If you have read the primetime game previews for the National Football League Week 4, one word kept coming up to describe the season so far through September: wacky.
The NFL has always said it is a parity-driven league and is set up so that teams can make their way from worst to first very quickly with some shrewd drafting, good free-agent signings, and a talented mix of players that seem to gel when others have not.
Well, we sure have that this year. Once again, if I would have asked you in August for the identities of the last two AFC unbeaten teams, I could probably have queried everyone I know and half of New Jersey and not gotten one person to say the Denver Broncos and Las Vegas Raiders. But here we are, and those two sit on top of the AFC West at 3-0, while the Kansas City Chiefs are 1-2. If you had the Carolina Panthers as well as those other two teams, you should probably be coming on our show weekly, because you are wasting your talents.
There are some very intriguing contests in Week 4, many of which come in the final six games of the weekend. The two NFC West unbeaten teams will play in Los Angeles, as will the other two division teams. Denver hosts the Baltimore Ravens, who pulled out a breathtaking last-second win thanks to the leg of Justin Tucker. Monday night sees the Chargers host the Raiders, in a massive AFC West battle.
And of course, there is the little talked about Sunday night game, which will see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head to New England for an intra-conference contest that is not notable at all.
Just kidding: TOM BRADY IS GOING BACK TO NEW ENGLAND.
What will Week 4 of the NFL bring? Have a look at a preview below.
|Game||Lookahead line||Current spread||Moneyline|
|Jaguars at Bengals||Bengals -6, Jaguars +6||Bengals -6, Jaguars +6||Bengals -280, Jaguars +225|
|Washington at Falcons||Washington -1.5, Falcons +1.5||Washington -1, Falcons +1||Washington -110, Falcons -106|
|Lions at Bears||Bears -6, Lions +6||Bears -3.5, Lions +3.5||Bears -198, Lions +166|
|Titans at Jets||Titans -6.5, Jets +6.5||Titans -7.5, Jets +7.5||Titans -330, Jets +265|
|Browns at Vikings||Browns -1.5, Vikings +1.5||Browns -1.5, Vikings +1.5||Browns -118, Vikings +100|
|Colts at Dolphins||Dolphins -2.5, Colts +2.5||Dolphins -2.5, Colts +2.5||Dolphins -126, Colts +108|
|Panthers at Cowboys||Cowboys -3.5, Panthers +3.5||Cowboys -4.5, Panthers +4.5||Cowboys -215, Panthers +180|
|Giants at Saints||Saints -6.5, Giants +6.5||Saints -7.5, Giants +7.5||Saints -355, Giants +285|
|Chiefs at Eagles||Chiefs -6.5, Eagles +6.5||Chiefs -6, Eagles +6||Chiefs -255, Eagles +210|
|Texans at Bills||Bills -16.5, Texans +16.5||Bills -17.5, Texans +17.5||Bills -1800, Texans +980|
|Cardinals at Rams||Rams -6, Cardinals +6||Rams -6, Cardinals +6||Rams -245, Cardinals +200|
|Seahawks at 49ers||49ers -3.5, Seahawks +3.5||49ers -3, Seahawks +3||49ers -174, Seahawks +146|
|Ravens at Broncos||Ravens -1, Broncos +1||Broncos -1, Ravens +1||Broncos -112, Ravens -104|
|Steelers at Packers||Packers -6.5, Steelers +6.5||Packers -6.5, Steelers +6.5||Packers -290, Steelers +235|
|Buccaneers at Patriots||Buccaneers -5.5, Patriots +5.5||Buccaneers -5.5, Patriots +5.5||Buccaneers -255, Patriots +210|
|Raiders at Chargers||Chargers -3, Raiders +3||Chargers -3, Raiders +3||Chargers -172, Raiders +144|
In the opening paragraphs to this preview, I talked about surprise teams in the NFL so far in 2021. Well, the Bengals are more than a touchdown favorite here on Thursday night, with a chance to move to 3-1 and stay at the top of the AFC North if they can beat the Jags. Joe Burrow has some weapons, but it is the play of the Cincinnati defense that you should be focusing on here. Trevor Lawrence has had trouble with stout defenses so far in three weeks, and this will be a huge test, especially with the short week. This has to be a big win for the Bengals, and Paul Brown Stadium should be rocking for the first of what might be a few primetime games in 2021.
Read more about Thursday Night Football Betting Lines here.
WFT got shredded by Josh Allen and the Bills, who got their wakeup call in Week 1. Now, this is another big game, as the Football Team can move to .500 with a win over the Falcons.
Matt Ryan was efficient against the Giants in a 17-14 win, which might help jumpstart Atlanta’s season. This is a definition of a toss-up, although Chase Young could prove to be the difference here.
First, can we address this line? Buffalo is already up to a -17.5 point favorite after the books watched Josh Allen pass for over 300 yards again last week.
Houston has not been as bad as some thought defensively, but after putting up just nine points against the Panthers last Thursday, what will the Texans have to do here to stay in this game?
Now the question becomes, do you bet this game down to -17 or -16.5, or do you take a chance and push it up to -20, and get plus-money for your wager? I say the latter, and see if you can get +140 or so.
The Lions have been crushed by some awful luck (if there is such a thing), but you can tell they are getting better, and the players seem to love playing for this new coach. They lost to a record-breaking field goal Sunday, and get a Chicago team that was completely stymied against Cleveland.
Justin Fields struggled mightily in that contest, and it will be interesting to see what happens here in this contest. The Lions will have to think they have a great shot to win, and the touchdown line seems pretty high here.
Carolina might be the best story of the early NFC season, after the Panthers completely shut down Houston last Thursday night. But Christian McCaffery could miss this game, and that might be a key.
The other key might be the play of Dak Prescott, who looked great once again on Monday night in a blowout of the Eagles. The Cowboys put up 41 points, and Prescott threw for three TDs. Dallas is the only decent team in the NFC East, and could end the run of the Panthers here.
Two of the more disappointing teams in the AFC do battle here, in what is definitely a must-win game for each team. These teams each won 10 games last season, and that is looking less and less likely by the week here. Miami fell 31-28 to the Raiders in overtime, in a game that saw three scores in the overtime period.
The Colts have not been able to get much going on offense, but can start to turn around their campaign here with a win. But what happens if they start 0-4? Yikes.
Can someone explain this line to me? The Cleveland Browns have Myles Garrett, who had 4.5 sacks last weekend, to anchor a defense that allowed one net yard of passing to the Bears. Cleveland also has explosive weapons on offense.
Minnesota beat Seattle last weekend 30-17, but the Seahawks might not be that good. The Vikings’ offense was very good last weekend, led by Kirk Cousins (323 yards passing). I still don’t know why this is nearly a pick game, though.
How bad are the tenants of MetLife Stadium? If you combined the Jets and Giants rosters and coaching staffs, could they compete in the NFC East? The Giants found another way to lose last weekend, falling on the last play of the game to the Falcons.
The Saints have been all over the place, but were good again last weekend in a 28-13 win over the Pats on the road. I just don’t see how the Giants go to New Orleans and win this game.
Maybe the best question here is, who wins if the Jets played the Giants? Even the preseason game was awful (12-7 win for the Jets).
First, I have to start this off with a statement: the Jets stink. Like, they stink, badly. Zach Wilson has been atrocious under center, and this 12-game losing streak does not look like it is going to end anytime soon. Well, at least for another week.
But please tell me why this line is still under a touchdown? Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry are going to have a field day against New York. As they say, bet early, and bet often, on the Titans.
What is the deal with the Chiefs? You keep expecting them to show up for the first time this season and dominate a team, but they keep falling flat. Obviously, Patrick Mahomes has been amazing, but the defense has to get some stops.
Can they get well against the Eagles in Philly? If the Monday night game was any guide, Mahomes might love going up against this defense, which got shredded by the Cowboys for 41 points and nearly 400 yards of offense. This is where it turns around for Kansas City.
For the second week running, the Rams will play in the Game of the Week. This time, though, it is not just a NFC battle: this is to see which team moves to the top of the NFC West.
Both offenses have been fantastic so far in 2021, with Matthew Stafford and Kyler Murray leading the way. Of course, the defense of the Rams is also a top-five (maybe top three) unit in the NFL. Arizona has been pretty good at times, too, thanks to J.J. Watt and company.
This should be high-scoring.
While it was not as crushing as the 66-yard FG to lose that Detroit had to deal with, the 49ers loss on Sunday night was pretty tough to take. Green Bay kicked a 51-yard FG with no time left to send San Fran to its first loss.
Seattle already has two losses and could fall to 1-3 with a loss here. Maybe this team is getting old, or just not as good as the other teams in the West, but this is a must-win game. I don’t think they do, though.
The difference between 1-2 and 2-1 for the Ravens was the edge of a football, as Justin Tucker’s record-breaking 66-yard kick hit the bar and bounced over to stun the Lions 19-17. But it was not a great showing for Baltimore.
The same can’t be said for Vic Fangio’s resurgent Denver Broncos, who have allowed a league-low 26 points through three games after a 26-0 shutout over the hapless Jets. Teddy Bridgewater has been fantastic, and this defense is getting back to its Super Bowl heights.
This could have been a crisis game, with two 1-2 teams. But Aaron Rodgers led the Packers down the field in the final minute, after the 49ers scored, to come back and win on Sunday night. That means Green Bay is 2-1, and will be cruising towards the NFC North title.
The Steelers, though, are 1-2, and looked awful last week against the Bengals. You have to think Rodgers is going to put up some big numbers in this game, and I would be all over the Packers here, especially at home.
What more can be said about this game? Tom Brady is going to play the New England Patriots for the first time after he won six Super Bowl titles with the Pats. He will also be angry, after the loss to the Rams in primetime last Sunday.
New England has not been great this season and struggled against the Saints at home. I shudder to think what numbers Brady will put up in this encounter, as he returns home to the conquering king (again).
Read more about Sunday Night Football Betting Odds here.
By the time this game is played, the Raiders could be the last AFC team unbeaten, or they could be trailing the 4-0 Broncos. Either way, Las Vegas comes into this contest as one of the best stories of the early 2021 campaign.
The Chargers beat Kansas City last week, and might be the best team in the AFC West. Justin Herbert is turning into a star, and he had four TD passes last weekend, including two to Mike Wiliams.
Read more about this game on our Monday Night Football Betting Lines & Odds guide.
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