Slow down, NFL, this thing is going by way too fast. With the first month of the season in the rearview mirror, survivor-pool fields begin to shrink to the real contenders as the days get shorter and the leaves change colors.
Week 1 indicated that we might be in for a year of complete madness. Jacksonville stunned Indianapolis, Washington pulled away from Philadelphia and Arizona upset San Francisco as many survivor entries were eliminated before dinner on the first Sunday of the season. Since then, however, the sea of upsets has settled, and it has left us to wonder if the empty stadiums were a bigger advantage to favorites than we first imagined. No crowd noise means fewer false starts and negative plays, allowing the superior offenses to operate unencumbered, giving the better quarterbacks and teams a huge advantage.
Weeks 2 and 3 gave us a couple of minor surprises but no real stunners.
Week 4, like the previous two weeks, was littered with chalk as well. The afternoon games provided no major upsets, with Cleveland beating Dallas and Minnesota knocking off Houston, both as 3.5-point underdogs. The biggest spreads of the year to date came Sunday as Baltimore and the Los Angeles Rams went off the board as two-touchdown favorites. Both held serve, despite the Rams making it interesting and leading by only one point very late against the New York Giants. One game, however, wiped out a significant portion of entries in many contests as reeling Philadelphia limped into San Francisco to face the heavily favored NFC champion. A late flurry by the home team was not enough, and Philadelphia held on as a double-digit dog.
Will Week 5 be the time the big dogs start to bark? Let’s take a look.
Games under consideration