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AFC North Week Four Predictions

AFC North Week Four Predictions
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Welcome to the AFC North weekly predictions!

 

Each week, 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.

 

Your AFC North “prognosticators” collectively went… well lets just say that Wernike and Johansson each went 1-3, good for 2nd best, as Mr. Crawford gave us his best Owen impersonation. Thanks to M. Thompson’s hitting on 3 of 4 picks, the group “salvaged” a 5-11 record last week.

 

Week Four games:

Sunday:

Dolphins @ Bengals – Thursday, Sep 29, 8:25 pm NFLN

Raiders @ Ravens – Sunday, Oct 2, 1:00 pm CBS

Browns @ Washington – Sunday, Oct 2, 1:00 pm CBS

Chiefs @ Steelers – Sunday, Oct 2, 8:30 pm NBC

 

This week features intriguing AFCN storylines throughout. Thursday night combines two teams looking to catch up to their preseason expectations (especially the Bengals). Sunday afternoon features a Ravens team looking to grab as many first half wins as possible before their schedule of horrors sets in; and a Browns team, whose offensive identity just took a dramatic and exciting shift last week. Sunday night showcases two teams that have been battling playoff positioning over the past few years, not to mention the past four plus decades.

 

On to the predictions!

 

Jack Crawford’s picks (5-5):
 
Dolphins @ Bengals – Thursday, Sep 29, 8:25 pm NFLN

The Dolphins struggled to beat the Browns last week and would have lost if not for the browns’ kicking game issues. I expect the Bengals, losers of their last two, to rebound into a significant win Thursday against an inefficient, poor Dolphins team that has no identity and no quarterback of note. Look for a big day passing from Bengals’ QB Andy Dalton, who should easily pick on a suspect Miami secondary.
 
Bengals 31, Dolphins 16

 

Raiders @ Ravens – Sunday, Oct 2, 1:00 pm CBS

It’s about time the Ravens’ improved defense was tested against a legitimate offense. Enter the Raiders, who sport the NFL’s #2 attack and feature several premier talents, including quarterback Derek Carr and wideout Amari Cooper. Expect a lot of nickel looks from Baltimore, who simply do not have the ability to cover these receivers individually. Offensively, look for the Ravens to try to establish the run early, which, given their current struggles, won’t be easy.
 
Raiders 27, Ravens 20

 

Browns @ Washington – Sunday, Oct 2, 1:00 pm CBS

The Browns have to break through eventually, and the time is now against an overrated, overhyped Washington team that’s far too elated about beating a suspect Giants team in transition last week. Depending on his comfort level, the Browns should open up the offense a bit more for rookie quarterback Cody Kessler and attack the edges with short-high-percentage passes. Washington, down to one solid starting cornerback, will struggle to cover the field effectively.
 
Browns 24, Washington 21

 

Chiefs @ Steelers – Sunday, Oct 2, 8:30 pm NBC

The Steelers were humiliated in Philadelphia last week, so expect a more conservative offensive approach and a commitment to protecting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers will most likely be without starting guard Ramon Foster, which doesn’t make their job any easier. Defensively, the Steelers will also be without LB Ryan Shazier, so look for oft-used backup Vince Williams to play and play well.
 
Steelers 27, Chiefs 24
 

Michael Thompson’s picks (8-2):
 
Dolphins @ Bengals

It would be easy to say that the Bengals’ early season woes would extend to this game, especially given the team’s historical poor performance in prime time. Thursday, however, is not your typical prime time game. I don’t really think the spotlight shines quite as brightly on Thursday night and the audiences aren’t quite as large for these mid-week games. There is also the fact that the Bengals are just a much better team than the Dolphins.
 

Bengals 27, Dolphins 17

 

Raiders @ Ravens

Raiders have to travel across the country to play a game starting at what is 10 am for them. They also are not nearly as good a team as most people are giving them credit for being. Derek Carr is a good signal caller, but he gets the benefit of being the ‘what could have been’ for Browns fans – and it’s very likely that if the Browns had drafted him, he would have turned into every other Browns’ quarterback over the last couple years. Well, except Manziel since Manziel was a completely different level of on and off field issues. At any rate, someone in Baltimore must have found a four leaf clover, because their early season good fortune will continue for at least one more week.

 
Raiders 20, Ravens 24

 

Browns @ Washingtonians

The playoffs start for the Tribe next week. Gordon returns from his suspension. Cody Kessler looks like he might develop into a capable backup. Neither team is very good. I have doubts that many living homo sapiens will be watching this game.
 

Browns 13, Washingtonians 38

 
Chiefs @ Steelers

Steelers laid an egg last week. Everyone on the roster will be annoyed at how poorly they performed. The Chiefs are led by the mostly acceptable, but not very exciting Alex Smith and a normally pretty good defense anchored by a stout pass rush. Big Ben will devour a couple of egg and maple syrup burritos and then that defense for a few touchdown passes. The Steelers defense will look better than it really is against a predictable, conservative Chiefs attack and the Steelers will rebound.
 
Chiefs 17, Steelers 31
 

Paul Johansson’s picks (5-5):
 
Dolphins @ Bengals
I don’t see how a disjointed Dolphins team travels to Cincinnati and comes out with a win… except that it’s the Bengals in Primetime. Luckily for them the Dolphins offense should struggle on a short week
 

Bengals 24, Dolphins 13

 

Raiders @ Ravens

The Ravens defense will be challenged a bit more this week against a dynamic mobile pass attack. The Ravens offense has been challenged all year regardless of defensive opponent. Raiders win? Not at home as a west coast team playing the early game. Ravens find away, an ugly way to win.

 
Raiders 23, Ravens 24

 

Browns @ Skins

Like last week, this won’t really be a road game for the Browns, more like a neutral site. The Browns have another week to tinker with their suddenly unusual semi dynamic offense. Skins are hurting at DB, the Browns take advantage.
 

Browns 27, Skins 26

 
Chiefs @ Steelers

Steelers have to win this matchup at home. Too angry, too many weapons.
 
Chiefs 24, Steelers 37
 

Wernicke Korsakoff’s picks (5-5):
 
Bengals 24, Dolphins 16
 
Ravens 24, Raiders 21
 
Washingtonians 24, Browns 20
 
Steelers 27, Chiefs

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