NFL week 4: FIVE STORY LINES
1. Dolphins can go three up on Pats?!
Vegas isn’t buying the 3-0 Dolphins as a better team than the 1-2 Patriots. New England is a 6½-point favorite at home. Miami, however, has the league’s best defensive passer rating (65.6). A Dolphins win would put them three games up on the Patriots in the AFC East. A New England loss would give the Patriots their first three-game losing streak since 2002. Miami’s Ryan Tannehill is completing a career-best 73 percent of his passes.
2. Mahomes ready for prime time in Denver
The Chiefs are 3-0. They’ve beaten the Broncos five consecutive times, with three of those wins coming in Denver. And, oh yeah, they also have the hottest QB in football. Patrick Mahomes will start his first Monday night game in Denver, where he got his first NFL start and win in last year’s regular-season finale. Mahomes threw for 284 yards in that win. He has 13 touchdowns and no interceptions this season.
3. Mayfield gets his first start at Oakland
Eyes are actually on the 1-1-1 Browns as No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield makes his NFL starting debut at Oakland, where the Raiders are 0-3 and have been outscored 37-3 in the fourth quarter. Replacing injured Tyrod Taylor in Week 3, Mayfield led the Browns back from a 14-0 deficit to a 21-17 win over the Jets. Providing an instant spark, he completed 17 of 23 passes for 201 yards in 37 minutes of action.
4. Will it be FitzMagic or Winston starting?
Tampa Bay made it to 2-1 with Ryan Fitzpatrick filling in for the suspended Jameis Winston. Now, it appears “FitzMagic” will get his fourth start even with Winston back and on the sideline. The Bucs chose to keep the Bears guessing ahead of Sunday’s game at Chicago. Fitzpatrick lost to Pittsburgh on Monday night, but did bounce back from three first-half picks to throw for 411 yards during a comeback that fell short.
5. Bills can’t sneak up on Packers
A week after shocking the 16½-point-favored Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium, the Bills (1-2) head to Lambeau Field to face a Packers team that’s 1-1-1 and coming off a loss to Washington. Vegas isn’t buying another great game from a Bills team that came within three minutes of becoming the first team to shut out the Vikings at home since 1962. The Packers are a 9½-point favorite, the NFL’s second-largest spread of the week.
FYI, if you’re a betting fellow, the “Prediction of the Week” is 0-3 this season. So, sorry Browns fans, but the prediction this week is Mayfield goes into Oakland and beats the Raiders for his first victory as an NFL quarterback. Although he led last week’s comeback, the win went to Taylor, who started the game.