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An NFL coach once told me the first four weeks of the season are basically a continuation of the preseason -- that no one really knows who they are until around Week 5. So if you're confused by all of the twists and turns and shockers and surprises from...

What we learned -- and didn't learn -- in Week 4

An NFL coach once told me the first four weeks of the season are basically a continuation of the preseason -- that no one really knows who they are until around Week 5. So if you're confused by all of the twists and turns and shockers and surprises from...

What we learned -- and didn't learn -- in Week 4

An NFL coach once told me the first four weeks of the season are basically a continuation of the preseason -- that no one really knows who they are until around Week 5. So if you're confused by all of the twists and turns and shockers and surprises from the first four weeks of this NFL season, don't be. That ball is not round, and it bounces funny.

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    The 3-1 Cowboys, led by a rookie quarterback, have found a winning formula. The 1-3 Panthers, meanwhile, are reeling after giving up 48 points and quarterback Cam Newton suffered an injury.

  • What we learned: Week 4 NFL betting recap

    Missed any of the NFL action on Sunday? Dave Tuley runs through every Week 4 game to give a recap from a betting perspective, including which teams covered easily and which games were toss-ups.

  • Seahawks are league's scariest team, and now they get a week to heal

    With a toughness and confidence that grows stronger as players get healthier, the 3-1 Seahawks may be the scariest team in the league right now.

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The 3-1 Cowboys, led by a rookie quarterback, have found a winning formula. The 1-3 Panthers, meanwhile, are reeling after giving up 48 points and quarterback Cam Newton suffered an injury.

Missed any of the NFL action on Sunday? Dave Tuley runs through every Week 4 game to give a recap from a betting perspective, including which teams covered easily and which games were toss-ups.

With a toughness and confidence that grows stronger as players get healthier, the 3-1 Seahawks may be the scariest team in the league right now.

The Patriots were dominant in Week 3 and shutout in Week 4. The Steelers were shut down in Week 3 and dominated in Week 4. Julio Jones had one catch last week; this week he rolled up THREE HUNDRED YARDS. The Cowboys, Rams and Falcons all lost ugly in Week 1 and are a combined 9-0 since.

You can't count on much in this league except Russell Wilson, the Denver Broncos and whoever's playing the Browns. But each week, we try to take a step back and figure out what's going on that's real and what's not. Here are this week's thoughts on what we learned:

Arizona outgained the Rams 420 yards to 288, possessed the ball for 32:09, ran 75 offensive plays and had 26 first downs to Los Angeles' 12. They scored 13 points. Carson Palmer's concussion was surely a factor late, but the five turnovers mattered a lot more. This normally explosive offense is alarmingly inconsistent so far this season, and the Cardinals are losing to teams they should beat. At this rate, that Week 8 NFC Championship Game rematch in Carolina could be an elimination game. Speaking of which ...

And not just because Cam Newton had to leave the game against the Falcons with a concussion, either. Long before that, a Carolina secondary that's trying to replace Josh Norman with a collection of overmatched rookies was looking like a major weakness for the defending conference champs. The Falcons were the only team to beat the Panthers last regular season, so you might be able to write this off as a blip. And it's hard to count on Atlanta to run away with anything after it started 5-0 and fell apart last season. But Carolina does have some issues to fix, regardless of how soon Cam gets cleared to return to practice.

Remember 11 days ago, when Houston lost 27-0 to New England and everybody was talking about what a mess it was? Remember six days ago, when we found out J.J. Watt had reinjured his back and was going on injured reserve? Remember all of that? Yeah. Now go look at the AFC South standings. I'll wait. (... examines fingernails ... ponders fantasy trades ...) Right. Bill O'Brien coached this team to the playoffs last year with four different starting quarterbacks. Brock Osweiler needs to get better, but he has time to do it. The Colts are a mess and the Jaguars and Titans aren't ready. Houston's one-third of the way to the win total it needs to claim a second straight division title. No one should be judged on their worst day, and the Texans are obviously better than they were that night in Foxboro. They have plenty of ways to win.

Since that ugly Thursday night loss to the Jets and the next-day firing of offensive coordinator Greg Roman, Ryan's Bills have outscored two of last year's conference finalists by the combined score of 49-18. Ryan may still need to get the Bills into the playoffs for the first time in 17 years in order to keep his job, but as was so often the case when he was coaching the Jets, he's not going down without a fight. New coordinator Anthony Lynn wanted to get Robert Woods more involved in the passing game and allow LeSean McCoy to operate in space. Looking good so far on both fronts.

I mean, you have to be kidding me with this one, right? San Diego was up by 13 points, at home, with the ball and five minutes to go in a game against a team that cannot play defense. The only way you can possibly lose that game is if you fumble on each of your next two plays from scrimmage. Being the Chargers, this is exactly what they did. Drew Brees was excited to go back to San Diego, and that was before he knew they were going to straight-up hand him and the Saints their first victory of the year. The Chargers blew a 17-point fourth-quarter lead in Kansas City in Week 1, blew a two-point lead with two minutes to go in Week 3 in Indianapolis, and now this. Next week, the Chargers play the Raiders, who have scored go-ahead touchdowns in the final three minutes in two of their four games. Be afraid.

For the second week in a row, a Tampa Bay home game in the late Sunday window was delayed during the fourth quarter due to lightning in the area. Anyone who has ever lived in Florida knows the storms roll in at basically the same time every day. (Also, that it's even hotter and more humid when they end, and that turn signals are effectively meaningless.). The good news is that only one more Bucs home game this year starts at 4:05 p.m.

The Falcons had a lot of problems last year, but center was an underrated one. Mack has solidified the offensive line and, by extension, an offense that hung 571 yards on the Panthers on Sunday. I talked to Mack last week, after the Falcons had beaten the Saints with their running backs and before they drubbed the Panthers with the passing game. He said, "This is what we expect of our playmakers. They're making the O-line look really good." Maybe so, but in a league where everybody seems to be putting their line together as the season goes along, Atlanta's is pushing people around up front. And it matters.

They couldn't get Myles Jack on the field for the first three weeks, then they taught him this week how to play strongside linebacker because Dan Skuta was hurt. He started there Sunday and played great. Yannick Ngakoue, their third-round pick out of Maryland, had a sack and forced a fumble for the third game in a row -- and threw in an interception this time to boot. Jalen Ramsey looks the part. It's too early to know whether Gus Bradley survives if Jacksonville doesn't recover from that 0-3 start, but whoever's coaching the Jaguars next year and in the years to come will have some very exciting young players on his defense.

Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.

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