NFL Week 4 is here, and with Week 3 culminating in the Kansas City Chiefs comfortably handling the Baltimore Ravens, there’s no doubt that Patrick Mahomes and his squad are the clear-cut top team in the NFL. While the AFC is firmly in the Chiefs’ control, the NFC is more of an open field. The reigning NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers have been marred by injuries, and the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks look like the teams best poised to take the crown in their conference.
With teams continuing to cement their identity from the rest of the pack, here’s what to watch for as we get into NFL Week 4.
Make or Break: Atlanta Falcons @ Green Bay Packers
Monday night’s showdown between the Falcons and the Packers is one of two teams that are deep with talent but are on opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of their outlook for the season.
The Packers have staked a claim as the best team in the NFC with a 3-0 record. Their defense has raised some questions due to inconsistencies, but their offense has more than made up for it. Aaron Rodgers has been operating at the MVP level he has embodied throughout his career, perhaps having a chip on his shoulder with the team taking QB Jordan Love in this year’s NFL draft. To complement Rodgers, Aaron Jones is also playing up to the quality of an elite running back, and Matt LaFleur’s implementation of play-action into Rodgers playbook makes him that much more dangerous. I think the Packers win this, and I don’t see it being particularly close.
So why should you keep a game that I don’t think will be close? The 0-3 Falcons are on track to be without a coach. A team that fields superstars like Julio Jones, Matt Ryan, and Todd Gurley should not look this bad. If this game ends up as the sort of blood bath I expect it to be, it’s hard to foresee the Falcons holding onto Dan Quinn, who has seen one of the most disastrous starts to an NFL campaign in recent memory following their collapses against the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears. Whether the Falcons need a change in strategy or a change in identity at the helm if the Falcons lose this one the hot seat will have never been hotter for Dan Quinn.
Foles in the Driver’s Seat: Indianapolis Colts @ Chicago Bears
The Bears host the Colts this week, and these teams are looking to both looking to gain stability. Both teams are coming off big wins, with the Colts annihilating the New York Jets, and the Bears benching Mitch Trubisky in favor of former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles in a move that led to their comeback win over the Falcons.
When these teams take to the field in Chicago this weekend, the Bears will look to establish what type of team they’re going to be with Foles now the full-time starter, and the Colts continuing to establish their play-style since the acquisition of future Hall of Fame QB Philip Rivers.
#Bears coach Matt Nagy announces the obvious: Nick Foles is now their starting QB.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 28, 2020
The Bears are astonishingly 3-0, predominantly off of the play of their defense, and the Colts are 2-1 with two wins in a row. Which of these teams will continue to keep up their winning ways, and which will fail to play up to the surprising standards they’ve met so far? Tune in Sunday to find out.
Can Anyone Stop Russell Wilson?: Seattle Seahawks @ Miami Dolphins
What can be said about the incredible level of play that Russell Wilson has been delivering this season? 14 touchdowns, 925 passing yards, and a perfect record to this point. Wilson was recently named the betting-odds favorite to win this season’s MVP, and it’s not hard to see why. Defenses have had no idea what to do with the Seahawks, and I don’t expect this to be any different.
The Dolphins have Ryan Fitzpatrick leading their offense as the bridge to Tua Tagovailoa and are viewed as one of the weaker teams in the league. As a bright spot, the Dolphins are coming off a convincing win over another lower-rated team in the Jacksonville Jaguars, but this matchup will be a night and day difference from the Jaguars.
The only hope the Dolphins have to keep this game competitive would be to have their star corners Xavien Howard and Byron Jones (who is questionable to play) playing at the peak of their abilities to contain D. K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, and that’s not to mention the Seahawks’ imposing defense going up against the lackluster offense of the Dolphins.
The Seahawks are must-see right now, and this is no exception.
NFL Week 4 Marquee Matchup: Kansas City Chiefs vs New England Patriots
Patrick Mahomes torched the Ravens Monday Night. The way Mahomes played the reigning MVP in Lamar Jackson off the field was nothing short of a masterclass from a quarterback and once again reaffirmed why Mahomes is the best QB of his generation. With Mahomes throwing the ball, the Chiefs appear to be on the track back to the Super Bowl through the rest of the AFC.
As Mahomes continues his rise in the all-time pantheon of quarterbacks, the former MVP under center in New England is experiencing a career renaissance. With their only loss this season coming to the Seahawks, Bill Belichick is bringing some of the best play of Cam Newton’s career out. Belichick is one of the greatest minds in the history of professional football and I cannot wait to see the schemes he draws up to contain Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, and the entirety of the Chiefs offense. With that being said, don’t discount the coaching aptitude of Andy Reid going into this one, with him having thoroughly outmatched John Harbaugh Monday night.
This is going to be a chess match, and it’s the NFL Week 4 game that you must go out of your way to watch.