Three-and-out: NFL’s best matchups of Week 4

From an early-morning Sunday game from London to Sunday and Monday night games, some of the best matchups will have the national spotlight in Week 4.

Indianapolis Colts (1-2) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-3)

Wait. What?

How can a matchup of a team with a 1-2 record against a team with a 0-3 record be considered one of the best of the week? At this point in the season, this is a survival game against two teams that were believed to be primed for a return to relevancy, but the loser will have a long climb back to be considered for a playoff contender again this season.

The Jacksonville Jaguars were a darling sleeper pick to make the playoffs this year after spending big money in free agency. Consider their defensive additions: Dante Fowler Jr. returning after a rookie injury, Malik Jackson and Tashaun Gipson in free agency, and Jalen Ramsey in the draft. Instead, they have given up 84 points through three game, and the offense that was supposed by so explosive with Blake Bortles and the two Allens (Hurns and Robinson) has scored only 54 points, tying them with the Cleveland Browns for the worst points deficit through three weeks.

The Indianapolis Colts, meanwhile, won last week and have scored 81 points in three weeks. However, that defense. Nobody has given up more points in the AFC than Indianapolis’ 95, putting Chuck Pagano and the whole coaching and front-office staff on notice.

The AFC South hasn’t gotten off to a good start, but with Houston at 2-1 and losing J.J. Watt for at least half the season, both the Jaguars and Colts have a chance to sneak back into the playoff race in a weak division.  


Play in London for 1st time…QB ANDREW LUCK has won past 5 starts vs. Jax. with 1,389 yards, 8 TDs & 2 INTs for 104.9 rating…RB FRANK GORE has rushed for 189 yards (94.5 per game) & 3 TDs in 2 games in London (with SF). Leads active players with 12,225 rush yards…WR T.Y. HILTON had GW 63-yard TD with 1:17 left last week & finished with 8 catches for 174 yards. Had 4 catches for 132 yards (33 avg.) in last meeting. Has 31 catches for 556 yards (111.2 per game) & TD (73 yards) in past 5 vs. Jax...DE ROBERT MATHIS had FR-TD in last meeting. Has 9 sacks, 2 FFs & 2 FRs in past 8 vs. Jax. Ranks 4th among active NFL players with 118 sacks. Is tied for 1st among active NFL players with 47 def. FFs. LB ERIK WALDEN had 2 sacks & 2 FFs last week. LB D’QWELL JACKSON has 46 tackles, 3 sacks, FF & FR in past 4 meetings. CB DARIUS BUTLER has 3 INTs (2 TDs), 7 PD, 3 FRs & FF in 8 meetings. 


Host game at Wembley for 4th season in row…QB BLAKE BORTLES threw 3 TD passes & had 114.6 rating in last meeting. Had 2 pass TDs in last game in London…RB T.J. YELDON rushed for career-best 115 yards with TD in last game at Wembley. Rushed for 105 yards vs. Ind. in 10/4/15 meeting. In only game in London (10/4/15 vs. Mia. with NYJ), RB CHRIS IVORY rushed for career-best 166 yards & TD…WR ALLEN ROBINSON had 2 TDs last week. Has 14 rec. TDs in past 15. WR ALLEN HURNS has 14 catches for 221 yards (110.5 per game) & 2 TDs in past 2 vs. Ind. TE JULIUS THOMAS has 5 TDs in 3 games vs. Ind. Since 2013, has 30 rec. TDs, most by NFL TE. PR-WR RASHAD GREENE had 73-yard PR-TD in last meeting…LB TELVIN SMITH had 26-yard INT-TD in last game at Wembley.

STREAKS 6 of last 7  
COACHES VS. OPP. Chuck Pagano: 6-2 Gus Bradley: 1-5
LAST WEEK W 26-22 vs. San Diego L 19-17 vs. Baltimore
LAST GAME 12/13/15: Colts 16 at Jaguars 51. Jacksonville QB Blake Bortles passes for 250 yards & totals 4 TDs (3 passing, 1 rushing). Jaguars WR Rashad Green has 73-yard PR-TD.
LAST GAME AT SITE 1st meeting between these teams in London
REFEREE Walt Anderson
BROADCAST CBS (9:30 AM ET): Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, Jamie Erdahl (Field reporter). Westwood One: Wayne Larrivee, Mark Malone. SIRIUS: 83 (Ind), 81 (Jax). XM: 226 (Ind), 225 (Jax).

PASSING Andrew Luck: 76-124-913-6-2-93.2 Blake Bortles: 79-127-843-5-6-75.0
RUSHING Frank Gore: 48-185-3.9-1 T.J. Yeldon: 34-84-2.5-1
RECEIVING T.Y. Hilton: 18-294-16.3-1 Allen Robinson: 16-183-11.4-2
OFFENSE 371 317.3
DEFENSE 401.3 311.3
SACKS Erik Walden: 3 Dante Fowler, Yannick Ngakoue (R): 2
INTs Darius Butler: 1 Tashaun Gipson, Paul Posluszny: 1
PUNTING Pat McAfee: 49.3 Brad Nortman: 46.1
KICKING Adam Vinatieri: 25 (7/7 PAT; 6/6 FG) Jason Myers: 18 (6/6 PAT; 4/6 FG)


Cue up Carey Underwood for “Oh, Sunday night.”

The Pittsburgh Steelers looked like a powerhouse in Weeks 1 and 2 and then the outhouse in Week 3 against the Eagles.

The Kansas City Chiefs have given up only 49 points over three games, but this one is on the road, where the Chiefs lost their only game so far. Alex Smith, who has won 12 of his past 13 games, has been efficient (three TDs, one INT) with 786 yards, and the Chiefs have a plus-5 turnover differential. But with six interceptions of Ryan Fitzpatrick and two fumble recoveries against the Jets last week, the defense drives Kansas City.

After a strong start in Weeks 1 and 2, throwing six touchdowns and three interceptions, Ben Roethlisberger didn’t throw a touchdown and had one interception against the Eagles in Week 3, and he’ll have to be wary of Chiefs CB Marcus Peters, who has two interceptions in each of his last two outings and nine interceptions in his last 10 games, including the playoffs.

Week 3 also saw a return to earth for RB DeAngelo Williams, who was held to 21 yards on eight carries after rushing for 247 yards combined in the first two weeks, but the Steelers get LeVeon Bell back from suspension and it could prove to be a difference-maker in this matchup.


QB ALEX SMITH has won 12 of past 13 starts…RB SPENCER WARE is 2nd in NFL with 387 scrimmage yards. Incl. playoffs, has 7 rush TDs in past 12. RB CHARCANDRICK WEST rushed for 110 yards & TD in last meeting. RB JAMAAL CHARLES averages 5.47 yards/carry, highest in NFL history (min. 1,000 att.)…TE TRAVIS KELCE had 6 catches for 89 yards & TD last week. WR JEREMY MACLIN has 7 TDs in past 12 (incl. playoffs)…Chiefs had 6 INTs & 2 FRs last week. CB MARCUS PETERS aims for 3rd in row with 2+ INTs. Has 9 INTs (1 TD) in past 10, incl. playoffs. Has 5 INTs (1 TD) in past 3 on road & 7 INTs in past 6 road games. Since entering in 2015, has 12 INTs, most in NFL. LB TAMBA HALI had 2 sacks & FF in last meeting. LB DERRICK JOHNSON had 55-yard INT-TD last week.


QB BEN ROETHLISBERGER has won past 3 starts vs. KC. Has 13 pass TDs in past 4 at home & aims for 5th in row at home with 3+ TDs…RB LE’VEON BELL rushed for 121 yards in last meeting. RB DE ANGELO WILLIAMS has 647 scrimmage yards (129.4 per game) & 4 TDs in past 5 at home…WR ANTONIO BROWN had 6 catches for 124 yards in last game vs. KC. Since 2013, leads NFL with 399 catches, 5,336 rec. yards & 24 100-yard rec. games. WR SAMMIE COATES is averaging 29 yards per catch (7 catches, 203 yards), best mark in NFL. Had max speed of 21.27 as ball carrier last week, fastest in Week 3 by WR…DE CAMERON HEYWARD has 2.5 sacks in past 2 meetings. LB RYAN SHAZIER leads team with 20 tackles. CB WILLIAM GAY has 5 INT-TDs since 2013, tied for most in NFL.

STREAKS   3 of last 4
COACHES VS. OPP. Andy Reid: 3-3 Mike Tomlin: 3-2
LAST WEEK W 24-3 vs. New York Jets L 34-3 at Philadelphia
LAST GAME 10/25/15: Steelers 13 at Chiefs 23. Kansas City QB Alex Smith throws for 251 yards & TD. Chiefs RB Charcandrick West rushes for 110 yards & TD.
LAST GAME AT SITE 12/21/14: Steelers 20, Chiefs 12. Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger throws for 220 yards & TD. Steelers WR Antonio Brown has 7 catches for 72 yards & TD.
REFEREE Ron Torbert
BROADCAST NBC (8:30 PM ET): Al Michaels, Chris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya (Field reporter). Westwood One: Kevin Kugler, James Lofton. SIRIUS: 88 (WW1), 83 (KC), 81 (Pit). XM: 88 (WW1), 226 (KC), 225 (Pit).

PASSING Alex Smith: 79-118-786-3-1-90.6 Ben Roethlisberger: 70-118-816-6-4-83.2
RUSHING Spencer Ware: 41-202-4.9-1 DeAngelo Williams: 66-258-3.9-2
RECEIVING Travis Kelce (TE): 17-197-11.6-1 Antonio Brown: 24 (T1L)-305-12.7-2
OFFENSE 332.3 354
TAKE/GIVE +5 (T3L) -1
DEFENSE 348 407.3
SACKS 3 tied: 1 Arthur Moats: 1
INTs Marcus Peters: 4 (1L) James Harrison, Ryan Shazier: 1
PUNTING Dustin Colquitt: 43.6 Jordan Berry: 49.9
KICKING Cairo Santos: 27 (6/6 PAT; 7/7 FG) Chris Boswell: 17 (8/8 PAT; 3/4 FG)


From Sunday night to Monday night, the Minnesota Vikings are on a hot streak, especially defensively, where they sacked Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton eight times last week and face the New York Giants and QB Eli Manning, who hasn’t fared well against the Vikings, including a 49-17 loss last December.

Manning has already thrown for 925 yards this season and has the receiving weapons to continue his yardage-producing ways. Odell Beckham Jr. leads the Giants in targets (30), catches (19) and yards (280), but he doesn’t have a touchdown yet. Meanwhile, Sterling Shepard has emerged as a legitimate No. 2 receiver with 16 catches for 233 yards and two touchdowns, and Victor Cruz has 195 yards and a touchdown in his comeback.

However, the Giants will be shorthanded without Shane Vereen and likely without Rashad Jennings, but the Vikings are also doing it without their top back, Adrian Peterson. Yet, in the last game against the Giants, Jerick McKinnon had 89 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Unlike the Giants, the Vikings have one primary wide receiver – Stefon Diggs, who is second in the league with 325 yards – and one solid tight end in Kyle Rudolph (14 catches, 166 yards and two touchdowns).

But the Vikings are built on defense, where they are third in the league in points allowed (40) and have helped the Vikings to a league-leading plus-8 turnover differential while the Giants are at minus-6.


QB ELI MANNING aims for 3rd in row with 350+ pass yards…RB ORLEANS DARKWA had rush TD last week. RB RASHAD JENNINGS had 136 scrimmage yards (74 rush, 62 rec.) in last meeting…WR ODELL BECKHAM had 7 receptions for 121 yards last week. Reached 200 catches (206) & 3,000 rec. yards (3,035) in 30th career game, fastest in NFL history. Rookie WR STERLING SHEPARD had 5 receptions for 73 yards & TD in Week 3. Has TD catch in 2 of 3 career games…DT DAMON HARRISON led team with 10 tackles in Wek 3. DE JASON PIERRE-PAUL had 8 tackles, sack & FF last week. DE OLIVIER VERNON had sack last week, 1st sack with NYG. LB JONATHAN CASILLAS had 9 tackles & 1 sack in last meeting. S NAT BERHE had FF last week, 1st career FF.


QB SAM BRADFORD has passed for 457 yards & 3 TDs with 0 INTs for 107.8 rating in 2 starts with Min. Threw for 320 yards & 2 TDs in last meeting (1/3/16 with Phi)…RB JERICK MC KINNON rushed for 89 yards & 2 TDs in only career meeting… WR STEFON DIGGShas TD in 2 of past 3 at home…TE KYLE RUDOLPH had 7 receptions for 70 yards & TD last week. Aims for 3rd in row with TD catch…DEFENSE recorded 8 sacks in Week 3, tied for the third-most in a road game in team history. DE EVERSON GRIFFEN had 3 sacks in Week 3. Has 6 sacks in past 4. DT TOM JOHNSON had first-career INT last week. Had 2 sacks in last meeting. Aims for 4th in row at home with sack. LB ERIC KENDRICKS led team with 12 tackles in Week 3. CB MARCUS SHERELS had 54-yd PR-TD in Week 3. Had 86-yd PR-TD in 10/21/13 game vs. NYG. CB TRAE WAYNES aims for 3rd in row with INT. S HARRISON SMITH had 7 tackles & sack last week.

STREAKS   5 of last 7
COACHES VS. OPP. Ben McAdoo: 0-0 Mike Zimmer: 1-0
LAST WEEK L 29-27 vs. Washington W 22-10 at Carolina
LAST GAME 12/27/15: Giants 17 at Vikings 49. Minnesota RB Jerick McKinnon rushes for 89 yards & 2 TDs. Vikings S Harrison Smith has 35-yard INT-TD.
LAST GAME AT SITE 12/27/2015
REFEREE Brad Allen
BROADCAST ESPN (8:30 PM ET): Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden, Lisa Salters (Field reporter). Westwood One: Kevin Harlan, Kurt Warner, Laura Okmin (Field reporter). SIRIUS: 88 (WW1), 83 (NYG), 81 (Min). XM: 88 (WW1), 226 (NYG), 225 (Min).

PASSING Eli Manning: 76-107-925-4-3-98.1 Sam Bradford: 40-59-457-3-0-107.8
RUSHING Rashad Jennings: 31-102-3.3-0 Jerick McKinnon: 19-53-2.7-0
RECEIVING Odell Beckham: 19-280-14.7-0 Stefon Diggs: 20-325 (2L)-16.3-1
OFFENSE 396.7 265.3
TAKE/GIVE -6 +8 (1L)
DEFENSE 339.7 295
SACKS 4 tied: 1 Everson Griffen: 4 (T2L)
INTs --- Trae Waynes: 2 (T3L)
PUNTING Brad Wing: 51.5 (1L) Jeff Locke: 42.6
KICKING Josh Brown: 19 (4/4 PAT; 5/6 FG) Blair Walsh: 24 (3/5 PAT; 7/9 FG

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