Week 3 of the 2016/17 NFL season has wrapped up and fans witnessed several upsets along the way. We don’t have to wait long for week 4 to kickoff as it gets underway this Thursday, Sept. 29th 2016 and fans can expect more of the same intense action once again this weekend. Let’s take a quick look at each matchup and see who’s likely to come out on top of them.
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Thursday, Sept. 29th
Miami Dolphins at Cincinnati Bengals
The Dolphins enter week 4 with a win and pair of losses to their name after downing Cleveland 30-24 last Sunday. Miami took the game in overtime after the Browns missed their chance of an upset by blowing a late field goal attempt. Dolphins’ quarterback passed for 319 yards and three touchdowns, but was also picked off twice. Meanwhile, the Bengals were beaten 29-17 at home by Denver and quarterback Andy Dalton struggled with no touchdown passes and just 206 yards in the air with an interception. And let’s not forget the Broncos’ rookie quarterback was starting his first-ever road game. Cincinnati is 2-4 in their past six home games and 1-4-1 ATS. The Bengals also enter the weekend at 1-2.
Prediction: Miami wins their second straight by four points, 27-23
Sunday, October 2
Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville dropped their third straight game of the season last weekend as Baltimore downed them 19-17 at home and are 0-3 for the third time to start a season in the past four years with Gus Bradley as head coach. Jaguars’ quarterback passed for just 194 yards and was picked off three times. The Colts were more successful in week 3 with a 26-22 victory over the San Diego Chargers at home. The Colts lost to Jacksonville last year, but had beaten them six times in a row before that. However, Indianapolis was without quarterback Andrew Luck for that outing. The Colts enter the game at 1-2 on the season.
Prediction: Indianapolis wins by 11 points, 28-17.
Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots
The Bills pulled off a 33-18 upset over the Arizona Cardinals at home last Sunday for their first win of the campaign. Buffalo picked off Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer four times and LeSean McCoy led the way with 110 yards on the ground while his teammates combined for another 98 rushing yards. McCoy also ran in a pair of touchdowns for the winners. It will be hard to build on their triumph though as they’ve dropped nine out of their past 10 road trips to Foxborough, but have gone 5-4-1 ATS in those visits. New England remains unbeaten after their 27-0 whitewashing of the Houston Texans last week and are using a third-stringer at quarterback in Jacoby Brissett. This is likely to be Brissett’s last start though as Tom Brady sits out the last game of his suspension.
Prediction: New England wins by 15 points 31-16.
Seattle Seahawks at New York Jets
Seattle were 38-17 home winners over the San Francisco 49ers last Sunday to improve to 2-1 on the year. Tight end Jimmy Graham had a fine outing for Seattle with 100 yards on six receptions and a touchdown, but receiver Doug Baldwin was even better with a touchdown and 164 yards on eight catches. The defence was also solid and will be a handful for the Jets. New York had trouble scoring last week as they dropped a 24-3 decision in Kansas City to the Chiefs to fall to 1-2 on the season. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had a nightmare of a game for the Jets as he was picked off half a dozen times. He’ll be in for a long day against Seattle’s legendary defence if he doesn’t improve quickly.
Prediction: Seattle downs the Jets by 14 points 32-18.
Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears
It’s not unusual to see Detroit and Chicago struggling in the NFC North while Green Bay and Minnesota fight for the division lead. The Bears lost 31-17 in Dallas last week to remain winless at 0-3. Starting quarterback Jay Cutler missed the game due to a thumb injury and Brian Hoyer took over for the Bears. No matter who’s at the helm for Chicago, they’ve turned the ball over six times so far this season and that’s a big reason for their current record. Detroit was also on the wrong end of the scoreboard last week as they dropped a 37-24 decision in Green Bay and are 1-2. Lions’ quarterback Matthew Stafford passed for 385 yards by going 28-for-41 with three touchdown tosses and an interception. He’ll be depending on an aerial attack now as Ameer Abdullah has a foot injury which might shelve him for the season.
Prediction: Detroit takes a close three-point decision, 31-28.
Oakland Raiders at Baltimore Ravens
The Oakland’s Raiders were 17-10 winners in Tennessee last weekend over the Titans to improve to 2-1 on the year. However, even though they gave up just 10 points, the defence was torched for 393 yards. Oakland has now given up a total of 1,354 yards so far this campaign after just three games. The Ravens were 19-17 winners in Jacksonville to go to 3-0 and quarterback Joe Flacco could have a field day this Sunday if the Oakland defence doesn’t tighten up. Flacco didn’t manage a touchdown pass last week, but set a new franchise record with 21 consecutive completed passes. Justin Tucker led the way for Baltimore with four field goals which included a 52-yard effort to win the game with just 10 seconds left on the clock.
Prediction: Baltimore wins by six points, 26-20.
Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans
Houston was shut out 27-0 by the Patriots in New England last Thursday for their first loss and are 2-1 on the season while division rivals the Titans were 17-10 losers at home to Oakland to fall to 1-2. The Texans have won seven of their past eight encounters against the Titans both straight up and ATS. They beat Tennessee twice last year by a combined 54-12 score. Sophomore quarterback Marcus Mariota of the Titans has been picked off at least once in all three of his starts this season and needs to improve if he has a chance against Houston’s vaulted defence.
Prediction: Houston wins by 18 points, 31-13.
Cleveland Browns at Washington Redskins
Not surprisingly, Cleveland enters the weekend at 0-3 after blowing a chance for their first win last week in a 30-24 defeat in Miami. New kicking recruit Cody Parkey missed a late 42-yard field goal attempt for Cleveland and they succumbed to the home team in overtime. Terrelle Pryor had a fine outing though as he became the first Browns player with at least a pair of pass completions, two receptions and two rushes for gains in the same game since 1977. He finished the contest with 144 receiving yards. Meanwhile, the Redskins edged division rivals the New York Giants 29-27 on the road last week to win their first game of the 2016 campaign. Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins had two touchdown passes and threw for 296 yards.
Prediction: Washington beats Cleveland by seven points, 20-13.
Denver Broncos at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The reigning Super Bowl champs the Denver Broncos are rolling along at 3-0 this season after their 29-17 triumph in Cincinnati last weekend. And that’s with an unproven quarterback in Trevor Siemian leading the offence. The sophomore Siemian of Northwestern threw four touchdown passes and 312 yards last week in his first-ever NFL start on the road against a tough Cincinnati squad. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay was beaten 37-32 at home by the Los Angeles Rams last week to fall to 1-2. The Tampa defence has allowed 101 points against so far this season after three games. This isn’t a shock considering they were ranked last in the league in 2015/16 with an average of 33.7 points against per game.
Prediction: Denver wins by 17 points, 33-16.
Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals
The Rams improved to 2-1 on the year after their 37-32 victory in Tampa Bay last week. The low-scoring Los Angeles team finally broke out after failing to score a touchdown in their first two outings. Meanwhile, Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer struggled with four interceptions as his club was beaten 33-18 in Buffalo. The Cardinals are now 1-2 on the year. Arizona has won six of their past eight home contests and has beaten the Rams four times in their past five encounters both straight up and ATS. It’s also unlikely Palmer will have two sub-par outings in a row.
Prediction: Arizona wins by 20 points 37-17.
New Orleans Saints at San Diego Chargers
The Saints were thrashed 45-32 by the Atlanta Falcons last Monday to fall to a woeful 0-3 on the season while the Chargers dropped a 26-22 decision on the road to Indianapolis to fall to 1-2. The New Orleans defence came out on the wrong end of a shootout at home and will need to tighten the leaks against a strong Chargers offence. Atlanta ran for 217 yards against the Saints while gaining 442 yards in total while quarterback Drew Brees and the offence had a decent outing. Brees had three touchdown passes and 376 yards in the air while being picked off once. Coby Fleener had seven receptions and a touchdown for 109 yards. Quarterback Philip Rivers has been leading an injury-depleted San Diego offence. The Chargers ran for just 37 yards last week and are ranked 14th in rushing at 114 yards a game, but they are the worst in the NFL defending the rush.
Prediction: New Orleans wins by six points, 27-21.
Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers
Dallas, without starting quarterback Tony Romo, beat Chicago 31-17 at home last week to climb to 2-1 on the season. The young Cowboys squad was led by rookie quarterback Dak Prescott who failed on just five of his passing attempts and ended the game with a touchdown pass and 248 yards in the air. In addition, Ezekiel Elliott carried the ball 30 times for 140 yards. San Francisco was beaten 37-18 on the road by Seattle and need to stop the losing after falling to 1-2 on the year. Carlos Hyde had a fine game in Seattle with a pair of touchdowns and running for 103 yards, but it was too little too late as the 49ers were trailing by 33 points by then.
Prediction: Dallas downs San Francisco by nine points, 27-18.
Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers were slightly embarrassed last week by being hammered 34-3 in Philadelphia by the Eagles and are now 2-1 on the year. Kansas fared much better with a 24-3 home victory over the New York Jets to improve to 2-1. The Chiefs recorded six interceptions against the Jets in that meeting with cornerback Marcus Peters being credited with two of them. Peters led the league with eight pick offs last year. However, Pittsburgh will welcome Le’Veon Bell back to the lineup this weekend after serving his three-game ban and it’s doubtful they’ll be as bad as last week. Last week’s defeat was just the second time Pittsburgh has lost a game without scoring at least 10 points in the past three years. The previous time was in 2014 when Baltimore beat them 26-6.
Prediction: Pittsburgh wins a close one by three points, 25-22.
Monday, October 3
New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings
The Giants are 2-1 this season after losing 29-27 at home to Washington while Minnesota beat Carolina 22-10 on the road to improve to a perfect 3-0. Vikings’ quarterback Sam Bradford has been doing fine without the injured Adrian Peterson and the team’s defence has been solid so far. Bradford hasn’t been intercepted yet in his two starts and Minnesota has a league-best turnover ratio at plus eight with nine forced turnovers and a lone fumble lost. The Giants have lost three close contests and are ranked the second-worst in the NFL with eight giveaways compared to just a pair of takeaways. Also, quarterback Eli Manning has been picked off three times already.
Prediction: Minnesota remains unbeaten with a four-point win, 21-17.