DEN (0-3) @ NYJ (0-3) / NYJ +2.5
- Ok so full disclosure this is a tough game to get excited about with a battle of two 0-3 teams that are both missing some key pieces. Normally, we would say that the Broncos have the edge but the expected start of undrafted QB, Brett Rypien, makes this a much more even playing field. As bad as the Jets have been offensively, lead by the mistakes of Sam Darnold, it's quite possible that Denver could be worst as we truly don't know what to expect from Rypien. If anything we would tend to give the edge to the Jets offensively in this game especially with the expected return of Jamison Crowder and slight experience advantage of Sam Darnold. Defensively however, we give the Broncos the distinct advantage and that could be their key to victory. The real question here ultimately becomes can Sam Darnold get out of his own way and not sabotage the game as we expect Rypien to primarily be asked to be a game manager and mainly hand the ball off to his RB's. At the end of the day we think the defense of the Broncos will win out so we like them outright but in a game that has SUCH a big question mark at the QB position for Denver it would be wise to hedge your bets on the spread with the Jets.
IND (2-1) @ CHI (3-0) / CHI +2.5
- Against all odds the Bears are still undefeated, but the biggest storyline here is the QB change for Chicago as they have moved on from Trubisky to Nick Foles. While this was unquestionably the correct decision it's worth mentioning that Foles isn't a huge upgrade at that position. Regardless though, Foles should bring some more experience to the position and make less mistakes which is what the Bears ultimately need. As far as this matchup we find it a bit surprising that the Colts are favored here as this is the type of game vs a very good defense that Philip Rivers will be forced to win. And usually in those situation we see inopportune turnovers and narrow losses. And while the Colts have a good RB in Jonathan Taylor we don't believe that this alone will be enough to put the Colts over the top. And even though we do like Rivers slightly more than Foles in terms of upside, Rivers is also the more turnover prone QB and that's what will likely be the deciding factor here. The truth is that however this game goes we would be SHOCKED if there is a blowout and expect a close game throughout. For that reason we give the edge to the Bears as they clearly have the better defense and have enough offensive playmakers (even with the injury to Cohen) to keep pace in this game.
JAX (1-2) @ CIN (0-2-1) / CIN -3.5
- The Bengals are officially coming off the first tie of 2020 where they had lots of opportunities to win but alas they remain winless. On the other side you have a Jaguars side that is coming off a very disappointing loss on TNF where we saw that even though they are capable of staying in games and surprising teams there will also be moments where they fall flat and are inconsistent as Minshew is far from a finished product. Funny enough that's what we should also expect from Joe Burrow this season as the rookie will have ups and downs due to inexperience and no preseason. But offensively the similarities stop there as this Bengals side has many more weapons at their disposal like Boyd, Mixon, Green, and Higgins. For the Jaguars at this point it's mainly a nicked up D.J. Chark, who is expected to return, and James Robinson. Defensively though again both teams can be taken advantage of which means this game will theoretically come down to an offensive back and forth. If that's the case we give the slight edge to the Bengals but want to point out that we don't expect a blowout as the Jaguars should rebound and both QB's will leave a lot of plays on the field. For that reason we like the Bengals outright but think it's smart to hedge with the Jaguars on the spread.
CLE (2-1) @ DAL (1-2) / DAL -4.5
- The biggest surprise from these two teams last week is probably the fact that the Browns were able to pull away from Washington an come away with a decisive win. For Dallas we said what would happen vs Seattle and that's pretty much exactly how it went down. But favorably for the Cowboys we think this game is also rather straightforward and probably in their favor. While the Browns defense hasn't been giving up points at the pace of the Seahawks this Dallas offense has too many good pieces for Cleveland to keep up and should be able to outscore Baker Mayfield. Usually we point out how the Browns enter their games with superior skill position players but the Cowboys could give them a run for their money and of course they hold the DECISIVE advantage at the most important position as Dak is playing light years ahead of Baker. For that reason we believe the Cowboys will be victorious and probably pull away from Cleveland as the game progresses and easily cover the spread.
NO (1-2) @ DET (1-2) / DET +4.5
- While we predicted the Saints would lose to GB last week we can not say the same for the Lions as they stunned the Cardinals last week in a game that they were in control of for the majority of time. It was nice to see Golladay return for the Lions as he gave a nice boost to the offense, but now the Saints are also expecting a return of arguably the best WR in the NFL in Michael Thomas, just in time for this matchup. And while it was clear that we underestimated Detroit last week let's not forget that Kyler Murray could not get out of his own way but we don't anticipate that being the case with Drew Brees. On top of that this Saint defense is a better overall unit than that of the Cardinals and even though we anticipate that Stafford will test them early and often they will also have their opportunities. In truth, even if Thomas wasn't returning for this game we would likely still take the Saints but his return simply makes us a little bit more comfortable taking the Saints on the spread as well.
SEA (3-0) @ MIA (1-2) / MIA +6.5
- Yes the Dolphins are coming off a nice feel-good win vs the Jaguars and we saw vintage Fitzmagic, but the Seahawks are another beast altogether. For our money the Seahawks are the best team in the NFL and even if they are without Chris Carson in this game they should still be the heavy favorites. Russell Wilson is playing at an MVP level and this Miami defense will not be the unit to stop him. Simply put, this should be a LOCK for everybody at least outright and honestly we are surprised that the spread isn't higher as well. And yes we realize that Seattle has struggled defensively but the only way this game should be close is if the Dolphins get an insane amount of garbage time points. For that to be the case Fitzpatrick has to be perfect and we don't see that happening. Give us Seattle in every aspect of this game.
MIN (0-3) @ HOU (0-3) / HOU -3.5
- Both these teams are winless and are coming off narrow Week 3 losses, but we think this week's contest is going to be pretty clear cut. The Texans are without a doubt better than their record as they have faced the Chiefs, Ravens, and Steelers. And sure they have their own issues and dearly miss DeAndre Hopkins, but we expect a BIG rebound game from Deshaun Watson. The reason we say this is because the Vikings seem to have serious issues and it starts with their defense which has taken a HUGE step backwards. And while Cousins showed us some nice things vs the Titans we would take Watson every day of the week over him. Yes, the Vikings have the edge at RB with Dalvin Cook and had a nice effort from rookie, Justin Jefferson, but that won't be enough to make up for the QB mismatch. For that reason we like the Texans outright in a game that should be relatively high scoring but should see Houston pull away late.
ARI (2-1) @ CAR (1-2) / CAR +3.5
- Admittedly we were wrong about both of these teams last week but for what it's worth they both had chances to win/lose late in the 4th quarter. Now as the Cardinals travel to Carolina we have to ask ourselves the question, "Was what we saw last week a blip or an accurate depiction of who these teams are?". And the simple truth is that in our eyes it was a one-off, which means that the Cardinals should bounce back on Sunday. The Panthers have an AWFUL defense and won't benefit in facing a rookie QB again and on the flip side we don't anticipate that Kyler Murray will implode with turnovers two weeks in a row. And while there is potential for a high scoring game here since the neither defense is all that great we give the edge at QB to Murray and believe he returns to an MVP pace in Week 4. Also if there were ever a week to see Kenyan Drake breakout it would be vs the worst rush defense in the league in the Panthers so watch for that as well. The Panthers will likely keep it close for a bit but the better team should pull away late.
LAC (1-2) @ TB (2-1) / TB -7.5
- Despite the NARROW loss that would have been a victory had it not been for a fumbled lateral the Chargers are not on the same level as the Bucs. Yes, we realize that this offense looks better with Herbert under center, but the young QB will be outmatched as he faces Tom Brady in Week 4. The only thing that Chargers have going for them is that Chris Godwin will be out for this game but with Mike Evans and all those TE's still available the Bucs should be just fine. This Tampa team also has a distinctly better defense than Carolina and should be able to rattle Herbert early and often. We expect the Bucs to score a few quick points and then cruise to the 4th quarter during which the Chargers might get a few point back, but ultimately we have more faith in Brady making the plays when they matter vs Herbert. For that reason give us the Bucs to win outright and on the spread.
BAL (2-1) @ WAS (1-2) / WAS +13.5
- It's usually not a good sign when your own coach says that you are the guy holding your team back and it's even worse when that guy is the QB. We said it early in the year but don't be shocked to see Haskins benched at some point as he is not the answer at QB in Washington. Yes, there is a good defense in place and some good skill players but you can only go as far as your team takes you and in this case that isn't very far. On the other side Baltimore is coming off an embarrassing defeat and I expect them to put their best foot forward vs Washington. The skilled defensive unit will also be without Chase Young, as if dealing with Lamar Jackson wasn't hard enough. The spread is relatively large here but the way we see it is if the Browns can get away with a double digit victory over Washington then the Ravens definitely can.
NYG (0-3) @ LAR (2-1) / LAR -12.5
- Full disclosure, we were very wrong about the Giants last week, they got absolutely embarrassed by the 49ers. But in the same breath we don't think that Daniel Jones will have that bad of a game again in Week 4. However, we have learned our lesson and are going with the Rams here as they showed they could be a contender of sorts with their comeback effort, even if it came up short, vs the Bills last week. I expect a big dose of Darrell Henderson in this game sprinkled with big plays from Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods. The Giants are still trying to find themselves offensively with Barkley and Shepard out, but ultimately it falls on the shoulders of Jones to have a better performance as he still has weapons like Engram, Tate, and Slayton. At the end of the day though we still see Jones as a young QB that is learning and faces a tough defense which is why we are going with the Rams. The spread is a little too high here for our liking and it will probably be very close, but we will tentatively go with the Rams there too. This would be a great candidate to tease that number down a bit.
BUF (3-0) @ LV (2-1) / LV +2.5
- After last week the Bills sure look like a team that is a serious contender, while the Raiders were maybe exposed as being not quite as good as their record. Unfortunately for the Raiders they will also be without their two starting WR's for this game (Ruggs and Edwards) so Carr will really have his work cut out for him. Even with guys like Waller and Jacobs we don't think that the Raiders will be able to hang with the Bills or come back like the Rams did last week. On the other side, Josh Allen is playing like an MVP candidate and even though he still makes some mistakes from time to time he is by far doing more good than bad. Even if John Brown doesn't play here we expect no problem from the Buffalo offense and predict they win and cover this relatively low spread.
NE (2-1) @ KC (3-0) / KC -6.5
- The Chiefs put to bed any concerns who truly is the team to beat in the AFC after they dismantled the Ravens last week. Now in Week 4 the Chiefs get another potential challenger to their throne in the new look Patriots. For New England this has been the story of the come back Cam Newton year and so far so good, Newton looks healthy and is playing at a very high level. And while we did see the Patriots go toe to toe with Seattle a few weeks ago we believe that this Chief defense is much better and will truly test Cam and push the Patriots to their limits. The reality of the situation is that outside of Edelman in the passing attack the Patriots don't have too many reliable pieces and that's what will likely be their downfall. And sure Cam is dangerous with his feet, but that's what people said about Lamar Jackson last week too and the Chiefs had no problem dominating that game. Overall, I see this as a similar type of game plan for the Chiefs like when they prepped for Baltimore in Week 3 and tend to give them the advantage for that reason. Give us Mahomes and the Chiefs outright and on the spread.
PHI (0-2-1) @ SF (2-1) / SF -6.5
- The chance for a Carson Wentz bounce back week sure came and went real fast and now all of a sudden the Eagles are down another WR and facing a 49ers defense that thoroughly dominated the Giants. Making that more impressive was the fact that it was Nick Mullens under center and not Jimmy Garoppolo. Heading into Week 4 early signs are that the 49ers will be without Garoppolo yet again, but could potentially get George Kittle back. In our eyes that is actually a big deal because we expect a bigger challenge from the Eagles both offensively and defensively. Due to this, we actually think this could be one of the lower scoring games of the week and while we will give the edge to the 49ers we think the Eagles are a good pick on the spread.
ATL (0-3) @ GB (3-0) / GB -7.5
- Honestly, we didn't think it would be possible for the Falcons to blow another lead like they did vs Dallas but then came their loss vs the Bears and here we are again. This Atlanta team is an absolute disaster defensively and Aaron Rodgers and the Packers could put up 50 on them. Yes, it helps that Julio Jones should be back for this game, but with how bad the defense is it essentially means that Matt Ryan has to be perfect all game long for the Falcons to have a chance to win. On the flip side, we expect Davante Adams to return for GB and that should be a BIG boost for Rodgers and the passing attack which only makes matters worst for the Falcons. The one thing that seems like a guarantee in this game is that it will be VERY high scoring because the Falcons still do have an ELITE offense. And sure it could very well be close as the Falcons haven't really been blown out yet, but we have to go with the Packers as they at least have something that resembles a defense and also a reliable rushing attack that can take pressure off Rodgers. The spread is where it will get tricky but tentatively give us GB here too.
- NO, SEA, ARI, TB, BAL, GB