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Around the NFL: Week 4 Preview

Getting you ready for Week 4 of the regular season.

Los Angeles Rams v Buffalo Bills Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

We head into the month of October with three weeks of the 2020 regular season in the books. It’s been an extremely captivating start to the season to this point.

We saw Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs easily handle Lamar Jackson and the Ravens, Russell Wilson continue his early bid for MVP, and the Philadelphia Eagles continue their downward spiral.

Before we get back to action on Thursday night, here is your week 4 preview.

Intriguing Matchups

Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0) at Tennessee Titans (3-0) - Sun, 10/4 1:00 ET

Ed. note: This game has been pushed back to either Monday or Tuesday because of the COVID outbreak for the Titans. We’re hoping everyone returns to health over there, and the following is a rundown of the game when it is played.

The Steelers and Titans is our only matchup of the week between remaining undefeated teams. Pittsburgh has completely flip the script on their 0-3 start in 2019, winning their first three games of 2020.

The Steelers have not faced the best competition, beating two of the worst teams in the NFL, the Giants and Broncos, in their first two weeks. Despite this, their performance last weekend against the Houston Texans was fairly impressive. Ben Roethlisberger has bounced back nicely, throwing seven touchdowns in his first three games, but the defense has been the story.

Pittsburgh has the fourth-highest ranked defense in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. They have the highest PFF pass-rush grade and second-highest PFF run defense grade. All-Pro T.J. Watt, has gotten off to a great start, registering 3.5 sacks in the first three games. The defense as a whole has forced five turnovers, four of those coming as interceptions.

On the Titans side of things, they are off to their first 3-0 start since 2008. The Ryan Tannehill extension has looked like a great move as the former first-round-pick has thrown six touchdowns to one interception to go with a 68% completion percentage. Despite missing A.J. Brown for two games, the Titans wide receivers have led them to the third highest PFF receiving grade in all of football.

This game is likely going to come down to if the Steelers defense can slow down the hot-start Titans offense. We’ve seen Pittsburgh force tons of turnovers to start the year, and Ryan Tannehill has been among the best in the NFL at not turning the ball over since taking over as the starter. If Tannehill and the Titans can hold onto the football, they have a good chance at remaining one of the league’s only undefeated teams.

Buffalo Bills (3-0) at Las Vegas Raiders (2-1) - Sun, 10/4 4:25 ET

Another headline matchup in the AFC features the undefeated Bills going to Las Vegas to take on the one-loss Raiders. Behind the Kansas City Chiefs, it would be hard to find a more impressive team in football through the first three weeks than the Buffalo Bills. If it wasn’t for Russell Wilson’s record-breaking start to the year, Bills quarterback Josh Allen would be an MVP frontrunner. Allen is the only player in NFL history with at least 1,000 passing yards, 10 passing TD and two rushing TD through the first three weeks of the season.

PFF has shown great love to the Bills offense. They rank them as the highest graded receiving corps in the NFL and the sixth best offense in football. The Bills defense has not looked nearly as good. They played much better in the first half against Los Angeles on Sunday, but still gave up 478 total yards of offense.

The Raiders had it all going right for them in the season’s first two weeks, but took a big step back with a poor performance on Sunday. Las Vegas gave up 36 points to Cam Newton and the Patriots in an extremely disappointing outing. Quarterback Derek Carr has gotten off to a good start, unlike their defense. PFF ranks the Raiders defense as the sixth worst pass-rush and coverage unit, the fifth worst run stopping defense, and the third worst overall defensive unit in the NFL.

This game is more about finding out what the Bills are then knowing what Las Vegas is. The Raiders are a team who could qualify for the playoffs in the new format, but they are not a true Super Bowl contender. The Bills, on the other hand, look like one of the AFC’s best teams. This week, they start a string of three games against Las Vegas, Tennessee, and Kansas City. If they are able to win two of those games and get off to a 5-1 start, it will be hard not to look at them as one of the AFC’s elite.

Philadelphia Eagles (0-2-1) at San Francisco 49ers (2-1) - Sun, 10/4 8:20 ET

Among the most disappointing teams in football through the first three weeks is the Philadelphia Eagles. In two of their three games, Philadelphia has lost and tied to two of the poorer teams in football, the Bengals and the Football Team. Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz has gotten off to a dreadful start. PFF ranks Wentz as the third worst qualifying quarterback in the NFL. Wentz is tied for the most interceptions in the NFL with six, and has a passer rating of 63.9, fourth worst in the entire league.

The 49ers have been the most beat up team in all of football, but still have managed to win two of their first three. The 49ers’s injury report is one of the craziest things in football in recent memory.

Via Pro Football Reference

Despite all the bad injury luck, San Francisco has gotten some good fortune. They’ve gotten to play the two New York Teams, the Jets and Giants, in their last two weeks. Even with all their injuries, they’ve blown out both of those teams, dominating in every facet of the game.

This Sunday, with plenty of players statuses up in the air, they have a chance to deliver a huge blow to the Eagles. After this Sunday, Philadelphia has to play the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens in their next two contests. If they can’t overcome a beat up 49ers team, they have a real chance to be 1-4-1 or 0-5-1 after their first six games.

If he comes out and has another dreadful performance, it’s going to be a nightmare for Carson Wentz in Philly. A loss this week could send Philadelphia into panic mode.

Five Picks to Click

Dallas Cowboys v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

1. Russell Wilson, QB Seattle Seahawks

The MVP frontrunner gets an extremely favorable matchup, going up against a poor Dolphins defense.

Dallas Cowboys v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

2. Ezekiel Elliott, RB Dallas Cowboys

After an extremely disappointing week three performance, Elliott has a great bounce-back opportunity against a suspect Browns run defense.

Washington Football Team v Cleveland Browns Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

3. Odell Beckham Jr. , WR Cleveland Browns

The Cowboys secondary was dreadful last Sunday. Beckham has a chance to feast on the Dallas defense.

Green Bay Packers v New Orleans Saints Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

4. The Green Bay Packers

After an impressive 3-0 start, Green Bay gets to go up against a reeling Falcons team this weekend.

Los Angeles Rams v Buffalo Bills Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

5. The Los Angeles Rams Defense

The Rams defense takes on a Giants offense that is an absolute mess right now.