A wild Week Three has commenced, and we are ready for another Sunday full of surprises and wild finishes. I’m here to predict the three best matchups of Week Four, so let’s get into it.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Philadelphia Eagles (-6.5)
Who would’ve thought the Jags would be here at this point of the season? Especially because their wins have not been flukes. Jacksonville has beaten two quality opponents in Indianapolis and LAC. Granted, Justin Herbert has been dealing with his rib injury, however, I won’t forget that top coverage analysts touted the Chargers’ roster to be a top-five roster in football before the season, and Jacksonville was supposed to be a bottom-five team again.
So, how does the bottom five team waltz into SoFi Stadium and utterly dismantle such an elite roster of players by 28 points? I give head coach Doug Pederson a whole lot of credit for what he’s been able to do with this Jags team, especially on defense. Allowing a total of ten points to the Colts and Chargers is unheard of, especially in back-to-back games. Pederson now returns to his former home in Philly, where he won his Super Bowl in 2017. Again, before the season, I would’ve taken Philly in a heartbeat and been on to the next game, but now I’m thinking not so fast!
The Jags not only have impressed defensively, but also hold the second-best point differential, and have scored 62 points in their last two games. I’m going to ride this high Jacksonville seems to have right now and take them with the points. I’ve been very impressed with Trevor Lawrence’s ascendance and the offense seems to be clicking. I also believe Pederson will have something extra for this game, it being his return/ revenge game and whatnot.
The Pick: Jaguars +6.5
MVP Quarterback Matchup
Buffalo Bills (-3.0) @ Baltimore Ravens
I’ve voiced multiple times that this game should be on Sunday Night. I have total respect for the Tampa/Kansas City game being the nightcap, however, that game being at 4:25 PM would’ve worked fine. But that is neither here nor there. I just talked about this game extensively on the Flock the North podcast with Matt Trigger and Josh Merill, and I explained that weather permitting, this game has the potential to go down to the wire.
As both secondaries are not at full strength, the passing game should widen up. This favors Buffalo; however, the weak right side of the Bills’ offensive line will make it tough for Josh Allen to find receivers in space. Matt and Josh told me that the pass rush is essentially non-existent.
However, that gave me confidence that regardless of how poorly the line plays, Allen will still be able to extend some plays and find his targets down the field. On the other hand, Lamar Jackson is the early MVP candidate right now, and the wind and rain may just favor him, and his ability to find seams and run all over the Bills’ defense, which is so incredibly riddled with injuries.
Head coach Sean McDermott has already ruled out Christian Benford, Jordan Phillips, and Jake Kumerow for Sunday’s game, and I have a feeling there will be more key inactives as well. I’m interested to see the weather conflicts for this one, and while I’m taking Buffalo to win, I’m not expecting them to cover.
The Pick: Ravens +3.0
Super Bowl Rematch
Kansas City Chiefs @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (EVEN)
They made this an even line. Well, my preseason NFC number-one seed pick the Bucs have gotten off to a bit of a rough start. While they’ve won two of their first three, the offense is absurdly injury-ridden. Last week, Tom’s top-three targets were Breshad Perriman, Scotty Miller, and Cole Beasley. Yes, Cole Beasley, who was released by Buffalo, made some anti-COVID comments, was ridiculed and was picked up by a desperate Tampa team who just needs some sort of veteran presence for Brady and company.
When healthy, the Bucs have one of the top three receiving corps in all of football. There is no denying the greatness of Evans, Godwin, and Jones, and at the end of the road, all three may be in Canton wearing gold jackets. While Evans will be back in the fold this week, Godwin and Jones will be game-time decisions. This says to me they will most likely not play, just to get that extra week of rest, especially Godwin, who is coming off that torn ACL.
I have confidence that the Bucs’ offense will begin to click again this week, as Evans single-handedly changes the complexion of Byron Leftwich’s unit. As for KC, they struggled to do much of anything in Indy a week ago, falling to the Colts on a last-minute score that they were unable to overcome. I think that as this season progresses, the loss of Tyreek Hill will become more and more evident in the Chiefs’ offensive prowess, or lack of, for that matter.
If Mahomes can continue to build relationships and create strong connections with his new receivers, I think this team still has the capability of making a deep playoff run, but for this particular game, I like Tampa to bounce back, as I cannot forget what Todd Bowles did to the Chiefs the last time he faced them.
The Pick : Buccaneers