NFL Weekly Predictions: Week 4

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

Miami @ Cincinnati (-2½)

The Bengals manhandled the Jets 27-12 for Cincy's first win of the season. Joe Burrow passed for 3 touchdowns and was sacked only twice.

"If Joe can have more TD passes than sacks," Zac Taylor said, "we'll take it. For example, if Joe would have thrown 8 TD passes to offset the 7 sacks he suffered against the Steelers in Week 1, that would have been more than acceptable.

"But in all seriousness, Joe has the misfortune of playing in front of our offensive line. The Dolphins front four has the fortune of doing the same."

The Dolphins took the outright lead in the AFC East with a huge 21-19 win over the Bills. Tua Tagovailoa left the game in the second quarter after suffering a head injury, but surprisingly returned after halftime.

"Tua was fine," Mike McDaniel said. "I know the league is investigating, but this is no different than last week at Baltimore, when Tua was also 'playing out of his mind.'

"If you saw the stat line for the Buffalo game, you could see that the Bills dominated. So, that was really a game we should have lost. Now, this year in Miami is a lot different than last year with Brian Flores. Last year, winning games you weren't supposed to was a bad thing. Now, it's a good thing."

Cincy neutralizes the Miami rush with quick passes, screens, and a few timely Burrow scrambles.

Bengals win, 27-24.

Minnesota @ New Orleans (+2½)

Kirk Cousins' 28-yard TD pass to K.J. Osborn with 45 seconds left gave the Vikings a comeback 28-24 win over the visiting Lions.

"Hey," Cousins said, "this team is resilient. We're never out of it, unless it's Monday, it's dark, and I'm the quarterback.

"There have been some iconic moments in the Vikings-Saints series. There was the time Brett Favre threw away the 2010 NFC championship, or the time Fred Smoot ran a train on the aptly named Lake Pontchartrain. Maybe that second one didn't happen, but one things for certain: if I'm ever on a Lake Minnetonka Sex Boat Cruise, I can promise you I'll promptly alert the proper authorities."

The Saints were outplayed in a 22-14 loss to the Panthers in Charlotte. Jameis Winston passed for 353 yards, but had 2 interceptions.

"Despite his struggles," Dennis Allen said, "Jameis is still our starter. Plus, he has experience playing in London. He played there in 2019 as a member of the Buccaneers. And he threw 5, count 'em, 5 interceptions. It appears that when Jameis is in London, it's about the giveaways; when he's in America, at a Publix grocery store specifically, it's all about the 'takeaways.'"

Vikings win, 29-24.

Cleveland @ Atlanta (+2½)

The Browns outscored the Steelers 16-3 in the second half to secure a 29-17 win in Cleveland on Thursday night. Jacoby Brissett passed for 220 yards and 2 touchdowns to lead the Browns.

"I would call Jacoby's performance more than respectable," Kevin Stefanski said. "And that's refreshing, especially when your franchise quarterback is universally considered less than respectable.

"Myles Garrett had a car accident on Monday and suffered some minor injuries. So he's going to be okay. And considering our handling of the Deshaun Watson situation, we'll take a car wreck over a train wreck any day."

Browns win, 26-21.

Washington @ Dallas (-2½)

The Cowboys sacked Daniel Jones 5 times and intercepted him once in a 23-16 win at MetLife Stadium. Cooper Rush was solid at quarterback for Dallas, with 215 yards and 1 touchdown.

"Cooper has really answered the call," Mike McCarthy said. "He's keeping this team afloat while Dak Prescott heals and Jerry Jones makes utterly nonsensical statements. It seems where Jerry's concerned, the Big 'D' now stands for 'dementia.'

"Jerry said he wouldn't mind having a quarterback controversy. I think what this team really needs is an owner controversy."

Carson Wentz was sacked 9 times and lost a fumble as the Commanders were overwhelmed 24-8 by the visiting Eagles.

"You find out a lot about yourself in a game like this," Wentz said. "Like, I found out that my desire for any type of revenge against the Eagles is virtually non-existent. And the Commanders found out that they made a grave error by making me their starting quarterback.

"Winning isn't easy in this league. Despite what some may have you believe, you can't win by just thinking about it. Even if you could, I'm pretty sure I'd be accused of exactly what I'm accused of now — not thinking."

Cowboys win, 26-20.

Seattle @ Detroit (-6½)

The Seahawks lost 27-23 at home to the Falcons, who rushed for 179 yards and 2 touchdowns. Seattle fell to 1-2.

"On the bright side," Pete Carroll said, "Geno Smith passed for 325 yards and 2 touchdowns. So, if you were wondering, I'm letting Geno 'cook.' Unfortunately, though, if you look in Geno's kitchen, there is absolutely no sign of a 'bowl.'

"We're gonna let it all hang out against the Lions. I mean, we've really got nothing to lose, except the rest of our games."

The Lions blew a 24-14 fourth quarter lead and eventually lost 28-24 to the home-standing Vikings.

"I decided to try a late field goal," Dan Campbell said, "instead of going for it on fourth down. If I had it to do over, I would have made a different decision. That's also a common phrase you can hear quite often coming from our front office.

"But I'm not going to change my philosophy. When I got this job, I told you all we'd be 'biting kneecaps.' Who knew those words would come back to bite me in the ass?"

Lions win, 30-19.

Tennessee @ Indianapolis (-3½)

The Colts defense kept Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense in check, and Matt Ryan tossed the game-winning TD pass to Jelani Woods with 24 seconds left to give Indy a crucial 20-17 win.

"Matt made the plays when he had to," Frank Reich said, "but he has an unfortunate habit of turning the ball over that he needs to get under control. Matt has 7 turnovers through 3 games. We've had three starting quarterbacks in the last three years. Now that Matt's here, we've gone from quarterback turnover to quarterback turnovers."

The Titans built a 24-10 first half lead and held on to beat the Raiders 24-22 at Nissan Stadium. Derrick Henry rushed for 85 yards and a touchdown as Tennessee captured its first win.

"Derrick is this team's bread and butter," Mike Vrabel said. "Apparently, in the first two games, I must have been under the impression that he was gluten and lactose intolerant."

Colts win, 24-22.

Chicago @ NY Giants (-2½)

The Bears are 2-1 after taking a hard-fought 23-20 win over the visiting Texans. David Montgomery left the game early with a leg injury, but Khalil Herbert stepped in and rushed for 157 yards and 2 TDs.

"In the NFL," Matt Eberflus said, "it's often about 'next man up.' In Chicago, that usually means a new head coach.

"Admittedly, Justin Fields said he played like 'trash.' Sadly, in the state of Bears quarterbacking, that's an improvement."

The Giants lost for the first time, falling 23-16 to the visiting Cowboys on Monday night. The Dallas defense harassed Daniel Jones throughout the game, sacking him 5 times.

"Since he's been in the NFL," Brian Daboll said, "Daniel's had trouble going through his progressions. Wait, I phrased that incorrectly: since he's been in the NFL, Daniel has had trouble making any progress.

"Daniel's needs to make decisions faster. And speaking of things I'd like to also see happen faster, how about the expiration of Daniel's contract?"

Giants win, 21-15.

Jacksonville @ Philadelphia (-6½)

The Jaguars smashed the Chargers 38-10 at SoFi Stadium, as Trevor Lawrence passed for 3 touchdowns. The Jags also forced the ailing Justin Herbert into 2 turnovers, and limited L.A. to 29 yards on the ground.

"I think Trevor has finally made the transition from college to the pro game," Doug Pederson said. "It takes awhile to acclimate yourself to the difference between the two. I think it took Trevor a while because going from Clemson facilities to Jaguar facilities is quite a downgrade.

"Of course I have fond memories of Philadelphia. I'll be sure and visit the statue of me outside Lincoln Financial Field. It's funny. In Philly, I went from leading a team to the Super Bowl championship to leading a team to a 4-11-1 record. So, I went from statue to 'bust.'"

Jalen Hurts passed for 340 yards and 3 touchdowns to lead the Eagles to a dominant 24-3 over Carson Wentz and the Eagles.

"Jalen's performance was a strong reminder of why we chose him over Carson," Nick Sirianni said. "Carson's performance was an even stronger reminder.

"This city is so ready for a champion. They are primed. Usually, when Eagles fans get 'primed,' it means they have six beers early so they'll be ready for 12 later."

The Eagles conclude their "You Won't Get Your Revenge on Us" tour, denying Pederson and the Jaguars.

Philly wins, 28-17.

NY Jets @ Pittsburgh (-3½)

The Steelers dropped to 1-2 after a 29-17 road loss to the Browns on Thursday night. Mitch Trubisky had a solid first half, after which Pittsburgh led 14-13, but did very little in the second half as the offense sputtered.

"I've just got one word," Mike Tomlin said, "and it's 'outstanding.' I'm of course talking about Bill Cowher's lower jaw.

"As for the Cleveland game, we have to be better. For me, this means it's time to offer up some crowd-pleasing, matter-of-fact quotes and adages that entertain the chuckleheads in the media, but also serve as veiled shots at under-performing members of my team. That's shorthand for 'Mitch Trubisky is skating on thin ice, and he can't even skate.'"

The Jets lost 27-12 at home to the Bengals. Joe Flacco had 4 turnovers, and defensive breakdowns led to a frustrating day for the Jets.

"I think it's unrealistic to expect Joe, as a near-40-year-old, to keep up the pace he displayed in the first two games," Robert Saleh said. "And those words should segue nicely into Zach Wilson, who's pace is thoroughly enjoyed by near 40-year-olds. Joe is on the cusp of 40. Zach Wilson is just on 40-year-olds.

"You probably saw Quinnen Williams and defensive line coach Aaron Whitecotton yelling at each other on the sidelines. I like to call that 'passion,' because calling it what it really is, which is 'a head coach who's totally lost control of his team,' doesn't reflect well on me."

Steelers win, 21-16.

Buffalo @ Baltimore (+3½)

The Bills fell 21-19 to the Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium in a battle of undefeated AFC East teams. The Bills out-gained Miami 497 to 212 and held the ball for over 40 minutes, but crucial mistakes cost them.

"Offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey had a meltdown after our offense let the clock expire to seal the game for the Dolphins," Sean McDermott said. "I was surprised ... that Ken didn't go berserk sooner, considering how many boneheaded mistakes we made before that one."

Lamar Jackson passed for 4 touchdowns and ran for another in the Ravens' 37-26 win over the Patriots in Foxboro.

"It wasn't even that cold in Foxboro on Sunday," Jackson said, "but the Patriots defense succumbed to 'exposure' anyway."

Ravens win, 28-26.

L.A. Chargers @ Houston (+6½)

With an ailing Justin Herbert, the Chargers were no match for the visiting Jaguars, who won 38-10. Los Angeles fell to 1-2.

"It's no time to panic," Brandon Staley said. "I'm totally confident this team can overcome any obstacle. It gets tougher when there are multiple obstacles. But I think these guys are up for the task of overcoming a slow start, injuries, and my coaching.

"Justin has proved he's tough as nails. You might think it was my choice to leave him in a game we had no chance of coming back and winning. No, it was all Justin. I believe his thinking was that as long as he's on the field playing, he's somewhat safe from being treated by our training staff."

Houston remained winless with a 23-20 defeat in Chicago.

"I really wanted to beat my former team," Lovie Smith said. "I was the last coach to lead the Bears to the Super Bowl, and by the looks of things there, that statement's going to remain true for years to come.

"The AFC South is up for grabs. 'Up for grabs' is synonymous with 'mediocre,' or 'the No. 4 seed in the playoffs.'"

Chargers win, 27-24.

Arizona @ Carolina (-1½)

The Cardinals lost 20-12 at home to the Rams, who kept Kyler Murray and the Arizona offense out of the end zone.

"Of course," Murray said, "I'm not happy about this. I mean, just look at my face; it will tell you all you need to know. In other words, I'm like an open book, but I hardly ever open a book."

The Panthers beat the Saints 22-14, powered by an early defensive TD, and a long Baker Mayfield TD pass to Laviska Shenault, Jr.

"Sometimes," Mayfield said, "all it takes in one completion. And, judging by my anemic completion percentage, that might be all I can give you.

"I know I'm not a fan favorite here. There are a lot of Panthers fans who wish Cam Newton would have dove on that fumble in Super Bowl 50. Those same people wish I would dive on a grenade.

"But that doesn't mean I'm not beloved by my teammates. Heck, just the other day, Christian McCaffrey and D.J. Moore both gifted me copies of Keyshawn Johnson's book 'Just Give Me the Damn Ball!'"

Panthers win, 23-20.

New England @ Green Bay (-8½)

Aaron Rodgers threw 2 early touchdown passes, and the Packers defense foiled a late Buccaneers two-point conversion to preserve a 14-12 win. Green Bay's defense limited Tom Brady to 1 TD pass and sacked him 3 times.

"Our defense came through when it counted most," Rodgers said. "I'm barely qualified to make that evaluation.

"I'm thinking about taking some ayahuasca before the game, hoping that a Pro Bowl receiver will materialize before my eyes."

The Patriots had no answer for Lamar Jackson, who torched them for 5 touchdowns and 325 totals yards in a 37-26 Baltimore win. Mac Jones suffered a high ankle sprain and will miss multiple games.

"Right," Bill Belichick said, "no answers. But lots of questions for my defense. Like, for example, 'You do know Matt Patricia is not your defensive coordinator, right?' So stop playing like it. Or, 'Is that your head I see in your ass?' Or, 'Do you know who I am?'

"In Mac's absence, we're confident in Brian Hoyer's abilities as a backup. We're not going to complicate things offensively. We'll take what the Packers give us. In other words, it's all about 'low-hanging fruit,' which, come to think about it, could be the PG-rated title to the Zeke Mowatt's locker room incident back in 1990."

Packers win, 27-17.

Denver @ Las Vegas (-2½)

The Broncos' defense came up big in an 11-10 victory over the visiting 49ers on Sunday night. Denver's defense forced 3 turnovers and sacked Jimmy Garoppolo 4 times.

"Our defense has put this entire organization on its back," Nathaniel Hackett said. "But let's not forget the real hero in this situation: our punter, Corliss Waitman. Nobody is impacted more by our offense's never ending 3 and outs than Corliss. He's our 'MVP, which stands for 'much voluminous punting.'

"As for our offense, Russell Wilson is still getting comfortable wearing orange. That's also something Brett Favre should maybe start working on."

The Raiders fell to 0-3, losing 24-22 to the Titans in Nashville.

"We've had our chances," Josh McDaniels said, "but we've failed to capitalize on those opportunities. And speaking of opportunities, it would be a good time for a certain casino to offer the 'Just Wynn, Baby' promotion, where, if we win on Sunday, every casino-goer gets a free Mark Davis wig."

Broncos win, 27-24.

Kansas City @ Tampa Bay (+2½)

The home-standing Colts upset the Chiefs 20-17, as Indy's defense rose to the occasion. Kansas City fell to 2-1.

"We've got a lot of things we can improve upon," Patrick Mahomes said. "And it starts with me, so here goes: I'm not the problem. The problem is we have several capable wide receivers, but none of them are Tyreek Hill.

"I know Tom Brady is the G.O.A.T., but I think his age is catching up to him. And honestly, I don't know why it's taken so long, because Tom is, and always has been, one of the slowest MF'ers in the game."

The Buccaneers lost 14-12 to the visiting Packers, as Aaron Rodgers got the better of Tom Brady in a low-scoring affair.

"There's one thing that for certain can be gleaned from the outcome of this game and losing to Aaron," Brady said. "It was the regular season.

"You probably heard that I broke two tablets during the Saints game in Week 2. This just verifies what's been known for years — I'm quite adept at destroying electronic devices. Two broken tablets haven't been this big a deal since Moses at the foot of the mount."

Chiefs win, 21-20.

L.A. Rams @ San Francisco (-2½)

The Rams defense contained Kyler Murray, and Cooper Kupp and Cam Akers added rushing scores, as L.A. continued its dominance of Arizona in a 20-12 win.

"When you're playing against Kyler," Sean McVay said, "you better do your homework. Then we tested him. And he failed. Probably because he didn't do his homework."

The 49ers lost 11-10 in Denver in a defensive struggle.

"I will say this about Jimmy Garoppolo stepping out of the end zone," Kyle Shanahan said. "It's important for Jimmy Garoppolo to know where he is. Just as it's important for us to know who he is."

Rams win, 28-23.

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