By: Michael Mills, Staff Writer
Featured image courtesy of sportslogos.net
Week four of the NFL season was full of surprises. Eight-of-14 teams playing on Sunday pulled out road wins. Three of the eight road upsets included non-playoff teams beating playoff teams from a year ago. Both Super Bowl representatives from last year, the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons, lost close games at home.
The Patriots had a tight matchup against the Carolina Panthers. New England tied the game late with a touchdown pass from quarterback Tom Brady to wide receiver Danny Amendola. However, with less than three minutes remaining in the game, quarterback Cam Newton drove the Panthers down to the Patriots’ 31-yard line. Kicker Graham Gano drilled a 48-yard field goal as time expired to earn a road victory for the Panthers.
The Buffalo Bills are in first place in the AFC East with a quarter of the NFL season in the books. Almost no one would’ve predicted that before the season. Off of four uncharacteristic Atlanta turnovers, the Bills were able to stifle the Falcons. Kicker Steven Hauschka split the uprights twice from long distance, hitting field goals from 55 and 56 yards, respectively, to help secure the Bills victory. Hauschka has hit 11 consecutive field goals from 50 yards or more.
Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley sliced his way through the Dallas Cowboys’ defense at AT&T Stadium. Gurley accounted for 215 all-purpose yards and a touchdown. Behind the legs of Gurley and kicker Greg Zuerlein, the youthful Rams stunned the Cowboys. Zuerlein connected on seven field goals on the day, accounting for 21 of the Rams 35 points. Los Angeles improved to 3-1 and captured first place in the NFC West. This week, three conference battles in the NFC take center stage.
The Cowboys host the Green Bay Packers in a rematch of last year’s divisional round classic. Once again, look for quarterback Aaron Rodgers to sling the ball all over the Dallas secondary. The Packers get the best of the Cowboys for the second year in a row.
Score: Packers 31 Cowboys 23
The Panthers come into Detroit with all the confidence in the world following their road victory in New England. Newton stays in rhythm and delivers huge back-to-back road victories for the Panthers. A game winning drive by the Lions comes to a halt as Panther’s edge rusher Julius Peppers strip sacks quarterback Matthew Stafford to secure a Carolina victory.
Score: Panthers 27 Lions 21
The most underrated divisional matchup of the week takes place in the NFC West. The Seattle Seahawks have ruled this division for years, but the young and talented Rams present a difficult task for head coach Pete Carroll. Goff has another efficient game behind his stout offensive line and the Rams front seven wreaks havoc on a below average Seattle offensive line.
Score: Rams 20 Seahawks 17