Week 4 Notes & Predictions

By TLarner

After this week, we will be a quarter way through the season. While teams begin their bye weeks, there is still plenty of hard-hitting action to watch. Will your team come out on top this week?


Courtesy of nfl.com

Monday’s Results

Chicago pulled off an upset against divisional rival Green Bay on Monday Night Football. Both teams entered 2-0, and Chicago left 3-0, their best start since 2007, when they made it to the Super Bowl. The Packers began the fourth quarter up 17-7, but they gave up 13 points in the fourth, including the game winning field goal by Robbie Gould with four seconds left. Green Bay was flagged for a team-record 18 penalties after coach Mike McCarthy emphasized reducing the number of infractions committed. Aaron Rodgers threw for 316 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. He also ran for a score. Jay Cutler threw for 221 yards. a touchdown, and a pick. Packer’s linebacker Clay Matthews was held without a sack after recording three in each of the first two games. Chicago’s Devin Hester proved he can still return kicks with a 62-yard punt return for a touchdown.

News & Notes

Earlier this week, former Bills’ quarterback Trent Edwards signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Starter David Garrard hasn’t played particularly well so far this season. This may be a warning about his future.

The NFL and Rodger Goodell are still investigating an incident between Green Bay safety Nick Collins and fans following the Monday night game against Chicago. Collins, who threw his mouthpiece into the stands, claims he was taunted and spit on by fans.

Six players were fined for their actions in last week’s game between the Giants and Titans. Ahmad Bradshaw was fined $2,500 for a chop block. Linemen David Diehl and Kareem McKenzie were charged $5,000 for unnecessary roughness, and Adam Koets was hit with another $5,000 bill for a facemask penalty. Titan’s corner Cortland Finnegan and defensive lineman Jason Babin were both fined $5,000. Finnegan threw receiver Steve Smith down by his helmet, and Babin was charged for a late hit.

For a list of other players fined this week, check out nfl.com.

Veteran safety Michael Lewis has asked for his release from the 49ers. He missed practice on Friday for personal reasons, according to Coach Mike Singletary. According to reports, Lewis has lost trust in the San Francisco organization.


Courtesy of nfl.com

Injury Report

Andre Johnson of the Texans is currently a game-time decision according to Coach Gary Kubiak. Johnson, who claims he will play against Oakland, re-aggravated his ankle injury in last week’s loss to Dallas.

Buffalo linebacker Paul Posluszny is expected to return after missing the last two weeks with a sprained knee.

The Colts have many stars listed as questionable for this week. Running backs Donald Brown and Joseph Addai both sat out of practice Friday. Pierre Garcon has missed practice all week, while Austin Collie was on the field yesterday.

Giants’ defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka will not play against the Bears. He practiced all week, but was examined by doctors when he complained about neck pain. It was discovered that Kiwanuka has a bulging disc in his neck, and his long term status is unknown.

Knowshon Moreno will not play against Tennessee. Moreno is still recovering from an injured hamstring. Correll Buckhalter and Laurence Maroney will split the carries again this week.

New York Corner Darrelle Revis will miss another game with an injured hamstring. He returned to practice this week, but Coach Rex Ryan said he will sit out until he is back to 100%. The Jets play in Buffalo this Sunday.

Running back Ray Rice is listed as questionable for this Sunday’s game against division rival Pittsburgh, but he is expected to play. Rice bruised his knee against Cleveland last week.

The St. Louis Rams have two game-time decisions for this week’s contest against Seattle. Steven Jackson is still nursing a groin injury, while safety Oshiomogho Atogwe has a bruised thigh. Both were limited in Friday’s practice.


Courtesy of nfl.com

Game of the Week: Washington at Philadelphia

My Week 4 Game of the Week brings the most productive Eagle back to Lincoln Financial Field, but in a Washington jersey. That’s right, Donovan McNabb is back to face his old team. The Eagles are at their usual spot on top of the NFC East at 2-1, while the Redskins are tied with Dallas and New York at 1-2. Philadelphia looks to get their first win at home, and Washington wants to win their first game on the road. McNabb also renews his old rivalry with Michael Vick.

The Eagles started the season with question marks surrounding the quarterback position, and they grew when Kevin Kolb suffered a concussion. However, Vick’s success has been highlighted on every sports broadcast across the country. He looks like the athlete that played in Atlanta a few years ago, but with one big difference, he isn’t leading the team in rushing yards. Yes, he is in a close second place with 170 yards on the ground, but Vick has been beating teams with his arm, not his legs. Last week against Jacksonville, he threw for 291 yards and three touchdowns. Never with the Falcons did Vick throw for 750 yards in his first three games of the season. Eagles’ running back LeSean McCoy is averaging over six yards per carry. Receivers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are also off to a hot start. Jackson leads the Eagles with 318 receiving yards and Maclin leads the team with four touchdown catches. Defensively, Pro Bowl end Trent Cole leads the team with 18 total tackles and added three sacks. Rookie free safety Nate Allen has two interceptions.

Unfortunately for new coach Mike Shanahan, the Redskins are off to a poor start. The offense is 19th in the league in points scored, and the defense is last in yards allowed. Individually, McNabb has played well. He has thrown for 833 yards in the first three weeks of the season. He doesn’t scramble like he used to, but McNabb has shown a few glimpses of his old self, running for 42 yards on three carries. The running game, lead by Clinton Portis, has been lack luster. Shanahan is known for making great running backs with his zone running scheme, and Portis was one of them in 2002 and ’03. This season, he has only 140 yards with a 3.7 yard per carry average. The defense looked promising against Dallas in Week 1, only allowing seven points to their division rival. In Weeks 2 and 3, the Texans and the Rams each scored 30 points on the ‘Skins. Albert Haynesworth has recorded a mere two tackles in his limited playing time.

Key Matchup: DeSean Jackson vs. DeAngelo Hall

Jackson has been a big play threat for Philadelphia since being drafted in 2008. Last season, Jackson averaged over 18 yards per catch, first among receivers with over 1,000 yards. So far in 2010, he has 318 yards on only 13 catches. That’s 24.5 yards per catch. He has been Vick’s favorite target, especially on deep patterns. Jackson had a 53-yard reception in Week 2, and a 61-yard touchdown catch in Week 3. Jackson hopes he and Vick can remain on the same page for Sunday’s divisional showdown.

Hall is the best corner on Washington’s roster. He has the speed to keep up with Jackson, but as a whole, the Redskins’ defense has been carved up by opposing quarterbacks. Against Dallas in Week 1, Tony Romo threw for 282 yards, and Miles Austin had 146 yards receiving. In Week 2 against Houston, Matt Schaub threw for 497 yards, and his top target, Andre Johnson, hauled in 158 of those yards. If the Redskins think they have a chance against the Eagles, Hall better stick to Jackson like glue, and force Vick to look toward his other options.


Washington has dropped two straight since their big win against Dallas. The Eagles have won two straight since losing to Green Bay in their season opener. Vick’s arm has torn apart a few defenses so far, and by the way the Redskins have been playing, don’t expect this game to be any different. The Eagles’ offense has a good chance of dropping another 30 points on Washington. McNabb hopes for cheers from his old crowd in Philly. While I wish him the best of luck, he may struggle against his old team. The fact that Washington hasn’t been able to run the ball won’t help him at all. The Eagles take another step toward winning their first NFC East title without McNabb by handing him another loss.

Best of the Rest (Home team in italics):

New York Jets over Buffalo

Cincinnati over Cleveland

Pittsburgh over Baltimore

Tennessee over Denver

Green Bay over Detroit

Atlanta over San Francisco

New Orleans over Carolina

St. Louis over Seattle

Indianapolis over Jacksonville

Houston over Oakland

Philadelphia over Washington

San Diego over Arizona

Chicago over New York Giants

New England over Miami

Last week’s results: 8-8

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15 Responses to "Week 4 Notes & Predictions"

  1. Bill   October 2, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    Whether he’s 70 percent of what he was in Atlanta, 90 percent, 60 percent … we’ll know that answer soon enough. But Vick’s recent resurgence made me remember how lousy his Atlanta offenses were. Check out his numbers from 2002 to 2006, when Atlanta won 37 of the 64 games he started:

    2002 (15 games): 2,936 yards, 16 TDs, 8 INTs, 81.6 rating, 777 rushing yards (8 TDs)
    2003 (4 games): 585 yards, 4 TDs, 3 INTs, 69.0 rating, 255 rushing yards (1 TD)
    2004 (15 games): 2,313 yards, 14 TDs, 12 INTs, 78.1 rating, 902 rushing yards (3 TDs)
    2005 (15 games): 2,412 yards, 15 TDs, 13 INTs, 73.1 rating, 597 rushing yards (6 TDs)
    2006 (16 games): 2,474 yards, 20 TDs, 13 INTs, 75.7 rating, 1,039 rushing yards (2 TDs)

    Not great, right? You could make a pretty strong “over … rated [clap clap clap-clap-clap]” case — until you look at his receivers. Much like Tracy McGrady during his Orlando apex, Vick’s supporting cast was significantly worse than we realized at the time. These were the six best seasons by any Atlanta receiver during that 2002-2006 stretch:

    Alge Crumpler (’05): 877 yards, 65 catches, 5 TDs
    Brian Finneran (’02): 838 yards, 56 catches, 6 TDs
    Peerless Price (’03): 838 yards, 64 catches, 3 TDs
    Alge Crumpler (’06): 780 yards, 56 catches, 7 TDs
    Alge Crumpler (’04): 774 yards, 48 catches, 8 TDs
    Brian Finneran (’05): 611 yards, 50 catches, 2 TDs

    Are you kidding me????

    Vick’s best targets in 2002 were Finneran and Crumpler (455 yards, 2 TDs). Yikes. The Falcons made big plays for Price (2003) and Ashley Lelie (2006); neither guy made his expected impact. They spent first-rounders on Michael Jenkins in 2004 (in 2005-06: 75 catches, 954 yards, 10 TDs) and Roddy White in 2005 (2005-06: 59 catches, 952 yards, 3 TDs); by the time White’s career belatedly bloomed, Vick was gone. And Vick’s last two Atlanta coaches (Dan Reeves and Jim Mora Jr.) lasted one whole NFL head-coaching season combined after they left. It’s possible that Vick never had a fair chance to thrive in Atlanta, and that a half-decent coach/receiving crew of Andy Reid, Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson and Brent Celek might be a career-altering upgrade over anything he’s ever had. If so, that means the real Vick is being unleashed. No pun intended.

  2. Rey   October 2, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    What has happened to Clinton Portis? Better get his act together or Shanny will be shopping.

    Philadelphia is the only place where Vick could have gone and have this happen. I lived there for 5 years, and feel like I know the fanbase pretty well. There is so much trouble in the city on a weekly basis, that a sports star can be quickly forgiven if he performs. They are a great fanbase because they were skeptical at first, but now seem to think the guy has served his time (doesn’t hurt that he is shredding defenses). But anyway, Philly is easily distracted by other things that they need their sports stars to perform and therefore such great performances often are accompanied with exoneration (PRACTICE?!). On the flip side, though, Lord help Mr. Vick should he blow a playoff game or something.

    I am so intrigued by his return, as you are Mr. Bill Simmons. I thought about how Vick compared to Tyson and why one seems to have gained the fans’ forgiveness and the other was made into a monster. One theory is the whole team sport. Vick has to be extra careful what he says, does, etc. because in the end, he will be letting down a bunch of his peers and thus making it even more difficult for him to sneak onto another team. Tyson never needed to please anyone other than the kronies he paid to be around him.

    Secondly, coming out of prison with such atrocious convictions, you HAVE to perform. Vick has, so he is now in the public eye way more which he means he will go the extra mile to polish his image. Spokesperson for humane society, interviewing the right way, staying away from strip clubs and bad influences (though he did have the one slip up at his bday party, which may have not even been his fault). Tyson on the other hand had 3-4 good fights and then started getting beat. Fans and kronies started to turn on him, which made him question why they embraced him in the first place, thus making him frustrated with shallowness of human forgiveness, ultimately causing him to absolutely lose it and bite ears, get face tatoos, and becomes even more belligerent.

    Fact is, I loved both of these guys for their fearlessness as athletes. I find it hard to admit I want to like Vick, and Tyson has made it pretty easy for me to not even give him a thought post-1994. Long story told, for Vick’s sake and the sanity of Philadelphia, I hope he continues to do well. I think it’s the only thing keeping him on the straight and narrow.

  3. Bill   October 2, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    Maybe I’ve seen too many sports movies. Maybe I’m a forgiving person. Maybe I like rooting for underdogs. Maybe I don’t like when someone squanders his or her talent. Maybe I missed watching him play. Maybe it’s all of those things. I just know that I usually have trouble rooting against memorable athletes who hit rock bottom, regroup and bounce back … unless that person plays for the Lakers or Yankees. I started rooting for Tiger again almost immediately after he crashed his Escalade. I love that Josh Hamilton is leading the American League in hitting. I’m still bummed out that Lloyd Daniels, Roy Tarpley and Marcus Dupree never made it. I rooted for Mike Tyson after his prison release. I even enjoyed coach-choker Latrell Sprewell reinventing himself with the Knicks.

    If Vick didn’t pay a reasonable price for his sins, it would be one thing. But he torched his career, blew a lucrative contract, went bankrupt, spent 19 months in prison and became a public pariah. That wasn’t a reasonable price? Every prison sentence has four goals: remove a lawbreaking person from society; assess an appropriate penalty; incarcerate the individual as a deterrence from ever breaking the law again; and hopefully, rehabilitate him or her to become a contributing and upstanding member of society. With Vick, the first three goals were accomplished. The fourth goal seems to have been accomplished. What more do you want? Deny him a chance to make a living? Under what constitutional umbrella? The man paid his price.

  4. Rey   October 2, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    What an honor it is to have Bill Simmons commenting regularly on the site. I liked you on PTI by the way.

  5. Bill   October 2, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    Oh, boy.

  6. Smitty   October 2, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    Rey – I have not seen it, but apparently there was an interview with Jim Mora and Michael Vick. During the interview Mora point blank asks Vick if he conned Mora when they were both in Atlanta. Vick’s answer was impressive in which he pretty much said – yes.

    But the fact that Vick has been honest and has admitted his shortcomings has been refreshing. He is not only talking the talk, but walking the walk. I hope it continues.

  7. Bill   October 2, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    Much like how O.J. Simpson raised awareness about domestic abuse, Vick did the same for animal abuse. Both men did it unwittingly and disgraced themselves in the process, but there’s a crucial difference: By continuing his football career, becoming an animal rights activist and repeatedly acknowledging his mistakes, Vick will do more good than harm. That’s what made it so crazy when PETA protested during the early stages of Vick’s comeback. What was it protesting? That a contrite person who paid for his sins and vowed to be an animal rights advocate … um … shouldn’t do those things? An organization allegedly devoted to the welfare of animals chose to antagonize someone who, whether it liked it or not, could now improve the welfare of animals. Savvy! But hey, that’s America in the 21st century for you: Extremists tend to favor being extreme over exercising common sense.

  8. Rey   October 2, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    Bill – do you have a twitter account? I don’t see you capable of doing anything in 140 characters or less, which is why I’d be shocked if you texted at all.

  9. Bill   October 3, 2010 at 6:41 am

    Rey – http://twitter.com/sportsguy33

  10. Casey   October 3, 2010 at 10:12 am

    The Steelers are undefeated, and Charlie Batch is under center. Last year with Troy Palomalu out of the lineup, the Steelers could not make the playoffs. Let’s hear it for the defense! I wish I could be a Steelers fan.

    The bye week couldn’t come at a better time for Cowboys’ rookie Dez Bryant. The young ‘un will have to spend some time with his financial adviser making sure his credit card bill is paid. Hey Dez! Don’t you wish you had just carried the pads! Bill, I can’t believe you couldn’t come up with an article for Bryant.

    Revis is out of the lineup. The Jets are talking trash. Ryan Fitzpatrick has an itchy trigger. You don’t suppose the Bills could…..NAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Giants are on prime time. Again. The Bears coming off a short week. Hmmmm…..

  11. Big Mike   October 3, 2010 at 10:14 am


  12. TLarner   October 4, 2010 at 12:13 am

    Vick is hurt!? There goes Philadelphia’s explosive offense. Kolb didn’t do bad in relief, but he doesn’t bring that presence that Vick has. Defenses don’t fear him making big plays with both his arm and his feet.

    Cutler is also down with a concussion. With the new awareness on head injuries, he may miss a significant amount of time if it is a serious one.

    T.O. looked like the receiver he was a few seasons ago. But the Bengals still lost to Cleveland. There’s another Peyton emerging in the league. Can Peyton Hillis keep running through defenses like this all season?

    What else caught your attention on Sunday?

  13. Casey   October 4, 2010 at 7:31 am

    Throw out the numbers and stats – Don McNabb knows how to win games – at least regular season games and playoff games other than the Super Bowl.

    Nate Clemonts – take a KNEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  14. Casey   October 4, 2010 at 7:33 am

    “Umenyiora said the effort reminded him of the 17-14 win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, a game in which Tom Brady spent a lot of time on his backside.”

    That’s what I’m talking ’bout.

  15. Wally   October 4, 2010 at 7:52 am

    From a Chicago Bears fan perspective, that first half was THE MOST EMBARRASSING HALF OF FOOTBALL I HAVE EVER WITNESSED. And the second half wasn’t too far behind. It’s a miracle the Bears were 3-0 and it’s still a miracle theyre 3-1 now. With Lovie and that coaching staff, I’m surprised Cutler hasn’t been killed already. Why they didn’t or haven’t used a shotgun formation, like everyone else at all levels of football, is beyond me. It was sheer incompetence … mostly coaching imcompetence. I give the G-men a little credit, but very little. Heck … offensively, they looked like crap too.

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