NFL Week 4

NFL Week 4 LWOSports Staff Picks

Last week, the LWOSports staff had a rough time. There were four matchups where all writers agreed on who was going to win…which ended with one win and three losses. For the sake of this series, ties are considered losses. It’s time for the NFL Week 4 picks from the LWOSports staff. There are plenty of great games lined up this week. In a few cases, something will have to give. Two games are featuring winless teams, one features two unbeatens.

Current Standings

Shane L. (10-6)
Will (10-6)
Derek (10-6)
Danny (10-6)
Luca (9-7)
Jordan (8-8)
Filip (8-8)
Shane C. (8-8)
Nick (8-8)
Drew (7-9)
Shiree (6-10)

NFL Week 4 LWOSports Staff Picks

Denver Broncos at New York Jets (TNF)

Drew: Back to back Thursday Night Football snoozers? At least the Monday Night games make up for it. A popular pick to surprise in the AFC West was the Denver Broncos. Admittedly, I thought they were going to fight for a wild card spot. An 0-3 start later, plus the fact their schedule looks brutal, those predictions seem a little off. Given, they have been hit hard with injuries including their young quarterback Drew Lock. This week, they will start Brett Rypien after Jeff Driskel was pulled. There are question marks surrounding the availability of Phillip Lindsay and Jerry Jeudy. Jeudy, when healthy, is special.
The Jets, on the other hand, have their back against the wall. The division is getting out of hand thanks to a strong start by the leaders, and many are calling for Adam Gase’s head. Sam Darnold is struggling. The defense is struggling. There really isn’t much to be optimistic about in this matchup. This game will go one of two ways: the Jets will play well and win in an attempt to save their coach’s job or the Broncos will be able to take over the hapless Jets and Gase’s keycard won’t work come Monday morning.
I’ll go with the latter.
Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Luca

Indianapolis Colts at Chicago Bears

Drew: Ever since losing Week 1 to the tanking Jags, the Colts have looked good. The loss of running back Marlon Mack was devastating, but Jonathan Taylor is the truth at running back. Philip Rivers is still doing Philip Rivers things. He’s at nearly 800 yards passing with three touchdowns on the year. He should be able to do just about whatever he wants to do against the Chicago defense.
Did someone say defense? The Colts defense is easily the best in the NFL. Darius Leonard is an absolute monster. As a unit, the Indy defense has forced nine sacks and six interceptions. The Bears will likely struggle to move the ball in this one.
Speaking of struggling, the Chicago Bears have struggled this year…but they are 3-0. To be fair, those three wins have not come against great teams. There has been a quarterback change in the Windy City. Mitchell Trubisky, after looking legitimately terrible, has been benched in favor of Nick Foles. Let’s see if the Super Bowl LII MVP can kick-start a potentially strong offense. David Montgomery is a solid running back and will likely get more touches due to Tarik Cohen tearing his ACL.
The Bears’ defense has stars all over the field, but they give up a lot of yards. Khalil Mack is still a monster, but teams are starting to gameplan around him to avoid him. The front seven could use some improvement, considering their starting safety, Eddie Jackson leads the team in tackles.
Ultimately, I think Jonathan Taylor will remind everyone how good he is and the Colts’ defense will just be too much. Indianapolis should win this one.
Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Luca

Jacksonville Jaguars at Cincinnati Bengals

Drew: I said last week that something had to give regarding the Bengals-Eagles game. Nothing did. For the second time, the Bengals and Eagles tied. Cincinnati will need to look to improve on many facets, but Joe Burrow is not one of them. Already in his young career, Burrow is showing why he was the number-one overall pick. Unfortunately for him, he was sacked five times. His connection with fellow rookie Tee Higgins is warming up as they hooked up for a pair of touchdowns.

On defense, the Bengals were hot and cold. On some instances, they made Carson Wentz look terrible. Rookies Logan Wilson and Akeem Davis-Gaither are starting to come into their own and Carlos Dunlap continues to dominate. However, as with all of the Eagles’ scoring drives, they could not stop anything. The plus is that it seems that Randy Bullock has fully recovered from his horrific calves injuries.

Jacksonville has been fun to watch. Quarterback Gardner Minshew has looked pretty good through three weeks and it’s pretty obvious that he is not in on the “Tank for Trevor.” If you’re looking for anyone to breakout or dominate in this game, it’ll be undrafted rookie James Robinson. The Bengals have allowed 181 yards per game on the ground. Minshew is a gunslinger and a playmaker, but the best way for him to lead his team to victory will be to just turn and hand the ball off. Don’t be surprised if Laviska Shenault, Jr. breaks one.

The Jags defense has been consistently average. Myles Jack can still ball out, considering he leads the team in tackles and sacks. Who will rookie stud corner C.J. Henderson cover? Take away A.J. Green, Burrow will find Higgins or Tyler Boyd. Either way, Henderson vs this trio will be fun to watch all around.

I’ll be rolling with my Bengals in this one. Don’t be surprised if this one is the highest-scoring game of the weekend.

Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Luca

Cleveland Browns at Dallas Cowboys

Filip: The Cleveland Browns (2-1) have their first winning record since 2014 as they visit the Dallas Cowboys (1-2) who recently lost to the Seahawks. In the past five matchups, the Cowboys have won four. The last time these two played was 2016 when the Cowboys beat the Browns 35-10. But now, the Browns have a whole new looking team with Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham Jr, and Nick Chubb, so this should be entertaining.

As mentioned, the Browns finally have a winning record, but those wins have come against the Bengals and Washington Football team who are arguably two of the worst teams in the league. Overall, the Browns have looked very impressive, especially since they have found their identity, which is pounding the football. They can run the football because they have two superstars in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt who can both go yard.

Running the football will be the key to success on offense for the Browns. Although the Cowboys have a very poor pass defense that would be easier to attack, the Browns still have to stick to their identity. Especially, since if Baker Mayfield throws for more than 25 times, it never ends well. If the Browns control the game through the running game, not the pass game then they will succeed in putting up points.

As the offense has looked better, the defense has too. The defense has started to get more pressure with Myles Garrett. His pressure, as seen in the game against Washington, forces quarterbacks to make erratic throws to a decent secondary. The problem though is that no matter how good the Browns defense is, the Cowboys have an explosive offense that is hard to stop.

This Cowboys offense has averaged an amazing 29.3 points per game. They have done this with the likes of quarterback Dak Prescott who is considered by many a sleeper MVP candidate. In fact, he leads the league in passing yards with 1,188. Of course, this would have not been accomplished without his great receiving core including Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb who have a combined 743 receiving yards. Last but not least, when talking about the Cowboys, Ezekiel Elliott can’t be forgotten. He has averaged 73 rushing yards per game, but by his standards and others’ expectations, that isn’t enough which is why he needs to pick up.

Everyone knows the Cowboys have a great offense, but their defense is very concerning. As I have mentioned, their defensive line isn’t awful, but their secondary doesn’t play up to the big moments in this scenario. Although the defense should give more help to the secondary, the Cowboys have to stop the run first, and it’s very crucial. If the Cowboys can stop the run then they can win the game.

Stopping the run is key because it forces the Browns to throw. Mayfield isn’t awful, but if he starts throwing too many times, then mistakes will occur, and I think they will. Besides, the Browns defense just won’t be able to stop the Cowboys offense. Finally, this game is in Dallas where the expectation for the Cowboys is to win every game, and I think they will have a bounceback game and win.

Prediction: 31-24 Cowboys Win

Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Luca

New Orleans Saints at Detroit Lions

Shane C: A week ago the Saints would’ve been a no-brainer. However, the Lions just held Kyler Murray and the red hot Arizona Cardinals in check for a much-needed victory. The Saints on the other hand have just taken a one-two punch to the jaw in back to back weeks on primetime. The Lions’ fan in me thinks they can’t possibly do this two weeks a row. And, the Saints look like they’re getting Michael Thomas back for this game. So, let’s think this through.

The Lions are the twenty-sixth ranked team against the run. Hello, Alvin Kamara. However, they aren’t that bad at defending receiving running backs. Conversely, the Saints have not been able to defend wide receivers and are the leagues worst against the tight end position. With that being said, the Saints are a road favorite giving four points and the Lions who typically stand tall in front of the home faithful will not have a crowd to pump them up. While my heart says Lions, my wallet says Saints.

Over/under is 54. I like this game to go over and the Lions to cover.

However, Saints 31 Lions 28

Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Luca

Pittsburgh Steelers at Tennessee Titans

Editor’s note: The Steelers-Titans game has since been postponed to a later point in the season due to multiple COVID-19 positive results. As a result, there will be no picks on this matchup until they actually play.

Nick: At the time of writing, the status for when the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans face-off is unknown. Reports are the game is going to be rescheduled to Monday night, or Tuesday night. Regardless of when it’s played, it should be a stellar game between two 3-0 AFC titans (Pun intended).

The Steelers’ defense is going to be the biggest decider in the outcome. Through three games, the Steelers have the league’s top run defense. They only give up 54 yards per game on the ground. But the Titans are a run-first team and will need Derrick Henry to break a lot of tackles. The status of left tackle Taylor Lewan will be critical for this matchup. No team has blitzed as often or successfully as the Steelers so far this year. The front seven is a force to be reckoned with, and without Lewan, Ryan Tannehill could be in for a miserable day.
The Titans have a chance in this game. They’re 3-0 and that does stand for something. However, their wins have come against two 0-3 teams and the Jacksonville Jaguars. And in those three wins combined, it’s only been by six points.
The recipe for the Titans to win is this. First, they need to do all they can to protect Tannehill against the blitz, and they must blitz Ben Roethlisberger themselves. The pass rush isn’t a natural strength for the Titans defensive line, so scheming up a lot of blitzes will be needed. Second, Henry will need to have 20 or more touches, and the play-action game will need to be crisp. The Houston Texans showed in the first half of week three that the Steelers secondary is penetrable. Finally, the special teams will have to play a perfect game. The Steelers and Titans rank 15th and 16th respectively in points per game. That means Stephen Gostkowski‘s kicks will be imperative. It’s a good sign for Titans fans that he went five for five in week three after missing three field goals and two extra points in the first two games.
Ultimately, I think that will be too much for them to accomplish. The Steelers offense continues to get in sync more each week, and against the 20th ranked pass defense, should have another good day. But this clash should be one of the must-see games of the week.

Seattle Seahawks at Miami Dolphins

Jordan: The best in the league vs. the worst? This game certainly won’t bring a lot of viewers in but will for sure solidify both of these team’s spots in the league rankings. Seattle is coming off of an epic victory against an electric Dallas offense, while Miami grabbed a surprising win over the Jags last Thursday.
Russell Wilson is making an undeniable case for MVP thus far, and the Seattle offense looks unstoppable at this point. Wilson has now totaled 14 touchdowns through three weeks, although he has yet to face an elite defense up and down. The Patriots are certainly not what they were last year on the defensive end, and the Falcons and Cowboys aren’t even in question for top tier. However, that run certainly won’t change this week. Miami has allowed roughly 400 total yards per game thus far and was dismantled by Josh Allen just a couple of weeks ago. Wilson and the Hawks have an even more lethal passing attack, so it’s scary to think how many points Seattle may put up.
Miami has started to formulate some type of structure in its franchise and Brian Flores looks to be the future of that team. Myles Gaskin has pushed his way to the top of the depth chart, which has finally given them an established running back. Still, they certainly aren’t in contention for a playoff spot and are set to face one of the most high-powered offenses the league has ever seen in recent years. This game may hit the over with Seattle’s points alone. I’m taking the Seahawks and it won’t be particularly close.
Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Luca

Los Angeles Chargers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Luca: I am taking the Tampa Bay Buccaneers over the Los Angeles Chargers. I believe the Bucs’ offense will overpower the Chargers’ defense. The presence of Melvin Ingram will be missed. Justin Herbert will struggle against the pass rush of the Bucs’ defense.
Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Luca

Baltimore Ravens at Washington Football Team

Shiree: The Baltimore Ravens play host to the Washington Football Team after both fell in week two.

The Football Team fought hard against the Cleveland Browns but costly mistakes byquarterback Dwayne Haskins giving the ball to the other side and Antonio Gibson fumbling gave Cleveland what they needed to edge them out. This week they meet the Ravens, a team that is reeling from their loss against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Football Team has a huge test against them and has to make sure to get Haskins back in sync with his offense. Running the ball will serve them well so Gibson will be of utmost importance.

Although the defense did some things well against the Browns, they’re really going to have to tighten up in order to contain Lamar Jackson. The Ravens have some work to do and will get the opportunity to this week. One weapon they have on their side just happens to be the leader of their team as well. Lamar Jackson started his path to redemption, though it proved a bit too late, against the Chiefs. He is going to give the Football Team’s defense fits with the amount of running he’s going to do against it. But don’t sleep on his passing game that he will likely get going this week. Defense is imperative for these guys; they have to get to Haskins if nothing else.

Redemption is the keyword for this game and Baltimore comes away with this one.

Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Luca

Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers

Shiree: The Panthers proved last week that they have the ability to hang with a team. Even if it was a rookie quarterback. Teddy Bridgewater is a proven leader and his receivers know that now so let’s see how they respond in this matchup.
Detroit’s defense didn’t have too many answers for the Cardinals but they were able to contain DeAndre Hopkins and Larry Fitzgerald which ultimately helped them to get the win against the Cardinals last week. The biggest thing will be how Carolina’s defense responds to an Arizona team looking to add to their win streak. Don’t let that 5 foot 10 inch stature of Kyler Murray fool you. He possesses the ability to find ways to make plays which is why he was picked so high in the draft in 2019. Kliff Kingsbury is creative and will find holes in the Panthers defense that he can use to his advantage against them.
The Panthers got their first win last week which was precisely what they needed to get
themselves motivated. Running back Mike Davis got the offense going in Christian McCaffrey’s absence which bodes well for their future once he comes back from injury. This was a team win with all sides of the ball working together. The fumble in the first quarter by Brian Burns, then again by Shaq Thompson in the second quarter, plus the 66-yard interception returned by Donte Jackson gave that defense some confidence as a team going into the game this week.
The offense has to continue to make it happen for Bridgewater and now that there is film on Davis, I wonder if he’ll be as successful this week. The Panthers ride the momentum of their win against the Los Angeles Chargers and move to 2-2 for the first quarter of the season.
Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Luca

Minnesota Vikings at Houston Texans

Shiree: Both teams are 0-3. One of them is bound to get a win at some point am I right? That question will be answered this week but for which team?
The Texans faced three of the AFC’s toughest opponents in their first three games this season. It doesn’t appear to get much easier for them as their season progresses, facing teams like the Green Bay Packers week 7 and the New England Patriots week 11. They took a considerable hit on offense letting De’Andre Hopkins go at the wide receiver position but hoped to make amends by utilizing Kenny Stills who was questionable last week but still managed 35 yards. They have to get the ball to him some more this week. On defense, J.J. Watt and the boys are going to have to pressure Kirk Cousins into some uncomfortable positions. They might even get a takeaway or two if they’re effective enough.
What’s worse than an 0-3 start? An 0-4 start. The Vikings face that this week if they can’t pull this game off. They have now lost two of their last three games by a combined total of just 10 points. This week might be a turning point for them. They have all the weapons—Dalvin Cook with four touchdowns and Adam Thielen with three at the top of that list. This might be more of a defensive concern. Will they be able to get after Deshaun Watson this week? Just three sacks through three games for them. Getting to Watson will be key in slowing down the Texans while trying to get some points on the board.
This game has the potential to be a shootout with the Texans striking the final blow.
Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Luca

New York Giants at Los Angeles Rams

Jordan: Jared Goff held a lot of justified public doubt heading into this season. He’s beginning to prove those doubters wrong. Goff has now totaled six touchdowns and over 800 yards passing through the first three games, looking like his 2018 self. The dynamic duo of Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp continues to impress and even the Rams’ beat up rushing attack has still been able to produce when it mattered. Combine that with some elite talent on the defensive end and you’ve certainly got a contender on your hands.
Speaking of contender, the Giants are certainly making a case for the number one pick in this year’s draft. Daniel Jones has looked extremely underwhelming thus far and the loss of Saquon Barkley has turned a struggling offense into one that can’t even get up off the ground. The Giants have a plethora of weapons on offense but continue to prove doubters right week after week with poor performances.
Yet another matchup that could get very ugly early on. The Rams are coming off of a narrow loss to the Buffalo Bills, so they’ll certainly be looking for some vengeance out of the gate. The Giants, on the other hand, look to be in mid-season form and that’s certainly not a form they want to be in. With the number of injuries, the Giants have sustained and the lack of trust anyone has in Daniel Jones, it’ll be hard to pick the Giants in any week, let alone against an emerging Rams team.
Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Luca

New England Patriots at Kansas City Chiefs

Editor’s note: This game has been pushed back to a later date (possibly Tuesday, October 6th) due to positive COVID-19 tests.

Filip: This is a battle of two AFC Powerhouses that are considered by many as Super Bowl LV contenders. The run-heavy New England Patriots (2-1) take on the explosive Kansas City Chiefs (3-0 ). In the previous five matchups between these two, the Patriots have won three games, but that was with Tom Brady at the helm. Now it’s Cam Newton, also known as “Super Cam” after his fantastic performances.
Speaking of Newton, he is third in the league among all quarterbacks with 149 rushing yards. His superstar play has helped the Patriots get past the Dolphins and the Raiders with ease. He was also close to helping the Patriots beat the steamrolling Seahawks. Besides Newton, the veteran Julian Edelman has had himself a nice season so far with 249 receiving yards, while the running game recently picked up steam with as they rushed for 250 rushing yards in a win against the Raiders courtesy of Sony Michel.
The running game will be crucial for the Patriots if they want to win. The Chiefs don’t have a particularly great run defense, it has had its shaky moments this season. The Patriots have got get Newton and Michel rolling against the Chiefs. Even if the Patriots running game isn’t working, then they use the RPO game which could be deadly especially with the Chiefs having to respect Newton at all times. No matter what, Bill Belichick will figure out how to score points.
Speaking of Belichick, his matchup against Andy Reid will be one to look for too. It should be an exciting battle between two geniuses that will challenge each other at every moment in this game. In this challenge though, Reid has the advantage on offense even with Cam Newton being on the other side because Reid has the offensive weapons.
He has the likes of Patrick Mahomes who is going up against a great defense, but did pass for over 350 passing yards and had five touchdowns against a stellar Ravens defense. It won’t be easy, but he will put up points with the help of the speedster Tyreek Hill and the trustworthy Travis Kelce. I believe they will stick to the pass game as their run offense hasn’t been spectacular recently, while the Patriots have the capability to stop the Chiefs.

This will be a very exciting matchup between two well-built teams that are going to play every game likes it’s the playoffs. Both of these teams have very good offenses and solid defenses. This game will be more about putting up points, instead of defense. This will be a back-and-forth game that I believe will go down to the wire, which the Chiefs will win, because they have more talent specifically with Mahomes, who is on fire. Well, they are the super bowl reigning champions for a reason.

Prediction: 31-30 Chiefs Win

Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Luca

Buffalo Bills at Las Vegas Raiders

Derek: The Buffalo Bills take on the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 4. Both teams enter the week with winning records, making for an entertaining matchup. Buffalo has been on a roll offensively with quarterback Josh Allen recently being named AFC offensive player of the month. Allen has been having a career year through three weeks and should continue his strong start against the Raiders’ defense.
On the other side, Raiders running back Josh Jacobs is looking to continue his own great season but will he tested by a strong Bills defense.
This matchup could be decided by which defense is able to stop the opposing offense. Both teams have several weapons on offense to choose from. Buffalo with Stefon Diggs, John Brown, Cole Beasley, and Devin Singletary, and Los Vegas with Jacobs, Darren Waller, and Hunter Renfrow. This should be an exciting AFC matchup and should be another close victory for Buffalo if they continue to limit turnovers and Josh Allen continues to play well.
Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Luca

Philadelphia Eagles at San Fransisco 49ers (SNF)

Danny: This is not what the NFL thought it would be when they scheduled this game on Sunday Night. The Eagles are a complete disaster right now. Injuries have played a part, but more importantly, they don’t look like a well-prepared or confident team right now. The play of Carson Wentz is highly concerning. He is missing reads and throws Eagles fans are accustomed to him making. The sky is falling fast for this team, and they will need Wentz to get back to form and carry this team again Sunday night in San Franciso.

The 49ers have their own set of problems. Injuries have hit them hard. They are missing several key players like George Kittle, Jimmy Garoppolo, Nick Bosa, Richard Sherman, Raheem Mostert, and the list goes on. This team did find a way to beat the bricks off of the dreadful New York Giants in Week 3. It’s unsure how many guys they are getting back this week, but should see some reinforcements.
This game is going to come down to who is coached better right now. Doug Pederson has been one of the best coaches in the league since 2017, but his team is struggling in a way he has never dealt with before. Can he rally the troops for a third straight season and go on a run? Or will Kyle Shannan continue to show he belongs among the elite head coaches in this league by elevating depth players to victories until his starters get healthy?  Philadelphia hasn’t shown they can be trusted. Take the 49ers in this one.
Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Luca

Atlanta Falcons at Green Bay Packers (MNF)

Jordan: There seems to be a shootout caliber game every week, and this looks to be that game.
Aaron Rodgers is coming off quite the duel with Drew Brees on SNF and has looked like his MVP self to start the year. On the other side, Matt Ryan has looked just as great. Ryan has nearly eclipsed 1000 yards already, and Rodgers isn’t far behind him. But these two teams sit in very different spots. The Packers sit atop the NFC North with very little competition in my eyes. With the three-headed monster of Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Jones, and Davante Adams looking as talented as ever, it’s tough to see even the 3-0 Bears truly vying for that top spot. The Falcons, on the other hand, are coming off of two massive collapses to both the Cowboys and Bears, and are still looking for their first win of the season. However, I think the Falcons may be the most real 0-3 team. Their offense has looked outstanding, and they can certainly duel with any of the big dogs on the offensive end. Calvin Ridley is starting to become a young Julio Jones and the tandem of Todd Gurley and Brian Hill continue to give off that Freeman/Coleman vibe from a couple of years ago. I think this is arguably one of the best offenses in football right now, but it’s combined with one of the worst defenses.
It’s a recipe for a hit on the over. Two underwhelming defenses, mixed with two potent offenses. We could certainly see 60+ points put up in this game, but ultimately Rodgers and company will take this one. The Falcons will drop to 0-4 and it may be the last time we see Dan Quinn on the Falcons sideline.

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