Just five undefeated teams remain and two of them play against each other on Sunday afternoon. Our NFL picks sort through the five best contests on Week 4’s schedule and our NFL experts have found their NFL best bets for each of those games!
Our NFL picks help answer that question and provide you with our best bets from five of Week 4’s games.
Carolina Panthers @ Dallas Cowboys – 1PM ET
The undefeated Carolina Panthers are moving on from their Week 3 success on Thursday Night Football and now have their sights set on America’s Team, the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys on the other hand are coming off a big Monday Night Football win over their NFC East rivals, the Eagles, and are now fifth favorite to win the NFC Championship (+1200) following two straight wins over good opponents.
With the Panthers yet to taste defeat through the early stages of the season, there is no time like the present. I think Dallas will dominate this game, at home, and stamp their authority on Carolina with a big win. The Panthers may be 3-0 but their three opponents have a combined record of 3-6, being boosted by playing the helpless Texans and disastrous Jets through their first three games. Meanwhile, Dallas has come within a field goal of Tampa Bay, beaten the Chargers, in LA, who then beat the Chiefs a week later, and dominated the Eagles on Monday Night Football.
That in itself is where I am worried though, given Dallas is on a short week while the Panthers have had the extra three days rest since last Thursday. Given players are still finding their legs in the early part of the season and Carolina has a three-day rest advantage on Dallas, it could come back to haunt them, especially late. However, Dallas is the better team in this matchup and that is the most important factor. Their defense has caused eight turnovers and as a team they have the best turnover differential in the league, highlighting they now how to look after the ball as well as taking it away from their opponents. That will go a long way to helping them win against a Carolina side that is talented, but injured and missing multiple key pieces. Jaycee Horn has been placed on the IR while Christian McCaffrey will miss with a hamstring injury. They are both massive losses for the Panthers and it may be too much to overcome.
Tim’s NFL Pick: Dallas Cowboys -4.5 (-115)
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) September 30, 2021
The Cowboys absolutely dominated the Eagles last week and now faced a weakened Panthers team. Dallas’ run game looked strong behind the Ezekiel Elliot/Tony Pollard combo and will face a Panthers team that has been the best so far at stopping the run this year. With just 45 rushing yards allowed per game, this Panthers run defense is stout. In fact, overall the Panthers defense has been very good with just 10 points allowed per game and 191 yards per game which are both best in the league. These numbers should be taken with a grain of salt as the Panthers have faced the 3 bad teams so far, and this Dallas offense led by Dak Prescott is an entirely different beast.
The Cowboys offense has averaged 30 points per game and ranks among the Chiefs, Bills and Raiders for one of the best in the league. The Panthers haven’t faced a receiving core and quarterback like Dak and Co, and as a result I think the Panthers defense will get a rude awakening. The Panthers have overperformed thus far and with the loss of Horn and McCaffrey, the Cowboys should win this by at least a touchdown.
Mike’s NFL Pick: Dallas Cowboys -4.5 (-115)
Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers – 4.05PM ET
The first of two NFC West showdowns sees the San Francisco 49ers host the flailing Seattle Seahawks on Sunday afternoon. Week 3 saw the 49ers suffer their first loss of the season in heartbreaking fashion while the Seahawks have now dropped two straight games and need to find answers sooner rather than later.
This is potentially the hardest game to pick. While the Niners are 2-1 and the Seahawks are 1-2, Seattle have had a tougher schedule through the first three games of the season. They have played the Colts, Titans and Vikings, two of which were playoff teams from last season and the other is in a purple patch on offense at the moment. Nevertheless, Seattle has now given up 30+ points in two straight games and their offense, not for a lack of trying, hasn’t been able to match it. Russell Wilson is eighth for passing yards and is one of just two quarterbacks in the top 10 in that category that haven’t thrown a pick. Tyler Lockett is equal-fifth in receiving yards and has three touchdowns through three games while Chris Carson has kept the offense humming along the ground, ranking sixth for rushing yards, fifth amongst running backs, while also scoring three touchdowns through three games.
They will need to raise their defensive intensity against a San Francisco side that suffered a heartbreaking loss on Sunday night, losing to the Packers on a last-second field goal after scoring a go-ahead touchdown in the final minute. They managed to overcome some first half offensive struggles to get themselves back in the game but ultimately they couldn’t hold on. Jimmy Garoppolo is averaging just 253 passing yards per game and Sunday was another example of Kyle Shanahan keeping him guessing by putting Trey Lance in for certain sets. You could see from the telecast that this was frustrating Garoppolo and the more it happens, the harder it will get for him to control himself. On the other side of the coin, it could incentivise him to bring his A-game to every drive to ensure that Lance doesn’t get a look in.
I am siding with the former, and following a loss I’m expecting the internal pressure to start building. Given that this game, in my eyes, is closer to a pick ‘em, I am happy to take the points with Seattle. Their offense is so good with Wilson at the helm and they will take learnings from how Green Bay were able to get the ball out early to avoid the Niners pass rush last week.
The Seahawks look to bounce back from back to back losses but will be facing a formidable 49ers. The Seahawks defense was utterly embarrassed by the Vikings despite the Vikings missing star running back Dalvin Cook. The Seahawks passing defense was humiliated by Kirk Cousins, who had a strong game with 3 touchdowns and 323 yards in the air. They will now face the 49ers who have been crafty and creative so far this season on offense. Although they are missing the crucial bell cow running back that has been a big part of the success of 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan’s system, they have still done damage this season.
The biggest knock on the 49ers is that they have been bad at holding leads and made all their games very close. Eventually this luck will run out and I think in this game their luck may run out against the magical Russell Wilson. Wilson has been good this year and ranks top 10 in the league. He will be facing a 49ers defense that let the Lions score 33 points, and blew a lead in 37 seconds to Aaron Rodgers, leading them to lose the game. I think this game will be extremely close, and will likely be decided in the 4th quarter, therefore, I think I have to go with the Seahawks line here.
Mike’s NFL Pick: Seattle Seahawks +3 (-115)
Arizona Cardinals @ Los Angeles Rams – 4.05PM ET
Our second NFC West clash and the only matchup of the weekend between two undefeated teams has the Los Angeles Rams hosting the Arizona Cardinals. The Rams are coming off a 10 point win over the defending champion Buccaneers and are now third favorites for the Super Bowl with +850 odds, while Kyler Murray has led the Cardinals to three straight wins and has come into +850 for the 2021-22 NFL MVP
This is the best matchup of Week 4 and it is hard to look past the Rams, at home, for this clash. Despite both sides being undefeated through three weeks, FanDuel has the Rams as 4.5 point favorites for this clash. That obviously tells you how highly regarded LA are already, especially considering this will only be Stafford’s fourth game with the team. Despite this, Stafford ranks fifth for passing yards, second for passing touchdowns and has been sacked only three times, the fewest among all QBs in the top 20 for passing yards. This is because their new offense isn’t reliant on play-action anymore as Stafford gives them long-ball options on every play, with Cooper Kupp being the biggest beneficiary of this so far. Kupp leads the league in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns, collecting five through the first three games.
The worry is that this will be the best pass rush that LA has faced so far, given Chandler Jones has five sacks through three games, the equal-most in the league. Adding to that, Arizona is ranked 11th for both total yards allowed and points allowed per game, whilst ranking seventh for passing yards allowed per game. As well as having a great defense, the Cardinals offense is humming at the moment. They have thrown for 300+ yards and rushed for 100+ yards in each of their first three games, led by the dynamic Kyler Murray. He is third for passing yards so far this season whilst also rushing for a touchdown in each of the first three games.
This game is poised to be an incredible showdown, but I am actually going to take the Cardinals with the points in this one. The Rams are an impressive 40-0 under Sean McVay when leading at halftime but in their other 33 games they are just 9-24. Given Arizona are averaging six more points per game than LA, when looking exclusively at first half totals, as well as their extremely dynamic offense, that should give them the edge in this clash.
Tim’s NFL Pick: Arizona Cardinals +4.5 (-110)
Tim’s Bonus NFL Pick: Over 54.5 (-110)
Cooper Kupp is that guy. pic.twitter.com/5hMP05shbt
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 26, 2021
This is the game of the week. The high power Rams offense takes on the high powered Cardinals Offense. The Rams have looked like a completely different team on offense under Matt Stafford. After their demolition of last year’s Super Bowl Champs, the Lions must feel invincible. Stafford picked apart the Tampa Bay defense and had the game won early. The Cardinals are a strong foe though, with Kyler Murray guiding the team to an undefeated record, with wins against the Jags, Vikings and Titans. In their first game, the Cardinals defense embarrassed the Titans running game. However, after that performance, the Cardinals defense has been average, allowing 19 points from the Jaguars and 33 points from the Vikings.
The Rams offense is significantly better than both of those offenses and may put up 40 if the Cardinals can control the clock. The Cardinals offense is no joke either with a bevvy of weapons in the run game and passing game. The Rams defense may meet its match with this group of elite playmakers. I think that this will be a high powered offensive centric matchup and will rival the famous Rams Chiefs 105 point shootout from 2018.
Mike’s NFL Pick: Over 54.5 (-110)
Baltimore Ravens @ Denver Broncos – 4.25PM ET
The Denver Broncos put their undefeated record on the line against the best opponent they have faced to date, the Baltimore Ravens. Denver has been gifted by the schedule makers through the first three weeks and now faces an extremely tough opponent, Baltimore, that has recorded back to back wins by a combined three points.
Can the Broncos continue their dream run against the Ravens? That is a tough question and the bookmakers feel that as well, putting this game up as a pick ‘em. Denver has faced the Giants, Jaguars and Jets through the first three weeks, so you’d expect them to be 3-0 based on that alone. Meanwhile Baltimore has faced the Lions, Chiefs and 3-0 Raiders and sit at 2-1 in the standings.
Where I am worried with Baltimore is they are yet to win a game by more than two points and needed a record-breaking last second field goal from Justin Tucker to get over the line against a Detroit side that isn’t very good. Lamar Jackson has only managed three touchdown passes whilst throwing three interruptions through the first three games, totaling five turnovers when taking into account his fumbles. Where he makes up for it is his ground game, given he ranks fourth in the league for rushing yards, is 72 yards better than the next best QB and has two rushing touchdowns.
Still that only adds up to five total touchdowns compared to five total turnovers and he now comes up against the best defense that he will have had to face this season. Denver’s defense is incredible at the moment. While they have played some very bad sides, they have only allowed 26 points through the first three games and have also only allowed an average of 59.3 rushing yards per game, second best in the league. They seem perfectly equipped to stop the Ravens’ strength, their ground game. Add in the fact that Teddy Bridgewater is one of just three quarterbacks in the top 20 for passing touchdowns that is yet to throw an interception this season and the Broncos have a perfect mix of steady offense and attacking defense.
The Ravens have been winning tight games behind great team football. The Ravens won their last game after Lamar Jackson converted a 4th and 19 to set up Justin Tucker’s record breaking 66 yard field goal. The week earlier, Lamar carried the Ravens to a great win over the Chiefs. Lamar Jackson is having himself quite a season and is my early favourite for MVP. The Ravens face an undefeated Broncos team in Denver which is a notoriously hard stadium to play in due to the crowd and altitude.
Baltimore’s top ranked rushing offense faces the Broncos’ 2nd ranked rushing defense. The Ravens will need to win the battle upfront in the trenches against the Broncos’ formidable front 7 and they’ll need Lamar to win the ball in the air as well. Although the Broncos have looked good this season, they have played 3 absolutely garbage teams. The Ravens are a top 5 team in the league and will be a huge shock to the system for the Broncos. I think the Ravens pull out another team win behind the legs of Jackson to end the win streak of the Broncos.
Mike’s NFL Pick: Baltimore Ravens -1 (-110)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New England Patriots – 8.20PM ET
The matchup we have been waiting 18 months for, Brady v Belichick. The New England Patriots host the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday Night Football in what is Tom Brady’s first game against his former side and his return to Gillette Stadium. Both sides are coming off a loss, but which team can bounce back in Week 4? Find out below.
This could be a case of the Patriots catching the Buccaneers at the right time to cause an upset, but New England isn’t good enough to take advantage of that anyway. While Tampa Bay has their problems, and there are a few of them, New England hasn’t been able to piece it all together yet and are already too reliant on Mac Jones, which isn’t the recipe for success.
After trading away Sony Michel before the season, who is fitting in nicely for the Rams, New England is averaging under 100 rushing yards per game, ranking 22nd in the league. That has resulted in Jones doing the heavy lifting for the Patriots, and as we saw last week, that won’t win them games. There have been 36 cases of a rookie QB recording 50+ pass attempts since the merger and their teams have gone 3-32-1 in those games. Mac Jones had 51 pass attempts on Sunday and while he completed 30 of them, he finished with one interception and three picks.
The positive for New England is that Tampa’ secondary is one of the previously mentioned issues that they have, given that it is missing key pieces and isn’t that good anyway. The Bucs have now let three straight quarterbacks light them up, it is just that they have Tom Brady on their side so they managed to win two of those three games. Another one of their issues is that their running game is no longer existent. Ronald Jones is in the dog house, Leonard Fournette can’t make plays and Giovani Bernard is still finding his feet in the offense. Last week against the Rams, Brady was the leading rusher for Tampa Bay with 14 yards…
However, Brady is leading the league with 10 touchdown passes through the first three games and the Bucs have still managed to score 103 points, with their lowest being 24. New England on the other hand have managed just 54 points through three games, with their highest being 25. There is a big difference in talent levels between these two sides and following a loss, I expect the Bucs, and Brady, to make a statement.
Tim’s NFL Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers -7 (-105)
21 year age gap between Tom Brady and Mac Jones 😳 pic.twitter.com/P4X7A5yawm
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) September 30, 2021
The Buccaneers look to bounce back after a beatdown by the Rams last week. There is no better stage for Tom Brady to bounce back than against his old team, the New England Patriots at Foxborough. The Buccaneers defense will also get a chance to bounce back against a bad Patriots offense led by rookie quarterback Mac Jones. The Patriots passing game is one of the worst in the league due to their lack of weapons and they’ll be facing a hungry Tampa defense. Tampa also added Richard Sherman who will likely make a big impact further down the road but should help with meaningful reps late in the game if it is close.
On the other side, the Buccaneers offense will be led by a vengeful Brady who will be looking to destroy Belichick. He may have trouble against the Patriots’ 5th ranked defense who have been good at stopping the passing game. If the Buccaneers can lean on their running attack and take advantage of the weakness of this Patriots defense, they should be able to pull out a win here. I think the story of this game will be a low scoring defensive grudge matchup. Although I like Tampa to win, I think the unders is better value.
Mike’s NFL Pick: Under 49.5 (-105)
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.