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Predictions for week four of the NFL

Michael Kim
nfl1 300x210 Predictions for week four of the NFL

Calvin Johnson leads the NFL with six receiving touchdowns

Mediocrity is thy name.  Like a Dallas Cowboys shotgun snap, I can’t seem to get a grip on consistency.  A perfect Week 2 of NFL picks is followed by a less-than-spectacular Week 3.  Unfortunately, I’ve had worse already this season.  I should be due for a good week, however, based on my early-season pattern (1-4 in Week 1, 5-0 in Week 2, 2-3 in Week 3).

By the way, 12 of the 16 games were decided by seven points or fewer. That’s tied for the most in a single week in league history.  So that’s why I had such trouble picking the correct games!  Hey, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

As always, a tip of the cap to the ESPN research department for providing many of the notes, statistics and trends found below.  Enjoy the games!

LIONS (3-0) vs. COWBOYS (2-1):

Which team is the hottest in the NFL these days?  How about them Lions?

Dating back to last season, the boys in Honolulu blue and silver have won seven consecutive regular-season games, the league’s longest active win streak.

One key reason for their success is the nearly unstoppable Calvin Johnson.  The receiver, nicknamed “Megatron”, leads the NFL with six receiving touchdowns.  He has two scoring catches in each of the first three games, making him the first player ever to do so.

Even though Tony Romo was able to overcome the pain in his broken ribs to beat the Redskins, beating the Lions presents a stiffer challenge.  It is one they will fail.

Pick:  Lions

49ERS (2-1) vs. EAGLES (1-2):

Can they do it again?

The 49ers’ win at Cincinnati last week ended their 11-game losing streak in non-NFC West road games.  A win Sunday in Philly will give them consecutive non-divisional road game victories for the first time since 1996.

Like LeBron James and the Miami Heat, Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles are having a tough time living up to their “Dream Team” hype.  The Eagles have lost five of their last six games, including the playoffs.   A loss to the 49ers would give the Eagles their first three-game losing streak in the regular season since 2007.

Vick says he is “100 percent” certain he will play despite a badly bruised right hand.  Fortunately for Vick and the Eagles, he’s lefthanded.

Pick:  Eagles

PATRIOTS (2-1) vs. RAIDERS (2-1):

Tom Brady has thrown for 1,327 yards this season — the most in NFL history by a player in any three consecutive games.  In addition, the Patriots top the league with 1,621 total yards – the most ever by a team through three games.  On the flipside, the once-vaunted New England defense has allowed a league-worst 1,406 yards.

That’s the opening the Raiders have to keep up with the Patriots in what could turn out to be a track meet in Foxborough.   Good thing Oakland leads the NFL in yards per game (185.0) and their eight rushing touchdowns are twice as many as any other team.

But the Raiders catch Brady and company coming off their first loss in a regular season game after ten straight wins.  Guess who pays for that?  It could be a long flight home to Oakland.

Pick:  Patriots

VIKINGS (0-3) vs. CHIEFS (0-3):

These two teams have played so poorly yet they make for a good game – just the sixth meeting between winless teams (through at least three games) in the last decade.  Regardless how this game turns out, these two preseason playoff contenders have a mountain to climb.  Since 1990, only three teams have started 0-3 or worse and reached the playoffs.

The Chiefs have had a rough start to the season, in large part, to their schedule.   The combined record of their first three opponents (Bills, Lions and Chargers) is 8-1.  Now come Donovan McNabb, Adrian Peterson and the Vikings, who have led each of their first three games at halftime before losing.  Sorry, Chiefs.  This week offers no relief.

Pick:  Vikings

JETS (2-1) vs. RAVENS (2-1):

The Ravens are going for their third straight 3-1 start, as they look to beat their former defensive coordinator Rex Ryan for the second time since he took over the Jets.  Baltimore won the first matchup in the 2010 season opener by a 10-9 score.

Ryan and his defense will have to account for Joe Flacco’s new favorite target, Ravens rookie wide receiver Torrey Smith, who became the first rookie in NFL history with three touchdown catches in the first quarter of a game.  Incredibly, those three TDs came on his first three career receptions.

The Ravens have won six consecutive games against the Jets and have won all three of their games played in Baltimore where they will play on Sunday.

Pick:  Ravens

Michael Kim is the host of SportsCenter, ESPN America’s flagship US sports news programme, now airing in the UK on ESPN America – Sky channel 430, Virgin channel 531 and TalkTalk TV channel 566 – every weekday morning live from 6:00am with an updated show at 10:30pm. For more details visit: www.espnamerica.com. Watch NFL Monday Night Football exclusively on ESPN this season, with Indianapolis Colts at Tampa Bay Buccaneers live from midnight on Monday 4th October. ESPN and ESPN America are the exclusive home of live NBA, MLB, NHL, NFL Monday Night Football, and NCAA US college sports in the UK.

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