially on defense.
Every year the Cincinnati Bengals are one big tease for their fans, playing well early in the season, but fading in the playoffs. Right now it’s the early part of the season, when the Bengals look like Super Bowl contenders. A.J. Green is off to a big start, and Andy Dalton is actually so far avoided the big mistake. The same can’t be said for the Chiefs who so far have been plagued by turnovers. Playing a second straight road game on the short week, they will once again have trouble staying in the game as they fall to 1-3.
After trailing 27-14 in the fourth quarter, the Colts offense finally got on track with three touchdowns to win their first game of the season in Tennessee. Returning home against the Jaguars they can get back to .500 and back to the top of the AFC South with a win. The Jaguars coming off a beat down in Foxboro are in for another whuppin’ as Andrew Luck after playing after football for the first 11 quarters of the season, gets back to his usually self with a huge game to get the Colts 2015 season on track.
The Panthers could be ready to reach the next level thanks to their 3-0 start as the addition of Jared Allen could give them one of the best defenses in the NFL. Meanwhile Cam Newton in his fifth season is off to a terrific start and learning how to avoid making the big mistakes he has made in the past. One day Jameis Winston hopes to reach the same level, but in just his fourth start Winston is a long way from that level, though he has played well following a shaky first week. The Panthers will be a tougher test, and Newton would surely like to show the new kid on the block a few tricks up his sleeves.
The more things change in Washington they stay the same as the Redskins with a chance to make a statement against the Giants were once again stuck in the swamp. Turnovers are a huge problem for the Redskins as the Giants took control of the game early with a blocked punt and interception, while they fumbled away a chance to get back in the game in the fourth quarter. The Eagles after losing their first two games got on track last week, with a solid win in their game at Met Life Stadium against the Jets. Look for the Eagles defense to create turnovers and get the win at FedEx Field.
The Chargers are glad to be back at Qualcomm Stadium after two tough road losses in Cincinnati and Minnesota. The Browns meanwhile are somewhat happy to be on the road as fans want Johnny Manziel to play. Manziel played well in Week 2, but was benched again in Week 3 as the Browns struggled against the Raiders. Don’t be shocked if Manziel plays in the second half as the Chargers get back in the right time zone and get back in the groove, with Phillip Rivers recovering from a mistake prone performance to lead the Chargers to a win.
The Cardinals who started 9-1 last year on their way again, boosted by the return of Carson Palmer, whose knee injury last season derailed the Arizona’s hopes of playing in the Super Bowl in their home stadium. The Cardinals have been one of the best teams in the NFL so far this year, with the secondary making big plays and Carson Palmer being on top of his game. The Rams as usual are inconsistent the offense has struggled since Week 1 and in the desert they will wilt.
So far the Broncos have done just enough to win every game this year in the season’s first three weeks. Peyton Manning has clearly lost some of the zip on his ball, but the Broncos defense is going strong. The Vikings meanwhile are coming off two solid home wins, with Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson leading the way. In their first road game the Vikings did not look good at all. They will look better n Denver but with the Broncos defense playing strong and Manning doing just enough the Broncos will win again.
Colin Kaepernick has played some of the best games in his career against the Packers, including two playoff wins. Coming off a performance last week where he gave up more yards in interception returns than passing yards Kaepernick is in need to get back to the player he was in 2013. The Packers since then have improved in every aspect of the game, especially in the pass rush and secondary. The 49ers coming off to terrible road games find little solace returning to Levi’s Stadium, as Aaron Rodgers beats another one of his ghosts with MVP performance.
At 0-3 the Saints season is on the brink, as they host the banged up Cowboys on Sunday Night Football. Last week was a tail of two games for the Cowboys, who opened up an early two score lead on the Falcons with Brandon Weeden playing for Tony Romo. However, in the second half Weeden struggled as the Falcons had a comeback win. The Saints meanwhile got good injury news with Drew Brees getting cleared to play against Dallas. Brees needs a big game and usually plays well on Sunday Night, he stands at a crossroads here needing a win and needing a good game to erase some of the doubts that are surrounding the 36 year old former MVP.
The Seahawks returned home and got their first win last week, blanking the Bears 26-0. The offense struggled most of the game, but the return of Kam Chancellor was just what the doctored ordered. The Lions could use some medicine or a fix me up themselves but Nadamukong Suh and Nick Fairley are not returning any time soon. The Lions may have had the toughest early season schedule and a heading into the den of the 12th man just make things worse as Seattle has any easy Monday Night win.