Posted: Thursday September 27, 2012 1:40PM ; Updated: Thursday September 27, 2012 6:49PM
Peter King
Peter King>WEEKEND PICKOFF

NFL Week 4
 
Last Week: 5-11 (.313); This Season: 22-26 (.458)
 
Thursday, Sept. 27
 
8:20 p.m. ET (NFLN) Cleveland Browns (0-3) at Baltimore Ravens (2-1)
John Harbaugh's team is 20-1 at home since late 2009. And you think Cleveland can come in and give the Ravens a challenge? I can't see it, especially with the Ravens getting better and better each week running the no-huddle, which helped them gain 503 yards against the Pats last Sunday night. And the Browns have never beaten Joe Flacco. Gene Steratore's the ref tonight, by the way, in the first game back for the real guys. Good sign, because he's very good at calming a raucous division rivalry, and nothing fazes him.
 
Sunday, Sept. 30
 
1 p.m. ET (CBS) New England Patriots (1-2) at Buffalo Bills (2-1)
"We're 1-2, and we've got to do something about it," said Tom Brady. This is what I think he'll do: take matters into his own hands. As long as his offensive front -- obviously shaky at times in the first three games -- gives him time, I see big weeks for Brandon Lloyd and Wes Welker downfield and in intermediate areas Sunday in Orchard Park. By the way, like you, I was stunned to see Bills punter Brian Moorman get whacked this week in favor of rookie Shawn Powell by GM Buddy Nix. Then I looked at his net average: 32.7 yards.
 
1 p.m. ET (FOX) San Francisco 49ers (2-1) at New York Jets (2-1)
Jim Harbaugh's team lost in Minnesota last week, but because of his sense of urgency the Niners have never had a two-game losing streak under his watch. The Jets will sorely miss Darrelle Revis, so there's that. And there's the fact that the Niners are the better team.
 
1 p.m. ET (CBS) Tennessee Titans (1-2) at Houston Texans (3-0)
You can't stop Matt Schaub, even when you rip off a piece of his ear. Plays missed after the hit Joe Mays put on Schaub, which resulted in a one-game Mays suspension: one. His 106.2 passer rating inches up a few clicks this week with a masterful game at Reliant against the Titans.
 
1 p.m. ET (CBS) San Diego Chargers (2-1) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-2)
A week ago, the sky was falling on the Chiefs. Now they're a win away from being tied for the AFC West lead at the quarter pole. Thanks, Jamaal Charles, for those 233 yards in New Orleans. Got 145 in you Sunday? You'd better, if the boot on Peyton Hills' foot Wednesday is any indication of his readiness for the Chargers.
 
1 p.m. ET (FOX) Carolina Panthers (1-2) at Atlanta Falcons (3-0)
I see where Cam Newton admits no wrongdoing, no weakness, in the wake of his meltdown a week ago. Can't anyone in Carolina teach him something about growing as a person and a player?
 
1 p.m. ET (FOX) Minnesota Vikings (2-1) at Detroit Lions (1-2)
I expect Matthew Stafford to play through his upper-leg injury. (Hip? Hammy? Quad? Who knows?) Things might be different if the Lions weren't 1-2 with the bye on the horizon next week. But suddenly this is bordering on a must game for the Lions, and if Stafford can walk and chew gum and protect himself at the same time, I see him playing.
 
1 p.m. ET (FOX) Seattle Seahawks (2-1) at St. Louis Rams (1-2)
This will be a field-position game, and I like the Seahawks' chances to play good field-position football. The running back, Marshawn Lynch, is second in the league in carries (24 efficient ones per game), and the punter, the underrated Jon Ryan, is second in the league with a 45.6 net punting average. I can't see Sam Bradford making three long drives against this defense.
 
4:05 p.m. ET (CBS) Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2)
The Bengals are 31st in the league against the run. They allowed 213 yards on the ground in Washington last week. Maurice Jones-Drew is on fire. Why pick the Bengals? In Mike Zimmer I trust. He'll figure a way to not allow Jones-Drew to win this game by himself.
 
4:05 p.m. ET (CBS) Oakland Raiders (1-2) at Denver Broncos (1-2)
Toughest game to pick this week, because of how thin the Denver linebackers are with the injuries and suspension of Joy Mays for one week for the Matt Schaub hit. A month shy of his 37th birthday, Keith Brooking likely moves in to play middle linebacker, and he'll have to be stout to stop Darren McFadden from controlling this game. Ball control, Peyton Manning. Ball control.
 
4:05 p.m. ET (CBS) Miami Dolphins (1-2) at Arizona Cardinals (3-0)
"By no stretch of the imagination do I think we've arrived," said coach Ken Whisenhunt, whose Cards are 3-0 for the first time since student Ken Whisenhunt was in seventh grade in Augusta, Ga. (1974). Maybe not, but the Cards have a shot to be 7-0 in the next month. Next four: Dolphins, at Rams, Bills, at Vikes.
 
4:25 p.m. ET (FOX) Washington Redskins (1-2) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-2)
I'd like Washington a lot more if Brian Orakpo would be in the fold for this one instead of in sick bay. Josh Freeman's got to be better than he was last week in Dallas, and the fact that he should have more time this week than last will help him.
 
4:25 p.m. ET (FOX) New Orleans Saints (0-3) at Green Bay Packers (1-2)
Just a recommendation for the commissioner of football, who likes to go to games in different cities during the season: Might be best to steer clear of this one. You're Public Enemy No. 1 by both fan bases.
 
8:20 p.m. ET (NBC) New York Giants (2-1) at Philadelphia Eagles (2-1)
The Giants are hotter, to be sure, with 61 points in their last five quarters. And Mike Vick (first three games: nine turnovers) is under pressure to play better or start fearing for his job -- no matter how reassuring the words from Andy Reid are. Reid's a performance guy, and Vick's not doing the job in the first three weeks. This comes down to liking Eli Manning to make a few more plays in the fourth quarter than Vick, as simple as that sounds.
 
Monday, Oct. 1
 
8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN) Chicago Bears (2-1) at Dallas Cowboys (2-1)
Not saying that one matchup is everything in any game. But DeMarcus Ware, the best outside linebacker in football, is matched against J'Marcus Webb, one of the worst left tackles in football. The Bears will help Webb a lot with extra blockers and chippers, but they aren't good enough on the line as a whole for that to not cripple them elsewhere on the line. I expect Matt Forte to play with that bad ankle of his, but no one will know how effective he'll be until Monday night.
 

 
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