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Four weeks in, three unbeatens remain in NFL

Sep 30, 2008 7:04 PM

Pigskin Picks by Andy Iskoe |

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As an indication of just how fast time flies, the 2008 NFL season is one quarter complete for 24 of the NFL’s 32 teams.

Only two teams have managed to win all four of their contests with Buffalo and Tennessee enjoying perfect September success. The New York Giants also finished the month unbeaten, but are just 3-0 after having a bye last week.

As GamingToday went to press, Baltimore was unbeaten heading to the Monday game with Pittsburgh. The first coaching change of the season took place in St. Louis as the 0-4 Rams axed coach Scott Linehan amid locker room turmoil. The Rams have been outscored 147-43, losing by an average of 26 points per game.

The 0-3 Detroit Lions made news during their bye week by finally getting rid of GM Matt Millen, who has presided over the franchise with by far the worst record in the NFL over the past 7+ seasons. Prospects are not good for a quick turnaround as the Lions have lost their first three games by an average of 18 points per game.

Also winless on the season are Cincinnati and Houston. While Houston coach Gary Kubiak’s job appears quite safe, the same cannot be said for the Bengals’ Marvin Lewis.

Making things even more tenuous for the Bengals is the loss to injury of QB Carson Palmer, who missed last Sunday’s home defeat to previously winless Cleveland. News about Palmer missing the game did not surface until Sunday morning, which precipitated an almost unprecedented line move as the Bengals went from 3-point favorites to pick’em in a flash.

Byes continue this week but with four, rather than six, teams on the sidelines. Cleveland, the New York Jets, Oakland and St. Louis are off this week which means the schedule has just 14 games to preview.

Colts -3 at Texans (47): The Colts struggled to a 1-2 start as QB Peyton Manning has been slow to regain timing with his receivers. The week off should help. Houston normally would be in a good spot to back, but the Colts are the clearly more talented team and playing with a sense of urgency. COLTS.

Titans -3 at Ravens (NT): Tennessee has been a major surprise with its 4-0 start. QB Kerry Collins has fared well in managing the games, while the vastly underrated Titans’ defense has set the tone for continued success. Baltimore is very similar on both sides of the ball. Barring turnovers, this game stays low. UNDER.

Chargers -6½ at Dolphins (45½): San Diego was fortunate to escape Oakland with a win, scoring 25 points in the fourth quarter. Miami should have benefited from its bye week. The Chargers are the more talented team and at a TD or less favorite, the preference is to go with the better team despite the rigors of a long cross country trip. CHARGERS.

Chiefs +9½ at Panthers (38): The Chiefs’ running game has resurfaced despite playing musical quarterbacks. Carolina is a physical team that also prefers to run the ball while playing solid defense. Chiefs coach Herman Edwards is extremely conservative. Carolina doesn’t take many chances against inferior. UNDER.

Redskins +6 at Eagles (44): Philly’s versatile RB Brian Westbrook is uncertain for this game. The Eagles are playing with need in the NFL’s best division where you cannot afford home losses. This is a real tough spot for the Redskins who just won on the road at another bitter NFC East rival, Dallas. EAGLES.

Bears -3 at Lions (44½): The Bears are very clearly improved with a healthy defense and QB Kyle Orton playing well. Detroit had a bye last week and should be prepared for a better effort against a division rival. The Lions have covered the last three against the Bears, all as underdogs. LIONS.

Falcons NL at Packers: Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers was injured in last week’s loss at Tampa Bay and is status is not known. Atlanta has won both home games, but lost both times on the road as the learning process continues for rookie QB Matt Ryan. Green Bay should find the Falcons’ defense more to their liking. PACKERS.

Seahawks +7 at Giants (43½): Both teams are off bye weeks. The Giants have been impressive in starting 3-0 as QB Eli Manning continues to elevate his game and is almost in the class of elite quarterbacks. Seattle has been hit by injuries at WR. New York’s defense applies pressure and its receivers should enjoy a huge edge. GIANTS.

Bucs +3 at Broncos (48): Both teams are 3-1. Denver has been explosive on offense but vulnerable on defense. Tampa, long known for the defense, has actually opened up the passing game on offense. Denver’s four games have produced at least 52 total points. The Bucs last two games totaled 51 each. OVER.

Patriots -3 at 49ers (41½): New England’s bye came at the right time following that blowout upset home loss to Miami. San Francisco is stepping up in class. Although Pats are not the same team without Brady at QB, there are plenty of veterans with character and experience to make up for his absence. PATRIOTS.

Bills +1 at Cards (44½): After a season-opening blowout of Seattle, Buffalo has had to rally from behind to win each of its next three. The Bills are much improved with outstanding special teams, a solid defense and offense. However, the situation favors the Cards who prior to their eastern travels won their first two games. CARDINALS.

Bengals NL at Cowboys (NT): Cincy QB Carson Palmer is uncertain for the game. Expect more balance from the Dallas offense, which ran the ball just 11 times against Washington. Dallas cannot afford another home loss before taking to the road for a pair of games, though both are against very beatable foes. COWBOYS.

Steelers +3 at Jaguars (NT): Pittsburgh is a very complete team, with a balanced offense and strong defense. The Steelers have lost four straight to Jacksonville, including a playoff setback at home last season. The Jags appear vulnerable at the moment and unless Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger can’t play, this is an upset spot. STEELERS.

Vikings +3 at Saints (47): The Monday Night Game. Minnesota has been a disappointment thus far at 1-3. New Orleans QB Drew Brees has topped 330 passing yards in three of four games. This game figures to be played at a fast pace, favoring above average number of possessions and scoring drives. OVER.