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Bring on the pressure

Heavy pass rush the key factor in Week 4 showdowns

Posted: Thursday September 28, 2006 11:43AM; Updated: Sunday October 1, 2006 11:48AM
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Week 4 Matchups
Arizona (1-2) at Atlanta (2-1)
In three games, Kurt Warner has thrown four interceptions and fumbled eight times. Twelve quarters, 12 extraordinarily negative plays. This cannot go on, Kurt. The Kid is waiting and ready to go.
Atlanta 29, Arizona 10
Minnesota (2-1) at Buffalo (1-2)
This is one of those games that could make or break Bills quarterback J.P. Losman. The Vikes have allowed one touchdown pass in three games and their cornerbacks, Fred Smoot and Antoine Winfield, are tough to throw on. Just a hunch, but I think Losman's going to make enough plays to win. He showed some spunk last week in Buffalo's loss to the Jets.
Buffalo 16, Minnesota 13
New Orleans (3-0) at Carolina (1-2)
Old saw in football says the hungrier team usually wins. New saw says when Steve Smith plays, the Panthers usually win.
Carolina 30, New Orleans 17
Indianapolis (3-0) at New York (2-1)
Just when the Gang Greeners were pulling their '69 Joe Willie stuff out of the box in the attic, here come the Colts and Jags in Weeks 4 and 5. Losses 2 and 3 are coming soon.
Indianapolis 30, New York Jets 17
San Francisco (1-2) at Kansas City (0-2)
The Chiefs have scored 16 points in two games, and the seat is already getting toasty for Herman Edwards. This is the right time for the 49ers to come to town.
Kansas City 20, San Francisco 13
Dallas (1-1) at Tennessee (0-3)
Memo to all innkeepers in central Tennessee: Raise your rates a few bucks this weekend, and stock the bar with extra light beer; the sportswriters are coming. The psychoanalysis of Terrell Owens will be in full swing. Just what Bill Parcells wants -- a horde of strangers with pens, pads and cameras asking teammates of T.O., "So, did he seem suicidal to you?"
Dallas 30, Tennessee 10
San Diego (2-0) at Baltimore (3-0)
In potentially the game of the weekend, I like Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers to hold his own, even in a very tough road environment against the unpredictably multiple Baltimore defense. Steve McNair has to play better, and I think he will. He's completed 55 percent of his throws, but he looks out of sync in the Ravens' scheme. I saw too many of McNair's throws sail last week in Cleveland. This is a game Adalius Thomas and his Ravens defensive mates will have to win.
Baltimore 22, San Diego 16
Miami (1-2) at Houston (0-3)
I'm not sure, but I think Daunte Culpepper is slow enough for Texans defensive end Mario Williams to actually get a quarterback pressure this Sunday. Williams is working his way up to his first sack. That should come, oh, around Thanksgiving.
Miami 16, Houston 9
Detroit (0-3) at St. Louis (2-1)
There's not a single Lion who will say this weekend, "Gee, we've got to win this one for Mike Martz."
St. Louis 15, Detroit 10
New England (2-1) at Cincinnati (3-0)
Another frustrating day for the Pats' offense. You know what they need? Chad Jackson to wake up, look at himself in the mirror and commit himself to being a full-time football player who puts his job first and everything else second.
Cincinnati 26, New England 13
Cleveland (0-3) at Oakland (0-2)
Anyone else think that Rob Ryan, with that wild gray hair, looks like he ought to be a face-painted Black-Holer and not the Raiders' defensive coordinator?
Cleveland 20, Oakland 17
Jacksonville (2-1) at Washington (1-2)
In a rematch of the once and current Jags quarterbacks, Mark Brunell is the king of the dump-off passes once again and Byron Leftwich gets abused by a Washington defense that plays its first good game of the season.
Washington 13, Jacksonville 12
Seattle (3-0) at Chicago (3-0)
I think Rex Grossman makes one more play than Matt Hasselbeck. Here's why: Grossman's been sacked twice in 12 quarters; the line's keeping him relatively clean. The Seattle line has protection issues -- Hasselbeck's gone down eight times and has been hit a lot more. This is not the week, playing in Chicago with a raucous crowd and a fired-up Bears defense, to have protection issues.
Chicago 17, Seattle 14
Green Bay (1-2) at Philadelphia (2-1)
Well, the good news for Brett Favre is that despite getting sacked eight times (Brett, meet Trent Cole), he will get two touchdown passes closer to Dan Marino. The bad news is he gets 64 more gray hairs in a three-hour period on Monday night.
Philadelphia 34, Green Bay 14