Week 4 is here in the NFL. One game (Titans/Steelers) is cancelled due to COVID so that is something to keep an eye on this season. Apparently its a whole thing. Just ask Trump. The season continues including 4 big matchups with NFC North teams.
Colts at Bears 1 PM ET
The Colts are 2-1 on the season after somehow losing to Jacksonville but crushing the Vikings and Jets. Frank Reich and Phillip Rivers (99.9 QB rating) have revived his career a bit but the Colts have WR injuries with rookie Michael Pittman and Paris Campbell. Ty Hilton is still a threat and Mo Alie-Cox is the top rated TE in the league right now. Rivers will be facing a good Bears defense led by Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn on the edges. The Colts have the offensive line to handle the Bears pressure. Whoever wins that matchup will be the key to the game as Rivers is not mobile.
Rookie Jonathan Taylor is the workhorse back for the Colts now with Marlon Mack’s season ending injury. Taylor has 3.8 YPC but has been a workhorse early. Nyheim Hines is a receiving threat at RB and the Bears will watch for him.
The Colts strength is their defense so far. Xavier Rhodes is the top rated CB in the league and has two picks in 3 games. TJ Carrie has played well too opposite Rhodes and Kenny Moore is an average CB. Vikings fans can’t like that. DeForest Buckner has been a monster coming from the 49ers and Justin Houston is still a good pass rusher. Malik Hooker injury is big forcing rookie Justin Blackmon to step up. Blackmon has played above average so far but the Bears will look to pick on him with Graham, Kmet and Harris at TE.
The Bears offense is the big story with Nick Foles taking over for Mitch Trubisky. Foles looked good with 3 TDs in the comeback win over the Falcons. The Bears have large comeback wins (Lions and Falcons) and barely held on against the Giants. Nonetheless, they are 3-0, getting good production from Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller at WR. David Montgomery has improved after a rough rookie year at 4.4 YPC in 3 games. Tarik Cohen tore his ACL which is a big loss for the Bears.
Nick Foles gets a good test in his first start against good defense so far. Should be a good low scoring game.
Saints at Lions 1 PM ET
The Lions have beat the Saints in 3 of the past 4 games. Both teams are 1-2 with some defensive woes so far. Brees still has a good QB rating but seems to have less arm strength. Michael Thomas injury is something to watch and both Saints starting CBS in Lattimore and Janoris Jenkins are dealing with injuries. Jared Cook is another big injury at tight end for the Saints. Marcus Davenport has been out too with an ankle injury. The banged up Saints look to get back on track in Detroit. Saints still have plenty of firepower with Kamara, Emmanuel Sanders and Trequan Smith. Thomas has a chance to return too which would be a huge boost for New Orleans.
The Lions finally got a win. It was impressive win in Arizona against a hot Cardinals offense. Murray was picked 3 times as Jamie Collins made two great plays and Okudah nabbed his first interception. The Lions defense showed signs of life in the 4th Quarter too with some key stops. Trey Flowers, Jamie Collins, DShawn Hand (chest injury), Romeo Okwara will need to bring some pressure like they did in Week 3. Patricia finally blitzing more and actually played zone 40% of Week 3. It seemed to work just enough. Desmond Trufant has a chance to return from injury but Daryl Roberts is battling an injury. Detroit will need all the CB help they can get and hope Okudah continues to improve.
Lions offense has looked good except for second half against Green Bay. Stafford is getting just enough protection and finding his plethora of targets. TJ Hockenson has produced well so far this year and the Saints have trouble with TEs in 2020. Kenny Golladay returned and nabbed a big TD. The Lions missed him the first 2 weeks. Marvin Jones adds his 3-4 catches a game for a first down. Amendola is still dependable and Jessie James finally made a play for Detroit in Week 3. Detroit can run the ball too as Adrian Peterson has 4.9 YPC so far with some nice long runs. Swift and Kerryon Johnson have been used less but do well in the passing game. Kerryon is key in pass pro too but the Lions need more rushing from them.
Stafford will need protection from Cam Jordan and blitzers. Decker, Ragnow and Crosby have played well. Rookie Jonah Jackson has been solid but Vaitai had a rough debut at RG. The Lions must protect Stafford to continue the passing success.
This game has shoot out written all over it. It will come down to turnovers I believe to determine which team gets to 2-2.
Vikings at Texans
The battle of two 0-3 teams that had playoff aspirations. Vikings have had a rough time with turnovers and defense so far. Cousins rebounded against the Titans but the Vikings defense couldn’t get the job done. Thielen and Cook (rushing) are still the Vikings offense. Justin Jefferson showed good things in Week 3 at WR too. The Vikings should be able to control the clock and limit the Texans offense enough.
The Texans still have offensive line problems despite putting a ton of investment into that area. If the Vikings can generate good pressure they have a chance to win this road game. Hunter is still out and the Vikings miss him. Barr is on IR. Yannick Ngakoue needs to step up in a big way for Minnesota. Vikings CBs are getting healthier other than Mike Hughes.
DeShaun Watson can still take over a game and does have weapons with Fuller, Cooks, Cobb and Stills . The Texans defense will need to figure out how to make some stops as the Vikings offense still has plenty of firepower. David Johnson will need a good day rushing to give the Vikings a chance.
Should be a close game but I think the Vikings finally get a win.
Falcons at Packers MNF 8:15 ET
The 3-0 Packers take on the 0-3 Falcons. They might/may suck at football. Packers offense is operating on all cylinders even with the Davante Adams injury (hamstring). Green Bay hopes to get him back as Allen Lazard is out with a core muscle injury Aaron Jones has been beasting at running and receiving so far and the Falcons will need to find an answer on defense with Deion Jones or Keanu Neal covering him. Rodgers has been damn near perfect and will look to continue that against a questionable defense on Monday. Green Bay tight ends (Tonyan and Lewis) even have joined the party in Week 3 with a big win at New Orleans.
The Falcons have built big leads in the last two games but blew them both against the Cowboys and Bears. They lost to a good Seattle team in Week 1 in a shootout. The Falcons have talent and hope to get Julio Jones back for this game to join Calvin Ridley and Hunter Hurst (TE). Matt Ryan must avoid turnovers because Rodgers will destroy them with short fields. Todd Gurley has bolstered the Falcons run game so far. Gurley will need a big game as the Packers struggled in run defense and the Falcons will need to control the clock. Green Bay’s defense has been their weak link but hasn’t cost them any games yet due to flawless offense and timely turnovers forced or stops.
Green Bay outshoots the Falcons on Monday. Closer than anticipated but the Packers get a lead and keep it.