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NFL week 4 preview

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All games Hawaii time tomorrow unless otherwise stated. TV games subject to change.

Capsules by Associated Press. Byes: Buccaneers, Chiefs, Cowboys, Vikings

 

Baltimore at Pittsburgh

Time: 7 a.m. (KGMB)
Line: Steelers by 2 1/2

Anyone who likes brutal, in-the-trenches football needs to pay attention to this AFC North confrontation. The Steelers’ defense has resembled the best versions of the Steel Curtain. But the Ravens can be just as formidable without the ball, and they relish such matchups. Plus, their more-varied offense has awakened.

 

Washington at Philadelphia

Time: 10:15 a.m. (KHON)
Line: Eagles by 5 1/2

Donovan McNabb returns to the city where he played 11 seasons and led the Eagles to five NFC Championship Games and one Super Bowl. Michael Vick, however, is the new hero in town. He has led the Eagles to the top of the NFC East. Vick is the top-rated passer and 10th-leading rusher in the NFC.

 

Chicago at New York Giants

Time: 2:20 p.m. (KHNL)
Line: Giants by 3 1/2

If the Packers aren’t the angriest team, then it has to be the Giants. They outgained Tennessee by 200 yards and never punted, yet were routed 29-10. Chicago is doing plenty defensively. The NFC’s only unbeaten team, the Bears are first against the run and, in DE Julius Peppers, have added a game-changer to a strong group.

 

New England at Miami

Time: 2:30 p.m. Monday (ESPN)
Line: Patriots by 1

Both teams have been leaky on defense, the Dolphins in critical situations against the Jets last weekend. Each has lost to the Jets, so a victory here is critical to keep pace. The Dolphins have lost some of their early-season home advantage because the NFL did not schedule them for any day games.

 

Denver at Tennessee

Time: 7 a.m.
Line: Titans by 6 1/2

The Titans have RB Chris Johnson back on track. Their secondary will be challenged by the top passing attack, yardage-wise, in the league.

 

Detroit at Green Bay

Time: 7 a.m.
Line: Packers by 14 1/2

Don’t look for Green Bay to have 18 penalties again. Detroit’s sieve-like defense (30th overall, last against the run) could make the Packers a healthy bunch.

 

New York Jets at Buffalo

Time: 7 a.m.
Line: Jets by 5 1/2

Ralph Wilson Stadium is not a comfortable place for the Jets, who have looked particularly good on offense as the shackles were removed from second-year quarterback Mark Sanchez.

 

Seattle at St. Louis

Time: 7 a.m.
Line: Seahawks by 1

Rams RB Steven Jackson is day-to-day with a groin strain. Seattle will have Leon Washington in the lineup, which means the Rams should not kick to him. Ever.

 

San Francisco at Atlanta

Time: 7 a.m.
Line: Falcons by 7

The Falcons are soaring after their victory in New Orleans. The offense looks dynamic. San Francisco looks disorganized. Favorites for the NFC West, the Niners already are desperate.

 

Carolina at New Orleans

Time: 7 a.m. (KHON)
Line: Saints by 13 1/2

The Saints have not been very regal thus far. If Carolina can get its once-potent running game going, maybe the Panthers can test New Orleans.

 

Cincinnati at Cleveland

Time: 7 a.m.
Line: Bengals by 3

Another defeat might send the Mangini countdown into orbit. Cincinnati likes Ohio Rivalry wins, dating to the days Paul Brown founded the Bengals after being fired by the Browns.

 

Houston at Oakland

Time: 10:05 a.m.
Line: Texans by 3

Were the Texans exposed by Dallas last week, or was it just too big a stage? The Raiders still can’t believe they lost at Arizona, and a win keeps them viable in the AFC West.

 

Indianapolis at Jacksonville

Time: 10:05 a.m.
Line: Colts by 7

Here’s an ominous thought: Peyton Manning is off to the best start of his 13-year career. For the first time, he has three straight games with at least 300 yards passing AND three TD throws.

 

Arizona at San Diego

Time: 10:15 a.m.
Line: Chargers by 8

The Cardinals are tied atop the NFC West only because Raiders K Sebastian Janikowski missed a gimme field goal. The Chargers fell apart on special teams at Seattle. But they’re at home.

 

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