Nostrathomas Predicts: NFL Week 4 Featuring the Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens

The 2022 NFL season is heading into October and we have a full slate of Week 4 games to enjoy, including a preview of what could be the AFC Championship Game.

Nostrathomas struggled against the spread again last week but did hit on two of his three best bet games. The picture is beginning to clear about what we can expect from teams from week to week.

Time to take out the crystal beer mugs, fill them up, peer through the suds and get a reading on what we can expect in Week 4.

Game of the Week

Buffalo Bills vs Baltimore Ravens +3 (1PM ET; M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD)

Here is the showdown between the numbers one and three teams in Nostrathomas’ power rankings. The Buffalo Bills are coming off a 21-19 loss to the Miami Dolphins that brought their offense back down to Earth. The Baltimore Ravens recovered from a Week 2 loss to Miami by beating the New England Patriots 37-26.

One of the big strengths Baltimore carries into this game is they lead the league in yards per point scored. The Ravens average one point scored for every 11.5 yards of offense. In other words, they’ve only needed an average of 80.5 yards of offense to score seven points. Baltimore is also strong in average yards per point allowed.

The Bills are fourth in the NFL in passer rating but Baltimore is first. The Ravens also hold an advantage in net passing yards per attempt and net passing yards per attempt allowed.

Buffalo has a big advantage on defense in stopping the run, allowing 2.8 yards per attempt, second in the league. That’s not as big an advantage as it sounds for this game though. The Ravens have been doing most of their damage through the arm of quarterback Lamar Jackson. He’s developed great rapport with tight end Mark Andrews and receivers Rashod Bateman and Devin Duvernay.

I’d be more likely to take Buffalo in this game but they are still a team that is riddled with injuries. On defense, cornerback Christian Benford and defensive tackle Jake Kumerow have been ruled out for this game. Listed as questionable are defensive tackle Ed Oliver (ankle), cornerback Dane Jackson (neck), and safety Jordan Poyer (foot). The last three were listed as questionable last week for the Bills against Miami but played zero snaps in the game.

Against an average team, the Bills could afford to lose those players and win a game. They’re playing one of the elites in their conference though. Buffalo should score but will have problems keeping the Ravens high-octane offense from matching them.

Take Baltimore to take advantage of the Bills injury situation and win a close game. Also, don’t be surprised if these two match up again in January.

Baltimore Ravens 32 Buffalo Bills 27

Best Bets

Minnesota Vikings -3 vs New Orleans Saints (9:30AM ET; Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London)

The Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints kick off the NFL’s London series this week with a morning game that opens the Week 4 slate.

New Orleans opened the 2022 season by striking for 17, fourth quarter points to beat the Atlanta Falcons 27-26. They’ve fallen hard after that positive start though, dropping games to NFC South rivals Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers.

The Vikings have defined inconsistency so far heading into Week 4. They opened by wiping the field with the Green Bay Packers then got beat up by the revived Philadelphia Eagles. In Week 3, they needed a 14-point fourth quarter to finish off the Detroit Lions.

The Saints are still looking for an identity under new head coach Dennis Allen. On offense, they’ve been able to run the ball successfully, but quarterback Jameis Winston has regressed without the steady had of Sean Payton to mentor him.

Minnesota’s offense hasn’t set the world on fire under new head coach Kevin O’Connell but defensive coordinator Ed Donatell has his unit playing at a high level. The Vikings are third in the league in yards per point allowed

The big difference in this game is injuries. For New Orleans, Winston and wide receiver Michael Thomas have been declared out for this game, along with tackle Andrus Peat and free safety Marcus Maye. Andy Dalton will get the start at quarterback for the Saints. Running back Alvin Kamara (rib) and receiver Jarvis Landry (ankle) are listed as questionable.

For Minnesota, starting defensive end Za’Darius Smith (knee) is questionable. Otherwise, the Vikings are healthy.

At last check, 84 percent of public money is coming in on Minnesota, even favored by -3. The spread could be at -4 by kickoff. Get your money down now if you’re betting the Vikings. That’s my recommendation.

Minnesota Vikings 23 New Orleans Saints 17

Los Angeles Chargers vs Houston Texans +5.5 (1PM ET; NRG Stadium, Houston, TX)

Even with injured quarterback Justin Herbert starting last week at SoFi Stadium, the Los Angeles Chargers took a 38-10 beating at the hands of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

So far in 2022, even with Herbert at the controls, Los Angeles has struggled to score. They’re currently 16th in the league in points. The Chargers are even worse on defense though. They’re 28th in points allowed.

For Houston, nobody is going to confuse Davis Mills with an NFL franchise quarterback, but head coach Lovie Smith has the Texans playing tough defense through three games, and defense doesn’t slump.

I can’t pick Houston to win this game but they’ve kept the score close so far this season. Also, the Chargers always seem to make a mistake in a game that comes back to bite them.

Take Los Angeles to win but the Texans to beat the spread.

Los Angeles Chargers 20 Houston Texans 16

Arizona Cardinals vs Carolina Panthers -1 (4:05PM ET; Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC)

The Arizona Cardinals are scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to most of my statistical measures. Actually, the Carolina Panthers are good enough on defense to potentially make life miserable for Kyler Murray.

On offense, Baker Mayfield should have plenty of opportunities to open up the Panthers passing game against a defense that is last in passer rating allowed.

The interesting aspect to this game is not born out in the statistics though.

The spread for this game opened with the Cardinals favored by -2.5 points. Despite the public betting heavily on Arizona and the spread, 85 percent of money getting laid on the Cardinals as of this writing, the spread has swung to Carolina as home favorite.

Based on public betting, that spread should be going the other way as the sports books attempt to get money in on the Panthers. This tells me that there heavy money has come in on Carolina from the sharps, professional betters.

Never argue with the sharps. Take the Panthers to win and cover.

Carolina Panthers 26 Arizona Cardinals 20

Division Rivalry Games

Tennessee Titans +3.5 vs Indianapolis Colts (1PM ET; Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN)

Before the season began this was a highly anticipated game between two teams expected to battle it out for the AFC South title. Now, it’s a battle between two teams trying to keep from falling too far back to seriously contend for a playoff spot.

Both teams are very similar statistically. Tennessee dominates the Colts in the passing game. They’re seventh in net passing yards per attempt and Ryan Tannehill currently holds the edge over Matt Ryan in passer rating.

Indianapolis hasn’t been able to fix the offensive line problems that have plagued them this season which will create opportunities for the Titans pass rush. Right now, I think that is the difference in this game. At least, until one of these teams begin playing up to their preseason press releases.

Tennessee is 4-1 both straight-up and against the spread in their last five games against the Colts. Take them to go 5-1.

Tennessee Titans 23 Indianapolis Colts 17

Washington Commanders vs Dallas Cowboys -3.5 (1PM ET; AT&T Stadium, Dallas, TX)

Surprise, surprise, the Dallas Cowboys are 2-0 with Cooper Rush filling in at quarterback for the injured Dak Prescott. Dallas’ passing game hasn’t had opponents shaking in fear. They’re 22nd in the league in net passing yards per attempt and 25th in passer rating but they’ve been running the ball well behind Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard.

Where the Cowboys have been dominant so far is on defense. They’re eighth in points allowed and in passer rating allowed.

Washington has been underperforming on defense again considering that the have two defensive specialists in Ron Rivera as head coach and Jack Del Rio as coordinator. On offense, their line has been failing at keep Carson Wentz clean.

The squad formerly known as The Football Team has been vulnerable through the air so far in 2022 and Rush should be able to take advantage of that.

The Cowboys are on a 7-0 against the spread run within the division. Take them to win and cover.

Dallas Cowboys 27 Washington Commanders 21

Denver Broncos vs Las Vegas Raiders -2.5 (4:25ET PM; Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, NV)

Denver’s defense has not been a problem this season. The Broncos are as tough to generate offense against as they were under Vic Fangio. That wasn’t the positive everyone was expecting though.

Denver spent a crapload of assets to bring in Russell Wilson at quarterback to settle and generate consistency with their offense. Through three games, that hasn’t happened.

The Las Vegas Raiders have generated points this season, but they haven’t played a defense as tough as the Broncos.

One of the problems I have with Denver is, they lead the league in penalties with 30 and penalty yards with 236. That’s a sign of an undisciplined team, which reflects directly on the coaching staff. It’s amazing to consider that they’ve won two of their first three games while being assessed close to 2-1/2 football fields worth of penalty yardage.

Las Vegas is on an 8-1 run against the spread when playing the Broncos. Until we see something positive emerge with these two teams, that’s a good enough reason to take the Raiders to win and cover.

Las Vegas Raiders 21 Denver Broncos 16

Best of the Rest

Jacksonville Jaguars +6.5 vs Philadelphia Eagles (1PM ET; Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA)

Are the Jacksonville Jaguars actually good this season? Yes, Justin Herbert was playing with severely damaged ribs, but Jacksonville went into SoFi Stadium last week and pounded the Chargers 38-10.

Now they’re challenge will be to beat the last undefeated team in the NFL in that team’s home stadium.

Both teams are getting excellent quarterback play. Jalen Hurts is first in net passing yards per attempt and fifth in passer rating. Trevor Lawrence is ninth in net passing yards per attempt and sixth in passer rating.

Both teams are also tough defensively. The Jaguars are fourth in the league in points allowed, Philadelphia is seventh.

This is going to be one of the best games of the weekend. I’m going to pick the home team to win but the spread is too wide to expect the Eagles to cover against another quality team.

Philadelphia Eagles 28 Jacksonville Jaguars 26

New York Jets vs Pittsburgh Steelers -3.5 (1PM ET; Acrisure Stadium, Pittsburgh, PA)

The Pittsburgh Steelers have struggled on defense since they lost T.J. Watt for the season in Week 1. They’ve also struggled on offense as they find out that Mitch Trubisky is not a franchise quarterback.

Could this be the game where Kenny Pickett makes his debut? Possible but this Jets team is so bad that it’s possible they survive this week by leaning on Najee Harris.

New York Joe Flacco will be back on the bench this week as Zach Wilson gets his first start after missing the preseason and first three games because of a meniscus team and bone bruise. The question with Wilson is not how much rust does he have to shake off but how much has he learned about being an NFL quarterback after a dismal rookie season.

The only reason I could have to pick the Jets here is if Trubisky gives this game away. Nostrathomas is going to have to hold his nose and take the Steelers to win and cover.

Pittsburgh Steelers 20 New York Jets 13

Chicago Bears -3 vs New York Giants (1PM ET; MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ)

The Chicago Bears and New York Giants are numbers 31 and 32 in the league in net passing yards per attempt. As for rushing, Chicago is fifth in the NFL with a 5.4 rushing yards per attempt average while the Giants are second at 5.6 yards per attempt.

For the Bears, running back Khalil Herbert took over for the injured David Montgomery last week and racked up 157 yards on 20 carries against the Houston Texans. For New York, Saquon Barkley is back to being the running back the Giants thought they were getting with the second overall pick in 2018.

Yep, this is going to be old-fashioned, smash mouth, leather helmet football at the Meadowlands this weekend. Keep an eye out for the ghosts of Bronko Nagurski and Ken Strong.

The Bears do hold the advantage in average points per yard on offense and average points per yard allowed on defense. I’m going to take them to continue their improbable run in 2022 with a Week 4 win.

Chicago Bears 20 New York Giants 16

Cleveland Browns -1 vs Atlanta Falcons (1PM ET; Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA)

The Atlanta Falcons have shown that they have enough offense to compete with a lot of teams in the NFL. Where they fall short is on defense. Atlanta still hasn’t figured out how to put a competent defense on the field.

The Cleveland Browns are beatable if you can force Jacoby Brissett to stay in the pocket and play quarterback. That’s difficult though because the Browns have the two-headed monster of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt at running back.

The Falcons have the offense to keep this game close, especially with defensive end Myles Garrett out for Cleveland. Cordarrelle Patterson has become a top running back and quarterback Marcus Mariota has enjoyed having rookie receiver Drake London and tight end Kyle Pitts to target in the passing game. I don’t think they have the defense to shut down the Browns though.

Cleveland Browns 28 Atlanta Falcons 26

Seattle Seahawks vs Detroit Lions -3.5 (1PM ET; Ford Field, Detroit, MI)

This is a tough game to pick. The Detroit Lions can score. They’re fourth in the league on offense in yards per point scored average and second in the league in total points scored. However, they will be missing running back D’Andre Smith (ankle) and leading receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (Ankle).

For the Seattle Seahawks, they’re getting pretty good play out of quarterback Geno Smith so far but it has only added up to being 28th in the league in scoring.

The Lions are fourth in the league in defensive in passing yards per attempt allowed and are also solid in defensive passer rating. Detroit will be making it difficult for Smith to make anything happen through the air.

I’m taking Detroit to win and cover. They have Jamaal Williams to step in at quarterback and they’re deep enough at receiver to beat a Seahawks team that has yet to establish a real identity so far.

Detroit Lions 28 Seattle Seahawks 16

New England Patriots vs Green Bay Packers -9.5 (4:25PM ET; Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI)

For the New England Patriots, quarterback Mac Jones and receiver Jakobi Meyers are both out for this game. That means 13-year veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer will get the starting nod.

That might get the Patriots a cover in New England but not on the not yet frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.

The Green Bay Packers are good enough on the ground with Aaron Jones to cover this number.

Green Bay Packers 26 New England Patriots 13

Kansas City Chiefs vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers -1 (Sunday Night Football; Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL)

Visions of Super Bowl LV will be dancing threw the heads of the Chiefs as they visit the stadium, and team, that blew them out of that game by a score of 31-9.

Kansas City lost a mistake filled game at Indianapolis last weekend, 20-17. Still, they’re fourth in the NFL in scoring this season.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have struggled on offense so far this season but their defense has been as dominating as usual.

The problem for the Chiefs heading into this game is wide receivers Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Mecole Hardman have been limited in practice all week and are questionable to play. Positives for Tampa Bay is that they will be getting Mike Evans and Julio Jones back in the lineup.

This is another game where the spread isn’t running consistent with betting trends. Heavy public money is coming in on Kansas City while the Buccaneers have gone from underdog to favorite. The sharps have laid heavy money on Tampa Bay and it’s best to follow their lead here.

Take the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to win and cover.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23 Kansas City Chiefs 16

Los Angeles Rams +1.5 vs San Francisco 49ers (Monday Night Football; Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA)

It looked like the San Francisco 49ers were ready to compete with the Los Angeles Rams for supremacy in the NFC West after a Week 2 win over the Seattle Seahawks. Then Week 3 happened, an 11-10 loss to the Broncos.

The Los Angeles Rams are getting the 49ers at the right time. Their offense is slowly getting untracked after their Week 1 blowout loss against the Bills, although Matthew Stafford still isn’t taking the downfield shots that fans are used to seeing from him. Is the problem with his elbow holding him back?

The Rams are also facing San Francisco while they are seriously beat up. The official injury report for the Monday night game isn’t up yet but there are nine 49ers who didn’t practice on Friday due to injury.

Los Angeles is still one of the elite teams in the NFC and the 49ers have yet to look like the team that played in the NFC Championship Game last season. Take the Rams, especially since they’re getting the 1.5 points.

Los Angeles Rams 25 San Francisco 49ers 21

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