NFL Week 4 predictions: Bet big on Bills, Cardinals, Colts, Raiders

Here are our NFL Nation reporters' predictions for Week 4:



New York Jets: The anticipated return of running back Chris Ivory will add some bite to the Jets’ running game, and that will help Ryan Fitzpatrick stay out of too many obvious passing situations. Defensively, the Jets have the personnel in the secondary to stifle the Miami receivers, forcing Ryan Tannehill to hold the ball. The Jets are supremely confident when they face Tannehill; they believe he’s prone to happy feet. Last week was a wake-up call for the Jets; they will respond in London -- assuming their body clocks adjust. Jets 24, Dolphins 17 -- Rich Cimini

Miami Dolphins: Dolphins coach Joe Philbin and quarterback Ryan Tannehill are 3-0 against the Jets away from Sun Life Stadium. The Dolphins also benefited from last year's trip to London in terms of scheduling, playing in Wembley Stadium, beating the Raiders and adjusting to the time difference. Look for Miami (1-2) to take advantage of all these factors and get back to .500. Dolphins 21, Jets 17 -- James Walker


Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars are just 1-5 against QB Andrew Luck and their futility against the Colts in those games is remarkable. They’ve been outscored 107-15 in the FIRST HALF of those games and have been outscored by an average of 23.6 points per game in the five losses. Since beating the Colts 22-17 in their first meeting against Luck in 2012, the Jaguars have scored more than 10 points only once. Their offensive ineptitude hasn’t exactly come against one of the league’s better defenses, either. Colts 28, Jaguars 17 -- Michael DiRocco

Indianapolis Colts: The Colts’ 14-game winning streak against AFC South teams rest on the right shoulder of Luck. It’s not to say the Colts can’t beat the Jaguars with veteran Matt Hasselbeck starting, but the odds are higher with Luck. Coach Chuck Pagano said he has “supreme confidence” that Luck will start, so I’ll take his word. Expect a lot of running back Frank Gore whether Luck plays or not. Gore is coming off an 86-yard, two-touchdown performance against Tennessee last week. Make it 15 and counting against the AFC South for the Colts. Colts 27, Jaguars 17 -- Mike Wells


N.Y. Giants: The Buffalo Bills are allowing just 74 rushing yards per game and 6.4 yards per pass attempt. Their overall defensive numbers are skewed by what the Patriots did to them in Week 2. But this is a good defense that sent three of its starting linemen to the Pro Bowl last year and will play considerably tougher than any of the three defenses the Giants have faced so far this year. The Bills are going to be without LeSean McCoy and likely Sammy Watkins on offense, but this is one of those games that will showcase another team’s roster depth against the Giants’ lack of roster depth. Bills 31, Giants 16 -- Dan Graziano

Buffalo Bills: This isn’t Super Bowl XXV, and the Bills aren’t trying to topple a very strong Giants team as they were back in 1991. The Giants have allowed nearly 6 yards per play on defense and have allowed opponents to convert a league-worst 53.5 percent of third-down conversions. The Bills might be without McCoy and Watkins in this game, but their offense shouldn’t have much of a problem with this Giants defense. Bills 27, Giants 19 -- Mike Rodak


Carolina Panthers: The Panthers thrive on forcing quarterbacks into mistakes, and the inexperienced Jameis Winston is ripe for the picking. They also thrive on the running game, and the Bucs rank 29th in the league at stopping the run. Strengths vs. weaknesses. Carolina goes into the bye week 4-0. Panthers 24, Buccaneers 9 -- David Newton

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs are winless at home under coach Lovie Smith, and it’s hard to see the slide ending this week. The Panthers hold momentum with their first 3-0 start since 2003 and one of the NFL’s most potent rushing attacks (132 yards per game). The Bucs, meanwhile, are coming off a poor showing in Houston, where they were gashed for 413 yards against an injury-riddled offense. Carolina should extend its winning streak against Tampa Bay to five games. Panthers 27, Bucs 17 -- Andrew Astleford


Philadelphia Eagles: If Hurricane Joaquin doesn’t blow this game away entirely, it could affect each team’s ability to throw the ball well. In that case, the Eagles run defense, which allows a league-low 3.1 yards per carry, could be the difference-maker. Overall, this feels like a game the Eagles can and should win. Eagles 23, Washington 16. -- Phil Sheridan

Washington Redskins: The Redskins can hurt the Eagles secondary, but the Redskins need a consistent ground game to win. Philadelphia ranks first in the NFL in allowing only 3.1 yards per carry and is third in the NFL in yards per carry allowed before contact. In other words, its front seven can dominate against the run. The Redskins could really use receiver DeSean Jackson in this game to sting the Eagles on first-down play-action passes. But it’s hard to imagine he’ll play. We also don’t know yet if corner Chris Culliver will play and he’d be a big loss as well. There are too many uncertainties for Washington. Eagles 21, Redskins 20. -- John Keim


Oakland Raiders: The Raiders will match their 2014 victory total in Week 4. Is Oakland suddenly a great team? No, probably not, but it is competitive, especially offensively. The Raiders will benefit from playing a dreadful Chicago team. The Raiders have road confidence after ending an 11-game road losing skid last week at Cleveland. Make it two in a row on the road this week. Raiders 24, Bears 16 -- Bill Williamson

Chicago Bears: Oakland’s offense, led by Derek Carr and Amari Cooper, is bound to cause problems for a steadily improving Chicago defense. Cooper is a nightmare matchup for Bears cornerbacks Kyle Fuller and Alan Ball. On the other hand, the Bears' offense should move the football and score points against the Raiders’ suspect defense. But the NFL is a quarterback-driven league. Carr is the smart choice over Jimmy Clausen, David Fales or even a banged up Jay Cutler on Sunday. Raiders 21, Bears 17 -- Jeff Dickerson


Houston Texans: The Texans will have their toughest challenge yet with Falcons receiver Julio Jones and quarterback Matt Ryan. They’ll also face an offense that ranks third in the league in yards per game and second in third-down conversion percentage. That will challenge a Texans defense that has been outstanding on third downs this season, allowing only a 21.1 percent conversion rate. Nevertheless, I’ll choose the Falcons this week. Falcons 27, Texans 24 -- Tania Ganguli

Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons might have a little trouble completely shutting out pass-rushers J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney, but the line has done a solid enough job to give Ryan adequate time to find Jones, the NFC offensive player of the month. Throw in the establishment of the running game with Devonta Freeman and the Falcons should be fine at home. The catch might be how effective the Texans are running the football with the capable Alfred Blue and the possible return of Arian Foster. Falcons 27, Texans 17 -- Vaughn McClure


Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs were an easy mark for Peyton Manning and the Broncos two weeks ago and Aaron Rodgers and the Packers on Monday night. And now they face red-hot Andy Dalton and the Bengals. The Chiefs will need to score some points to win this one and their sputtering offense won’t be able to keep pace. The Chiefs are converting just 17 percent of their third-down chances, worst in the league. Bengals 27, Chiefs 20 -- Adam Teicher

Cincinnati Bengals: If the Bengals shut down Alex Smith, Jamaal Charles and the rest of Kansas City’s offense on the first two downs Sunday, they will be able to blitz Smith the way the Packers did Monday night, when Green Bay sacked Smith seven times. It’s no surprise Kansas City has the league’s worst third-down conversion rating (5-for-30). A defense’s pass-rush aggressiveness also can be impacted by a large scoreboard lead. So far this season, the Bengals are outpacing opponents 52-6 by halftime. They’ll get another big lead Sunday. Bengals 30, Chiefs 21 -- Coley Harvey


Cleveland Browns: Cleveland is a team that is reeling, especially defensively. In San Diego, the Browns face a Chargers offense with a veteran quarterback in Philip Rivers who knows how to get the ball out quickly and knows how to take advantage of a talented group of receivers. Even with injuries, the Chargers are a better team. Chargers 24, Browns 13 -- Pat McManamon

San Diego Chargers: With the Browns giving up a league-worst 158 rushing yards a contest, look for San Diego to lean on Melvin Gordon and the running game. The Chargers also should put pressure on Cleveland quarterback Josh McCown defensively. According to ESPN Stats & Information, McCown has a 48.5 completion percentage and has been sacked three times this season when facing five or more rushers. Chargers 24, Browns 17-- Eric D. Williams


Green Bay Packers: Colin Kaepernick has owned Dom Capers’ defenses, beating them with his legs (181 yards rushing in the 2012 playoff game) and his arm (412 yards passing in the 2013 opener). But with Clay Matthews in the middle, it’s a new-look defense. Besides, there’s no slowing down Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ offense. Packers 31, 49ers 20 -- Rob Demovsky

San Francisco 49ers: The Niners have no business being in this game, not after Kaepernick’s epic meltdown in the desert last week that included four interceptions, including two that were returned for touchdowns, and a total QBR of 3.2. And not with Rodgers (10 TDs, 0 INTs) playing at an otherworldly level and still having that chip on his shoulder from the 2005 draft. As much as the gut says it will be somewhat competitive, the brain looks at the past two weeks and averages it out. Packers 45, 49ers 13 -- Paul Gutierrez


St. Louis Rams: The Rams' familiarity with the Cardinals allows them to keep it close, but even with running back Todd Gurley back in the mix, the offense is again unable to muster enough points to come away with the victory. Instead, the Rams lose to Arizona for the fourth straight time and fall to 1-3 with a trip to Green Bay looming. Cardinals 17, Rams 13 -- Nick Wagoner

Arizona Cardinals: The Rams have scored 50 points through three games. By comparison, the Cardinals scored 47 in Week 3 alone. The Rams’ defense, even with its vaunted defensive front, likely won’t slow down a Cardinals offense that has been on historic pace, scoring 126 points in three games -- fourth-most in NFL history through the first three games of the season. Cardinals 31, Rams 13 -- Josh Weinfuss


Minnesota Vikings: This is the toughest road matchup the Vikings have faced in a year, but not necessarily because of Peyton Manning. It’s because of a defense that has pressured opposing quarterbacks 39.1 percent of the time, held them to a league-low 16.7 QBR and intercepted six passes. The Broncos also are sixth in the league against the run, and if Adrian Peterson isn’t able to set the tone for the offense the same way he has the past two weeks, it could be a tough day for Teddy Bridgewater. Broncos 24, Vikings 14 -- Ben Goessling

Denver Broncos: The Vikings have a physical defensive front that could pose problems for a Broncos running game that averages just 2.6 yards per rushing attempt. The Vikings also have Peterson, who leads the league in rushing. The Vikings will be the sternest physical test for the Broncos’ No. 1-ranked defense. Bottom line, though: The Broncos are 23-2 at home since Manning signed with the team. Broncos 27, Vikings 19 -- Jeff Legwold


Dallas Cowboys: The Saints have lost six straight home games and are winless this season. The Cowboys have won 10 straight road games in the regular season but are coming off a demoralizing loss to Atlanta. Drew Brees appears ready to return after a one-week absence. The last time the Cowboys played in New Orleans, they gave up a league-record 40 first downs in 2013. The Cowboys have not been able to consistently rush the passer and were chewed up on the ground last week by the Falcons. Can the Cowboys’ offense match Brees score for score? Without Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, that’s just too hard to see. Saints 31, Cowboys 20 -- Todd Archer

New Orleans Saints: I hate to base this pick on something so unscientific as the Saints are "overdue." But if they're ever going to get a win, it should come in prime time in the Superdome, where they had won 14 consecutive night games by an average of nearly 20 points until their current six-game home losing streak. Brees and top cornerback Keenan Lewis appear likely to play. And even if they aren't quite 100 percent, they'll be healthier than the Cowboys, who are still missing Tony Romo and Dez Bryant. Against backup QB Brandon Weeden, the Saints need to improve on their meager totals of four sacks and zero interceptions. Saints 27, Cowboys 24 -- Mike Triplett



Detroit Lions: Despite being last in the NFL in rushing (45 yards per game), Lions coach Jim Caldwell said he wants to remain committed to the run. Considering Detroit can’t move on the ground and Seattle has the second-best pass defense in the league, yards and points could be at a premium. And the Lions’ defense is allowing 27.7 points a game. This could be a long game for Detroit. Seahawks 28, Lions 14 -- Michael Rothstein

Seattle Seahawks: While Detroit’s offense is sputtering, Seattle is coming off a shutout, and other than nose tackle Brandon Mebane dealing with a groin injury, the Seahawks are healthy and whole on defense with strong safety Kam Chancellor back in the mix. According to ESPN Stats & Information, opposing quarterbacks are completing 81.8 percent of their downfield passes (15 yards or longer) against the Lions through three games. Don’t be surprised if the Seahawks use play-action and take multiple shots downfield with rookie Tyler Lockett. Regardless of whether Marshawn Lynch plays, the Seahawks win by double digits. Seahawks 27, Lions 13 -- Sheil Kapadia