Steve Believes: Week 4, 2018 NFL Season

  • Minnesota Vikings vs. Los Angeles Rams. My lock of Week 3, the Vikings, got throttled at home by the inferior Buffalo Bills, 27-6. As for the Rams, they are head and shoulders the best team in the league right now. However, they will be without both Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters for this game. Still, the Rams have too much fire power for the Vikings to handle. Especially with Everson Griffen out for this game. So with that being said, I like the Rams to go 4-0.
  • Cincinnati Bengals vs. Atlanta Falcons. The Bengals gave the Carolina Panthers all that they could handle last week, but ended up on the wrong side of the final score. The Falcons offense was high-flying last week against the New Orleans Saints, but their defense let them down in the Week 3 loss in overtime. Plus, they lost another key inside defender, as free safety Ricardo Allen was lost for the season, due to injury. Allen is the third Falcons insider defender to go on IR, along with strong safety Keanu Neal and middle linebacker Deion Jones, although the latter is designated to return this season. The Bengals could be without A.J. Green, but the Bengals have other reliable playmakers as well, and that could spell trouble for the somewhat depleted Falcons defense. So with that being said, I like the Bengals to rebound this week.
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Chicago Bears. Turnovers, penalties, and failure to stop the Pittsburgh Steelers from gaining first downs late in the game led to the Buccaneers no longer being in the ranks of the unbeaten. As for the Bears, they erased a 14-0 deficit against the Arizona Cardinals, thanks mostly to Khalil Mack and the Bears’ defense. Look for Mack & Company to shut down Tampa Bay’s offense, and look for Mitchell Trubisky to have his breakout game against a Tampa Bay defense that struggles mightily in their secondary. Bears to make it 3-1.
  • Detroit Lions vs. Dallas Cowboys. The Lions were one of the more impressive teams in Week 3, as they thoroughly outplayed the New England Patriots in a 26-10 win. As for the Cowboys, their lack of talent at the wide receiver position reared its head again last week against the Seattle Seahawks, and could be an issue all season long. Defensively, look for the Lions to load up against Ezekiel Elliott and dare Dak Prescott to beat them, while Matthew Stafford picks apart the Dallas defense. The Lions will build off their Week 3 win with another win in Big D.
  • Buffalo Bills vs. Green Bay Packers. Last week, the Bills authored one of the biggest early season upsets in recent memory with a 27-6 win against the Vikings in Minnesota. This week, they wrap up their NFC North road series with a trip Lambeau Field against the Packers. I’m tempted to take the Bills here, but the Packers are stewing and I look for them to take it out on the Bills for their second win of the year.
  • Philadelphia Eagles vs. Tennessee Titans. Last week marked the return of Carson Wentz, who looked somewhat rusty in his return to action against the Indianapolis Colts. As for the Titans, their offense has looked ugly the past two weeks yet they are 2-1. Look for the Eagles defense to pounce on Tennessee’s anemic offense, and look for Wentz & Company to do just enough offensively to get to 3-1 this week.
  • Houston Texans vs. Indianapolis Colts. The Texans have too much talent to be one of the worst teams in the league. But as Bill Parcells once said, you are what your record is, as they are 0-3 this season. The Colts have shown life early this season, with a convincing win against the Washington Redskins on the road, and close losses against both the Bengals and Eagles. I look for them to add to the Texans’ woes this season and in Indianapolis, where they are 2-14 all-time combined at the RCA Dome and Lucas Oil Field as the visiting team. Make it 2-15.
  • Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots. The AFC East is no longer a cupcake division for the Patriots, as the Dolphins are 3-0, while the Patriots are 1-2. The Dolphins are one of three teams that’s unbeaten, along with the Rams and Kansas City Chiefs. Will the Patriots right the ship and knock the Dolphins from the ranks of the unbeaten? Normally, I would say yes, given their history. But I don’t get that vibe with this year’s Patriots team. So with that being said, I’m taking the Dolphins to add to their misery.
  • New York Jets vs. Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jets almost dealt the Cleveland Browns a 20th consecutive non-win, as they had a 14-0 lead for most of the second quarter, only to be outscored 21-3 the rest of the way. The Jaguars lost a game that they should won against the Titans, in which their offense wasted a valiant effort by Calais Campbell and the rest of the Jacksonville defense. The Jaguars are stewing over that 9-6 loss and will take it out on the Jets.
  • Cleveland Browns vs. Oakland Raiders. The up-and-coming Browns finally snapped their 19-game winless streak with a comeback win against the Jets, and now set their sights on snapping their 22-game losing streak on the road. As for the Raiders, they return to the Oakland Coliseum after a two-game road trip in which they played better than they did in their home opener against the Rams. The Raiders are 0-3, but they are due for a win and they’ll get it this week in a mini upset over the Browns.
  • Seattle Seahawks vs. Arizona Cardinals. The days of being the prohibited favorite to win the NFC West appear to be over for the Seahawks. But they are still a prideful bunch with the talent to be in the NFC playoff mix, as evidenced by their convincing win over the Cowboys last week. As for the Cardinals, nothing has seemed to work thus far in the Steve Wilks era. Could this be the week that they get in the win column? I’m tempted to say yes, but the Seahawks are the far superior team and I think that they even their record at 2-2.
  • New Orleans Saints vs. New York Giants. All three games that both of these teams have played this season have been decided by eight points or less. However, the Saints are 2-1, while the Giants are 1-2. And as much as I like the Giants to pull the upset, they’re going against a more powerful offense in the Saints, which is a far cry from what the Texans are. I look for the Saints to slowly but surely pull away from the Giants in the 4th quarter to get to 3-1.
  • San Francisco 49ers vs. Los Angeles Chargers. San Francisco’s hopes for contending for at least a Wild Card spot took a turn for the absolute worst, as Jimmy Garoppolo was lost for the season with a torn ACL last week against the Kansas City Chiefs. As for the Chargers, the early season struggles continued for them, as they allowed 35 points and 521 total net yards in last week’s loss against their crosstown rival, the Rams. The 49ers won’t put up those types of numbers against the Chargers, especially now that C.J. Beathard is the starter. Look for Melvin Ingram to have a big day against a 49ers offensive line that has allowed 13 sacks thus far, and look for Philip Rivers to exploit a 49ers secondary that is minus Richard Sherman. Chargers to win this battle of California teams.
  • Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers. The next chapter in the NFL’s best rivalry occurs in primetime, with the Ravens rebounding with a win against the Denver Broncos, while the Steelers righted the ship against the Buccaneers. Either of these teams have a chance to lead the AFC North when Week 4 is all said and done. But the question is who will it be? Well given the Ravens’ history of playing well at Heinz Field, along with the Ravens’ revamped receiving corps having the edge against the Steelers’ porous pass defense, I have to give the edge to the road team.
  • Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos. The talk of the league is Pat Mahomes, who is on fire with 13 touchdowns and zero interceptions this season, along with a career record of 4-0. The Chiefs defense also protected the lead late last week against the 49ers, and doubled their sack total of Weeks 1 and 2. Justin Houston played a big role in that, as he had two of the four sacks that the Chiefs amassed against Jimmy Garoppolo. Look for him to have a big day against Denver’s offensive line, and look for Mahomes to light it up in Denver for his fifth career win in five tries.