The National Football League’s fourth weekend will find mild early fall weather at all seven outdoor sites, and a huge war for early season advantages in the highly contested NFC North Division in Chicago.
The four teams in this division may all be good, which is not a surprise for followers of the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears. But this season, for the first time in recent memory, the Detroit Lions are a potential power. The Packers lost their first game of the season on Thursday night, so either the Bears or Vikings will catch them in the standings as those two 2-1 squads do battle today at Soldier Field.
But, if the Lions, who host the Kansas City Chiefs, were to upset the AFC West leaders, then they would vault to first place all by themselves with a 3-0-1 season record. Few expect the Lions to challenge the talented Chiefs, but I’m one of those few.
The Vikings have an interesting stat to overcome if they are to win on the road against the Bears. Chicago comes into this game with a winning record, and Minnesota Quarterback Kirk Cousins has won only five of 28 games against teams with a winning record.
Is that a stat to bet on to continue, or is Cousins ready to step up his game against talented opposition?
I like the Vikings in this spot, but the point spread is shrinking, it opened with Chicago favored by three points and this morning the Vikings are only getting one point on the spread. The Bears are in a likely down year, winning the division last season after four straight last place finishes, a factor that puts a lot of pressure on the team that now has a fan base with high expectations.
Today, those high expectations are on the Vikings, who have won both their games at home in convincing fashion, 28-12 over the Atlanta Falcons and 34-14 last week against the Oakland Raiders. Wedged between those two lopsided wins at US Bank Stadium was a road contest in Green Bay that they lost to the Packers at Lambeau Field, 21-16.
While I’m intrigued by the Vikings game in Chicago, other plays show up more promising this week. As for the public, their three favorite plays today are the New England Patriots (-7) over the Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs (-7) over the Detroit Lions, and the Dallas Cowboys (-2½) over the New Orleans Saints.
Our four Week Four picks are now listed on this site, and if a Bullet Play develops in the final hour leading up to the day’s first kickoff, that game will be added to the list of recommendations at 9:45 a.m. Pacific Time.