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NFL Week 4 in Review

NFL Week 4 in Review

NFL Week 4 in Review
By: Rick Herron

There are still three undefeated teams in the NFL, two of which squeaked by this weekend and failed to cover. The Atlanta Falcons got the ball with less than a minute to go against the Carolina Panthers and drove from their own one-yard line with no timeouts to set up Matt Bryant’s 40-yard game winner with five seconds left. The Panthers were a 7-point dog, so Carolina backers cashed their tickets.

The Arizona Cardinals, a 5-point home favorite vs. the Miami Dolphins, got a Kevin Kolb 15-yard touchdown pass with 22 seconds left in regulation to force overtime and then won on a 46-yard field goal by Jay Feely 6:31 into OT. Ryan Tannehill threw for 431 yards, and two Dolphins receivers went over 100 yard — Brian Hartline set a Miami record with 12 catches for 253 yards, and Devon Bess had seven for 123.

The Cardinals won the game and are still undefeated, but this was their first non-cover of the season.

Of the unbeatens, only the Houston Texans had an easy win. They had two interception returns for touchdowns and beat the Titans, 38-14, as 13-point favorites. The Titans have given up at least 34 points in all four of their games so far.

Only the New Orleans Saints and Cleveland Browns remain winless. The Saints on Sunday lost to the Green Bay Packers, 28-27, but covered for the first time this season. They are now 1-3 ATS. The Browns are 2-1-1 ATS after covering Thursday night as a 12-point dog in Baltimore.

The 0-4 Saints do have something to cheer about, as Drew Brees threw a TD pass in his record-tying 47th consecutive game. That record has been held by Johnny Unitas for 18,291 days, and I guess it will be 18,298 days when Brees breaks it Sunday night against the San Diego Chargers.

The Saints still have a chance to make the playoffs, albeit a bleak one. An 0-4 team has made the playoffs once since 1990 — the Chargers in 1992. We are not, on the other hand, talking about the Browns making the playoffs.

The Detroit Lions fell to 1-3 in losing at home to the Minnesota Vikings, and worse for bettors, they are now 0-4 ATS. Thank God they have a bye this week. Maybe they can practice tackling drills during their week off.

The New England Patriots became the second team in NFL history with a 300-yard passer (Tom Brady, 340 yards), two 100-yard rushers (Steven Ridley, 106 yards, and Brandon Bolden, 137 yards) and two-100 yard receivers (Wes Welker, 129, and Rob Gronkowski, 104). They put up 45 points in the second half on the Bills and won, 52-28. Oh, and they obviously covered, too, while avoiding losing three in a row for the first time since 2002.

A trend that bears watching:

Teams that have lost by double digits the week before are now 15-3-2 ATS the following week. Last week there were six of them (Browns, Panthers, Rams, 49ers, Chargers and Eagles). Those six teams went 5-0-1 ATS – the Eagles pushed at -2. Oh, and by the way, there was one matchup that featured two teams in this situation, so if you throw that out, the number becomes 14-2-2 ATS. These teams are also 16-4 SU. Look it up!

So what teams fit this trend for next week? Seven teams lost by double digits in Week 4, but two of them (the Raiders and Cowboys) are on a bye this week. Let’s see how this plays out for the Chiefs, Bills, Jaguars, Titans and Jets.

Remember, these trends don't last forever, but they can be worth your while to follow as you handicap throughout the year — the league does seem very balanced, after all.

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