Undefeated Eagles Face Resurgent Jaguars. The Chargers Look for a Spark in Houston & Who Will Improve to 3-1 When the Bears Meet the Giants?
Chicago Bears (2-1) @ New York Giants (2-1) (Total Points under 39.5)
Both teams enter this week 4 encounter delighted to have a winning record, but both are teams very much in transition. The Bears, led by 2nd year QB, Justin Fields know they have a playmaker but he’s still finding his feet at this level and now faces a very good Giants defensive unit.
Through 3 weeks, the Giants haven’t given up more than 23 points in a game and helped take down Derrick Henry and the Titans on the road in week 1. Complementing a stout defense is the return to form of running back, Saquon Barkley – he’s ripped off big TD runs in 2 of their 3 games and is much needed in an offense which continues to struggle to protect QB Daniel Jones – he was pressured 23 times in Monday’s defeat to Dallas.
Consequently, this isn’t a game where we expect to see plenty of points. The Giants have been successful by limiting opponents to field goals and the Bears have relied on defense to keep them in games.
The most points scored by Chicago in a game this season is 23. For the Giants it’s 21. While admittedly, a big defensive or special teams play can be game changing. All things being equal, it’s tough to see how these two teams combine to better the line set here.
PICK: Total Points – under 39.5
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-1) @ Philadelphia Eagles (3-0) (Jaguars +6.5)
This maybe one of the most entertaining games in the week 4 schedule. The Eagles enter it as one of just 2 teams left with an unbeaten record. However, the Jaguars may have joined them but for a late week 1 meltdown against the Washington Commanders. To add further spice, this game marks the return of the man who led Philadelphia to their only Super Bowl success. The only issue….Doug Pederson now coaches the Jaguars!
The Eagles have been impressive in all 3 phases of the game – offense, defense and special teams. Jalen Hurts has grown as an NFL quarterback – making plays through the air as well as with his legs and in AJ Brown and Devonta Smith, he’s got two outstanding receiving targets. Equally their defense is a problem for anyone. Last weekend, sacking Carson Wentz 9 times – 7 of which came from just a 4 man rush!
That being said, the 2022 Jaguars shouldn’t be overlooked. Their defense is built around stopping the run – shutting down Colts’ RB Jonathan Taylor in week 2 and keeping the Chargers running game quiet last weekend – and that may give them a real chance in this game. QB Trevor Lawrence now looks every bit the player they picked number 1 overall last year and big money free agent receiver, Christian Kirk has been living up to the tag with 3 receiving TDs already to his name.
On the evidence of what we’ve seen in the first 3 weeks, the Eagles are rightly favourites coming into this game, but the Jaguars are more than capable of being competitive and the spread suggests their improvement this season is being somewhat overlooked.
PICK: Jacksonville Jaguars +6.5
Los Angeles Chargers (1-2) @ Houston Texans (0-2-1) (Texans +5)
The LA Chargers were a fashionable pick to come out of the AFC this season but after an opening week victory, this team has been devasted by injuries. QB Justin Herbert is playing with fractured rib cartilage. Star pass rusher, Joey Bosa is likely out with a groin injury which requires surgery. Left Tackle, Rashawn Slater has been lost for the season with a torn biceps. While receiver, Keenan Allen and cornerback JC Jackson have both missed time with injuries. It’s left the Chargers with a 1-2 record and what might have seemed like a very winnable road game when the schedule came out now looks anything but.
That’s because while the Texans are still winless, they’ve been competitive in every game. With Lovie Smith now as head coach, they now have a good defensive unit, giving up fewer than 20 points per game. QB Davis Mills is showing he has a good command of their offense but they lack a cutting edge and that’s going to continue to make it difficult for them to win games this season. Look at their results so far though – a 20-20 tie against the Colts, a 16-9 loss in Denver and a 23-20 loss in Chicago last week. Throw into the equation, the Texans shocked a playoff chasing Chargers team last December with a 41-29 win in Houston and while I expect the Chargers to come out on top, do not be surprised if this turns out to be a one score game
PICK: Houston Texans +5