NFL-AFCE Game Day-Week 4

NFL-AFCE Game Day-Week 4
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Today’s Games

 Saints @ Dolphins


Sunday, 9:30 a.m. ET, FOX

Saints win! Well, I guess you figured that out by reading the score. The key matchup will be Drew Breesand New Orleans’ pass offense against Miami’s secondary. Going to the other side, Dolphins coach Adam Gase sounded all sorts of pissed off this week about his own offense. The Jay Cutler acquisition has translated to an escape win and a blowout loss for Miami. In fairness, the veteran quarterback didn’t play much in the preseason. While the Saints‘ defense would normally present easy pickings for an above-average quarterback, coordinator Dennis Allen’s group looked terrific last week in Charlotte.

Fun fact: No Dolphins QB has thrown for 5,000 yards, made the All-Pro team or even earned a Pro Bowlnod since Brees became the Saints‘ starter in 2006. (Sorry, I’m trolling you, Fin fans.) #NOvsMIA



New Orleans Saints

We still don’t know for sure how much to trust the Saints’ defense, since that unit’s big turnaround in Week 3 came against struggling quarterback Cam Newton. But New Orleans should get top cornerback Marshon Lattimoreback from a concussion. And Miami’s offense also has been off to a slow start this year, with just six points in a loss to the Jets last week. Also, the Dolphins’ pass defense has actually allowed a higher completion percentage to opposing quarterbacks (79 percent) than the Saints (73 percent). Saints 30, Dolphins 25Mike Triplett

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins are allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete 79 percent of passes this season. Miami’s pass coverage has been shaky, and that’s not good facing future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees. This game has the makings of a shootout, and the Saints’ passing game is too dynamic for Miami to keep up. Saints 28, Dolphins 21James Walker




Jaguars @ Jetss

From: From:

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

Can the Jaguars build on a London performance in which everything went right? For that matter, will the Jets capitalize on winning a game, oh, 10 to 12 weeks before pundits thought they would? Watching either of these offenses for extended periods can be annoying. It’s like two hours of realizing, after you and the dog are already halfway down the block, that you forgot poopie bags. It’s important for Jacksonville to stick with Leonard Fournette and the ground game. Keep Blake Bortles‘ attempts total in the 25-to-30 range. For the Jets, field position is key, and that starts with forcing turnovers. The secondary was fantastic against Jay Cutler and the Dolphins last week. The Jags’ defense ranks first in yards per play, passing yards allowed and sacks. Seriously. No, really. #JAXvsNYJ



Jacksonville Jaguars

Consistency has been the theme of the week for the Jaguars. They’ve had two blowout victories sandwiched around a blowout loss and need to put together back-to-back good games if they’re really going to be a contender in the division. They’re a road favorite for the first time since Week 10 in 2011 mainly because of their defense, which ranks in the top 10 in takeaways, total yards, passing yards and sacks. The Jets may be without RB Matt Forte, and that would be a big loss. Jaguars 21, Jets 13Mike DiRocco

New York Jets

The Jets were terrific last week, but let’s hold the parade. This still is a team with many deficiencies. Their best chance to win is to be physical and run the ball, as the Titans did in Week 2, but the Jets have yet to demonstrate a consistent rushing offense (only 89 yards per game). They also could be without leading rusher Matt Forte. This will be an ugly, low-scoring game that will hinge on a key turnover and a long run by Leonard Fournette. Jaguars 17, Jets 16Rich Cimini


Patriots @ Panthers

From: From:

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, FOX

The Panthers are in an offensive funk. The Patriots‘ defense has been in the dumps. Rob Ninkovich’s retirement hurt New England’s D, leaving the pass rush thin. The secondary, meanwhile, has not played well enough to atone. Through three games, the Patriots have allowed 31.7 points per game, worst in the league. The pass defense? Also dead last. Yet, sans tight end Greg Olsen, I’m not confident Cam Newton and the rest of the Carolina pass catchers can capitalize.

Fun fact: The Patriots rank first in offense and last in defense, based on yardage. The only team to pull that off for a given season since the 1970 AFL-NFL Merger is the 1985 Chargers, who went 8-8. I think I have a game or two of theirs on video cassette. #CARvsNE



Carolina Panthers

The Panthers have moved the ball successfully in the first three games. They rank second in the league in time of possession at 34:01 per game. They just keep shooting themselves in the foot in the red zone. Cam Newton will have an opportunity once again to correct that against the league’s last-place defense in terms of yards allowed, and Christian McCaffrey had what one could call his breakout game with 101 yards receiving against New Orleans. This will come down to whether the defense, ranked No. 1 in the league, can keep Tom Brady and the Patriots’ offense out of the end zone more than a couple of times. That doesn’t seem likely. Patriots 27, Panthers 24David Newton

New England Patriots

For a Patriots team that has allowed 95 points through three games — its highest total in its first three games since 1994 — Carolina might be the right foe to get back on track. The Panthers have scored just 45 points in three games this season, and Cam Newton isn’t running like he used to, which coach Ron Rivera called his “new reality.” Patriots 33, Panthers 17Mike Reiss



Bills @ Falcons

From: From:

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Falcons will be at home, where their offense is a completely different animal. That said, I think the Bills‘ defense will weather the storm well enough, forcing Atlanta coach Dan Quinn to settle for numerous field goals. This will be a Matt Bryant game. Buffalo’s defense has allowed all of two touchdowns in three games. Atlanta’s defense must stop LeSean McCoy so that Bills coach Sean McDermott — who, having served as Carolina’s defensive coordinator from 2011 through ’16, is all too familiar with these Falcons — can’t slow this contest down to a run-based, defensive slugfest. The Bills‘ rush offense is down from 164.4 yards per game in 2016 to 111.3 this season, while the yards-per-rush mark has sagged from 5.3 to 3.4. They’ve only rushed for one touchdown, too. #BUFvsATL



Buffalo Bills

Had Tyrod Taylor and Zay Jones connected on a last-second touchdown pass in Week 2, the Bills would enter this game 3-0. We’ll find out whether Buffalo is for real against the undefeated Falcons, who rank third in ESPN’s Football Power Index — 17 spots higher than the 2-1 Bills at No. 22. The past three games in which Matt Ryan faced a Sean McDermott-coached defense in Carolina, he completed 78 percent of his passes for 1,086 yards, 7 touchdowns, 1 interception and a 131.1 quarterback rating. With the NFL’s top defense in terms of points allowed (12.3), McDermott will have something to prove against Ryan. Falcons 28, Bills 20Mike Rodak

Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons haven’t played their best game, yet they’re still 3-0. The Bills boast the league’s top-scoring defense at 12.5 points per game and haven’t allowed a touchdown reception, but they haven’t seen the type of offensive firepower the Falcons present. Julio Jones, who said he’s fine coming off a back injury, should get his first touchdown of the season. And the running back tandem of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman — who’ve guided the Falcons to a 7-0 record when combining for 200 yards — should give the Bills fits. Defensively, the Falcons need to hold LeSean McCoy in check. Falcons 28, Bills 13Vaughn McClure


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