NFL Game Previews: Week 4 Matchups

NFL Game Previews: Week 4 Matchups

This article is part of our NFL Game Previews series.

Cincinnati (+4) at Pittsburgh, 43.5 o/u – Monday, 8:15 p.m. EDT

Before the season started, if someone told you these two teams would have identical records coming into this clash, 0-3 might have been your last guess, but that's where they find themselves. After snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in Week 1, the Bengals have fallen apart. Andy Dalton and crew have produced some big plays but also managed to keep pace with Miami in giveaways, while the defense sits 27th in points allowed – one spot ahead of the Steelers. The stars that have allowed Pittsburgh to dominate this rivalry in recent years are long gone (at least until Ben Roethlisberger recovers from his elbow surgery) and the front office seems to not know how to deal with the possibility of a lost season, trading away draft capital to add Minkah Fitzpatrick (arguably justifiable) and tight-end depth (???) in Nick Vannett. Guys, you could realistically be selecting in the top 10 this year. Maybe start acting like it.

The Skinny

CIN injuries: WR A.J. Green (out, ankle), LT Cordy Glenn (questionable, concussion)

PIT injuries: TE Vance McDonald (questionable, shoulder)

CIN DFS chalk: Tyler Boyd (PIT 30th in DVOA vs. WR3)

PIT DFS chalk: James Conner (CIN 31st in rushing yards allowed, 31st in passing DVOA vs. RB), JuJu Smith-Schuster (CIN 32nd in DVOA vs. WR1), Vance McDonald (CIN 28th in DVOA vs. TE)

CIN DFS tournament plays: Dalton (PIT 31st in passing yards allowed, 26th in QB rating against), John Ross (PIT 30th in DVOA vs. WR1, 31st in DVOA vs. deep throws), Tyler Eifert (PIT 29th in DVOA vs. TE)

PIT DFS tournament plays: James Washington (CIN 30th in DVOA vs. WR2)

Key stat: PIT is 30th in third-down conversions at 25.7 percent, ahead of only NYJ and MIA; CIN is 17th in third-down defense at 41.7 percent

Head-to-head record, last five years: 10-1 PIT including postseason, average score 25-18 PIT, average margin of victory eight points. PIT has won eight straight meetings.

Weather forecast: clear, temperature in the mid-70s, less than 10 mph wind, 0-5 percent chance of rain

The Scoop

Joe Mixon bangs out 100 scrimmage yards and a touchdown. Dalton throws for 320 yards and TDs to Boyd and Eifert. Conner responds with 130 combined yards and a score. Mason Rudolph throws for 210 yards and a touchdown to JuJu. Bengals, 27-20

Tennessee (+4) at Atlanta, 45.0 o/u – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

The AFC South is a bit of a mess at the moment. The Titans have lost two straight games but still have the best point differential in the division at plus-15, which tells you just how well everyone else has been playing. The defense has been stout – top 10 in both points and yards allowed – but Marcus Mariota's uneven efforts have caused Tennessee to drop at least one winnable game. Sure, he hasn't thrown an interception yet and his 7.7 YPA is the best of his career by a hair, but his 60.9 percent completion rate is pretty mediocre by modern standards, and his tendency to hold onto the ball too long has led to a league-high 17 sacks, including a massive nine last week against the Jags. The Falcons don't have that kind of pass rush (24th in sack percentage so far), but players like Vic Beasley and Grady Jarrett, recipient of my favorite scouting description in history ("Squatty ball of power" ... why that isn't on t-shirts all over Atlanta is beyond me), can still get home if Mariota gives them a chance. Matt Ryan and the offense remain much better on home turf (Ryan has a 99.2 QB rating at home, 91.1 at home), and while I rag on Dirk Koetter often in these previews, give the new-old OC credit for figuring out that Julio Jones is worth targeting in the end zone – Julio has already scored four TDs through three games, more than he managed in the entire 2017 season.

The Skinny

TEN injuries: LT Taylor Lewan (out, suspension), RG Kevin Pamphile (out, knee)

ATL injuries: S Keanu Neal (IR, Achilles)

TEN DFS chalk: none

ATL DFS chalk: none

TEN DFS tournament plays: Corey Davis (ATL 28th in DVOA vs. WR1), A.J. Brown / Tajae Sharpe (ATL 26th in DVOA vs. WR2)

ATL DFS tournament plays: Mohamed Sanu (TEN 31st in DVOA vs. WR3)

Key stat: TEN is 23rd in converting third downs at 29.7 percent; the ATL defense is 29th in third-down defense, allowing conversions 52.8 percent of the time

Weather forecast: dome

The Scoop 

Derrick Henry rumbles for 80 yards and a score. Mariota throws for 230 yards and a TD to Davis while running in a touchdown of his own. Devonta Freeman picks up 70 scrimmage yards, but Qadree Ollison vultures a short TD. Ryan throws for 280 yards and touchdowns to Julio and Sanu. Falcons, 30-24

Washington (+3) at N.Y. Giants, 49.0 o/u – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

Jon Gruden may be the one nicknamed after a famous movie monster, but it's little brother Jay who's behaving like the Grinch, doing his best to deny the world a matchup between two first-round rookie quarterbacks. Even if Case Keenum's foot cooperates and sidelines him for Week 4, there's no guarantee Gruden gives Dwayne Haskins the start over Colt McCoy, a move that would clearly only be made out of spite and not, say, what he's seeing from his young QB in practice. There's no way to say for sure from the outside whether keeping Haskins on the bench is the right decision in the long run for the franchise, but I do know this: it's what Hue Jackson would have done, and you never want to go full Hue. Terry McLaurin, at least, won't be complaining if Keenum keeps his job. The rookie receiver is the first player in NFL history to record at least five catches and a TD in each of his first three games. The Giants have done their part to set up the rookie signal-caller showdown, handing the reins to Daniel Jones for a spectacular debut in Tampa last week. The accuracy issues he had at Duke already seem to have been solved with a little pro coaching, and his mobility gives defenses something they never had to worry about with Eli Manning. With Saquon Barkley on the shelf, they'll need Jones to prove last week was not a fluke – otherwise, it'll be on the defense to keep things going, which is a scary proposition considering they're 30th in points allowed and 31st in yards allowed.

The Skinny

WAS injuries: WR McLaurin (questionable, hamstring), TE Jordan Reed (out, concussion), LT Trent Williams (out, contract dispute), C Chase Roullier (questionable, knee), RG Brandon Scherff (out, ankle)

NYG injuries: RB Barkley (out, ankle), WR Golden Tate (out, suspension), LB Alec Ogletree (out, hamstring)

WAS DFS chalk: McLaurin (NYG 32nd in DVOA vs. deep throws)

NYG DFS chalk: none

WAS DFS tournament plays: Keenum (NYG 32nd in passing yards allowed, 31st in QB rating against), Paul Richardson (NYG 31st in DVOA vs. WR2), Trey Quinn (NYG 32nd in DVOA vs. WR3)

NYG DFS tournament plays: Jones (WAS t-30th in passing TDs allowed, 30th in QB rating against), Cody Latimer (WAS 29th in DVOA vs. WR2)

Key stat: WAS is 32nd in completion percentage allowed at an incredible 79.0 percent

Head-to-head record, last five years: 6-4 NYG, average score 24-17 NYG, average margin of victory 12 points. The teams have split the last four season series, alternating home wins and road wins each season. It was the road teams' turn in 2018.

Weather forecast: clear, temperature in the high 70s, less than 10 mph wind, zero percent chance of rain

The Scoop

Adrian Peterson picks up 50 yards, but Chris Thompson leads the WAS backfield with 80 scrimmage yards and a receiving touchdown. Keenum starts and throws for under 200 yards and a second score to McLaurin before a Markus Golden sack knocks him from the game in the third quarter; Haskins takes over and hits Kelvin Harmon for a score but also gets picked off. Wayne Gallman runs for 80 yards and a TD. Jones comes up big in his home debut, throwing for 310 yards and three touchdowns, finding Sterling Shepard twice and Evan Engram once in the end zone with the latter topping 100 yards. Giants, 34-21 

L.A. Chargers at Miami (+16), 44.0 o/u – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

Weird how the Chargers' backfield doing just fine without him convinced Melvin Gordon to end his holdout. The RB won't be in the lineup this week, but even when he is more or less back up to speed, the club doesn't exactly have a lot of incentive to hand him the starting job back given how Austin Ekeler has performed in his place. Unfortunately, "just fine" isn't a description that applies to the team as a whole. Forcing punter Ty Long to handle place-kicking duties cost them in Week 2, and they're already two games back of the Chiefs in the AFC West. If there's one primary culprit for the sluggish start, it might be the pass rush. The Chargers are 28th in sack percentage, and while Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram has a semi-decent 2.5 sacks between them, the rest of the defense has managed only 1.5. Of course, they now face a Dolphins offensive line that's given up 13 sacks through three games, so those numbers could get healthy in a hurry. Putting Josh Rosen under center last week gave Miami a flicker of life for about 20 minutes before Dallas brought the hammer down, and the team is already a minus-117 in point differential – next worst in the league is the Jets at minus-37. The NFL record for worst point deficit in a season belongs to the creamsicle '76 Bucs, who were 287 points in the hole in only 14 games, but these Dolphins could blow past that by the midway point of the campaign.

The Skinny

LAC injuries: RB Gordon (out, coach's decision), RB Justin Jackson (out, calf), WR Mike Williams (out, back), WR Travis Benjamin (doubtful, hip), TE Hunter Henry (out, knee), K Michael Badgley (out, groin), CB Casey Hayward (questionable, back)

MIA injuries: WR Albert Wilson (questionable, calf), LT Jesse Davis (questionable, elbow), S Reshad Jones (questionable, ankle)

LAC DFS chalk: Austin Ekeler (MIA 31st in rushing DVOA, 30th in YPC allowed, 32nd in rushing TDs allowed, 32nd in passing DVOA vs. RB), Keenan Allen (MIA 31st in DVOA vs. WR1), Chargers DST (MIA 32nd in scoring, 31st in yardage, t-29th in sacks allowed, t-30th in giveaways)

MIA DFS chalk: none

LAC DFS tournament plays: Philip Rivers (MIA 32nd in QB rating against, 28th in passing yards allowed, 32nd in passing TDs allowed), Lance Kendricks (MIA 31st in DVOA vs. TE)

MIA DFS tournament plays: DeVante Parker (LAC 24th in DVOA vs. WR1)

Key stat: MIA is 32nd in both third-down conversions and red-zone conversions at 20 percent in each category

Weather forecast: partly cloudy, temperature in the mid-80s, 16 mph wind, 0-5 percent chance of rain

The Scoop

Ekeler piles up 140 combined yards and two TDs, one rushing and one receiving. Rivers throws for 260 yards and two more touchdowns, one each to Allen and Kendricks. Kenyan Drake manages 80 combined yards and scores the Dolphins' first rushing TD of the year (and only their second in total), but Rosen throws for under 200 yards, gets sacked five times and picked off twice. Chargers, 27-7

Oakland (+6.5) at Indianapolis, 45.0 o/u – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

The Raiders did win in Week 1, right? That wasn't just some sort of mass hallucination? They've looked awful in the two games since, and while they were facing two playoff-caliber opponents in the Chiefs and Vikings, there's nothing to suggest the Colts don't belong in that class as well. Darren Waller has been the lone true bright spot in the offense, although Josh Jacobs has been solid when Jon Gruden feels he can commit to the running game, but Derek Carr's continued wheel-spinning has to have the front office thankful he has very little guaranteed money left on his contract (Carr's dead cap hit drops to $5 million if they cut him heading into 2020). Indy, on the other hand, seems to have weathered their QB crisis quite well. Jacoby Brissett is no Andrew Luck, of course, but the Colts aren't asking him to be, instead letting the running game carry the load while Brissett still steps up with the occasional big play. He's already been branded a "caretaker" quarterback, but a 71.7 percent completion rate and 7:1 TD:INT suggests he's something better than that. He might need to be, though, if the Colts are going to keep winning – Marlon Mack is already showing signs of wear and tear under a big workload. The defense has also shown cracks, but eventually getting Darius Leonard back from his concussion should help turn the unit around.

The Skinny

OAK injuries: LG Jordan Devey (questionable, groin), RG Gabe Jackson (out, knee), RT Trent Brown (questionable, ankle)

IND injuries: WR T.Y. Hilton (doubtful, quad), LB Leonard (out, concussion)

OAK DFS chalk: none

IND DFS chalk: none

OAK DFS tournament plays: Tyrell Williams (IND 27th in DVOA vs. WR1)

IND DFS tournament plays: Deon Cain (OAK 32nd in DVOA vs. WR2), Eric Ebron / Jack Doyle (OAK 30th in DVOA vs. TE)

Key stat: IND is fourth in third-down conversions at 54.3 percent, OAK is 30th in third-down defense, allowing conversions 52.8 percent of the time

Weather forecast: dome

The Scoop 

Jacobs gains 70 yards. Carr throws for 260 yards and a TD to Williams but gets picked off twice. Mack slashes for 110 yards and a touchdown. Brissett is sharp again, throwing for 270 yards and TDs to Ebron and Parris Campbell. Colts, 27-13

Carolina (+4) at Houston, 46.5 o/u – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

While it's not quite "Cam who?" time, Kyle Allen's success leading the Panthers offense last week does raise the question of whether the team would be better off without its franchise QB for a while. Cam Newton clearly hasn't been 100 percent, and his accuracy issues were exacerbated when the defense didn't have to worry about him as a running threat. Remember, this is a Norv Turner offense – a system better suited for a pocket passer anyway. With Allen under center and Turner calling the shots, Greg Olsen figures to put up big numbers even when he isn't facing Arizona, but deep threats D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel should also be able to make better use of their targets. The Texans are one clutch Drew Brees drive away from being 3-0, and while in years past it might have been J.J. Watt and the defense leading the way, this is clearly Deshaun Watson's team now. He's having success without relying exclusively on DeAndre Hopkins and the occasional deep bomb to Will Fuller, too – last week, it was Kenny Stills and the tight ends who thrived. As the revamped offensive line gels and gives Watson cleaner pockets, the unit has the talent to emerge as one of the most potent non-Chiefs attacks in the league.

The Skinny

CAR injuries: QB Newton (out, foot), RG Trai Turner (out, ankle)

HOU injuries: none

CAR DFS chalk: none

HOU DFS chalk: none

CAR DFS tournament plays: Samuel (HOU 24th in DVOA vs. WR2)

HOU DFS tournament plays: none

Key stat: HOU is second in red-zone efficiency, scoring TDs on six of seven (85.7 percent) RZ possessions this season. CAR is 22nd in red-zone defense at 66.7 percent (allowing TDs on six of nine RZ possessions.)

Weather forecast: partly cloudy, temperature in the high 80s, 12-13 mph wind, 0-5 percent chance of rain

The Scoop

Christian McCaffrey totes up 100 combined yards and a score. Allen throws for 280 yards and a TD to Samuel. Carlos Hyde runs for 50 yards and a score, while Duke Johnson adds 70 combined yards. Watson throws for 310 yards and touchdowns to Hopkins and Darren Fells. Texans, 24-23

Kansas City at Detroit (+6.5), 54.0 o/u – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

It should be clear at this point that nobody can slow down the Kansas City offense, not even Bill Belichick – sure, the Patriots were 2-0 against the Chiefs last year including the playoffs, but they had to do it by outgunning them, with the combined score of the two games coming in at 80-71. In fact, Patrick Mahomes is still the last person to throw a TD pass against New England. Pace numbers are usually nothing more than amusing trifles at this stage, but in Mahomes' case they seem more like dire warnings to the rest of the league – pro-rate his current numbers over 16 games, and he shatters Peyton Manning's single-season passing yards record by almost 900 yards, and his 71.9 percent completion rate and 10:0 TD:INT speak for themselves. Oh yeah, and he's done it without Tyreek Hill. Imagine being a safety in a few weeks having to decide whether to shade towards Hill or Mecole Hardman's side of the field, knowing that if you guess wrong (heck, even if you guess right) Mahomes could casually burn you for a 70-yard score the way a lesser QB dumps it off to his tight end at the sticks. Detroit is the "forgotten" undefeated team in the league, getting little attention for their 2-0-1 mark while everyone talks up the 3-0 clubs. Neither win was exactly impressive – you could argue the Chargers and Eagles lost those games rather than the Lions winning them – but they all count in the standings. Matthew Stafford is throwing different kinds of passes now that Darrell Bevell is calling plays instead of Jim Bob Cooter, but the overall results have largely been the same. Kerryon Johnson has also been unimpressive as the new, unquestioned lead RB, stumbling to a 2.6 YPC and seeing little action as a receiver. The Chiefs' soft run defense could be the cure for what ails him, but he may not get a lot of chances if Stafford is forced into a shootout with Mahomes.

The Skinny

KC injuries: RB Damien Williams (out, knee), WR Tyreek Hill (out, collarbone), LT Eric Fisher (out, groin)

DET injuries: QB Stafford (questionable, hip), WR Danny Amendola (questionable, chest), CB Darius Slay (questionable, hamstring)

KC DFS chalk: none

DET DFS chalk: Kerryon Johnson (KC 32nd in rushing DVOA, 32nd in YPC allowed)

KC DFS tournament plays: Damien Williams / LeSean McCoy (DET 27th in passing DVOA vs. RB)

DET DFS tournament plays: none

Key stat: KC is third in third-down conversions at 54.5 percent; DET is 25th in third-down defense, allowing conversions 45.8 percent of the time

Weather forecast: dome

The Scoop

McCoy leads the KC backfield with 100 combined yards. Mahomes throws for 350 yards and four TDs, hitting Travis Kelce twice and Sammy Watkins and Demarcus Robinson once each, with Watkins also topping 100 yards. Johnson bangs out 80 yards and a score. Stafford throws for 310 yards and TDs to Kenny Golladay and T.J. Hockenson, but a late pick-six by Tyrann Mathieu squelches any thought of a comeback. Chiefs, 38-24

Cleveland (+7) at Baltimore, 45.5 o/u – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

This is not the Cleveland offense we were promised in the offseason. Whether it's due to a shaky offensive line or Baker Mayfield not being who he was supposed to be (the only team with a worse cumulative QB rating so far is Miami), it's been a rough start to 2019 for the Browns. Nick Chubb and Odell Beckham, at least, have been getting theirs, but without sharper play from Mayfield, it's tough to see them going much of anywhere. The Ravens' passing game doesn't look as dynamic as it did in Week 1 against the inept Dolphins, but if Mark Ingram is going to traipse into the end zone multiple times every week, it doesn't need to be. If there's an area of concern for Baltimore, it might be the usually stingy defense. Facing both KC and Miami through three games makes it awfully tough to get a read on their "true" level, but injuries in the secondary seem to have left them surprisingly vulnerable over the top, and Earl Thomas has yet to display much of his Seattle form.

The Skinny

CLE injuries: RB Kareem Hunt (out, suspension), WR Rashard Higgins (questionable, knee), RT Chris Hubbard (questionable, foot), CB Denzel Ward (questionable, hamstring)

BAL injuries: TE Mark Andrews (questionable, foot), CB Jimmy Smith (out, knee), CB Marlon Humphrey (questionable, hip)

CLE DFS chalk: none

BAL DFS chalk: none

CLE DFS tournament plays: Odell Beckham (BAL 27th in DVOA vs. deep throws), Higgins (BAL 28th in DVOA vs. WR2)

BAL DFS tournament plays: Andrews (CLE 27th in DVOA vs. TE)

Key stat: CLE is 26th in sack percentage allowed (9.2 percent)

Head-to-head record, last five years: 8-2 BAL, average score 25-17 BAL, average margin of victory eight points.

Weather forecast: clear, temperature in the low 80s, less than 10 mph wind, zero percent chance of rain

The Scoop

Chubb bangs out 70 yards. Mayfield throws for 240 yards and two TDs, finding Beckham and Demetrius Harris, but he gets picked off twice and sacked four times. Ingram rambles for 80 yards and a score. Lamar Jackson throws for 220 yards and two touchdowns to Hayden Hurst and Marquise Brown while running in a TD of his own. Ravens, 31-17

New England at Buffalo (+7), 42.5 o/u – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

Chatter this week centered around Patriots fullback James Develin, and how crucial he was to the running game and offense, but does anyone really believe New England's going to slow down because they lost an important blocker? Someone else will do their job, or they'll adjust their game plan, and the Eternal Empire will just keep crushing everything in its path, on and on and on. Watching Tom Brady lift that Lombardi Trophy in 2091 with his shiny robotic right arm will be quite the sight. Besides, they don't actually need many points given how the defense is playing. The Pats still haven't allowed an offensive TD since last year's AFC Championship game, and you have to figure last week's two defensive scores by the Jets earned everyone involved a thorough chewing out in the film room this week. This week they'll face a Bills team that's... wait, really? Wow. Buffalo's formula has been similar to New England's – both teams rank in the top five in points allowed – only with the offense coming from the chaos Josh Allen can create rather than the orderly precision the Pats rely on. That might not be enough to break the Bills' losing streak in this rivalry, but it should at least make the game more entertaining than some of their recent clashes.

The Skinny

NE injuries: RB Rex Burkhead (questionable, foot), WR Julian Edelman (questionable, chest), LT Marshall Newhouse (questionable, illness)

BUF injuries: RB Devin Singletary (questionable, hamstring), RG Jon Feliciano (questionable, neck)

NE DFS chalk: Patriots DST (first in scoring defense, t-6th in takeaways, second in sack percentage)

BUF DFS chalk: none

NE DFS tournament plays: none

BUF DFS tournament plays: Bills DST (t-2nd in takeaways, sixth in scoring defense, fourth in QB rating against)

Key stat: NE has yet to allow a red-zone touchdown this season, and has allowed only two trips to the RZ through three games; BUF ranks fourth in RZ offense at 77.8 percent (7-for-9)

Head-to-head record, last five years: 8-2 NE, average score 26-16 NE, average margin of victory 14 points. NE has won five straight meetings, and the last six have all been decided by 12 points or more.

Weather forecast: partly cloudy, temperature in the low 60s, less than 10 mph wind, 0-5 percent chance of rain

The Scoop

Sony Michel manages only 40 yards, while James White piles up 90 combined yards and two receiving touchdowns. Brady throws for 250 yards and a third score to Julian Edelman. Frank Gore grinds out 50 yards. Allen throws for 210 yards and a TD to John Brown but gets held in check on the ground and picked off twice. Patriots, 27-10

Tampa Bay (+10) at L.A. Rams, 49.5 o/u – Sunday, 4:05 p.m. EDT

The Bucs are 0-2 at home but 1-0 on the road so far, which isn't exactly how it's supposed to go but seems about right for a team led by Jameis Winston. When he plays terribly (Week 1), they lose. When he plays great (Week 3), they lose. I could try to find some kind of Goldilocks and the Three Bears metaphor here, but it's going to take more than a warm bowl of porridge and a good night's sleep to fix him. The pieces are there for the Tampa offense to be dangerous, though. Mike Evans' served as a reminder that Winston has two big downfield threats at his disposal along with Chris Godwin (although the QB has yet to figure out how to make them both productive at the same time), while the backfield has followed a similar pattern on a lesser scale – either Ronald Jones or Peyton Barber makes an impact in any particular game, but not both. They now take on a 3-0 team that hasn't really been tested, because every team the Rams have beaten has had QB issues, whether it's Cam Newton being far from 100 percent, Drew Brees hurting his thumb, or Baker Mayfield doing whatever it is he's doing this season. Facing the Bucs in Week 4 may not change that equation much, but at some point either Jared Goff or Todd Gurley (or both, ideally) will need to get going if they're going to stay on top, rather than trusting their opposition to keep breaking down.

The Skinny

TB injuries: WR Godwin (questionable, hip), C Ryan Jensen (questionable, back), RT Demar Dotson (questionable, calf), LB Devin White (out, knee)

LAR injuries: none

TB DFS chalk: none

LAR DFS chalk: none

TB DFS tournament plays: none

LAR DFS tournament plays: none

Key stat: Both teams are in the top 10 in red-zone defense (TB third, LAR t-9th), but TB is 31st in RZ offense, scoring TDs on 27.3 percent (3-for-11) of possessions

Weather forecast: clear, temperature in the mid-70s, 8-10 mph wind, 0-5 percent chance of rain

The Scoop

Jones leads the Bucs backfield with 80 combined yards. Winston throws for 240 yards and a touchdown to Evans. Gurley manages 60 yards. Goff throws for 320 yards and three touchdowns, finding Brandin Cooks twice and Cooper Kupp once. Rams, 27-13

Seattle at Arizona (+5), 48.0 o/u – Sunday, 4:05 p.m. EDT

Pete Carroll finds himself being forced to put the Seattle offense in Russell Wilson's hands, in large part because Chris Carson's hands can't seem to hang onto a football. Wilson's numbers this season are as good any anyone not named Mahomes, and while two games may not be enough to ignore Carroll's preference to keep the ball on the ground (just not, y'know, on the ground there, Chris), it's worth noting that Wilson is within reach of becoming the Seahawks' all-time passing yards leader if he can sniff 4,000 yards this year. He'll get there eventually of course, but if he keeps slinging it, Wilson might not have to wait until 2020 to wipe Matt Hasselbeck's name from the record book. The Cards may be winless, but at least it's an interesting winless. Kyler Murray started running last week, as much due to his survival instinct as by design, and that tantalizing upside of a guy who can do Lamar Jackson-like things on the ground while still putting up big volume numbers through the air (hmm, would that count as Jared Goff-like things?) remains. The defense is still down two starting corners, though, and the offense still lacks an offensive line, so it's tough to imagine that the rookie QB, or the team, are going to put everything together any time soon.

The Skinny

SEA injuries: RB Rashaad Penny (questionable, hamstring), DT Jarran Reed (out, suspension), DE Ezekiel Ansah (questionable, back)

ARI injuries: WR Damiere Byrd (out, hamstring), CB Patrick Peterson (out, suspension)

SEA DFS chalk: Chris Carson (ARI 30th in rushing yards allowed, 29th in passing DVOA vs. RB), Will Dissly (ARI 32nd in DVOA vs. TE)

ARI DFS chalk: none

SEA DFS tournament plays: Russell Wilson (ARI t-30th in passing TDs allowed, 29th in QB rating against, 32nd in rushing yards allowed to QB), DK Metcalf (ARI 25th in DVOA vs. WR2)

ARI DFS tournament plays: none

Key stat: ARI is 31st in sacks allowed and 29th in sack percentage allowed

Head-to-head record, last five years: 6-3-1 SEA, average score 25-18 SEA, average margin of victory 10 points. The last six meetings have all been decided by a single score (or less, in the case of the Week 7 tie in 2016).

Weather forecast: dome

The Scoop

Carson doesn't fumble, and racks up 130 combined yards and a score. Wilson throws for 250 yards and TDs to Metcalf and Dissly. David Johnson picks up 70 scrimmage yards. Murray throws for 310 yards and a touchdown to Christian Kirk while running for 50 more yards, but he gets picked off twice. Seahawks, 30-13

Minnesota (+2) at Chicago, 38.5 o/u – Sunday, 4:25 p.m. EDT

Unlike a lot of clubs, the season have gone exactly according to plan for the Vikings so far, except for that whole 'losing in Lambeau' thing. Mike Zimmer wanted a team built around defense and a running game, and by gum, that's what he's got. Dalvin Cook has fired off three straight games with 100-plus rushing yards and at least one TD, and the defense ranks near the top of the league in many key categories. That hasn't left much action for Kirk Cousins and the passing game despite Minnesota fielding one of the best WR duos in the NFL, but as long as the wins keep coming, don't look for things to change. The Bears defense roared to life Monday against Washington, but frankly, they'd be thrilled if they were getting Cousins' level of mediocrity from Mitchell Trubisky. Sure, Taylor Gabriel made him look good last week, but the fact that he's even in a position that he needs someone like Gabriel to help him look good speaks volumes. Unless David Montgomery gets rolling, Chicago will probably again need Khalil Mack and company to not only score points but generate them if they're going to keep pace in the NFC North.

The Skinny

MIN injuries: RG Josh Kline (out, concussion)

CHI injuries: WR Gabriel (out, concussion), TE Trey Burton (questionable, groin), RG Kyle Long (questionable, hip), K Eddy Pineiro (questionable, knee)

MIN DFS chalk: Vikings DST (t-5th in scoring defense, t-6th in takeaways, t-6th in sacks)

CHI DFS chalk: Bears DST (third in scoring defense, t-6th in takeaways, fifth in sacks)

MIN DFS tournament plays: none

CHI DFS tournament plays: none

Key stat: MIN leads the league in rushing TDs with seven (Cook four, Cousins, Adam Thielen and Alexander Mattison one each); CHI is one of only two defenses, along with NE, not to allow a rushing TD yet this year 

Head-to-head record, last five years: 6-4 MIN, average score 21-17 MIN, average margin of victory 11 points

Weather forecast: cloudy, temperature in the mid-70s, less than 10 mph wind, 15-35 percent chance of rain

The Scoop

Cook gets held to 60 yards. Cousins throws for 220 yards and a TD to Stefon Diggs, while Harrison Smith adds a pick-six. Montgomery has his best game to date with 100 scrimmage yards and a score. Trubisky throws for under 200 yards, but CHI responds with a defensive touchdown of their own via a Roquan Smith fumble recovery in the end zone. Bears, 23-17

Jacksonville (+3) at Denver, 39.0 o/u – Sunday, 4:25 p.m. EDT

The Jags are 1-2 and are starting a backup QB (but hey, join the club), but nobody really feels out of it yet in the AFC South. The team isn't an elite defensive squad any more despite the big names still making up the unit – it's tough to say what their identity is right now, beyond being a delivery mechanism for Gardner Minshew memes – but Leonard Fournette has at least given them incredible stability in the backfield, seeing between 17 and 21 touches every game and turn them into 87 to 94 scrimmage yards. The Broncos don't enjoy the same cushy divisional situation, though. They're already three games back of the Chiefs and their season will likely be over before Halloween, especially with their own defensive reputation in tatters. Somehow, the team with Von Miller and Bradley Chubb is the only one in the league without a sack, and they haven't generated a takeaway either. If they can't put any kind of pressure on a rookie quarterback, it could be another long afternoon for the home faithful in Denver.

The Skinny

JAC injuries: CB Jalen Ramsey (questionable, back)

DEN injuries: RT Ja'Wuan James (out, knee), S Kareem Jackson (questionable, hamstring)

JAC DFS chalk: none

DEN DFS chalk: none

JAC DFS tournament plays: Dede Westbrook (DEN 29th in DVOA vs. WR1), D.J. Chark (DEN 29th in DVOA vs. deep throws)

DEN DFS tournament plays: Emmanuel Sanders (JAC 25th in DVOA vs. WR1) 

Key stat: DEN is 28th in red-zone conversions, scoring a TD 40 percent (4-for-10) of the time; JAC is fifth in RZ defense, also at 40 percent (4-for-10)

Weather forecast: clear, temperature in the mid-80s, 17 mph wind, 0-5 percent chance of rain

The Scoop

Fournette collects 120 combined yards and a TD. Minshew throws for 230 yards and a touchdown to Chark. Phillip Lindsay leads the DEN backfield with 80 yards, while Royce Freeman adds a short TD. Joe Flacco throws for 220 yards and a score to Emmanuel Sanders. Jaguars, 17-14

Dallas at New Orleans (+2.5), 47.0 o/u – Sunday, 8:20 p.m. EDT

Dallas looked like it might be the first team to really play down to Miami's level last week, but after a halftime tongue-lashing from coach Jason Garrett they pulled away easily in the second half. Tony Pollard gave a glimpse of what he might have done in the lead RB role had Ezekiel Elliott remained a holdout, and in the process turned the 2019 Cowboys into the new Saints, with two dangerous backs, a QB-WR connection in Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper that no one seems to be able to slow down, and a plethora of other options for Prescott when he gets bored firing the ball to Cooper. The 2019 Saints, however, may not be the Saints of old without Drew Brees under center. They did stun the Seahawks last week, but it was thanks to an opportunistic defense and a huge workload for Alvin Kamara, as Teddy Bridgewater embraced his caretaker role and stuck to it. Another win here using a similar approach, and Sean Payton may have to reconsider just how much he wants Brees to chuck it once the future Hall of Famer heals up.

The Skinny

DAL injuries: WR Michael Gallup (out, knee)

NO injuries: QB Brees (out, thumb), WR Tre'Quan Smith (out, ankle)

DAL DFS chalk: Prescott (NO 30th in passing yards allowed, 32nd in rushing TDs allowed to QB, 31st in rushing yards allowed to QB), Elliott (NO 28th in YPC allowed, t-29th in rushing TDs allowed), Cooper (NO 26th in DVOA vs. WR1, 26th in DVOA vs. deep throws)

NO DFS chalk: none

DAL DFS tournament plays: Smith (NO 27th in DVOA vs. WR2, 26th in DVOA vs. deep throws)

NO DFS tournament plays: none

Key stat: DAL is second in third-down defense at 20 percent; NO is 17th in converting third downs at 40 percent. 

Weather forecast: dome

The Scoop

Elliott pounds out 120 combined yards and two TDs. Prescott throws for 270 yards and touchdowns to Cooper and Smith. Kamara answers back with 140 scrimmage yards and a score, while Bridgewater throws for 210 yards and a TD to Ted Ginn. Cowboys, 31-23

Philadelphia (+4.5) at Green Bay, 45.5 o/u – Thursday, 8:20 p.m. EDT

Nothing much seems to be working for the Eagles these days. The backfield committee isn't generating much offense – Jordan Howard's short TD plunge last week was the first score by any Philly RB, though Miles Sanders has shown flashes of his talent. Carson Wentz has completed fewer than 60 percent of his passes in consecutive weeks, something you can't entirely pin on the injuries to his receiving corps nor the occasionally bewildering play of the normally excellent offensive line. The sluggish start wouldn't be so bad if Dallas weren't playing like gangbusters at the same time – another loss here, and the Eagles could find themselves three games in the hole already in the NFC East by the time Week 4 is in the books. The Packers are also busting gangs, and surprisingly aren't completely relying on Aaron Rodgers to get them wins. The defense has been outstanding (granted, against something less than the cream of the crop in terms of opposition QBs) and Aaron Jones has been productive, taking much of the load off the future Hall of Famer quarterback – perhaps a good thing as injuries begin to hit the offensive line. It should still be a terrifying thought for the rest of the league, though: Green Bay is undefeated, and Rodgers hasn't even had to open up the throttle yet.

The Skinny

PHI injuries: WR DeSean Jackson (out, abdomen), CB Ronald Darby (out, hamstring)

GB injuries: LG Lane Taylor (IR, biceps)

PHI DFS chalk: none

GB DFS chalk: Packers DST (1st in takeaways, 2nd in scoring defense, 2nd in QB rating against, 3rd in sack percentage)

PHI DFS tournament plays: none

GB DFS tournament plays: Jones (PHI 28th in passing DVOA vs. RB), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (PHI 23rd in DVOA vs. WR2)

Key stat: Rodgers is 9-4 lifetime on Thursdays with a 27:4 TD:INT and 106.1 QB rating.

Weather forecast: cloudy, temperature in the high 50s, less than 10 mph wind, zero percent chance of rain

The Scoop

Sanders leads the Eagles backfield with 70 combined yards and his first TD. Wentz throws for 220 yards and a score to Alshon Jeffery but gets picked off twice. Jones gains 80 scrimmage yards with a receiving touchdown. Rodgers throws for 270 yards and a second TD to MVS. Packers, 23-14

Last week's record: 9-7, 8-8 ATS, 5-9-2 o/u
2019 regular-season record: 29-18-1, 22-26 ATS, 26-20-2 o/u
2018 regular-season record: 160-94-2, 112-134-10 ATS, 113-139-4 o/u
Lifetime record: 656-395-5, 484-530-42 ATS, 387-400-13 o/u (o/u not tracked in 2015)

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Erik Siegrist
Erik Siegrist is an FSWA award-winning columnist who covers all four major North American sports (that means the NHL, not NASCAR) and whose beat extends back to the days when the Nationals were the Expos and the Thunder were the Sonics. He was the inaugural champion of Rotowire's Staff Keeper baseball league. His work has also appeared at Baseball Prospectus.
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