On-field storylines have been slow to develop with nearly a month complete in the 2017 NFL season. Most notably, a dominant team has yet to emerge from the pack with only two teams, the Atlanta Falcons and Kansas City Chiefs, still undefeated through three weeks.
In turn, there are a lot of teams stuck in the muddled middle. The result is a lot of toss-up games and narrow betting lines. It led to a lot of exciting games and several upsets during Week 3. It wouldn't be a surprise to see something similar this weekend.
Let's check out a complete list of games coming up Sunday and Monday, including picks for each contest. That's followed by a deeper dive into some top selections. All lines are courtesy of OddsShark.
Week 4 Game Picks
New Orleans Saints (-3) vs. Miami Dolphins: 24-20 NO (Under 50.5)
Los Angeles Rams at Dallas Cowboys (-6.5): 23-17 DAL (Under 48.5)
Jacksonville Jaguars (-3) at New York Jets: 27-24 JAX (Over 38.5)
Cincinnati Bengals (-3) at Cleveland Browns: 14-13 CLE (Under 41.5)
Buffalo Bills at Atlanta Falcons (-8): 35-20 ATL (Over 48.5)
Tennessee Titans (-2.5) at Houston Texans: 24-23 HOU (Over 43.5)
Carolina Panthers at New England Patriots (-9): 30-20 NE (Over 49.5)
Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) at Baltimore Ravens: 23-20 BAL (Over 42)
Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings (-2.5): 28-24 DET (Over 42.5)
Philadelphia Eagles at Los Angeles Chargers (-2.5): 27-20 LAC (Under 47.5)
New York Giants at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3): 34-20 TB (Over 45)
San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals (-6.5): 31-17 ARZ (Over 44.5)
Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos (-3): 23-17 OAK (Under 46)
Indianapolis Colts at Seattle Seahawks (-13): 24-14 SEA (Under 41.5)
Washington Redskins at Kansas City Chiefs (-7): 27-23 KC (Over 49.5)
Atlanta Falcons (-8)
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The reigning NFC champions haven't blown teams out en route to their 3-0 mark, winning by an average of seven points per week. That's still an impressive feat when you consider two were road wins (Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions) and the home victory came over the Green Bay Packers by 11.
Now the Falcons return to Mercedes-Benz Stadium to face the Bills, who are coming off a 26-16 upset of the Denver Broncos. The main reason for their success has been a revitalized defense that leads the NFL in points allowed at 12.3 per game.
Facing Atlanta will be the unit's toughest test of the season so far by a considerable margin, though. Not only is the Matt Ryan-led offense fourth in total offense, but YardsPerPass noted they enjoyed plenty of success last year against Sean McDermott's defense while he was with the Carolina Panthers:
Just for a sanity check... Atlanta scored 81 points in 2 games vs McDermott's defense last year2017-9-25 21:08:09
That's why this game has blowout potential. The Falcons should be able to find more holes in the Buffalo secondary than the lesser aerial attacks could in the first three games, and the Bills don't have the big-play weapons to keep space if it turns into a shootout.
This could be the week where Atlanta solidifies itself as the Super Bowl favorite.
Oakland Raiders (+3)
The Raiders are facing an important hurdle this week. Not only did they suffer a 17-point loss against the Redskins in Week 3, but they looked downright awful doing it. Washington won the yardage battle by a massive 472-128 margin.
Now Oakland must show championship mettle by bouncing back on the road against the Broncos. It's a crucial test against a fellow 2-1 squad from the AFC West, since the result could have a lingering impact on the playoff race as the year goes on.
Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com passed along comments from Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio about his team's mindset after laying an egg in Washington.
"Obviously, there are a lot of things that each guy can look at and say, 'This is what I can do better,'" he said Monday. "That's what I want. I want us to reflect inward and see how we can do things ourselves better and then pull together as a team. Stick together, pull together and go forward. That's what you do.
"[We're] not the only team to have a rough day. ... Half the league is happy, and half the league is fighting through this Monday after a rough day. That's part of this league: bouncing back and on to the next. It's hugely important, and that's where our focus will be."
Ultimately, Sunday's game will likely come down to which quarterback has a better rebound performance: Oakland's Derek Carr or Denver's Trevor Siemian. Carr is the better choice, especially when taking the plus-three line into account.
Bengals at Browns (Under 41.5)
Usually it's difficult to have a ton of confidence in an over-under pick when the line is so low. A 23-20 game is all it would take to hit the over in this case. But given these two offenses, it's hard to imagine a scenario where a bunch of points are scored.
Cincinnati ranks 31st in yards per game (272.3) and last in scoring (11.0 PPG). Cleveland is a little closer to league average, sitting 16th in yardage (323.0) and 18th in scoring (18.7). But neither side features much in the way of explosive playmaking.
Matt Allaire of Red Reporter summed up the general sentiment:
Matt Allaire @AllaireMatt
the browns/bengals game next week might be the worst football game ever played2017-9-24 19:31:36
Between the lackluster offenses and the fact both teams rank inside the top 11 in total defense (Cincinnati seventh and Cleveland 11th), all signs point to a major defensive struggle.