Jason’s NFL Picks: Week 4

By Jason Bryden

Elm Staff Writer


Detroit (3-0) at Dallas (2-1)

 After being the laughingstock of the NFL for the past 10 years, the Detroit Lions have restored the roar with a 3-0 start for the first time since 1980 and look to improve to 4-0 on Sunday when they travel to Texas to take on the Dallas Cowboys.

The Lions rallied from a 20-0 deficit to top the Minnesota Vikings in overtime, 26-23, to record their seventh straight win dating back from last season.  The Lions defensive line will look to exploit the Cowboys offensive line, who had issues snapping the ball too early on Monday night this past week against the Washington Redskins, and get to Dallas quarterback Tony Romo, who is overcoming a rib and lung injury.

The Cowboys came back to top the Redskins 18-16 on Monday night as the Cowboys won the leg of six field goals by Dan Bailey.  Will the Cowboys’ front seven be able to get pressure on the Lions signal caller Matthew Stafford?

Dallas leads the all-time series 12-9 in the regular season, and each side has won once in the playoffs.

Pittsburgh (2-1) at Houston (2-1)

Two teams with playoff aspirations meet on Sunday in Houston as the Texans host the reigning AFC Champions, the Steelers.

Houston lost its first game of the season at New Orleans 40-33 on Sunday.  The Texans could not hold a 26-17 lead in the fourth quarter.  Quarterback Matt Schaub tossed for 373 yards in the win.  The Texans’ offensive line will need to keep the front seven of the Steelers away from Schaub.

Pittsburgh pulled out a 23-20 win at Indianapolis on a Shaun Suisham field goal, with four seconds.  Wide receiver Mike Wallace had 144 yards receiving in the win, including an 81-yarder.  Can the Steelers offensive line protect quarterback Ben Roethlisberger enough for him to make some plays?

The Steelers have won two of the three meetings between the two teams.


New York Giants (2-1) at Arizona (1-2)

 On Sunday, the Giants will look to win their third straight game when they travel west to play the Cardinals in Arizona, who look to snap a two-game losing streak themselves.

The Giants ended a six-game losing streak (one in the playoffs) to the Eagles in Week 3 with a 29-16 win.  Wide receiver Victor Cruz had 110 yards receiving and two touchdowns.  The Giants defense forced three turnovers in the win and did not turn it over once.  New York is seeking to have a 3-1 or better record in its first four games for the third time in four seasons.

Arizona dropped its second straight game 13-10 to the Seahawks in Seattle.  The Cardinals, who blew a 10-3 lead, were done in by 2 missed field goals by Jay Feely, including a 49-yarder in the fourth quarter.  The Cardinals will try to win their second straight over the Giants.

Old NFC East rivals the Giants lead the all-time series 80-42-2.  The two sides played twice a year each season from 1950-2001, with the exception of the 1968 and 1982 seasons.

New England (2-1) at Oakland (2-1)

Last week both teams had very different results entering this Sunday’s match-up in the East Bay.

The Patriots blew a 21-0 lead and lost 34-31 to the Buffalo Bills.  Quarterback Tom Brady did throw for 4 touchdowns, but also tossed 4 interceptions.  Wide receiver Wes Welker had a career-high sixteen catches for a franchise-record 217 yards.  Brady has thrown for 1,326 yards in the 3 games, an NFL record.

The Raiders came back from 17-7 down to top the New York Jets 34-24 sparked by 234 rushing yards, including 171 from running back Darren McFadden.  All 4 of Oakland’s touchdowns were rushing touchdowns.  The Raiders will try to use the ground game again to keep the Patriots offense off the field.

New England leads the all-time series 16-15-1, including 2 of the 3 in the playoffs.  Two of the games had controversy; in 1976 the Raiders benefited from a questionable roughing the passer call on Sugar Bear Hamilton to win 24-21, and in 2001 the Patriots were the recipients of the “Tuck Rule” when it looked like Charles Woodson had sacked and forced a fumble by Brady with a Raiders recovery, but replay determined it was an incomplete pass due to the rule.  The Patriots tied it on that drive and won in overtime.

New York Jets (2-1) at Baltimore (2-1)

Former Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan returns to Baltimore for the first time since taking the Jets job in 2009.  Ryan was the Ravens defensive coordinator from 2005-08 and lost out on the head coaching job to current Ravens head coach John Harbaugh in 2008.  Two of the NFL’s top defenses will be on display nationally in this Sunday Night contest.

The Jets blew a 17-7 lead in Oakland and lost 34-24 to the Raiders.  New York got 369 yards passing from quarterback Mark Sanchez, but it was not enough.  Running back LaDainian Tomlinson had 154 total yards, including 116 receiving and a receiving touchdown.

Baltimore took out its frustration from a 26-13 loss to Tennessee with a 37-7 beat down of the Rams.  Baltimore led 21-0 after the first quarter and outgained St. Louis in yards by a 553-244 count.  In the first quarter, quarterback Joe Flacco and wide receiver Torrey Smith connected on all 3 touchdowns.  Flacco tossed for 389 yards, while Smith had 152 yards receiving.

The Ravens have won 6-of-7 all-time meetings, including the last six.  Baltimore won 10-9 last season in Week 1.


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