We’ve got to give the NFL’s schedule-makers some credit. Last Sunday night it was Tom Brady’s return to New England in prime time. This week it’ll be a rematch of last year’s AFC title game as Buffalo travels to Kansas City.
The Chiefs overcame an early nine-point deficit to win that one 38-24, before losing to Brady and Tampa Bay in the Super Bowl. The Bills will look to prove they’re the team to beat this season.
N.Y. Jets vs. Atlanta Falcons (-3, 45.5 O/U)
If the NFL is looking to grow the game overseas, this matchup of 1-3 teams in London isn’t the way to go — unless Tottenham star Harry Kane kicks for both teams. The Jets are coming off their first win of the season, beating Tennessee in OT as rookie QB Zach Wilson threw for 297 yards and two TDs and the defense had seven sacks. Falcons QB Matt Ryan threw for four TDs in a narrow loss to Washington but will be without leading receiver Calvin Ridley (personal reasons).
Denver Broncos at Pittsburgh Steelers (-1, 39.5)
The Broncos (3-1) suffered their first loss last week, 23-7 to Baltimore, as QB Teddy Bridgewater was knocked out with a concussion. Bridgewater has been remarkably effective, the league’s lone quarterback with more than 50 passing attempts and nary an interception. If he can’t clear the protocol, Drew Lock will start. The Steelers (1-3) have lost three in a row and have struggled to protect the aging Ben Roethlisberger. Denver linebacker Von Miller could have a field day.
Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings (-10, 49)
The Lions (0-4) are one of only two winless teams in the league and have lost their past seven meetings with their NFC North rivals. Their offensive line has been decimated by injuries, with Pro Bowl center Frank Ragnow (turf toe) going on the IR this week. The Vikings (1-3) have been outscored by 11 points in their three losses. RB Dalvin Cook has vowed to play through an ankle injury that limited him to 34 yards on nine carries in a 14-7 loss to Cleveland last week.
Green Bay Packers at Cincinnati Bengals (+3, 51)
Would it surprise you to learn second-year Bengals signal-caller Joe Burrow has thrown for more yards, has more TD passes and a better passer rating this season than Aaron Rodgers, the reigning NFL MVP? It’s true. The Packers (3-1) have won three in a row since their no-show in the season opener. The Bengals (3-1) have had a couple of extra days to prepare after beating Jacksonville 24-21 in a Thursday night game as Burrow threw for a season-high 348 yards. Bengals RB Joe Mixon is nursing an ankle injury.
Miami Dolphins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-10, 47.5)
After an emotional victory at New England, in which he became the NFL’s all-time leading passer (80,560 yards), could QB Tom Brady suffer a letdown? Unlikely, as the reigning Super Bowl champion Bucs (3-1) play host to the Dolphins (1-3) and backup Jacoby Brissett. In 35 career starts against the Fins, Brady has accounted for 70 TDs (67 passing, three rushing). The last time the Dolphins won at Tampa Bay, in 1988, Don Shula was the coach and Dan Marino was the QB.
New England Patriots at Houston Texans (+9, 39.5)
The Patriots’ Mac Jones has been the best QB of the rookie class thus far, topping the newcomers in completions and passing yards. He nearly pulled off an upset of Tom Brady and defending champion Tampa Bay last week, if not for Nick Folk’s late FG attempt hitting the upright in a 19-17 defeat. Both teams are 1-3, but the Texans are headed in reverse. They lost 40-0 at Buffalo last week as rookie Davis Mills, making his second start for the injured Tyrod Taylor (strained hamstring), was 11 of 21 for just 87 yards and four picks.
New Orleans Saints at Washington Football Team (+2, 43.5)
This is an odd-numbered week — Week 5 — so maybe the Saints show up? After crushing Green Bay 38-3 in the opener, New Orleans (2-2) has been wildly inconsistent. The Saints played at home for the first time last week because of Hurricane Ida and lost 27-21 in overtime to the previously winless New York Giants. Washington (1-3) was supposed to have a great defense, but it’s allowing 30.5 ppg. Taylor Heinicke passed for 290 yards and three TDs in a 34-30 win over Atlanta last weekend.
Philadelphia Eagles at Carolina Panthers (-3, 45)
The Eagles (1-3) played Kansas City tough last week, as Jalen Hurts threw for a career-high 387 yards in a 42-30 loss at home. Hurts has a 101.1 QB rating and leads Philadelphia in rushing. The Panthers (3-1) suffered their first loss last weekend, 36-28 at Dallas. Newcomer Sam Darnold has shown why he was once a first-round pick and is the first QB in league history with five rushing TDs through the first four weeks of a season. RB Christian McCaffrey (hamstring) is doubtful.
Tennessee at Jacksonville (+4.5, 48.5)
The Titans (2-2) rival New Orleans for the most unpredictable team, despite having the league’s leading rusher in Derrick Henry. They lost 27-24 in overtime to the previously winless Jets last weekend. The Titans listed 23 players on their injury report this week, including WRs Julio Jones and A.J. Brown with hamstring problems. The Jaguars (0-4) have lost 19 in a row and coach Urban Meyer had to apologize for his off-the-field conduct. Jacksonville has forced just one turnover while committing nine.
Chicago at Las Vegas (-5.5, 45.5)
Rookie Justin Fields, still looking for his first TD pass, has been named the starter for the Bears (2-2). RB David Montgomery (sprained knee) is going to miss the next 4-5 weeks, so the Raiders (3-1) will be free to tee off on Fields behind a suspect Chicago O-line that has allowed sacks on a league-worst 13.7 percent of passing plays. Bears LB Khalil Mack gets to go up against his former team. The Raiders’ Derek Carr led the NFL through four weeks with 1,399 passing yards. Vegas averages 406.5 yards per game; da Bears, 237.0, worst in the league.
Cleveland at L.A. Chargers (-2.5, 46.5)
The Browns (3-1) allowed a TD on Minnesota’s first drive last week, then shut out the Vikes the rest of the way in a 14-7 win. Myles Garrett, with a league-high six sacks, leads a D allowing 16.8 points and 250.3 yards per game. With QB Baker Mayfield nursing an injury to his non-throwing shoulder, Cleveland needs to keep the score down. That won’t be easy against the Chargers (3-1). QB Justin Herbert continues to impress and Austin Ekeler rushed for a career-high 117 yards last week in a 28-14 win over Las Vegas.
N.Y. Giants at Dallas (-7, 52)
The Giants (1-3) won 27-21 in OT at New Orleans last week as Daniel Jones threw for a career-high 402 yards. Three QBs lead their teams in rushing: Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson, Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts, and … Jones. The Cowboys (3-1) are clicking on offense. Dak Prescott threw four TD passes last weekend in a 36-28 victory against previously undefeated Carolina and Ezekiel Elliott rushed for a season-high 143 yards and a score. Dallas has a plus-7 turnover differential, as CB Trevon Diggs became the first Cowboy since 1970 with picks in the first four games of a season.
San Francisco at Arizona (-5, 50)
The 49ers (2-2) have been hamstrung by injuries in both backfields and now QB Jimmy Garappolo (calf) is ruled out. Rookie Trey Lance came off the bench at halftime last week and threw for 157 yards in a 28-21 loss to Seattle. The Cardinals (4-0) are the last remaining unbeaten team in the league. QB Kyler Murray ranks fourth in passing yards and is must-see TV. Chase Edmonds rushed for 120 yards in a 37-20 win over the host Los Angeles Rams last weekend in a showdown for first in the NFC West.
Buffalo at Kansas City (-2.5, 56.5)
After a stunning loss to Pittsburgh in their season opener, the Bills (3-1) are back on track. They’ve shut out two of their past three opponents, are allowing just 11.0 points and 216.8 yards per game and have forced 11 turnovers (all league-bests). QB Josh Allen continues to shine and RBs Devin Singletary and Zack Moss combined to rush for 140 yards in a 40-0 win over hapless Houston last week. For the Chiefs (2-2), Patrick Mahomes threw for five TDs in a 42-30 win at Philadelphia. The K.C. defense has given up the second-most points (31.3) and yards (437.8) per game in the league.
Indianapolis at Baltimore (-6.5, 46.5)
The Colts (1-3) finally got their first win in the Carson Wentz Era, defeating host Miami 27-17 last week as Jonathan Taylor rushed for a season-high 103 yards and scored his first TD. The Ravens (3-1) are 16-2 at night under coach John Harbaugh. QB Lamar Jackson had his second regular-season 300-yard passing day ever in a 23-7 win last week at Denver. Jackson has 10 TDs (eight passing, two rushing) vs. zero INTs in four career starts on “Monday Night Football.” LB Justin Houston, who had 19 sacks over the previous two seasons with the Colts, will set his sights on Wentz.
–Field Level Media