NFL

High-scoring Vikings and Saints head to London, Dallas' dominant defense meets Commanders

By Sports Desk September 30, 2022

Week 4 of the NFL season promises plenty of excitement following a blistering start to the 2022 season.

The season has so far been defined by close finishes. Through three weeks, there have been 18 games decided by three points or fewer this season, the most such games through the first three weeks of a season in NFL history. 

A packed crowd at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will hope to see another tight game as the NFL returns to London with the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings facing off.

The Washington Commanders travel to face the Dallas Cowboys in a fierce rivalry and the Philadelphia Eagles will look to extend their winning streak against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

With plenty more on the agenda, Stats Perform has used its data to preview this week's games.

Minnesota Vikings (1-2) @ New Orleans Saints (1-2)

A high-scoring affair should be on the cards in London, as the Vikings and Saints have put up 700 points (53.8 per game) over their last 13 regular season matchups dating back to 1995 – more than any other game with at least a dozen meetings.

The Vikings are in very capable hands with Kirk Cousins, who has a career passer rating of 126.7 against the Saints in the regular season, the highest by any QB against a single opponent in the Super Bowl era (minimum 125 attempts).

However, they face a Saints defense that has held opponents to fewer than 250 passing yards and one touchdown pass for nine straight games, a franchise record, while the only team in the last 10 years to enjoy a longer streak was the New England Patriots in 2019.

Chris Olave boasts 268 receiving yards in his first three career games but is yet to score a touchdown, a record which stands as the most since Charlie Wade's 315 yards without a TD in his first three games for the Chicago Bears in 1974.

Washington Commanders (1-2) @ Dallas Cowboys (2-1)

The Cowboys host the Commanders having won both matchups last season, including a 56-14 triumph in Week 14 that stands as the highest margin of victory for either team in the all-time series.

With six sacks in the Week 2 victory against the Cincinnati Bengals and five sacks last weekend against the New York Giants, the Cowboys have recorded five or more sacks in consecutive games for the first time since a four-game streak in November/December 2008.

That will be of particular concern to Carson Wentz, who was sacked a career-high nine times in the Commanders' home loss to the Eagles last week – the most of any QB for the franchise since John Beck was sacked 10 times by the Buffalo Bills in 2011.

Fourth-quarter offense has been a highlight for Washington, though, totalling 455 scrimmage yards (342 passing, 113 rushing) and standing third in the NFL for the most fourth-quarter yards in 2022 behind the Saints (541) and the Indianapolis Colts (456).

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-1) @ Philadelphia Eagles (3-0)

The only 3-0 side to play on Sunday, the Eagles have held the Jaguars to under 20 points in the last four matchups between the two sides stretching back to 2006, tied for the second-longest active such run for Philadelphia behind the six-game streak against the Jets.

In the past two weeks, the Eagles have kept their opponents to under 10 points (8 vs Washington, 7 vs Minnesota) and are the only NFL team this season to achieve the feat in consecutive games, while Philadelphia last went three in a row in that regard in 1980.

The Jaguars are 2-1 at the start of the season for the first time since 2018 and have scored 84 points, the third-most by the team in the opening three games of the season in franchise history (98 in 1997 and 89 in 2017).

Both teams rank in the top five in the NFL for total first downs this season, with the Eagles (73) third and the Jaguars (70) fifth.

Elsewhere…

The Los Angeles Chargers travel to face the Houston Texans having being held to just 26 yards on the ground against the Jaguars last week and have 177 rushing yards in the NFL this season, the fewest in three games in team history.

A total of 572 rushing yards this season places the Cleveland Browns as the NFL's best on the ground this season and they visit the Atlanta Falcons having amassed their highest total through their first three games of a campaign since 1963.

The Seattle Seahawks tackle the Lions boasting seven wins in the last eight matchups against Detroit dating back to 2003, the third-best record by an NFC team against a conference opponent over the past 20 seasons.

The Titans have won each of the last three games against the Colts, including a 34-31 win in overtime last season. A victory this weekend would make this Tennessee's outright longest winning streak against Indianapolis (also three straight wins between 1988 and 1992).

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