With Philadelphia having lost at San Francisco only two teams remain unbeaten in the NFL and both return from byes this week to play road games at tough venues.
Arizona will be at Denver while, on Sunday night, Cincinnati visits New England.
The ranks of winless teams dropped by one when Tampa Bay rallied in the game’s waning moments to win at Pittsburgh, 27-24. But both Jacksonville and Oakland lost to drop to 0-4.
The Raiders have not scored more than 14 in any of their first 4 games while the Jaguars have yet to top 17 points. There is speculation Dennis Allen could become the season’s first head coaching casualty before the Raiders resume play in Week 6.
Jacksonville has lost each of its games by at least 17 points and has allowed at least 33 in each of those losses. The Raiders have been only marginally more competitive with two of its losses by a touchdown or less and the other two by 16 and 24 points.
The first three weeks produced fairly balanced results with UNDER holding a slight 25-23 edge in totals prior to Monday’s Pats-Chiefs result. The average of 51.8 PPG was a full touchdown higher than the average for the first three weeks, perhaps an indication offenses league-wide are finally finding their rhythm.
The first four Thursday games have all been blowouts with the games decided by 20, 20, 42 and 31 points. One fourth (15) of the first 60 games played to date have been decided by at least 20 points.
There is widespread belief that there is just not enough time between Sunday and Thursday for teams to adequately prepare. Sure, it’s a very small sample of games but the concerns are valid.
Perhaps the NFL should reconsider its policy and shorten the Thursday schedule to just 8 games from, say, Weeks 5 through 12, incorporating bye weeks into the process.
One possible consideration is to distribute the byes by division such that all four teams in a division would have the same bye week and that coming out of the bye two of those divisional foes would play on a Thursday night, 11 days following their last action.
Only the two teams returning from London – Miami and Oakland – have byes this week resulting in a schedule of 15 games.
Last week: 9-3 Season: 33-26-1
Minnesota +9.5 at GB (48): Rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater’s first NFL start was a success as Minnesota piled up 558 yards of offense in the Vikings’ 41-28 upset of Atlanta. He suffered an ankle injury late in the game and thus some sports books have not yet posted a line for this game. These rivals have a recent history of high scoring contests with 9 of the last 11 exceeding 50 points. OVER.
Chicago +3 at Carolina (45.5): The Bears can at least take something positive from their loss to Green Bay last Sunday, rushing for 235 yards after being limited to a total of just 192 over their first three games. Both teams have concerns on defense but the Bears are better equipped to attack Carolina’s vulnerabilities. CHICAGO
Cleveland (+1.5) at Tenn (44): The status of Tennessee QB Jake Locker keeps this game off the boards on Monday as backup Charlie Whitehurst was ineffective in the Titans’ lopsided loss at Indianapolis. Both teams have displayed porous defenses that have struggled in stopping the run. OVER.
St. Louis +7 at Philly (47.5): The Eagles are in a similar spot as the Packers were last week when Green Bay was off of an uncharacteristically poor offensive effort a week earlier. Even rested and off a bye, the Rams should provide the perfect antidote for the fast paced Eagles offense to return to their past form. PHILADELPHIA.
Atlanta +4 at NY Giants (49): The Giants and QB Eli Manning were slow to adjust to their new modified West Coast offense but their play over their past couple of games, both double digit wins, suggests things are starting to gel, which also serves to lessen the pressure on the defense. NY GIANTS
TB +11 at New Orleans (48): There is some concern about the Saints offense, which has seen their point production decrease each week since scoring 34 points in an opening week loss at Atlanta. Still, New Orleans has much more firepower on offense with Drew Brees and catches the Bucs playing a third straight road game. NEW ORLEANS.
Houston +4 at Dallas (46): With a first season coach in Bill O’Brien we can expect the Texans’ offense to show improvement as the season progresses. Dallas is improved but it may be a bit premature to consider the Cowboys a trustworthy favorite. HOUSTON.
Buffalo +7 at Detroit (44): The Lions’ defense has fared well in stopping the run. The Bills and Lions have played a combined 7 UNDERs and just 1 OVER and this game handicaps as following along similar lines. UNDER.
Baltimore +3.5 at Indy (47.5): Entering the season both teams had questions about their defenses while both offenses are directed by quality QBs (the Colts’ Andrew Luck and Baltimore’s Joe Flacco). And both teams have rushed for over 100 yards in each of its last three games. OVER.
Pittsburgh -6.5 at Jax (46): Jacksonville has been a tonic for teams off of losses this season, already losing to Washington (41-10) and Indianapolis (44-17) in similar spots. The Steelers have already won handily on the road, torching Carolina 37-19 just two weeks ago. PITTSBURGH
Arizona +7.5 at Denver (49): Denver QB Peyton Manning has not posted his typical lofty stats, hurt by the lack of a steady rushing attack. All 3 of Arizona’s games have stayed UNDER with no game producing more than 39 points. And only one of Denver’s three games has produced more than 46 points. UNDER.
KC (+7.5) at SF (45): Barring key injuries on Monday night we can expect San Francisco to be about a touchdown favorite. The San Francisco offense still has some concerns with QB Colin Kaepernick making some questionable decisions. Chiefs are rested and well coached. An attractive take. KANSAS CITY.
NY Jets +7 at San Diego (43.5): Rex Ryan says he is sticking with Gino at QB. Despite Smith’s troubles, the Jets have been able to run the football for at least 110 yards in all four games. The Jets have been competitive in every game, which makes taking a TD or more very attractive. NY JETS.
Cincy +3 at New England (47): Cincinnati’s only prior road game was their opening week win in Baltimore, a win that looks even better now than it did then as the Ravens have won all three games since. Both teams’ defenses appear to be ahead of the offenses. UNDER.
Seattle -7.5 at Wash (45): The Seahawks’ defense continues to be one of the league’s most dominant units and should create problems. Both teams have competent rushing attacks that should work to limit possessions. UNDER.
Andy Iskoe, and his Logical Approach, provides his popular and unique handicapping statistics to Gaming Today readers and online visitors. He has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football. Contact Andy at [email protected]