Miami's trip to New England has become of vital importance to the Patriots. Neil Monnery looks at this and the other games around the NFL for his week four tip sheet...
'Houston need this win badly or their head coach Bill O'Brien will find his seat very warm indeed. Look for DeShaun Watson to go long and find Will Fuller V and DeAndre Hopkins.'
The big game of the week
Had you said before the season that New England hosting Miami would be one of the biggest games this weekend then most people would've been rather surprised to say the least. Yet here we are.
Tom Brady and his band of merry men have put up two sub-par performances back-to-back and are on the verge of dropping into a full-blown crisis. Getting beaten at Jacksonville isn't horrific but the way they went on the road and allowed the Detroit Lions to run right through them is distinctly troublesome.
The future Hall of Fame QB only threw for 133 yards in that defeat and questions are being asked whether the dynasty is ready to topple over. Even though I'm not there just yet, it does seem as if things aren't exactly going swimmingly for the reigning AFC Champions. Despite all this, New England have opened up as seven point favourites on the Sportsbook.
Miami come in undefeated but haven't beaten anyone who most would describe as a good team yet, putting up victories against Tennessee, Oakland and the New York Jets.
Ryan Tannehill has returned from missing the entire 2017 season due to a torn ACL. The 30 year-old has been quietly efficient having thrown seven touchdowns to only two interceptions. What he doesn't have is a running game of note with neither Kenyan Drake or Frank Gore racking up the yards on the ground.
Even giving seven points I am going to back the dynasty not crumbling this weekend. Tom Brady has only tasted defeat from the Dolphins at home once in his career and that game was a dead rubber, in which he was rested for most of the game.
The second biggest game of the week is the Sunday night encounter in Pittsburgh. After holding on after a furious fourth quarter comeback attempt against them fell short on Monday night, the home side face their long-time rivals.
Big Ben has played very well the past two weeks and even with Le'Veon Bell still holding out, they have gotten good yardage out of James Connor. The two tight end's have also been invaluable in the passing game.
For Baltimore they have started with two good home victories but a disappointing 11 point defeat at fellow AFC North side Cincinnati concerns me. Joe Flacco has seen an upturn in performance since they drafted a quarterback in the first round. Yet with top running back Alex Collins averaging less than four yards a carry, it will be a tough ask for them to win on the road.
Pittsburgh -3 is where I'm leaning in this one.
Acca of the week
A treble this week as I'm going over 50 points in the Saints @ Giants game (17/20) to go with Houston +1 (19/20) and Cleveland +2.5 (Evens) which comes in at 7.21 on the Sportsbook.
New Orleans have been piling on the points with Drew Brees completing a staggering 80% of his pass attempts. New York showed signs last week that they are finding a way to get that struggling offensive line to gel, which enables Eli Manning to get the ball to his skill players.
Houston need this win badly or their head coach Bill O'Brien will find his seat very warm indeed. Look for DeShaun Watson to go long and find Will Fuller V and DeAndre Hopkins.
Liking the Browns on the road is a scary play but Oakland have been incredibly disappointing. Baker Mayfield will takeover as the QB for the away side and I actually like them to win straight up but happy to take the points.
Tough week this time around because I'm not loving many big underdogs to win straight up. I've already mentioned Cleveland above who are getting 2.5 so I'll go with Tampa Bay to win outright in Chicago. On the spread they have a three point head start but I'm not sure you'll need it. The straight up win is priced up at 11/8.
The long-shot of the week
Going for a four-fold acca here this week with Saquon Barkley to score two or more TDs (5/1) leading the way. Elsewhere it is three players all to score anytime starting with Devante Adams (13/10) then Tyler Boyd (21/10) and lastly Will Fuller V (13/8). This currently adds up to 112.29 on the Sportsbook.
If you are a fan of the 3TDs for both teams in each half bet then the best choice this week is New Orleans @ New York at 150/1
The full picks
Each week I'll pick every game bar the Thursday game according to their handicap on the SBK at the time of writing (home team in caps):
Jets (+7.5) over JAGUARS
PATRIOTS (-7) over Dolphins
Lions (+3) over COWBOYS
Texans (+1) over COLTS
FALCONS (-4) over Bengals
Buccaneers (+3) over BEARS
Eagles (-3.5) over TITANS
PACKERS (-9.5) over Bills
Browns (+2.5) over RAIDERS
CARDINALS (+3) over Seahawks
GIANTS (+3.5) over Saints
CHARGERS (-10.5) over 49ers
STEELERS (-3) over Ravens
Chiefs (-4.5) over BRONCOS
Last week: 10-5
Season Record: 25-19
Back New England -7 at 21/20 on SBK (Sportsbook)
Back the over in Saints @ Giants, Houston +1 and Cleveland +2.5 at 7.21 (Sportsbook)
Back Tampa Bay to win straight up at 11/8 on SBK (Sportsbook)
Back each team to score over 3TDs in each half in Saints @ Giants at 150/1 on SBK (Sportsbook)