Dolphins (3-1) at Bengals (3-1): 1 p.m. ET, CBS
Point spread: CIN -6.5 | Matchup quality: 44.4 (of 100)
Cameron Wolfe’s pick: The Dolphins aren’t doomed after their eye-opening loss to the Patriots, but it did reveal their margin for error is smaller than most good teams. This was already a tough road matchup before the Dolphins’ injuries started to show up. The status of Miami’s makeshift interior offensive line screams for a big day from Geno Atkins, and the Bengals’ suddenly electric receiving crew could create trouble for a Dolphins’ secondary without Bobby McCain. Bengals 27, Dolphins 19
Katherine Terrell’s pick: The Bengals are brimming with confidence after a 3-1 start, despite the concerning performance of their defense over the past two games. But with the return of Vontaze Burfict and the likely return of Joe Mixon, the Bengals should be able to handle the Dolphins, whose offense disappeared against the Patriots last week. Bengals 31, Dolphins 20
FPI win projection: CIN, 76 percent. The Dolphins rank dead last in our new Pass Block Win Rate metric, which uses NFL Next Gen Stats. That doesn’t bode well against a Bengals team with a good pass rush.
Is this the week the Dolphins prove that they aren’t the same ol’ Dolphins and are actually worthy of our consideration as a playoff contender? No. The Bengals own a more talented roster and are at home. The potential shortcoming for them this week is the chance Joe Mixon won’t be fully ready to roll. There’s also the underwhelming performance from Cincinnati’s defense thus far. Bengals fans were the first to admonish your friendly writer not to discount the ability on that side of the ball — and yet, through four games, they’ve allowed 28.3 points per game. That’s OK, though; Miami (20.5 points per game) can’t score that many.
Broncos (2-2) at Jets (1-3): 1 p.m. ET, CBS
Point spread: NYJ -1 | Matchup quality: 23.1 (of 100)
Jeff Legwold’s pick: It would be easy to say the Jets have a 21-year-old rookie quarterback whom the Broncos’ defense should be able to confuse at times, but Sam Darnold has one more touchdown pass than the Broncos’ Case Keenum does this season (four to Keenum’s three), and Darnold has thrown one fewer interception than Keenum (five to Keenum’s six). The Broncos say they’re playoff worthy, and if that’s true, this is a game they must win. Broncos 24, Jets 16
Rich Cimini’s pick: If the Jets couldn’t stop Blake Bortles, how are they going to deal with the Broncos, who have the third-ranked rushing offense and big-play receivers? It’s hard to imagine the Jets solving their defensive issues in one week. Their season has that slipping-away feel to it. Broncos 23, Jets 17
FPI win projection: NYJ, 59 percent. This is one of only two remaining games in which FPI favors the Jets. They’ll need more of the Week 1 version of Darnold (83.1 Total QBR) than Weeks 2-4 Darnold (24.3 QBR). Denver’s defense hasn’t lived up to the hype this season, as it ranks No. 23 in defensive efficiency.
The Broncos have been a decidedly different team away from home, losing 10 of their last 11 road games. In theory, they are superior to the Jets at most of the key positions. But New York is bound to recover at some point, probably around the same time that rookie QB Sam Darnold takes a step forward. He has completed a subpar percentage of his passes (57.5) and hasn’t been able to connect downfield since Week 1. The Jets‘ offense must involve Robby Anderson. Take a page out of the old Bruce Arians playbook and throw deep at least once per half, if not once per quarter. Make Denver play the whole field. Broncos QB Case Keenum: no TD passes in his last three games.
Titans (3-1) at Bills (1-3): 1 p.m. ET, CBS
Point spread: TEN -3.5 | Matchup quality: 19.8 (of 100)
Turron Davenport’s pick: The Titans are in a groove offensively after Marcus Mariota exploded for almost 400 yards of total offense in Week 4. The wide receivers match up well against Buffalo’s cornerbacks, and running back Dion Lewis should thrive catching passes out of the backfield. Defensive coordinator Dean Pees will dial up the interior gap blitzes and nickel blitzes to pressure Josh Allen into making careless throws. Titans 27, Bills 13
Mike Rodak’s pick: The Bills’ formula for fixing their 31st-ranked offense has been made clear all week: They want to run the ball more often on early downs and focus on quick, short throws when they decide to pass. The Titans have allowed the fourth-most yards per carry (5.04) on first and second downs this season, which might make Tennessee the perfect opponent to settle down a Josh Allen-led offense that turned the ball over three times and allowed seven sacks in a shutout loss last week. Bills 17, Titans 14
FPI win projection: TEN, 57 percent. The Bills followed up the best all-around game in terms of total efficiency (98.4) since 2006 with their league-leading third game with an overall efficiency below 10 in the shutout loss to the Packers. Tennessee could potentially seize control of the race for the AFC South with a road win, as the Jags have a tougher contest in Kansas City.
What to watch for in fantasy: Kelvin Benjamin has aligned on the perimeter on 89 percent of his routes this season, including wide to Josh Allen’s left on 54 percent of his routes (Malcolm Butler‘s side). He could be in for a big day. Read more.
Let’s see … The Titans can get after the quarterback and the Bills can’t protect the quarterback. On paper, Tennessee should win this matchup going away. But if Marcus Mariota and the passing game regress from last week’s trend-busting performance, then Buffalo has a chance. As always, turnovers are key with the Bills, particularly at home. Mike Vrabel’s offense isn’t built to take a lot of risks and, thus, shouldn’t give the ball away all that often, though Mariota committed an egregious turnover against the Eagles last week. Both teams need to push their starting tailbacks out of the starting blocks. Tennessee’s Derrick Henry has rushed for just 163 yards — at a measly 3.0 yards per carry — over the first four weeks of the season. Buffalo’s LeSean McCoy doesn’t even have 100 yards on the season yet. Oy.
Last week 3-0, Season total 7-5
Dolphins @ Bengals: 17-23
The Dolphins came back go earth on Sunday vs. a team that was struggling and trying to end a two game losing streak. This D has been real good…until Sunday, and they are traveling to Cincy to face another good O. I expect Joe Mixon to be a catalyst here. On Offense the Dolphins still have not established a decent run game, as Gase continues to “screw” his most talented RB. Dolphins will walk away with their second loss in a row.
Broncos @ Jets: 13-20
This a Broncos team that has a good D….at home, and a crappy O weekly. Keenum has actually looked worst than the youngest NFL starter in history. Jets D is underrated, and I think they frustrate Keenum and company all day. Jets are back home and ready to bounce back from tough start to the season. Expect Darnold to hook up with Enunwa a couple of times. Broncos are a mirage of their old self. Jets win this one.
Titans @ Bills: 16-10
This may become one fo the ugliest games in recent memory. Combined they are averaging barely 30 points total, and that includes a couple of crazy games. It will be low scoring. In the end the better team will win, the Titans. Bills as of today are the worst team in the NFL, even after beating the Vikings on the road.