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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Week 4 NFL Predictions: Late Selection and Teaser

Arizona Cardinals vs San Diego Chargers: SD -8.5

Call this my stubborn selection of the week because SD have already burned me twice this season.  On one hand this isn't much of a surprise because Norv Turner usually gets in his own way early in the year.  At the same time, SD have clearly outplayed both KC and SEA on both sides of the ball only to lose because of special teams.

On paper this matchup seems like another trap.  SD is allowing 32.6 yards per return and ARI have one of the best kick return men in the league.  However, both of those losses came on the road and changes have already been made on SD's kick return coverage this week in practice.   Look for them to get back to playing good fundamentally to clean up their act.

Ryan Mathews will make his return this week as he practiced all week coming off an ankle injury.  It could be a breakout week for him as SD have clear advantages on the ground.   SD will also dominate this game in the air on both sides of the ball.   Rivers is one of four quarterbacks averaging over 300 yards per game.   ARI are going to be without two of their top three receivers because Breaston and Doucet are listed as out.   With a depleted WR corps, Fitzgerald will get double/triple teamed all game.   ARI is also without their nose tackle and 1st round pick Dan Williams due to weight issues.   ARI cannot sustain drives, get points off drives, control the clock, or protect the ball.  Even if they get a good kick return or two, it won't be enough to keep this close.   I expect a blowout and anything less than a two touchdown win would shock me.  Prediction: Bank SD -8.5.

GB -4 & NO -3 & CIN +7

DET will be without their most dynamic offensive player of the year because Best is nursing a painful turf toe injury.  Even if he plays he will be ineffective.  Burleson and Stafford are still out and it will be hard for DET to generate offense - even in garbage time.   Their back 7 on defense continue to get shredded game after game and a pass rush alone hasn't been able to compensate.   Rodgers has killed DET his entire career and it will be no different on Sunday when the Lions travel to Lambeau field.   

It has not been a great start for the Saints.   Brees is wearing a knee brace, Thomas is a game time decision, and Bush is on the shelf.   Thankfully the Panthers are coming to town.  CAR might compete for the 1st overall pick next year and the only strength of their team, the running game, has been non-existent.   Clausen doesn't have a hope in hell in the air so they will try to keep it close with defense and the run.   Too bad this isn't the Panthers of old because if they were they'd have a chance at the upset.  Instead, look for the Saints to win by at least a field goal. 

Check my other posts for a write-up on the CIN/CLE game.  
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1-3 (+5u)

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