Madden Ratings: Week 4 analysis, Week 5 predictions

In the words of Ron Burgundy, "Boy, that escalated quickly. I mean that really got out of hand fast." Last week was a crazy one, football fans. We had a controversial call, a bunch of missed kicks and, of course, Gary Busey got kicked off of "Dancing with the Stars."

The Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions both lost in dramatic fashion (which is the only way they know how). Seriously, if the NFL was Gotham City, the Browns would be the Joker and the Lions would be the Riddler: one team is a constant punch line while the other is a constant enigma. Every time you think they have a chance at winning a close game they get the rug pulled out from under them.

In other news, the Miami Dolphins said goodbye to Joe Philbin and hello to Dan Campbell (a.k.a. P.C. Principal from "South Park"). Nobody expects Campbell to be the long-term answer down in South Beach, but maybe a regime change will inspire this Dolphins team to win at least one more game this season. Maybe.

Let's get to the ratings.

Moving On Up

The Jacksonville Jaguars had a chance to take over first place in the AFC South last Sunday in Indy. Instead, they sit in last place at 1-3. But cheer up, Jags fans, because Blake Bortles is up two points this week to 77 OVR. You finally have a franchise quarterback to build around. Bortles should surpass the 80-mark at some point this season, although I'm sure you'd prefer wins to ratings bumps.

Cleveland Browns tight end Gary Barnidge is up two points to 79 OVR after his 75-yard, one touchdown game against the San Diego Chargers last Sunday. He now has two touchdowns in the last two weeks, which is saying something considering he only had three career touchdowns coming into this season. Not bad for a guy who sounds like he should be a grocery store owner on "The Andy Griffith Show" rather than an NFL tight end.

There were a combined 18 missed field goals and extra points in Week 4, the second-most in a week since 2010. So let's give some credit to Kansas City Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos who set a single-game franchise record by making all seven of his field goals last Sunday in Cincinnati. He's up four points this week to 77 OVR. Maybe they should teach him how to play quarterback, too.

Moving On Down

Madden cover boy and player most likely to play Miles Morales in the next "Spider-Man" reboot, Odell Beckham Jr., is down a point this week to 93 OVR. Maybe it has something to do with Beckham throwing a punch at Buffalo Bills safety Duke Williams last week. Regardless, Beckham likely won't find himself in the red too often when it comes to the ratings.

Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill is down a point to 83 OVR. I don't know what's more shocking: The fact that he's rated above an 80 or the fact that he only dropped one point.

We gave love to a kicker who made his field goals so, naturally, we must scorn a kicker who missed his field goals. I'm looking at you, Jason Myers. You had a chance to kick two game-winners, and you missed both. You're down three points to 69 OVR. The one positive is that the guy you replaced, Josh Scobee, lost four points (and his job). Chin up, kid.

Great Caesar's Ghost

How is it Jameis Winston only dropped one point after throwing four interceptions? He's down to 79 OVR now, which means he was actually ranked at 80 entering last week's game against the Panthers. I get that he's a rookie, but through four games he already has seven interceptions. You can argue and say Peyton Manning threw 28 interceptions his rookie year, but I'm sure many Bucs fans are starting to wonder what this team would look like if they had Marcus Mariota under center.

Six bold predictions for Sunday


EA Sports

6.DeMarco Murray is going to rush for 100 yards (finally). So far this season he has 29 rushes for just 47 yards, which is embarrassing. He should be forced to return his rushing award just like Nicolas Cage should be forced to return his Oscar for every movie he's ever made (except the "Rock" because, well, that movie is awesome). Murray openly complained this week about not getting the ball enough, and the numbers back him up. His 29 rushes are the second-fewest for a defending rushing champion in his first three games since 1970. Expect Chip Kelly to give us a healthy Mary-Poppins-spoon-full-of-sugar dose of Murray Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, who are 27th in the league in rush defense. Murray will burn New Orleans for over 100 yards, leaving Nic Cage to ponder one thing.

5. The other week I predicted Aaron Rodgers would throw an interception at home against the Kansas City Chiefs, and all Rodgers did was go out and throw five touchdowns and no interceptions. Well, I'm going to double down and say Rodgers will throw two picks this weekend against the St. Louis Rams. Rodgers has thrown 48 touchdowns since his last interception at home, which, according to Larry David is, "pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good." However, the St. Louis Rams defense proved last week in Arizona that they have what it takes to slow down a high-powered offense, and I expect them to pressure Rodgers and force a few errant throws.

4. Detroit lost a heartbreaker in Seattle on Monday night due to a blown call. (And seriously, if anyone calls this "Bat Gate" they should be banned from talking about football forever.) The Lions are 0-4, and while they can't officially be eliminated from the postseason with a loss in Week 5 ... they'll be eliminated from the postseason with a loss in Week 5. For the eighth time in NFL history, the Lions are the last winless team in the league (most by any franchise). Sunday's game will be one of redemption. Calvin Johnson will be locked in, Ameer Abdullah will finally get over 100 rushing yards and the Lions will hand the Arizona Cardinals their second-straight loss. The Riddler finally wins one.

3. Seattle has won two-straight, but the offense still seems out of sync. Their defense, on the other hand, has never been an issue, which is good, because this week they travel to Cincinnati to take on Andy Dalton's red-hot hair and the red-hot Bengals offense. If Seattle wants to make a run in the NFC West, they have to win on the road, and that starts on Sunday when they pull off the upset.

2. How did the Pittsburgh Steelers lose that game against the Baltimore Ravens? It's still hard to comprehend, except of course if you're Josh Scobee. The Steelers let one slip away, and they need every win they can get until Ben Roethlisberger returns. Now they have to travel cross-country for a Monday night showdown with the San Diego Chargers. Fortunately, Steelers fans flood Qualcomm Stadium whenever the team is in town, so it'll feel almost like a home game for the black and gold. Le'Veon Bell will put up over 200 total yards and the Steelers walk away with the win.

1. Oakland will beat Denver in the upset of the week. It's crazy, I know. The Raiders haven't beaten the Broncos since Week 1 of the 2011 season. Plus, Denver's defense has been outrageous this year, holding opponents to under 18 points per game and leading the league in sacks (18). Peyton Manning has been inconsistent, but with a defense like this he just needs to manage the game (never thought we'd be calling Peyton a "game manager"). The one positive for the Raiders is that they have former Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio leading the way now. Del Rio will draw up the perfect blueprint for pressuring Peyton. This is Oakland's Super Bowl, and it'll be a defensive battle that will see Raider Nation hoisting the victory flag in the end.

Colin J. Liotta is a Digital Features Editor & Writer for You can follow him on Twitter @TheSportsHero.

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