Shapiro's Week 4 NFL picks: Cardinals, Murray will bounce back
Seven teams, including the defending champion, enter Week 4 of the NFL season with a perfect record. The Chiefs dominated Lamar Jackson and the Ravens from start to finish Monday night to cement themselves as the clear team to beat through three weeks.
There is definitely tons of football left to be played, but Patrick Mahomes, Andy Reid, and the Kansas City crew have a serious shot of winning back-to-back Super Bowls for the first time since the Patriots did so in 2003-2004 and 2004-2005.
Washington’s five turnovers were too much to overcome in Cleveland on Sunday, which resulted in a loss for my Week 3 top play. Ron Rivera’s team failed to cover in their road game at FirstEnergy Stadium, but I am OK with the process. Depending on quarterback Dwayne Haskins was obviously poor judgment, but it was difficult to foresee losing the turnover differential, 5-0.
Hopefully, I can rebound in Week 4.
Arizona Cardinals vs. Carolina Panthers
Sun, October 4 2020, 5:00 PM
The Cardinals headed into their Week 3 game against Detroit at 2-0, with wins against San Francisco and Washington, but three interceptions from second-year quarterback Kyler Murray paved the way for a three-point loss in the desert.
Murray struggled throughout Arizona’s first loss of the campaign, but he is in an excellent bounce-back spot Sunday, against one of the NFL’s worst defenses.
Carolina was outgained 436-302 in yards during its Week 3 matchup in Los Angeles, but intercepted Justin Herbert once and recovered three Chargers fumbles en route to a 21-16 upset victory. The Panthers defense definitely played better than it did through the first two weeks, but it was also lucky to hold Los Angeles to fewer than 20 points. I do not expect the same good fortune in Charlotte against the Cardinals.
The Cardinals have done it with the running game and defense through three weeks. They rank seventh in the league, with 449 yards on the ground (4.7 yards a carry), and have only allowed 61 points.
Look for the duo of Kenyan Drake and Chase Edmonds to run wild against the Carolina rush defense and for the Arizona passing game to be far more efficient than it was in Week 3.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Chicago Bears
Sun, October 4 2020, 5:00 PM
The Bears' 3-0 start to the season has been smoke and mirrors.
Chicago fell behind, 23-6, in Week 1 to the Lions, but took advantage of a banged-up Detroit secondary and a drop of an easy TD pass by rookie D’Andre Swift to solidify a miraculous win to start the year. In Week 2, the Bears held on late to beat the Giants, arguably the NFC’s worst team, and pulled off another unlikely win in Week 3, after they trailed the winless Falcons, 26-10, through three quarters.
Super Bowl LII MVP Nick Foles was inserted by head coach Matt Nagy early in the second half in Atlanta, and the former Eagle led the Bears to the come-from-behind win.
However, I am not convinced Foles is an upgrade at quarterback. He is more accurate and has more experience than Mitchell Trubisky, but he was far from perfect against the Falcons and has plenty of deficiencies. Look for the Colts’ defense to exploit them Sunday.
Like many teams, Indianapolis has suffered through a number of key injuries to playmakers early in the season, but the offensive line remains healthy and one of the best in the NFL. Look for the Colts to control the line of scrimmage and find the end zone enough to come away with a big road win.
The Bears' good fortune has come to an end.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. San Francisco 49ers
Mon, October 5 2020, 12:20 AM
San Francisco 49ers
The Eagles head west to San Francisco a desperate football team.
Little has gone right for the 2019 NFC East champions through three games. Franchise quarterback Carson Wentz has thrown six interceptions, has struggled to make plays to help his team win, and now has more to worry about than just his offensive line. This weekend, he will be without a number of his top playmakers. Fortunately for the Eagles, they encounter an opponent that has even more injuries on offense.
The 49ers could be without their top three running backs Sunday night, George Kittle’s status is up in the air, and they once again will not have second-year wide receiver Deebo Samuel. The Eagles defensive front also rebounded, after a poor game in Week 2, to sack Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow eight times, so points will likely be hard to come by.
Regardless of whether it is Jimmy Garoppolo or Nick Mullens at QB for San Francisco, I'm going with the Under.