LOS ANGELES, October 1, 2020 — September of 2020 is in the history books, and October plays an important role in football. For Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the players and coaches are decked out in pink. For Hispanic Heritage Month, we honor players such as Jim Plunkett and coaches from Tom Flores to Ron Rivera. The month caps off with Halloween, as every fan base tries to out-do the Raider Nation with costumes.
Unfortunately, October of 2020 began with the COVID epidemic unleashing its fury on football. So many people have suffered through this pandemic, and football is supposed to provide a needed respite. For the first three weeks, it has done so. The beginning of the fourth week brings our first cancellation.
The Tennessee Titans got to 3-0 with a thrilling 31-30 victory over the Minnesota Vikings. Sadly, several Titans players and coaches tested positive for the Coronavirus. As of now, nobody on the Vikings has tested positive.
The league has done everything it can to advise all of its personnel on proper protocols and procedures.
The problem is that some players refuse to listen. Coaches have been fined $100,000 for not wearing their masks during games. The players are young, and young people do dumb things. However, it is also possible that the players on the Titans were just the victims of unfortunate circumstances.
Thankfully, none of the players have died. The Titans game against the Pittsburgh Steelers has been postponed to a later date. As of now, all of the other games are proceeding as scheduled.
May we defeat this virus, and may football continue to be a necessary distraction from the virus and the rest of the world whenever possible. With that, here is the NFL 2020 Week 4 Preview and Bettor’s Guide, with point, spreads provided by DraftKings and all times Eastern.
Thursday, October 1, 8:20 p.m.
Denver Broncos at New York Jets (-1) —
Both teams are winless, but at least the Broncos are trying. They have been devastated by injuries. The Jets have been devastated by terrible players and terrible coaching. This could be the game that gets Adam Gase fired. Upset special, Broncos win outright.
Sunday, October 4, 1:00 p.m.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Tennessee Titans —
Postponed due to COVID.
Seattle Seahawks (-6.5) at Miami Dolphins —
Russell Wilson is playing like a Hall of Famer, with 14 touchdown passes in three games. Now he gets to feast on the winless Dolphins. Seahawks cover.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Cincinnati Bengals (-3) —
Despite being winless, The Bengals have shown promise under rookie Joe Burrow. The Jaguars are an uneven team. It will not be pretty, but Burrow will finally get the Bengals in the win column.
Minnesota Vikings at Houston Texans (-4.5) —
Both teams are winless but the Texans have had a brutal schedule. The Vikings have just been uncharacteristically bad, especially on defense. Deshaun Watson should torch the weak Minnesota defense, but Minnesota’s offense has gotten in gear. Texans win but fail to cover.
Cleveland Browns at Dallas Cowboys (-4.5) —
The Cowboys have been a high wire act, falling way behind before mounting comebacks. That will not be an issue this week. The Browns do not have the defensive mojo to stop the Cowboys offense. Dak Prescott should continue passing at will. Cowboys cover.
Baltimore Ravens (-13) at Washington Stimulus Package —
Washington is not very good, and the Ravens will be angry after getting humiliated at home by Kansas City. The spread is high for a road game, even without a crowd in attendance. Ravens win but fail to cover.
Indianapolis Colts (-2.5) at Chicago Bears —
Mitchell Trubisky is out and Nick Foles is in. Philip Rivers still can sling it, but the Bears have a respectable defense led by Khalil Mack. Give Foles the chance to show his magic. Upset special, Bears win outright.
New Orleans Saints (-4) at Detroit Lions —
The Saints still have their pinball offense, although losing Michael Thomas to injury has not helped. The Lions do not have the defense to stop Drew Brees. Sean Payton is a better strategist than Matt Patricia. Saints cover.
Arizona Cardinals (-3) at Carolina Panthers —
Just when people were starting to believe in the Cardinals, they lost at home to lowly Detroit. Teddy Bridgewater is not getting much help in Carolina, who is starting from scratch. Give the Cardinals another week before abandoning the bandwagon. Cardinals cover.
Los Angeles Chargers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-7) —
Rookie Justin Herbert has shown promise, but the Buccaneers led by Tom Brady have way too much firepower. This could be over by halftime. Buccaneers cover.
Sunday, October 4, 4:00 p.m.
New York Giants at Los Angeles Rams (-12.5) —
The Rams fell behind 28-3 last week in the third quarter at Buffalo before storming back and taking the lead, only to lose on a controversial call in the final seconds. Sean McVay has an offense that can score at will. The Giants are a mess. This could be over very early. Rams cover.
New England Patriots at Kansas City Chiefs (-7) —
Patrick Mahomes is superhuman. Yet doubting Bill Belichick has often proved foolish. Walrus Andy Reid is one of the few coaches who has frequently beaten Belichick over the years. Reid knows offense and Belichick knows defense. The Chiefs have too many speedy playmakers. Chiefs win but fail to cover.
Buffalo Bills (-3) at Las Vegas Raiders —
The Bills are unbeaten, and Josh Allen is playing well. Derek Carr has offensive weapons, but still is not getting enough help on defense. The Bills did blow a 25 point lead last week before recovering. Give the Raiders the benefit of the doubt as long as their offense can still move the ball. They need Henry Ruggs back. Upset special, Raiders win outright.
Sunday, October 4, 8:00 p.m.
Philadelphia Eagles at San Francisco 49ers (-7) —
The 49ers have been devastated by injuries, while the Eagles are just playing bad football. Carson Wentz is on the verge of being run out of town. The Eagles seem lifeless. 49ers cover.
Monday, October 4, 8:20 p.m.
Atlanta Falcons at Green Bay Packers (-7) —
The Falcons have blown double-digit leads the past couple of weeks, but that will not be a problem in this case. Aaron Rodgers is torching the league. The Falcons have no defense. Matt Ryan in past years could win shootouts, but not at this Green Bay team that is clicking on all cylinders. Packers cover.
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