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2015 NFL Season: Pokorny's Week 4 Picks

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Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

After going 15-17 over the first two weeks of the season, I rebounded in a major way in Week 3, posting a 13-3 record to improve to 28-20 on the year. Hopefully my hot streak can continue into Week 4, which introduces bye weeks as the Patriots and Titans are both off this week. Feel free to weigh in on some of the games in the comments section.

Week 4 Games Explanation Pick
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Thursday Night Football: This isn't your typical AFC North battle between the Ravens and the Steelers. The Ravens are 0-3 for the first time in franchise history, while the Steelers will have Michael Vick under center. The Ravens' offense hasn't been an issue this season -- it's been their defense. I think Pittsburgh's offense is very dependent on the skills of Ben Roethlisberger, so I anticipate a rough start with Vick and the Ravens winning their first game of the season. Ravens 24, Steelers 17

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Live in London: With how good the Patriots have looked and the Bills looking like a force in the AFC, the Jets and Dolphins can't afford to fall further behind in the division race. This game will take place in London at 9:30 AM on Sunday as a nationally televised game. Both teams started slow offensively last week and it was too much to overcome. Miami can't stop the run, though, which plays into the Jets being able to run the ball effectively and then let their defense continue operating at a high level. Jets 23, Dolphins 20

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Opposite Directions: Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers' offense remains a mess. We saw some of the horrid mistakes he made against the Browns in the preseason and then the Titans in Week 1, and those mistakes are going to continue against the Panthers' defense. Like the Texans last week, Carolina doesn't have an explosive offense. That could give them a fighting chance at home, but I'm giving the Panthers the edge as they'll keep pace with the Falcons for the division lead in the NFC South. Panthers 21, Buccaneers 14

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Even Foster Wouldn't Be Enough: The Falcons are fun to watch again. Each of their victories have involved them using their high octane offense to either hang on to a lead late, or in the case of last week, rally and turn it into a rout. The Texans might feel like they found their footing with a win last week, but a win over the Buccaneers proves nothing. Houston could get a boost if Arian Foster returns, but the quarterback position hasn't played well enough to compete in a shootout with Matt Ryan. Falcons 31, Texans 17

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Just Win the Division: If there is one division the Colts could get away with having a slow start, it'd be the AFC South. After starting 0-2, they pulled off a very fortunate comeback over the Titans last week. One division win down, and two more to go: this week against the Jaguars, and then next week against the Texans. Whoever has the best division record will win the division. I thought Blake Bortles would be improved based on what I saw in the preseason from him, but his regular season has been another disappointment. Colts 21, Jaguars 13

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Buying in to the Bengals: I'm usually pretty biased toward AFC North teams, especially when the national media gives one of the teams a lot of credit. I feel like I'm ready to concede the fact that the Bengals look to be the real deal this year. I still say that Cincinnati's No. 1 concern is how to win a playoff game under Andy Dalton, but they'll put that aside for the regular season. The Chiefs are in the middle of a very rough stretch (Denver, Green Bay, Cincinnati), probably three of the top five teams in the NFL. They couldn't win the first two, and I think they'll fall again here. Bengals 28, Chiefs 21

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Nearly an Upset: With the Bills' domination of the Dolphins last week, I'm more confident that they are a "real deal" type of team in the AFC, despite what happened against the Patriots. The Giants are going to play a very competitive game this week, so this will be a great test to see how Tyrod Taylor can lead the offense in the closing moments of the game. Bills 24, Giants 20

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I'm Sold: I had already been impressed with Derek Carr heading into the game against Cleveland last week, but now that I've seen the rest of the Raiders, I feel like they are a team that could be a .500 type of team this year. Amari Cooper is a good-looking young receiver, Carr has a good grasp of where to get the ball quickly, and on defense, Khalil Mack is a force. The Bears are already having a fire sale and neither Jimmy Clausen nor Jay Cutler will get them anywhere. Raiders 31, Bears 10

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Spoke Too Soon: Earlier, I said that the Colts could afford a slow start because of the division they played in. I forgot about the situation in the NFC East for a second, though. The Cowboys built up an early-season-cushion, but if the Cowboys fade under Brandon Weeden, the Eagles are the favorite to step up. Philadelphia has been pretty terrible offensively given their expectations, but something has to click for this team soon, right? Eagles 27, Redskins 13

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Blowout of the Week: Colin Kaepernick is not the same player he was when he first started playing, and his quick regression is pretty sad to watch. The 49ers are neck-and-neck with the Buccaneers for being the worst team in the NFL, with a big gap between everybody else. The Packers are going to eat them alive to improve to 4-0. Packers 38, 49ers 7

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Game of the Week: This might not seem like your typical game of the week, but it's a very intriguing matchup for me. Peyton Manning and the Broncos are slowly starting to find their groove on offense, and the stout play of the defense has allowed them to be patient in finding their footing. The Vikings have been fully emerged in their niche offensively the past two weeks by wisely handing the ball to Adrian Peterson. This game could come down to the wire, but I'll take the Broncos prevailing. Broncos 27, Vikings 24

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Can They Crack 40 Again? The Cardinals have steamrolled through their first three opponents and have been the NFC equivalent of the Patriots. What is great about them is that unlike last year, they aren't just a boring defensive team. They are lighting it up offensively and are a blast to watch. St. Louis has dropped two straight after winning the opener, showing they aren't ready for prime time. The Cardinals will fall shy of 40 points this week, but it won't matter. Cardinals 31, Rams 14

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Weeden to End Losing Streak: Although the Saints are in better shape than the Bears, things are pretty gloomy down in New Orleans right now, and I'm not so sure that a return by Drew Brees would even help. After the Cowboys jumped out to 28 points last week, it was surprising to see them shut out the rest of the way. Brandon Weeden is going to have to be trusted fully by the offensive staff moving forward, and he'll find some big plays against Rob Ryan's mistake-prone defense. Cowboys 28, Saints 23

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Shutdown Defense: Even though it came against the lowly Bears last week, Seattle's defense was very sharp in compiling a 26-0 shutout over the Bears. This week, they get a struggling Lions team that isn't running the ball consistently enough and isn't getting the ball to Calvin Johnson enough. That lack of decisiveness won't cut it against the Seahawks on the road. Seahawks 23, Lions 13

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Common Ground: To begin the season, it looked like the Browns' soft schedule to begin the year would last three games. With the way things have gone, it's been extended by two games (San Diego and Baltimore). This is their chance to get back in it before it's too late. My full preview and prediction of the Browns vs. Chargers game will be posted this Saturday on DBN.

TBA
Bye Weeks

Week 3 Picks Record: 13-3
2015 Season Record: 28-20
Record in Browns Picks: 1-2

Survivor Pick: I am on a one-game winning streak after the Seahawks shut out the Bears last week. This week, I'll go with the Packers over the 49ers.

Editor's Note: FanDuel is running a $2,000,000 fantasy football league in week 4. The top 90,800 teams win cash with $150,000 paid to first place on Sunday. Join now!