By Doug Halberstadt
After starting the season with a 23-9 record, I ran into some trouble in week three. With only the Monday night game still to be determined, I was 7-8. I took Denver over Oakland in that game. The one thing I have gotten correct all three weeks is the outcome of the Bears’ games. They’ve started with three straight wins. They haven’t been pretty, but they’re still wins.
This week, they’re on the road for the second straight week. After getting by the Steelers in Pittsburgh last Sunday night, they’ll travel to the Motor City this week to face their division foe, the Lions. The Lions have running back Reggie Bush and wide receiver Calvin “Megatron” Johnson. Those two offensive weapons will give the Bears their toughest test so far this season. I think they’ll be up for it. I’m taking Chicago to go to a perfect 4-0 to start the year.
The banged-up Green Bay Packers have a bye this week and will use the time off to try to get some of their players healthy. The Carolina Panthers are the other team with a bye this week.
Elsewhere in the NFC North, the Minnesota Vikings will be in London, England, to face the Steelers. Both teams will be seeking their first win of the season. If the Steelers can avoid the turnovers and protect the ball better than they did against the Bears, they should come away with the win. I’ll take the Steelers to get win No. 1.
Tomorrow night’s (Thursday, Sept. 26) game features the San Francisco 49ers visiting the St. Louis Rams. Despite looking really bad in their last two games, I’m picking the 49ers to get things back on the right track and knock off the Rams.
Baltimore should come away with a win after they visit Buffalo. I like Cincinnati over Cleveland in the Ohio Bowl. The New York Giants didn’t score a point last week against Carolina. This week, they’re in Kansas City to face the Chiefs. I don’t think KC will shut them out, but I do think they’ll put up more points than N.Y. I’m taking the Chiefs at home.
Arizona visits the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I think the Bucs will fall to 0-4 and the Cardinals will improve to 2-2. The Indianapolis Colts are in Jacksonville to face the Jaguars. Many people feel the Jaguars are the worst team in the NFL. I happen to agree. This should be a pretty easy win for the Colts.
The Tennessee Titans host the New York Jets in a late afternoon game on Sunday. Both teams are 2-1. I’m giving the edge to the home team in this one. I think the Titans will improve to 3-1 and hand the Jets their second loss.
Seattle is well rested and looks like one of the elite teams in the NFL. That will spell trouble for the Houston Texans. I’m taking the Seahawks on the road. Another road team I like this week is the Dallas Cowboys. They travel to San Diego. Despite being at home, the Chargers don’t have enough weapons to get past Dallas.
The Broncos are another one of the teams that seems to be stronger than everyone else around them. This week, they welcome the Philadelphia Eagles into Mile High Stadium. After winning their season-opener, the Eagles have dropped two in a row. I think that will be three in a row after they leave Denver. The Broncos are always tough at home, and this week won’t be any different.
Another team that has been a big disappointment is the Washington Redskins. They’ve started 0-3 and have a lot of questions swirling around their quarterback and offense. This week, they travel to Oakland. The Raiders are an enigma as well. I don’t think they’re as bad as some of the other teams with similar losing records. I like what they’re trying to do with Terrelle Pryor leading the team. I’m going to take the Raiders on their home field.
The New England Patriots will be looking to remain undefeated when they visit the Falcons in the Sunday night game in Atlanta. The Falcons are 1-2 and will be dangerous. I think this will be a good game and a close game, but I’m going with the Patriots to survive a nail-biter and drop Atlanta to 1-3.
Miami is surprising a lot of people around the league. I haven’t picked them correctly yet this year. This week, we’ll find out if they are a for real 3-0 team. They will have to beat the New Orleans Saints in front of a national television audience in the Monday night game if they plan on improving to 4-0. I don’t see that happening. I’m taking the Saints to hand the Dolphins their first loss of the year.
There are my picks for week No. 4 of the season. You can hear how they match up against the morning guys on McDuff and Company during the original “Fearless NFL Picks.” The show airs at 7:30 a.m. each Friday morning on NTA 100.5 FM.
From the Sept. 25-Oct. 1, 2013, issue