Welcome to this week’s edition of NFL Breakdown. We focus on three games you need to check out and all the info that you’ll need ahead of the contests.
This week, our attention is on the matchups between the Eagles vs Steelers, Colts vs Browns, and Giants vs Cowboys.
Philadelphia Eagles vs Pittsburgh Steelers
- Spread: Steelers -7 (-115)
- Point Total: 44.5 (-110)
The Pittsburgh Steelers found themselves on a bye last week as the NFL deals with the fallout from the Titans’ inability to follow COVID-19 protocol. The team sits at 3-0 after wins over the Giants, Broncos, and Texans. We are still looking to see what this team is capable of as these wins came against teams with a combined 1-11 record so far this season. Their only convincing win came against New York in week one. Ben Roethlisberger seems to have picked up where he left off, averaging 259 yards per game with seven touchdowns and only one interception. Running back James Conner has rushed for over 100 yards in the last two games and averaged a staggering 6.3 yards per carry and two touchdowns.
Philadelphia, a complete trainwreck, sits on a 1-2-1 record to start the year. Their only win came against Nick Mullens and the 49ers JV team and they tied with the Cincinnati Bengals in week 3. That tie currently has them in first place in the illustrious NFC East. $128 million dollar man Carson Wentz is averaging 233 yards per game with a whopping four touchdowns. He hasn’t thrown more than seven interceptions in a season thus far in his career, however, he’s at seven through the first four games. At this point, Eagles fans are probably praying he falls victim to one of his signature injuries.
Let’s be honest, this game made the breakdown because the Steelers are 3-0. The Eagles look like absolute trash so far, though they have managed 13 sacks in their last two games. They are currently second in the NFL in sacks per game. The first? Mike Tomlin’s Steelers. Pittsburgh also boasts the third-ranked defense in terms of opponent completion percentage. Philadelphia is allowing 109 yards per game on the ground so expect the Steelers to get James Conner going early and often. I’ll confidently take Pittsburgh and their number one ranked defense to cover the seven points this week.
Indianapolis Colts vs Cleveland Browns
- Spread: Colts -1 (-110)
- Point Total: 46.5 (-110)
The Indianapolis Colts give us another top-ranked defense heading into week 5. At number two the Colts currently lead the league in interceptions and currently only allow 159 passing yards per game. Potentially another beneficiary of a soft schedule, Indianapolis beat the Bears, Jets, and Vikings to start the year. Their only loss came against division rival Jacksonville in week one. Quarterback Philip Rivers continues to middle the road with four touchdowns and three interceptions. Starting running back Marlon Mack tore his Achilles in week one and the Colts have yet to muster much of a ground attack. Tight end Mo Alie-Cox seems to have some confidence from Rivers, scoring in each of the last two games.
Amazingly, the Browns are 3-1 so far this season. Their only loss came at the hands of Baltimore in week one. Cleveland held on to beat the Cowboys in week 4 despite giving up 24 points in the fourth quarter. The Browns are averaging a league-best 205 yards on the ground but lost Nick Chubb last week. Kareem Hunt and D’Ernest Johnson will shoulder the load until Chubb returns later this year. Baker Mayfield certainly has not been lighting up the scoreboard, but he is taking care of the ball throwing only two interceptions so far. Cleveland does have the third-fewest passing yards per game at this point.
In what amounts to basically a pickem game, we’ll really get an opportunity to see which one of these teams has a chance to do something significant this season. The Browns have scored over 30 points in three of four games and the Colts have allowed fewer than 12 in their past three. Without Chubb (and because I can’t bring myself to trust anyone else in Cleveland) I’ll take the Colts and their fourth-ranked rush defense this week, as well as the under.
New York Giants vs Dallas Cowboys
- Spread: Cowboys -9 (-110)
- Point Total: 54 (-110)
Barring some miraculous turnaround from one of the worst teams in the worst division in football, this will be the first and last time the Giants make the weekly breakdown. I’m sad I’m including them at all, but I want to get each team in here at least once. The Giants are soooo bad. Without Saquon Barkley they are currently (and probably will always be) the 31st ranked offense. Even with all the time they spend on the field, the New York defense is fifth overall in yards allowed per game. We’ll see if they can keep that up in week 5.
Dallas is your 2020 Disappointment of the Year award winner. They are one Atlanta player with a brain away from starting the year 0-4. The Cowboys were absolutely embarrassed last week, giving up six touchdowns to Cleveland. Dak Prescott really got it going after week one, throwing for 450+ yards in each of the last three games. He’s on pace for 36 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
I talked a lot of smack about the Vikings last week and that came back to bite me. This one won’t. Though it appears we have an immovable object in the Giants defense versus an unstoppable force in the Cowboys passing attack, the Cowboys are not the Rams or the Bears. Dak has too many options between Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, rookie CeeDee Lamb, Dalton Schultz, and Ezekiel Elliot. Division games are usually pretty close, but this one won’t be, so I’ll finish the week with Dallas covering the nine.
Week 4 Recap: The sorry Houston Texans caused the season’s first miss ATS last week. While they let us down, several other teams came through.
- Last week: 2-1
- This season: 5-1
*Odds via DraftKings