We’re starting to learn a lot about every team in the NFL and there are plenty of opportunities for winners in Week 4.
Atlanta Falcons @ Jacksonville Jaguars
This line looks like an overreaction to Week 3 for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Jags were surprisingly thumped by the Houston Texans 37-17 last week, but looking deeper into the numbers, they weren’t that bad. Not 20-point-loss-to-the-Texans bad. They out-gained the Texans on the ground and in the air. In the end, execution let them down and the production didn’t match the talent available on the roster. Travis Ettiene is playing his part, but Trevor Lawrence and the receiving corps aren’t holding up their end of the bargain.
Meanwhile, Desmond Ridder was sacked seven times last week as the Falcons managed only one field goal in each half. He struggles to get the Falcons up the field and has the most turnover-worthy plays in the NFL through three games (7). Concerningly, 23 quarterbacks have attempted more passes…
There isn’t a lot separating these two teams on form. The Jaguars have the more appealing group, but they’ve not played up to it yet. So, we look to the quarterbacks as the deciding factors. Lawrence is comfortably the more trustworthy of the two, and at home, should get enough out of the Jags offence to clear the Falcons by at least a field goal. Calvin Ridley to score against his former team is worth a look at $2.87, too.
Washington Commanders @ Philadelphia Eagles
There was a moment where the Washington commanders looked as though they might not be so bad when starting the season 2-0. Then they were thrashed 37-3 by the Buffalo Bills and looked a lot like the team most expected. Their overreliance on screen passes in the opening two weeks was always going to come back to bite them. Without them coming off in Week 3, Sam Howell struggled and is preparing to face an improving Philadelphia Eagles defence this week after already being sacked an NFL-high 19 times this season.
Sam Howell has been sacked 19 times this season, which is the most of any QB.
The NFL record for sacks taken in a season is 76, set by David Carr for the Texans in 2002 (their first year as a franchise). Howell is on pace to take 107 this year.
— Jason (@SportsJO13) September 28, 2023
The Eagles have been good without being great. They don’t look like Super Bowl LVIII favourites just yet but they remain on the first line of betting a $6.50 for a reason. They’re improving every week. On the defensive end, in particular. They shut down everything the Tampa Bay Buccaneers wanted to do to restrict them to only 174 yards for the game. It took a 75-yard drive in the 4th quarter to get them there, too.
Philly pressured Baker Mayfield into a bad day at the office and there’s a good chance they do the same to Howell in this one. Jalen Hurts, on the other hand, is barely touching the surface of what he’s capable of and what we’ve seen in the past. There is a feeling that it’s all going to click for the Eagles sooner rather than later.
Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills line appealed as soon as the Miami Dolphins put up 70 on the Denver Broncos in Week 3.
“They comfortably broke their single-game record of 56 points and now rank third for the most points scored in a game in NFL history. It’s the most points scored in a game since 1966.” – NFL Week 3 In Review
If there is a matchup where recency bias will be a factor, it’s this currently historically good Dolphins team. They are, however, up against a Bills team that also played well last week and a team that is one of the best in the NFL by the numbers.
The Bills are at home for a start – that’s a big tick. When it comes to Expected Points Added per play the Bills defence ranks 2nd in the NFL and the offence 1st. They’re at the top of the pile in DVOA.
While the Dolphins have impressed to start the season and put up one of the all-time games last week, the Bills are a different beast. They’re historically good against the Dolphins to have won each of their last seven games against them at home. As good as the Dolphins look, Josh Allen and the Bills have been doing this a while now.
It’s the biggest game of Week 4 and set to be high-scoring with the line at 53.5 early in the week. It could go either way and Allen’s turnovers are a slight concern. Still, if he can avoid giving away possession and play with an equal share, the Bills should make this eight in a row against the Dolphins at home.
Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49ers
Brock Purdy and the San Francisco 49ers are flying. Even without one of his favourite targets from the first two weeks, he pulled the strings of the offence for the 49ers to put 30 on the New York Giants and comfortably cover the spread. They’re the best team in the NFL right now and haven’t really looked beatable in the opening three weeks.
It’s a big line this week, though…
Out at +13.5 and every chance of getting higher before kickoff, a Cardinals team that has exceeded expectations up to this point in the season is getting a handy head start in this one. They’ll fall away eventually. We often see bad teams overperform early before finishing the season roughly where they were expected to in the end. Currently 3-0 against the spread and coming in on the back of a massive upset straight-up win as +11.5 underdogs over the Dallas Cowboys, the Cards are riding high.
They haven’t won every game but have led in all three. A lot of it comes down to quarterback Joshua Dobbs making the right reads and not pushing things. He has passed for 549 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. On the ground, he’s found 93 yards and a touchdown. Dobbs isn’t the highlight reel player Kyler Murray is, but he’s solid and is doing a good job right now. A good job should be enough to keep the Cardinals within two touchdowns.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Tennesee Titans
Where Ridder has made the highest number of turnover-worth throws above, Joe Burrow has thrown the fewest. He’s navigating an injury that is taking away the ability to perform his most explosive actions (he’s 1-9 on throws of 20+ yards), but he’s not forcing them to the point he’s at risk of turning the ball over. He’s playing within his injury and you can only assume that it is healing more and more each week. It’s also safe to assume at least a minor improvement on last week when the Cincinnati Bengals picked up their first win of the NFL season.
Bengals QB Joe Burrow was estimated to be a full participant on yesterday’s injury report. He’s getting loose and throwing without a compression sleeve ahead of today’s muggy practice.
— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) September 28, 2023
The Bengals are likely to play with an improved quarterback in Week 4. One of the best in the NFL, no less. The Tennesse Titans, on the other hand, look as though they’ll produce more of the same which…hasn’t been good. The defence has been as bad as most expected while the offence hasn’t done well enough to make up for it.
With Burrow on the improve and the Titans not posing too much of a threat, the Bengals should move to 2-2 after Week 4.