After three weeks of sloppy calls from replacement referees, the lockout has finally ended. Now, the regular referees have returned to make the game as fair as possible. Last weekend's play was one of the most surprising Sundays in recent memory. The amount of upsets seen in Week 3 is unlikely to carry over into tomorrow, but we can always expect a few upsets each and every game day. The largest storyline apart from the return of professional referees is the rumors circling Michael Vick. It is said that Andy Reid will remove Vick from the lineup if he does not get the turnover issue under control. The Eagles are matched up against a very talented pass rush in the New York Giants. The rivalry featured on Sunday Night Football will be this week's game of the week. Along with a preview of the rivalry match-up, The NFL Report follows its usual formatting to supply you with everything you need to know about Week 4.
Game to Watch: Giants over Eagles: Whenever these two teams clash for a regular season battle, there is always a surprise in store. Remember 2010, when DeSean Jackson and the Philadelphia Eagles won on a game winning punt return? Since that match-up, the tension of this division rivalry has transformed into something more, where both teams are out to prove something. Dallas began their 2012 campaign in a disappointing manner, losing to Dallas at home. However, since the Week 1 loss, New York has been able to prove themselves worthy of a divisional championship. They only thing in their way is Philadelphia, a team who is looking to avenge their disappointing 2011 season. Quarterback Michael Vick has been struggling when it comes to turnovers, and his two fumbles against Arizona cost the Eagles the game. By the time Sunday evening rolls around, you will be all knowledgeable on this division rivalry game thanks to The NFL Report's Game of the Week Preview.
New York Giants: Last weekend's dominant win over Carolina proved Manning and the Giants are capable of defending their title. Eli Manning threw for over 800 yards in hist first two games, and though his passing game was not stellar in Week 3, the running game picked up the slack. Tight end Martellus Bennett (3 games, 185 receiving yards, 3 TDs) has been more than impressive in the red zone, adding a whole other dimension to this receiving corp. Once starter running back Ahmad Bradshaw left Week 2's game to a neck injury, Andre Brown was able to fill the void perfectly. His 113 rushing yards and two touchdowns helped New York win easily over a reasonably talented Carolina team. Bradshaw has been cleared to play in Week 4, and the offense looks extremely well balanced. New York's defense has recorded 6 interceptions so far, with a mediocre 21.7 points allowed per game. Offensively, New York will have to play consistently on the road if they wish to overtake Philadelphia.
Philadelphia Eagles: In the past three games, Michael Vick has combined for NINE total turnovers. His unreliable play prevented Philadelphia from gaining any sort of momentum. Vick spent too much time in the pocket, and he needs to get the ball off faster, or else his hurried play will create more and more turnovers. Both fumbles against Arizona could be blamed on Vick and the amount of time he needed to get a pass off. LeSean McCoy has anchored this offense throughout Vick's struggles, and it is likely he will have a decent game against New York this Sunday. The defense has proved to be extremely well rounded these past three games, and New York will be the ultimate test. However, a think if they come out firing, they are capable of overwhelming the Giants.
Stand Out Performance: RB Maurice Jones-Drew: After a contract holdout kept Jones-Drew from playing throughout the majority of this past off season, the Jags running back has proven the hiatus will not affect his play. The past two weeks, MJD has rushed for 237 yards with two total touchdowns. Last year, MJD's biggest accomplishment was being handed the 2011 rushing title. Though he doesn't necessarily look the same, MJD is just as lethal. As Cincinnati comes to town for a Week 4 duel, it is projected the star running back runs over this struggling defensive line. Jones-Drew is the lone star of a struggling franchise, and his spectacular performance in Week 4 will help this offense compete against a serious playoff contender.
Maurice Jones-Drew: 125 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD, 1 receiving TD
Player to Watch: QB Michael Vick: Less than a week ago, head coach Andy Reid stated the quarterback situation will be evaluated by the organization. Though he confirmed Vick will be starting against New York, the fact that the Eagles had to question their quarterbacks consistency puts Vick on the hot seat. His two turnovers last weekend against the undefeated Cardinals was one of the main reasons why Philadelphia was unable to come out on top. Michael Vick's mobility makes him prone to injury, and if he were to suffer an injury of any kind, I believe Andy Reid would be more than happy to replace him long term, even if it isn't necessary. These two issues put a lot of pressure on the Eagles starting quarterback, and a defiant win over the reigning champs would secure his starting job for several weeks.
Michael Vick: 245 passing yards, 1 passing TD, INT
Week 4 Predictions:
Falcons over Panthers
Patriots over Bills
Lions over Vikings (OT)
Texans over Titans
Chiefs over Chargers
49ers over Jets
Seahawks over Rams (OT)
Cardinals over Dolphins
Broncos over Raiders
Bengals over Jaguars
Packers over Saints
Buccaneers over Redskins
Giants over Eagles
Cowboys over Bears