If I were a more genteel scribe, I might have a better way of telling you that my picks for the best games last week did not disappoint. Lacking the eloquence to do anything of the sort, I'll take a more vulgar approach to reminding you how awesome my picks really were.
Four of the five games on last week's list were decided in the fourth quarter. The Saints scored 23 fourth quarter points to beat the Texans. Dallas kicked a field goal with less than two minutes remaining and thwarted a final Washington drive for the win. The Giants gave the Dream Team nightmares with two fourth quarter passes. Buffalo brought down the mighty Goliath in a game that might already have a lock as the season's best. Only the Bears disappointed in their outing against the Packers; blame Mike Martz or Lovie Smith or anyone else but me.
Impressed? You should be.
Now prepare for the inevitable let down (kidding) with my picks for the five best games of Week 4.
A road loss in Tennessee seems like a crumb from a honey marring an otherwise prefect picture that is the Baltimore Ravens' season. They finally beat Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers to open the season, and with that hurdle cleared, anything seems possible. Rex Ryan's Jets present a slightly tougher matchup than the Rams were last week, and Torrey Smith probably isn't going to catch three touchdowns. The Jets will have their eyes on Smith, but Rex Ryan knows that the key for his team is shutting down Ray Rice. Not to be overlooked in all the Xs and Os talk, is the fact that this is Rex Ryan's first trip back to Baltimore since leaving for his current job. Big deal, right? Former Baltimore coaches come back all the time, but this is Rex Ryan. Drama seems to have a way of following him around. The Jets have only beaten the Ravens once, in 1997, in the short history of the current Baltimore franchise. Oh, and Mark Sanchez, the media seems to like him.
Trash talk started early at Baltimore Beatdown.
This dude thinks it's safe to say that Sanchez is better than Joe?" Of course, being an emotional supporter of Flacco, I responded that other than people in New York and in GQ Magazine, no one else around the league thinks Sanchize could carry Joe's undies...
Pittsburgh is barely 2-1, and last week's prime time game against the Colts highlighted Ben Roethlisberger's kryptonite. A porous offensive line, rather than nubile young coeds, poses the biggest threat to the Steelers' quarterback. You can bet Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has spent plenty of time showing Mario Williams and Antonio Smith the tape from that Colts game. Of course, Pittsburgh still has a tough defense that can steal a close game. Facing a group of players including Andre Johnson, Ben Tate and a healthy Arian Foster will be a tougher test than the Manning-less Colts last week.
The folks at Battle Red Blog are excited, and not the least bit intimidated, always a good sign in a healthy fan base.
I am respectful of the history of Pittsburgh's professional football franchise, but the present is not as intimidating as I thought it would be when the schedule came out.
Chances are that you're one of the majority of football fans yet to see the Lions play a game season. All I can say to that is: what the Hell are you waiting for? Fans of the pass-first NFL will love the Lions, who average 39.7 passing attempts per game. They're also pretty good on defense; only two teams allow fewer points per game. Dallas is riding high on two comeback victories and a deafening silence from tabloid-fed Tony Romo critics. Those critics might have Ndamukong Suh to thank come Monday for juicing up their Romo hater-aide. You might want to cook a turkey and pretend it's Thanksgiving, because it kind of is an early version of everyone's favorite secular, football-centric holiday.
Pride of Detroit paints a target on Romo.
If the Lions can get the already injured Tony Romo out of the game, it would be a huge advantage. On the other hand, it was John Kitna who beat the Lions last year.
When you charitably gave $9 to the dying publishing industry for a season preview magazine, it said to expect little from the Raiders other than disappointment. Yet, here are the Raiders, sans Nnamdi and all, fresh off an upset of the New York Jets. Their only loss of the season so far came in week two against the same Bills team that beat the Patriots last week. Despite that loss, New England has hardly sunk to the second tier. Tom Brady is still on a record-setting pace for the season. The same folks that suckered you into buying a real, live printed magazine will tell you to keep an eye on Brady in this one, but the real matchup is New England's pedestrian defense and the electrifying Darren McFadden.
Pats Pulpit puts it in the hands of Tom Brady...of course.
Brady is the type of player that follows a mediocre performance with a masterful one, and that is what I expect.
I'm really tempting fate putting the Bears on here for a second time. However, the Bears are desperate, and desperation almost always makes for entertaining football games. Fingers are pointing in the Windy City. They should easily be able to top Carolina, right? Not so fast. The media stopped talking about entertainer-slash-icon Cam Newton last week as a rainy field moved the game to the ground and limited him to 158 passing yards. Chicago may not have an answer for Newton and Steven Smith. As for Chicago's offense, Mike Martz has a nasty tendency of out-thinking himself. Don't overlook the return of Ron Rivera to Chicago, along with former Bears Julius Peppers and Greg Olsen.
The significance is not lost at Cat Scratch Reader.
This week, Rivera returns to Chicago, the place where most of this started. It's the city where he earned a Super Bowl ring as a player and where he began his coaching career. So the media's job this week is to ask about "an extra meaning."
Alright, there's your handy dandy viewing guide for the week. Dial up your home town team and keep these programmed on your remote's recall button. You can thank me later for filling the existential void of your otherwise meaningless Sundays.