NFL Weekly Predictions: Week 4

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

Minnesota @ L.A. Rams (-6½)

The Vikings were embarrassed 27-6 by the visiting Bills, as the Bills pulled off the largest NFL upset (against the spread) in 23 years. The Vikings struggled mightily on the ground, rushing for only 14 yards.

"It was ugly," Mike Zimmer said. "I've worn one eye patch during a game before; this was definitely a two eye patch game.

"On the bright side, we didn't lose the game because of our kicking. We now have Dan Bailey kicking for us. Dan didn't even attempt a kick. He was 0 for 0, which, sad to say, is an improvement."

The Rams improved to 3-0 after turning back the Chargers 35-23 at the L.A. Coliseum. Jared Goff torched the Bolts defense for 354 yards and 3 touchdowns.

"We're clearly the best team in the NFC," Sean McVay said. "And the Vikings are clearly the worst team in the AFC East.

"But I'm sure Minnesota will be ready to rebound, mostly because the T-Wolves just signed Karl-Anthony Towns to an extension. As for the Vikes, I suggest they improve protection for Cousins, try a little harder to establish the run, and get pressure on the opposing quarterback. That advice is not free, so I suggest they 'Bill' me.'

"I couldn't be prouder of my team. And they're all proud to a be a part of this organization. We're all 'Rams,' and if you ask us where we're from, as a show of solidarity, we'll all say 'the Ewe.'"

Can the Vikings be as bad as they were against the Bills? Zimmer won't allow it, and he puts his defensive mind to work to devise a plan to slow the Rams. It works, and Cousins finds downfield room to pass against the Rams depleted secondary. But Bailey's 51-yard attempt to tie the game as time expires is blocked.

Rams win, 27-24.

Cincinnati @ Atlanta (-6)

The Bengals lost for the first time, going down 31-21 to the Panthers. Andy Dalton passed for 352 yards, but also threw 4 interceptions.

"Andy sucked," Marvin Lewis said. "Sure, those words are harsh, but those who know me know I'm a straight shooter, which is more than I can say for the 'Red Rifle.'

"We may not be undefeated, but we're tied for first place in the AFC North. So the 'Who dey? chant is popular again. 'Who dey! Who dey! Who dey think gonna beat them Bengals? If you heard that and answered, 'Any playoff opponent,' then you are correct, but not a true Bengals fan."

The Falcons lost to the Saints, 43-37, in overtime. Matt Ryan passed for 374 yards and 5 touchdowns, including 3 to rookie Calvin Ridley.

"Calvin fell to us as the 26th pick in the draft," Dan Quinn said. "While Julio Jones had a 'diamond in the lake,' Calvin's a 'diamond in the rough.'

"And speaking of 'family jewels,' I'm impressed by the way our defense keeps getting kicked in the nuts, yet keeps coming back for more, time and time again. Our D gets scored on so quickly, it takes two possessions before the home crowd can get a complete 'Defense!' chant out."

Atlanta wins, 34-30.

Tampa Bay @ Chicago (-1)

The Buccaneers' comeback fell short on Monday night after the visiting Steelers raced to a 30-10 halftime lead. Tampa eventually lost 30-27, as Ryan Fitzpatrick cooled a bit before ending the night with 411 yards passing, 3 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions.

"Jameis Winston is back after a 3-game suspension," Dirk Koetter said. "But we're sticking with Fitzpatrick. Ryan has played so well, as far as a starting quarterback goes, he's in the driver's seat. Ryan also has the hot hand. We'd like to keep Jameis' hand out of the driver's 'seat.'

"Now, Minkah Fitzpatrick may have copyrighted the 'FitzMagic' moniker, but the 'FistMagic' name is still up for grabs. That would make a great latex counterpart to the 'Whizzinator.' I think Ryan should jump on the 'FistMagic,' not literally, and get behind, but definitely not in front of, the FistMagic and make it a household name, as well as product. And we all thought Vance McDonald had a stiff arm."

The Bears fell down 14-0 early to the Cardinals, but tightened their defense and roared back to take a 16-14 win.

"It was a gutsy win," Matt Nagy said, "but we can't keep relying on our defense this much. We may have to ask Mitch Tribisky to open it up on offense a little more. I don't think it's unreasonable to ask a Bears quarterback to show a little more. Mike Ditka asked it of Jim McMahon, and McMahon came through, by showing his ass to a helicopter.

"Defensively, we've got to get pressure on Fitzpatrick. You saw what the Steelers did on Monday night. They got to Fitzpatrick, and forced mistakes. If we can do the same to Fitzpatrick, he, like Winston, will be guilty of conduct detrimental to the team."

Chicago wins, 24-21.

Detroit @ Dallas (-3)

The Cowboys lost to the Seahawks 24-13 in Seattle and fell to 1-2. Dak Prescott was sacked 5 times, and was picked off twice by Earl Thomas.

"Dak only averaged 4.9 yards per attempt," Jason Garrett said. "That's not good. That means there's no 'Big D' in Dallas; instead, there's two 'little d's' in Dallas, 'dink' and 'dunk.'

"The Cowboys franchise was valued at over $5 billion. But judging by the way this team is playing now, I'd say we're 'worth less.' You can combine those two words into one and it would still be applicable. On the bright side, the Cowboy franchise is worth more than the city of Detroit."

The Lions upset the Patriots 26-10 as Matt Patricia out-schemed his former boss Bill Belichick. Detroit rushed for 159 yards as a team, including 101 from Kerryon Johnson, who became the first Lion to rush for over 100 yards since 2013.

"This calls for a celebration," Matthew Stafford said, "as well as a nickname. If Kerryon can keep this up for a decade, then we may start calling him 'MegaJohn.''

"Dallas may be a great city, but who really wants to work for the Cowboys organization, much less the Dallas Mavericks? You've got the creepy Jerry Jones grabbing one cheek, and Mark Cuban turning the other cheek."

Dallas wins, 25-20.

Buffalo @ Green Bay (-9½)

The Bills shocked the Vikings, 27-6, quieting a U.S. Bank Stadium crowd fully expecting an easy Minnesota win. Josh Allen was solid in his second start, but the real star was the Buffalo defense.

"We served notice," Doug McDermott said, "that we won't be pushed around. That's me talking, not LeSean McCoy's girlfriend.

"We jumped on the Vikings quickly, and they were pretty much demoralized by halftime. We needed Vontae Davis to read the Vikes they're last rites, because Vontae's now ordained as a minister in 'halftime retirement ceremonies.'"

The Packers lost 31-17 to the Redskins in Washington. Aaron Rodgers passed for 2 touchdowns, but the Packers defense couldn't stop big plays from Alex Smith, and gave up 120 yards on the ground to Adrian Peterson.

"Once again," Mike McCarthy said, "Clay Matthews was flagged for roughing the passer. I'm not sure Clay thinks he can legally hit a quarterback anymore. He actually had a talk with Peyton Manning, who was famous for falling to the ground instead of taking a hit for the sack. Manning's word inspired Clay to stop roughing the passer, and instead start bluffing the passer.

"Aaron Rodgers is concerned that his knee could get worse. We'll monitor that, but we think Aaron on one leg is better than most QBs on two legs. Now, I can't compare him to a three-legged quarterback, because I don't think there are any. If there were a three-legged quarterback, his name would be 'Tri-pod Taylor.'"

Green Bay jumps on the Bills quickly, forcing 2 early turnovers, and the Packers hold on for a 26-13 win.

Philadelphia @ Tennessee (+3½)

In Carson Wentz's return to the starting lineup, the Eagles beat the visiting Colts, 20-16. Wentz had 2 first half turnovers, but made the plays in the second half.

"Carson's been chomping at the bit to get back on the field," Doug Pederson said. "If I had to describe his performance in one word, I would call it 'gritty.' 'Gritty' also happens to be the name of the Philadelphia Flyers new mascot. Gritty looks like Chewbacca in a circus fun house mirror.

"But seriously, why can't this city have a normal-looking mascot. I've got a great idea for a Flyers mascot — a bro with a shiner in a Flyers jersey holding a beer in one hand and his restraining order in the other. He'd be called 'Chip Phillysteak.'"

The Titans used three Ryan Succup field goals to upset the Jaguars in Jacksonville. Blaine Gabbert started for the Titans, but was injured, forcing Marcus Mariota to complete the game.

"Marcus wasn't fully healthy," Mike Vrabel said, "but he toughed it out and led us to the win. On many occasions, you can say Marcus 'sucked.' This time, he instead 'sucked it up.'"

Tennessee wins, 22-20.

Houston @ Indianapolis (-1)

The Texans are still winless after losing at home to the Giants, 27-22. Deshaun Watson passed for 385 yards, but Houston's ground game struggled.

"You can probably say my job is in jeopardy," Bill O'Brien said. "But I can't worry about that. I have to keep working, and stay active. So while my seat may be hot, I refuse to sit in it. Instead, I'm 'walking' on thin ice, and 'running' out of time."

The Colts lost 20-16 at Philadelphia as Andrew Luck struggled to connect with receivers downfield. Indy is 1-2, a game behind the Jags and Titans in the AFC South.

"We put in Jacoby Brissett for a final 'Hail Mary' play," Frank Reich said. "This had nothing to do with Andrew Luck's shoulder. Don't think for a second that Jacoby has 'more arm' than Andrew. Andrew clearly has more arm, because he has his own arm, plus some of a cadaver.

"Trust me, we're going to take out shots, and if you're a lucky visitor to one of Lucas Oil Stadium's luxury suites, you can 'take a shot', too, served to you personally by your own waitress, known at Lucas Oil as the 'Personal Lubricants.'"

Texans win, 24-21.

Miami @ New England (-7)

The Patriots looked uninspired in a 26-10 loss to the Lions at Ford Field. New England is 1-2, 2 games behind the 3-0 Dolphins in the AFC East.

"Matt Patricia simply out-coached me," Bill Belichick said. "It was like he knew our plays, and it was like he didn't have to cheat to know those plays.

"You've probably heard about a book about me. It's an unauthorized biography. And you know what they say about an 'unauthorized biography?' It becomes an 'unauthorized movie,' which eventually becomes an 'unauthorized video,' which in turn gets investigated by the NFL, and I don't need that."

"Our offensive struggles are one of the reasons we traded for Josh Gordon. Josh's locker is right beside Tom Brady's. We're hoping Tom's work ethic rubs off on Josh. However, we absolutely don't want Tom introducing Josh to his wacky trainer Alex Guerrero, because if you introduce Josh to snake oil, he might drink it."

The Dolphins remained undefeated with a 28-20 win over the visiting Raiders. Ryan Tannehill tossed 3 touchdown passes, and Adam Gase's creative play-calling confused the Raiders.

"If you can't 'turn tricks' in Miami," Gase said, "then you don't deserve to coach here, much less have a sexual relationship with an offensive line coach."

Brady connects with Gordon on a long touchdown pass, and the Patriots set a good example for Gordon by getting their "S" together.

New England wins, 31-17.

N.Y. Jets @ Jacksonville (-8)

The Jets blew a 14-0 lead against the Browns and lost 21-17 in a comeback led by rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield. New York is 1-2, third in the AFC East.

"Mayfield has what they call the 'It' factor," Todd Bowles said. "Sam also has the 'It' factor; his 'It' factor just has an 'n' in the middle.

"It was a tough loss. After the game, I had a long talk with my team, and the first thing I asked them was, 'What kind of player wipes his butt with a football? That's asinine. How would you even know when you were done?"

The injury-plagued Jaguars lost 9-6 to the visiting Titans.

"Maybe we weren't quite ready to play after our big win over the Patriots in Week 2," Doug Marrone said. "We had a huge letdown. We went from talking 'Super Bowl' to talking 'wild card.' And Duval County just became 'Du-Du'-val County.

"But I do think the emotion of the New England game sapped our energy. We looked tired. If the Jags were an emoji, we would be the 'pooped' emoji."

Jacksonville wins, 19-7.

Cleveland @ Oakland (-2½)

Baker Mayfield led a second-half comeback, as the Browns erased a 14-0 deficit and beat the Jets, 21-17, on Thursday night. It was Cleveland's first win in 635 days.

"Baker has brought hope to the city of Cleveland," Hue Jackson said. "Every citizen of the city is simply enamored by Baker. What's the attitude now in Cleveland? It's one of 'public intoxication.' If an alcohol reference isn't enough to describe the feeling in Cleveland, then how about a pharmaceutical reference? Baker is a walking anti-depressant."

The Raiders are 0-3 after Sunday's 28-20 road loss to the Dolphins. Oakland has had second half leads in all three games.

"We may be winless," Jon Gruden said, "but we just have to keep our heads up. And speaking of 'heads up,' that's some of the wording on the warning label of NFL helmets. In light of our series of blown second half leads, current Raiders helmets have an additional warning that says 'choking hazard.'"

Oakland wins, 24-18.

Seattle @ Arizona (+3)

Russell Wilson passed for 2 touchdowns and the Seattle defense looked like the "Legion of Doom" squads of old in a 24-13 win over Dallas.

"Earl Thomas played a great game," Pete Carroll. "There's no way we're going to fine him for missing practice, or so says his spokesman Allen Iverson."

The Cardinals are 0-3 after last week's 16-14 loss to the visiting Bears. Arizona raced to a quick 14-0 lead, but was shut out in the final three quarters.

"Josh will be the starter 'going forward,'" Steve Wilks, "which is more than I can say for our offense."

Seattle wins, 24-15.

New Orleans @ N.Y. Giants (+3½)

The Giants got improved play from their offensive line, and that translated into a 27-22 win over the home-standing Texans, New York's first win of the year. Eli Manning passed for 2 scores, and Odell Beckham, Jr. had 9 catches for 109 yards.

"Our offense line looked a lot better," Pat Shurmur. "How do I know? Because Eli just looked scared, not terrified.

"This is a win we have to build on. We have to stay hungry. We may even need a pep talk from former Giants legend Lawrence Taylor. The Saints are favored on our home field, so maybe L.T. could suggest that we go out there like a 'bunch of crazed underdogs."

The Saints beat the Falcons 43-37 in overtime in a battle of NFC South division rivals. Drew Brees threw for 3 touchdowns, and rushed for 2 more.

"Anything Cam Newton can do," Brees said, "I can do just as well, except dress like I'm attending a Mardi Gras funeral.

"I passed Brett Favre for the most pass completions in NFL history. Now we're in an exclusive club. No one was more thrilled for me than Brett himself. He sent me a really, really giddy text. Frankly, it felt like a little too much. Now I'm in another club — of people who've told Brett to 'keep your pants on.'"

Saints win, 30-24.

San Francisco @ L.A. Chargers (-10)

The Chargers were outgunned 35-23 by the Rams, as Sean McVay's offense piled up over 500 yards in total offense.

"That's 'total-ly' unacceptable," Anthony Lynn said. "Of course, it makes sense that a team of Rams would 'rack' up a lot of yardage.

"But I was proud of my team for making a game of it. The Rams didn't completely run us out of town, but they absolutely ran us across town."

The 49ers were beaten 38-27 by the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Jimmy Garoppolo tore his ACL in the second quarter and is out for the season.

"We're going to miss Jimmy," Kyle Shanahan said, "but we're confident in C.J. Beathard. C.J. is no Garoppolo, because C.J.'s never been ran out of a town by Tom Brady. Brady wanted Jimmy out of New England. Brady is much like the visitors locker room at Gillette Stadium — insecure."

Chargers win, 34-22.

Baltimore @ Pittsburgh (-3)

The Ravens turned back the visiting Broncos, 27-14, to improve to 2-1.

"Joe Flacco is the 'eff-ing' man," John Harbaugh said. "By 'eff-ing,' I mean he's spectacularly 'efficient.' Joe combines the athleticism of an accountant with the smarts of that very same accountant.

"Ray Lewis was given the key to the city on Saturday, plus a parade to celebrate his induction to the Hall Of Fame. His No. 52 jersey was retired back in 2013, which makes that the second outfit of Ray's that he retired."

A motivated Steelers team jumped all over the Buccaneers on Monday night, building an early lead and winning 30-27 to pick up their first win of the year.

"I knew it was important to give my guys a boost of confidence," Mike Tomlin said. "That's why, as coach, I went to the Bucs pirate schooner in the end of Raymond James Stadium and filmed a motivational message. Now, that's 'leader-ship.'

"We're fielding trade offers for Le'Veon Bell. There are some 'interested parties.' Incidentally, Le'Veon is interested in parties, too. I hear he has a budding rap career. Mic check? Nah. Game check. And mic drop. Or should I say, 'Mike drop?'

Pittsburgh wins, 27-24.

Kansas City @ Denver (+5)

Patrick Mahomes passed for 314 yards and 3 touchdowns as the Chiefs trampled the visiting 49ers 38-27. Kansas City is 3-0, alone atop the AFC West.

"The legend of Patrick Mahomes grows by the week," Andy Reid said. "His 13 TD passes in the first 3 games is an NFL record, topping Peyton Manning's 12 in 2013. But let's face it, Patrick is nothing like Manning. Whereas Peyton could throw a Hail Mary from the opponent's 20-yard line, Patrick can do the same from his own 20. I'm hoping this all culminates on the field at the Super Bowl, hopefully in a pile of confetti and not a pool of vomit."

The Broncos lost their first game of the season with a 27-14 loss at Baltimore.

"We'll see how Mahomes reacts to a hostile AFC West crowd in mile high altitude on a Monday night," Vance Joseph said. "There will certainly be heavy breathing, but that will probably just be me fantasizing about having Mahomes as a QB and not Case Keenum."

The Broncos pull the upset, 32-30.

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