Every week, the Full10Yards NFL gang will preview the games gracing our TV screens, giving you the lowdown on the big games each and every weekend. Make sure that you get involved in our “pick em” competition and check out our podcasts and other great articles too!
Sunday Early Sky Sports Game, 6.00pm
Browns @ Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys will welcome Baker Mayfield’s Cleveland Browns to AT&T Stadium on Sunday as they attempt to recover from their crushing loss to the Seattle Seahawks last weekend.
Despite more magic from Dak Prescott, the Cowboys pass defence was once again picked on as they allowed Russell Wilson to pass for 300+ yards and five touchdowns, including three to Tyler Lockett, in the 38-31 defeat. Things didn’t get much better for the offensive line in the loss either, injuries meant that All-Pro guard Zack Martin ended up out at right tackle, and despite doing a great job, the idea of playing up against the pass rushing tools that the Cleveland Browns have seems a scary proposition.
There were some positives however. Wide receiver Cedrick Wilson finally broke out with two huge touchdowns and 107 yards, having bounced between the active roster and the practice squad since being drafted in the 6th round in 2018. The weapons on the outside will be hard to stop for the Browns, already having to focus on the three-headed monster of Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb, who is good to go for Sunday despite the big hit he took near the end of the game last week on a punt return.
Proceedings for the Browns were far smoother in Week 3 as they defeated the Washington Football Team 34-20 in the first of their NFC East double-header. The Browns relied heavily on Nick Chubb who crashed home two touchdowns and rushed for over 100 yards as he looks to repeat the achievement against a Dallas team who is allowing 127.7 rushing yards per game through the first three weeks.
Baker Mayfield was asked to throw just 23 times as the Browns try to streamline their offensive production, requiring far less through the air than was asked of him in their opening day loss to the Baltimore Ravens and instead following the instructions of so many fans by handing the ball off to the brutal two-man attack of Chubb and Kareem Hunt.
Myles Garrett, Sheldon Richardson and co. should have some chances to get to Dak Prescott throughout with the Cowboys weakened and crucially, unfamiliar offensive line set-up.
Writer’s Pick (Alex Lewis)
Overall, this match-up was more than worthy of replacing the Steelers and Titans as the 6:00 game on Sky, with a bunch of different story lines to follow and the Cowboys needing to grab the struggling NFC East by the scruff of the neck and gain the advantage over the floundering Eagles.
Both teams are going to score a few points, but it feels as though the Cowboys have more in their locker offensively when it comes down to it, and I think Dak Prescott might continue to rack up the yards in another shoot-out. I’m taking the Dallas Cowboys to win 35-21 over the Browns.
Sunday Late Sky Sports Game, 9:25pm UK
Patriots @ Chiefs
As we continue to watch the seemingly invincible Kansas City Chiefs march on, regardless of their opponent, it is now New England’s turn to step up and make a challenge to the king’s throne. In the second window of Sunday night games, the 2-1 New England Patriots will head to the 3-0 Kansas City Chiefs in a rematch of the 2018 AFC Championship game.
Belichick will be keen to reproduce the events of said AFC Championship game, in which the travelling Patriots defeated the Chiefs in OT. The difficulty for the Pats? It’s easier said than done, especially at Arrowhead, and with every week, it is harder to say that any team will beat the reigning Super Bowl champs.
As for signs of hope for the Pats, it has to be all on the run game. After an impressive game in the air by Newton in a Week 2 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, a game in which the QB threw for 400 yards, it was the run that shone in the victory this past week. Against the Las Vegas Raiders, Sony Michel rushed for 117 yards and averaged 13 yards per carry. In a similarly impressive fashion, Rex Burkhead rushed for 50 yards on six carries. Clearly, Gruden couldn’t handle the run and the hope for the Pats is that nor will Andy Reid.
Over the course of this season so far, Kansas City’s rush defence has ranked 27th worst in the NFL. On average, the Chiefs are giving up just over 150 yards per game and over 5 yards per carry. Evidently, this will be a weakness you expect the Pats will be keen to exploit with their stellar rushing offence and the skillset of their new QB. The issue with this? It never seems to matter. Simply put, a team can’t just rush when they are 20 points behind.
And while the rushing defence of the Chiefs appears lacklustre on the eye test, every other area appears close to faultless. In terms of pass defence, the reigning MVP Lamar Jackson was limited to a measly 3.5 yards per attempt and totalled under 100 yards passing all game. Whilst the Chiefs’ secondary can be given ample credit for this, so too must the front seven. Against the elusive and hard-to-pin-down Jackson, the Chiefs managed to register five QB hits and four sacks. If the Pats aren’t careful, this is a tally which could be reproduced come Sunday.
All this before we have even mentioned the electric Chiefs offence. As ever, the reigning Super Bowl MVP was dominant this past weekend. Patrick Mahomes recorded a QB rating of 133.5, throwing for 285 yards and 4 TDs on the way to rolling over the Baltimore Ravens defence. One of the many reasons this offence is so to get a hold of, aside from the generational talent that is Mahomes or their mastermind head coach Reid, is the sheer volume of weapons they possess. In the MNF game, five different receivers had four or more catches.
Writer’s Pick (Richard O’Brien)
When it comes to this reigning Super Bowl Championship team, the mantra that they are the champs until proven otherwise rings true. It is somewhat paralysing the fear opponents can feel when considering just how many ways the Chiefs can beat you. Although I think the intangible element of Belichick will be able to keep this game exciting, I can’t see any team getting close to this Chiefs team under these current circumstances. So, with all that being said, I’m going to predict a 31-20 victory to Kansas City.
Sunday Night Football – Monday 1:20am UK
Eagles @ 49ers
The storyline heading into this one is whether Carson Wentz, quarterback for the Eagles, is regressing and whether he is the right guy to lead this Philadelphia team.
Wentz has the worst passer rating in the NFL through the opening three weeks and has thrown two interceptions in each week thus far in the 2020 season. It’s fair to say, the QB is under pressure heading in to Week 4. Doug Pederson was quick to leap to the defence of the former #2 overall pick in 2016, who recently signed a four-year, $128m extension.
“No. You don’t go there. That’s a knee-jerk reaction, Carson’s our quarterback. We’re going to get it fixed. He is going to get it fixed.”Doug Pederson when asked about benching Carson Wentz
What isn’t helping is injuries; 1st round pick Jalen Reagor will miss an extended period of time after being placed on IR with a thumb injury. Add Dallas Goedert to the treatment table and yet again, Wentz’s supporting cast is one of the most depleted in the league, though DeSean Jackson and/or Alshon Jeffrey could play in this one.
Philadelphia will likely try and lean on running back Miles Sanders, who has recently returned from a hamstring injury and carried 18 times for 95 yards on his seasonal debut.
They go up against a usually stout run defence in San Francisco, but they too are struggling with an overcrowded physio room. San Francisco actually rank 3rd in pass defence in terms of yards and they currently rank 2nd in scoring defence so no let up for Carson and co. through the air here.
Jimmy Garoppolo, Raheem Mostert, Nick Bosa and Richard Sherman just a few of the top names who are currently on the treatment table and the list of injuries for both these sides reads longer than the Queen’s end of year honours list.
Stand-in QB Nick Mullens had a decent time of it against a poor Giants team which, at the very least, will do wonders for his confidence. He’ll be hoping to welcome back George Kittle who has been tending to a knee injury. Deebo Samuel isn’t likely ready to return just yet but rookie Brandon Aiyuk was utilised in a similar fashion and expect more of the same dialed up for him.
For the Eagles to win, they’ll need to call upon their defensive line again, who mustered eight sacks against Bengals QB Joe Burrow in their Week 3 tie. Similar comments apply to San Francisco, who should have fun against a banged-up Eagles line that give up on average 3.7 sacks per game. With all of the injuries on both sides for both teams, this is likely to be a run-heavy game and both teams will want to try and sneak a win and get out relatively unscathed.
Writer’s Pick (Tim Monk)
I see this as a low-scoring and ugly game, meaning the team with the final possession will probably have a chance to win and I am giving the edge to San Francisco who have the comfort of returning home after spending two weeks out East.
The team that is able to put in a more dominant performance on the defensive line or the offence that is able to handle the pressure better from the opposing defence will win this one.
Monday Night Football, Tuesday 12.10am UK
Falcons @ Packers
Your Monday Night Football fix this week is a match-up between two teams on totally different trajectories. One can’t win for toffee (no matter how big a lead they establish) while the other just keeps on rolling and has put points on the board in every quarter so far. Can the Falcons (0-3) finally spread their wings and fly or will hosts Green Bay (3-0) send ‘em packing? That’s a rhetorical question, by the way…
The Packers are averaging over 40 points a game and their total of 122 is currently the highest in the league, and the sixth-best in NFL history, after three games. Their solid start continued on Sunday when they saw off New Orleans 37-30 in a sizzler at the Superdome. Davante Adams was missing with a hamstring issue but Aaron Rodgers just turned to his other weapons, throwing for 280-plus yards and three touchdowns. One of those stand-ins, Allen Lazard, finished with a career-high 146 yards on just six receptions. RB Aaron Jones also rumbled into the end zone for his fifth TD of the campaign, second only to the Saints’ Alvin Kamara.
When Green Bay drafted Jordan Love a few months ago, many speculated about the impact that taking the pretender to Rodgers’ throne could have on the two-time MVP. Well, they needn’t have worried; he’s thrown for 887 yards (5th in the league) and nine touchdowns (3rd) with no interceptions so far. He’s even throwing no-look passes. The guy’s on fire.
As for Atlanta, Matt Ryan is actually ahead of Rodgers in both completions and passing yards but on Sunday, he only connected on half of his 38 attempts. Maybe the lack of Julio Jones was a factor, even though Calvin Ridley hauled in 110 yards from five catches and Todd Gurley rushed for 80 and a TD. The Falcons have averaged 30 points a game themselves, which is usually enough to win – but they also have a self-destruct button. Under HC Dan Quinn, the Dirty Birds have garnered a reputation for choking that dates back to Super Bowl LI when somehow, 28-3 wasn’t quite enough of a lead against the Patriots.
In 2020, the Falcons have taken their fondness for imploding to a whole new level, setting a league record by throwing away 15-point, fourth-quarter leads twice in one season. In fact, two times in as many weeks.
After blowing a double-digit advantage with less than five minutes to play against the Cowboys in Week 2 – don’t mention that onside kick when everyone just stood around watching – they capitulated again to the Bears, somehow chucking it all away after being 26-10 ahead with six minutes on the clock. Nick Foles led Chicago to a miraculous, come-from-way-behind victory, while Matty Ice threw eight consecutive incompletions, including an overthrow that should have been a winning score, and then a game-ending interception. They also missed a FG and a PAT so Atlanta could be – should be – 2-1, not 0-3. It’s fine margins but Quinn might be scanning the job ads unless he turns things around soon.
Writer’s Pick (Sean Tyler)
Unsurprisingly, the Packers opened as seven-point favourites for this one and it might be more by the time you read this. While we know the Falcons can put up a few points, I’m sure they won’t let another seemingly unassailable lead slip this week. That’s because they won’t get the chance to. Green Bay are absolutely balling at the mo and the last time the Falcons won at Lambeau Field, in 2008, Matt Ryan was a rookie. It’s hard to predict anything other than the Packers romping home by a couple of scores so I’m going for Falcons 24, Packers 38.
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