NFL Week 4 – Three Games to Watch

Ravens-Steelers always offers an intriguing matchup!

Happy Saturday to all! Below are our Noontime Sports NFL Week 4 Games to Watch, so make sure that your remote has a fresh set of batteries and the sofa has an empty seat available because these three games that can’t be missed!

Also, let’s see how Matt Noonan does this week, especially since he is currently above .500 this season with a [6-3] record!

Baltimore [2-1] at Pittsburgh [3-0]: The AFC North will be on display this weekend in Pennsylvania, primarily in the city of Pittsburgh, as the Steelers take their [3-0] record into a must win contest against divisional foe, Baltimore. The Steelers have jumped out to an undefeated start and its possible that credit is owed to head coach Mike Tomlin, but also, his defense too. The Steelers defense has held their opponents to an average of 11 points per game, which is first in the NFL. They also rank third in rushing yards allowed too, [59.7 yards per game].

Ravens running back Ray Rice is listed as questionable and was limited in practice on Friday, so the pressure will certainly fall on the shoulders of quarterback Joe Flacco, but can he continue to hit his receivers in stride and avoid dangerous hits from Troy Polamalu and James Harrison?

The Steelers have sacked their opponents quarterback 10 times this season, which will put a great deal of pressure on the third year quarterback from Delaware. Although, Flacco has dealt well against pressure in most situations since entering the league and does have a decent wide out by the name of Anquan Boldin, who leads the Ravens receiving core with three touchdown receptions.

Look for a physical, brutal and in your face type of contest, but due to the Steelers track record against their rival, [12-4], which includes winning against them in the playoffs, expect Pittsburgh to earn their fourth victory of the season and enter their upcoming bye week atop the AFC North.

Prediction: Steelers 24 – Ravens 17

McNabb vs. Vick... this should be interesting!

Washington [1-2] at Philadelphia [2-1]: Quarterback Donovan McNabb returns to the city of “Brotherly Love” and is supposedly expecting cheers not jeers, but who really knows what QB #5 will get once he steps foot onto the gridiron. McNabb and his Redskins enter Sunday’s much-anticipated affair with only one win against the Dallas Cowboys.

The Philadelphia Eagles have won two of their last three and a main reason is the resurgence of quarterback Michael Vick. In his last two starts, Vick has thrown five touchdown passes, as well as tallied 575 yards through the air. Although, despite Vick’s early success, running back LeSean McCoy has rushed for 209 yards and scored four touchdowns. McCoy has also averaged a total of 6.1 yards per carry, which could be an issue for Mike Shanahan’s defense that ranks last in yards allowed and 31st in defending against the pass.

This particular game will be interesting, especially with the return of McNabb, but with the way the Redskins have been playing since their first win of the season, expect the Eagles to push their current winning streak to three.

Prediction: Eagles 27 – Redskins 17

Can the Patriots secondary stop the Dolphins air attack?

New England [2-1] at Miami [2-1]: It is a new month for both the Patriots and Dolphins who enter this game [0-2] against their AFC East rival New York “Football” Jets. Yet, a win for either team would put them in the passenger seat of this division, also known as second place.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady leads an offense that is ranked first in points, but the Dolphins defense could challenge this explosive unit since they have held their three opponents to an average of 17 points per game. Running back Fred Taylor is expected to be sidelined on Monday, which will put pressure on Brady to spread the ball around, but also on head coach Bill Belichick’s running game. BenJarvus Green-Ellis played a significant amount of time against the Bills last Sunday, so expect the third year back to receive a majority of the handoffs. Yet, if the Patriots will be successful, it doesn’t all rely on their offense, but their struggling defense that has allowed an average of 397.3 yards per game.

The Dolphins can cause problems for opposing coordinators on offense, especially when they utilize their favorite formation, the Wildcat offense. Running backs Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams have combined for 319 yards and one touchdown, but expect the lethal two-headed running attack to challenge a Patriots defense that has not stopped the run this season. Bills running back C.J. Spiller may have only rushed for 29 yards, but his kick return made the Patriots special teams look awful.

Lastly, expect quarterback Chad Henne to pick apart this Patriots secondary, especially with receiver Brandon Marshall, who caught 10 passes for 166 yards and scored one touchdown against the Jets.

Overall, this is an intriguing Monday Night game, but Brady did mention that Sun Life Stadium is a place where it is tough to gain momentum, but easy to allow it to slip away. Don’t expect any Patriots miracles, which is why the Dolphins will win this one.

Prediction: Dolphins 31 – Patriots 24

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