By Danny Cox
Not much has changed from week three to week four of the 2012 NFL season because things are still strange and still bizarre. It is almost tiring saying that there’s no way to predict what is going to happen during this year because each week brings about even more surprises.
The first bye weeks of the season are beginning with the Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers taking one off.
A lot of big games are happening this weekend and many of them mean plenty to numerous teams. Even though it is only week four, this is “do or die” time for so many and they’ve got to get a victory or the season may already be over.
Thursday Night Football: Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens
There is not a lot to wonder about here. Cleveland is showing promise from time-to-time, but the Ravens just have too much going for them on both sides of the ball.
Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta is off to an undefeated start, and it is going to continue here. The Falcons are showing promise to be the NFC contender in this year’s Super Bowl, and it continues this week. Faith is being lost in Cam Newton in Carolina, and that may happen a bit more in the A-T-L.
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills
While the Bills have started to come about and appear to be a talented team ever since getting blown out in week one, they’ve still got a lot of weaknesses. New England’s loss to Arizona may not be considered a fluke anymore as the Cardinals are just impressive. Look for the Patriots to take this battle.
Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions
The Vikings came out last week and took down the mighty 49ers. Detroit came out last week and got topped by a hapless Tennessee team. The Lions may have only lost by three points and in overtime, but they gave up 44 points and let Jake Locker pass for close to 400 yards.
San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs
KC really doesn’t have a good team, and the Saints let them just take them down last week. Give San Diego even a remotely decent coach, and they would be Super Bowl contenders every single season.
Sure, Seattle was just involved in the most controversial ending to an NFL game in history, but they’re still a very good team. St. Louis shows flashes, but doesn’t have enough to stay in the game for the duration.
San Francisco 49ers at New York Jets
One of the better games of the entire weekend, and it’s going to be between two of the top teams in the league. San Francisco came out flat against the Vikings, but it is doubtful that a Harbaugh would let that happen two weeks in a row. The Jets escaped Miami in overtime, but Sanchez is playing better than he has in years. Close game here.
Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans
Houston continues their tear through the AFC and the league as a whole with this win over a Titans’ team that tries to shine, but does it rarely.
Cincinnati Bengals at Jacksonville Jaguars
The Bengals are playing better than they have in a very long time, and it will likely continue this week. Jacksonville just doesn’t have the talent on defense or the firepower on offense to compete with many teams in the NFL at all.
Miami Dolphins at Arizona Cardinals
Miami just doesn’t have enough on the table, and Reggie Bush’s injury could prove to be a huge deal as he is a giant part of their offense. Kevin Kolb and the Cardinals are no longer winning by accident; they’re winning with talent.
Where did that Raiders’ squad come from last week? Taking down the Steelers is exactly what they needed after an awful start to the season, and Carson Palmer is looking to keep them rolling. Peyton Manning has brought a lot to the Broncos, but there’s still so much more to do. This game could be a barn burner.
New Orleans Saints at Green Bay Packers
Green Bay is coming off of a tough loss after one of the most controversial calls in NFL history. It was also what eventually got the replacement refs off of the field. New Orleans is seeking their first win of the season, and they need it or the season may be kissed goodbye. One of these emotions – anger or desperation – is going to give.
Early signs of life from both teams this season made many wonder if they had underestimated them. Now, the Redskins and Bucs are both falling back where they were expected to be. Look for the Redskins to bounce back a bit and take this one.
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
The Giants looked like Super Bowl champions last week. The Eagles looked like absolute chumps as Kevin Kolb totally outplayed Michael Vick. Philly does not look good right now, but New York is catching fire.
Monday Night Football: Chicago Bears at Dallas Cowboys
This is a hell of a game to end the week and it is going to be one that may show one elite NFC team and one NFC team needing to play catch-up. Take away the loss against Green Bay, and the Bears have looked incredible this season. Get rid of the loss to the Seahawks, and the same can be said for the Cowboys. Consider this the smash mouth game of week four.
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. His work can be found on Examiner.com.