Ben Graham’s NFL Week 4 Preview: Chiefs' Defence To Reign Supreme At Arrowhead

The NFL never ceases to amaze.

The ‘Any Given Sunday’ mantra was as true as ever as there were upsets galore.

Prior to week 3, there were 10 undefeated teams, now there are only two, Kansas City Chiefs and last year’s Super Bowl finalists Atlanta Falcons.

The big issue of the week centred around US President Donald Trump’s Twitter outburst criticising NFL players and asking owners to fire them if they didn’t respect the national anthem and the American flag. 

This prompted swift responses from all NFL owners and saw unified team protests during each National Anthem of week 3.

After living in the US and playing in the NFL for eight years, it’s very apparent to me that the NFL, like the AFL, is an extremely important pillar in society and I’m proud to say that I’ve been part of an organisation that has influenced and exerted such positive change.

Aside from a few individuals silently protesting, the national anthem was always a chance to celebrate the patriotism of the United States.

The fact that in week 3 where teams either locked arms, kneeled or didn’t enter the arena for the national anthem, says to me that this was not a protest against the anthem or the flag but a stance against Trump himself who has unnecessarily inflamed racial tensions.

It's time President Trump stopped picking fights with the NFL and concentrate on running the country, focussing on the bigger issues. 

Back to the football, here is my preview for week 4.

Green Bay v Chicago | Friday, September 29, 10.25am (AEST), Lambeau Field

There are many rivalries in the NFL but the Packers v Bears clash might the greatest, most historic rivalry in the game due to how strong both teams have been over a long period of time.

Recently however, it has been quite lopsided with the Packers holding a 14-3 record over the Bears in the past seven years.

If last weekend is any guide, this week could be anyone’s game.

Chicago are coming off a shock win at home in overtime against Pittsburgh and Green Bay needed a field goal in overtime to beat the winless Bengals.

A breakout game from Chicago RB Jordan Howard (pictured above) has my attention but I have my doubts on their passing game.

The Verdict

I have a lot more confidence in QB Aaron Rodgers (pictured above) and the Packers and they should continue their recent dominance over the Bears.

Unibet Odds: Green Bay 1.32 Chicago 3.60

Tip: Green Bay

Line tip: Chicago +7.5

Miami v New Orleans | Monday, October 2, 12.30am (AEST), Wembley Stadium

London get their second NFL fix in two weeks with the New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins heading to Wembley.

I read both these teams wrong last week with the Saints putting up 34 points on a Panthers defence that hadn’t allowed a touchdown in the first three weeks and the Dolphins embarrassed by the Jets, completely abandoning their running game.

The Verdict 

Saints QB Drew Brees (pictured at top) to manage a mistake-free game to get back to 2-2 with a win over the Dolphins.

Unibet Odds: Miami 2.32 New Orleans 1.64

Tip: New Orleans 

Line tip: New Orleans -2.5

New England v Carolina | Monday, October 2, 4am (AEST), Gillette Stadium

Ageless Patriots QB Tom Brady (pictured above) was back to his vintage self against the vaunted Texans defence with 378 yards passing and five touchdowns.

However, they would like a little more from the running game and defence as the season forges on.

The Panthers on the other hand are on the slide as they really disappointed at home last week against New Orleans.

Patriots to continue on their winning ways

The Verdict 

New England by a healthy margin.

Unibet Odds: New England 1.23 Carolina 4.40

Tip: New England 

Line tip: New England -6.5 

New York Jets v Jacksonville | Monday, October 2, 4am (AEST), Metlife Stadium

This is an interesting match-up

Great to see my old Jets pick up their first win of the season last week against Miami but I was super impressed by the Jaguars’ big win over Baltimore in London.

QB Blake Bortles put up big numbers throwing four touchdowns including three to TE Mercedes Lewis (pictured above).

He managed the game well and went mistake-free on the way to winning the turnover battle and throw in a fake on Special Teams and you have close to a perfect game.

The Verdict 

The Jaguars should be full of confidence and I think they’ll come to New York (who might think they’re back) and take the points. 

Unibet Odds: New York Jets 2.48 Jacksonville 1.57

Tip: Jacksonville 

Line tip: New York Jets +3.5 

Houston v Tennessee | Monday, October 2, 4am (AEST), NRG Stadium

I said in my week 1 preview that Tennessee are building something special and it appears they’re starting to realise their talent.

Beating the Seahawks is no mean feat particularly when QB Russell Wilson has a day out.

The Texans were competitive in New England last week and will trust QB DeShaun Watson to take another step while their defence will look to attempt to dismantle Marcus Mariota and co.

In the tightly contested AFC South, the winner of this game will become the front runner to take out the division.

The Verdict

Titans to continue to build.

I think they’ll win by three in a close game in Houston.

Unibet Odds: Houston 2.05 Tennessee 1.81

Tip: Tennessee 

Line tip: Tennessee -1.5

Baltimore v Pittsburgh | Monday, October 2, 4am (AEST), M&T Bank Stadium

Both these AFC North teams are coming off disappointing losses and will be out to take control of the division and emerge as a contender in the AFC.

While the Steelers lost in overtime, it was the Ravens who really disappointed, smashed by the Jaguars 44-7 and QB Joe Flacco benched,.

I imagine they won’t be putting their hand up to return to London.

The Verdict 

Pittsburgh are in better shape at the moment and I expect them to win by three in a close game in Baltimore.

Unibet Odds: Baltimore 2.35 Pittsburgh 1.63

Tip: Pittsburgh 

Line tip: Baltimore +3.5

Cleveland v Cincinnati | Monday, October 2, 4am (AEST), Firstenergy Stadium 

The two Ohio teams have had really poor starts to the season but there were good signs last week.

I picked the Browns at Colts and they got very close if only QB DeShone Kizer (pictured above) could have back the three interceptions.

The Bengals pushed Green Bay at Lambeau to overtime but there just isn’t enough there for me to pick them with any confidence.

I’m sticking with the Browns for the second week running as they've shown enough promise and should win at home.

The Verdict 

Cleveland in an upset. 

Unibet Odds: Cleveland 2.48 Cincinnati 1.56

Tip: Cleveland 

Line tip: Cleveland +4.5

Minnesota v Detroit | Monday, October 2, 4am (AEST), U.S. Bank Stadium

In one of the performances of the week, Vikings QB Case Keenum was simply outstanding. 

The Vikings QB completed 25 from 33 for 369 yards and three touchdowns with WR Stefon Diggs the major recipient with 173 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

Am I confident the Vikings’ offence can do it again with Keenum at the helm?

Unfortunately for Vikings fans, no.

Detroit were stiff at the death at home against Atlanta last week and after they come to Minnesota with all guns blazing, the Vikings would love to have Lions QB Matthew Stafford (pictured above) on their roster.

The Verdict 

I’m putting my faith in Detroit in the Twin City.

Unibet Odds: N/A

Tip: Detroit 

Line tip: N/A

Dallas v LA Rams | Monday, October 2, 4am (AEST), AT&T Stadium

After disappointing in Denver, Dallas rebounded with a strong performance in Arizona and looked more like what we expect.

QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliott (pictured above) are a handful for any defence and with the 49ers putting up 39 points against the Rams last week, they should continue to put up winning numbers.

The Verdict 

The Rams’ offence put up similar numbers to week 1 and would be happy with the improvement of QB Jared Goff and co but the Cowboys’ defence should be able to handle this young and exciting team. 

Unibet Odds: Dallas 1.36 LA Rams 3.30

Tip: Dallas 

Line tip: Dallas -3.5

Atlanta v Buffalo | Monday, October 2, 4am (AEST), Mercedes-Benz Stadium

The Atlanta Falcons are well positioned to return to the Super Bowl and challenge the New England Patriots as the NFL’s best team and they’re certainly making their case in the first quarter of the season.

They continue to find a way and again looked strong in Detroit, albeit a lucky escape.

The Verdict 

The Buffalo Bills bounced back at home against Denver in a strong showing but will be no match for the soaring Falcons. 

Unibet Odds: Atlanta 1.24 Buffalo 4.30

Tip: Atlanta 

Line tip: Atlanta -7.5 

LA Chargers v Philadelphia | Monday, October 2, 7.05am (AEST), Stubhub Center

Things are starting to come unstuck at the Chargers after being unlucky in the first two weeks but we may learn a thing or two after this game about where they’re headed.

Win and they’ll look to get on a roll but lose and an early draft pick in 2018 looms.

I’m not an advocate of tanking and actually don’t think the Chargers are that bad of a team.

The Eagles’ defence allowed 24 fourth quarter points to the winless Giants and will face a Chargers offence looking to bounce back at home in LA.

The Verdict

I can smell an upset brewing with the Chargers winning by six in a forgettable game.

Unibet Odds: LA Chargers 1.80 Philadelphia 2.06

Tip: LA Chargers

Line tip: LA Chargers -1.5 

Arizona v San Francisco | Monday, October 2, 7.05am (AEST), University Of Phoenix Stadium

The NFC West only have four combined wins for the season so far (equal lowest in the NFL) and it’s time for the Cardinals to step up to the plate and challenge for the division with a big win at home against the 49ers.

While the 49ers somewhat surprised and put on a show against the Rams last week going down 41-39 in a close, exciting game, lose this week and it’s curtains for 2017.

The Verdict 

Cardinals by 13 at home.

Unibet Odds: Arizona 1.32 San Francisco 3.55

Tip: Arizona 

Line tip: Arizona -6.5 

Tampa Bay v New York Giants | Monday, October 2, 7.05am (AEST), Raymond James Stadium

Great to see Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr (pictured above) back at the Big Blue and what a difference he makes.

It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that the Giants put up any points (24) with two going OBJ’s way but he’s still working his way into it.

His longest catch was only 14 yards but he had plenty of looks to go with two touchdowns. 

The Giants are going to need QB Eli Manning to find him with regularity if they’re going to get over the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay.

The Verdict 

The Bucs are a better team at home and I predict them to run the football more and be too good for the Giants who’ll remain winless on the season.

Unibet Odds: Tampa Bay 1.60 New York Giants 2.40

Tip: Tampa Bay 

Line tip: Tampa Bay -2.5 

Denver v Oakland | Monday, October 2, 7.25am (AEST), Sports Authority Field At Mile High

Tough game to predict this and it could go either way.

I like what both teams are building and in a hotly contested division, this is a crucial AFC West match-up.

The Verdict 

Both teams are coming off a loss, the Raiders were underwhelming in Washington and the Broncos fell short in Buffalo without QB Trevor Siemian (pictured above) throwing a touchdown pass.

But Denver is a difficult place to play and I can see them taking the win in a close game.

Unibet Odds: Denver 1.66 Oakland 2.28

Tip: Denver 

Line tip: Denver -2.5 

Seattle v Indianapolis | Monday, October 2, 11.30am (AEST), Centurylink Field

Great to see the Colts get a win last week, even though I tipped the Browns.

The Colts can thank QB Jacoby Brissett who was the difference.

The Seahawks' offence showed some signs of life late against the Titans with QB Russell Wilson (pictured above) getting back to his best throwing for four touchdowns.

The Verdict

Seattle are a better team than their 1-2 record suggests.

They should square the ledger at home in front of the ‘12th man’ in a comfortable win.

Unibet Odds: Seattle 1.11 Indianapolis 7.50

Tip: Seattle 

Line tip: Seattle -13.5 

Kansas City v Washington | Tuesday, October 3, 11.30am (AEST), Arrowhead Stadium

After a week of upsets, the Kansas City Chiefs, along with the Atlanta Falcons, are the only remaining undefeated teams.

They’ve had an amazing start to the year with QB Alex Smith continuing to prove his doubters wrong but it’s rookie RB Kareem Hunt (pictured above) who is dominating his position.

Hunt leads all running backs by 113 yards with 401 total yards, has the highest yards per game (133), averages 8.5 yards per carry (1st of running backs with 8 or more carries), is equal for touchdowns (4) and has ran for the most first downs than anyone else.

The question is, do the Chiefs rely on him too much?

My answer is yes and to prove it, the next best running back statistically is your QB with 33 yards. 

The Chiefs will have to manage Hunt effectively over the coming weeks to ensure he’s healthy for a play-off run.

The Verdict

The Redskins had a nice win at home over Oakland but they won’t be able to stop Hunt or put up enough points against the Chiefs defence. 

Unibet Odds: Kansas City 1.35 Washington 3.35 

Tip: Kansas City 

Line tip: Kansas City -6.5 

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