No earth-shattering upsets in Week 4 around the NFL that may have altered your Survivor Pool competition. My top choice originally was Indianapolis over Jacksonville, but that game showed why you should always wait until the last possible second to make a pick. There was no real word early in the week that Colts star QB Andrew Luck wouldn't play due to a shoulder injury but he indeed missed the first game of his career. I jumped off Indy quickly -- it won 16-13 in overtime -- and onto Atlanta over Houston. The Falcons won easily, 48-21.
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It was an interesting week of football in that eight of the 15 games (53.3 percent) in Week 4 were decided by three points or fewer, the most in a single week since Week 3 of 2011 (nine). The only team still without a win is Detroit, which totally got jobbed on Monday night in Seattle -- but that made me smile from ear-to-ear. Hey, you don't much like the Lions when you grow up a Bears fan in Michigan surrounded by irritating Lions backers. Six teams remain unbeaten, with five at 4-0 (Patriots on a bye last week). The five 4-0 teams are tied for the most in NFL history (1968, 2003, 2009 and 2013).
Here we go for Week 5 -- big on the home teams. Again, first team listed is the choice. On the bye are the Dolphins (who clearly wanted Joe Philbin fired with how they played in Week 4 in London), Vikings, Jets and Panthers. No real losses there.
Top Choice Of Week
Baltimore vs. Cleveland: The Ravens' season was saved thanks to those two missed field goals by Pittsburgh's Josh Scobee (now unemployed) on Thursday in Week 4. My one worry here would be that the Ravens probably have the worst group of receivers right now in the NFL with Steve Smith likely sitting this out due to injury. Their top four guys currently: Kamar Aiken, Marlon Brown, Darren Waller and Chris Givens. If you claim to have ever heard of any of them, you are lying. But, hey, it's Cleveland.
Kansas City vs. Chicago: It would be typical of the Bears to win this game and put a serious dent in their chances of getting the No. 1 overall pick. I guess I will have to watch this because the Cubs-Cardinals NLDS won't be playing Sunday -- and yes, I'm expecting the Cubs to beat the Pirates on Wednesday night! Should be plenty of points in this one as the Chiefs and Bears are last in points allowed. Expected that from Chicago, not Kansas City.
Atlanta vs. Washington: I used Atlanta last week as noted or else I might have considered Falcons in this one. Potential trap game, though, as the Falcons have the short-week turnaround and their first division game in Week 6 on Thursday in New Orleans.
Green Bay vs. St. Louis: Todd Gurley is going to be a beast in the NFL. I actually give the Rams a shot at the upset here, but I doubt it.
New England at Dallas: We were hoping for Tom Brady vs. Tony Romo -- this is Brady's first game at Jerry World. Then it looked like Jimmy Garoppolo vs. Romo in the Eastern Illinois Bowl. And now it's Brady vs. Brandon Weeden. This would have drawn perhaps the highest regular-season ratings of any non prime-time game if the Cowboys had all their guys. Now it shouldn't be close with the Pats off the bye week.
NY Giants vs. San Francisco: I wouldn't trade Jay Cutler for Colin Kaepernick right now, which should tell you all you need to know about how lousy Kaepernick has been. Giants look like class of NFC East and really should be 4-0 instead of 2-2.
Could Go Either Way
Houston vs. Indianapolis (Thursday): Do you realize that Indianapolis has won 15 straight games inside its AFC South Division? That ties the 1972-73 Miami Dolphins for the longest streak since 1970. I think that could end here. Oh, I don't trust Houston quarterback Ryan Mallett whatsoever, but even if Luck plays, and has said he plans to, I doubt he's close to 100 percent with a reported separated shoulder.
Cincinnati vs. Seattle: Clearly the best matchup of the week -- might we see it again in Santa Clara, Calif., the first Sunday in February? Seattle lucked out against the Lions without Marshawn Lynch and might not have him back yet. And the Seahawks' other tailback, Fred Jackson, hurt his ankle vs. the Lions. So it may be a steady dose of Thomas Rawls. Tough to Seattle winning this on a short week and playing a 10 a.m. Pacific game.
Philadelphia vs. New Orleans: I honestly don't know what to make of either 1-3 team. Thought both would win their respective divisions. Maybe the Eagles still can in the terrible NFC East. Season is over for the loser of this one.
Detroit vs. Arizona: Could the Lions totally quit after that unbelievably devastating loss on Monday night? Very possible. But they are usually tough to beat at home and perhaps rally around that call.
Tennessee vs. Buffalo: The Bills looked lost offensively last week without LeSean McCoy and Sammy Watkins and it's not looking great for either to play here. Also potentially out is No. 2 running back Karlos Williams. Maybe the Bills activate Thurman Thomas.
San Diego vs. Pittsburgh (Monday): Two guys return from suspension here in Chargers tight end Antonio Gates and Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant. I only lean Chargers because I much prefer Philip Rivers over Michael Vick.
Upset Of Week
Oakland vs. Denver: Right now, the Raiders have the better quarterback in this matchup. Don't believe me? Look at the ratings of Derek Carr and Peyton Manning. The Broncos are winning with defense, not really with Manning. They have won seven straight in series. Think it ends.
Tampa Bay vs. Jacksonville: Ah, pro football in the Sunshine State. Going to be another long NFL season. Could all three Florida teams fire their coaches this year?
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