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Bettors Guide: It's a golden age for quarterbacks

With all respect to past heroes such as Tittle, Graham, Bradshaw, Unitas, Fouts, Montana, Moon, Kelly, Marino, Elway and Peyton Manning, we may be in the midst of the golden age of NFL quarterbacks.

Numbers are inflated, of course, in this "lively ball" era, but the NFL noted this week that six of the all-time leaders in touchdown passes are active. They are Drew Brees (496), Tom Brady (494), Philip Rivers (350), Eli Manning (342) Ben Roethlisberger (336) and Aaron Rodgers (319).

Also, five of the top ten in passing yards are active: Brees (71,523), Brady (66,803), Eli Manning (52,482), Roethlisberger (52,205) and Rivers (51,254).

All are in action Sunday and most will be in the spotlight. Brees and Eli Manning oppose each other when the New Orleans Saints and New York Giants clash at MetLife Stadium. Brady and Roethlisberger will be in key AFC divisional games. Rodgers, of course, will face the Buffalo Bills at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.

A capsule look at the Week Four games:

Game of the day

Dolphins (3-0) at Patriots (1-2)
Kickoff: 1 p.m.
The line: Patriots -7.
ATS: Dolphins 3-0; Patriots 1-2.
Over/under: 48.
Times over/under: Dolphins 2/1; Patriots 2/1.
The scoop: Pivotal early-season game in the AFC East. Miami looking to go 4-0 for first time since 1995 when it ended up 9-7 in Don Shula's last season. A loss would leave Patriots in an uphill battle, three games behind the Fish. … Miami QB Ryan Tannehill off to a strong start with 121.8 passer rating and seven TD passes. The Patriots' Brady is coming off one of the least productive games of his career in loss at Detroit. … Dolphins have beat the spread twice as underdog and once as a favorite against Raiders last week. … Pats have been a losing favorite, outright, the last two weeks against Jaguars and Lions on road.
Outlook: A Patriots win would restore the normal state of activities in the division. Too early to write the epitaph on New England. Patriots, 33-20.

Top attractions

Chiefs (3-0) at Broncos (2-1)
TV: ESPN, 8:15 p.m. Monday
The line: Chiefs -5 1/2.
ATS: Chiefs 3-0; Broncos 0-2-1.
Over/under: 56.
Times over/under: Chiefs 3/0; Broncos 1/2.
The scoop: Another important division match. Chiefs would be firmly in command in AFC West with a win. … With 3-0 record and as explosive as their offense is with Patrick Mahomes at the helm, the Chiefs' defense ranks last in league (474 ypg yield). K.C. is averaging 39 ppg, but history shows teams that start so fast on offense usually can't sustain.
Outlook: This is a rivalry game. Denver fans still remember when the Chiefs bullied their Broncos in early years of rivalry. Mahomes has won on the road twice this season, but an aroused Denver crowd and Mile High atmosphere and Von Miller on the other side could bring high-flying Kansas City back to earth. Chiefs, 20-17.


Ravens (2-1) at Steelers (1-2)

TV: NBC, 8:20 p.m.
The line: Steelers - 3.
ATS: Ravens 2-1; Steelers 1-2.
Over/under: 51.
Times over/under: Ravens 1/2; Steelers 2/1.
The scoop: Steelers won road game at Tampa they absolutely had to win to calm some of the turmoil surrounding the team. ... Pittsburgh has been involved in shootouts against Chiefs and Bucs. This doesn't figure to be as wild because the Ravens are No. 1 in league in total defense (273.0), but Bills' ineptitude in opener accounts for part of that. ... Steelers have won last three against division rival. Ravens' last win at Heinz Field was OT in 2015.
Outlook: Steelers have weapons besides Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell. How about JuJu Smith-Schuster (nine receptions for 116 yards at Tampa Bay)? Steelers, 27-17.


Eagles (2-1) at Titans (2-1)
Kickoff: 1 p.m.
The line: Eagles -4.
ATS: Eagles 1-2; Titans 1-1-1.
Over/under: 41 1/2.
Times over/under: Eagles 1/2; Titans 1/1.
The scoop: Eagles haven't played up to their 2017 form, but this will be only the second start for Carson Wentz, who looked rusty in debut against Colts. ... Titans upset division rival Jaguars on the road in field goal duel last week. They've relied on Ryan Succop field goals a lot so far.
Outlook: Titans are underrated team with no big name players, but Wentz and Eagles may be ready to roll. Eagles, 20-14.


Buccaneers (2-1) at Bears (2-1)
Kickoff: 1 p.m.
The line: Bears -2 1/2.
ATS: Bucs 2-1; Bears 2-1.
Over/under: 46 1/2.
Times over/under: Bucs 3/0; Bears 2/1.
The scoop: Ryan Fitzpatrick nearly brought Bucs back from 20-point halftime deficit versus Steelers, and ended up passing for more than 400 yards for the third game in a row. First time that's ever been done in NFL. Thanks to Fitz, Bucs (473.3) lead the league in total offense and average 34 ppg. Now they have to deal with Khalil Mack, who has four sacks, three forced fumbles and a interception return for a touchdown, and he's just learning the Chicago defensive scheme.
Outlook: Bears' offense is no great shakes, but beating that defense at Soldier Field isn't easy. Bears, 20-10.

Best of the rest

Bills (1-2) at Packers (1-1-1)
TV: CBS, 1 p.m.
The line: Packers -9 1/2.
ATS: Bills 1-2; Packers 0-3.
Over/under: 45 1/2.
Times over/under: Bills 2/1; Packers 1/2.
The scoop: All the breaks went Bills' way last week and Kirk Cousins flopped. That won't happen to Packers and Aaron Rodgers, even though he's hobbled with knee injury. Bills would need another huge game from pass rush and secondary.
Outlook: Bills finally looked ready to start the season last week, but beating Rodgers at Lambeau isn't in the cards. Packers, the only team not to cover this season, finally beat the spread, 27-13.


N.Y. Jets (1-2) at Jaguars (2-1)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.
The line: Jaguars 7 1/2.
ATS: Jets 1-2; Jaguars 2-1.
Over/under: 38 1/2.
Times over/under: Jets 1/2; Jaguars 2/1.
The scoop: It's third game in a row for Jaguars, who were ineffective on offense in 9-6 loss to division rival Titans last week. Rookie QB Sam Darnold got win in opener at Detroit, but couldn't get Jets over the top in winnable games against Dolphins at home and at Cleveland.
Outlook: Darnold will have problems against Jacksonville defense, which is giving up only 286.3 yards per game. Jaguars, 17-10.


Bengals (2-1) at Falcons (1-2)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.
The line: Falcons -5.
ATS: Bengals 2-1; Falcons 1-2.
Over/under: 51 1/2.
Times over/under: Bengals 3/0; Falcons 2/1.
The scoop: Bengals facing NFC South team on the road for second week in a row. They are coming off loss at Carolina, where Andy Dalton passed for 352 yards, but had costly turnovers. ... Matt Ryan of Falcons had five TD passes, 374 yards against Saints last week, but Atlanta lost key division game at home in overtime. Rookie WR Calvin Ridley flashed last week with seven catches, three TDs.
Outlook: Falcons win in duel of two of NFL's best receivers, A.J. Green of the Bengals and Julio Jones of Falcons. Birds can't afford to lose another at home this early. Falcons, 33-27.


Browns (1-2) at Raiders (0-3)

Kickoff: 4:05 p.m.
The line: Raiders -3.
ATS: Browns 3-0; Raiders 1-2.
Over/under: 45.
Times over/under: Browns 1/2 ; Raiders 2/1.
The scoop: Browns try to win two in a row for first time since Nov. 2, 2014, when they won second of three straight over Tampa Bay, 22-17. Believe it or not, Browns started 6-3 that year, ended up 7-9 and haven't been above .500 since. ... Oakland has yet to win this season under Jon Gruden and the Mack trade looks worse every week.
Outlook: Raiders finally get one for Gruden, but morale situation in Oakland doesn't look pretty. Raiders, 27-20.


Texans (0-3) at Colts (1-2)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.
The line: Colts -1 1/2.
ATS: Texans 0-2-1; Colts 2-1.
Over/under: 47.
Times over/under: Texans 1/1; Colts 1-2.
The scoop: Frank Reich's first head coaching gig is promising so far. Losses were in games Indy led late against Bengals and Eagles. Win was in a solid defensive performance at Washington. ... Texans and QB DeShaun Watson are disappointing so far and coach Bill O'Brien better get things turned around soon.
Outlook: Colts swept season series from Texans last year for half of their four victories, but had lost previous two at home against Houston. Colts, 20-17.


49ers (1-2) at Chargers (1-2)

Kickoff: 4:25 p.m.
The line: Chargers -10 1/2.
ATS: 49ers 0-2-1; Chargers 1-2.
Over/under: 46 1/2.
Times over/under: 49ers 2/1; Chargers 2/1.
The scoop: For all his stats and skills, why hasn't Philip Rivers achieved more success in his NFL career? ... This one shaped up as a 50-plus points thriller before last week's injury to 49ers' QB Jimmy Garoppolo. C.J. Beathard, grandson of Hall of Fame GM Bobby Beathard, starts instead. He started five games as a rookie last season, went 1-4 with 19 sacks and took countless hits.
Outlook: Hard to judge 49ers' defense because stats are skewed by having faced K.C. juggernaut, but it doesn't look promising. Chargers break out, 30-10.


Lions (1-2) at Cowboys (1-2)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.
The line: Cowboys -3.
ATS: Lions 1-1-1; Cowboys 1-2.
Over/under: 44.
Times over/under: Lions 1/2; Cowboys 1/2.
The scoop: Matthew Stafford posted 100-plus passer rating for third game in a row last week and finally got first win of season in upset of Patriots. Groundwork of rookie RB Kerryon JOhnson, who became first 100-yard rusher for Detroit since 2012, helped pound Pats. Dallas defense in Arlington won't be as easy a mark. Cowboys (281) are third in the league in defense, but word of caution: Opponents have been Panthers, Giants and Seahawks, all who rank in bottom half of league offensive stats.
Outlook: Cowboys scoring only 16.7 a game. Cowboys, 19-17.


Saints (2-1) at Giants (1-2)

Kickoff: 4:25 p.m.
The line: Saints -3 1/2.
ATS: Saints 1-2; Giants 1-2.
Over/under: 50.
Times over/under: Saints 1/2; Giants 1/2.
The scoop: Late game feature on CBS. Brees has been great with eight TDs, no interceptions so far, but WR Michael Thomas has been phenomenal. He has 38 receptions, the most ever in the NFL for a player after first three games of a season. He also leads the league with 398 receiving yards. That 2,100-yard pace would easily break the league record of 1,964 by Calvin Johnson.
Outlook: Three Saints games so far have produced 88, 80 and 39 points. ... Giants need big games from their offensive stars Barclay, Beckham Jr. and Eli Manning to keep up. Giants, 28-27.

Dog of the day

Seahawks (1-2) at Cardinals (0-3)
Kickoff: 4:05 p.m.
The line: Seahawks -3.
ATS: Seahawks 1-1-1; Cardinals 2-1.
Over/under: 38 1/2.
Times over/under: Seahawks 1/2; Cardinals 0/3.
The scoop: Arizona produced only 10.7 points and 190.3 yards through first three games, so change from Sam Bradford to rookie Josh Rosen at QB had to be made. Rosen joins Baker Mayfield of Browns as last of 2018 Big Four class of QBs to make first start. He got cameo appearance last week against Bears and completed four of seven with one interception.
Outlook: Neither team has produced much offense, but Seattle has Russell Wilson. Seahawks, 23-16.

Last week: Seven favorites covered, eight didn't. Five favorites lost outright. Teams went over the number eight times and under seven times.

Last week's record: 8-7 straight up; 5-10 against the spread.

Season record: 25-18-2 outright; 23-20-2 against the spread.

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