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The Hudsucker Presents NFL Weekly – Week 4: The High Five

This year our writers are teaming up to bring you weekly football coverage! Each week, a few of our writers will be sharing their thoughts and highlights from games they’ve watched. Who were the winners this week? Who remains undefeated? Which team will come out victorious at the end of the 2013-2014 season? 

Not all of the teams this week played the same to get to this point, but there are now five of the seven teams that remain undefeated through the four weeks of the NFL season. The Miami Dolphins needed a huge comeback to remain perfect, while two other teams continued to cruise. Although it’s only four games into the season, a couple of teams have created a little separation in their division especially the New Orleans Saints who are 2 1/2 games ahead in their division.

With these five teams soaring high, we might as well just ahead to the conference championship games, right? We would see the Saints and Seahawks of the NFC, and the Broncos against the Patriots or the Chiefs in the AFC? Who knows, right? We probably should slow it down and just enjoy the rest of the season play out. Our writers, Chris HillTania Hussain and Andrew Rogers team up and share some highlights from their favorite games of the week, what they thought of the plays and what to look ahead for. Which games did you enjoy?

Pittsburgh Steelers at Minnesota Vikings

Image Credit: Pittsburgh Steelers/Getty Images

Vikings, 34-27

Tania:

Can you believe the Steelers had 6 Super Bowl wins though? Well, they have. And they are now starting 0-4 this season. The last time that actually happened, no one had landed on the moon yet! So what is it about the Steelers this season that they can’t move the ball successfully across the field? I’m kind of baffled when watching games that this is what they have come down to. They are suffering with a weak offense and still need to know how to solve their left tackle dilemma.  They are on a bye next week so hopefully they can regroup and think what the next step should be for them to get their first win.

Starting QB Matt Cassel and RB Adrian Peterson of the Vikings dominated the Steelers in the London series games as they brought home their first victory of 34-27. They still lack in the defense department but it’s a start. Still, the Chiefs were 2-14 last year so for them to start at 4-0 this year is saying a lot about them finally feeling comfortable and finding their identity this season. Vikings WR Greg Jennings caught his first two TD passes of the year. When they return in Week 6, the Vikings play the New York Giants. How could that game go? Probably better for the Vikings at this rate unless the Giants can dominate the Philadelphia Eagles.

Chris:

After watching this game, it’s apparent that what the Steelers are missing is belief.  Four years ago, Jennings and Simpson aren’t making those catches. Adrian Peterson may have still gashed them, but come on – it’s AP.

Matt Cassel and Le’veon Bell look good, both teams should play them accordingly. I may have been wrong about the score in our early season predictions, but I had a feeling the Steelers would drop this game – the first three losses were a surprise though.

Indianapolis Colts at the Jacksonville Jaguars

Image Credit: Getty Images/AP Photo

Colts, 37-3

Tania:

They continue to play very well even though they got away with a sloppy first half, but the Colts probably have the best scoring offense and defense in their division and these last four games have proven that strength. It probably helped too that they were playing one of the worst teams in the league. The Colts made four TDs with 3 FG bringing the team another victory and moving 3-1 this year. QB Luck who threw for 257 yards with 2 TD and an interception did well, as did WR Reggie Wayne and RB Donald Brown who proved to be top players. Some are beginning to think the Colts are the AFC’s second best team behind the Broncos and it’s hard to really argue. That being said, don’t judge the Colts against a team like the Jaguars. During the game, backup QB Matt Hasselbeck was put out when a goal was in reach for a monumental move. Hasselbeck played well, completing 2 of 3 passes for 37 yards and leading the Colts to a field goal after the second half.

The Colts play the Seattle Seahawks next and while the Seahawks have been undefeated so far, I’m giving the slight edge to the Colts for winning their Week 5 game because they have a great record at home. Indy has been pretty impressive playing inside the Lucas Oil Stadium during the Luck era, sitting at 8-2 since he started out. The Jaguars play the St. Louis Rams next and that game could go anywhere though slight edge given to the Rams since they have seen a win this season but time will tell.

Philadelphia Eagles at Denver Broncos

Image Credit: Denver Broncos/Getty Images

Broncos, 52-20

Tania:

The undefeated Broncos are averaging 45 points per game this season and have been the biggest draw for fans and viewers as the team leads the TV network ratings this season, and improving them for CBS, FOX and NBC so far this season. Peyton Manning has proved to be an unstoppable force in the 2013 season as he threw four TDs with no interceptions in the game against Philly. The Eagles were completely off course against the Broncos defense and offense. The Broncos are a Super Bowl contender while the Eagles rebuild their team from scratch and grow sharper on the field. As the Broncos move to 4-0 this season, it makes you wonder who else will be joining them in the ranks.

The Eagles hit rock bottom this week sitting at 1-3 but are only one game out of first place in their NFC division. The birds play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team starting 0-4 next week and if that says anything, if the Eagles play it right, that can guarantee them a win.

New England Patriots at Atlanta Falcons

Image Credit: Getty Images/AP Photo

Patriots, 30-23

Andrew:

I had a huge stake in this game.

  1. My uncle is a Pats fan, so he was rooting for the Saints to beat Miami and the Pats to win here to put them in 1st in their division and I, on the other hand, wanted the Pats to beat Atlanta to give us an even bigger lead over them. So, for once, we were both rooting for the same team and;
  2. I have Matt Ryan on my fantasy team, so I needed him to do something, anything to get me some points. But still lose.

And that’s basically exactly what happened. I think a lot of people are reluctant to believe the Pats are still their old selves this season. I mean, for one, Brady doesn’t have his usual suspects in tow: Welker’s in Denver, Gronk is hurt… so he’s throwing to new faces and trusting new people to protect him in the pocket. But, so far so good. Sure, they aren’t blowing teams out the way Denver is, but they’re 4-0, so what’s the difference?

Well, I’ll tell you what the difference is. Come play-off time, or even in the weeks before, everyone’s game is going to be raised and if the Pats are already firing on all cylinders and barely beating the Jets, I think they might have a problem getting anywhere near that big game in New Jersey in February.

In contrast, Atlanta’s hopes for being in the playoffs again this year continue to slip away with a team that just can’t find a rhythm. I’ve always said that Matt Ryan cannot save his team (in the way the Peyton Manning, Brady, Brees or Aaron Rodgers can), he needs a lot of good players around him (like Flacco, and even Kaepernick) to have any hope of making the playoffs and I think this season is proving that point hard.

New Orleans Saints at Miami Dolphins

Image Credit: New Orleans Saints/AP Photo

Saints, 38-17

Andrew:

I have to admit, coming into this game I was nervous. Even though all the commentators were predicting the Saints to win, there was always the chance of an off day. Yes, I know it was in the Dome, and they’re one of those teams that truly benefit from home field advantage (especially because of the noise, which I’ve heard first hand and, let me tell you, I don’t know how Quarterbacks communicate with their O Line in there), but the game turned out all right.

Drew Brees and the O-Line had that magic connection. Darren Sproles was on fire, breaking through the Dolphins’ usually semi-solid defense and actually giving the Saints a decent running game. It’s actually kind of funny to watch Drew and Darren because both of them are so short, but somehow they find ways to connect and that’s what I love about them.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have one of the best Tight Ends in the league right now: Jimmy Graham. He used to play basketball in college with Miami, so he’s tall enough that covering him is nearly impossible and he showed that on Monday night with a few amazing catches that I didn’t think he was going to get. And I have both Sproles and Graham on my fantasy team, so I got some major points this week and won my first match of the season! Fantasy wins are secondary to real wins though – just ask my good friend who’s a Giants fan: 2-2 in Fantasy and 0-4 in real life. I think we know what she’d rather have.

What I also liked about this game is that we got to see Brees in his prime. Half of it is that he’s fortunate to have so many weapons down field to throw to: Pierre Thomas, Marcus Colston and the two I’ve already heaped praise on, Sproles and Graham. But the other half is just that he’s a smart quarterback. He’s able to scan the field, pick his target, fake a hand-off or a pump, then throw to who he really wants to get it to and connect. That’s the mark of a great quarterback.

The Saints defense even held their own, causing some big turnovers to keep the scales tipped in their favor. I know there’s a lot of new faces on the D-Line, including the Defensive coordinator, Rob Ryan, but I have to say that there seems to be a good chemistry among them even without those key players. Would I like them to stop some of those long distance running plays? Sure, but as long as their coming up hard in the red zone to block teams from getting the big points, I’m happy.

I don’t want to jinx my team, but I have to say that they’re looking miles better than they did last season without Sean Payton.

Chris:

Drew Brees is a beast, and I don’t see any of the NFC teams coming close to beating them (maybe the Seahawks). The defense for the Saints is playing phenomenal.

I am impressed with Miami’s run game. I wonder if they will be the wildcard out of the AFC (the other will come from the AFC West)? Either way, they can’t be ashamed of what happened on Monday night…it’s happened to a lot of teams.

As we head into Week 5, which undefeated team will face their first loss? What games did you watch? Let us know what you thought of the fourth week of NFL by sounding off in the comments below.

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