by Rick Rockwell
Last week proved to be a major collapse, dropping the season average 70 percentage points off the regular prediction average. So this blog tiptoes warily into the fourth week of this National Football League (NFL) season.
Last Week: .500
This Season: .609
Game of the Week: Patriots at Bengals
Can Cory Dillon run at full speed for the Patriots? That's the biggest question in this match-up of elite teams in the American Football Conference (AFC). The Bengals will likely edge the Patriots in this one.
Sunday Night: Seattle at Chicago
This battle of division leaders in the National Football Conference (NFC) also revolves around the health of a running back, Shaun Alexander, last year's league most-valuable player. Alexander has been running on an injured foot for most of the season. Chicago's defense is likely too strong, no matter if Alexander plays or not.
Browns at Raiders
Both of these teams are better than either of last week's Loser Bowl contestants, yet they are still the worst in their divisions. So this will likely be a fierce, yet sloppy battle. The Browns have the edge.
Jaguars at Washington
The Jaguars have proven they are one of the strongest teams in the league despite losing to the Colts last week. They should run wild over Washington.
Vikings at Bills
What to make of the inconsistent Bills? They have the league's top running back in Willis McGahee, yet it doesn't seem to matter. Las Vegas likes the Bills. But the Vikings, despite losing to Chicago, are still the best upset team of the season. Go with Minnesota.
Lions at Rams
Ousted coach Mike Martz returns to St. Louis, this time in his new capacity as the offensive guru guiding the Lions. The Lions proved last week they are the worst team in the league. The Rams have the edge.
Dolphins at Texans
The Dolphins looked woeful while winning in Tennessee last week. This might be a repeat, as they edge past the very weak Texans.
Cardinals at Falcons
Which Falcons team shows up this week? The one that ran over opponents like a Panzer tank during the first two weeks? Or the confused bunch who failed to show up at the Super Dome last week. This week, quarterback Michael Vick and his teammates rediscover their mojo.
Saints at Panthers
Everyone in the country wants the Saints to stay undefeated. Nice thought. The Panthers should end those dreams on Sunday.
Chargers at Ravens
The Chargers have the highest rated offense and highest rated defense in the AFC. The Ravens are undefeated yet inconsistent. Take the Chargers.
Monday Night: Packers at Eagles
Quarterback Brett Favre looked like the top gunslinger again last week. Are the Pack back? No. The Eagles should stop those thoughts quickly.
49ers at Chiefs
The Chiefs are in disarray and the 49ers have plenty of young talent, just itching to make a statement. San Francisco goes home with the upset.
Cowboys at Titans
With or without receiver Terrell Owens, the Cowboys should roll easily in Tennessee.
Colts at Jets
Quarterback Chad Pennington looks to be back in form, something Jets fans haven't seen in two years. However, the powerful Colts should end any illusions those Jets fans may hold about where their team really stands in the league. Pick the Colts.
Now, if this column can get back to at least being better than a coin flip! Enjoy!