With seven unbeaten teams remaining in the N.F.L., Week 4 may start separating the wheat from the chaff. We will be following along live as the Buffalo Bills (3-0) host the New England Patriots (3-0) while checking in with the day’s other action.
Could Melvin Gordon Play Today?
Melvin Gordon, a star running back for the Los Angeles Chargers, did not end his contract holdout until Thursday, but as a result of an injury to Justin Jackson, there is a chance Gordon will play on Sunday in his team’s road game against the bottom-feeding Miami Dolphins at 1 p.m., Eastern time.
“We understand that Melvin’s been back for a day and a half, so we have to be careful if he plays, how much he plays and even if he plays at all,” Chargers Coach Anthony Lynn said on Friday.
Gordon, who averaged an eye-popping 5.1 yards a carry in 12 games last season, has long been one of the most talented running backs in the N.F.L., but he engaged in a fruitless standoff with his team in hopes of securing a hefty raise. In contrast to Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys, whose holdout netted him a new contract with $50 million in guaranteed money, Gordon’s holdout cost him about $1 million and he is still playing on his original deal.
The Chargers have gotten terrific production from Austin Ekeler in place of Gordon, but with Jackson having been ruled out with a calf strain, Los Angeles is thin at running back, which resulted in Gordon’s being declared active on Saturday.
Gordon told reporters on Friday that he would be ready.
“It’s not like I’ve been sitting around and I’m coming in overweight or anything like that,” he said. “But it’s not like I get a preseason game to get warmed up. You kind of get in and get right in the fire.”
What to Look For in Week 4
The Patriots have been absolutely incredible on both sides of the ball, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 106-17. That has come with an asterisk, however, as those opponents have combined to go 0-9 this season. Is Buffalo up to giving New England a real challenge? The Bills’ defense has been formidable for two seasons, and should give Tom Brady the most resistance he has seen in a while, but the wild card in the matchup is how Josh Allen and the Buffalo offense can do against a Patriots defense that has been suffocating its competition.
Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns are facing a stiff test on the road against Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens. Weighing in on the matchup was none other than Antonio Brown, the free-agent wide receiver, most recently with the Patriots, who continued his social media offensive by weighing in on Saturday to say that Mayfield, the first pick in the 2018 draft, should have never been picked ahead of Jackson, who went 32nd. While Mayfield has been under fire all season, and Jackson has been celebrated, there have been some disturbing trends in Jackson’s completion percentage that could eventually catch up to the Baltimore sophomore.
The Lions are unbeaten, but it’s hard to get too excited about them when one of their three games was a tie against Arizona in which Detroit collapsed in the fourth quarter. They will be hosting Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, which would be a bitter pill no matter the week but is complicated further by Matthew Stafford’s working his way through a hip injury. Stafford is expected to play, but it is unclear how limited he will be, which is a bad situation to be in when trying to keep up with Mahomes.
Daniel Jones is getting the full New York sensation treatment after one start, and he can build that enthusiasm to a fever pitch with another strong performance this week. With the Giants facing the lowly Washington Redskins, the opportunity certainly seems to be there for him, even with Saquon Barkley out for the foreseeable future.
Traditionally the Saints are nearly unbeatable at home, and they have gone 15-5 in Sunday night football games (11-0 at home) since NBC made it the N.F.L.’s top game of the week in 2006. Do those advantages hold true even with Drew Brees on the sideline? New Orleans will try to find out against a red hot Dallas Cowboys team that is firing on all cylinders. By the numbers, Dallas has been considerably better at offense and defense, but the Saints, who have rallied around Teddy Bridgewater as Brees’s fill-in, represent the best team the Cowboys have played.