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NFL: Week Four Preview

Resident NFL guru Eoin Purcell is here to preview the upcoming week in the NFL calendar.

Before we look at the mouth-watering contests coming up in week four it would be rude not to mention the first Wembley game of the year.

London pulls out all the stops to make the international series a massive success every year and it is a shame that the first instalment this season pits two of the league’s bottom five teams against each other. That being said a fun weekend is sure to be had by all who attend the festivities.

Game of the Week

Philadelphia Eagles @ San Francisco 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers have not started the season the way they would have hoped, giving up leads two weeks in a row to find themselves with a 1-2 record. They currently trail division leaders Arizona by two games. The good news for the 49ers is that they are the only NFC West team in action this weekend and they have a chance to make up ground in the division, in their home stadium. The bad news is that their opponents are the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles.

The Eagles have been almost the complete opposite of the 49ers this season. While the 49ers have been losing from winning positions, the Eagles have been winning from losing positions. In every game so far this season the Eagles have trailed by double digits at some point, and they have still managed to win. With Dallas hosting the high powered Saints and the Redskins and Giants playing each other a win for Philadelphia would put them in an extremely strong position in this division.

For many 1-2 teams week four presents a must win situation if they have a realistic shot at making the playoffs. San Francisco is one of these teams. The NFC West is one of the toughest divisions in footballs and a loss on Sunday could all but extinguish the 49ers dreams of reaching the playoffs.

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Must-See Matches

1) Buffalo Bills @ Houston Texans

Both of these teams tasted defeat for the first time this season in Week Three. To keep their hopes of winning their respective divisions alive both teams know that nothing short of a win will be good enough on Sunday.

The Texans hope to have RB Arian Foster healthy and in the backfield after the star back was ruled out through injury last week. Without Foster the Texans looked like the team that lost 14 straight matches last season, he is the key to the Texans’ success this year.

The Bills have finally removed the tag of whipping boys of the AFC East and, powered by a stingy defence, they hope to steal the division away from the dominant New England Patriots.

Neither of these teams can afford to lose back-to-back matches. After all 3-1 is a much happier place than 2-2. Houston will hope that home field advantage will push them over the line. Buffalo will look to use the knowledge they have on Houston QB, and former Buffalo QB, Ryan Fitzpatrick to tip their scales in their favour. Any way you look at it this is going to be a very close game.

 

2) Carolina Panthers @ Baltimore Ravens

This NFC South @ AFC North match promises to have many implications in their respective divisions. Let’s start with Baltimore and the AFC North.

Baltimore have a record of 2-1, one win behind the 3-0 Bengals. The Bengals have a bye in week four so a Baltimore win would put them level in wins with the Bengals. Their AFC North rival Steelers host Tampa Bay in an almost certain win for the Steelers, which will move them to 3-1. A loss for Baltimore will see them fall to third in the division, and they are already behind in the tie breaker having lost to Cincinnati. From there it would be a long difficult road to the playoffs.

For Carolina the scenario is somewhat similar. The Panthers are currently 2-1 and top their division. Their rivals in the NFC South, Atlanta (2-1) and New Orleans (1-2), are both road favourites in their matches this weekend. A loss this weekend could see the Panthers fall to third place in what promises to be a very tight division.

This match is hugely important for both teams, and with the talent on display, this promises to be a highly entertaining contest.

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Predictions for Week Four

1) The Miami Dolphins previously played an International Series match at Wembley in 2007 when they were beaten by the eventual Superbowl winning New York Giants. While neither of these teams will be contesting the superbowl, Miami will improve its Wembley Record to 1-1.

2) The Redskins will have another impressive offensive performance with Kirk Cousins at the helm. Cousins will pass for 300+ yards and multiple scores, igniting the debate about who the starting QB should be once Robert Griffin III returns from injury

3) Aaron Rodgers will find a much needed win for his Green Bay Packers against NFC North rivals Chicago. In the same division Detroit will find a way to lose against the New York Jets leaving the top three teams in the NFC North tied at    2-2.

4) Andrew Luck will pick up from where he left off in week three by throwing for another 350 yards and 3 TD’s in an easy win over the Titans. This win for the Colts will put a lot of pressure on division leaders Houston, who will fall to the surprise package of 2014, the Buffalo Bills.

5) The Chiefs’ streak of beating AFC East opponents will continue. The Chiefs will, against all the odds, pick up a surprise victory against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, despite all of the injuries to key players on the Chiefs roster.

Eoin Purcell, Pundit Arena.

Featured Image via “Patrick Peterson, Keenan Allen 2014” by Greg Buch FFSwami.com – Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Patrick_Peterson,_Keenan_Allen_2014.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Patrick_Peterson,_Keenan_Allen_2014.jpg.

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.