2020 NFL Week 4 Game-By-Game Model Projections

Week 3 was hyped up due to the several intriguing matchups on slate, and it certainly delivered!

Now, we will shift our attention to Week 4. We’re still mostly going off of prior information, since we don’t know how “good” a team is until about six weeks into the season, per Pro Football Focus; it’s not a good idea to overreact to a one-game sample size. However, we’re starting to get a better idea on how teams will fare this season.

All projections are computed based on a similar model that I used for my win total projections. In essence, it goes through the following steps:

  1. Computes the talent gap between the two teams
  2. Converts that to a win probability
  3. Converts that into a spread, factoring in home-field advantage (less this year)
  4. It also gives a score projection, though I’ll be allowing for a +/- 2 point change for those since certain scores are more likely than others.

In this article, we’ll be comparing the actual spreads to my model’s recommended spreads. Thus, we’ll order games by putting them into the following tiers. After accounting for the small margin of error when converting win probabilities to point spreads (0.40 points), qualifications for three tiers have differed slightly:

Tier 1 (“Green Light”)- 3.4+ point difference. These games present immense value.

Tier 2 (“Yellow Light)- 1.9+ point difference. These games provide some value, though you should proceed with caution.

Tier 3 (“Red Light)- <1.9 point difference. There isn’t any value to be found with these point spreads, so stay away from them at all costs.

Also, due to the margin for error, I will be using context at times to give slightly differing spread/game picks than what the model suggests. There are certain spreads where it wouldn’t make sense to support. For example, if a team is favored to win by 2, and my model thinks they should be favored by less, but will win, it wouldn’t make sense to pigeon-hole the underdog into only being able to cover by a very small range of possible outcomes. Additionally, since my model is computing recommended spread picks, rather than assigning an exact outcome for the game, it’s critical to not follow it 100% blindly- analysis of the information matters as much as the information itself! (0.9 points is a key number for there not to be statistically significant data)

As you’ll see, most of these games involve an underdog that my model is supporting. That speaks to there not being a sizable gap between the top teams and the bottom-feeders yet. Once we get to about Week 6, it’ll be more logical to back favorites, but, for now, rolling with the underdogs is the optimal approach.

With that taken care of, let’s get to the games! We’ll start with a double-digit spread in tier 1, and will several tight matchups in tier 3.

*NOTE: Power Rankings Take Into Account Every Key Injury, Even If It’s Just For This Week

TIER 1

#1: Ravens (2-1, 2nd) at Washington Football Team (1-2, 27th)

Photo Cred: baltimoreravens.com

Ravens Win Probability: 69.80449364%

They may have been humbled in primetime against the Chiefs, but make no mistake, the Ravens are still the second-best team in the NFL. There isn’t one spot in this matchup where they’re weaker at, and I’m expecting Lamar Jackson to bounce back in a major way.

Washington Win Probability: 30.19550636%

Despite what some may think, I don’t believe that Washington is an incompetent football team. Had it not been for turnovers, they had a good chance of winning in Cleveland, as they’ve played better than expected defensively and have gotten good production from their receivers. Considering Dwayne Haskins generally does a nice job of limiting negative plays, I’d expect the turnover luck to regress back in their favor at some point; for what it’s worth, Haskins has performed well in the past versus the blitz, which the Ravens utilize a lot defensively.

Spread Pick: WSH (+13)

Recommended Spread: BAL (+8.32)

Difference: 4.675055429

Score Projection: Ravens 29 Redskins 21

There is certainly a talent gap present, but is it enough for the Ravens to be favored by nearly two touchdowns on a short week? In my opinion, the answer is a resounding “no”; Washington should benefit from a regression to the mean for Haskins, especially if his performance versus the blitz is legitimate. Regardless, they’re a pesky team that won’t just collapse immediately, and a backdoor cover is a serious possibility here. After all, road double-digit favorites do not tend to cover the spread.

#2: Jaguars (1-2, 29th) at Bengals (0-2-1, 20th)

Photo Cred: wpco.com

Jaguars Win Probability: 29.81949042%

Simply put, last week didn’t go as planned for the Jaguars. The offense wasn’t in sync without receiver DJ Chark Jr., and, thus, they fell flat against the Dolphins on Thursday Night Football. Now, though, they should get back Chark Jr., and it’s easy to forget how competitive they were against two playoff contenders in the Colts and Titans- they had a positive point differential from those two games. Gardner Minshew has his flaws, but he’s certainly someone that is difficult to bet against.

Bengals Win Probability: 70.18050958%

Do you know which quarterback I’d want to bet against even less? That would be Joe Burrow, who has been extremely impressive over the first three games of his season. Despite playing behind a putrid offensive line, the #1 overall pick has a 76.1 overall Pro Football Focus grade, and is coming off easily the best game of his career. Plus, since he won’t be facing a productive pass rush, he might actually have some time to throw, and from there, he’ll be able to push the ball down the field to his deep group of playmakers- Jacksonville doesn’t have the secondary players to handle this receiving corps. To top it all off, their pass coverage has been sneakily strong to start the year; William Jackson III looks like a true #1 cornerback in what is a contract year for him.

Spread Pick: CIN (-3)

Recommended Spread: CIN (-6.66)

Difference: 3.661959267

Score Projection: Bengals 24 Jaguars 17

My model sees the Bengals’ chances of winning similar to the Ravens, yet they’re getting ten less points than Baltimore. Cincinnati has graded far better than they’ve performed so far, which indicates positive regression, while the opposite is true for the Jaguars. Gardner Minshew’s first two games were boosted tremendously by unstable production under pressure, and we saw the inevitable regression to the mean take place in primetime. The gap between these two teams is far stronger than the spread is indicating.

#6: Saints (1-2, 4th) at Lions (1-2, 16th)

Photo Cred: SB Nation

Saints Win Probability: 55.33293366%

What has happened to the Saints? Coming into the season, my model saw them as the top team in the NFL, and instead, they’re one loss away from matching their projection. Still, there’s a reason they were thought of so highly; they have a lot of talent on both sides of the ball. Should star receiver Michael Thomas return, their offense should be much more in sync, while their defense is far better than how they’ve currently played.

Lions Win Probability: 44.66706634%

Still, New Orleans has a lot of issues right now, and it starts with Drew Brees. He currently is last in average depth of target and is holding onto the ball far longer than normal. That’s not a recipe for success, and he is generally worse against man coverage- he relies on dissecting zones. Additionally, with how undisciplined their defense is, I could see Matthew Stafford connecting down the field consistently with the receiving duo of Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones.

Spread Pick: DET (+3)

Recommended Spread: DET (-0.54)

Difference: 3.539511574

Score Projection: Lions 24 Saints 23

If Thomas doesn’t play, New Orleans won’t even be a statistically significant favorite. It just shows how far they’ve fallen in short time, as I don’t believe Brees’ shortcomings are a fluke. Their offense simply cannot attack defenses down the field, and with the way their defense is performing, there’s a good chance the Lions can win this game outright.

UPDATE: Not only is Michael Thomas not playing, but Marshon Lattimore, Janoris Jenkins, Jared Cook, and Marcus Davenport have also ruled out. Thus, this is now agreed light game, even with the reduced point spread.

TIER 2

#4: Browns (2-1, 13th) at Cowboys (1-2, 10th)

Photo Cred: dallascowboys.com

Browns Win Probability: 44.78854857%

It hasn’t always looked pretty, yet the Browns are 2-1 and have scored 30+ points in the past two games. Yes, they’ve done so against poor defenses, but the Cowboys aren’t exactly clicking defensively either. Their offensive line has a case for the best unit in the league, so if Baker Mayfield, head coach Kevin Stefanski, and the receiving corps can get on the same page, they have a good chance to score a lot of points.

Cowboys Win Probability: 55.21145143%

If this game turns into a track meet, the Cowboys are well positioned. Dak Prescott has been fabulous over the first three games of the year, and it’s clear they have a very explosive offense. Cleveland relied on a lot turnovers to get past the Washington Football Team, and right now, I trust Prescott much more than Mayfield.

Spread Pick: CLE (+5)

Recommended Spread: DAL (-1.72)

Difference: 3.27922395

Score Projection: Cowboys 26 Browns 24

Overall, this is a pretty close matchup; two intriguing offenses against two weaker defenses. For that reason, the spread is a little too high for my liking, as I see this game going down to the wire. It feels like a matter of time before Cleveland’s offense clicks, so even if Dallas scores a lot of points, Mayfield and co. should be able to keep up

#5: Broncos (0-3, 30th) at Jets (0-3, 32nd)

Photo Cred: Broadcast Cover

Broncos Win Probability: 54.62670523%

After a productive offseason, the Broncos were expected to contend for a playoff team this season. However, no team has hit been hit harder by injuries, and they’ll now still be starting Brett Rypien at quarterback. Still, the Jets have also lost a lot of key players early on, and they’re as dysfunctional as it gets. Meanwhile, offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur has been impressive with how he has handled this situation, so, overall, Denver is the more competent organization.

Jets Win Probability: 45.36329477%

This week, I added two offensive play-callers to the bottom tier (hurt their offenses)- the Giants and Jets. Still, Adam Gase at one point showed the ability to elevate an offense, and perhaps getting receiver Jamison Crowder back will give them sort of stability. Plus, it is easy to imagine defensive coordinator Gregg Williams completely burying Rypien with a lot of aggressive blitz packages.

Spread Pick: DEN (+1.5)

Recommended Spread: DEN (-1.53)

Difference: 3.026140341

Score Projection: Broncos 21 Jets 20

I’m sorry, but the Jets should not be a favorite against any team. With how poorly he is supported, are we sure Sam Darnold is going to produce much better than Brett Rypien will with a more favorable scheme. This could very well be the last game in New York for head coach Adam Gase.

#6: Patriots (2-1, 9th) at Chiefs (3-0, 1st)

Photo Cred: Pats Pulpit

Patriots Win Probability: 37.34206973%

My model projected the Patriots to win the AFC East, but that was more due to the lack of talent in the division than a credit to them. Well, it’s clear that they’re still one of the top teams in the AFC. In a way, swapping out Tom Brady for Cam Newton has been them a better offense, as offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has been able to run a more diversified, unique offense- he is able to leverage Newton on designed quarterback runs. Bill Belichick has generally given Patrick Mahomes some trouble in the past, and if New England can move the ball as efficiently as they have on offense so far, they’ll have a fair shot at upsetting the Chiefs.

Chiefs Win Probability: 62.65793027%

That said, Kansas City is the best team in the NFL, and they showed it by outclassing the Ravens in Baltimore. It appears that their lackluster production over the first two weeks was due to head coach Andy Reid holding back the offense against inferior opponents, as Patrick Mahomes consistently attacked Baltimore’s defense down the field, and they looked like a far more cohesive unit. Plus, Newton and the Patriots run a similar offense to the Ravens, which could make the preparation far easier on a short week.

Spread Pick: NE (+7)

Recommended Spread: KC (-4.18)

Difference: 2.821640175

Score Projection: Chiefs 28 Patriots 24

The Chiefs are certainly the better team, but without a decisive home-field advantage, seven points feels quite high. New England is one of the few blowout-proof teams in the NFL, and so far, they’ve shown the capabilities of having an offense to keep up with Kansas City. I’m not saying they’ll win, yet I’ll definitely back them as a touchdown underdog.

*UPDATE: This game may be moved to Tuesday night following quarterback Cam Newton’s positive test for COVID-19. Thus, for now, the model will have me switch to KC (-7), though if the line expands, NE becomes the pick. This is also now a Tier 3 game.

#7: Giants (0-3, 31st) at Rams (2-1, 6th)

Photo Cred: FanDuel

Giants Win Probability: 18.46700383%

There isn’t a lot to say to support the Giants. Their offensive play-calling is a travesty, as they don’t run play-action, don’t limit pressure, fail to utilize pre-snap motion, and have no identity whatsoever. On the bright side, though, Daniel Jones has quietly played better than his production would indicate.

Rams Win Probability: 81.53299617%

Come on, you know who is (theoretically) going to win this game. New York’s defense couldn’t handle Kyle Shanahan’s zone-rushing principles, so imagine what they’ll look like against a revamped Rams offense; Sean McVay is back, folks! I also wish Daniel Jones to very best with a pressure rate over 42% when he is about to face Aaron Donald.

Spread Pick: NYG (+13)

Recommended Spread: LAR (-10.4)

Difference: 2.59224549

Score Projection: Rams 27 Giants 16

The Rams are fragile defensively and are coming off of an emotional loss, so I’d be wary of backing them as such a heavy favorite. That said, unlike Washington, the Giants have shown zero signs of competency, so even though Jones should theoretically see his production improve, I have zero faith in their coaching staff; they’re likely the reason his production doesn’t match up with his underlying metrics

#8: Eagles (0-2-1, 22nd) at 49ers (2-1, 13th)

Photo Cred: Flipboard

Eagles Win Probability: 39.00122334%

My model wasn’t high on the Eagles coming into the season, yet I don’t think anyone could have anticipated them starting off as poorly as they have. They’ve failed to beat the Washington Football Team or Bengals, two teams a playoff contender should defeat, and they were outclassed by the Rams. At some point, though, they can’t keep playing this badly, right? Carson Wentz has been the worst quarterback in the NFL so far, but his previous baseline suggest he is a far more competent quarterback. Thus, as long as they continue to commit to passing the ball frequently on early downs, their offensive production should improve naturally. That’ll be critical for a defense that ranks fourth in yards/play allowed so far.

49ers Win Probability: 60.99877666%

That said, there isn’t a guarantee that Wentz plays better, as they could get outclassed by a very smart 49ers organization. It doesn’t matter who is in the lineup, the combination of Kyle Shanahan and Robert Saleh has yielded tremendous results, and that was evidenced in their demolishment of the Giants this past Sunday.

Spread Pick: PHI (+7.5)*

Recommended Spread: SF (-4.43)

Difference: 2.571401389

Score Projection: 49ers 23 Eagles 19

I get that these teams are coming off drastically different performances, but let’s not act like this 49ers team is full of world-beaters. Assuming Nick Mullens starts at quarterback, this is still their “B team”, and since they’ll be facing a defense capable of actually providing some resistance (sorry Giants fans), this should be a closer play. However, should San Francisco get some of their players back from injury, this may no longer hold up.

UPDATE: Following Jason Peters’ injury and the absence almost of all of their receivers, the model now sees this game as a tier-3 game, assuming I adjust for the line movement- PHI (+7.5) becomes the pick with a recommended spread around SF (-6).

.#9: Falcons (0-3, 17th) at Packers (3-0, 3rd)

Photo Cred: FOX Sports

Falcons Win Probability: 34.96098121%

The Falcons may be one of the least deserving 0-3 teams of all time. How can you have 20+ point leads in back-to-back games and lose BOTH of them? On the bright side, they’ve proven to have an incredibly dynamic offense, and when that is the case, you are going to have a chance against any team. Also, they may be playing to save head coach Dan Quinn’s job, and per all reports, he is someone the players really enjoy playing for- they’ll fight for him.

Packers Win Probability: 65.03901879%

Atlanta may have an explosive offense, yet it’s still not close to being on the same level as the Packers. They’re averaging over 40 points per game, and will play the worse defense they’ve faced yet- the Falcons are without veteran cornerback Darqueze Dennard. It’s very exciting to see Rodgers and head coach Matt LeFleur in sync when it comes to constructing such an efficient offense, and there isn’t any signs of this being a fluke. They’ll also get the benefit of facing Matt Ryan outside of a dome, where he is generally a worse quarterback.

Spread Pick: ATL (+7.5)

Recommended Spread: GB (-4.96)

Difference: 2.535802378

Score Projection: Packers 27 Falcons 22

Whether it’s via a backdoor cover or not, I think the Falcons will keep this game close by virtue of their offense. They’re going to do what they can to help Quinn keep his job, and this generally isn’t the type of team that gets blown out. If this line gets larger, there could be some value here, though betting on Atlanta is generally a bad idea.

TIER 3

#10: Cardinals (2-1, 21st) at Panthers (1-2, 26th)

Photo Cred: Revenge of The Birds

Cardinals Win Probability: 55.66147592%

Ironically, the Cardinals may have played their best game last week, yet they suffered their first loss of the season. Kyler Murray is a clear weapon with his legs, has connected well with receiver DeAndre Hopkins, and his performance under pressure (17 passer rating) will regress positively. What better defense for that to happen against than the Panthers, who are the second-lowest graded unit from Pro Football Focus currently?

Panthers Win Probability: 44.33852408%

If there is anything to take away from the Panthers, it’s that they won’t go down without a fight. I’m encouraged by the early results of head coach Matt Rhule’s time as an NFL head coach, as he has his team playing hard. Teddy Bridgewater is playing well, his receiving corps (Robby Anderson has been incredible), and after their performance last game, perhaps their young defensive players will vault the unit from no longer being a liability.

Spread Pick: CAR (+3.5)

Recommended Spread: ARI (-1.87)

Difference: 1.63235118

Score Projection: Cardinals 24 Panthers 22

There is a lot of hype around the Cardinals, yet I boldly backed my model’s take that they were a worse team than the Lions, and now, I’m here to declare that they aren’t remarkably better than Carolina. At the very least, they aren’t superior enough to be over a field goal favorite; Carolina’s floor is very high, so it’s hard to see them not having a solid chance of winning. I am really encouraged by what I have seen from them this season, and with this game being as close as it is, I’m happy to back the underdog.

#11: Chargers (1-2, 25th) at Buccaneers (2-1, 7th)

Photo Cred: tampabay.com

Chargers Win Probability: 31.22678996%

Although the Chargers lost to the Panthers in Week 3, they were just one week removed from taking the Chiefs to overtime. Despite the loss, Justin Herbert showed some definite progress, and without Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay may struggle to ambush a quality defense.

Buccaneers Win Probability: 68.77321004%

Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles loves to be aggressive with this young defense in Tampa Bay, and facing a young quarterback with some erratic tendencies, I could see him absolutely overwhelming Herbert. Additionally, even with Godwin out, the Chargers don’t have nickel cornerback Chris Harris Jr., and Tom Brady has been one of the best quarterbacks in the league so far (per his advanced metrics). They’re clearly the superior team in this matchup, and it’s incredibly difficult to see them losing.

Spread Pick: TB (-7)

Recommended Spread: TB (-6.19)

Difference: 0.8033960263

Score Projection: Bucs 24 Chargers 17

With how much better the Bucs are than the Chargers, a touchdown isn’t too many points for them to be giving up here. Bowles could have Herbert seeing ghosts, and with how Brady and head coach Bruce Arians have been getting acclimated to one another, this could be a breakthrough game for them. Perhaps this is more due a lack of faith in Los Angeles, but Tampa Bay (-7) is the logical pick here; there isn’t any value whatsoever though.

#12: Colts (2-1, 8th) at Bears (3-0, 19th)

Photo Cred: Covers.com

Colts Win Probability: 55.571715%

It doesn’t feel like they’re getting much attention, but the Colts have a +48 point differential over their past two games. Their revamped defense ranks first in Pro Football Focus coverage grade, and it may not even be the strength of their team. That’s because Phillip Rivers, who is finally protected behind a sturdy offensive line, has been incredibly efficient. They aren’t a flashy team, yet they’re certainly functional.

Bears Win Probability: 44.28285%

Somehow, the Bears are 3-0 despite being down 17+ points in the fourth quarter of two of their three games. That said, it’s hard to gauge too much from their previous performance, as Nick Foles gives them a much higher upside- his range of outcomes is much wider than Mitch Trubisky’s. With a talented secondary and playmakers on offense, perhaps the potential of high-end quarterback play is all they need.

Spread Pick: IND (-2.5)

Recommended Spread IND (-1.83)

Difference: 0.6619752471

Score Projection: Colts 23 Bears 21

Most of Foles’ production come off of production under pressure, which is incredible unstable. Right now, Indianapolis has a lot more stability, and that’s all there really is too it. It’s hard to see Chicago’s pass rush making much of an impact against their offensive line, and on the other side of the ball, I wouldn’t past their secondary to bait Foles into some poor decisions. That said, my model clearly doesn’t see this game as one worth betting on.

#13: Seahawks (3-0, 5th) at Dolphins (1-2, 28th)

Photo Cred: Field Gulls

Seahawks Win Probability: 68.51599108%

How about those Seahawks? Seattle has embraced a pass-heavy formula, and as expected, Russell Wilson has led a potent offense- they’ve scored 35+ points in each of their three games this season. I don’t see Miami’s man-heavy defense slowing them down at all, while their defense will benefit from not having to play a top-notch offense for a change.

Dolphins Win Probability: 31.48400892%

For what it’s worth, the Dolphins looked spectacular on Thursday Night Football in Jacksonville; Ryan Fitzpatrick proved that he’s still a productive mid-tier quarterback. Considering that safety Jamal Adams is unlikely to play, Fitzpatrick should be able to move the ball against this defense, which could make this game closer than it should be.

Spread Pick: SEA (-6.5)

Recommended Spread: SEA (-6.11)

Difference: 0.3899369378

Score Projection: Seahawks 30 Dolphins 23

If the Dolphins are smart, which they generally are, they won’t run a lot of cover-1 man-coverage looks. If cornerback Byron Jones doesn’t play, they’re going to get absolutely destroyed by Seattle’s down-the-field passing attack, which could lead to a blowout. However, with Adams likely out, I’d stay away from this game.

#14: Bills (3-0, 11th) at Raiders (2-1, 24th)

Photo Cred: billswire.usatoday.com

Bills Win Probability: 58.63569669%

Have the Bills exceeded expectations or what? Josh Allen is not only playing like a high-end quarterback, but there are reasons to believe his breakout is somewhat legitimate. Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll has catered an offense that magnifies his strengths and de-emphasizes his weakness, and suddenly, Allen has improved so much as a downfield passer that they can have a dynamic vertical passing game. If the offense continues to play like this, they’re a legitimate contender in the AFC; their defense is much more talented than how they’ve performed so far.

Raiders Win Probability: 41.36430331%

The Bills defense utilizes a scheme that prides themselves on limiting big plays, but that can sometimes leave them vulnerable to the quick passing game- that’s how the Rams and Dolphins have attacked them. That plays right into Derek Carr and the Raiders offense’s strengths, as without Henry Ruggs, I’d expect them to lean on tight end Darren Waller and running back Josh Jacobs.

Spread Pick: BUF (-3)

Recommended Spread: BUF (-2.85)

Difference: 0.150760167

Score Projection: Bills 27 Raiders 24

Since my score projection would only garner a push, you could see my model doesn’t have any sort of convincing takeaway from this game. However, this appears to be an awfully poor fit for Las Vegas. They had no answers for Cam Newton and the Patriots’ dynamic rushing attack last week, and not only will they struggle with Allen in those concepts this week, but how are they going to cover Buffalo’s receivers? Leave it to Carr and head coach Jon Gruden to keep this game close, but the Bills theoretically should advanced to 4-0.

COVID-19 TIER

Due to multiple Titans testing positive for COVID-19, I had to create a COVID-19 tier for the their matchup with the Steelers, as well as the team they were playing, the Vikings, who head out to Houston. My model would have had some key takeaways from these games, yet it’s impossible to quantify the effects of having their facilities shut down. Thus, I have taken away Tennessee’s home-field advantage for this week, while doubling-down on the Texans’ advantage.

#15: Vikings (0-3, 14th) at Texans (0-3, 23rd)

Photo Cred: Battle Red Blog

Vikings Win Probability: 55.1296654%

Due to their lack of positive tests, it appears the Vikings will be given the “all clear” to be back in their facilities on Thursday, which should give them enough time to build off of their best performance of the year. Finally, rookie receiver Justin Jefferson became an integral part of the offense, and overall, the unit appeared to be much more in sync and capable of big plays. Now, they’ll face arguably the worst defense in the NFL, so there isn’t reason to believe they cannot continue to be explosive. Heck, even their defense played better when it comes to pass defense, and a Texans offense that utilizes a lot of unnecessary early-down runs could help them.

Texans Win Probability: 44.48703346%

The Texans may be 0-3, but they have also had to play the Chiefs, Ravens, and Steelers. They were able to have some success moving the ball against Pittsburgh’s vaunted defense, so there is something to be said about them facing a mistake-prone Minnesota defense. Plus, if the game is close, would you rather have Deshaun Watson or Kirk Cousins?

Spread Pick: MIN (+4.5)

Recommended Spread: MIN (-0.57)

Difference: 3.931364177

Score Projection: Vikings 24 Texans 23

These teams have very similar offenses, though they go about they process very differently. Thus, the difference in this game is their respective defenses, and even with their early struggles, I’d trust the Vikings, led by head coach Mike Zimmer, much more than Houston. I, and my model apparently, believe that their previous game against the Titans was signs of a young team coming together. Had it not been for them getting shut down, this would have been a “green light” game.

#16: Steelers (3-0, 12th) at Titans (3-0, 18th)

Photo Cred: Titan Sized

Steelers Win Probability: 52.16920601%

The Steelers have probably had the easiest early schedule so far. That said, the only team with a comparably light start to the season is the Titans, and at least they have a point differential in the double digits. Theoretically, Ben Roethlisberger and the offense should be able to be effective against a subpar defense, especially if the extra day off allows receiver Diontae Johnson to be cleared to play. Plus, they have the physicality to handle Tennessee up front, and if that forces Ryan Tannehill into more drop back passes, the results could be ugly for him facing a juggernaut of a defense.

Titans Win Probability: 47.83079399%

Theoretically, that philosophy of forcing the Titans out of play-action passes could happen in any given week, yet it hasn’t happened during Tannehill’s time as the starting quarterback. Pittsburgh’s offense has performed above their talent level so far, and the transition to facing a playoff contender could be steep.

Spread Pick: PIT (-1)

Recommended Spread: PIT (-1.97)

Difference: 0.9650844924

Score Projection: Steelers 25 Titans 23

The Titans won’t be able to get back to their facilities until Saturday, which is a major disadvantage against a very reliable, trustworthy Steelers organization. Either way, Pittsburgh matches up well against them and is the better team, though even before the COVID-19 positive tests, this was always going to be a game with no value to be had.

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