Each week through the 2019 season, former NFL defensive back and current BBC analyst Jason Bell will highlight five things to look out for that weekend. Watch Jason twice a week on the BBC on the NFL Show and NFL This Week.
Here are some key stories to follow in Week 4.
Undefeated division rivals go head to head
Two undefeated teams but what is interesting is watching this New England Patriots offense vs the defense of the Buffalo Bills. That is going to be the battle that everybody wants to see. What's fascinating is what Sean McDermott has done with that defense. They are tough, disciplined, I think their two Safeties are probably the best in the NFL. What they do really well is they find a way to identify what your protections do. So, they find how you block and protect, and they take advantage of that. I think they're one of the best in the league at doing that. It will be interesting to see that against the Patriots offense because I think the Patriots win this game, but this could be a blueprint on how to attack them offensively. I think Sean McDermott will put something really good out there on tape that teams could copy as the season goes on. So, I really want to see that battle of offense vs defense.
This is going to be a good one! The Saints always play good at home, they really play fast in the dome and that's going to help this defense. The offense of Dallas is clicking on all levels. You have to consider Dak Prescott in the MVP race. If Patrick Mahomes wasn't playing lights out the way he is, Dak might be in the front. Especially being a 3-0 team and the way, he's playing. That's what I'm looking for, I want to see how this Saints' defense plays against this offense. I think the Saint's defensive line is amazing. Cameron Jordan, who has impressed, versus the run and the pass. He's needs to have a big game if they're going to have any success. The defensive backfield is going to have to play fast and with confidence. Their coach is Aaron Glenn, who's a friend of mine, I played with him in Houston and he's one of the best teachers of the game. He actually taught me how to play the position of Corner so I know they have great coaching. They play well when they look like they're playing with confidence and they're going to have to do that against this Cowboys offense. I mean nobody has been more creative this year then the Dallas Cowboys and how they change their offense. The way Dak is playing, it's like he has all the answers to the test. This is going to be a big challenge for them because you can't go down to New Orleans and just think you are going to win. I know they don't have Drew Brees but once again I have faith in Sean Payton. He's still one of the best play callers in the league. He always scripts plays that help his Quarterback. So once again I think he's going to come out with a good game plan. It's truly the Alvin Kamara show. They're going to feed him the ball and make it happen. So, this is going to be a good match up and a tighter game than people think, because it's hard to go down to New Orleans and win.
This is going to be a tough game for them against the Washington Redskins because it's a divisional match up. And just as any divisional game, they hate each other and they're going to play hard. The one thing that would help Daniel Jones would be to have Saquon Barkley. The offense runs through Saquon and when you remove him it gives Washington Redskins the opportunity to focus on Daniel Jones more. To win this game they're going to have to be able to run the ball. The back-up Running Backs are going to have to step it up and help him. That being said, the Redskins are not a good team right now. They're not playing well on offense or defense, they're in the bottom of both those leagues. They just aren't playing with a lot of confidence. I think everybody is waiting to see when Case Keenum will lose his job to Dwayne Haskins. I don't see that happening too soon, just because Jay Gruden is fighting for his job. He still has to perform and get some wins because he's in the hot seat. So, I don't see them making a change unless Case Keenum goes in and plays completely terrible. But this is always a tough game and both these teams have deficiencies. The Giants defense is not playing well, they're going to have to pick it up. They're at home and hopefully they fix some things but this is a team they should beat. Once again, all eyes are on Daniel Jones, let's see if he can lead this team to a victory.
Dalvin Cook is another guy that is in the MVP category. He's playing the best at the Running Back position this year. What he's best at is getting the ball and running on the outside zone and getting on the perimeter, he's great at that. But the Chicago Bears' defensive line is so good. They are playing better than anybody. So, they're going to stop that run. Especially on the outside with Kahlil Mack who's one of the best in the game. The Vikings are going to have to throw the ball. Luckily, they have two great receivers in Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. I think Kirk Cousins needs to have a great game for them to win because the Bears are going to stop the run. They are just too good up front. If Vikings are going to win this game, Kirk Cousins needs to have a big game - which he's not known to have. As far as the Bears are concerned, their defense is unbelievable but offensively, there are questions over their Quarterback. Trubisky is just not being consistent with his accuracy. And no matter what Matt Nagy draws up, if you're not consistent you can't run the offense. In this match up the weakest part of both the teams have to step up and the spotlight is definitely on the Quarterbacks to do that.
The AFC vs NFC - which is the most competitive?
Well, we knew going into the season who would be dominant in the AFC. Everybody knew the Patriots; everybody knew the Chiefs and after that it was a question mark. We knew the NFC was going to have some tough battles and who comes out on top will be the theme of the year. As predicted, we're seeing the fight is going to be in the NFC. When you see a team like the Lions facing the Chiefs, regardless of the outcome of that game, it's going to be interesting. When Lions played the Rams, Matt Patricia put out the game plan that was used against them in the Super Bowl. He showed how to slow them down. And I'm thinking that might happen again in the game against the Chiefs. He'll put together a plan that slows them down or impairs them enough to where other teams will copycat it. Will they be able to execute it the same? I don't know but the tape is out there, and there's one team that will use that tape...it's the New England Patriots. But the NFC is a toss-up, which is outstanding. I think the most balanced teams right now are probably the Dallas Cowboys and the LA Rams. And I did not expect the Cowboys to be where they are, that is the biggest surprise to me.