Week four of the NFL is upon us and we have two matchups featuring unbeaten teams. The 3-0 New England Patriots travel to Orchard Park to take on AFC East foe, and 3-0, Buffalo Bills. In a matchup of other unbeaten teams the 3-0 Kansas City Chiefs travel to the Motor City to take on the 2-0-1 Detroit Lions.
Week four is also the week where teams who started 1-2 are in desperation mode and is something to factor in when looking at the lines this week. We saw the desperate, and injured, Philadelphia Eagles improve to 2-2 with a Thursday night win at previously unbeaten Green Bay. On Sunday the 1-2 Titans take on the 1-2 Falcons, the 1-2 Panthers travel to Houston to take on the 2-1 Texans and the 1-2 Browns travel to Baltimore to take on the 2-1 Ravens.
The big afternoon game on the day is a battle of two 2-1 NFC North teams as the Minnesota Vikings travel to Solider Field to take on the 2-1 Chicago Bears.
Below are my three best bets for Sunday’s NFL action.
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens (-7) – O/U: 45 (-110)
The Cleveland Browns offensive struggles continued last Sunday night when they fell at home, 20-13, to the Los Angeles Rams. The Browns also put up just 13 points in their season opening 43-13 loss to the Tennessee Titans. The lone Browns win this season came in an unimpressive 23-3 win over a border line college roster with the New York Jets. Cleveland ranks 18th in the league with 241.3 passing yards per game and rank 24th in rushing yards per game with 89.0. They are putting up just 16.3 points per game while giving up 22.0 points per game.
The Ravens, and Lamar Jackson, were the Twitter world’s darlings after the Ravens opening 59-10 drumming of the openly tanking Miami Dolphins. Baltimore then looked unimpressive, and should have lost, in week two beating the Arizona Cardinals 23-17. Last week Baltimore traveled to Kansas City and lost 33-28 in a game that was not that close. Regardless, the offense has looked really impressive the first three weeks this season ranking 7th in the league with 295.0 pass yards per game and leading the league with 216.7 rushing yards per game. The Ravens are putting up 36.7 points per game and are giving up 20.0 points per game.
The Ravens lead the all-time series 30-10 and the two teams split the series last year with both teams winning at home.
Prediction: Cleveland desperately needs the win, so I expect them to play tough. Take Cleveland at +7.
Tennessee Titans at Atlanta Falcons (-4) – O/U: 46 (-110)
The Titans opened the season with a commanding 43-13 win over the offseason darling Cleveland Browns. The offense was running on all cylinders and the defense looked dominant, but since then the offense has gone missing in action against two division opponents. Tennessee fell 19-17 to the Colts two weeks ago and then fell on Thursday night football, 20-7, to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Titans rank 28th in pass yards per game (194.7) and 13th in rush yards per game (112.7) while putting up 22.3 ppg and giving up 17.3 ppg.
The Atlanta Falcons are once again the leagues strangest, and most head scratching, team. The offensive skill positions are stacked all over the place yet they have not scored more than 24 points in a single game this season. The Falcons opened the season with a disappointing 28-12 loss in Minnesota and then fell last week in Indianapolis 27-24. Sandwiched in between their two losses was a weird, but still impressive, 24-20 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Atlanta is 6th in the league in pass yards per game (295.3) and rank 27th in the league with 74.3 rush yard per game. The Falcons are scoring just 20.0 ppg and are giving up 25.0 ppg.
This series is tied at 7-7 with the Falcons winning the most recent meeting 10-7 back in 2015.
Prediction: Atlanta is like a drug I can’t kick. Every week I think they are going to break out and I think that this week. Take a desperate Atlanta team at -4.
New England Patriots (-7) at Buffalo Bills – O/U: 41.5 (-115/-105)
The New England Patriots have picked up right where they left off last season with three dominating wins over three terrible teams. Yet to give up a defensive touchdown, the Pats have beaten the Pittsburgh Steelers 33-3, the Miami Dolphins 43-0 and the New York Jets 30-14. Having given up just a special teams and an INT return for touchdowns, this defense looks to be the most dominant in the Bill Belichick era. The Pats are 2nd in the league averaging 311.3 pass yards and rank 20th in rush yards with 97.0 yards per game. New England is averaging 35.3 points per game and are incredibly giving up just 5.7 points per game.
The surprising Buffalo Bills are one of the final unbeaten teams remaining after squeaking out two of their first three games. The Bills opened the season with a tight 17-16 win at the New York Jets, followed that up with a pretty comfortable 28-14 win at the New York Giants and then returned to Orchard Park to squeak out a 21-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bills rank 19th in pass yards per game (240.0) and 5th in rushing yards per game (151.3). Buffalo is averaging 22.0 ppg and are giving up 15.7 ppg.
The Patriots have dominated this rivalry in the past as they leads the all-time series 74-43-1 and have won the past five meetings 150-62.
Prediction: Both these defenses have been great so far this season, so I don’t know where the points come from here. Take the under 41.5.
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