This week would normally conclude the first-quarter mark of the regular season with all teams playing four games, but thanks to the 17-game season, it’s slightly less than that.
But this Week 4 schedule does look like a pivotal one that I will call the first major breaking point of the season: a week where the outcomes of these games will have far-reaching impact on how the narrative of this 2022 season (and beyond) unfolds.
We’ve already seen this play out on Thursday night when the Dolphins sacrificed Tua Tagovailoa’s health and career by playing him four days after they let him go back into a game following what looked like a pretty obvious concussion. His decision making look compromised on Thursday night, and he took another hard hit that may have given him a second concussion in less than a week. Hopefully this will bring some changes to the concussion system going forward, but it was a terrible sight to see his fingers lock up like that in a game he really shouldn’t have been playing in.
But that was a big game since it could have led to Miami at 4-0 and the Bengals at 1-3. Instead, Teddy Bridgewater threw a pick late and the Bengals are back in the hunt at 2-2.
There should be a lot of these breaking point moments this week:
First, keep in mind that 14.9% of teams starting 1-3 since 1990 have made the playoffs, and 63.7% of teams starting 3-1 have made the playoffs. It hurts more to start 1-3 than it helps to start 3-1, but it’s a big week for teams in those positions.
The Vikings can drop the Saints to 1-3 with Jameis Winston and Michael Thomas sitting this one out, denying us a battle of the last two QBs (Winston and Kirk Cousins) in the NFL to throw a pick-six in overtime. I wrote an upset pick for the Saints earlier in the week, but I’d change my pick after that injury news dropped.
The Colts (1-1-1) have a big home game with the Titans (1-2) in the AFC South.
Dallas can get to 3-1 and drop Washington to 1-3 in the first game of the Cowboys-Commanders era, also known as The Battle of the Gingers (Carson Wentz and Cooper Rush)
Chargers-Texans is the No. 32 rushing offense vs. No. 32 rushing defense, but if the Chargers start 1-3 with losses to Jacksonville and Houston, you might as well forget this season for them.
One of the Giants-Bears should be 3-1 after tomorrow, but this isn’t a breaking point. Neither team is going to amount to anything this year.
Jaguars-Eagles is shockingly decent on paper, and it would be something if the Jaguars are for real this year and Doug Pederson got the win in Philadelphia.
If Mitch Trubisky sucks against the Jets at home, the Kenny Pickett era might be here now, or else the Steelers aren’t winning another game until after the bye.
Bills-Ravens is a huge game in both the MVP race and AFC playoff standings. I wrote about the intertwined careers of Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson, who are both looking at the Five-Year Rule with their head coaches this season as they hope to win their first Super Bowl.
With Mac Jones down and Brian Hoyer starting, the Patriots are in real danger of falling to 1-3 in Green Bay where Matt LaFleur doesn’t lose to scrubs.
Remember when Josh McDaniels started 6-0 in Denver in 2009? He might be 0-5 to start his job with the Raiders if they don’t get the win over a struggling Denver team this week.
The Chiefs-Bucs Super Bowl rematch (preview) is going to look a lot different, but it’s still about Todd Bowles’ defense, which is allowing 9.0 points per game this year. The Chiefs are a 1-point underdog for now, and if that holds, then Patrick Mahomes has to defend his 6-0-1 ATS record as an underdog.
Finally, the Rams can get to 3-1 and drop the 49ers to 1-3 on Monday night (prop picks), but we know Shanahan has gotten the best of McVay most of the time in that matchup.
For Week 4 prop picks, see here.
For a Week 4 parlay (+553 after last week’s +531 hit), see here.
For updated Super Bowl 57 winner odds and my best picks for the favorite, value pick, and dark horse, see here.
It should be a very important week in the NFL.
NFL Week 4 Predictions
TNF has been good to me this year even if it hasn’t been that good to watch. I also went 11-4-1 ATS last week and still felt like a total bum for the way the Chiefs and Bills lost.
To be honest, the Bengals winning on Thursday night was the second-highest confidence I felt in any pick this week. My only stronger pick is Green Bay taking care of New England. I can see the argument for every other side, including the Texans over the Chargers since they already upset them after Christmas last year.
Fun fact: Browns and Falcons are the only teams to score at least 26 points in every game this season. Now watch that game end 15-10, but it could be an entertaining shootout in the dome while some of these games may be affected by the weather thanks to this awful Hurricane Ian. I really am doing my best to not go nuts on SGPs for Ravens-Bills. Not after the huge disappointment that was 17-3 when they last met in the 2020 playoffs.