We’re nearly one month into the 2016 NFL season, and as per usual there are surprises aplenty. Who figured the Philadelphia Eagles – led by rookie quarterback Carson Wentz – would be 3-0 at this point? And the Minnesota Vikings are also undefeated after having lost both starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson to long-term injuries. And the Los Angeles Rams are in first place in the NFC West, above the Seattle Seahawks (on a tiebreaker) and the Arizona Cardinals.
Here are the best matchups for Week 4 as we wrap up the month of September:
Miami Dolphins at Cincinnati Bengals
Odds: Bengals -7
It’s getting late early as one of these two playoff hopefuls will be 1-3 by Friday morning. The Dolphins got their first win of the season in an overtime miracle at home over Cleveland while the Bengals are also 1-2 after losing to Denver. This might be more important to the Bengals, who were thought to be one of the contenders in the AFC this season, but falling behind at 1-3 would be a massive deficit from which to climb out. The Dolphins have won three straight against the Bengals, all by eight points or less, and two of those games were in Cincinnati.
Seattle Seahawks at New York Jets
Odds: Seahawks -1.5
The line for this game isn’t out in most places but we’re looking at about Seahawks -1.5. That’s because Russell Wilson was injured in the Seahawks’ win at home over San Francisco last week and is considered questionable. Wilson went into the game injured and hurt himself further, but has stated that he’ll practice and play in Week 4. The Seahawks head east to face the Jets in a 1pm ET start, which means they could be sluggish as west coast teams so often are in that time slot (see: Cardinals in Buffalo last week). Ryan Fitzpatrick was terrible in a loss in Kansas City last week, tossing six interceptions, and now he has to rebound against one of the stingiest defenses in the NFL. If Fitzpatrick plays like that against Seattle, the Seahawks could still win with second-string Trevone Boykin at quarterback. Seattle has won their last two meetings with the Jets by a combined 31 points.
Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals
Odds: Cardinals -8.5
The Rams’ offense caught fire in a win at Tampa Bay, but no one is sure if that is down to the Rams offense finding some rhythm or the Bucs defense being so bad. Clearly, they’re not getting any respect as they’re a huge dog on the road against a team that’s below them in the standings. The Cardinals are 1-2 after a big loss in Buffalo in which Carson Palmer threw four picks. Arizona seems to be the NFC’s version of Cincinnati (Palmer’s former team) as they had a lot of hype going into this season, but they’ve stumbled out of the gate. They could get back on track against the Rams, who are 1-4 in their last five against the Cardinals.
Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers
Odds: Steelers -6
The Chiefs’ defense dominated the Jets and they’ll need another performance like that against the Steelers, who fell flat on their face against Philadelphia. The Steelers are going to come out angry after their horrendous effort against the Eagles where they scored just three points. The Steelers have won three of their last five against the Chiefs.
New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings
Odds: Vikings -4
The Giants might have outplayed Washington, but a couple of Eli Manning interceptions hurt their cause as they fell to 2-1. The Vikings might have had the best performance of Week 3 in a big win in Carolina in which they dominated the Panthers on both sides of the ball. More surprisingly, Sam Bradford outplayed Cam Newton. Minnesota is now one of five undefeated teams left in the NFL (New England, Baltimore, Denver and Philadelphia are the others), but their defense is going to have their hands full with Odell Beckham Jr. and a potent Giants passing attack on Monday Night Football. The Giants have lost three of their last five against the Vikings.