NFL: Week 4

New York Jets versus Buffalo Bills – The Bills are better than I thought they were. This is good, but it is not good enough to beat the New York Jets. The Jets defense is not quite as good as it was last year but it is plenty stout. As long as the Jets don’t turn the ball over, they should win this one without too much trouble.

Cincinnati Bengals versus Cleveland Browns – Two teams that are really not going anywhere. There were expectations at the beginning of the year for the Cincinnati Bengals, but their offense is anemic and their defense is just okay. Unless Carson Palmer plays better, this team is going nowhere fast. The Cleveland Browns have absolutely no defense. I’m going to side with the Bengals because…

Baltimore Ravens versus Pittsburgh Steelers – In my opinion, this is the game to watch. Both of these defenses are playing well. For the Baltimore Ravens, their All-Star running back Ray Rice is scheduled to return. The Ravens have to figure out a way to move the ball. Actually, the same can be said for the Pittsburgh Steelers. I’m leaning towards the Pittsburgh Steelers because their offense has figured out a way to move the ball and score this season. This should be a great game.

Denver Broncos versus Tennessee Titans – the Tennessee Titans should be able move the ball against the Denver Broncos. Vince Young has a quarterback rating of 97. He’s thrown three touchdown passes and only two interceptions this year. He continues to show promise. Chris Johnson continues to run like the premier back that he is. Tennessee’s defense is solid. I think Tennessee will pick up a few turnovers against the Denver Broncos. I look for Tennessee to win by six or more points.

Detroit Lions versus Green Bay Packers – there is no way that the Detroit Lions can win this game if the Green Bay Packers are really contenders, which I think they are. I think they had an atrocious game on Monday Night Football. Green Bay’s secondary needs to tighten up. I’m not sure what the coaching staff can do but they have to figure out a way to get these guys to play better. I don’t think that Shaun Hill will challenge the Green Bay secondary. I look for Green Bay to try to get a lead early then unveil multiple exotic blitzes which will keep Shaun Hill off-balance. I look for the Green Bay Packers to win this one by 10 or more.

San Francisco 49ers versus Atlanta Falconsthere is complete disarray in San Francisco. The 49ers entered this season with lots of expectations. They have met none of them. Their offense is awful, pitiful, ineffectual and should bring any San Francisco 49ers fan to their knees, crying. They have way too many offensive weapons to be this bad. Mike Singletary has to figure this out or his career as a head coach will be over. The Atlanta Falcons have just come off a major win against the New Orleans Saints. Matt Ryan looked confident. These are two teams going in the opposite direction. If San Francisco can figure out a way to win this game it will be a huge boost to their team but I just don’t see it. I’m picking the Falcons in this one.

Carolina Panthers versus New Orleans Saints – the offense of the New Orleans Saints just hasn’t quite clicked. They don’t have the trouble of the Minnesota Vikings but they’re not producing the big plays that they produced last year. The Carolina Panthers on the other hand are rebuilding on defense and are confused on offense. Where’s their vaunted running game? I look for New Orleans to figure out a way to win this one. (Then again, I said that last week and they lost to the Atlanta Falcons. Maybe if I said it enough, they’d listen.)

Seattle Seahawks versus St. Louis Rams – The Seattle Seahawks continue to surprise me. They are winning. Somehow, the Seattle Seahawks have the number two-ranked defense in the league. The St. Louis Rams continue to rebuild. This game, like most in the NFL, will come down to turnovers. I’m giving a slight edge in this game to the Seattle Seahawks.

Afternoon Games
Indianapolis Colts versus the Jacksonville Jaguars – The Indianapolis Colts do not have the same amount of explosiveness that they had in previous years. They seem to spend much of the first and second quarters feeling out their opponents. Their defense is really missing Bob Sanders. I just don’t see how Jacksonville will get by Peyton Manning and the Colts. I’m picking the Indianapolis Colts by seven.

Houston Texans versus Oakland Raiders – The Oakland Raiders are playing better football than I thought they would. They aren’t the worst team in the league. Houston needs to bounce back and play well. Unfortunately, it’s unclear whether all world receiver Andre Johnson will play. He is nursing a sore ankle which he re-injured during the Dallas game. In spite of his absence, I look for the Houston Texans to win this one.

Washington Redskins versus Philadelphia Eagles – this should be a huge game. Both teams will have plenty of energy. The question is, what effect will Michael Vick have? Will he give the Philadelphia Eagles an edge over a relatively stingy Redskins defense? The Redskins offense is playing much better than it did last year. Donovan McNabb is playing very well. Michael Vick’s quarterback rating is 110. He has the second-best quarterback rating in the league. The quarterback who makes a big mistake will lose this game. I’m giving a slight edge to this game to the Philadelphia Eagles because they’re playing at home. If you love the NFL, there are few games that will be as good as this.

Arizona Cardinals versus San Diego Chargers – The San Diego Chargers must win this game. They seem to be sleepwalking through the portion of this season just like they did last year. The Arizona Cardinals need to place an ad in the newspaper for an available NFL quarterback. They need Kurt Warner back in a bad way. Unfortunately, I don’t think he’s available. Look for San Diego to figure out a way to make this game close. They will pull it out in the end. BTW, where is Shawne Merrimon? He has no sacks so far this year. None.

Chicago Bears versus New York Giants – the New York Giants are just playing very well. They’re not protecting Eli Manning. Eli is holding the ball a little too long. The Giants are turning the ball over way too much. The Chicago Bears are great at getting turnovers. Jay Cutler has not been the interception machine he was last year. He seems to be getting more and more comfortable in the pocket. He’s hitting open receivers downfield. If the New York Giants aren’t careful, not only will they lose this game but they could lose it big. I look for Chicago to continue their winning ways.

Monday Night Football
New England Patriots versus Miami Dolphins – what happened to the Patriots defense? They are simply awful, ranked 27th. I think the Dolphins should revert back to their old strategy. Keep the ball away from Tom Brady. Run the ball. Eat up the clock and, most importantly, score. If the Dolphins are able to do this they will win. The key to this game is Miami’s offense not turning the ball over. I’m picking the Miami Dolphins, but just barely.

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.


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