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#404375 - 09/25/18 11:29 PM NFL Week 4
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Minnesota Vikings vs. Los Angeles Rams

The Los Angeles Rams' high-octane offense has been a constant this season, but the formidable defense could take a hit with the potential absences of two key cornerbacks. With Aqib Talib (ankle) and Marcus Peters (calf) likely sidelined, the Rams will aim to keep Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings in check on Thursday when they bid for their first 4-0 mark to begin a season since 2001.

"We don't know how long those guys will be out. It's temporary adversity," said Los Angeles coach Sean McVay, who is expected to lean on cornerbacks Nickell Robey-Coleman, Sam Shields and Troy Hill with Minnesota wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs coming to the Coliseum. The Rams, in turn, have several explosive weapons on their third-ranked offense (493.3 yards per game), with Jared Goff liberally feeding the trio of Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp to keep the opposition from focusing solely on multi-dimensional running back Todd Gurley. Goff's 941 passing yards rank fifth in the NFL, one spot behind Cousins (965) as the latter has found [censored] chemistry with Thielen. The 28-year-old wideout reeled in a career-high 14 receptions in Sunday's 27-6 upset loss to Buffalo to increase his total to 32, which is the third-most in league history through the first three games of the season.

TV: 8:20 p.m. ET, FOX, NFL Network. LINE: Rams -6.5. O/U: 49.5

ABOUT THE VIKINGS (1-1-1): Coach Mike Zimmer said on Tuesday that there is a "possibility" that second-year dual-threat Dalvin Cook (hamstring) will face the Rams' top-ranked scoring defense (12.0 points) and sixth-ranked defense overall (296.0 yards allowed). Fellow running back Latavius Murray has struggled to get untracked this season after a strong finish to 2017, mustering just one yard on two carries versus the Bills last week and 62 total on 17 attempts in 2018. While there's doubt involving Cook, Zimmer erased any lingering thoughts about the availability of star defensive end Everson Griffen -- who has been ruled out for the second straight game as he battles a serious mental-health related issue. "The only thing really that we're concerned about for Everson isn't anything to do with football, it's about him getting better," Zimmer told reporters Tuesday.

ABOUT THE RAMS (3-0): Gurley isn't a fan of Thursday Night Football -- "it's probably the dumbest thing ever," he said earlier this week -- but the star running back certainly enjoyed the last time he competed on that day. Gurley found the end zone on three occasions in the first half of Los Angeles' 41-39 triumph over San Francisco on Sept. 21, 2017. The reigning NFL Offensive Player of the Year picked up where he left off by finding the end zone for the fifth time (four rushing, one receiving) this season in the Rams' 35-23 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. Goff tossed three touchdown passes last week, with Woods grabbing two to go along with a career-high 10 catches for 104 yards.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Minnesota DE Danielle Hunter has collected one sack in each game to start the season.

2. Cooks ranks fifth in the NFL with 336 yards receiving, while Woods (222, 20th) is also ranked in the NFL's top 20.

3. Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph, who found the end zone last week, has four touchdowns in his last five road games.

PREDICTION: Rams 31, Vikings 20
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#404592 - 09/27/18 09:45 PM Re: NFL Week 4 [Re: FREAK]
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Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots

There are only three undefeated teams in the NFL and the biggest surprise among them is the Miami Dolphins, who already are halfway to their win total from last season. The Dolphins already own a two-game lead atop the AFC East and will be seeking their first 4-0 start since 1995 when the pay a visit to the New England Patriots on Sunday afternoon.

Gillette Stadium has been a house of horrors for Miami, which has not won at New England since 2008 and is 2-14 in its last 16 trips to Foxborough, Mass. -- both wins coming with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady either not in the lineup or making an abbreviated start. "I'm excited to get back up there," said Dolphins wide receiver Danny Amendola, who joined the team as a free agent in the offseason after playing the previous five seasons in New England. "I've had a lot of experience playing there." The Patriots have won nine consecutive division titles but enter Sunday's matchup on the heels of back-to-back, double-digit losses and trying to avoid their first three-game losing streak since 2002 against an opponent that has the attention of coach Bill Belichick. "We've spent some time here on the Dolphins, and they're certainly off to an impressive start," Belichick said. "This is a really good football team. They're good in all three areas of the game. ... It's easy to see why they're 3-0. They're playing well, well-coached."

TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Patriots -6.5. O/U: 48.

ABOUT THE DOLPHINS (3-0): Ryan Tannehill missed the entire 2017 season due to a knee injury, but he is completing 73 percent of his passes and owns a passer rating of 121.8. Tannehill threw for three touchdowns and a season-high 289 yards to rally Miami from a 10-point deficit in last week's 28-20 win over the Oakland Raiders. Kenny Stills, Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant have combined for seven touchdowns and are averaging between 20.4 and 15.0 yards per reception, but leading rusher Kenyan Drake has managed only 104 yards. The Dolphins are tied for the NFL lead with seven interceptions and ranked sixth in points allowed (17.6).

ABOUT THE PATRIOTS (1-2): Three-time NFL MVP Tom Brady is coming off one of his worst games in ages, throwing for only 133 yards with one touchdown and one interception in a lackluster 26-10 loss at Detroit. Recent acquisition Josh Gordon practiced on a limited basis on Thursday but New England is desperately in need of help at wide receiver -- James White has a team-high 14 catches and tight end Rob Gronkowski has 13. Rookie running back Sony Michel is in line for a bigger workload after Rex Burkhead went on injured reserve this week. Rookie linebacker Ja'Whaun Bentley also went on IR, a blow to a defense that ranks 31st against the run.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Brady has 21 touchdowns and three interceptions in his last eight home games.

2. Tannehill is 10-1 in his last 11 starts.

3. Gronkowski had eight touchdown catches in 11 career meetings versus Miami.

PREDICTION: Patriots 24, Dolphins 23
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#404593 - 09/27/18 09:45 PM Re: NFL Week 4 [Re: FREAK]
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Houston Texans vs. Indianapolis Colts

The Houston Texans have had their share of tough breaks, but they'll try to change their luck and earn their first victory when they travel to face the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday in an AFC South matchup. The Texans have lost their first three games by a total of 15 points -- and all by a touchdown or less -- while the Colts are coming off a tough loss of their own.

Indianapolis led for much of last week's 20-16 loss at Philadelphia, although the offense continued to struggle. The Texans have moved the ball effectively but have been hurt by turnovers and penalties, as well as slow starts. "It's hard to win games coming from behind, so starting fast is something that we're practicing this week, something we're working on," Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins told reporters. "We've put ourselves behind in a lot of games. It's hard to beat any NFL team being behind." The Colts have dominated the series over the years, leading 25-7 after winning both meetings last season.
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TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Colts -1.5. O/U: 47


ABOUT THE TEXANS (0-3): Houston has plenty of offensive weapons with quarterback Deshaun Watson throwing to Hopkins while Will Fuller and Lamar Miller anchor a solid ground game. The Texans rank eighth in the league with just under 400 total yards per game but are 22nd in scoring offense because of their struggles in the red zone, coming away with just four touchdowns on 11 trips inside the 20. The defense has been solid against the pass and decent versus the run but has failed to yield a turnover in the last two games.


ABOUT THE COLTS (1-2): The Colts' offense has struggled, as quarterback Andrew Luck has proven unable to throw deep and a rotation of unproven running backs has yet to get the ground game going. Indianapolis didn't commit a turnover in last week's loss, but it also gained a season-low 209 total yards. The revamped defense has played well, forcing five turnovers in three games, but gave up 152 rushing yards against the Eagles.

EXTRA POINTS



1. Luck has thrown two or more touchdown passes in seven of eight career games against Houston.

2. Texans DE J.J. Watt has registered four sacks in his last four contests against the Colts.

3. Colts WR T.Y. Hilton has made nine TD catches in 12 games against the Texans and averaged 101.3 receiving yards with three scores in the last three meetings.

PREDICTION: Colts 23, Texans 21
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#404594 - 09/27/18 09:45 PM Re: NFL Week 4 [Re: FREAK]
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Cincinnati Bengals vs. Atlanta Falcons

Stopping a star receiver will be the focus for both defenses when the Atlanta Falcons host the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. Atlanta's Julio Jones and Cincinnati's A.J. Green won't go head-to-head, but they each will be the focal point when they're on the field in a matchup of high-scoring offenses.

The Bengals were hurt by four turnovers that led to 17 points in a 31-21 loss at Carolina last week, but quarterback Andy Dalton and Green still have them sitting atop the AFC North standings. Cincinnati will try to keep pace with a Falcons team that is coming off a 43-37 overtime loss to New Orleans. After a sluggish season opener at Philadelphia, Atlanta has rolled up 439 and 534 total yards in its last two games. The Bengals won the most recent meeting, a 24-10 triumph at home in 2014.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Falcons -4. O/U: 52

ABOUT THE BENGALS (2-1): Cincinnati ranks sixth in the league in scoring offense, averaging 29.7 points behind a fairly balanced attack, but its offensive weapons are banged up. It looks as if Green will be back in the lineup after leaving last week's game with a hip injury, but running back Joe Mixon still is recovering from a knee ailment. The defense has not fared well - especially against the run - and has had a tough time getting off the field, ranking last in the league in third-down efficiency by allowing opponents to convert at a 52.2 percent clip.

ABOUT THE FALCONS (1-2): Atlanta's offense has been a bit one-dimensional with running back Devonta Freeman (knee) sidelined, but the passing game is dangerous. Matt Ryan threw for 374 yards and a career-high five touchdowns last week while rookie Calvin Ridley had 146 receiving yards and three touchdowns, joining Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu in a loaded receiving corps. The defense has been decimated by injuries and ranks 27th in the league, allowing 401.7 total yards per game.

EXTRA POINTS

1. The Falcons placed S Ricardo Allen (Achilles) on injured reserve Tuesday, their third defensive starter to land on the list.

2. The Bengals are 42-1-2 since 2011 when scoring at least 25 points.

3. Cincinnati has scored on its last 29 trips to the red zone dating to last season, the longest current streak in the NFL.

PREDICTION: Falcons 34, Bengals 31
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#404595 - 09/27/18 09:46 PM Re: NFL Week 4 [Re: FREAK]
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Buffalo Bills vs. Green Bay Packers


The Buffalo Bills went from an afterthought to a contender in one game last week, led by a strong performance from their rookie quarterback. Josh Allen and the Bills will try to make it two big wins in a row at NFC North opponents when they visit the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

Buffalo was outscored 78-23 in losses to the Baltimore Ravens and Los Angeles Chargers to begin the season and went into Minnesota in Week 3 as 17-point underdogs before getting a mistake-free game from Allen in a 27-6 victory. "(Allen) was decisive early and that's important," Bills coach Sean McDermott told reporters. "It looked like he played with a clear mind, which is also important for our young players." Allen will look to show the same kind of poise against the Packers, who are coming off their first loss and are not quite as steady at quarterback right now with Aaron Rodgers still recovering from a knee injury sustained in Week 1. "Anytime your quarterback doesn't practice, it's different," Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy told reporters before Rodgers returned to the practice field on Thursday. "Aaron Rodgers brings a tremendous amount -- forget about the game plan or scheme you're running that week -- but the competitive nature."

TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Packers -9.5. O/U: 45.

ABOUT THE BILLS (1-2): Buffalo's turnaround on defense began in the second half of a 31-20 Week 2 loss to Los Angeles, when it held the Chargers to three points, and continuing to build that momentum week-to-week is important to the defensive players. "Confidence," Bills linebacker Lorenzo Alexander told reporters after the win. "And we just want to continue to gain that. I think even (Week 2) in the loss, we gained some confidence. I think Josh (Allen) did in that last drive. Our defense did, holding that Chargers team to three points in the second half, and we were able to carry that. ... When we play like this defensively, we're going to put ourselves in a great opportunity to win games." That Buffalo defense includes former Green Bay safety Micah Hide, who is making his return after not being offered a contract by the Packers following the 2016 season and [censored] signing a five-year deal with the Bills.

ABOUT THE PACKERS (1-1-1): Green Bay's first three games were all marred by roughing the passer penalties called on linebacker Clay Matthews, and he is not happy with the protection the quarterbacks are getting from referees this season. "Unfortunately, this league's going in a direction I think a lot of people don't like. I think they're getting soft," Matthews told reporters. "The only thing hard about this league is the fines they levy down on guys like me who play the game hard." Matthews was not fined by the league for any of the three hits and the NFL issued a clarification of the rule on Thursday, continuing to emphasis that players making no attempt to break their fall and landing with their full body weight on the quarterback will draw a flag.

EXTRA POINTS

1. The Packers signed veteran free agent CB Bashaud Breeland and placed CB Davon House (shoulder) on injured reserve.

2. Buffalo RB LeSean McCoy (ribs), who sat out last week, told reporters he would play on Sunday.

3. Green Bay LB Nick Perry (concussion) did not participate in practice on Wednesday or Thursday and is doubtful.

PREDICTION: Packers 27, Bills 17
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#404596 - 09/27/18 09:46 PM Re: NFL Week 4 [Re: FREAK]
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Detroit Lions vs. Dallas Cowboys


The Dallas Cowboys look to jumpstart their hibernating offense when they host the Detroit Lions on Sunday. Dallas ranks 31st in scoring offense at 13.7 points and 30th in total offense (277.7 yards per game) while running back Ezekiel Elliott wants to see more of the football.

Elliott is tied with San Francisco's Matt Breida for the NFL lead with 274 rushing yards and has a stellar 5.7-yard average but is carrying the ball just 16 times per game. "I would love to see it more, but I just think (it's) the nature of the games we've played in these first three games," Elliott told reporters. "We've been down. We've been having to try to come back. It's hard to come back and try to run the ball." Detroit is coming off a high as first-year coach Matt Patricia outcoached former boss Bill Belichick en route to a 26-10 victory over New England. The stunning performance marked a major turnaround from the first two games in which the Lions were outscored 78-44.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Cowboys -3. O/U: 44.

ABOUT THE LIONS (1-2): Quarterback Matthew Stafford bounced back from a four-interception performance in the season opener to throw five touchdown passes against one pick in his last two games. Rookie Kerryon Johnson rushed for 101 yards against the Patriots to become the first Detroit running back to top 100 yards in a contest since Reggie Bush in 2013. Eli Harold registered two sacks against New England and shares the team lead of three with fellow linebacker Devon Kennard.

ABOUT THE COWBOYS (1-2): Quarterback Dak Prescott has just 498 passing yards - with two touchdowns and two interceptions - and his highest output of the season is only 170 yards. Veteran outside linebacker Sean Lee (hamstring) appears to be in jeopardy of missing this week's contest and rookie Leighton Vander Esch is being prepared to start against the Lions after posting 11 tackles in relief of Lee in last week's setback against Seattle. "That's the biggest thing - you've got to be consistent, week in and week out," Vander Esch told reporters. "It doesn't matter what you did last week or the week before or the first week. None of that matters now - it's what I do this week."

EXTRA POINTS

1. Dallas has yet to intercept a pass this season.

2. Detroit WR Golden Tate (team-best 20 receptions) has caught six or more passes in each of the first three games.

3. Prescott has failed to pass for 200 yards in nine of his last 11 contests.

PREDICTION: Cowboys 24, Lions 20
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#404597 - 09/27/18 09:46 PM Re: NFL Week 4 [Re: FREAK]
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New York Jets vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jacksonville Jaguars went from looking like Super Bowl contenders in a dominant victory over the New England Patriots in Week 2 to looking like a team that might finish at the bottom of the division in a lackluster Week 3 showing against Tennessee. The Jaguars will try to bounce back and reestablish themselves as an AFC contender when they host the New York Jets on Sunday.

Jacksonville moved to 2-0 by ripping the Patriots 31-20 but managed only 232 yards of total offense while dropping a key AFC South contest 9-6 at home to the Tennessee Titans last week. "It wasn't a lot of people in the wrong places at the wrong time," wide receiver Keelan Cole told reporters, echoing similar statements from his teammates. "It was just when we were in the right place and everything went well, something went wrong. The point that we really need to focus on is just executing. Everything has to go 100 percent [censored] of 98." The Jets went through similar Jekyll-and-Hyde issues through the first three weeks but got some extra time to clear their heads and fix some issues after a 21-17 loss at Cleveland on Thursday, Sep. 20. "The last two games don't really matter," New York safety Jamal Adams told reporters. "We've moved on. It's the NFL - anybody can be beat. You have to bring your 'A' game each and every Sunday, Thursday, Monday, whatever day it is. We understand what's at stake and we have to go down (to Jacksonville) and get a win. It's going to be a tough opponent. We have a lot of respect for this team and it's going to be a dogfight."

TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Jaguars -7.5. O/U: 38.5.

ABOUT THE JETS (1-2): Rookie quarterback Sam Darnold gave New York fans some hope while completing 16 of his 21 pass attempts in a 48-17 win over Detroit in Week 1 but looked like a different quarterback while going 15-of-31 and throwing a pair of interceptions at Cleveland. "I think I've done a pretty good job of keeping my poise in the pocket," Darnold told reporters. "Sometimes I rush, but in the first couple games I thought I found completions. I didn't do as good of a job at that in the Cleveland game, but I've just got to continue to do the things that are working, continue to find completions, but also take my shots when they are there." Darnold could be working with fewer weapons this week after wide receiver Terrelle Pryor suffered a groin injury in practice on Thursday.

ABOUT THE JAGUARS (2-1): Quarterback Blake Bortles threw for 376 yards and four TDs against the Patriots in Week 2 but was held to 155 yards while failing to find the end zone against Tennessee. "Continue to take what they give you, not get greedy, not force anything down the field," Bortles told reporters of his mindset going forward. "Continue to take the underneath stuff in the play-action game and take the check downs. We had some shots downfield that I didn't pull the trigger on and missed (against the Titans), but you can't get greedy and start forcing the ball downfield. You want to. You want to throw the ball downfield. You want to move it. But I think the (the key is) just playing within the system and staying comfortable happy with completions and being efficient." The defense is doing its part and is fourth in the NFL at an average of 286.3 yards allowed.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Jaguars CB D.J. Hayden (toe) did not participate in practice this week and is doubtful.

2. New York Ss Marcus Maye (ankle, foot) and Doug Middleton (knee, finger) were both limited in practice this week.

3. Jacksonville RB Leonard Fournette (hamstring) sat out the last two games and remains questionable.

PREDICTION: Jaguars 24, Jets 10
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#404598 - 09/27/18 09:46 PM Re: NFL Week 4 [Re: FREAK]
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Chicago Bears

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a decision to make at quarterback heading into Sunday's visit to the Chicago Bears. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been outstanding through the first three games for the Buccaneers, but Jameis Winston -- who started 45 games through his first three seasons -- is back from a suspension and ready to contribute.

"I'm here to assist the best way I possibly can," Winston said in his return press conference this week. "My passion for this team, my love for this team goes beyond whether I'm out there throwing the football for this team or not." Fitzpatrick has thrown for over 400 yards in each of the first three games while compiling 11 touchdowns passes and another on the ground, although he did throw three of his four interceptions in Monday's 30-27 loss to Pittsburgh. The Bears have rebounded from a painful season-opening loss at Green Bay with consecutive wins over Seattle and Arizona. Led by linebacker Khalil Mack -- who has four sacks, an interception and three forced fumbles -- Chicago enters Week 4 tied for second in the NFL with eight takeaways.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Bears -3. O/U: 46.5

ABOUT THE BUCCANEERS (2-1): The Fitzpatrick-Winston situation will garner most of the headlines, but it stands to reason that the coaching staff is more concerned with improving a defense that ranks 31st in yards allowed and 29th in scoring, giving up an average of 30.3 points. Safety Chris Conte (knee), who had seven tackles in each of the first two games, was placed on injured reserve this week, a blow for a secondary that has one interception thus far. Mike Evans has been Fitzpatrick's top target with 23 catches for 367 yards, while Peyton Barber leads the way on the ground but is averaging just 2.9 yards in 43 carries.
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ABOUT THE BEARS (2-1): Mitch Trubisky is averaging under 200 yards passing and has just two touchdowns against three picks early on, but a matchup with the porous Bucs might help the second-year pro break out. "We just need to continue to get better -- execute, believe in the plan," Trubisky told reporters. "And continue to have those conversations about what plays we really feel comfortable about and what plays we like. Me and coach (Matt) Nagy will go back and forth. And they're going to dial up a great gameplan." Jordan Howard has struggled to get the ground game going and has only 96 yards on 38 carries over the last two games.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Winston threw for 204 yards and a touchdown and Tampa Bay forced four turnovers in a 29-7 win over Chicago at home last year.

2. The Buccaneers have 1,202 net passing yards, compared to 534 for the Bears.

3. Tampa Bay DE Jason Pierre-Paul has three of his team's seven sacks.

PREDICTION: Bears 24, Buccaneers 21
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#404599 - 09/27/18 09:47 PM Re: NFL Week 4 [Re: FREAK]
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Philadelphia Eagles vs. Tennessee Titans

After months of questions surrounding the health of Carson Wentz, the Philadelphia Eagles will enter Sunday's road game against a Tennessee Titans team that is saddled with queries surrounding Marcus Mariota. Sure, Mariota has been confirmed to start the contest, but how limited the 24-year-old will be as he deals with an injured right hand remains to be seen.

"Just taking it one day at a time. ... I hope it continues to get better, and yeah, we'll see," said Mariota, who returned from a one-game absence to complete 12 passes for 100 yards while rushing for 51 more in Tennessee's 9-6 triumph over Jacksonville last week. Fellow former Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry added 57 more on the ground in that contest, but an ailing back has him limited in practice this week heading into a tilt with the NFL's top-ranked rush defense (61.7 yards per game). Wentz didn't appear worse for wear in his first game since sustaining an ACL and LCL tear in December, completing 25 of 37 passes for 255 yards in the Eagles' 20-16 win over Indianapolis on Sunday. "It felt good to finally be out there," Wentz said. "It was kind of a long time coming, obviously. A lot of excitement, a lot of emotions."

TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Eagles -3.5. O/U: 41

ABOUT THE EAGLES (2-1): Philadelphia's ailing backfield likely will receive a jolt with the return of Jay Ajayi, who told reporters on Thursday that he plans to play despite having a small fracture in his back. "You just have to roll with it until it heals on its own. You just have to protect it," said the 25-year-old Ajayi, who shared the league lead with three rushing touchdowns after two weeks before joining Darren Sproles (hamstring) on the sideline against the Colts. Alshon Jeffery was medically cleared for contact after missing the three previous contests following offseason rotator cuff surgery, but missed practice on Thursday with an illness. Zach Ertz leads the team in receptions (21) and receiving yards (215), although fellow tight end Dallas Goedert fared well in both categories (seven, 73) last week in addition to reeling in his first career touchdown reception.

ABOUT THE TITANS (2-1): Tennessee general manager Jon Robinson on Thursday granted the request for release of Rishard Matthews, who reportedly felt he wasn't adequately showcased in the team's offense this season. Matthews had 118 catches for 1,740 yards and 13 touchdowns over the last two seasons for the Titans, who have a young group of wideouts. "Guys are going to have to continue to make plays whether it's Taywan (Taylor), or Corey (Davis) or Darius (Jennings) or Tajae (Sharpe). Those guys are going to have to step up," Robinson said. Davis, who was the fifth overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft, leads the team in receptions (13) and receiving yards (151).

EXTRA POINTS

1. Philadelphia DT Fletcher Cox has recorded a sack in each of the three games this season.

2. Tennessee RB Dion Lewis, who played with the Eagles from 2011-12, has rushed for just 68 yards on 23 carries over the last two games after amassing 75 on 16 totes in the season opener.

3. Philadelphia's minus-3 turnover ratio is tied for second-worst in the NFL.

PREDICTION: Titans 24, Eagles 20
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#404600 - 09/27/18 09:47 PM Re: NFL Week 4 [Re: FREAK]
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Seattle Seahawks vs. Arizona Cardinals

First-round draft pick Josh Rosen will make his first career start when the winless Arizona Cardinals host the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. Rosen, the 10th overall selection in this year's draft, replaced Sam Bradford as quarterback in last week's loss to Chicago and will look to spark an offense that has scored a league-low 20 points.

First-year coach Steve Wilks acknowledges there will be growing pains, but Rosen is confident he is ready to produce due to his firm knowledge of the playbook. "I will not run a play on the football field unless I know why we are running it and what we are trying to accomplish," Rosen told reporters. "That's just how I function. I don't run a 4.5, so if things go bad, I can't just hit the exit button. I like to understand the playbook in its entirety." Seattle is looking to even its record after defeating Dallas as it is receiving strong play from safety Earl Thomas. After holding out due to his wish for a new contract, Thomas was ready to go when he reported and is tied for the league lead with three interceptions after recording two against the Cowboys.

TV: 4:05 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Seahawks -3. O/U: 39

ABOUT THE SEAHAWKS (1-2): Quarterback Russell Wilson (716 yards, seven touchdowns) has excelled in his last three appearances against the Cardinals, passing for 809 yards and eight touchdowns without being intercepted. Seattle finally showed life in the running game against the Cowboys as Chris Carson rushed for 102 yards for his first career 100-yard outing and he has a team-best 177. The Seahawks figure to be without outside linebacker K.J. Wright (knee) for the fourth straight game, while middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (groin) will attempt to play through his injury for the second consecutive week.

ABOUT THE CARDINALS (0-3): Rosen was 4-of-7 passing for 36 yards with one interception in his brief debut, and Arizona badly needs him to spark an offense averaging a league-worst 190.3 yards. Running back David Johnson (116 yards) is averaging just 3.4 yards per carry while longtime star Larry Fitzgerald (12 receptions, 113 yards) is dealing with a sore hamstring as he made only two catches for nine yards in the loss to Chicago. The defense is allowing 24.7 points and 392.3 yards per game but is receiving strong play from end Chandler Jones, who has recorded an NFL-leading 30 sacks since the beginning of the 2016 season.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Fitzgerald has made 163 receptions against the Seahawks in his career.

2. Seattle WR Doug Baldwin (knee) proclaimed himself ready to return after missing the previous two games.

3. Arizona's longest rush this season is Rosen's late-game 12-yard scramble against Chicago.

PREDICTION: Seahawks 26, Cardinals 13
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#404601 - 09/27/18 09:47 PM Re: NFL Week 4 [Re: FREAK]
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Cleveland Browns vs. Oakland Raiders

The Cleveland Browns already have matched their victory total from the last two seasons combined and now aim to put together consecutive wins for the first time since 2014 as the Baker Mayfield era begins when they visit the winless Oakland Raiders on Sunday. Cleveland had won just one of its previous 37 contests (1-35-1) before Mayfield came off the bench on Sept. 20 to guide the team to a 21-17 triumph over the New York Jets.

The first overall pick in this year's draft, Mayfield completed 17-of-23 passes for 201 yards and caught a two-point conversion pass as the Browns rallied from a 14-0 deficit to halt their 19-game winless streak. The 23-year-old Oklahoma product will make his first NFL start this week and attempt to help Cleveland record back-to-back wins for the first time since a three-game streak from Oct. 26-Nov. 6, 2014. While the Browns ended their lengthy drought, Oakland looks to register the first victory of Jon Gruden's second go-around as the team's coach. The Raiders, who have lost seven straight dating to last season, held a three-point lead in Miami midway through the fourth quarter last week before allowing 52- and 74-yard touchdown passes en route to a 28-20 defeat.

TV: 4:05 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Raiders -2.5. O/U: 45

ABOUT THE BROWNS (1-1-1): Mayfield, who replaced a concussed Tyrod Taylor last week, can join Jim Plunkett (1971), John Elway (1983), Michael Vick (2001) and David Carr (2002) as the only quarterbacks drafted first overall in the Super Bowl era to win their first career start. Of the previous four, only Elway's victory came on the road. Carlos Hyde rushed for two touchdowns versus the Jets, giving him seven during his five-game streak and tying him for the league lead with four.

ABOUT THE RAIDERS (0-3): Derek Carr was 27-of-39 for 345 yards and a TD last week but also threw a pair of interceptions, giving him five through his first three games (one shy of his total over 15 contests in 2016) and only two scoring tosses. However, the 27-year-old leads the AFC with a completion percentage of 76.6 and ranks second with 936 passing yards. Oakland will have a new kicker on Sunday as Matt McCrane was signed after Mike Nugent, who suffered a hip injury against Miami, was placed on injured reserve.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Taylor exited the league's concussion protocol and returned to practice on Thursday but still may not be in uniform due to a back injury he also suffered against the Jets.

2. Oakland RB Marshawn Lynch (shoulder), who has rushed for a touchdown in each game this year, has been limited in practice this week.

3. Cleveland WR Jarvis Landry has made at least five catches in 20 consecutive games, which ties him for the second-longest streak in NFL history.

PREDICTION: Raiders 33, Browns 27
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#404602 - 09/27/18 09:47 PM Re: NFL Week 4 [Re: FREAK]
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San Francisco 49ers vs. Los Angeles Chargers

It's back to the drawing board at quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers as they turn to C.J. Beathard when they visit the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday. San Francisco is forced to rely on the 2017 third-round draft pick as Jimmy Garoppolo's season came to an end due to the torn ACL he suffered in last week's loss at Kansas City.

Beathard, who made five starts last year prior to the acquisition of Garoppolo, completed 123-of-224 passes for 1,430 yards with four touchdowns and six interceptions over seven games overall in 2017. Despite the change in quarterbacks, the Chargers will not be taking the 49ers lightly as they look to bounce back from a 35-23 road setback against the Los Angeles Rams. The Chargers, who are averaging over 27 points per game, can take solace in the fact that both of their losses have come against undefeated teams in the Chiefs and Rams. Philip Rivers has gotten off to a strong start this season, throwing eight touchdown passes and only one interception while averaging more than 300 yards per contest.

TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Chargers -10.5. O/U: 46

ABOUT THE 49ERS (1-2): San Francisco likely will rely heavily on Matt Breida, who enters Week 4 tied for the league lead with 274 rushing yards. The 23-year-old, who has been limited in practice due to a knee issue, has registered at least 100 yards from scrimmage in each of his last two contests. Rookie linebacker Fred Warner has recorded 10 or more tackles in each of his first three NFL games.

ABOUT THE CHARGERS (1-2): Rivers needs 222 passing yards to pass John Elway (51,475) for eighth place on the all-time list. Wide receiver Mike Williams caught a pair of scoring passes in the loss to the Rams, marking the first multi-touchdown performance of his career. The Chargers' backfield duo of Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler is the NFL's only pair of teammates at the running back position with at least 250 yards from scrimmage apiece this season.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Chargers DE Joey Bosa (foot) stated on Wednesday that he is unlikely to return until after the team's bye week, which follows its seventh game of the season.

2. To replace Garoppolo, who was placed on injured reserve, San Francisco promoted QB Nick Mullens from the practice squad.

3. The Chargers have won four straight meetings with the 49ers to take a 7-6 lead in the all-time series.

PREDICTION: Chargers 34, 49ers 13
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#404603 - 09/27/18 09:47 PM Re: NFL Week 4 [Re: FREAK]
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New Orleans Saints vs. New York Giants

While the NFL has embraced the young quarterback in recent years, grizzled veterans Drew Brees and Eli Manning keep trucking along at the helm of their respective teams. Brees aims to continue his success as the NFC Offensive Player of the Week leads the New Orleans Saints into MetLife Stadium on Sunday to face Manning and the New York Giants.

"Obviously there is a mutual respect," the 39-year-old Brees told Newsday of Manning, 37. "The job we do is a great one but a difficult one. It requires a lot of time, a lot of energy, a lot of effort both mentally and physically and emotionally." Brees showed his dedication by capping his 396-yard, five-touchdown performance (three passing, two rushing) with a leap over the top in overtime to secure New Orleans a 43-37 win against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. While the Saints have scored an NFC-best 104 points through three games, the Giants have mustered nearly half that total (55) -- with almost half of those points coming in Sunday's 27-22 win over Houston. Manning completed 25 of 29 passes for 297 yards with two touchdowns in that contest and faces a Saints' defense that has been gashed for a league-worst 34.3 points per game.

TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Saints -3.5. O/U: 50.5

ABOUT THE SAINTS (2-1): The talented twosome of the electric Alvin Kamara and 6-foot-3 wideout Michael Thomas have figured prominently in New Orleans' third-ranked scoring offense (34.7 points per game). The former collected 15 receptions and 190 scrimmage yards (66 rushing, 124 receiving) last week while the latter set an NFL record with 38 catches in his first three games to begin the season. Fellow wideouts Ted Ginn Jr. and Cameron Meredith made defenses pay for perhaps overcompensating on Kamara and Thomas, as they each had touchdown receptions last week.

ABOUT THE GIANTS (1-2): Odell Beckham Jr. was on the receiving end of the richest NFL contract for a wide receiver over the summer, and while the flashy wideout leads the team in catches (24) and receiving yards (271), he hasn't found the end zone this season. "I love being in the end zone. It's been a while," Beckham said. "... Getting in the end zone, of course I want to get in there, but when it comes, it's going to come." Fellow wideout Sterling Shepard found the end zone to cap a six-catch, 80-yard performance last week and erupted for eight receptions for 117 yards in his last encounter with New Orleans. Rookie Saquon Barkley has scored twice and averages a robust 4.7 yards per carry, although he'll face a Saints' rush defense that surrendered just 48 yards last week.

EXTRA POINTS

1. New York's Rhett Ellison is expected to replace fellow TE Evan Engram, who is considered week-to-week after spraining his MCL against Houston.

2. New Orleans DE Cameron Jordan had two sacks last week to increase his total to 34.5 since 2015, which is fourth best in the league.

3. The Saints have forced just one turnover this season, tied with Oakland for the fewest in the NFL.

PREDICTION: Saints 38, Giants 17
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#404604 - 09/27/18 09:47 PM Re: NFL Week 4 [Re: FREAK]
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Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

The series between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers is typically noted for the hard-hitting defenses on both sides, but both offenses will be in the spotlight in Sunday night's matchup at Pittsburgh's Heinz Field. The Ravens rank fifth in the NFL in scoring while the Steelers feature the league's No. 2-rated passing attack.

Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has already thrown for 1,140 yards in the first three games, but he pointed out the only one number matters. "It's about winning and losing," said Roethlisberger. "We didn't put up any goals this year, in terms of points or yards or where we wanted to rank. We just wanted to win football games. So, to have only one win, I would say offensively we're not doing our job." Roethlisberger's counterpart, Joe Flacco, also is off to a strong start but he echoed a defensive mindset on how Baltimore is approaching the matchup against its bitter AFC North rival. "It's more than just winning and losing a game," said Flacco. "It's beating a division opponent up a little bit, so they feel the effects the next week."

TV: 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC. LINE: Steelers -3. O/U: 50.5

ABOUT THE RAVENS (2-1): Flacco threw for only 196.3 yards per game in 2017 but is averaging exactly 100 yards more in the first three games while getting solid production from the trio of wide receivers signed in the offseason. Michael Crabtree has a team-high 15 catches while John Brown and Willie Snead have 12 apiece, but Baltimore needs to get its running game going. Alex Collins, who rushed for nearly 1,000 yards last season, is averaging only 38.7 yards but ran for a season-high 68 yards and a TD in last week's 27-14 victory over Denver. The Ravens lead the NFL in total defense (273.0 yards) but linebacker Terrell Suggs missed practice again Thursday.

ABOUT THE STEELERS (1-1-1): Antonio Brown has surpassed 100 receptions in each of the past five seasons and is on pace for another with 24 catches, but JuJu Smith-Schuster has emerged as a force with team-high totals of 27 receptions and 356 yards. Roethlisberger rebounded from a five-turnover season opener with his second straight three-touchdown performance to earn AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. James Conner had a magnificent season opener before turning in a dud in Week 2, but he ran well in the fourth quarter to close out last week's 30-27 win over Tampa Bay. The Steelers rank 29th overall defensively but are tied for second in the NFL with 11.0 sacks.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Roethlisberger has thrown for 1,125 yards and 11 TDs in the last three home matchups versus Baltimore.

2. Collins rushed for 202 yards and a TD on 27 carries in the two meetings against the Steelers in 2017.

3. Nine of the past 13 meetings have been settled by four points or fewer.

PREDICTION: Steelers 27, Ravens 23
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#404687 - 09/28/18 10:31 PM Re: NFL Week 4 [Re: FREAK]
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Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos

Three games into his first full season as a starter and second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes already has bumped Peyton Manning from the NFL record books. Mahomes looks to continue his blistering start to the campaign and keep his team perfect when the Kansas City Chiefs host the Denver Broncos on Monday night in a matchup of longtime AFC West rivals.

The Chiefs are the league's highest-scoring team behind Mahomes, who became the first quarterback in league history to throw 13 touchdown passes in the first three games of the season. "He's a great quarterback, he can make all the throws, quick, athletic, young," Broncos linebacker Von Miller told reporters. "He's got everything you want." Mahomes also has yet to throw an interception and already was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week on two occasions for Kansas City, which has won five consecutive matchups against Denver. The Broncos, who won their first two games by a total of four points, will try to bounce back from a 27-14 loss at Baltimore last week in which they surrendered 20 unanswered points.

TV: 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Chiefs -4.5. O/U: 54.5

ABOUT THE CHIEFS (3-0): Mahomes threw for 314 yards and three touchdowns - all in the second quarter - in last week's 38-27 home win over San Francisco, the third time in as many weeks Kansas City has scored at least 38 points. Explosive wide receiver Tyreek Hill finally was held in check and kept out of the end zone, but tight end Travis Kelce picked up the slack with eight catches for 114 yards. Kareem Hunt, who led the league in rushing as a rookie in 2017, is averaging 3.2 yards per carry but did record a pair of 1-yard TD runs. The Chiefs have struggled on the other side of the ball, ranking last in yards allowed (474) and 30th in points surrendered (30.7).

ABOUT THE BRONCOS (2-1): Case Keenum signed a two-year deal with Denver after a breakout season in which he led Minnesota to the NFC Championship Game, but he already has been intercepted five times - just two fewer than his total for the entire 2017 campaign. Emmanuel Sanders is the team's leading receiver with 19 receptions and Demaryius Thomas has 16, but Denver's best hope may be leaning on the rookie tandem of running backs Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman, who have accumulated 350 yards for the league's fourth-ranked rushing attack. Denver will need to generate pressure against Mahomes with a group led by former Super Bowl MVP Miller, who is tied for the NFL lead with four sacks.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Miller has registered eight sacks and 11 tackles for loss in his last eight contests against the Chiefs.

2. Hill has scored four touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving and one kick return) in three games versus Denver.

3. The Broncos lost TE Jake Butt to a torn ACL suffered in Thursday's practice.

PREDICTION: Chiefs 30, Broncos 23
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