By Doug Halberstadt
It’s hard for me to believe the Detroit Lions are tied with the Green Bay Packers at 3-0 atop the NFC North. The Lions are the media darlings of the NFL so far this season with their perfect start. The Packers are living up to everyone’s expectations as the defending world champions.
According to my prognostications, I think they’ll both be 4-0 at this time next week. The Lions are in Dallas to face the Cowboys. The Packers have a home game against the Broncos.
I also think the other two NFC North teams will win this week as well. The Bears should improve to 2-2 with a home win over the Carolina Panthers, and I believe the Minnesota Vikings will pick up their first win of the year on the road as they play the Chiefs in Kansas City.
Elsewhere around the NFC, I look for the Saints to knock off the Jaguars in Jacksonville. I’m going with the 49ers in a bit of an upset special over the Eagles. I’m basing this pick on the injury Eagles quarterback Michael Vick suffered to his right hand in last week’s game against the Giants.
The Tennessee Titans square off against the Browns in Cleveland. I’m going with the Titans on the road. There are a bevy of other road teams I think will win in week four. First of all, I like the Redskins over the Rams in St. Louis. I’m 99.9 percent positive the Buffalo Bills will go to 4-0 with a road win over the Bengals in Cincinnati. The other road team I’m taking is the Giants against the Cardinals in Arizona. I’m only about 80 percent sure on that one.
The Steelers barely got by the Colts last week with a field goal in the waning seconds of the game. This week, they have a much tougher opponent, the Texans. Even though both teams have identical 2-1 records, I think the Texans are the better team so far this year, and they will improve to 3-1 and drop the Steelers to 2-2.
The Falcons will fly out West to visit the Seahawks’ nest. The Falcons are coming off a loss to the Buccaneers, and the Seahawks are fresh off their first win of the season against the Cardinals. I don’t think Seattle can make it two in a row against teams with bird names. I’m taking the Falcons.
Besides the Bears game, I’m most interested in watching the Raiders at home against the Patriots. I think the Raiders may be the most improved team in the league. The Bills proved last week the Patriots are not invincible. I’m taking the Raiders in my second upset special of the week.
The Dolphins almost won their first game of the year last week. They dropped their game to the Browns by 1 point, 17-16. This week, they are in San Diego. The Chargers will add to the Dolphins’ woes and drop them to 0-4, and this week it will be by more than a single point.
The Jets and the Ravens may prove to be another good contest. Both teams are 2-1. The Ravens demolished the Rams last week and the Jets got a wake-up call in their first loss of the year to the Raiders. I look for the Ravens to triumph in a closely-fought game, but this one could go either way.
Finally, the 0-3 Colts limp into Tampa Bay (2-1) on Monday night. The Colts are showing the league why Peyton Manning has won all of those MVP awards. Without Manning, the Colts aren’t anywhere near the team they are when he’s playing. Their defense tried to win the game for them last week. Unfortunately for them, it’s going to take more than a stellar defense to beat the Bucs. I see the Colts dropping to 0-4 and Tampa Bay improving to 3-1.
Last week, I was 10-5 heading into the Monday night game. I picked the Cowboys over the Redskins in that contest. At press time, I was unable to obtain this week’s results for my radio friends at WNTA 1330 AM. Tune in this Friday morning at 7:35 a.m. to hear all of our picks for week four and to get caught up on who is leading the pack.
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the Sept. 28-Oct. 4, 2011, issue