NFL week four preview: NFC West hosts divisional match-ups, while Aaron Rodgers faces an old rival

The Browns face the Vikings on their journey to the playoffs, the NFC West is set for a shake-up as all four sides clash, and Aaron Rodgers comes head-to-head with Ben Roethlisberger again.

The NFL season has already thrown a number of surprises our way - Super Bowl favourites, Kansas City Chiefs currently sit bottom of their AFC division, while Tom Brady's Buccaneers are also experiencing an average start to the season with two wins and a loss.

Week Four brings us the latest round of action, and it's littered with great match-ups, including the NFC West all going into divisional battle while Aaron Rodgers enacts a Super Bowl reunion with Ben Roethlisberger.

In anticipation of another dramatic weekend, here's the pick of Sunday's big games.

Browns @ Vikings

To start off we have an intriguing early match-up on UK television which sees the Cleveland Browns face the Minnesota Vikings.

The Browns currently sit at 2-1, after losing on the opening day to the Chiefs in gut-wrenching circumstances. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Vikings have started the season strongly but find themselves with a record of 1-2.

Mike Zimmer's side lost to an overtime field goal in Cincinnati, before losing in Arizona when kicker Greg Joseph missed a last-gasp kick against the Cardinals. Against two good teams, they performed well and can consider themselves unlucky to have lost either. They were two fine performances against good teams.

You'd put those displays above Cleveland's easy wins over Houston and Chicago, yet the Browns look the more complete team overall. Both have well-rounded offences with the Vikings more expansive in the passing game, but Cleveland's overall defence and pass rush offers up an advantage.

Cleveland are 2.5pt favourites but I think the Vikings could just edge this one (11/10 on the money line). However, with the winner being hard to predict in such an even game, the over 51.5 points line given both side's offence is another valuable option.

Kirk Cousins has Adam Theilen, Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook while Baker Mayfield has his running back tandem of Kareen Hunt and Nick Chubb to lean on. Back Theilen to score a TD here as he's caught a TD pass in all three games this season but is also an October specialist - he's scored in his last 11 games in October.

Best bet:

Cardinals @ Rams

Prepare the popcorn - the NFC West is stacked with talent this season and they face a huge intra-divisional night as the four sides face off in two colossal games.  Let's start with the battle of the unbeaten sides as the Cardinals host the Rams in what should be a barn-burner out in the desert.

Since Sean McVay took charge of the Rams they're 8-0 against Arizona, and he'll also be looking to extend his incredible half-time record. As of last week he's now 40-0 when the Rams lead at the break. So if the Rams are ahead at HT, there's definite interest in an in-play punt.

Matt Stafford has come to LA and made the Rams a well-drilled unit, with the offence now able to strike from anywhere to compliment a suffocating defence. They saw off Tom Brady and the champion Buccaneers last week and are now just third favorites for the Super Bowl as a result.

Arizona have been flying as well though, they're the top scorers in the NFL averaging 34.3 points a game with QB Kyler Murray offering something different with his elusive running style stumping many an offence, but make no mistake, he can throw the ball.

I really wouldn't rule Stafford or Murray out of the MVP conversation the way they're both going. For player props in this one, look for Stafford to throw three TDs while Murray should throw a couple but also back him to run one in himself.

Best bet:

Seahawks @ 49ers

The second part of the NFC West showdown sees Seattle travel down the west coast to face San Francisco. And, it looks to be a game that could be settled with a coin toss, with the 49ers only slight 1.5pt favourites.

It's a big game for both but especially the 1-2 Seahawks, as defeat on Sunday would put them in a tough spot considering their well-stacked division. But similarly, the Niners don't really want to slip to 2-2 either, even with one of the Cardinals or Rams bound to lose on Sunday.

Both teams are thin in their secondary so there are plenty of air miles available for Jimmy Garoppolo and Russell Wilson - who has a nice 15-4 record against San Francisco and has big-play receivers DK Metcalfe and Tyler Lockett able to break out at any time.

Metcalfe scored two TDs and had 161 yards receiving in the first game against San Francisco last season, with Lockett then stepping forward with 90 yards and two scores in the second. Expect them both to make their mark again this time around.

Seattle's big problem, though, is on defence where they've been torn apart in the passing game in their last two matches, but also coughed up 350 rushing yards in the last two games. San Fran head coach, Kyle Shanahan, has all kinds of trickery in his running play calls and that could be crucial in their game plan.

This could well be another shootout, with both defences looking outmatched by the opposition attack, but preference just goes in favour of the hosts who may have just enough to limit Wilson when the time comes.

Best bet:

Steelers @ Packers

Playing Pittsburgh may bring back happy memories for Aaron Rodgers as it was against the Steelers that he won his only Super Bowl. After that Week One drubbing by the Saints, the Lombardi Trophy looked as out of reach as it ever had, but two consecutive wins has put them back on track.

Rodgers needs just two more TD passes to join Dan Marino in sixth on the all-time list with 420, and three more to tie Philip Rivers on 423. Ben Roethlisberger needs just one more to get to 400 TD throws, but he may need more than one to keep pace with Rodgers at Lambeau Field.

But in order to do that, Pittsburgh would have to shake off their stagnant offensive malaise that's seen them average just under 17 points a game so far, costing them points against Las Vegas and Cincinnati these last two weeks. Having nine dropped passes from receivers in three games doesn't help.

It's looked ugly at times for Roethlisberger, who has been sacked eight times, and Pittsburgh have long suffered with slow starters - being outscored 64-6 in the first quarter of their last 11 games. Backing Green Bay to score a touchdown on their opening drive seems a decent approach here.

The under points total has landed in seven of the last 10 Steeler games, but Rodgers with Davante Adams and Aaron Jones should be able to open things up. I'll be backing both to score a touchdown in a Packers win.

Best bet:

READ MORE: Winners and losers from Week Three of the NFL season

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