One quarter of the NFL season is now officially in the books, rendering any excuses of rustiness for poor performances completely redundant.
With bye weeks now in operation too, there’s really no reason why teams can’t operate at their best; unless of course the team is just downright awful.
Ahead of the kick-off of the campaign’s second quarter, here’s the lowdown on the three TV games:
Chicago Bears @ Carolina Panthers
The 2-2 Chicago Bears travel to face the Carolina Panthers, who share the same record but have lost two straight, looking to extend their perfect start on the road for another week.
They improved their running game vastly when going down to the Green Bay Packers last time out, with running back Matt Forte rushing for 122 yards on 23 carries. The 28-year-old had managed just 136 from 42 attempts over the first three games.
With Carolina a worse-than-average side when it comes to stopping the run – they are ranked 27th in the NFL, allowing 140.8 yards-per-game – expect Forte to open his touchdown account for the year.
Bet: Matt Forte to score the first touchdown @ 5/1
New York Jets @ San Diego Chargers
While the Bears could make hay on the ground, the undefeated-at-home San Diego Chargers should pack away their running game when they face the league’s best defence against it, the New York Jets.
With Chargers’ quarterback Philip Rivers racking up eight touchdown passes and 917 yards over the past three games, there’s plenty of ammunition through the air to defeat the Jets, who have lost their last three outings.
Bet: San Diego Chargers (-6.5) to win @ 5/6
Cincinnati Bengals @ New England Patriots
With questions circling over the ability of the Patriots’ long-trusted quarterback, Tom Brady, there couldn’t be a worse time for their struggling offense to entertain the undefeated Cincinnati Bengals.
Brady ranks 29th in the league with 298.5 passing-yards-per-game, while the Bengals allow fewer points-per-outing than anyone in the league with 11.0 and are fully refreshed after a bye week.
It’s likely that those questions about Brady aren’t going to fade away anytime soon.
Bet: Cincinnati Bengals to win @ 5/6 NAP