Scott Shapiro's Week 4 NFL worksheet: Bucs defense will stifle Patriots
Week 3 was another fun one in the NFL, highlighted by a record-breaking, game-winning field goal from future Hall of Famer Justin Tucker, a dominating performance by the Rams, and big wins on the road from the Chargers and Packers.
The product is not always perfect, but it is highly entertaining.
Let's examine the teams and players to keep an eye on, and hopefully Week 4 will provide just as many thrills.
Team most likely to win by 14+ points: Buffalo Bills
Sun, October 3 2021, 5:00 PM
I am not reinventing the wheel with this “captain obvious” selection, but this is a serious mismatch.
Credit the Texans for hanging in Cleveland and against Carolina without Tyrod Taylor, but to expect them to do similar in Buffalo is a lot to ask.
Lovie Smith’s “Tampa 2” defense will get exploited by Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs, while Sean McDermott’s crew should have its way with Texans’ rookie quarterback Davis Mills.
The Bills will win by more than 20 points again.
Underdog of 6+ points most likely to spring an outright upset: Jets
Sun, October 3 2021, 5:00 PM
I know I am probably crazy to give the Jets a chance, after three stinkers to start the 2021 campaign, but they should be able to hang in there Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
The Titans are 2-1 and have Derrick Henry in the backfield, but I have not been impressed with their performances. Tennessee will head east off a pair of big wins and will be without star receiver A.J. Brown in what looks like a flat spot.
Plus, unlike New York’s recent opponents (New England and Denver), the Titans defense is unlikely to put constant pressure on rookie quarterback, Zach Wilson.
Robert Saleh’s group will play its best game of the year and give Tennessee all it can handle.
RB/WR/TE most likely to score two touchdowns: Travis Kelce
After they yielded six catches for 80 yards and two touchdowns to Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz, the Eagles will head home and must find a way to stop Travis Kelce.
The All-Pro has gone over 100 yards receiving in back-to-back weeks and will meet a Philadelphia defense without at least one safety, after K’Von Wallace partially separated his shoulder Monday night and Dallas. The Eagles also could be without Rodney McLeod again. McLeod has yet to play since he tore his ACL late last season.
Expect Patrick Mahomes to find Kelce early and often.
Quarterback most likely to throw for 400 yards: Patrick Mahomes
Dak Prescott had his way with the Eagles defense to close out the Week 3 action Monday night.
Now a banged-up Philadelphia secondary has to deal with a Kansas City squad out for blood off two consecutive losses.
The Eagles front four should have little issue containing the Chiefs rushing attack, which should lead to a load of passing attempts from the Super Bowl LIV MVP, in a game where Andy Reid’s group has an implied team total of 30.5.
Defense most likely to pitch a shutout: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Mon, October 4 2021, 12:20 AM
Both the Bucs and the Patriots head into the Week 4 headliner off of poor efforts. That adds some urgency into the matchup between Tom Brady and his former head coach, Bill Belichick.
Belichick and the Patriots defense should be able to somewhat contain the high-powered aerial attack of the defending champions, but scoring is another story.
Tampa’s defense was shredded by the Rams in Week 3 but will get a favorable matchup against a New England offense that has struggled to throw the ball downfield in Mac Jones' first three games as a pro.
With little chance to run the ball well against Tampa and an inability to stretch the field with the vertical passing game, a long day is likely ahead for New England.
My Week 3 plays of the week
- Washington Football Team (-1.5)
- Jets (+7.5)
- Patriots/Buccaneers Under (49)