Seven undefeated teams remain in the NFL heading into Week 4. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennesse Titans will retain their 3-0 records, not playing this week due to positive COVID-19 tests within the Titans organization.
The Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears will attempt to improve to 4-0 this week. None of these teams play each other, so they will all have the chance to remain undefeated.
On the other hand, you have the winless teams. I wouldn’t hold my breathe waiting for the New York Giants, New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals or Atlanta Falcons to earn their first win. But this week includes a pivotal matchup between two 0-3 teams with playoff aspirations: the Houston Texans and Minnesota Vikings. The Denver Broncos are also winless, so either they or the Jets will get their first win of the season on Thursday night.
Week 1: 10-6
Week 2: 11-5
Week 3: 8-7-1
Overall: 29-18-1 (62% correct)
Ouch, that was my most brutal week of picks yet. I still broke positive, technically, with eight wins, seven losses, and a tie. I incorrectly predicted:
- Jaguars over Texans (I liked Jacksonville’s first two weeks a lot, not so much this week)
- Falcons over Bears (great pick until Atlanta imploded/Bears brought in Nick Foles)
- Giants over 49ers (thought New York could take advantage of injuries, but they’re a flat-out bad team)
- Texans over Steelers (I predicted 23-20 Texans. It was 27-20 Steelers. Not too off.)
- Chargers over Panthers (liked Los Angeles’ upset attempt of the Chiefs. They only lost by eight in this upset)
- Cardinals over Lions (major upset. No shame here.)
- Ravens over Chiefs (Kansas City seems to have Baltimore’s number)
Thursday Night Football
Denver Broncos (0-3) at New York Jets (0-3)
Line: New York Jets (-1.5)
Both the Denver Broncos and New York Jets have had shaky starts to their 2020 seasons, to say the least. In my Post-Week 3 NFL Power Rankings, I declared the Jets the worst team in the league. They’ll have a chance at home, but I think the Broncos have been playing better and against tougher opponents. New York slides to 0-4 as Sam Darnold is outplayed by Jeff Driskel.
Broncos win 24-17, Broncos win ATS
Sunday Day Games
Indianapolis Colts (2-1) at Chicago Bears (3-0)
Line: Indianapolis Colts (-2.5)
These two teams combine for a 5-1 record, but I’m not sold on either of them. This will be the toughest test yet for both teams, proving whose hot start was more legitimate. The Colts have looked great in wins over the Vikings and Jets, but those two teams are a combined 0-6. The Bears victories, which have included fourth quarter comebacks against the Lions and Falcons.
It’s fair to favor the Colts here, but I’m gonna ride the undefeated Bears in this matchup. Hopefully Nick Foles starting the game can negate the need for fourth quarter heroics this time around.
Bears win 23-20, Bears win ATS
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2) at Cincinnati Bengals (0-2-1)
Line: Cincinnati Bengals (-3.0)
Rookie Joe Burrow has his team favored for the first time in his young career. The Jaguars weren’t supposed to be good this season, and despite strong performances in the first couple weeks, were grounded and beat down by the Dolphins last week. Still, I like Gardner Minshew, and I don’t like Cincinnati’s roster.
Jaguars win 16-13, Jaguars win ATS
Cleveland Browns (2-1) at Dallas Cowboys (1-2)
Line: Dallas Cowboys (-4.5)
The Browns have won back-to-back games, but the Bengals and Washington Football Team couldn’t have been weaker competition. The Browns aren’t that bad it seems though, and the Cowboys honestly aren’t that good. I think this game will be closer than many expect, but I’ll take Dak Prescott and the Cowboys at home.
Cowboys win 27-20, Cowboys win ATS
New Orleans Saints (1-2) at Detroit Lions (1-2)
Line: New Orleans Saints (-4.5)
Drew Brees and the Saints are a surprisingly slow 1-2 to start the season. They weren’t bad in back-to-back losses to the Raiders and Packers, they just couldn’t finish. Luckily, even on the heels of their first win in a calendar year, the Lions aren’t too formidable of an opponent. However, if New Orleans’ defense can’t get back on track, this could be a potetnial shootout between Brees and Matthew Stafford.
Saints win 30-24, Saints win ATS
Seattle Seahawks (3-0) at Miami Dolphins (1-2)
Line: Seattle Seahawks (-6.5)
If you haven’t watched them this season, the Miami Dolphins aren’t as bad as you remember. After hanging in a tight game with the Bills, the Dolphins were able to dominate the Jaguars last week on Monday Night Football.
But these Seattle Seahawks are a different beast. While the defense has been susceptible to giving up points through three weeks, future NFL MVP (in my opinion) Russell Wilson is doing more than enough for Seattle’s offense.
Seahawks win 34-20, Seahawks win ATS
Los Angeles Chargers (1-2) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1)
Line: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-7.0)
I liked Tyrod Taylor running the Chargers offense, but I love what I’ve seen from Justin Herbert so far. As a team, the Chargers may have some more work cut out for them though. Tom Brady’s Buccaneers have churned out back-to-back wins, and there’s no reason they should slow down in Week 4. Tampa Bay isn’t quite an elite team yet, but a 3-1 record will begin to put them in the conversation.
Buccaneers win 27-18, Buccaneers win ATS
Baltimore Ravens (2-1) at Washington Football Team (1-2)
Line: Baltimore Ravens (-12.0)
Lamar Jackson and the Ravens looked human, and were humbled by the Chiefs on Monday Night Football for their first regular season loss since last September. But the difference in week-to-week competition couldn’t be starker for Baltimore this week. Based on my own power rankings (yes, I will continue to plug them until you check them out,) the Ravens go from playing the best team in the NFL (the Chiefs) to the 30th best team in the NFL (Washington.) Should be a quick turnaround that gets the Ravens back on track with a big win.
Ravens win 42-17, Ravens win ATS
Arizona Cardinals (2-1) at Carolina Panthers (1-2)
Line: Arizona Cardinals (-3.5)
I love what Kyler Murray and the Cardinals did through two weeks. That’s why their Week 3 loss to the Lions perplexed me. It could just be an off-performance for this Cardinals team, and they’re still favored heading into Week 4.
I’ll be rooting for the Cardinals, and Arizona is definitely the better team here. But maybe it’s a gut feeling, I could see the Cardinals slide for a second straight game, while Teddy Bridgewater pulls off back-to-back upsets for Carolina victories.
Panthers win 23-20, Panthers win ATS
GAME OF THE WEEK: Minnesota Vikings (0-3) at Houston Texans (0-3)
The game of the week, featuring two 0-3 teams duking it out? You bet. The Texans and Vikings both made the playoffs in 2019, lost their top wide receiver in the offseason, but still expected to be competitive in 2020. Houston’s 0-3 start comes at the hands of the Chiefs, Ravens, and Steelers, a tough slate for anyone. The Vikings have lost to the Packers, Colts, and Titans, a schedule that also included two playoff teams.
Neither team has a reason to throw in the towel yet, and for that reason, this should be an exciting game between two teams that will be playing almost a bit desperately, searching for their first win.
I like Deshaun Watson and the Texans in this scenario. And if desperation does indeed set in, I think that could visually look like Kirk Cousins playing poorly for the Vikings. Neither one of these teams expected an 0-4 start, but by Sunday evening, that will be the fate of either the Texans or the Vikings.
Texans win 26-21, Texans win ATS
New York Giants (0-3) at Los Angeles Rams (2-1)
Line: Los Angeles Rams (-12.0)
If the Giants wanted to turn their fortunes around, they had a great chance last week against a depleted 49ers squad at MetLife Stadium. New York squandered the opportunity in every way, Daniel Jones had two turnovers for the third straight game, and another losing season is well underway for the Giants.
The Rams looked great in wins over the Giants’s NFC East contemporaries, the Eagles and Cowboys. They lost to the Bills, but nearly came back from a 25-point deficit and showed a lot of heart. Rams win easily, even against the huge spread.
Rams win 30-16, Rams win ATS
New England Patriots (2-1) at Kansas City Chiefs (3-0)
Line: Kansas City Chiefs (-7.0)
Even at Brady and Belichick’s best, Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs were a tough opponent. Now there’s no Brady, and key defensive players are sitting out the season. Don’t get me wrong, Cam Newton has been nothing short of incredible in the Patriots offense. But he’ll have to be nearly perfect to outduel Mahomes in Kansas City.
After a fun game against the Seahawks, the best the Patriots can hope for is hanging in the game until the final moments, and getting the ball last. I don’t think it will work out this time, but if it does, this could be a historic game.
Chiefs win 27-20, PUSH ATS
Buffalo Bills (3-0) at Las Vegas Raiders (2-1)
Line: Buffalo Bills (-3.0)
The Bills nearly squandered a 28-3 lead against the Rams, but held on for victory to improve to 3-0. Josh Allen earned AFC Offensive Player of the Month honors after terrorizing opposing defenses through the air and on the ground.
The Raiders shocked us all by upsetting the Saints, but were grounded last week by the Patriots.
This matchup should be pretty close. As good as Allen has been, Buffalo’s defense has allowed the Dolphins and Rams to make it interesting late. The Raiders may do the same, but the Bills end up winning their fourth straight game.
Bills win 30-27, PUSH ATS
POSTPONED: Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0) at Tennessee Titans (3-0)
Line: NO LINE
A matchup between two undefeated teams, the Steelers and Titans, has been postponed after three players within the Titans organization tested positive for COVID-19 following Tennessee’s matchup with the Vikings last week.
Whenever it’s played, this game has a lot of intrigue. Can the Steelers defense shut down Derrick Henry and the Titans? Will Pittsburgh play well against Tennessee, the best team they’ve faced all season?
I like the Titans a ton more, and think the Steelers aren’t as good as their early record suggests.
UPDATE 10/1: While the NFL originally planned to play this game on Monday and Tuesday, it has been postponed to a future week.
Titans would have won 24-20
Sunday Night Football
Philadelphia Eagles (0-2-1) at San Francisco 49ers (2-1)
Line: San Francisco 49ers (-7.0)
No team has been more disappointing to begin the Philadelphia Eagles. After a shocking loss to Washington Football Team, a blowout loss at the hands of the Los Angeles Rams, and a tie with the Cincinnati Bengals, Carson Wentz and the Eagles are left seacrhing for answers.
You might think facing an injury-depleted 49ers team would be a good chance for the Eagles to bounce back. But I thought the same thing about the Giants last week, and backup quarterback Nick Mullens looked like Joe Montana.
The Eagles could beat the 49ers, under ideal conditions. But with the offensive line failing to give Wentz the time in the pocket he needs, the Eagles offense never gets going on Sunday night.
49ers win 27-16, 49ers win ATS
Monday Night Football
Atlanta Falcons (0-3) at Green Bay Packers (3-0)
Line: Green Bay Packers (-7.5)
If you’re tired of reading through these picks by now, I’ll cut to the chase: the Packers should win this game on Monday night with ease.
In more words, I actually like Matt Ryan and the Falcons’ chance to make this a fun game. Atlanta has put up 25, 39, and 26 points in three games this season. But they’ve given up 38, 40, and 30 points, including two epic fourth quarter collapses.
If Atlanta’s defense could play well for even a quarter or two, and Ryan’s offense continues to put up points, this game could be more interesting than the spread and records suggest.
Packers win 37-30, Falcons win ATS
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