NFC A-list thru 4 still Arizona, Atlanta and AFC is Texans

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Two of the three teams that entered Week 4 undefeated survived close calls as Arizona and Atlanta improved to 4-0. 

The Cardinals needed a last minute touchdown to tie Miami before kicking the game winning field goal in overtime. Atlanta needed a last second field goal to come from behind and defeat pesky Carolina 30-28.

The third remaining unbeaten team, Houston, needed no such heroics as the Texans easily got past division rival Tennessee 38-14. Houston is the best balanced team in the AFC, if not the entire NFL, and sits atop most sets of Power Ratings.

Challenging the Texans for the top spot, aside from those two other undefeated teams, are San Francisco and New England. Both rebounded from losses to win impressively on the road.

The Patriots spotted Buffalo a 21-7 third quarter lead before exploding for 45 second half points en route to a 52-28 blowout win. The 49ers shook off their upset loss at Minnesota a week earlier to hand the disappointing New York Jets a 34-0 thrashing.

Underdogs continue to enjoy great early season success, now 37-22-3 ATS pending Monday night’s game between Chicago and Dallas.

Dallas, Detroit, Oakland and Tampa Bay are off this week while Indianapolis and Pittsburgh return to action following their byes.

Here’s a look at the 14 games on this week’s schedule.

Thursday, Oct. 4

Cardinals -1 at Rams (38): The NFC West is the most improved division in the NFL through one month of play. The Rams are unbeaten in two home games. Arizona is 4-0 with three of those wins coming at home. Their lone road win came at New England when the Pats missed a last second FG. Arizona has now won 11 of its last 13 with by slim margins and/or in overtime. The Rams are clearly improved under new coach Jeff Fisher and have the edge at QB. RAMS.

Sunday, Oct. 7

Falcons -3 at Redskins (50): Atlanta needed a last second FG to remain unbeaten last week while Washington squandered a double digit lead before kicking their own last second FG to edge Tampa Bay. The Redskins lead the NFL in rushing at 176 yards per game and the Atlanta defense has been vulnerable to the run. In turn Atlanta has a strong passing game to attach the vulnerable Washington pass defense. OVER.

Eagles +3½ at Steelers (44½): Philadelphia is fortunate to be 3-1 as they could easily be winless. Pittsburgh is off of the bye week which followed a 1-2 start. The Steelers were competitive in their losses at Denver and at Oakland. The situation favors the hosts who will have used the time off to make defensive adjustments and could have some key defenders return from injury. STEELERS.

Packers -7 at Colts (48½): Green Bay was fortunate to escape with a much needed win at home against New Orleans. The Colts had their bye after starting 1-2. Indy rookie QB Andrew Luck has a promising career ahead of him but he is the second best signal caller in this game. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers also has better surrounding talent. In a game between two teams that cannot run the football, the preference is to go with the more established passing game. PACKERS.

Browns +10 at Giants (44): Cleveland has extra rest following its game effort last Thursday in Baltimore. The Giants nearly came back to defeat Philly Sunday night and step down in class here. The Giants have edges at virtually every position and should be able to extend a lead. The defensive pressure they will apply to Cleveland rookie QB Brandon Weedon will likely leading to costly turnovers. GIANTS

Titans +5½ at Vikings (43½): To upset San Francisco and then win on the road at division rival Detroit is an indication that Minny is much improved. The win over the Lions was due to special teams play rather than production from the offense. Tennessee is likely to again have veteran QB Matt Hasselbeck under center after he replaced injured Jake Locker. Titans have faced a tough early schedule and are better than their record. TITANS.

Dolphins +4½ at Bengals (44): Miami played well in defeat at Arizona as rookie QB Ryan Tannehill passed for 431 yards but also threw a costly INT. The Bengals were impressive in winning at Jacksonville. The combination of QB Andy Dalton to WR A J Green is quickly becoming one of the best in the entire league. Miami’s offense has been better than expected and Cincy’s defense is vulnerable to balanced attacks. DOLPHINS.

Ravens -4½ at Chiefs (45½): Baltimore has extra time to prepare after defeating Cleveland last Thursday. The Chiefs were horrible in their home loss to San Diego, committing six turnovers. It won’t get any easier against an aggressive Baltimore defense which is complimented by an up tempo Ravens offense. The Chiefs have also been good at scoring points when playing from behind. OVER.

Seahawks +3 at Panthers (44): Seattle was in a poor spot at St. Louis last week following a fortunate win over Green Bay the prior Monday. Yet the defense played well in their 19-13 loss at St. Louis. Carolina followed its abysmal effort against the Giants with what should have been a winning effort against unbeaten Atlanta. But a costly miscue in the waning moments enabled the Falcons to win. Seattle does have to travel cross country but has the better defense. An outright upset would not be a shock. PANTHERS.

Bears -4 at Jaguars (38): The Jags remain one of the weakest teams in the league and will face a defense capable of frustrating QB Blaine Gabbert. Chicago also has a below average offense which may not be as able to exploit the Jaguars’ defense as have other foes. UNDER.

Broncos +7 at Patriots (51½): In last season’s playoffs the Patriots routed the Broncos 45-10 after having won in Denver 41-23 a month earlier. Now Peyton Manning leads Denver into Foxboro, a place where he struggled mightily when leading the Colts. The Patriots gained some much needed confidence with their win at Buffalo and head coach Bill Belichick has been a master at devising defenses to counteract Manning’s genius at making adjustments at the line of scrimmage. PATRIOTS.

Bills +9 at 49ers (44): The 49ers played as expected in winning at the Jets 34-0 after being upset at Minnesota. Buffalo played well into the third quarter against New England, building a third quarter 21-7 before being outscored 45-7 in the game’s final 23 minutes. Now the mistake prone Buffalo offense faces a defense much better than New England’s. 49ERS.

Chargers +3 at Saints (54): The Saints played well in losing by a point in Green Bay but they remain winless a quarter of the way through the season. San Diego rebounded nicely from their embarrassing home loss to Atlanta a week earlier with a dominating win at Kansas City, fueled by forcing 6 KC turnovers. It’s debatable whether the Chargers are as good as their 3-1 record suggests. The Saints are much better than 0-4. SAINTS.

Monday, Oct. 8

Texans -7½ at Jets (40½): New York goes from facing a San Francisco defense that held them to just 145 yards of total offense to another defense that is every bit as stout. The Texans are +7 in turnovers and have returned several INTs for TD’s already. The Jets are an above average defensive team that should have success in limiting the Texans’ offense, even with their best player, Darrelle Revis, out for the season. Look for both defenses to make the biggest plays. UNDER.

Record

Last Week

8-6

NFL

35-26-1

Pct

57.3

Andy Iskoe and his Logical Approach is one of the most popular statistical breakdowns in sports betting. Andy is also a longtime baseball and football columnist at GT. Contact Andy at Andy­[email protected]

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About the Author

Andy Iskoe

Owner and author of “The Logical Approach,” Andy Iskoe has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football.

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