Three of my five incorrect picks from Week 4 were upsets, including the Bears over the Eagles, the Redskins over the Cowboys, and the Chiefs over the Broncos, so I don’t feel too bad about picking those wrong. The other two, the Buccaneers over the Packers and the Browns over the Bengals, were toss-ups anyway.
Here’s a look at this week’s matchups and how I think they’ll play out.
Last Week: 8-5
This Week: 7-7
Tennessee (4-0) at Baltimore (2-1)
The Ravens’ offense makes me nervous, but there defense sure is playing solid. With their second-ranked run defense containing Chris Johnson and the Titans, I think the Ravens hand Tennessee their first loss.
Prediction: Baltimore 17, Tennessee 13
Actual Score: Tennessee 13, Baltimore 10
Kansas City (1-3) at Carolina (3-1)
The Chiefs were fortunate to pull off an upset last week against a Broncos defense that is struggling to stop anyone this year. This week, they run into a more physical unit and get upended.
Prediction: Carolina 22, Kansas City 16
Actual Score: Carolina 34, Kansas City 0
Chicago (2-2) at Detroit (0-3)
This game scares me because the Bears will be without their top receiver (for what it’s worth) and probably three of their best defenders. I’ll put it this way: this is a game the Bears should win but might not.
Prediction: Chicago 27, Detroit 20
Actual Score: Chicago 34, Detroit 7
Atlanta (2-2) at Green Bay (2-2)
The Packers may be without Aaron Rodgers this week, which severely limits what they can do offensively, but this Falcons team can’t possibly win at Lambeau, can they?
Prediction: Green Bay 24, Atlanta 20
Actual Score: Atlanta 27, Green Gay 24
Indianapolis (1-2) at Houston (0-3)
Another possible upset awaits. The Colts can’t seem to stop the run and their offense isn’t as high-powered as usual. But I think with the week off this past week, the Colts were able to hammer some things out and will defeat their division rival.
Prediction: Indianapolis 28, Houston 20
Actual Score: Indianapolis 31, Houston 27
San Diego (2-2) at Miami (1-2)
With Miami’s upset win over the Patriots, and in the manner that they got it done, anything is possible. And while San Diego’s pass defense is the worst in the league, I think their run defense prevails.
Prediction: San Diego 28, Miami 24
Actual Score: Miami 17, San Diego 10
Seattle (1-2) at NY Giants (3-0)
Matt Hasselbeck is reportedly getting some weapons back this week in Bobby Engram and Deion Branch, and Eli Manning is losing one in Plaxico Burress. But the Giants are still one of the best teams in the league from top to bottom and should be able to win this game.
Prediction: NY Giants 27, Seattle 20
Actual Score: NY Giants 44, Seattle 6
Washington (3-1) at Philadelphia (2-2)
Another great NFC East battle. I don’t buy the Redskins’ hype, though. I think the Eagles’ defense will make life difficult on Jason Campbell and the Redskins will have trouble stopping Donovan McNabb.
Prediction: Phildelphia 23, Washington 20
Actual Score: Washington 23, Philadelphia 17
Tampa Bay (3-1) at Denver (3-1)
This should be a high-scoring game with little defense, as most of Denver’s games have been this year. Brian Griese has 4 touchdowns vs. 6 interceptions and one of these games, his turnovers will hurt the Buccaneers. I think this one could be the game.
Prediction: Denver 31, Tampa Bay 27
Actual Score: Denver 16, Tampa Bay 13
Buffalo (4-0) at Arizona (2-2)
I still can’t believe Buffalo is 4-0 right now. It’s bringing back memories from the early 90s. Even more so, it’s bringing back memories of 2001 when Dick Jauron was coaching the Bears and they finished 13-3 behind efficient offense and a solid defense. The Bills are sixth against the pass and that’s what the Cardinals do best.
Prediction: Buffalo 26, Arizona 21
Actual Score: Arizona 41, Buffalo 17
Cincinnati (0-4) at Dallas (3-1)
This has got to be a lock of the week. I’d be shocked if a winless and disoriented Bengals team waltzed into Dallas and upset the heavily-favored Cowboys.
Prediction: Dallas 27, Cincinnati 14
Actual Score: Dallas 31, Cincinnati 22
New England (2-1) at San Francisco (2-2)
The Dolphins may have upset an unsuspecting Patriots team, but following a bye week, I’ve got to think that New England is more prepared and refocused on the task at hand. They should be able to shut down the 49ers.
Prediction: New England 24, San Francisco 17
Actual Score: New England 30, San Francisco 21
Pittsburgh (3-1) at Jacksonville (2-2)
A good rematch from last year’s playoffs when the Jaguars knocked off the Steelers. After starting 0-2, the Jags have been on a role lately and have found their running game. But can they run against the 4th ranked run defense of the Steelers? I’m guessing probably not, which means David Garrard will have to step it up. I’m leaning towards the Jaguars on this one because Willie Parker is out for this week and Rashard Mendenhall is done for the year.
Prediction: Jacksonville 17, Pittsburgh 14
Actual Score: Pittsburgh 26, Jacksonville 21
Minnesota (1-3) at New Orleans (2-2)
Adrian Peterson is questionable on the injury report, but should play. He played last week and rushed for 80 yards and two scores. The Saints can’t defend the run, which means Drew Brees will have to light it up through the air again. I think he can and will.
Prediction: New Orleans 24, Minnesota 17
Actual Score: Minnesota 30, New Orleans 27