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Week 4 NFL score predictions: A guide to best games, fantasy help, more

We're previewing the Week 4 NFL slate with score predictions for each game from our Nation reporters, what to watch for in fantasy, Football Power Index projections from ESPN Stats & Info's Seth Walder and Hank Gargiulo and much more.

Thursday Night Football result: LAR 38, MIN 31
Teams with byes in Week 4: WSH, CAR

Jump to a matchup:
CIN-ATL | MIA-NE | PHI-TEN | HOU-IND | DET-DAL
NYJ-JAX | BUF-GB | TB-CHI | CLE-OAK | SEA-ARI
NO-NYG | SF-LAC | BAL-PIT | KC-DEN


Sunday's games

Cincinnati Bengals at Atlanta Falcons (1 p.m. ET, CBS)

Point spread: ATL -5 | Matchup quality: 59.4 (of 100)

Katherine Terrell's pick: If A.J. Green is healthy, the Bengals should be able to attack the Falcons' defense, which just lost a third starter. If he's not, the Bengals' offense is handicapped without him or running back Joe Mixon. The Falcons had trouble running the ball against the Saints, which is a good sign for the Bengals after their run defense played poorly against the Panthers in Week 3. Bengals 34, Falcons 28.

Vaughn McClure's pick: The Falcons are banged up on defense, putting the onus on the offense to take advantage of every scoring opportunity. If rookie Calvin Ridley continues to play at a high level next to Julio Jones and the Falcons find a way to block disruptive Bengals defensive lineman Geno Atkins, they should score enough points to win at home. Falcons 28, Bengals 24.

FPI win projection: ATL, 66 percent. No team has moved up more over the course of the season in FPI's rankings than the Bengals, jumping from 25th to 14th. The Falcons might be 1-2, but FPI still ranks them in the top five thanks in large part to what it sees as the fifth-strongest offense.

What to watch for in fantasy: Tyler Boyd was on the field for 38 of the Bengals' 47 pass plays and handled seven more targets in Week 3. It's safe to say he has earned his way into the weekly WR3 discussion. Read more.

In case you missed it: Kirkpatrick: 'It's personal' in battle vs. Falcons ... Ridley is making his family and the Falcons proud ... 'Mullet power' has led Eifert to his best start since 2015


Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots (1 p.m. ET, CBS)

Point spread: NE -7 | Matchup quality: 50.4 (of 100)

Cameron Wolfe's pick: The Dolphins haven't won in Foxborough in a decade, and this appears to be one of their best chances catching a struggling New England team. This also seems like a prime opportunity for Tom Brady to get right at home against a Miami defense that will be without key defenders William Hayes and Andre Branch and likely Chase Allen. A Dolphins loss will show there's progress needed to catch the Patriots in the AFC East. Patriots 31, Dolphins 23.

Mike Reiss' pick: The first thing Bill Belichick noted about the Dolphins in his midweek news conference was that they rank first in the NFL in average drive start (31.7-yard line) on kickoffs and are tied for second in the NFL with a plus-four turnover differential. It sounds like he is expecting a field-position type of game in which a turnover could sway the outcome. I like the Patriots to bounce back after back-to-back losses. Patriots 27, Dolphins 17.

FPI win projection: NE, 72 percent. Obviously neither team can win the AFC East on Sunday, but the winner can go a long way in taking control of the race. If the Dolphins pull the upset in Foxborough, it would be Miami in control of the division as a 68 percent favorite. If the Pats hold serve at home, they'd be the majority favorites at 57 percent.

What to watch for in fantasy: Sony Michel's NFL career is off to a slow start, but it hasn't helped that he has seen eight-plus men in the box on 42 percent of his 24 carries. Read more.

In case you missed it: A guide to New England's 'Oh no!' starts ... Amendola using Patriots-learned lessons ... Pats' D turnaround starts against run


Philadelphia Eagles at Tennessee Titans (1 p.m. ET, Fox)

Point spread: PHI -4 | Matchup quality: 48.9 (of 100)

Tim McManus' pick: The Eagles' defense yielded 25 points per game as the visitor last season compared to 12 points at home in 2017, and the trend has continued through three games this season. Fortunes could change some this week against a Titans team that is near the bottom of the league in scoring (16.3 points per game). Carson Wentz should get a weapon or two back Sunday, and the offense will do enough to get the job done. Eagles 23, Titans 17.

Turron Davenport's pick: The Titans are looking to make a statement with a win over the defending Super Bowl champions. They have won 11 of the past 13 games at home. Tennessee's physical defense will keep the game close while QB Marcus Mariota and the offense find a way to generate a couple of big gains against an overly aggressive Eagles secondary that is without safety Rodney McLeod. Titans 24, Eagles 20.

FPI win projection: PHI, 62 percent. Wentz's Total QBR (36.3) in his first week back was his lowest in a game since Week 11 of 2016 at Seattle. For the Titans, Mariota apparently wasn't healthy enough to start, but he was healthy enough to post the team's best QBR of the season with a 62.2 in relief of an injured Blaine Gabbert.

What to watch for in fantasy: The Titans' defense ranks fifth in terms of adjusted fantasy points allowed thus far, so Wentz might not be the best fantasy start this week. Read more.

In case you missed it: Three moments that defined Wentz's comeback ... Byard: Titans, not Jags, AFC South's big dogs right now


Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts (1 p.m. ET, CBS)

Point spread: IND -1.5 | Matchup quality: 46.2 (of 100)

Sarah Barshop's pick: In its first three games, Houston combined for 19 points in the first half and 40 in the second half. DeAndre Hopkins has gone five consecutive games without a first-quarter reception. This is a must-win for the Texans if they want to have any chance of turning around their season, but they'll fall short in Indianapolis against a Colts team that also has been competitive in all three of its games. Colts 24, Texans 20.

Mike Wells' pick: The Colts are two failed red zone attempts in the final minute of their two losses from being 3-0. They scored only one touchdown on five attempts inside the 20-yard line against Philadelphia in Week 3. The Texans are 21st in the league in that category. The Colts make it two straight over the Texans in Indianapolis after losing two in a row to them at Lucas Oil Stadium. Colts 23, Texans 17.

FPI win projection: IND, 61 percent. Are the Colts easing QB Andrew Luck back in after a long layoff, or is something missing from his game? Luck's average target depth has been just under 5.5 yards, which is far below his career average. Deshaun Watson, on the other hand, has been aggressive passing downfield, with his average target depth being over 11 yards downfield.

What to watch for in fantasy: Since the start of last season, no team has allowed more deep completions than the Colts. Read more.

In case you missed it: Watt ends 'long drought' with first sacks since 2016 ... Luck, Colts offense playing catch-up to the defense


Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys (1 p.m. ET, Fox)

Point spread: DAL -3 | Matchup quality: 45.7 (of 100)

Michael Rothstein's pick: Detroit has the top-ranked pass defense and worst-ranked run defense in the league. And that plays into the strengths of Dallas' offense. The question is whether the Lions can do enough on offense to force Dallas to have to win by making Dak Prescott beat them. The Lions discovered offensive balance against the Patriots -- and they'll carry that on the road. It'll be a close game. Lions 27, Cowboys 21.

Todd Archer's pick: The passing game has been a weakness for the Cowboys dating back to the midway point of last season. The Lions come to AT&T Stadium with the No. 1 pass defense. Perhaps that's because they are allowing 149.3 yards per game on the ground. If there is a week for the Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott to go left, right and up the middle, this is it. Elliott has gone three straight games without 20 carries, the longest stretch of his career. If the Cowboys want to copy a model for success, roll out what Seattle did to them last week. Cowboys 24, Lions 16.

FPI win projection: DAL, 69 percent. The Cowboys would have just a 14 percent chance to reach the playoffs with a loss, per FPI. Dallas has reached the playoffs only once before after a 1-3 start (1996).

What to watch for in fantasy: Byron Jones has been one of the league's best corners this season, which could spell some trouble for WR Marvin Jones Jr. Read more.

In case you missed it: The small change Stafford made hoping for more success ... Answers for Cowboys' offensive woes must come from within ... How Fortnite star Ninja became a rabid Lions fan


New York Jets at Jacksonville Jaguars (1 p.m. ET, Fox)

Point spread: JAX -7.5 | Matchup quality: 45.2 (of 100)

Rich Cimini's pick: The Jets aren't in a good place offensively -- only two touchdown drives longer than 28 yards in the past two games. And now they're supposed to rebound against arguably the best defense in the league? On the road? With a rookie quarterback? Not happening. Their only chance is if they turn Blake Bortles into Tyrod Taylor. Jaguars 23, Jets 13.

Mike DiRocco's pick: It's looking good for the Jaguars to have back Leonard Fournette (hamstring) and A.J. Cann (triceps). Fournette, who hasn't played since the first half of the season opener, was missed last week against Tennessee, especially with T.J. Yeldon (ankle) banged up. Coach Doug Marrone said Fournette won't be limited whenever he returns. That should boost an offense that couldn't get into a rhythm and didn't execute in the red zone last week. Jaguars 17, Jets 14.

FPI win projection: JAX, 73 percent. After posting an 83.0 Total QBR in Week 1, Sam Darnold has followed it up with a 24.6 over his past two games. It won't get any easier against a Jaguars defense that has given up the lowest-opposing QBR since the start of last season.

What to watch for in fantasy: Isaiah Crowell's usage patterns through three games haven't been encouraging, as he has just 38 carries to Bilal Powell's 31. Now he gets a tough Jags defense. Read more.

In case you missed it: Marrone's love of bologna and cheese helps fight childhood cancer ... Inside look at Darnold's start: Early trends, warning signs ... Seferian-Jenkins: Time with Jets 'saved my life'


Buffalo Bills at Green Bay Packers (1 p.m. ET, CBS)

Point spread: GB -10 | Matchup quality: 40.1 (of 100)

Mike Rodak's pick: Opponents have posted a Total QBR of 50.0 or better in seven of 10 road games for the Bills under coach Sean McDermott. In his career at home, Aaron Rodgers is 49-6-1 when he posts a Total QBR of 50.0 or better. It would be an upset if Buffalo can make Rodgers look like a below-average quarterback, and also if Rodgers loses at home playing average or above average. Packers 28, Bills 21.

Rob Demovsky's pick: How will a roughing-the-passer call affect this game? That seems to be on everyone's mind around the Packers. They lead the NFL with five such penalties through three weeks, but at least Sunday's referee, Bill Vinovich, has called only two so far. Maybe the Packers will get away clean for a change and enjoy an easy win. Packers 31, Bills 23.

FPI win projection: GB, 76 percent. No team had a bigger improvement in its FPI after last week than the Bills. FPI raised its estimation of the Bills by four points, one of the biggest one-week improvements independent of a quarterback change in the metric's history.

What to watch for in fantasy: Josh Allen ranked 17th overall with a 21 OFP in Week 3. He had 28 fantasy points and now has to be taken even more seriously as a potential fantasy option. Read more.

In case you missed it: More Jones could mean less stress on Rodgers ... Bills pull defensive U-turn, but don't point to Davis' exit


Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Chicago Bears (1 p.m. ET, Fox)

Point spread: CHI -3 | Matchup quality: 38.7 (of 100)

Jenna Laine's pick: The Bucs won't be hanging 30 or 40 points on a Bears defense that is allowing just more than 18 points a game and pressuring opposing quarterbacks on 30 percent of their dropbacks. But the Bucs showed last week that even amid a rocky start, they can come back, with Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing two fourth-quarter touchdowns and a young defense playing three rookie defensive backs and holding the Steelers to zero points in the second half. Bucs 23, Bears 20.

Jeff Dickerson's pick: The Bears, who lead the NFL with a 12.2 percent sack/dropback ratio, are confident they can get pressure on whoever plays quarterback for the Buccaneers. They'll pressure Fitzpatrick, Jameis Winston or both into enough mistakes to win at home. Bears 24, Bucs 20.

FPI win projection: CHI, 58 percent. FPI has weighed in on the Bucs' QB controversy. The model -- which is blind to suspensions and FitzMagic -- believes the Bucs would have a better shot (46 percent) with Winston than with Fitzpatrick (38 percent).

What to watch for in fantasy: Is Peyton Barber a viable flex? Not quite. Barber racked up 35 carries during Weeks 1-2 but was held to 91 yards (2.6 yards per carry) and added only one reception. Read more.

In case you missed it: Resetting the NFC North after three weeks ... NFL execs on Tampa Bay's Jameis decision


Cleveland Browns at Oakland Raiders (4:05 p.m. ET, Fox)

Point spread: OAK -3 | Matchup quality: 26.6 (of 100)

Pat McManamon's pick: It's dangerous to jump in after one half of play, but Baker Mayfield's debut showed too many good signs to ignore, especially when facing a winless team that is giving up 27 points per game and is last in the league in sacks. The Browns start a winning streak. Browns 27, Raiders 20.

Paul Gutierrez's pick: The Raiders' three sacks are last in the league; the Browns have given up 14. This is the week Oakland's pass rush finally gets going, with veteran Bruce Irvin and rookie Arden Key on the edges. Yes, even against a more mobile gunslinger in Baker Mayfield. "We expect him to get home," Raiders coach Jon Gruden said of Key, "hopefully soon." With Derek Carr completing nearly 80 percent of his passes, this will be a shootout, and the Raiders, who have been outscored by a combined 37-3 in the fourth quarter thus far, hang on for dear life. Raiders 31, Browns 30.

FPI win projection: OAK, 66 percent. Mayfield gets a soft landing for his first NFL start, as the Raiders have the second-lowest pressure rate in the league.

What to watch for in fantasy: Is Mayfield worth being added in your fantasy league? He might not be a starting option right now. Read more.

In case you missed it: With first-team reps, Mayfield sends own confidence soaring ... Fast-starting Raiders are own worst enemy in late collapses ... Is Raiders' wealth of pass-catchers helpful or a hindrance?


Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals (4:05 p.m. ET, Fox)

Point spread: SEA -3 | Matchup quality: 17.0 (of 100)

Brady Henderson's pick: For all the misfortune the Seahawks have experienced at State Farm Stadium in recent years -- Super Bowl XLIX and the franchise-altering injuries to Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor -- they've gone 4-0-1 over their past five regular-season games there. That the Seahawks already have eight takeaways is evidence of how well their defense has played despite all the key losses and new faces, so you have to like their chances of forcing Josh Rosen into some mistakes in his first career start. Seahawks 21, Cardinals 17.

Josh Weinfuss' pick: The Cardinals offense, worst in the NFL, hopes to get an injection of yards and points by starting Rosen. But will that be enough? Arizona faces a Seahawks defense that has the best interception rate in the NFL. The Cardinals haven't beaten the Seahawks at home since 2012. Seahawks 27, Cardinals 10.

FPI win projection: SEA, 67 percent. It might not be the halcyon days of the "Legion of Boom," but the Seahawks' defense is still strong, ranking eighth in defensive FPI and seventh in defensive efficiency. FPI knows Rosen played decently in a small number of plays last week, but a full game against a good defense should give us an early glimpse into what to expect from the 10th overall pick in the 2018 draft.

What to watch for in fantasy: Chris Carson had 13 rushing attempts the first two weeks, then 32 in Week 3. Which is real? Read more.

In case you missed it: Griffin 'just getting started' ... Can Cards' offensive coordinator adjust the offense to succeed with Rosen? ... Take a bow because Thoma, Seattle face a dilemma ... Why Bradford didn't work out as Cards' QB


New Orleans Saints at New York Giants (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS)

Point spread: NO -3.5 | Matchup quality: 51.5 (of 100)

Mike Triplett's pick: The Saints' offense ranks second in the NFL at 34.7 points per game, and the defense ranks dead last with 34.3 points allowed per game. Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard could have a big game after the Saints lost nickel corner Patrick Robinson to injured reserve. Saints pass-rusher Cameron Jordan also could have a field day against the Giants' struggling offensive line. The Saints should be able to generate enough pressure to add to their total of one takeaway this season. Saints 29, Giants 26.

Jordan Raanan's pick: The Giants have allowed 20.7 points over the first three weeks this season, but this will be the real test for their bend-but-don't-break defense. They haven't faced a passing attack like the Saints, who are averaging 345.3 yards per game. This isn't an ideal matchup for a Giants defense that can't sack the quarterback (four sacks) and is middle of the pack against the pass despite playing Jacksonville, Dallas and Houston. Saints 27, Giants 24.

FPI win projection: NO, 50 percent. For all the Giants' playmakers, the team ranks just 26th in offensive efficiency. But the Saints present an opportunity to get on the right track, as they have been the league's worst defensive team.

What to watch for in fantasy: Alvin Kamara has finished as a top-three fantasy back all three weeks and paces the position in fantasy points. Read more.

In case you missed it: Harrison is Giants' one-man run-stopping machine ... Back to their old ways, Saints struggle to stop big plays


San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Chargers (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS)

Point spread: LAC -10.5 | Matchup quality: 48.5 (of 100)

Nick Wagoner's pick: Philip Rivers is off to one of the best starts of his career and this week gets to face a 27th-ranked 49ers pass defense that is battling a variety of injuries. Even if the Niners hadn't lost quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to a season-ending ACL injury, this would have been an uphill climb. Without him, it looks like far too much to overcome and the Niners' fifth straight regular-season loss to the Bolts. Chargers 27, 49ers 13.

Eric D. Williams' pick: The Chargers are heavy favorites at home and face a San Francisco team starting backup quarterback C.J. Beathard. Even without Joey Bosa, the Chargers will muster enough pass rush to create consistent pressure up front and negate the 49ers' effective run game. The Bolts' offense should put up enough points to hold the 49ers at bay. Chargers 28, 49ers 20.

FPI win projection: LAC, 76 percent. What does life after Jimmy G look like? FPI still would have had the Chargers as solid favorites if Garoppolo were playing, but the Niners would have had a 31 percent chance to win.

What to watch for in fantasy: While not a starter in 10-team leagues, Mike Williams is an upside add who could eventually crack the top 30 of our receivers rankings on a weekly basis. Read more.

In case you missed it: In second starting turn, Beathard leans on support ... Chargers' defense has failed tests against top teams


Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC)

Point spread: PIT -3.5 | Matchup quality: 76.7 (of 100)

Jamison Hensley's pick: The Ravens have lost seven of their past eight regular-season games against Ben Roethlisberger at Heinz Field. Why? Baltimore can't stop Big Ben when it matters. He has owned the Ravens in the fourth quarter, throwing for seven touchdowns with no interceptions. Steelers 31, Ravens 30.

Jeremy Fowler's pick: The Steelers have won their past 10 prime-time games, and in four games at Heinz Field during that stretch, Ben Roethlisberger has 1,520 yards with 14 touchdowns and two interceptions. Baltimore is much improved and averages 32.3 points per game heading into a matchup with one of the league's worst pass defenses. Pittsburgh looks primed to handle a shootout, however. Steelers 35, Ravens 28.

FPI win projection: PIT, 56 percent. It would have been hard to imagine a prediction this close in the preseason, but FPI has a big crush on the Ravens. It's mostly the defense, definitely the special teams and not really Joe Flacco.

What to watch for in fantasy: The Steelers have surrendered the most fantasy points to players lined up wide to the left. Read more.

In case you missed it: Can Ravens slow down Brown without his kryptonite? ... Why Ravens are sizzling in red zone at historic pace ... Steelers' offense humming


Monday Night Football

Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos (8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN/WatchESPN)

Point spread: KC -4.5 | Matchup quality: 44.7 (of 100)

Adam Teicher's pick: The Chiefs have beaten the Broncos five consecutive times because they've found a way to crack Denver's defense. Kansas City has at least 27 points in each of those games. All but one happened with Alex Smith at quarterback. Under Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs have even greater offensive capability, and it has showed in their production. The Chiefs lead the league in scoring at more than 39 points per game, and they'll find a way to outscore the Broncos again. Chiefs 34, Broncos 27.

Jeff Legwold's pick: The Chiefs have outscored their opponents 49-6 in the opening quarter and ridden that margin to three wins. The Broncos will need the discipline to avoid the silly penalties they've already had this season as well as the discipline to stick with a running game that has shown it can power the ball on anybody if they're willing to stay with it. Chiefs 31, Broncos 24.

FPI win projection: KC, 58 percent. How hot has Mahomes' start been? His 90.7 Total QBR through three games is the fourth best in the first three weeks of a season since 2006.

What to watch for in fantasy: The Chiefs' defense has struggled against the pass this season, surrendering an NFL-worst 362.7 yards per game. Read more.

In case you missed it: Chiefs having 'a blast' with 'Showtime Mahomes' at QB ... How Harris' versatility can help Broncos slow Chiefs ... Is Bieniemy the next star Reid offensive coordinator? ... Broncos have struggled defending tight ends