NFL Week 4: 5 Matchups You Simply Can't Miss
Each week the NFL schedule is absolutely stacked with can't-miss matchups, and Week 4 promises to be no different.
Which quarterback will throw more touchdown passes in Week 4?
Peyton Manning looks to continue on his early tear, but surprisingly it's actually a different veteran signal-caller who stands to make history.
A certain big-time playmaker could be back in the fold to disrupt the balance of power in the AFC. Just don't ask Bill Belichick about it.
Plus there are a number of supposed contenders who need to get back on track, as well as a slew of surprise front-runners who want to show they're for real.
So, here's a rundown of the five NFL Week 4 matchups you simply can't miss.
Honorable Mention: Chicago Bears (3-0) @ Detroit Lions (2-1)
When: Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on Fox
Where: Ford Field
The Bears have taken the last three games between these NFC North rivals, but don't expect that trend to continue. The Lions are averaging over 400 yards of offense a game, and the Bears have allowed at least 21 points in each of their first three contests. Advantage Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson.
5. San Francisco 49ers (1-2) @ St. Louis Rams (1-2)
When: Thursday at 8:25 p.m. ET on NFL Network
Where: Edward Jones Dome
With the 49ers playing on a short week, things could get crazy in St. Louis. Last November, the NFC West rivals played to a 24-24 tie in a game which proved to be Alex Smith's last as San Francisco's starter. Colin Kaepernick is, of course, under center now, but Year 2 has not gone as expected, as per ESPN Stats & Info:
Colin Kaepernick and Josh Freeman are the only quarterbacks to complete fewer than 50 percent of their passes in multiple games this season.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 24, 2013
There's no such thing as a must-win in Week 4, but for the 49ers this is about as close as it gets. Jim Harbaugh will find a way for Kaepernick and the offense to punch through a St. Louis defensive unit that has been one of the most porous in the league.
4. Philadelphia Eagles (1-2) @ Denver Broncos (3-0)
When: Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET on Fox
Where: Sports Authority Field at Mile High
Just how insane has Manning's start to the season been?
Peyton Manning is on pace for 77 TD passes. Tom Brady's NFL record is 50.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 24, 2013
However, the quarterback was apparently less than pleased by how the scheduling for the matchup with the Eagles worked out, as tweeted by Reuben Frank of CSN Philly:
Peyton Manning: "We're coming off a short week. It was nice of the NFL to give Philly 12 days and give us six."— Reuben Frank (@RoobCSN) September 24, 2013
The Eagles will need every advantage they can get. Their best bet will be to lean on the run game, which is ranked No. 1 in the league. If Manning carves up the secondary early on, though, that option will be off the table.
The Broncos will roll to 4-0 at Mile High.
3. New England Patriots (3-0) @ Atlanta Falcons (1-2)
When: Sunday at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC
Where: Georgia Dome
In a league suddenly dominated by dual-threat quarterbacks, the Sunday night matchup pits two of the NFL's top old-fashioned gun-slingers against each other in Tom Brady and Matt Ryan. With New Orleans off to an explosive start, Atlanta needs the win badly. The time is right to strike as Brady has been off his game, per ESPN Stats & Info:
Tom Brady has a Total QBR under 70 in 6 straight games, his longest such streak in the 8 seasons for which we have QBR data.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 24, 2013
It's not an accident that the downturn coincides with the absence of Rob Gronkowski. The tight end could be back in the frame for Week 4, however. Brady's job gets substantially easier if the big target is active, but either way New England will pull out a big win on the road.
2. Miami Dolphins (3-0) @ New Orleans Saints (3-0)
When: Monday at 8:40 p.m. ET on ESPN
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Behind the impressive play of Ryan Tannehill, the Dolphins have been one of the biggest surprises of the early NFL season. As good as the second-year signal-caller has been, though, he's still no Drew Brees:
With one more of those 300-yard passing games Brees will tie the NFL record, which he unsurprisingly set himself.
1. Seattle Seahawks (3-0) @ Houston Texans (2-1)
When: Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on Fox
Where: Reliant Stadium
At the moment, Seattle is the top team in the NFC, and arguably in the entire league:
Incidentally, the Texans managed just nine points against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 3. Seattle's defense will prove a much sterner test. Even though the game is in Houston, the Seahawks will make it nine straight in the regular season.
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