NFL Week 4 Preview: Something has to give as Pats visit the Bills

The Buffalo Bills are 3-0 for only the third time since 1992 but will face a stiff test against the New England Patriots on Sunday.

Matthew Crist

It’s a battle of the AFC East’s unbeaten sides on Sunday as the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills clash in the big game of the weekend.

With both sides 3-0 something will have to give as the Bills look to continue their somewhat surprise start to the season while New England will be looking to mount another assault on the playoffs as they defend their Super Bowl crown.

That’s followed by the latest chapter in the great Chicago Bears versus Minnesota Vikings NFC North rivalry while another pair of postseason contenders take centre stage on Sunday night when the undefeated Dallas Cowboys travel to take on the New Orleans Saints.

Patriots vs Bills, Sunday 18:00

The game of the weekend features two of the NFL’s undefeated teams as Tom Brady’s New England Patriots head to Buffalo to play the AFC East rival Bills and something will have to give with both sides boasting a 3-0 record.

The undefeated Bills have surprised everybody with their start to the season, just the third time since 1992 they have been 3-0, and will see no reason why they can’t make it four wins on the spin; though having recorded victories over the hapless Jets, and equally unimpressive Giants and Bengals, this is bound to be a much tougher test.

Much of this success has been built on a rock-solid defensive unit, who have allowed just nine pass plays of 30 yards or more since the start of 2018, four fewer than any other team in football.

The Patriots are also undefeated thanks to wins over the Steelers, Dolphins and Jets, again, not the toughest of opponents, and are Still yet to allow a touchdown, though that could all change on Sunday when they face a side who ranks fifth in rushing yards.

The Patriots certainly have form on their side and have won five straight games over Buffalo dating back to 2016, while you have to go all the way back to 2011 to find the Bills’ last home win over New England.

Vikings vs Bears, Sunday 21:25

Chicago Bears

The Bears and Vikings find themselves going into this matchup at 2-1 with both feeling as though they can build towards a decent post-season charge if they can gather a bit of momentum.

Matt Nagy’s Bears racked-up 31-points against the Redskins in Washington last week as the defence put the heat on Case Keenum with three interceptions and four sacks.

However, the usually dependable Bears back-line did take their foot off the gas somewhat in the third quarter as the Skins put up a pair of touchdowns in the second half and will have to be on the ball in a game which is bound to see both defences heavily involved.

As for the Vikings they come into this one on the back of a home win over the Raiders last week with talented running back Dalvin Cook running for 110-yards and a touchdown, while the defence allowed only three third down conversions.

Talking of defence, the Bears and Vikings both rank Top 10 in sacks and interceptions, while the Bears are one of only three teams yet to allow a rushing touchdown, so don’t expect to see a shoot-out here, especially with both quarterbacks somewhat underwhelming in the first few weeks of the season.

Cowboys vs Saints, Sunday, 01:20

The Cowboys won this one 13-10 in a real thriller when the two sides met in Texas last year and there is every chance we could be in for another close encounter on Sunday night in the Superdome.

Backup QB Teddy Bridgewater picked up an impressive win in his first start of the season on the road against the Seattle Seahawks last week following an injury to Drew Brees and the Saints now return home to take on the 3-0 Dallas Cowboys.

Though he didn’t throw for many yards last week what he did do with the ball was effective and key to the Saint’s offence will once again be Alvin Kamara, who totalled nine catches against the Seahawks with 94 yards and a touchdown to show for his efforts along with 161 yards scrimmaging.

The Cowboys had things a little easier against the Dolphins last Sunday, though only led 10-6 at half time, before Ezekiel Elliott turned up in the second half as both he and back up Tony Pollard combined for over 200-yards on the ground.

But for all his fine efforts filling in for Brees a backup QB is still a backup QB and Dallas will be aware that if they can apply some pressure on Bridgewater then they should be well on their way to a big road win and a 4-0 record.

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