Four Mismatches To Watch For In Week 4 Of The NFL Season

Written By Mo Nuwwarah on September 29, 2021
NFL Week 4 matchups

Each week of the NFL season brings a new set of matchups, and with it, a new subset of positional groups and players going at each other. Even divisional rematches will often take slightly different form throughout the season due to injuries and ongoing team positional turnover. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the NFL Week 4 matchups and see if we can find any mismatches to potentially exploit.

Matchups might come at the player, unit, or even coaching levels. Note that this list is far from exhaustive. You can surely find many more mismatches across the league.

Actionable responses to these could come in the form of props, fantasy decisions, spread or moneyline bets or plays on the over/under.

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NFL Week 4 Matchups And Mismatches To Watch

Buccaneers Run Defense Vs. Patriots Rushing Offense

All of the focus for Tampa Bay at New England will center around the return of Tom Brady to face his old mentor Bill Belichick. And if that interests you, some sportsbooks are offering a special selection of props for the event.

But, a matchup on the other side of the ball exists that’s worth paying attention to as well.

Tampa Bay’s defensive line has done some fantastic work in the early going, little surprise after they played some dominating football down the stretch last year. They’ve excelled against the run in particular with Vita Vea consistently stonewalling any attempts to run up the middle.

Football Outsiders rates the run defense seventh in DVOA and seventh in adjusted line yards. They come in second in stuffed%, or plays where they tackle the RB at or behind the line of scrimmage.

The Bucs’ strength here forced even the usually balanced Cowboys to go pass-heavy on them.

The Patriots entered the season with a promising offensive line, but they haven’t done a great job blocking for their running backs. They’re sixth-worst in adjusted line yards and got nothing done — 17 carries for 49 yards — against a strong Saints front.

Expect Mac Jones and the passing game to take a larger role than the team would like in an ideal world. He crumbled against the Saints and even struggled against the Jets in Week 2. Will he and the coaching staff figure out a way to get it done under the lights on Sunday night?

Rams Wide Receivers Vs. Cardinals Cornerbacks

The Rams sport one of the scariest groups of wide receivers in the league, particularly as far as depth goes, and they have prime NFL Week 4 matchups.

Cooper Kupp has been the star of the show so far, making fantasy managers across the world happy with his 367 yards and five TDs in just three games. But don’t sleep on Robert Woods either, who has given defenses fits since teaming up with Sean McVay. And they finally unleashed DeSean Jackson to an extremely effective degree in the win over the Bucs, as he torched them deep three times even if he only hauled in one TD. Second-year pro Van Jefferson has contributed as well with almost 20 yards per on his seven receptions.

That very depth should pose a large challenge for the Arizona Cardinals in this NFL Week 4 matchup. Byron Murphy and Marco Wilson appear to be the top two corners for the Cards so far. The former has the pedigree but has not impressed as a pro. He frequently plays in the slot, where he could find himself covering Kupp. The latter is a fourth-round rookie. Usually, those guys only play if considerable attrition happens ahead of them.

The Cardinals also have Robert Alford, who missed two consecutive years of football with injuries. It’s anyone’s guess whether he can contribute something positive at age 32. Finally, the other name on the depth chart is … Luq Barcoo. He hasn’t played a snap this season and has one career start. Woe to the Cardinals if he must step in and play a role.

Matthew Stafford has had more than his share of open men this year and responded by dicing most everyone up. That doesn’t appear likely to stop in this friendly matchup.

Search For The Best Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp Props

Seahawks Wide Receivers Vs. 49ers Cornerbacks

The other NFC West battle also features what should be a mismatch between sets of corners and receivers.

The Seahawks have stumbled out of the gate to a 1-2 start but it’s not the passing attack’s fault. In fact, the Seahawks lead the NFL with a monstrous 10.4 yards per attempt, and that hasn’t come in garbage time either as they spent almost the entire first two games in the lead.

DK Metcalf got on track for more than 100 yards and a TD in Week 3 after watching Tyler Lockett destroy defenses deep the first two weeks. You won’t find many scarier tandems, and their skills seem to mesh perfectly with those of their QB Russell Wilson.

The underdog Seahawks head to San Francisco, and these 49ers cornerbacks project to have a difficult time.

The team entered the year hoping Jason Verrett could put together another rare healthy season. But, he has predictably hit IR, and K’Waun Williams is banged up as well and won’t play.

That leaves Emmanuel Moseley and Deommodore Lenoir as the starters. The latter, a fifth-round rookie, looked completely lost at times against the Packers on Monday. Josh NormanBuster Skrine and Dre Kirkpatrick make up the depth. Norman signed days before the season and the latter two recently signed off their couches. Yikes.

Dolphins Cornerbacks Vs. Colts Wide Receivers

The hallmark of this Dolphins defense in the second year under Coach Brian Flores was their ability to generate takeaways. And nobody exemplified that more than CB Xavien Howard, who snagged a league-leading 10 INTs.

Opposite-end partner Byron Jones is no slouch either, although he hasn’t been quite as strong since coming over from Dallas.

Colts QB Carson Wentz toughed it out through two ankle injuries but was not particularly effective in Week 3 as he led the offense to a meager 4.6 yards per pass against a pretty weak Tennessee defense.

And his wide targets, Michael Pittman Jr. and Zach Pascal, look like one of the weakest pairings in the league. How will they get open against these Dolphins corners?

The Colts seem likely to have to turn to their running game and shorter passes to tight ends and backs. Their staff has shown the ability to get it done without premium talent on the edges, but even if they can, it’s going to be a slow grind. And Wentz has been at his best attacking downfield over the course of his career.

Neither side figures to get much done on offense in this game, which explains the total of .


If you enjoyed these NFL Week 4 matchups, check out more NFL sports betting coverage from TheLines and Mo Nuwwarah.

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Mo Nuwwarah

Mo Nuwwarah got his start in gambling early, making his first sports bet on his beloved Fab Five against the UNC Tar Heels in the 1993 NCAA tournament. He lost $5 to his dad and got back into sports betting years later during a 15-year run in the poker industry. A 2011 journalism graduate from Nebraska-Omaha, he combines those skills with his love of sports and statistics to help bettors make more informed decisions with a focus on pro football, baseball and basketball.

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