After a wild Week 3 where everything we thought we learned in the first fortnight was thrown on its head, we try to separate the real from the fake news in the NFL’s Week 4.
MIAMI DOLPHINS VS NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
The NFL returns to Wembley for the second time in a week and the hope is for a slightly more competitive game than Jacksonville’s blowout of Baltimore.
By all accounts the Saints were dead to rights before their three touchdown win over Carolina might have breathed some life into their season.
Drew Brees looks like he is getting on the same page as his receivers and while the running game is still working out the right mix, there are three capable ball carriers there.
The Dolphins were saved from being shut out by the Jets on a last play touchdown and are still scrapping their way through an uneven start to the season.
This is their third game in a row away from Miami despite being the home team on Sunday flying from Los Angeles to New York and now London.
Jay Cutler will want to protect the ball after the Saints intercepted Cam Newton three times and will be looking for more opportunities.
For this week, New Orleans seems like a more settled team, having already arrived in London and having time to adjust to the location so I expect them to win this game, maybe not by 37 points but a comfortable 2 score win.
Best Bet Saints to Cover -2.5 $1.91
ATLANTA FALCONS VS BUFFALO BILLS
If you look at the records and the scores, you might think a Super Bowl hangover has not hit Atlanta yet as they sit at 3-0 on top of the NFC South.
They have had a bit of luck to get there and it continued last week as a rule interpretation meant Detroit’s comeback fell short.
Matt Ryan threw his first three interceptions of the season against Detroit but otherwise is looking pretty much like his 2016 MVP level self.
Buffalo will be looking to make the Falcons one dimensional with one of the stingier defensive units in the league which is looking revitalised with Sean McDermott and his defensive pedigree running things.
Atlanta are looking to establish their new home as a fortress and while the energy might not match opening night, the Falcons should get by in this game.
Best Bet – Atlanta to Cover -7.5 @ $1.91
NEW YORK JETS VS JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
After putting up 10 sacks in week 1 against Houston, the Jaguars defence has slowed down significantly only notching three sacks in the last two weeks.
They are offsetting that with plenty of turnovers getting eight so far this season as they prepare to face Josh McCown who is liable to throw multiple interceptions at any point in time.
The Jets are in an interesting predicament as the fan base already have an eye on a high pick in next April’s NFL Draft.
It does not stop the players on the field still trying to play for their next big deal but it is making for an odd aura around that team this year.
Jacksonville on the other hand are looking to shake off the stink of previous seasons and are off to a good start under Tom Coughlin and Doug Marrone.
Best Bet Jacksonville to Cover -3 @ $1.85
CLEVELAND BROWNS VS CINCINNATI BENGALS
Cleveland were expected to be in for another long season full of struggles as rookie Deshone Kizer adapted to life in the NFL.
Currently winless they come up against the Bengals who are also looking for their first victory of the season.
Cincinnati were in a make or break year as Andy Dalton and Marvin Lewis look to establish themselves as long term solutions.
The Bengals played almost as well as they could have last week with the Dalton to A.J. Green connection getting going to the tune of 10 catches, 111 yards and a touchdown.
Until there is a clearer idea about what the Bengals are, steer clear of them even when it is against the Browns who have shown a bit of fight this year.
NO BET – Bengals Win
BALTIMORE RAVENS VS PITTSBURGH STEELERS
Traditionally one of the more violent NFL rivalries, the Ravens and Steelers are almost always in contention for the division.
Pittsburgh have developed a reputation of a team that will play to the level of its opponent and this game could be determined by how they see the Ravens.
With the league’s worst passing attack and a mediocre running game, the Ravens have been able to get to a 2-1 record on the back of a defensive unit that was run all over last week.
Historically this game is always a tight contest with the game decided by one score and Pittsburgh will continue that trend here with a hard fought win.
Best Bet – Pittsburgh to Win $1.68
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS VS CAROLINA PANTHERS
Carolina will go as far as Cam Newton’s shoulder will let them, he has had some poor throws with questionable accuracy so far but has also been able to make some big plays.
New England’s defence has given up plenty of yards and points so far so it could be a case of which side of the ball is able to make more big plays against the other one.
This game comes down to whether Newton and company are able to generate enough scoring plays for them to keep up with Tom Brady who is currently leading the league in passing yards.
One way or another there will be a lot of points scored in this game whether it is a shootout or one team blowing out the other so take the points while they are on offer.
Best Bet Patriots to cover -8 $1.91
MINNESOTA VIKINGS VS DETROIT LIONS
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the only side that Case Keenum is able to play well against it seems, posting a significantly higher quarterback rating against them than the rest of the league combined.
Detroit has a quarterback in great form and an offensive system he is very comfortable in and despite falling short, the rally against the Falcons last week will provide them with some (albeit small) comfort.
It is uncertain who will operate under centre for the Vikings with Sam Bradford’s knee still appearing troublesome however last week showed that they can still win games without him.
Until the status of Bradford is known, it’s hard to give a clear pick for this game so steer clear of the Vikings for now.
No Bet – Detroit to win
DALLAS COWBOYS VS LOS ANGELES RAMS
A game for the fans of line play as two of the best units in the league face off as the Cowboys host the Rams.
Dallas has built an excellent offensive line that has successfully powered their ground game but they face a real tough assignment in the LA Rams which have all their stars back and ready to cause some trouble.
When they went against a similarly talented group in Denver two weeks ago, star back Zeke Elliot was limited to a mere eight yards and the Rams will need to keep him to a similar total if they want to have any success.
On the other side Jared Goff finally looks like he might live up to the billing of being the number one overall pick with a great game against the 49ers.
Dallas has shown some vulnerability defensively, particularly against the pass but DeMarcus Lawrence should add to his sack total with a big day here.
No Bet – Dallas win
HOUSTON TEXANS VS TENNESSEE TITANS
Two young quarterbacks that look set to go head to head for the AFC South for years to come face off for the first time in the NFL.
In the draft process this year Watson received comparisons to the Titans Mariota and with the encouraging signs the rookie has shown in his two and a half games so far, this could be a highlight game.
Throwing for over 300 yards against the Patriots in New England is a sign that Watson can make the NFL throws including a great back shoulder pass to Ryan Griffin.
Mariota on the other side has two years of experience behind him and has an offensive system geared to his strengths.
The Titans will be going right at the strength of the Texans with their superstar defensive front seven but as their game against Seattle showed, they are not one to back down from a challenge.
That extra experience and attitude will make a big difference in this game as the Titans are able to get up in an exciting game.
Back Tennessee to Win @ $1.80
ARIZONA CARDINALS VS SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
San Francisco gave fans an offensive explosion in their Thursday Night Shootout loss to the LA Rams while the Cardinals faded badly on Monday Night Football going down to the Cowboys.
The mismatch here looks to be in the respective ground games of the two teams with Carlos Hyde off to an excellent start this season while the Cardinals are struggling to get anything going in the absence of David Johnson.
Those struggles have put the pressure all on Carson Palmer’s shoulder’s and at this stage of his career he cannot get things going with Larry Fitzgerald alone.
Brian Hoyer on the other hand is not going to set the world alight but he does have a safety net on hand with Hyde and that is where the difference will come in and the 49ers could spring an upset as the gap between these two sides is not as big as the market might suggest.
Best Value Bet San Francisco to win @ $3.80
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS VS NEW YORK GIANTS
Tampa had a day to forget in their visit to Minnesota while the Giants are having a season to forget, dropping their third straight game on the back of a 61 yard field goal attempt by a rookie kicker.
This is a series that the Giants have historically dominated, winning the last five meetings between the two.
Even with that in mind it is hard to see the Giants getting up in this game as the team is still yet to find its stride.
Odell Beckham should have a big game against a questionable Tampa secondary but the Giants do not appear to be able to give Manning enough time to get his throws off.
Giants to win $2.40
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS VS PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
Perhaps the most interesting part of the LA Chargers home games this year will be tracking whether or not the stadium is full and how many opposition fans.
It’s safe to say the local community have not embraced their new team just yet and the fact that they are 0-3 will not draw in the crowds.
After two heartbreaking losses the Chargers were comfortably beaten by the Chiefs and they have injury concerns with star back Melvin Gordon who has been inconsistent with his production so far.
Philadelphia are not exactly setting the world alight but have found a way to get themselves to 2-1 and tied for the division lead.
Carson Wentz lead a drive to given them an opportunity to beat the Giants last week and they pulled it off with a long field goal.
In a must win game, the Chargers get over the line at home in a shootout.
Best Bet Chargers $1.91
DENVER BRONCOS VS OAKLAND RAIDERS
Denver appear to be heading for the classification of a true up and down team that is hard to get a read on.
Momentum gained through two wins, including a resounding thumping of Dallas was completely lost with a shock defeat to the Buffalo Bills last week.
Oakland suffered a similarly surprising defeat in Washington on the premiere Sunday Night Football broadcast but it was the manner that they went down that was so surprising.
Comprehensively beaten on the road, the Raiders looked like anything but Super Bowl contenders and they now have another tough assignment in one of the NFL’s most imposing venues.
The season series has been split between these sides the last two times they have met and it would not be surprising to see this year follow suit.
On a neutral field Oakland would be slight favourites but in Mile High it is hard to go against the Broncos.
Best Bet Denver to Win $1.70
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS VS INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
Admittedly, the broadcasters might be regretting this choice as the feature game for the week as the Colts travel to the Pacific Northwest.
Indianapolis’ win against the Browns was anything but convincing and with the relatively poor roster across the board, it is easy to see why Seattle are such heavy favourites.
It is not the traditional Seahawks team that we are all used to seeing, as they undergo some September struggles which have been quite common under Pete Carroll.
Their vaunted run defence has been gashed repeatedly and if the Colts had anyone capable of running the ball you might give them a chance.
It might be easy to overthink this game but in this case, take Seattle at home and in primetime to get their job done, however from a gambling perspective there is not a whole lot of value there.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS VS WASHINGTON REDSKINS
The weekend of action ends with a massive clash at Arrowhead Stadium as the best team of September the Chiefs take on a confident Redskins outfit.
Washington created havoc up front and they will have a tough task to repeat that performance against a Kansas City offence that has become surprisingly versatile with the way they integrate the unique skills of their weapons.
Kareem Hunt will gain more and more attention as the season goes along given his phenomenal start to the season but the problem for opponents is that the more they focus on him, the more it will open up Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce to make things happen down the field.
Andy Reid has created a side that has opponents off balance right now and it could be a few more games before teams get to figure them out so they should get by here.
Best Bet Under 50 Total Score $1.91