NFL Week 4: Jared Hackmyer picks a Sunday slate of games highlighted by an offensive showdown between the Cowboys and Browns
Colts (-4.5) BEARS (45)
Jared’s Pick: Colts
Breakout Player: RB Jonathan Taylor
The Bears’ defense has been outstanding these past few weeks. Along with their 3-0 record, Chicago has let up a total of 62 points so far with an interception against each team. Chicago also is the second ranked third down defense in the league. Something interesting to watch for this week is QB Nick Foles getting his first start of the season after coming into the game late last week, and beating the Falcons in an outstanding comeback. I’d watch for Bears TE Jimmy Graham on Sunday. Foles has always been a guy who hits the tight end a lot, and I’d expect an increase in Graham’s targets this week.
The Colts absolutely dominated the Jets last week in a 29 point win. This week I expect RB Jonathan Taylor to have a big workload. With Marlon Mack out, Taylor seems to be their number one guy with Hines behind him. Indianapolis ranks 1st in points, passing yards, and total yards let up on defense. Chicago’s offense could have hard time moving the ball against this defense on Sunday. Yes, Foles won the starting job, but we don’t know how he will play against a tough defense like Indianapolis.
Saints (-4.5) LIONS (53.5)
Jared’s Pick: Saints
Breakout Player: RB Alvin Kamara
With WR Michael Thomas likely out, I’d expect this New Orleans offense to continue to have a hard time in the passing game on Sunday. New Orleans is currently 0-2 without Thomas. RB Alvin Kamara has been unreal these past three weeks, and I don’t see Detroit stopping him. The Saints’ defense, however, has been struggling a ton, letting up about 31 points per game. If New Orleans wants to start racking up wins, having one of the most talented rosters in the NFC, they have to start holding offenses to less points because the Saints’ offense can’t do it all alone.
I’m sure Detroit is happy to have star WR Kenny Golladay back after a big win last Sunday against a very talented Arizona team. If the Lions can get rookie RB D’Andre Swift going, this offense will be a lot better with RBs Kerryon Johnson and Adrian Peterson as well. The Lions have had trouble letting up yards on defense with about 409 yards per game. Once they get everyone back from their injuries, expect that to change. I’m definitely not counting Detroit out this weekend, but right now I see New Orleans on top.
Cardinals (-3.5) PANTHERS (51.5)
Jared’s Pick: Cardinals
Breakout Player: RB Kenyan Drake
After last week’s loss to Detroit, some people are beginning to question the Arizona Cardinals. QB Kyler Murray looked amazing in the first two weeks but last week had a very hard time against an average Lion defense. Murray threw for 270 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 rushing touchdown, and 3 interceptions. Personally, I wouldn’t give up on this team at all. Murray and WR DeAndre Hopkins have been amazing, and the defense is among the league’s best.
Carolina got its first win last week against the Chargers. Without star RB Christian McCaffrey, the Panthers played surprisingly well. WR Robby Anderson has been QB Teddy Bridgewater’s favorite target and Anderson has 20 receptions for 278 yards, and 2 touchdown. I’d watch for another big game from Anderson with McCaffrey out. Carolina has been letting up around 27 points per game and will be going against an extremely explosive offense. They are going to have to pick things up if they want to win on Sunday.
BENGALS (-3.5) Jaguars (47.5)
Jared’s Pick: Bengals
Breakout Player: QB Joe Burrow
Even though Cincinnati is heading into week 4 with no wins, rookie QB Joe Burrow has given the offense a whole new look. RB Joe Mixon hasn’t met anyone’s expectations so far, so Burrow has had the chance to throw the ball a lot more than expected. With one of the worst offensive lines in the league, Burrow has 821 passing yards, 5 passing touchdowns, 64 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown, and 1 interception. He’s made the best out of a bad situation and I can see him lighting up Jacksonville’s defense this week. The Bengals defense hasn’t been great so far, but lucky for Cincinnati, Jacksonville’s offense isn’t much of a threat. Neither is their defense.
Last week, Jacksonville got blown out by a below average Miami team. After two strong weeks from QB Gardner Minshew, the Dolphins gave him a very hard time. With Cincinnati’s defense ranking 9th in the NFL in passing yards let up per game, Minshew could have another tough week. I’d watch for RB James Robinson to have a heavy workload, knowing the Bengals’ rushing defense has been awful.
COWBOYS (-5.5) Browns (54.5)
Jared’s Pick: Cowboys
Breakout Player: WR Amari Cooper
Despite their 1-2 record, the Cowboys offense has been a huge threat. QB Dak Prescott has thrown for over 1100 yards in only three games and the addition of first-round WR CeeDee Lamb has been a huge boost. Cleveland’s defense has let up a ton of points this season, and with all of the weapons on Dallas, expect the Cowboys to run up the score. The Cowboys’ defense hasn’t been looking great and they will also be going up against an offense with a ton of weapons.
RBs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt have been huge, combining for 496 rushing yards, 59 receiving yards, and 7 touchdowns. If QB Baker Mayfield can start to connect with his targets on longer throws, Dallas will definitely struggle Sunday. I would watch for a big game from star WR Odell Beckham with Dallas’ weaker secondary. Also, with LBs Leighton Vander Esch and Sean Lee inactive, watch for big games from TEs Austin Hooper and David Njoku.
Vikings (-2.5) TEXANS (49.5)
Jared’s Pick: Vikings
Breakout Player: WR Justin Jefferson
Minnesota has been a huge disappointment after a successful 2019 season. The Vikings defense has been awful. In three games, the Vikings have let up 102 points and it’s now without star LB Anthony Barr for the season. Once Danielle Hunter returns from IR, we should expect to see better pass and run defense from Minnesota. On offense, QB Kirk Cousins has been having a tough time, even with his good weapons. Cousins’ touchdown to interception ratio is 5-6 but luckily for Minnesota, Houston is in the same boat. After making it to the 2019 divisional round of the playoffs, the Texans are off to an 0-3 start as well.
Despite success against the pass, the Houston defense has not been fun to watch, having already let up 95 points. Without star WR DeAndre Hopkins, QB Deshaun Watson has been lacking in weapons. The offense only averages about 19 points per game but with Minnesota’s defense struggling, I can see Watson having a bounce back week. The one positive for the Texans is that they have played 3 top teams, so basing the rest of the season on those three games is hard.
Seahawks (-7) DOLPHINS (53.5)
Jared’s Pick: Seahawks
Breakout Player: WR DK Metcalf
Seattle’s offense has been on point and QB Russell Wilson has had four or more passing touchdowns in all three games, with a total of 14 going into week 4. With star CB Byron Jones doubtful for Miami on Sunday, I’d watch for another big game from Wilson. WRs DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett have combined for 556 yards and 7 touchdowns. RB Chris Carson won’t be 100% on Sunday, so an increase in drop backs for Wilson wouldn’t be crazy. Seattle’s defense has been doing the job, but they have let up an absurd amount of yards and points. They rank last in total yards and 22nd in points let up per game. Their rushing defense has been a huge positive, ranking 2nd in the NFL for rushing yards/game. Miami’s offense doesn’t seem like too much of a threat to Seattle, but without star S Jamal Adams, the defense may continue to struggle in the secondary.
Miami lit up Jacksonville last week, winning by 18 points. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been acceptable QB for Miami, but a start for rookie RB Tua Tagovailoa in the coming weeks wouldn’t shock me if Miami begins to rack up losses. If Miami can’t get their rushing game going, they are going to have a tough one on Sunday as their defense hasn’t been doing the job. One possible factor is that Miami’s weaker games on defense were against New England and Buffalo. When they played a below average team like Jacksonville, they played amazing. If things continue to play out the way they have been, I expect Seattle to win big.
BUCCANEERS (-6.5) Chargers (44.5)
Jared’s Pick: Buccaneers
Breakout Player: WR Mike Evans
After a loss in week 1, Tampa Bay has won two straight, beating two below average teams, the Panthers and Broncos. L.A. will definitely be a tougher matchup. The Chargers have kept all of their three games close, even against the Chiefs. With Buc WR Chris Godwin and RB Leonard Fournette inactive this week, the offense will likely struggle. Look for WR Mike Evans to have a heavy workload. Both of these defenses have looked great this season, especially Tampa Bay’s. The Buccaneers have had four interceptions, and their secondary isn’t even their strength on defense.
QB Justin Herbert has looked promising for this Chargers offense in his first two weeks. With their defense letting up minimal points, they don’t have to rely on Herbert getting points every drive. Star WR Keenan Allen, RB Austin Ekeler, and TE Hunter Henry have been a huge help. If Herbert can eliminate his interceptions, this offense definitely has a chance on Sunday. L.A.’s defense has been amazing. They held the Chiefs to 23 points in an overtime win by the Chiefs. They are averaging only 19 points let up per game. With Godwin and Fournette out, the defense will have an easier time game-planning for Tom Brady. I think Tampa Bay is the better team, but this game will stay close.
Ravens (-11.5) FOOTBALL TEAM (46)
Jared’s Pick: Ravens
Breakout Player: WR Marquise Brown
After a tough loss to Kansas City, the Ravens are looking for a big win this week against Washington. I don’t see last week as an awful thing for Baltimore. Yes, I’m sure they’d rather have won, but the Chiefs are arguably the best team in the league. The Ravens have been clicking on offense all season. RB JK Dobbins has been big and his workload will likely increase because now they know what he’s capable of. I’d watch for a big game from Lamar Jackson. With Washington DE Chase Young out, I don’t see Lamar having a hard time running the ball, which he’s best at. Even though Baltimore’s defense struggled greatly last week, they still only average about 19 points per game let up (3rd in the NFL).
The Football Team, hasn’t looked good since week 1. Their offense can’t get things going with QB Dwayne Haskins. They rank 29th in the league in passing yards/game and 30th in total yards/game. Their one positive is their defense. Even though they are 1-2, Chase Young gives this defense a whole new look and their secondary has been playing well, ranking 3rd in the league for least amount of passing yards. Playing one of the best offenses in the league without Chase Young, this defense is looking at a tough game Sunday.
RAMS (-11.5) Giants (47.5)
Jared’s Pick: Rams
Breakout Player: TE Tyler Higbee
Last week the Rams lost on a very questionable pass interference call against Buffalo, after an amazing comeback. After a rough 2019 season, Jared Goff is finally ready to compete again. WRs Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp have been huge after the loss of Brandin Cooks. TE Tyler Higbee has been a big help as well with three touchdowns in the new season. Aside from last week, this Ram defense has been great.
Going into week 4, the Giants do not look good. They have played three very good defenses, but their offense can’t do much. With the Giants missing WR Sterling Shepard, Daniel Jones will continue to lack targets. I wouldn’t expect Jones to do much this week with their struggling offensive line facing star DL Aaron Donald. Despite their 0-3 start, one positive for the Giants has been their defense. They haven’t been amazing, but it is definitely an upgrade from 2019. With Jabrill Peppers inactive Sunday, expect Goff to utilize the deep ball.CHIEFS (-5) Patriots (53)
CHIEFS (-5) Patriots (53)
Jared’s Pick: Chiefs
Breakout Player: RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire
Last week, the Chiefs showed the league that once again, they are the real deal, dominating the 2-0 Ravens on Monday night. This Chiefs offense has been unstoppable these last three years with QB Pat Mahomes, who this year has thrown for 8 touchdowns, zero interceptions, and almost 1,000 yards. Kansas City can finally utilize the running game with rookie RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, which is a huge boost for this offense. Aside from the Chiefs’ run stoppage, their defense has looked amazing so far. The Chiefs held the Ravens, the fourth highest scoring offense in the league, to only 20 points. I can see this defense giving New England’s offense a tough time this Sunday.
Cam Newton has given this New England offense a great look so far in 2020 but is now out after testing positive for Covid-19. Going into week 4, 2-1, the Patriots’ offense leads the league in rushing yards per game and they'll really have to rely in the run game with Newton out. And while the offense has been able to rack up points, in week 2 their defense let up 35 points to Seattle. Kansas City’s offense is arguably better than Seattle’s, and I can see this defense struggling in week 4 (or whenever the game is played). Both teams have shown a ton of bright spots so far this season, but the Chiefs look unbeatable right now.
Bills (-4) Raiders (51.5)
Jared’s Pick: Bills
Breakout Player: WR Stefon Diggs
Buffalo got lucky last week in their win against the Rams, after a very questionable pass interference call on their game winning drive to set up scoring position. QB Josh Allen has looked great so far, and WR Stefan Diggs has given him a huge boost. With RB Zack Moss likely out again Sunday, look for another big game from Devin Singletary. After being arguably the best defense in the league in 2019, this year Buffalo's defense has been just acceptable, and have begun to let up a bunch of points. Going against an offense that lacks weapons like Las Vegas, they should be able to keep a lead most of the game.
Vegas has looked promising in the early weeks, but after a tough loss to the Patriots last week, people are starting to question if they are the real deal. The offense has converted on over 50% of their third downs and if QB Derek Carr can continue to feed TE Darren Waller this week, Buffalo will definitely have hard time stopping them. Vegas’ defense hasn’t looked great, giving up about 30 points per game. Allen and this offense are going to be hard to stop if this defense can’t pick things up. I have Buffalo winning Sunday over Vegas.
49ERS (-7.5) Eagles (45.5)
Jared’s Pick: 49ers
Breakout Player: WR Brandon Ayiuk
Even with all of their injuries, San Francisco annihilated the Giants by 27 last week. With TE George Kittle and WR Deebo Samuel likely returning this Sunday, this offense will look a lot better than it did last week. Even though, they will still be missing starting QB Jimmy Garoppolo, I think Nick Mullens can get the job done against this struggling Philly defense. San Francisco’s defense has looked amazing, even without star DEs Nick Bosa and Soloman Thomas and CB Richard Sherman. With Carson Wentz having a hard time getting his offense going, the 49ers could have a big defensive game this Sunday.
Philadelphia has been hard to watch so far. They have been struggling with injuries all season, and can’t get their offense or defense going. Wentz has thrown for 3 touchdowns and 6 interceptions against some pretty bad defenses. I’d watch for RB Miles Sanders to be the key player in this offense with Wentz’s struggles. Philly’s defense has been able to hold teams to less yards than most other teams, but they have let up a ton of points. With Kittle and Samuel back for San Francisco, Philly won’t have an easy week.
Note: Titans vs Steelers has been postponed. The NFL is awaiting a decision on the Chiefs vs. Patriots game. That also may be moved off this week.
Jared Hackmyer is the founder of GOATNYG on Instagram.