There’s bad and then there’s these teams facing off in NFL Week 4. Its officially do or die, with the loser going home for good. No more second chances.
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Normally we have to wait more than a month into the season to get some meaty loser-leaves-town matchups. These are either games late in the year between two teams fighting to stay alive in the playoff picture, or games midseason between losing teams trying to avoid being written off for good. Get ready for just that this week!
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In 2023, we don’t have to wait that long. NFL Week 4 is supplying us with multiple make-or-break matchups already. It’s officially do or die in the NFL as we see winless facing winless and insurmountable deficits appear before the calendar reaches October. Talk about a short season.
NFL Week 4: Losers Go Home
Todd Salem: Two Bad Matchups
Denver at Chicago: Last week, I highlighted Denver as being part of the matchup we could be most sure about. The Broncos delivered by not delivering at all and now find themselves in the spotlight two weeks in a row for the wrong reasons.
I still believe a future version of the Broncos under Sean Payton could be a viable NFL offense. And despite what we saw in Week 3, the defense has its moments. The problem is an 0-4 start writes off any momentum for the entire season. New coaches instituting new offenses need time. Denver doesn’t have it.
For that matter, neither does Chicago. No matter what happens in Week 4, I am all set in declaring this a lost season for Justin Fields and the Bears. There might not be a single good team in the NFC North (as we predicted before the season even began), but Chicago is certainly not competing regardless.
Both of these teams need more time, which they don’t have. The only question will be how bad it gets before something turns a corner. I feel safe labeling this game’s loser eliminated from postseason contention. Agree or disagree?
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Minnesota at Carolina: Keeping Chicago company in the cellar of the North is Minnesota. Last year, everything went right for the Vikings. Already this year, in just three games, they are 0-3 in one-score games. Regression is a bitch. I still kind of like this roster in an aforementioned shaky division, but starting 0-4 will be too steep a hill to climb.
The same exact thing goes for Carolina. The Panthers are in a weak division and had some preseason expectations. Now, less than a month in, we are ready to write them off for good. Bryce Young, the first QB off the board in the ’23 draft, is clearly nothing better than the third-best QB in the draft class right now, and he’s hurt. This front office was trying to split the difference by bringing in veterans to buoy a young core, and it has not worked in the least.
Do you see any scenario in which the loser of this contest can still rebound to get back into the thick of things by year’s end?
Those are the two matchups that jump off the page. I wouldn’t say this group is made up of the four worst teams in the league, but it is interesting to see the four worst records all face off like this. Do we want to get feisty and throw in a third matchup where the loser leaves town? I don’t see another one on the board since I still think a Chargers team or Bengals team, if they were to lose again, is still too talented to write off.
Dan Salem: One More Stinker
Loser goes home is absolutely the theme of NFL week 4, with up to twelve teams all on the brink of near certain playoff elimination with another loss. Yet you nailed the two matchups pitting teams against one another where the loser is done, toast, burnt to a crisp, sayonara sucker. I’ll toss one more game into the mix and then discuss all three. Bengals versus Titans fits the mold.
Both games you noted are between winless teams. This is incredible and sad! The loser of each is done, but I’m kind of betting the winner is also done. None of these teams are any good, but the Vikings and Panthers are both in weak enough divisions to not technically be toast. There’s so much football left and yet, after one month of games, we can see the writing on the wall clearer than ever before. Sure, one or two teams will spark a rebound and become decent. But most of these losers, like Carolina, Minnesota, Denver, and Chicago, will stay losers all season.
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Cincinnati at Tennessee: Because the Bengals squeaked out a week 3 victory, they are a bit further from the brink than most. Yet if they lose to Tennessee, I can’t help but eliminate them from contention. This team probably has the best shot at a true turnaround, but they are banged up and playing poorly. Loser goes home and another loss for the Bengals sends them packing.
The same is true of the Titans, who are slow and boring and about to hit bottom. Their division is completely up for grabs, but a loss sinks them far below the fray and I will be writing them off. This is because good teams beat teams like Tennessee and Cincinnati. If either loses, then they aren’t very good. Call me crazy, but there’s only about four good teams in the AFC right now and another four in the NFC. Has the season all but been decided?
Meet our Writers:
Dan Salem is Lead Editor, Writer, and Co-owner of BuzzChomp. He’s a published author, as well as an award winning Actor, Director and Producer. Visit M Square Productions for his film work, or get lost in his old-school comedy on Pillow Talk TV. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
Todd Salem is a Staff Writer and Contributing Editor at BuzzChomp. He’s also a fantasy football and fantasy baseball Staff Writer for RotoBaller. Follow him on Twitter or comment below for his unfiltered opinions.
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