Week 4 is bound to be an exciting week in the NFL. Several division matchups are taking place, with teams fighting for position. Every game means something for the playoff picture later in the season, but some teams are in more desperate situations than others. A team like the Chiefs (3-0) could lose a game and be just fine moving forward, but others don’t get to be so comfortable. So which teams face must win games in Week 4? Let’s find out!
0-3 is not the ideal start for any team in the NFL, but especially not for a team who was expected to compete with the Jaguars for the division title. Several of us here at Fourth Quarter Sports had the Texans getting in the playoffs this year. The defense was supposed to return to form, while QB Deshaun Watson returned from injury after lighting up the league his rookie year. It’s obvious things haven’t gone as planned for them this season.
This game against the Colts may be one of their best chances to get back on track, although it won’t be an easy victory. The Colts are 1-2, but their defense has played much better than expected. Houston’s offense will need to find a way to score points, while the defense needs to get after Andrew Luck. Of course they want to win any game, but this game means a little more because it’s a division matchup.
They’re only two games back in the division right now even after starting 0-3. With there still being a lot of time left in the season, there’s time to make up those games, but they have to start now. If they can get a win this week, they’ll at least stay only two games back. If the Jaguars or Titans lose, they’ll get even closer in the division race. Going to 0-4 pretty much gets rid of any hope in this season, so a win must be had for the Texans this week.
New England Patriots
New England is in unfamiliar territory after starting 1-2. If any team can right the ship after a 1-2 start, it’s the Patriots. This week may not be the best week for that to happen though. The Miami Dolphins are 3-0 and are looking to take a firm grip on the division lead by beating the Patriots this week.
This Patriots team has had their fair share of struggles so far. Many people are starting to think this is the end of their reign in the AFC. If they lose to the Dolphins and fall to 1-3, there may be reason to panic in New England. They still have to play the Chiefs, Packers, Vikings, Steelers, and all their division games later in the season. If they don’t get things right this week against the Dolphins, it may already be too late for the Patriots.
I know that’s crazy to say and think about, but it’s true. Digging themselves out of a 1-3 hole is something they haven’t had to do, making this game a must win for the Patriots. They have to get to 2-2 this week.
If the Raiders are going to salvage their season, it has to be this week. 0-4 isn’t going to cut it, especially not for a coach who was supposed to save this team. This week they play the Cleveland Browns, who are coming off their first win in 635 days. This is a great chance to right the ship.
The Browns aren’t the same Browns we’ve seen in years past, but they do still have their struggles. One potential mismatch I see in this game for the Raiders is their experience. Oakland’s roster is full of experienced veteran players, while Cleveland’s roster is full of young players. Rookie QB Baker Mayfield is starting this week. Can Jon Gruden and his veteran players take advantage of a rookie QB and young team?
It may already be too late for the Raiders to have a shot at the playoffs this year, but if there’s going to be any chance, they have to win this game. They have to at least get a win for their fans to feel better about how much money is being paid to Jon Gruden.
Pittsburgh is coming off a win over the Buccaneers last week, but that was almost a loss. After scoring 30 points in the first half with significant help from their defense, this team didn’t score at all in the second half. This Steelers team seems to be having a lot of troubles this year. It starts with Le’Veon Bell’s absence, but there’s more to it than that.
The defense is being shredded. Going back to last week’s game again, they played great in the first half, but allowed an almost comeback in the second half because they couldn’t keep up the performance. Pittsburgh could be in trouble if they don’t get things on track this week. They have teams like the Falcons, Panthers, Saints, Patriots, and their division rivals on the schedule later on.
This team can’t have Big Ben keep throwing a ton of passes every game and expect to win that way. They need to find balance on offense and defense. That needs to start this week against their division rival, Baltimore Ravens.
This is a big game for the Denver Broncos. They’re playing the 3-0 Kansas City Chiefs, who have the league’s leading TD thrower in Patrick Mahomes. The Broncos have a reputation to uphold as one of the best defense’s in the NFL. This week provides a great opportunity to really establish themselves as that. If they can slow down Patrick Mahomes and this Chiefs offense, I’d be pretty confident in them being carried by the defense throughout the season. The offense isn’t going to carry this team.
In addition to gaining status as one of the best defense’s in the league, the Broncos must win this game because they sit one game behind the Chiefs in the division right now. If they lose this game, they go back two games. If they win, they’ll be tied with the Chiefs. I like the Broncos defense, but I’m not confident enough in them to say they’d be able to overcome an early two game lead by the Chiefs.
A victory this week could be huge in the Broncos possibly winning the division or making the playoffs. Denver must tie things up with the Chiefs in Week 4.