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Expert NFL Sports Picks: Week Four Predictions

This weekend will mark the quarter mark of the season for many teams and it seems like it has gone by extremely fast. While we’re learning a lot about some teams, the truth is we still have a long way to go.

Many of the teams that look good now will not look so good at the end of the year, and vice versa. Therefore, don’t underestimate an underdog at this point. You never know when an underdog is just starting to gel and start winning.

What should we expect from the Free NFL Sports Picks this week?


Oakland vs. Houston (Houston -9.5)

As long as the Raiders have JaMarcus Russell at quarterback, don’t expect them to do much in the way of offense. While they looked decent in the first half of Week One, they haven’t looked good since. Although they seemed like a good running team, they haven’t even been able to run much with the terrible play of JaMarcus Russell under center.

The Texans are looking good on offense, but it remains to be seen whether they can stop anyone.


Tennessee vs. Jacksonville (Tennessee -3)

The AFC South is one of the hardest divisions to play in in the league. Every week, there is some “knock-down, drag-out” matchup that comes down to the wire. Last week, it was Jacksonville and Houston, and this week should be about the same with this game.

Will Maurice Jones-Drew be able to continue his magic against the Titans defense? Chris Johnson should have a big game against the Jacksonville defense.


New England vs. Baltimore (New England -2)

The Patriots put up a good game last week against the Falcons, winning easily. However, their opponent this weekend will not go down without a fight. Many believe that the Ravens are the best team in football, and this should be a great game.

Can Tom Brady start to get in-sync with his receivers again? Or will Ray Lewis and the Baltimore defense seize the day?


Cincinnati vs. Cleveland (Cincinnati -5.5)

Will the Cleveland offense ever be able to move the ball? This week “ Man-Genius” will try get things going by starting Derrick Anderson. Will Anderson actually make a difference?

For the Bengals, Carson Palmer looks like he’s back at full strength and should be able to move the ball against Cleveland. Look for this division rivalry to be a close game.


New York Giants vs. Kansas City (New York -8.5)

The Chiefs looked terrible last week against the Eagles. However, just because they looked bad, don’t count them out against the Giants. How many times have you seen a team look completely awful and then come out the next week and look like world-beaters? It happens all the time in the NFL.

This might be another blowout, but don’t rule out a close game at Arrowhead.


Detroit vs. Chicago (Chicago -10)

Detroit got its first win in the last two seasons last week. This week they get a much better Chicago team that has already knocked off Pittsburgh. Matt Forte should have a great game against the Detroit defense and get the ball in the end zone.

Will Matt Stafford be able to keep his offense moving against the Bears?


Tampa Bay vs. Washington (Washington -7)

This could be the least attractive game on the schedule this week. Both of these teams look terrible and they’re actually going to play each other this week. Anytime you’re an underdog to a team that just lost to the Lions last week, things are not looking good. That is the position that Tampa finds itself in this week after benching Leftwich.


New York Jets vs. New Orleans (New Orleans -7)

This could be the best game of the week as two unbeaten teams match up. The Jets look to keep things going behind rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez. On the other side of the field, the Saints have the best quarterback in the league in Drew Brees.

Will the Jets defense be able to slow down the vaunted Saints offense? Look for an entertaining game in this one.


Buffalo vs. Miami (Buffalo -2)

Miami looks like they’re out to prove that last year was a fluke as they have stumbled out of the gate to an 0-3 start. The Bills haven’t exactly been lighting the world on fire, but they’ve looked better than Miami so far. Last week, T.O. was held without a catch for the first time in 13 years and he probably won’t be happy about it this week.

Look for him to start a new streak this week.


St. Louis vs. San Francisco (San Francisco -9.5)

The Rams look like they might challenge last year’s Detroit team for the worst in the league. They lost their quarterback and haven’t looked very good at any point this season. The Niners, on the other hand, have looked good for all but the last play of their third game.

On paper, this doesn’t look like a very even matchup, but anything can happen.


Dallas vs. Denver (Dallas -3)

The Cowboys have looked like a juggernaut at times and awful at others. A lot of it depends on how Tony Romo is playing in each game. If he can keep from throwing picks, look out for the Cowboys. This should be a good test to see if Denver’s defense is for real or just a mirage of bad scheduling.


San Diego vs. Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh -6.5)

Pittsburgh comes into this game as the favorite even though they are 1-2 on the season. Usually the oddsmakers give you the benefit of the doubt when you just won the Super Bowl. This should be a pretty even game as the Chargers are a talented football team. Look for a game that goes right down to the wire here.


Green Bay vs. Minnesota (Minnesota -3.5)

This game is all about the Brett Favre saga, but it should actually be a pretty good game between two teams. This one will be talked about all week, leading up to the game.


Make sure you check out Vernon Croy’s Expert NFL Sports Picks for Week Four of the NFL season.

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The Difficulties Of The Vikings Faithful…

It’s that time of year again. 

Once again the Viking faithful have had their team talked up for a deep playoff, and possible championship, run. 

Is this the year we finally shake off years of disappointment and reach our expectations, or will we once again be let down by the greatest tease in all of professional sports?

With all the talk about Brett Favre joining the Vikings, many other stories about this year’s squad have been overlooked. After a strong showing last year the team has improved in every questionable area. 

The defense, which ranked 6th overall and 1st against the run, will be getting E.J. Henderson back. Before getting injured last year, E.J. was playing very well and his return should give the defense a boost. 

Last year’s acquisition of Jared Allen added strength to an already solid defensive line, adding 14 sacks. Chad Greenway also had a great year, leading the team with 115 tackles. 

The only real loss on defense was Darren Sharper. While being an excellent leader, he only had one interception and, being 33, the team decided not to resign the veteran; starting duties will go to 2nd year man Tyrell Johnson. 

The offense last year again relied on the strong running of rushing leader Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor, finishing 5th in the league for team rushing, but also showed signs of things to come in the passing game. 

Bernard Berrian led the league in yards-per-catch and tight end Visanthe Shiancoe finally overcame a case of the dropsies, ending up with seven touchdowns.

The only major loss on offense was the departure of center Matt Birk, an intelligent leader for the offensive line. Birk’s duties are projected to be taken over by rookie John Sullivan and it will be interesting to see how the newcomer handles the pro game. 

Also new to the offensive line is massive rookie tackle Phil Loadholt who is expected to start opposite gigantic Bryant McKinnie, giving Favre a wall of muscle for protection. 

First round draft pick Percy Harvin is expected to be a versatile weapon both on offense as a wide receiver and possible “wildcat” option, and special teams as a return man. His speed will add more firepower to the already explosive skill position players.

The special teams, which struggled last year, also received a few changes by promoting assistant coach Brian Murphy. How he will change up the poor coverage teams has yet to be seen but the resigning of ace Heath Farwell will make his job easier. 

Chris Kluwe finished 6th among punters by averaging 47.6 yards a punt. If Murphy can straighten up the coverage problems, this unit can be solid.

I have talked about many areas of this year’s squad, saying very little about the one most interesting element; what about Brett Favre?

His addition should make the Vikings passing attack worthy of some defensive attention, opening up opportunities for the dangerous Peterson. If Favre can get opposing defenses to not stack the line with eight players keying in on the run, his acquisition will be worth the drama. 

But bringing in Favre also adds another, less talked about story to the squad. Which quarterbacks will secure spots on the roster?

Tavaris Jackson was expected to compete for the starting job with newly acquired Sage Rosenfels while the Favre drama played out. Now there are four quarterbacks gunning for three roster spots. 

Rosenfels looked composed in the preseason opener, while Jackson struggled, leaving the back up position up in the air. Also, what to do with 2nd year man John David Booty. 

Favre adds hall of fame experience and knowledge which could be used to mentor a young gunslinger, but who is the team going to stick with? Will it carry Jackson, and his contract, or groom in the young Booty? 

Seeking outside help from Favre shows the organizations doubt about Jackson being the future of the team and I think he may end up being the odd man out, being potential trade bait.

Once again, I sit brimming with excitement over the potential of this year’s squad, hoping against hope that they can bring it all together. Will our expectations be let down once again? 

We can only watch and see how it turns out, sitting on our couches with family and friends, appetizers and refreshing drinks by our side.  Doesn’t sound too bad to me.


Battles of Mankato: Vikings Training Camp 2009

With time winding down until the beginning of Vikings training camp August 1st at Minnesota State in Mankato, now would seem to be the perfect time to take a look at the position battles that will be resolved heading in camp.

The Vikes find themselves standing on a razor’s edge at the moment.

The team has locked up a solid core of a run dominated offense with All-Star Adrian Peterson and one the largest lines in the NFL. Their defense is one of the most stout in the NFL and is the best at stopping the run behind both Kevin and Pat Williams at the Tackle Positions.

With only one or two more pieces needed this training camp may be one of the most important ones the Vikings have ever held, as its results will determine if the franchise will progress towards contention of a NFC title and possibly a Superbowl or continued mediocrity

So let’s take a look shall we?