The Miami Dolphins and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) take on the Buffalo Bills in a key AFC East matchup on Sunday. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Week 4 NFL Capsules

NFL Week 4 capsules

Falcons (2-1) vs. Jaguars (1-2), in London: Atlanta rookie Bijan Robinson entered the week leading all running backs with 14 receptions. The Falcons rarely threaten over the top, relying on QB Desmond Ridder to manage the game with high-percentage passes and Robinson to pair with Tyler Allgeier to move the chains. TE Kyle Pitts had a career-high nine receptions for 119 yards in his previous International Series game. In the franchise’s ninth game at Wembley Stadium, the Jaguars look to former Falcons WR Calvin Ridley to spark the offense. RB Travis Etienne had 138 yards from scrimmage last week and Atlanta is giving up 117.7 rushing yards per game.

Dolphins (3-0) vs. Bills (2-1): No team has ever produced more yards in the first three games of the season than Miami (1,651) and the Dolphins are on pace to set the NFL scoring record with an average of 43.3 per game entering Week 4. But Buffalo has won eight of the past nine meetings in the AFC East rivalry and the Bills’ defense is out to prove a point this week. Buffalo’s defense became the first since the Chicago Bears (1985) with nine sacks and four INTs in a game. The Bills have drilled the Las Vegas Raiders and Washington Commanders by a combined score of 75-13 since the Week 1 overtime loss to the New York Jets. QB Josh Allen averaged 317.7 yards and three TD passes (zero interceptions) in his past three games in the matchup. Tua Tagovailoa had three TDs and zero INTs in two starts against the Bills in 2022.

Broncos (0-3) vs. Bears (0-3): Good luck finding two NFL teams more eager to get back on the field than these winless clubs. The Bears have lost 13 straight games dating back to last season, surrendering at least 25 points in each contest. Denver allowed 70 points to the Dolphins in a 50-point blowout loss at Miami in Week 3 and has a 6-20 record since Thanksgiving 2021. Broncos QB Russell Wilson hasn’t played poorly with 300-yard games in back-to-back starts. The Bears are trying to unlock Justin Fields from a mystifying start. Fields was sacked 13 times and had a 67.7 passer rating in the first three games.

Vikings (0-3) vs. Panthers (0-3): Rookie QB Bryce Young found his energy during a week on the mend from an ankle injury and showed some spark in Panthers’ practice this week. Carolina had 27 points in a loss at Seattle with Andy Dalton running the offense, matching the point total Young produced in the first two games. Head coach Frank Reich plans to work the ball to lead receiver Adam Thielen (20 receptions), who spent 10 seasons with the Vikings before being released in the offseason. Minnesota has six receivers with a TD catch — QB Kirk Cousins leads the NFL with 9 TDs — but still hasn’t scored in the first quarter. A faster start could be salve for a team wounded by turnovers, namely seven lost fumbles, though Cousins would realize a huge benefit from a more stable running game. Minnesota’s offensive line woes have hindered the ground game to just 66.3 yards per game.

Browns (2-1) vs. Ravens (2-1): Cleveland’s No. 1-ranked defense had Titans QB Ryan Tannehill seeing ghosts last week when he wasn’t sprinting the opposite direction of DE Myles Garrett. The Browns allowed just one offensive touchdown in three games while leading the NFL in both scoring defense (10.7 points allowed per game) and total defense (163.7 yards allowed per game). The scoring average would be even lower if the Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t score two defensive touchdowns in the Week 2 matchup. If the offense catches up in Cleveland, watch out. The Browns are minus-5 in turnover differential and have split the past four games with the Ravens. When QB Lamar Jackson has time, he can deliver from the pocket. He leads the NFL in completion percentage on passes thrown beyond the sticks. Health was a major hurdle last week with seven starters, four on offense, out in the tie with the Colts. That forced Jackson to run more often, which tends to work out, too. He posted his 13th career 100-yard game. Jackson is 5-1 in his past six starts against the Browns.

Texans (1-2) vs. Steelers (2-1): The Texans blitzed the Jacksonville Jaguars for a 37-17 win last week and rookie QB C.J. Stroud went 20-for-30 passing for 280 yards and two touchdowns. Dealing with Pittsburgh’s defense, which has eight takeaways, presents a greater challenge. Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans called pass rusher T.J. Watt “probably the most impactful defensive player in the league.” Watt has a league-high 6.0 sacks and two fumble recoveries (tied with Colts defensive end Kwity Paye) through three games. Houston’s hope is to use a page from Ryans’ previous team – he was defensive coordinator of the 49ers prior to taking over the Texans – and make Pittsburgh one-dimensional. The Steelers rank 30th in the NFL in rushing offense (67 yards per game), but they surpassed 100 yards for the first time against Las Vegas with 105. Najee Harris is averaging 4.0 yards per carry but has only 35 in three games.

Colts (2-1) vs. Rams (1-2): On the road for the third time in four games, the Rams are planning for two quarterbacks but expecting rookie Anthony Richardson to get the call after sitting out last week in concussion protocol. The Colts harassed Lamar Jackson with blitz pressures last week and have 12 sacks and a plus-2 turnover differential, numbers that mean something when you start a rookie QB. Indianapolis is also finding its footing with a rushing attack that featured Zack Moss (145 yards from scrimmage at Baltimore) again. With no such running game (84 yards per game), the Rams are exposing QB Matthew Stafford to heavy fire. He has been sacked seven times with four interceptions this season.

Saints (2-1) vs. Buccaneers (2-1): RB Alvin Kamara returns from a three-game suspension with the Saints welcoming Baker Mayfield to New Orleans for the first time. The Bucs swept the series in 2022 but have a new look without Tom Brady. Mayfield has done his part and established a strong rapport with WR Mike Evans (17 receptions for 297 yards, three TDs) while waiting for a bigger boost from the ground game. The Bucs won’t hold much back with an early bye in Week 5. New Orleans might not have its new QB under center this week as Derek Carr (shoulder) is week-to-week. Jameis Winston couldn’t hold a 17-0 lead at Green Bay last week but is anxious for another shot at his former team. Winston has eight TD passes in four career home starts for the Saints.

Eagles (3-0) vs. Commanders (2-1): First-year starting QB Sam Howell crashed from a 2-0 start in a 37-3 loss to the Bills in Week 3. Howell and the Commanders lost 32-31 at Philadelphia last season and have dropped three of the past four in the series. One new face the Commanders will greet is first-round pick Jalen Carter, who has six pressures on six double-team pass-rushing opportunities and gets more attention from offensive linemen every week. The Eagles have had no reservations handing the ball off this season (185.7 yards per game) and are giving up just 48.3 yards per game on the ground. The Eagles are 3-0 for the second consecutive season for the first time since 1992-93. Jalen Hurts had six touchdowns (five passing) in his last two starts against Washington.

Chargers (1-2) vs. Raiders (1-2): The Raiders have three quarterbacks on their roster, and any of them could take the field on Sunday afternoon at the Los Angeles Chargers. Jimmy Garoppolo started and finished the first three games of the season for Las Vegas, but he was placed in concussion protocol following a 23-18 loss to the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night. Raiders coach Josh McDaniels said that Garoppolo was still in protocol on Wednesday and did not practice but has been participating in meetings. If he’s not cleared, 37-year-old journeyman Brian Hoyer would make his 41st career start. Hoyer has 12 consecutive losses as a starter and the Raiders are tied for 29th in the NFL in points per game (15.0). The Chargers are second in the NFL in total offense but have only one win because they’ve allowed 29 points per game. The Chargers prevented another agonizing last-minute loss by intercepting a pass in the end zone with under 10 seconds left. Austin Ekeler, the No. 1 running back for Los Angeles, returned to practice on Wednesday but was limited after missing the past two games with an ankle injury.

Cowboys (2-1) vs. Patriots (1-2): Dak Prescott starts for the 101st time in his career going for a duplication of his previous performance against the Patriots. Prescott passed for more yards than a Bill Belichick defense has ever allowed (445 yards, three TDs) in the 35-29 win over New England in 2021. The Cowboys’ passing game isn’t clicking on all cylinders leading to a huge workload for Tony Pollard, the NFL leader in total touches through three games. He’ll get a chance to prove his value as Ezekiel Elliott returns to Dallas as a backup with the Patriots. New England has gone 16 games in a row without scoring 28 points but the Patriots snuck past the Jets last week with a 15-point effort.

49ers (3-0) vs. Cardinals (1-2): Fresh off of his first career win, QB Josh Dobbs gets a close-up with the clamp-down defense of the 49ers. San Francisco’s hard-hitting back seven vows to treat Dobbs like a running back after he rushing for 55 yards in a healthy diet of RPO calls that slowed down the Cowboys’ pass rush. Dobbs leans heavily on TE Zach Ertz, who has just 83 yards on 14 receptions. The 49ers have allowed 42 points this season and only 12 total in the second half. QB Brock Purdy hasn’t thrown an interception and is 10-0 in games he has started and finished, including the playoffs. San Francisco is two wins shy of the franchise streak for consecutive regular-season wins and currently have 13 victories in a row, which includes two over the Cardinals last season by a combined scored of 76-23.

Jets (1-2) vs. Chiefs (2-1): Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is 5-0 on SNF with 14 TDs and threw five TD passes the last time he faced the Jets. New York’s offense continues to be reshaped without Aaron Rodgers as QB Zach Wilson reacclimates to the leading role and the Jets work through offensive line issues that are stunting the running game (91.3 yards per game). Chiefs TE Travis Kelce has two TD catches and leads the team with 11 receptions despite missing Week 1 with a knee injury and rookie WR Rashee Rice leads the WR corps with 10 grabs. Kansas City surrendered only 40 points in the first three games — 20 in the fourth quarter — and the Chiefs have 8.0 sacks. The Jets, averaging 14 points per game in 2023, look to establish big-play back Breece Hall (147 yards from scrimmage in Week 1) and Dalvin Cook to open up passing lanes for Wilson downfield.

Giants (1-2) vs. Seahawks (2-1): Seattle has formed a dynamic 1-2 punch at running back alongside QB Geno Smith with Kenneth Walker and Zach Charbonnet combining for 277 rushing yards and 11 receptions. The Giants’ run defense was gouged for 138 rushing yards per game and six TDs in the first three games. Teams that load up to stuff the run must contend with DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who’ve caught 37 of Smith’s 71 completions this season. QB Daniel Jones would enjoy the return of RB Saquon Barkley (ankle), who had 38 touches in the first two games. Without Barkley last week, Jones was under attack. Trouble has found the Giants when they fall behind. Jones has been sacked 12 times and has only one completion over 30 yards.

–Field Level Media

Sep 17, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Cam Gill (49) sacks Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) to force a fumble during the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Week 4 NFL betting preview: Can the Bears win? Cover?

Trends are a valuable tool when evaluating bets in the NFL. It’s not always clear whether an object in motion will remain in motion.

Our headline matchup this week is one of those “someone has to win” games. Both teams are trending drastically the wrong way but one appears to have more resources to shift toward respectability.

In what might otherwise be an unwatchable game, the Bears-Broncos clash becomes interesting if you have some money riding on the result.

We have a primary play, along with a pair of bonus bets for Week 2.


Broncos at Bears, 1 p.m. ET Sunday

The line: Broncos -3.5.

As the Jarrett Stidham Watch gathers momentum in Denver, the Chicago Bears stand up to say, “hold my beer.”

Both the Broncos and Bears have put the “fun” in dysfunction this season with a record-setting defeat (Denver) and a staggering step backward (Chicago — with a defensive coordinator resignation thrown in for good measure).

Chicago (0-3) has lost 13 consecutive games dating to last season, allowing 25-plus points in each one.

Denver’s ill-fated trip to Miami last weekend, resulting in a 70-20 Dolphins rout, served to heat up the pressure on first-year Broncos coach Sean Payton to consider replacing quarterback Russell Wilson with Stidham.

Chicago fans aren’t pleased with Bears quarterback Justin Fields, who was a revelation last season and a strong source for optimism entering 2023.

Fields showed what he could do after a similarly slow start in 2022, ranking seventh overall in rushing with 1,143 yards — a spot behind Dalvin Cook and one ahead of Christian McCaffrey.

Wilson has yet to string together any kind of elite performances reminiscent of his time with the Seattle Seahawks. He just seems destined to remain in the middle of the pack — possibly worse — among NFL QB starters.

Payton must be considering pulling the plug.

Both teams, not surprisingly, are 0-3 against the spread.

The Bears, however, seem more prepared to put up a fight Sunday. As poorly as they looked in Weeks 1-3, adjustments including more designed runs for Fields make this closer to a pick ‘em game with the Broncos.

Action Network stats showed 75 percent of public nets on the Broncos, reflecting just how poorly the Bears played last week against Kansas City.

It’s tough to understand how the Bears looked worse than the Broncos, however, so we’ll fade the public this time.

The pick: Bears +3.5.


“That’s where we’re talking about the fight, right? There’s going to be a moment in the game in the second half that we got to do it, right? And we’ve got to pull together and get that done. It’s going to be done through execution.”

–Bears coach Matt Eberflus


A game that fits the luck trend, along with a player prop to consider.

Falcons vs. Jaguars in London, 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday

The line: Jaguars -3.

This is a play on potential.

Though some Jacksonville Jaguars fans might be souring on quarterback Trevor Lawrence, we believe in his elite talent and are dismissing a subpar effort in last week’s loss to the Houston Texans.

The Jaguars (1-2) had 22 first downs to Houston’s 15 and should be able to take advantage of the Atlanta Falcons at the Jags’ “home” in London early Sunday.

The Falcons (2-1) gained only 183 yards of total offense against the Detroit Lions last week, and Atlanta still has the unproven Desmond Ridder, who has amassed two touchdown passes, at quarterback.

That’s a mismatch against Lawrence.

Going into Week 3, the Jaguars were the seventh unluckiest team in the NFL according to Action Network’s luck rankings. Today, Jacksonville ranks as the second unluckiest team; the Falcons moved from 10th to seventh.

It’s time for some correction, and Lawrence, running back Travis Etienne and a strong receiver corps will get it done.

The pick: Jaguars -3.


Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence passing yards

We’ll double down with our confidence in Jacksonville Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence. He stands in 10th among passing yards leaders but only 21st in passer rating, per ESPN.

That, along with a perceived strong Falcons pass defense (fourth in passing yards per game allowed), is going to yield a decent price.

The reasoning? Lawrence is due, and Atlanta faced first-year starters in two of its three games (Bryce Young and Jordan Love).

The pick: Lawrence 234-plus yards passing at -114 (available at FanDuel).

–Field Level Media

Oct 17, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) throws the ball against the New England Patriots during the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots grasp need for points to keep pace with Cowboys

Running a real-time stress test with their first-time featured back, the Cowboys are planning to give the NFL’s leader in touches, Tony Pollard, a breather with the New England Patriots due in Dallas on Sunday.

But Dallas knows this isn’t the ideal time for Pollard to exhale with former sidekick and longtime Cowboys bell-cow back Ezekiel Elliott arriving as a visitor to his old stomping grounds for the first time.

Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy believes Pollard’s current volume might be sustainable but is monitoring his workload week-to-week.

“He has always shown incredible endurance. I feel like he’s definitely built for it,” McCarthy said, adding Pollard has proven to be the team’s top back in pass protection, another reason it’s difficult to take him off the field. “He’s doing all the little things we’re asking of him.”

Pollard set a career-high with 32 touches (25 carries and seven receptions) Week 2, when the Cowboys ran away from the New York Jets. He had 23 carries (122 yards) and three receptions last week, when the Arizona Cardinals clipped the Cowboys, 28-16.

By leaning on Pollard extensively, the Cowboys have camouflaged injury issues on the offensive line and put the onus on their defense to set the tempo in games. It worked for the first two weeks of the season. Then Dallas failed to deliver on the offensive side in a comeback bid at Arizona last week and continue to sputter in the red zone with three touchdowns in 11 trips inside the opponents’ 20 the past two games.

“I think clearly, the fact we’ve been down there 15 times is the best in the National Football League,” McCarthy said. “In my experience, that has been the hard part. Clearly, the stat we’re all talking about is the touchdown conversions, the efficiency. We need to clearly be better in that.”

Dallas (2-1) leads the NFL in turnover margin at plus-6 with only one giveaway. The Patriots (1-2) are minus-2, tied for 20th in the NFL.

Quarterback Mac Jones and the Patriots didn’t have a turnover last week, beating the Jets with just 15 points.

“Have to convert and get more points. 15 is not; generally you’re going to need more than that. But it was good enough,” Belichick said of the point total last week.

New England changed coordinators, bringing back Bill O’Brien to call plays and develop Jones, but the Patriots in the midst of a 16-game stretch without scoring 28 points. The Cowboys have hit 27 or more in 11 of their last 13 regular-season games and beat New England 35-29 in the previous meeting (2021).

Finding points on the road Sunday means containing linebacker Micah Parsons, inasmuch as that’s a possible ask. Jones said Parsons jumped off the film in game-planning sessions.

“He’s definitely the top player in the league, really. He’s the best player we’ve gone against so far,” Jones said.

Dallas sacked Jones twice in the 2021 meeting and has a league-leading pressure rate of 56.4 percent in 2023.

The Patriots owe Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott after he posted 445 passing yards in the last meeting, the most a Belichick-coached team has ever surrendered.

Playing second fiddle to a degree to date in 2023, Prescott faces the fifth-ranked pass defense this week. The Patriots give up just 177 passing yards per game and also rank in the top 10 against the run (93.3 yards per game is ninth).

Elliott has been second on the depth chart to Rhamondre Stevenson in New England. Stevenson is averaging 2.9 yards per carry compared to 4.4 per tote for Elliott. Stevenson said Wednesday he knows he needs to “make more happen.”

Dallas gave up 181 rushing yards to the Cardinals in the first half last week and McCarthy said it’s one of the “flashing red lights” the Cowboys need to address.

“This is an excellent, excellent challenge,” McCarthy said. “It’s different than the challenge we had this past Sunday.”

–Field Level Media

Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) might be healthy enough to play Thursday against the Lions (file photo). Mandatory Credit: Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

Packers, Lions thinned by injuries in fight for division lead

Fighting for first place in the NFC North, the Packers and Lions renew acquaintances in Green Bay on Thursday night with Detroit determined to beat its rival for the fourth consecutive time.

“Certainly you want these more, because they’re for the division,” Lions coach Dan Campbell said. “These count. They have a significant impact on being a division winner.”

The Packers last beat the Lions in Week 2 of the 2021 season. Detroit ushered in the Jordan Love era by beating Aaron Rodgers in the regular-season finale at Lambeau Field last season (20-16).

“I know what they’re all about,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said. “It’s a tough, gritty team.”

Campbell started the week with a sleepover in his own office Sunday night, burying the idea of enjoying the win over the Atlanta Falcons for 24 hours. But he gets goosebumps thinking about the atmosphere that awaits the Lions, whose season-ending win in January also was in primetime.

“I told the rookies yesterday, ‘Get ready to live, man. This is good stuff here. These are the things that you’ll never forget when you’re done playing,’” Campbell said.

Love rallied the Packers from a 17-point deficit entering the fourth quarter to beat the New Orleans Saints, 18-17, in his first home start last week.

Short-week scenarios involving health are again relevant on either side.

Lions left tackle Taylor Decker plans to attempt to play Thursday with a high-ankle sprain that kept him out the past two games. He was one of four offensive linemen on the injury report Monday.

If Decker holds up, right tackle Penei Sewell can return to his usual position.

Even if the front five isn’t whole, Campbell expects pass protection in front of Jared Goff to be better and the running game to make progress. After rushing for 2,179 yards last season, Detroit is averaging a full yard less per carry — 3.6 yards and 24th in the NFL — through three games in 2023.

Green Bay’s ground game is down as well (3.43 yards per carry ranks 26th), denting the Packers’ play-action passing attack. Injuries to the line and starting running backs David Montgomery (Lions) and Aaron Jones (Packers) created shuffling and a negative domino effect.

Jones and purported No. 1 receiver Christian Watson (hamstring) are trending toward playing this week. Watson hasn’t played this season after collecting seven TDs as a rookie. He caught five passes for 104 yards in the Week 18 loss to the Lions last season. Jones had 21 total carries for 73 yards in two losses to the Lions in 2022.

“We’ve got a lot of ball in front of us and obviously we’ve got a great test in front of us. It would certainly help us if those two guys were available,” LaFleur said.

There is less optimism about starting left tackle David Bakhtiari (knee) and left guard Elgton Jenkins (knee). Jenkins was injured Sept. 17 at Atlanta. Bakhtiari hasn’t played since Week 1 and right tackle David Tom (knee) couldn’t finish the game last week.

Behind a makeshift line the past two weeks, Goff is consistently connecting with rookie Sam LaPorta, including a 45-yard touchdown in Week 3. LaPorta has 18 receptions in his first three games, an NFL record for a tight end. He’s second on the team to Amon-Ra St. Brown (21-275-1) in catches.

Sewell and Goff are on high alert for outside linebacker Rashan Gary, who was awarded the defensive game ball last week in his third game back from a torn ACL. Gary had 3.0 sacks to boost Green Bay’s comeback win. He had five pressures in 20 pass-rush opportunities.

“The postgame, you could see how much it means to that kid,” Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry said. “You talk about all-in.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 2, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) celebrates after they beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Books reeling: NFL Week 4 bloodbath led to historic losses

When the Chiefs and Buccaneers exceeded the over/under and the home team in Tampa was stomped by Kansas City, the financial shockwaves were felt by sportsbooks across the United States.

“Toughest NFL week for the sportsbook so far,” said Jason Scott, BetMGM VP of trading, of the just-wrapped NFL Week 4. “Chiefs beating the Bucs was the worst result on Sunday. Cardinals, Raiders and Cowboys were also bad outcomes for BetMGM.”

Kansas City was +110 on the money line to win outright at kickoff at most books but offered at +140 earlier in the week.

It was the first week of the NFL or college football regular season that BetRivers and PlaySugarHouse lost money, senior manager Troy Machir said. The sportsbook was left with “a -4.1.percent hold of the money,” he said.

Among the big losses for BetRivers were six-figure payments on a preseason boost for the futures market on the Philadelphia Eagles starting the season 4-0.

But the other trend that snapped Sunday was a run on the under bets — hitting at a rate of 60 percent through four weeks — for NFL game total-points-scored wagers. In addition to the Chiefs-Buccaneers (47.5 total; 72 points scored), Saints-Vikings (43.5 total; 53 points scored), Eagles-Jaguars (46.5 total; 50 points scored) and the New York Jets’ money line (+145) were big victories for the public. The Jets beat the Steelers 24-20.

PointsBet’s biggest liability was the Cardinals at +1 at Carolina. Arizona easily beat the Panthers, 26-16, and went under the 43.5 total set on the game.

At DraftKings, 79 percent of the handle on Vikings-Saints was on the Minnesota money line, and 79 percent had the Giants’ win over the Bears.

Huge wins for the public at DraftKings were also had by the 75 percent handle on the 49ers against the Rams on “Monday Night Football” and the nearly 79 percent of bets on Chiefs-Buccaneers that backed Kansas City.

In addition, three of the top four money line bets by volume from Week 4 at DraftKings were winning tickets: Packers (-425), Vikings (-130), Eagles (-260) and Bills (-165).

–Field Level Media

Sep 26, 2022; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA;  New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) reacts to an intentional grounding penalty flag during the second half against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Giants dig for help as Bears chase third win

New York Giants coach Brian Daboll lauded the play of quarterback Daniel Jones in the team’s Week 3 home loss to Dallas, contending Jones’ versatility kept the Giants in the game.

Jones accounted for 275 total yards while recording at least 75 yards on the ground for the third time in his career.

That ultimately wasn’t enough in a 23-16 defeat, but Jones showed the kind of leadership the team hopes to channel in Sunday’s game against the visiting Chicago Bears — and going forward. New York (2-1) has started the season strong despite a thin receiving corps that absorbed more bad news during the Dallas game, as No. 1 wideout Sterling Shepard suffered a torn ACL in his left knee on a non-contact play.

Contact has been a hot topic as the Giants attempt to keep Jones healthy and the offense running. He’s averaging 8.3 rushing attempts through three games and was hit 12 times with 17 pressures in the loss to the Cowboys. Jones has been sacked 13 times this season.

“You want to eliminate, or at least limit, the number of hits,” Daboll said. “You can tell a quarterback, don’t take this. That’s usually when they start thinking about things. He’s making good decisions, when to take off. Guys that can scramble, making loose plays, put pressure on the defense. I’ll never take that away from him.”

New York hopes to get a boost from struggling Kenny Golladay as well as a pair of receivers in Kadarius Toney (hamstring) and Wan’Dale Robinson (knee) who are hoping to come untracked after navigating early-season injuries. In addition to those injuries, the Giants have mounting concerns in the secondary. Cor’Dale Flott (appendix) is a new addition to the injury list and Nick McCloud (hamstring) is unlikely to play in Week 4.

Fortunately for Daboll, running back Saquon Barkley remains a stabilizing force for the Giants’ attack. He leads the NFL with 408 yards from scrimmage, an average of 136 per game, and has a history of faring well against the Bears. Barkley rushed for 102 yards in the most recent meeting, and had 146 scrimmage yards in a home overtime win against Chicago in December 2018.

The Bears (2-1) are coming off a 23-20 home win against Houston in which their defense aided a struggling offense.

A Roquan Smith interception deep in Houston territory set up Cairo Santos’ game-ending field goal. Quarterback Justin Fields was 8-for-17 for 106 yards and a pair of interceptions. Fields was resolute about shifting his focus toward the Giants.

“Just learn from your mistakes knowing that you’re not going to be perfect and move on. … Just correct each and every mistake and try to be better in every aspect,” he said.

Smith missed practice Wednesday, as did cornerback Jaylon Johnson, with a quad injury. He’ll be needed for a repeat of last week’s good fortune.

An opportunistic defense and sterling running game helped the Bears take down Houston despite losing top rusher David Montgomery (ankle) to injury in the early going, and Chicago ran for 281 yards. Khalil Herbert enjoyed a breakout game, running for 157 yards and two scores.

Chicago boasts a three-game winning streak in the series and a 31-21-2 all-time edge against New York. The Bears rolled past the visiting Giants 29-3 in the teams’ most recent meeting in Week 17 of last season, although their leading passer (Andy Dalton) and rusher (Montgomery) from that afternoon are no longer with the organization and day-to-day, respectively. Montgomery didn’t practice Wednesday.

The Giants didn’t practice Wednesday but estimated top defensive lineman Leonard Williams (knee), Toney (hamstring) and Robinson (knee) would have missed the session.

Bears coach Matt Eberflus said the team hopes receiver Velus Jones Jr., who has missed the first three games with a hamstring injury, will be available against the Giants. He was limited in Wednesday’s practice.

“He’s been conditioning, working in there,” Eberflus said.

The team this week placed receiver Byron Pringle (calf) on injured reserve.

–Field Level Media

Aug 23, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA;  New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton looks on during the second half against Jacksonville Jaguars at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Post-Ida, Saints look to return to Superdome for Week 4

The New Orleans Saints could return home to play in the Superdome in Week 4 under a plan detailed Friday by coach Sean Payton.

The Saints have been displaced since Aug. 29, when Hurricane Ida slammed into the New Orleans area as a Category 4 storm. They’ve taken shelter at TCU in Fort Worth, Texas, and played their season-opening “home” game — a 38-3 win against the Green Bay Panthers — in Jacksonville, Fla. The team left town, in part, in the best interest of public safety.

The Saints play the Panthers in Charlotte, N.C., on Sunday and will return to TCU to practice there. On Sept. 26, they will meet the New England Patriots in Foxborough, Mass.

Payton said he anticipates the Saints will return home to New Orleans after the Week 3 contest to prepare to host the New York Giants on Oct. 3.

–Field Level Media