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NFL Week 4 Preview: Best Games, Best Bets, Predictions

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It’s not exhausting to seek out the perfect sport on the NFL Week 4 schedule.

The Dolphins and Payments are clashing for the primary time this season, with the AFC East lead on the road.

For Miami, a win right here places the Dolphins in a incredible place. They might be two video games forward of Buffalo (and a minimum of two video games in entrance of the Patriots and Jets) whereas having a highway victory over the Payments. Moreover, Miami solely has 4 true highway video games remaining on the schedule after Sunday, with a impartial website tilt blended in as properly.

Elsewhere, there are a bunch of intriguing video games, together with one that might set the game again 100 years with the Broncos and Bears assembly at Soldier Area. Each groups are 0-3, and for the loser of this one, it’s robust to see a highway again to respectability in 2023.

1. Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo Payments

After scoring 70 opints final week vs. Denver, Raheem Mostert and Tua Tagovailoa may have a considerably more durable problem in opposition to the payments protection.

Nathan Ray Seebeck/USA TODAY Sports activities

Recreation data: Sunday, Oct. 1 | 1 p.m. ET | CBSLocation: Highmark Stadium | Orchard Park, NYUnfold: Dolphins +2.5 (-110) | Payments -2.5 (-118)Moneyline:MIA (+125) | BUF (-152)Whole:54.5 Over (-110) | Beneath (-110)

Miami has solely beat Buffalo as soon as in its final 10 tries. However it is a totally different Dolphins group. They lead the NFL in scoring at 43.3 factors per sport — the Payments are a distant second at 30.3. Their 550.3 yards per sport additionally leads the league and is greater than 100 extra on common than the second-place group.

Naturally, these numbers are inflated by final week’s historic 70–20 shellacking of the Broncos. However Miami gained a troublesome highway sport at New England the week prior and bought previous the Chargers in a season-opening shootout. Tua Tagovailoa is the betting favourite to win MVP. This offense is legit, a lot in order that the Dolphins shot as much as the prime spot in SI’s newest energy rankings.

Buffalo isn’t any slouch on offense, both. Since an time beyond regulation loss to the Jets in Week 1, the Payments outscored the Raiders and Commanders 75–10 in back-to-back blowouts. After accounting for one landing and 4 turnovers in opposition to New York, Josh Allen has 5 complete touchdowns and only one turnover since.

Though Buffalo has dominated the latest sequence historical past, it’s price noting that every one three conferences final yr had been determined by three factors or fewer, together with a 34–31 Payments win within the wild card spherical with out Tagovailoa. You gained’t need to miss this Sunday afternoon showdown.

Verderame’s decide: Payments -2.5, Over 54.5 (Buffalo 30, Miami 27)Manzano’s decide: Dolphins +2.5, Over 54.5 (Miami 33, Buffalo 30)Wooden’s decide: Dolphins +2.5, Beneath 54.5 (Miami 27, Buffalo 24)

2. Baltimore Ravens vs. Cleveland Browns

Myles Garrett and the Browns protection have been stifling by way of three video games.

Sam Greene/USA TODAY Community

Recreation data: Sunday, Oct. 1 | 1 p.m. ET | CBSLocation: Cleveland Browns Stadium | Cleveland, OHUnfold: Ravens +2.5 (-110) | Browns -2.5 (-125)Moneyline: BAL (+130) | CLE (-158)Whole: 40.5 Over (-110) | Beneath (-118)

A banged up Baltimore group has a troublesome process on the highway in Cleveland this week in opposition to the perfect protection in soccer. The Browns permit 163 yards and 10.7 factors per sport, each NFL lows. Their protection has allowed only one landing in three video games, which is one fewer than its offense has surrendered to opposing defenses by way of a pick-six and a fumble restoration. Jim Schwartz’s protection is working wonders.

The Ravens simply endured an upset time beyond regulation loss to the Colts at house with backup Gardner Minshew at quarterback, no much less. Lamar Jackson can solely hope to have heart Tyler Linderbaum (ankle) and sort out Ronnie Stanley (knee) again this week to assist fend off Myles Garrett, who already has 4.5 sacks.

Cleveland has handled its personal accidents on offense having misplaced operating again Nick Chubb (knee) and sort out Jack Conklin (knee) for the yr. The group has typically been in a position to climate these losses because of its league-best protection. Nevertheless, within the first full sport with out Chubb final week in opposition to the Titans, Deshaun Watson had maybe his greatest sport with the Browns, a far cry from his pedestrian efficiency in a 13–3 win in opposition to Baltimore final season.

Jackson has traditionally carried out properly in opposition to Cleveland, having gained his final 5 begins in opposition to the AFC North rival through which he didn’t exit early with an harm. Nonetheless, the Browns have taken two of the final three video games in opposition to the Ravens, one which Jackson missed in 2022 and one other he didn’t end in 2021, and Baltimore hasn’t gained in Cleveland since 2020.

Verderame’s decide: Ravens +2.5, Beneath 40.5 (Baltimore 20, Cleveland 19)Manzano’s decide: Ravens +2.5, Over 40.5 (Baltimore 23, Cleveland 20)Wooden’s decide: Browns -2.5, Beneath 40.5 (Cleveland 20, Baltimore 17)

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New Orleans Saints

Mike Evans has been making massive performs for the Buccaneers.

Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports activities

Recreation data: Sunday, Oct. 1 | 1 p.m. ET | FoxLocation: Caesars Superdome | New Orleans, LAUnfold: Buccaneers +3.5 (-118) | Saints -3.5 (-110)Moneyline:TB (+145) | NO (-175)Whole:40.5 Over (-110) | Beneath (-110)

There’s no love misplaced between Tampa Bay and New Orleans. Receiver Mike Evans and cornerback Marshon Lattimore are on the heart of the rivalry and each had been ejected the final time they matched up. So as to add gasoline to the fireplace, that is additionally a revenge sport for Jameis Winston, who’s beginning instead of the injured Derek Carr (shoulder). Winston, who was drafted No. 1 general by the Buccaneers in 2015, has spent his final 4 seasons with the Saints.

The New Orleans offense has nonetheless not scored greater than 20 factors in a sport this season and can now be with out its beginning quarterback for a minimum of one sport in opposition to a sound protection. Operating again Alvin Kamara’s return from suspension ought to assist breathe life right into a Saints operating sport that has struggled mightily.

The Buccaneers’ offense, led by Baker Mayfield, has not been all that a lot better thus far. Their floor sport is even much less environment friendly than that of their opponent, however Mayfield and Evans’s downfield connection has buoyed the aerial assault.

After 2–0 begins for Tampa Bay and New Orleans, each groups misplaced final week; the Bucs fell to Philadelphia and the Saints misplaced to Inexperienced Bay. Now they every have an opportunity to rebound in opposition to a division rival. These defenses have been two of the perfect models within the league at turning the ball over and in a sport with such a low over/below, this contest would possibly come right down to which protection is ready to flip the sector.

Verderame’s decide: Buccaneers +3.5, Beneath 40.5 (New Orleans 19, Tampa Bay 16)Manzano’s decide: Buccaneers +3.5, Beneath 40.5 (Tampa Bay 17, New Orleans 16)Wooden’s decide: Buccaneers +3.5, Beneath 40.5 (Tampa Bay 17, New Orleans 13)

4. Las Vegas Raiders vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Chargers rookie receiver Quentin Johnston IV might see extra motion now that Mike Williams is out for the season with an ACL harm.

Orlando Ramirez/USA TODAY Sports activities

Recreation data: Sunday, Oct. 1 | 4:05 p.m. ET | CBSLocation: SoFi Stadium | Inglewood, CAUnfold: Raiders +5.5 (-118) | Chargers -5.5 (-110)Moneyline:LVR (+200) | LAC (-250)Whole:47.5 Over (-118) | Beneath (-110)

Las Vegas and Los Angeles have had their fair proportion of thrilling video games lately. 4 of the final 5 have been determined by seven factors or fewer and two of these went to time beyond regulation. Placing apart the back-and-forth nature in latest rivalry historical past, the Chargers want a win within the worst means this weekend.

L.A. narrowly prevented the 0–3 deathknell final week in Minnesota, escaping with a 28–24 win. Now, of their first sport of the yr in opposition to a divisional opponent, the Chargers have an opportunity to enhance to .500. The oddsmakers like their probabilities of doing so, largely as a result of their overwhelming offensive success. They rank second in complete yards, third in passing yards and fifth in scoring at 28.7 factors per sport. Even with accidents to Austin Ekeler (ankle) and now Mike Williams (ACL) out for the yr, Justin Herbert leads an elite unit.

Sadly for Herbert, L.A.’s protection is way from elite. It permits the second-most complete yards, most passing yards and fifth-most factors at 29 per sport. The duo of Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers might have an enormous day in opposition to this secondary, however that largely is determined by the provision of Jimmy Garoppolo (concussion), who’s at present questionable for Sunday.

After beginning the season with a 17–16 win in Denver, the Raiders had been blown out by the Payments and noticed a fourth-quarter rally fall quick in opposition to the Steelers. Up to now, their protection has held up higher than the Chargers’, however that’s not saying a complete lot.

There’s usually not a ton of must-win video games in September. Los Angeles performed one final week in Minnesota and with video games in opposition to the Cowboys and Chiefs after the bye, this contest would possibly depend as properly contemplating a loss would open up the door to a possible 1–5 begin.

Verderame’s decide: Chargers -5.5, Over 47.5 (Los Angeles 31, Las Vegas 23)Manzano’s decide: Chargers -5.5, Beneath 47.5 (Los Angeles 27, Las Vegas 17)Wooden’s decide: Chargers -5.5, Over 47.5 (Los Angeles 30, Las Vegas 20)

5. Denver Broncos vs. Chicago Bears

The Bears are nonetheless ready for Justin Fields to have his first massive sport of 2023.

Kim Klement Neitzel/USA TODAY Sports activities

Recreation data: Sunday, Oct. 1 | 1 p.m. ET | CBSLocation: Soldier Area | ChicagoUnfold:Broncos -3.5 (-110) | Bears +3.5 (-118)Moneyline:DEN (-175) | CHI (+145Whole:45.5 Over (-118) | Beneath (-110)

What occurs when a stoppable power meets a movable object? Prepare to seek out out Sunday in Chicago. Denver misplaced 70–20 to Miami final week and remains to be greater than a field-goal favourite on the highway. That may have one thing to do with the truth that the Bears simply misplaced their thirteenth straight sport, a 41–10 blowout in Kansas Metropolis.

Denver and Chicago are two of the 4 remaining winless groups within the NFL. (In an odd twist, the opposite two 0–3 groups, Minnesota and Carolina, additionally play this week. One thing’s gotta give.) Each groups had motive for renewed hope when the season started, and that hope has already dissipated earlier than the tip of September. Sean Payton has not but turned issues round within the Mile Excessive Metropolis and DJ Moore and an costly free-agent class hasn’t modified the fortunes within the Windy Metropolis, both.

The Bears are the second-worst scoring protection within the league, solely higher than… the Broncos, who now permit over 40 factors per sport. The Dolphins sport noticed that common shoot up significantly, however Denver did blow a lead and permit 35 factors to Washington the week earlier than. A minimum of the Broncos performed the Raiders and Commanders tight earlier than struggling an all-time loss; Chicago’s closest margin of defeat was a 10-point loss to Tampa Bay — this group has not been aggressive.

It most likely gained’t be fairly; this sport has all of the makings of a real slogfest, however that’s precisely why we are able to’t look away.

Verderame’s decide: Broncos -3.5, Over 45.5 (Denver 26, Chicago 21)Manzano’s decide: Bears +3.5, Over 45.5 (Chicago 27, Denver 24)Wooden’s decide: Broncos -3.5, Over 45.5 (Denver 27, Chicago 20)

Remaining Ideas

Verderame: The Broncos-Bears sport threatens to set soccer again 500 years. It’s one of many worst video games in years, and but by some means is among the most fascinating matchups of the yr. Whoever loses is 0-4 and their season is totally off the proverbial rails. The winner really feels aid, pondering it has an opportunity of getting again into the race. Simply incredible theater.

Manzano: It’s a bit stunning that the Saints are favored by greater than three factors with Jameis Winston probably beginning. The Buccaneers had one unhealthy sport in opposition to an excellent Eagles group. Search for Tampa Bay’s fierce protection to power Winston into many errors. As for the matchup between 0–3 groups, give me the house group (the Bears) that didn’t lose by 50 factors final week.

Wooden: The dichotomy between the extent of soccer being performed within the 1 o’clock slate in Buffalo between the Dolphins and Payments and Chicago between the Broncos and Bears can be a sight to see. I like Miami to remain undefeated, the Chargers to win once more and the Browns’ protection to hold Cleveland to a key divisional win.

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