Week four in the NFL was a bit strange. The Seattle Seahawks travelled to Miami for one of their many early road games on the east coast this season, and despite a better-than-expected battle with the Miami Dolphins, Seattle emerged victorious with a 31-23 final that came down to the final drive to decide things. Russell Wilson looked human for perhaps the first time this season, struggling to sustain drives consistently and throwing just his second interception of the year while tossing only two touchdowns. It was enough to survive a classic trap game, and Seattle heads home this week for a well-deserved recharge.
Los Angeles had trouble at home closing out the Giants a week after travelling to Buffalo and receiving their first loss of the season. The running game looks good but not great, QB Jared Goff is efficient but not flashy, and the defense is just able to hold opponents off. Not a great recipe for success, but it’s getting the job done so far. The Rams will be back on the road to the east coast this weekend, and we’ll see if the amount of coast-to-coast travel they’ve been asked to do will take its toll at some point, if it isn’t already.
Arizona dropped its second game in a row, losing to the Lions in week three in a nailbiter and then losing to Carolina last week by two scores. This team has a lot of weapons and a lot of pride, it still has a ton to prove to show it is ready to compete for the division or the conference. QB Kyler Murray has been effective and has shown he can make big plays, but he also makes some common mistakes for a young player and needs to learn to spread the ball around more, regardless of how tempting it may be to look DeAndre Hopkins’ way as often as possible.
San Francisco is undefeated on the road so far and winless at home, which is a very strange stat just four weeks in. With one more loss, they will match their loss total from last season and we are just hitting the quarter mark of the 2020 campaign. They have dealt with a ton of injuries, but let’s assume any talk of them meeting or exceeding their great season a year ago are out the window, out the door, just out of here. They do expect to get QB Jimmy Garoppolo and RB Raheem Mostert back this week, so they may have just been biding their time to make a surge when no one expects it. With a loss at home to the previously winless Eagles a week ago, there isn’t really anywhere for this team to go but up anyway.
What to expect this week
Seattle VS Minnesota, Sunday 5:20pm on NBC
Seattle hosts Minnesota this Sunday night in a rematch of one of the most entertaining prime time games of the 2019 season. The Seahawks look better than last year, despite an injured and suspect defense, but their offense is absolutely on fire no matter what you think you saw in Miami last weekend. Minnesota is in a deep slumber, however, narrowly beating winless Houston last week to claim their first victory of the year. QB Kirk Cousins has not looked like an $80M man, more like the man time forgot. RB Dalvin Cook has been great, but he can only do so much to carry the offense, which was the story of RB Adrian Peterson’s career for the Vikings. The defense looks overmatched week to week, and while they are young, they just do not have the right mix of playmakers currently. Seattle looks just as overmatched on defense, but if they can just get healthy they might get out of the woods. With only one team scoring more than they are currently, they might have enough fire power on offense to cover up any defensive miscues, at least they have been able to so far. That’s not a long-term plan. however, so let’s hope they find balance before too long. This game should go heavily in Seattle’s favor, although Minnesota has figured out how to keep it close in the first half most weeks, so don’t be surprised to see a tight score at halftime before Seattle opens it up in the second half and heads into their bye next week 5-0.
Los Angeles At Washington, Sunday 10am on FOX
While the Rams are having their struggles early on, few teams are struggling as much as the Washington Football Team. They benched their franchise QB in favor of undrafted third year QB Kyle Allen, who filled in for Cam Newton in Carolina last year (where current Washington HC Ron Rivera was HC last season). They have no clear cut RB, their defense is in disarray and may have to play without rookie pass rusher Chase Young, and aside from Terry McLaurin, there aren’t many playmakers in the passing game. This could be the rebound game LA needs to get their season back on track before anything actually goes wrong. The Rams have played well on the road this year and have been inconsistent at home despite winning both games, so perhaps they prefer early games on the east coast after all. Look for LA to establish the run early, get the passing game going, and then come out of the half with the gloves off and running up the score on an overwhelmed and overmatched rebuilding team. The Rams should lock this one up and head into next week’s showdown with San Francisco at 4-1 and remaining just a game behind Seattle.
Arizona At NY Jets, Sunday 10am on FOX
The Cardinals wanted a tune up game to get their season back and track and over the .500 mark? Well, let me introduce you to the winless NY Jets who do not do football things well. They have some guys that play hard every week, but just not enough playmakers and they don’t seem to have the right scheme on either side of the ball. The general rule is if you’re facing their offense your defense will do well, and if you’re facing their defense, your offense will do well. They do seem average on special teams so I suppose it’s not all bad news. This should be an easy win for the Cardinals to get back on track and stay two games out of first place and just one game behind the Rams. It may not be pretty since neither team has an established identity, but I do expect Arizona to win by double digits before a Monday Night Football matchup with Dallas next week.
San Francisco Vs Miami, Sunday 1:05pm on FOX
While these teams appear to be on vastly different trajectories in terms of where they are in their respective rebuilds, I would not be surprised at all to see Miami steal a win on the road this Sunday. While they have only one win so far, they have played tough in all four contests and might be better than most people think. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is sneaky good when he wants to be, but this isn’t the first time we’ve seen “Fitzmagic” in the early parts of the season only to see another player take the starting job from him if he struggles. This game is in Santa Clara and the 49ers are winless there so far this year, so anything could and may happen. If the 49ers get their star QB and RB playing in this game, I don’t think Miami will be able to win, but if this is a Nick Mullens led offense, I actually like Miami’s chances. Even if Jimmy G does start, he could have some rust to work off and the Dolphins defense is not great but they’re no slouch either. Look for the 49ers to play hard to save their season, but if they lose this one, things might get shaky if they lose next week’s showdown with the Rams.