1.New England Partriots (3-1) @ Denver Broncos (4-0) [Sunday 4:15 PM ET-CBS]
- Before the season began, who would of predicted that the Denver Broncos would be 4-0 and have argualby the best defense in the NFL? The Patriots are by far the toughest opponent the Broncos will have faced. Tom Brady continues to shake off the rust from a mediocre start to the season following recronstructive knee surgery, but may suffer a relapse with Champ Bailey and Brian Dawkins roaming the secondary. The Pats are coming off a big win against the Baltimore Ravens, but their defense allowed the Ravens to convert 9-14 third downs. In the first three games, New England allowed a 30 percent success rate on third down. Denver has struggled on third downs this season, but they are a quick striking team. Five of the eight drives that led to a touchdown this season were of 3 plays or less. Look for the Patriots to force the short passes and slow down the tempo of the game.
Prediction: New England 20 - Denver 17 (+3.5)
2.Cincinnati Bengals (3-1) @ Baltimore Ravens (3-1) [Sunday 1:00PM ET-FOX]
- The Bengals are the team everyone should be talking about. Their only loss came at the hands of the Denver Broncos and a miracle play in week one. The Ravens are coming off a disappointing loss to the Patriots where a dropped pass on third and fourth down cost them a possible game winning drive. These two teams now meet in a battle for AFC North supremacy. The Ravens and Bengals have split the last 14 meetings. Cedric Benson will not be much of a factor this week. Baltimore boosts the number one run stopping defense, allowing 59.5 yards a game. That leaves the ball in Carson Palmer's hand, who has thrown 5 interceptions - 3rd most in the NFL. Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are fuming over two roughing the passer calls that led to touchdown drives. The Bengals are smack in the middle of the Ravens' war path. But the defense is no longer the talk of the town. Joe Flacco has brought the offense up to hieghts they have never seen in their exsistence. Not a good sign for the 28th ranked pass defense. The Bengals are no push overs. They took care of business at Lambo Field and at home against the defending Champs, but they were 3 minutes away from a tie against the Browns last week. If the Bengals pull off a victory this week expect a them to be the talk of the North.
Prediction: Cincinnati 7 - Baltimore 30 (-9.0)
3.New York Jets (3-1) @ Miami Dolphins (1-3)
[Monday 8:30PM ET-ESPN]
- Jets fans still have a bad taste in their mouth from how the Farve Era ended in New York. If they wanted any chance on making the playoffs, New York would have to take care of business at home versus their long time rival, Miami. The Dolphins marched into the Meadowlands and sent Brett Farve into retirement for the second time in as many years. Farve moved on and so did the Jets. With rookie QB Mark Sanchez now leading this team and Rex Ryan at the helm, the Jets have found their identity. The Dolphins have done everything right except win. The team is averaging an NFL best 183.5 yards on the ground a game, are a close second behind the Ravens in rushing defense(61.0/G) and are second behind the Giants in time of possession (35:57/G). The Jets are allowing 100.3 rushing yards a game. Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams have been unstoppable. The Saints exposed the Jets' weakness last week: force Mark Sanchez to throw and he will play like a rookie. New York's rushing attack doesn't look to fare any better against Miami's defense, so expect Sanchez to make some forced throws. The Jets have won the last three games and 4 of the last 5 at Land Shark Stadium. Like always, these two teams will grind it out and supply a national television audience with a great game.
Prediction: New York 13 - Miami 14 (+1)
Two of the remaining five win-less teams will no longer have a goose egg under the win column. Houston doesn't win, but they cover against Arizona, who is coming off their bye week.
- (2-2) Washington 13 - (0-4) Carolina 20(+4.5)
- (0-4) Cleveland 19 (+6.0) - (1-3) Buffalo 12
- (2-2) Houston 30 (+6.0) - (1-2) Arizona 32