NFL Week 4 Preview

Week 3 brought us an entertaining slate of fixtures, a few unfortunate injuries and a couple of shock upsets. Josh Allen and the Bills came into Minnesota and thoroughly dominated the Vikings, whilst Tom Brady and Bill Belichick were surprisingly outclassed by the Lions on Sunday Night Football. In other news, the Steelers got their first win of the season with an impressive road win in Tampa Bay, whilst Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes threw his 13th touchdown of the season as Kansas City won their third on the trot. Without further ado, let’s preview the exciting matchups that await us in Week 4.

Jacksonville Jaguars vs New York Jets
Jags Halftime/Full Time

Monday, October 1, 3am (AEST), TIAA Bank Field 

Jacksonville Jaguars 

The Jaguars enter Week 4 off of a disappointing 9-6 home loss against the division rival Titans last week. QB Blake Bortles had an afternoon to forget, throwing for only 155 yards on an average of 4.6 yards per attempt. This meant that T.J Yeldon didn’t have the opportunities in the running game, finishing with only 7 carries on the afternoon. On defence, the Jags put in their usual formidable performance, holding the Titans to only 9 points and 83 passing yards. Led by Calais Campbell, Telvin Smith and Jalen Ramsey, I expect another strong performance from the Jaguars defence against Sam Darnold and Co. 

New York Jets 

The Jets come into Week 4 off their narrow Thursday Night Football loss to the Browns last week. QB Sam Darnold had a night to forget, completing less than 50% of his passes and throwing for 2 interceptions on the evening. Running Back duo Bilal Powell and Isaiah Crowell combined nicely for 107 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Jets defence got off to a strong start but was unfortunately done in by the appearance of Browns Rookie QB Baker Mayfield. Jamal Adams, Darron Lee and Co will have to be at their best this week to contain the strong Jaguars rushing offense. 

Prediction: Jaguars Half Time/ Full Time Double 

I expect the Jaguars defence to cause all sorts of problems for the Jets offense this week. On offense, Blake Bortles will effectively manage the game and ride a rushing attack featuring TJ Yeldon and potentially Leonard Fournette to victory. Jaguars 20-10 Jets. 

Dallas Cowboys vs Detroit Lions
Cowboys at the Line (-3)

Monday, October 1, 3am (AEST), AT&T Stadium

Dallas Cowboys 

The Cowboys enter Week 4 off of a disappointing road loss to the Seattle Seahawks. QB Dak Prescott has come under fire for his poor performance, where he averaged 4.9 yards per attempt and threw 2 picks last week. Fresh off of a 127-yard performance, expect Dallas to feed star Running Back Zeke Elliott this week. Defensively, the Cowboys were solid yet unspectacular. They held the Seahawks to only 2.9 yards per carry on the ground, although Russell Wilson controlled the passing game well. Expect a front seven led by Sean Lee, Jaylon Smith and Taco Charlton to put in a better showing this week. 

Detroit Lions 

The Lions head to Dallas fresh off their dominant Sunday Night Football victory over the Patriots. QB Matt Stafford bounced back nicely, completing 75% of his passes en route to 262 yards and 2 touchdowns. Running Back Kerryon Johnson also performed well, finally breaking the Lions 100-yard rusher drought. It was on defence where the Lions really stood out in this game. They allowed only 209 yards of offense from the Patriots and gave Tom Brady fits all night. A similar performance will be required this week to contain Zeke Elliott and the Cowboys rushing attack. 

Prediction: Cowboys -3 

Given the respective performances of both teams last week, I believe there’s some line value on the Cowboys here. I expect the Cowboys offense to have some success against a relatively weak Lions defence, whilst their front seven on defence continues their strong play. Cowboys 24-17 Lions. 

Green Bay Packers vs Buffalo Bills
Over 45 Points

 Monday, October 1, 3am (AEST), Lambeau Field 

Green Bay Packers 

The highly favoured Packers enter Week 4 with a 1-1-1 record after last week’s loss to the Redskins. Aaron Rodgers and Co just couldn’t get things going, putting up only 17 points in a relatively poor showing. In a game the Packers should dominate, expect a resurgence from their rushing attack this week. Defensively, the Packers were carved apart on the ground by Running Back Adrian Peterson to the tune of 120 yards and 2 touchdowns. Against star Bills RB LeSean McCoy, the Packers front seven will need to be back to their best this week. 

Buffalo Bills 

The Bills shocked everyone last week, rolling into Minnesota and dominating the Vikings. Rookie QB Josh Allen was the talk of the town, responsible for all three of the Bills touchdowns. It was on defence where the Bills really showed their class in this game. They completely shut down the Vikings rushing attack to the tune of 14 yards and harassed QB Kirk Cousins all afternoon. A defensive unit led by Jerry Hughes, Tremaine Edmunds and Tre’Davious White will have their work cut out for them against Aaron Rodgers this week. 

Prediction: Over 45 

I expect an explosive performance from the Packers offense here. They have a huge matchup advantage with Aaron Rodgers and their top-quality Receivers. As such, I believe this total is too low and an Over bet represents good value. Packers 31-17 Bills. 

Indianapolis Colts vs Houston Texans
Colts at the Line (-1.5)

 Monday, October 1, 3am (AEST), Lucas Oil Stadium 

Indianapolis Colts 

The Colts fought admirably last week but fell just short against the defending champion Eagles. They struggled immensely on offense, totalling only 209 yards and 1 touchdown. QB Andrew Luck was surprisingly poor, averaging just 4.1 yards on his 40 passing attempts. Defensively, the Colts performed well as they have all season. The front seven combined for 5 sacks on Carson Wentz and had the Colts in front until late in proceedings. Expect a defense led by Darius Leonard, Margus Hunt and Malik Hooker to perform strongly against a struggling Houston offense. 

Houston Texans 

The Texans slumped to their third straight loss last week, falling at home to the New York Giants. QB Deshaun Watson led the offense well, accounting for 421 yards of total offense and throwing for two scores. Finding the right balance on offense proved difficult as Running Backs Alfred Blue and Lamar Miller combined for only 23 yards. Defensively, the Texans were carved open by Giants QB Eli Manning, who averaged over 10 yards per attempt en route to 297 yards and two touchdowns. They also struggled to contain rookie RB Saquon Barkley in the running game. To break through for their first win this season, this JJ Watt led unit will need to perform better. 

Prediction: Colts -1.5 

I haven’t seen enough from the Texans to convince me that they can win in games like this. Expect the formidable Colts defence to build off of their strong performances so far, whilst Andrew Luck brings it home on offense. Colts 27-21 Texans. 

New England Patriots vs Miami Dolphins
Over 47.5 Points

Monday, October 1, 3am (AEST), Gillette Stadium 

New England Patriots 

It was shocking to see how poor the Patriots looked in their Week 3 loss to Detroit. Tom Brady was given fits by the Lions defence all night long, managing only 133 yards passing on 26 attempts. Similarly, Sony Michel and Co failed to really get going in the running game. On defence, the Pats didn’t fare all that much better. Matthew Stafford and Kerryon Johnson both delivered quality performances in what was a comfortable night for the Giants offense. I expect a strong Patriots secondary led by Devin McCourty and Stephon Gilmore to perform better this week. 

Miami Dolphins 

The Dolphins are one of the big surprises this season and have raced out to an impressive 3-0 start. QB Ryan Tannehill performed admirably last week, throwing for 289 yards and 3 touchdowns on just 23 attempts. The Dolphins defensive unit put in yet another admirable performance last week. Kiko Alonso and Minkah Fitzpatrick both totalled over 10 tackles each, whilst Defensive Back Xavien Howard picked off Derek Carr twice. This unit will fancy their chances against an underperforming Patriots offense so far this season.  

Prediction: Over 47.5 

With the Patriots showing last week, I believe there is a bit of line value on the total here. I expect a higher scoring and competitive game that should comfortably go over this 47.5 total. Patriots 30-24 Dolphins. 

Atlanta Falcons vs Cincinnati Bengals
Falcons at the Line (-5)

Monday, October 1, 3am (AEST), Mercedes-Benz Stadium 

Atlanta Falcons 

The Falcons take on the Bengals in Week 4 fresh off of a crushing overtime defeat to the rival Saints. QB Matt Ryan put the team on his back, throwing for 374 yards and 5 touchdowns in an excellent display. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t enough as Tevin Coleman couldn’t get things going on the ground. Defensively, the Falcons were carved open by Drew Brees to the tune of 391 yards and 3 scores. The usually formidable unit led by Desmond Trufant, Vic Beasley and Duke Riley will need a stronger performance this week against Andy Dalton and Co. 

Cincinnati Bengals 

The Jekyll and Hyde Bengals enter Week 4 off of a loss to the Panthers last week. Often maligned QB Andy Dalton couldn’t come through in the clutch, throwing 4 ugly interceptions last week. RB Giovani Bernard filled in admirably for the injured Joe Mixon, averaging 5.1 yards per carry and rushing for a touchdown. Defensively, the Bengals were run through by the Panthers to the tune of 230 yards and 2 scores. This is just unacceptable at the professional level and will need to improve this week against the impressive Falcons offense. 

Prediction: Falcons -5 

The Falcons have a raucous home crowd, better talent and a much better QB in this matchup. I expect them to control this one on offense, whilst their defense confuses Andy Dalton with some exotic blitz packages. Falcons 31-21 Bengals. 

Chicago Bears vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Over 4.5 Touchdowns

Monday, October 1, 3am (AEST), Soldier Field 

Chicago Bears 

The Bears return to Soldier Field after a gutsy road win over the Cardinals last week. QB Mitchell Trubisky delivered a relatively average performance, throwing for 220 yards and a pick. Star RB Jordan Howard was unable to get much going on the ground, totalling just 61 yards on 24 carries. Defensively, the Bears put in yet another dominant performance. They picked of the Cardinals Quarterbacks 3 times and only allowed 2.9 yards per carry on the ground. Star acquisition Khalil Mack again proved his worth with 2 more sacks, ably supported by Linebackers Danny Trevathan and Roquan Smith. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

Fitzmagic was brought back to earth last week after a home defeat to the Steelers on Monday Night Football. A strong second half saw Fitzpatrick total 411 yards and 3 touchdowns, however most of these numbers are ‘empty calories’. Star Receiver Mike Evans again had himself a day, totalling 137 yards and a score. Defensively, the Bucs were sliced open by Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger to the tune of353 yards and 3 touchdowns. A front seven led by Jason Pierre Paul, Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David will need to pile on the pressure on the young Trubisky this week for Tampa to take this one out. 

Prediction: Total Touchdowns Over 4.5 

Given the starts of these two teams, I believe they have the combined offensive talent to amass at least 5 touchdowns. I expect the Bears offense to do just enough against this Tampa defence to pull out the victory. Bears 24-20 Buccaneers. 

Tennessee Titans vs Philadelphia Eagles
Titans at the Line (+4)

Monday, October 1, 3am (AEST), Nissan Stadium 

Tennessee Titans 

The Titans enter Week 4 off of a gutsy 9-6 road win against the highly favoured Jaguars. It wasn’t pretty offensively, as they amassed only 83 yards passing all afternoon. The scrambling ability of Marcus Mariota proved the only serviceable offensive outlet as he managed 51 yards on 7 carries. Defensively, the Titans have been a different beast of late. They shut down QB Blake Bortles and didn’t give the Jaguars a look in the running game. Jurrell Casey, Harold Landry and Derrick Morgan have combined to form a versatile defensive line that can cause problems for opposing offenses. 

Philadelphia Eagles 

The return of QB Carson Wentz proved just enough for the Eagles to manage a 20-16 home win over the Colts last week. Wentz delivered a solid performance in his comeback game, throwing for 255 yards and a score. The rushing attack did an excellent job controlling the game, totalling 152 yards and a touchdown for the afternoon. Defensively, the Eagles have been very strong this season. Their dominant pass defense shut down Andrew Luck, whilst the Colts rushing offense couldn’t get anything going. Expect another robust performance from Fletcher Cocks, Malcolm Jenkins and Co against a weak Titans passing offense. 

Prediction: Titans +4 

Given the way their defense has played of late, I expect the Titans to hang with the Eagles here. I’m predicting a relatively low scoring affair where some Wentz magic brings it home for the Eagles in a tight one. Eagles 17-16 Titans. 

Oakland Raiders vs Cleveland Browns
Under 45.5 Points

 Monday, October 16:05am (AEST), Oakland Coliseum 

Oakland Raiders 

The 0-3 Raiders come into Week 4 off of a poor road loss to the Dolphins. QB Derek Carr performed admirably, throwing for 345 yards and a touchdown in defeat. Star RB Marshawn Lynch also battled hard, totalling 64 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Defensively, the Raiders were carved apart by the Dolphins passing game to the tune of 332 yards and 4 touchdowns. Against a rejuvenated Browns passing offense led by rookie QB Baker Mayfield, the Raiders defence has to be better here. 

Cleveland Browns 

The Browns enter Week 4 on a high after their first win since 2016 on Thursday Night Football last week. QB Baker Mayfield led the team to a comeback victory but it was star RB Carlos Hyde who stole the show, totalling 103 yards from scrimmage and 2 touchdowns on the evening. Defensively, the Browns put in their third straight impressive performance. They picked off Jets QB Sam Darnold twice, holding him to only 169 yards in the process. I expect a strong front seven led by Myles Garrett, Jamie Collins and Larry Ogunjobi to enjoy some success here. 

Prediction: Under 45.5 

The Browns defence is definitely the best unit in this game. I believe their front seven will get to Derek Carr all game long and ultimately prove the difference. On offense, I expect Baker Mayfield to do just enough to pull out the victory in his first NFL start. Browns 21-17 Raiders. 

Arizona Cardinals vs Seattle Seahawks
Cardinals at the Line (+3.5)

Monday, October 1, 6:05am (AEST), State Farm Stadium 

Arizona Cardinals 

The 0-3 Cardinals enter Week 4 off of a heartbreaking 2-point home loss to the Bears last week. Rookie QB Josh Rosen will be making his first career start after failing to lead a game winning drive last week. Expect him to lean on veterans Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson against a stout Seahawks defence. The Cardinals defence put in their best performance of the season last week and did a good job containing the Mitchell Trubisky led Bears offense. A defensive line led by Chandler Jones and Corey Peters will be excited by the prospect of coming up against the Seahawks weak offensive line. 

Seattle Seahawks 

Everything is seemingly back to normal in Seahawks land after a strong home win over the Cowboys last week. Russell Wilson did a very effective job managing the game as starting Running Back Chris Carson went for 102 yards and a score on the afternoon. The return of star Linebacker Bobby Wagner was also noticeable as he led the unit to their best performance of the season. All-Pro Safety Earl Thomas was back to his best, audaciously bowing in front of the Cowboys sideline after one of his two interceptions 

Prediction: Cardinals +3.5 

After last week’s results, I feel as though there is some line value on the Cardinals here. The Seahawks are simply not a good road team and will struggle against a strong Cardinals defence buoyed by its home crowd. Seahawks 16-14 Cardinals. 

New York Giants vs New Orleans Saints
Saints at the Line (-3.5)

Monday, October 1, 6:25am (AEST), MetLife Stadium 

New York Giants 

The Giants return home after claiming their first win of the season in Houston last week. QB Eli Manning was back to his best, completing 25/29 for 297 yards and two touchdowns. Similarly, offensive centrepieces Odell Beckham and Saquon Barkley both had very solid outings. On defence, the Giants did just enough to hold off a fast finishing Texans offense. A pass defence that gave up 385 yards to Deshaun Watson last week will have their work cut out for them as Drew Brees comes to town. 

New Orleans Saints 

The Saints enter Week 4 off of an epic overtime road win over the rival Falcons. QB Drew Brees put on an absolute clinic, totalling over 400 yards and 5 touchdowns by himself. Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara were the primary targets, both managing over 120 yards a piece. Whilst they shut down the Falcons running game, the Saints defence was absolutely torched by Falcons QB Matt Ryan to the tune of 374 yards and 5 touchdowns. They’ll need to slow down a resurgent Eli to claim this one on the road. 

Prediction: Saints -3.5 

I expect a professional performance from this Saints team as they take care of business on the road. Drew Brees and this lightning passing offense will prove too much for this vulnerable Giants pass defence in an offensive battle. Saints 30-20 Giants. 

LA Chargers vs San Francisco 49ers
Over 47 Points

Monday, October 1, 6:25am (AEST), StubHub Center 

Los Angeles Chargers 

The Chargers return home after being outclassed by the Rams in last week’s LA derby. QB Phillip Rivers delivered another admirable performance, throwing for 226 yards and two scores against a tough Rams defence. Running Back Melvin Gordon chipped in for 80 yards and a touchdown, whilst Receiver Mike Williams enjoyed 2 receiving touchdowns on the afternoon. Defensively, the Chargers were no match for the league leading Rams offense. Jared Goff threw for 354 yards and 3 touchdowns on them, whilst Todd Gurley added a further 105 yards and a score on the ground. The Chargers face a brief respite this week against a 49ers offense without QB Jimmy Garoppolo.  

San Francisco 49ers 

The 49ers enter Week 4 off of a deflating road loss to the Chiefs where they lost QB Jimmy Garoppolo for the season to an ACL tear. Second year Backup QB C.J Beathard will be the man tasked with leading the team for the rest of the year. Expect him to lean on league leading rusher Matt Breida, along with Receiving duo Marquise Goodwin and Pierre Garcon. Defensively, the 49ers struggled against the Patrick Mahomes led Chiefs offense. They allowed 314 yards and 3 aerial touchdowns to Mahomes, whilst Chiefs Running Back Kareem Hunt also managed a further two touchdowns on the ground. It gets no easier for the 49ers this week against the formidable Phillip Rivers led Chargers offense. 

Prediction: Over 47 

Given the way these two teams have played recently, I can’t help but feel as though this line is too low. I expect Phillip Rivers and Co to effectively move the ball in this game, whilst 49ers Coach Kyle Shanahan does enough to keep the Niners competitive. Chargers 31-24 49ers.