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AFC North Week 4 Predictions

AFC North Week 4 Predictions
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Welcome to the AFC North predictions page!

Each week, one of our AFC North feature writers will list their picks for that week and be forced to explain why they voted as they did. Keep in mind that these picks are for entertainment purposes only, and in no way should be used to influence gambling or illegal activity, unless you’re smart enough to recognize that we know more than you because we publish things.

Carolina Panthers @ Baltimore Ravens
September 28, 2014 1:00pm

Few are aware that Steve Smith played for the Panthers for 13 seasons before signing with the Ravens this offseason. The Panthers’ secondary has been a weakness so far, but they field a stout front seven. The Steelers were able to exploit the Panthers’ defense last week, but odds are that the defensive line gets more pressure this week. Flacco has faced little pressure so far this season, but if he gets time, he will do well.

What to watch:

Ravens secondary: Kelvin Benjamin averages nearly 85 yards per game, and against a weak secondary, he should rack up plenty of yards on Sunday. Dean Pees’s “bend but don’t break” defense performs well enough, but the pass rush will have to step up if the Ravens want to do well.

Panthers’ defense: With Luke Kuechly manning the Panthers’ defense, the Ravens’ middle attack may be limited. Dennis Pitta is out for the season with a right hip injury, leaving Owen Daniels (leg fatigue) and rookie, Crockett Gilmore as the primary tight ends. Bernard Pierce is still questionable, leaving Justin Forsett and Lorenzo Taliaferro as the primary running backs.

Bottom line:

At home against Panthers, the Ravens should pull out the win. Ravens, 24-17.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Pittsburgh Steelers
September 28, 2014 1:00pm

The Steelers are at home this week, against what looked like a pitiful Buccaneers team last week. The Steelers’ defense took some hits, but they should be strong enough to beat the Buccaneers. Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount are a formidable rushing attack. The Steelers should worry about the Bucs’ large receivers, especially with a limping secondary.

What to watch:

Steelers’ run defense: Bobby Rainey has done well this season, making opposing defenses look foolish, and the Steelers’ defensive line hasn’t been strong. The Bucs are one-dimensional in terms of their offense, so look for the Steelers to slow down the rushing attack with the Bucs lacking a QB.

Buccaneers miscues: Against the Falcons last week, the Buccaneers couldn’t get out of their own way, fumbling the ball multiple times and failing to score until later in the game. Without a quarterback, the Bucs will continue to struggle on Sunday. If they can limit their mistakes, the Buccaneers can stay in the game, but a strong Steelers’ performance will shut Tampa Bay down.

Bottom line:

The Steelers’ offense will do enough to beat a weak Bucs team. Steelers, 24-13

Author’s picks:

Writer Game Score
Ravenous128 Panthers @ Ravens  Ravens, 28-17
Buccaneers @ Steelers  Steelers, 28-14
Peatwo Panthers @ Ravens  Ravens, 27-13
Buccaneers @ Steelers  Steelers, 31-10
DOOOMMEEEEDD Panthers @ Ravens Ravens, 24-17
Buccaneers @ Steelers Steelers, 24-13
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