NFL Week 4 – Sunday Games Preview

NFL Betting Preview

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Sunday, September 29, 2019


Venue: Hard Rock Stadium | Start: 3:00am AEST

Missing several key pieces for a variety of reasons, the Los Angeles Chargers get something of a reprieve this week when they visit the winless Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins aren’t just any 0-3 team. They’ve been outscored 133-16, with the minus-117 point differential the third-worst ever through three games and worst since 1923, according to ESPN. Josh Rosen made his first start on Sunday at Dallas and led seven of 11 drives into Cowboys territory, but those produced just six points. Rosen finished just 18 of 39 for 200 yards and is expected to start again despite an injury to his throwing elbow. The Chargers, meanwhile, are 1-2 after blowing second-half leads in consecutive weeks, including a 17-7 lead in Sunday’s 27-20 home loss to the Houston Texans. Los Angeles’ only win this year required overtime, a 30-24 triumph over the Indianapolis Colts at home in Week 1. The Bolts have been without running back Melvin Gordon (holdout), left tackle Russell Okung (pulmonary embolism), All-Pro safety Derwin James and kicker Michael Badgley (groin) all season, with tight end Hunter Henry (knee) and safety Adrian Phillips (broken forearm) joining that group during the season. Gordon reportedly will end his holdout Thursday but is not expected to play. The others were joined in missing Wednesday’s practice by Pro Bowl cornerback Casey Hayward (back), wideouts Mike Williams (back) and Travis Benjamin (hip) and tight end Virgil Green (groin). The Dolphins have won four out of five meetings between the teams and 11 out of the last 14.

Win: LA Chargers
Margin: Chargers 14+
Line: Miami +16.5
Total Points: Over 44.5


Venue: Mercedes-Benz Stadium | Start: 3:00am AEST

The Atlanta Falcons will be looking to avoid their second straight 1-3 start when the Tennessee Titans visit on Sunday afternoon in a battle of 1-2 teams. The Falcons lost more than the game in Week 3 in Indianapolis, falling 27-24 and watching Pro Bowl safety Keanu Neal tear his Achilles, his second-straight season-ending injury after a torn ACL in Week 1 of 2018. Damontae Kazee, who filled in well for Neal last year, could move back from cornerback to start at safety, while Jamal Carter will get a look, according to head coach Dan Quinn. Atlanta will also be looking for more on offense, having yet to top 24 points in a game and struggling with turnovers, including six interceptions thrown already by quarterback Matt Ryan.
The Titans are coming off back-to-back losses that sullied a dominant Week 1 victory in Cleveland. Marcus Mariota took nine sacks in Thursday’s 20-7 loss in Jacksonville after taking four in each of the first two games. Left tackle Taylor Lewan will miss Sunday’s game to complete his four-game suspension for violating the league’s PED policy. Tight end Delanie Walker (knee) missed Wednesday’s practice for the Titans. The Falcons were without guard Jamon Brown — a starter after first-round rookie Chris Lindstrom broke his foot — and rookie right tackle Kaleb McGary (knee) was limited.

Win: Atlanta
Margin: Atlanta 1-13
Line: Tennessee +4
Total Points: Under 45.5


Venue: MetLife Stadium | Start: 3:00am AEST

The only thing harder to find in Washington these days than friendly political rivals is a healthy quarterback. Case Keenum spent Wednesday in a walking boot, but it was the same day Colt McCoy resumed football activities in his prolonged recovery from a leg injury last December. With Alex Smith out and not returning, the Washington Redskins are limited in their options against the Giants. One option it doesn’t seem coach Jay Gruden is ready to consider — turning to first-round rookie Dwayne Haskins. The change behind center worked like magic for the New York Giants last week. Daniel Jones, the sixth overall pick maligned from Broadway to Jersey, proved to be a stellar stand-in for the benched Eli Manning. Jones guided the Giants to a comeback win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and showed off surprising athletic ability in the process. More of the load falls to Jones this week and for at least a month with running back Saquon Barkley (ankle) sidelined. Jones and the Giants need a lot more from a defense riddled by big plays in all three games this season. The Redskins are having their own woes defensively, and Gruden again pointed to a slow-rolling pass rush as the reason the team was torched by the Chicago Bears on Monday night.

Win: NY Giants
Margin: NY Giants 1-13
Line: Washington +3
Total Points: Under 49.5


Venue: Lucas Oil Stadium | Start: 3:00am AEST

The Indianapolis Colts are in great shape through three weeks, but they may have to weather a few injuries when the Oakland Raiders visit on Sunday. The Colts are 2-1 — with the only loss coming in overtime in Week 1 — despite the sudden preseason retirement of Andrew Luck. New starter Jacoby Brissett has a modest 646 passing yards through three games, but he also has seven touchdowns against just one interception. Brissett’s top target, wideout T.Y. Hilton, has four of those scores, tied for the NFL lead. But he missed Wednesday’s practice with a quad injury. Also out were linebacker Darius Leonard, who missed last week with a concussion, and safety Malik Hooker, who is expected to miss a few weeks with a knee injury. Fourth-round rookie Khari Willis is expected to start in Hooker’s place. The Raiders are relatively healthy, other than right guard Gabe Jackson remaining out with a preseason knee injury. Left tackle Trent Brown (ankle/knee) and linebacker Vontaze Burfict (elbow/knee/shoulder) got in a limited practice on Wednesday. Oakland (1-2) is coming off a 34-14 thumping at Minnesota. Sunday will be the second of five straight games (and a span of 48 days) away from home before the Raiders host the Detroit Lions on Nov. 3.

Win: Indianapolis
Margin: Indianapolis 1-13
Line: Oakland +7
Total Points: Over 44.5


Venue: New Era Field | Start: 3:00am AEST

The Buffalo Bills host the New England Patriots on Sunday in Orchard Park, N.Y., with a level of optimism that hasn’t been seen in the area in some time. Buffalo will be looking to go to 4-0 for the first time since 2008 and the second time since 1992, although they’ll be facing a quarterback they’ve beaten just once since 2011 and just twice since 2003. Tom Brady is a staggering 30-3 against Buffalo in his career. The Patriots are seeking their fifth 4-0 start during the Brady era, and the first since 2015. Each of the previous four 4-0 starts have ended in at least an AFC Championship Game appearance, although only once (2004) did it end in a Super Bowl victory. New England’s defense leads the league in virtually every meaningful category, including yards per play (3.53) and points per game (5.7), with the latter figure actually inflated by two non-offensive touchdowns the Jets scored in Week 3. Buffalo’s defense is no slouch, however, ranking sixth in yards per play (4.76) and fifth in points per game (15.7), with a non-offensive touchdown also inflating that total. Wide receiver Julian Edelman appears on track to play for the Patriots, practicing Wednesday after leaving Sunday’s win over the Jets with a ribs/chest issue. Brady was limited Wednesday with a calf issue for the second straight week.

Win: New England
Margin: New England 1-13
Line: Buffalo +7
Total Points: Under 41.5


Venue: Ford Field | Start: 3:00am AEST

Patrick Mahomes is 20 starts into his NFL career, but he will have a new experience on Sunday in Detroit, when his Kansas City Chiefs take on the Lions. Mahomes has never played a regular-season game indoors, though that’s hardly stopped him from being productive on the road. In 11 career road games, he’s totaled 3,764 passing yards, 38 touchdowns and seven interceptions, significantly better than his stat line at home (2,812 yards, 22 touchdowns, six interceptions in nine games). The matchup features two of the team’s eight remaining unbeaten teams, with the 3-0 Chiefs and 2-0-1 Lions, who have a Week 5 bye. Detroit staved off an Eagles rally on Sunday to win in Philadelphia 27-24, a week after using a fourth-quarter touchdown from Matthew Stafford to sink the Los Angeles Chargers. Despite a stated commitment to the running game this offseason, the Lions rank 27th through three weeks with a yards-per-carry average of 3.36. They will have ample opportunities to improve on that figure, as the Chiefs’ defense has allowed 6.16 yards per carry, worst in the league by .73. The Lions were without wideout Danny Amendola (chest) and defensive tackle Mike Daniel (foot) at Wednesday’s practice, though top cornerback Darius Slay (hamstring) got in a limited session. The Chiefs remain without wideout Tyreek Hill (shoulder), left tackle Eric Fisher (groin) and running back Damien Williams (knee).

Win: Kansas City
Margin: Kansas City 1-13
Line: Kansas City -6
Total Points: Under 53.5


Venue: M&T Bank Stadium | Start: 3:00am AEST

No team entered the 2019 season with more hype than the Cleveland Browns – understandable following an offseason trade for star receiver Odell Beckham and last year’s late playoff push spurred by exciting development from former No. 1 overall selections Myles Garrett and Baker Mayfield. The Baltimore Ravens, meanwhile, are currently perched atop the AFC North with dynamic dual-threat quarterback Lamar Jackson (notably selected 31 spots after Mayfield two years ago), leading the way. Jackson has earned early MVP buzz for his sparkling start to the season, already throwing for more touchdowns (seven, with no interceptions) in three games this year than he did in seven starts a year ago. While his improved awareness and precision in the passing game warrants praise, so too does the downhill running of Mark Ingram, with the free agent signee out of New Orleans currently leading all NFL players with five rushing touchdowns. The dash and bash attack provided by Jackson and Ingram has the long-time-defensive oriented Ravens flying high on offense, currently leading the NFL in both points (36.7 per game) and yards (511.7) per game. Those numbers could drop against a quality Browns defense which has largely delivered thus far, currently checking in 10th in the NFL in both passing (213) and total yards (315) allowed.

Win: Baltimore
Margin: Baltimore 1-13
Line: Baltimore -7
Total Points: Over 46


Venue: NRG Stadium | Start: 3:00am AEST

A week after Cam Newton’s status remained a mystery until Friday, the Carolina Panthers are moving full steam ahead for Sunday’s game at the Houston Texans with Kyle Allen as the starting quarterback. Newton, reportedly battling a Lisfranc injury, appears likely to be out several more weeks. But soothing his absence is Allen, a second-year undrafted rookie who carved up the Arizona Cardinals for 261 yards and four touchdowns at the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. The 38-20 victory kept the Panthers from dropping to 0-3. Now they’ll try to get back to .500 against the Texans, who rallied from 17-7 down at the Los Angeles Chargers for a 27-20 victory on Sunday. Most promising for Houston might have been the offensive line, which allowed only two sacks with first-round rookie Tytus Howard making his first start at right tackle and second-rounder Max Scharping making his first career start, at left guard. The performance broke a streak of eight games in which Watson had been sacked at least four times. The Texans are mostly healthy, though new left tackle Laremy Tunsil has been playing through ankle and toe injuries. For the Panthers, guard Trai Turner (ankle), defensive tackle Kawann Short (shoulder) and edge rusher Bruce Irvin (hamstring) all missed practice on Wednesday.

Win: Houston
Margin: Houston 1-13
Line: Houston -4
Total Points: Over 46.5


Venue: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum | Start: 6:05am AEST

Fresh off of a humbling home loss in which they squandered an 18-point halftime lead to rookie quarterback Daniel Jones — and watched a chance at a dramatic last-second win sail wide right — the Bucs sail across the country to face the reigning NFC champion and currently undefeated LA Rams. Statistically-speaking James Winston was every bit as impressive as Jones in last week’s loss, tossing three touchdowns and 380 yards – the fifth best passing yardage total in 59 career NFL games. Rather than celebrate signs of a breakout from Winston, however, Bucs’ head coach Bruce Arians might want to incorporate more of second-year runner Ronald Jones – not only to keep Jared Goff and the high-flying Rams’ offense off the field but because Tampa Bay notably lost each of Winston’s other four “best” games. Tampa Bay is hopeful for a defensive spark with the return of first round middle linebacker Devin White. He is still recovering from an MCL sprain, however, making it that much more unlikely that the Bucs can effectively butt heads with a Rams squad hoping to get Todd Gurley on track. If Tampa can find a way of slowing down Aaron Donald – a big if – Mike Evans could feast against a leaky LA secondary. No one has slowed Donald yet, however, and the heavy-footed Winston is a particularly vulnerable target.

Win: LA Rams
Margin: LA Rams 1-13
Line: LA Rams -10
Total Points: Over 49.5


Venue: State Farm Stadium | Start: 6:05am AEST

Sunday’s NFC West matchup with the Arizona Cardinals hosting the Seattle Seahawks is one both teams desperately need if either has any realistic expectations of keeping up with the undefeated Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers. Russell Wilson and the visiting Seahawks are the road favorites but come after stumbling at home to a Teddy Bridgewater-led New Orleans Saints squad in Week Three. Kyler Murray has flashed the dynamic dual-threat ability which earned him the Heisman Trophy and No. 1 overall selection in the 2019 draft but thus far, he has tossed just one more touchdown (four) than interception and has yet to taste victory in the NFL. There could be plenty of open space against Seattle’s defense, however, which has thus far featured three linebackers (rather than nickel or dime cornerbacks) against multiple receiver sets – like the ones Kliff Kingsbury and his Air-Raid offense features. State Farm Stadium has been a relative house of horrors for the Seahawks, with Seattle infamously losing Super Bowl XLIX on a last-second interception by Wilson in the end zone and former stars Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor suffering catastrophic injuries which abruptly ended their tenures with the team.

Win: Seattle
Margin: Seattle 1-13
Line: Arizona +5
Total Points: Over 48.5


Venue: Empower Field at Mile High | Start: 6:25am AEST

Complementing two of the NFL’s most ferocious pass rushes with Super Bowl MVP-winning quarterbacks was intended to catapult the Jacksonville Jaguars and Denver Broncos into championship contention. Instead, they’re competing for the title of biggest disappointment of the early season with Nick Foles suffering a broken clavicle in his first game in teal and Joe Flacco throwing just two touchdowns (and two interceptions) in three games – all losses – thus far. The Jaguars re-discovered some of their ferocity a week ago, stunning the visiting Tennessee Titans 20-7 behind inspired play from mustachioed and motivating rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew II. The 2019 fifth-round pick out of Washington State heads back west with five touchdowns thrown thus far, against just one interception. While the Broncos are hopeful that four-time Pro Bowl cornerback Chris Harris, Jr. can slow down Minshew’s favorite target, D.J. Chark, and allow the rest of the defense to key on running back Leonard Founette, Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone may not be able to rely on his own All-Pro cornerback to do the same. Jalen Ramsey, who has requested a trade and has missed practice this week citing the flu and a sore back is a potential distraction, threatening to steal from a contest expected to otherwise be a defense-dominated slugfest.

Win: Denver
Margin: Denver 1-13
Line: Jacksonville +3
Total Points: Under 38.5


Venue: Soldier Field | Start: 6:25am AEST

A more accurate measure of the Chicago Bears’ progress arrives Sunday at Soldier Field in the form of the Minnesota Vikings. The Bears barely survived a test from the Denver Broncos and manhandled winless, punchless Washington but did very little to inspire confidence against the Green Bay Packers in Week 1. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky found a connection in wide receiver Taylor Gabriel (three TDs last week), but his status is up in the air due to a concussion. The Vikings have a smothering secondary behind a stout defensive front, and Chicago’s only move forward is to lean more heavily on a running game yet to get rolling. Putting the game in Trubisky’s hands could be perilous because of Minnesota’s pass rush. The Bears bring their own heavyweight defense to the party. Their linebacker group is playing as well as ny in the NFL, and Khalil Mack & Company will present a big test to the Vikings’ offensive line. That group has been excellent, paving the way for NFL leading rusher Dalvin Cook to compile chunk plays and make life easier for quarterback Kirk Cousins. The Vikings’ shift to take all the pressure off of Cousins has worked like a charm, but the Bears have the personnel to slow Cook and volley the ball back to Cousins. Chicago’s secondary is solid, but gave up big plays in key moments against the Packers and Broncos. If Cousins trusts his protection to stand tall in the pocket, the Vikings have the firepower to take home a key road win.

Win: Chicago
Margin: Chicago 1-13
Line: Chicago -2.5
Total Points: Under 38.5


Venue: Mercedes-Benz Superdome | Start: 10:20am AEST

Following a surprising upset at Seattle, the New Orleans Saints return to familiar surroundings with an unfamiliar leader in the huddle. Teddy Bridgewater was calm and under control last week in his first start in place of Drew Brees (thumb), who won’t return until November. The Saints needed more than Bridgewater, leaning heavily on running back Alvin Kamara to slice through the Seahawks. The question this week for the Saints is whether they’ll find enough points to match the high-powered Dallas Cowboys. New Orleans got touchdowns on defense and special teams at Seattle, but those touchdowns aren’t easily duplicated. Dallas has very good athletes in the front seven, and linebacker Jaylon Smith can run with Kamara parallel to the line of scrimmage. If Bridgewater breaks form and pushes the ball downfield, the Saints could find gold. The Cowboys are pushing the ball in all directions with Dake Prescott playing at an MVP level and Ezekiel Elliott putting up big numbers. The edge the Cowboys could exploit this week is in the trenches, where the size and skill advantage favors Dallas’ offensive line.

Win: Dallas
Margin: Dallas 1-13
Line: Dallas -2.5
Total Points: Over 47.5