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Around the NFL: Teams thrive in hostile territory in Week 4

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Los Angeles Rams Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

After road teams went an even .500 through the first three weeks of the NFL season, all but four teams invaded enemy territory Sunday and waltzed away with a win — an astounding .733 win percentage.

The snowball that eventually turned into the avalanche started rolling on Thursday night, when the underdog Philadelphia Eagles exposed a strong Packers defense in Lambeau Field en route to a 34-27 victory. Aaron Rodgers and his Green Bay offense started things off strong, putting up 21 points in the first half, while feeding wideout Devante Adams 10 times for a career-best 180 yards.

Green Bay’s defense held strong for a bit, but the Eagles’ run offense quickly discovered a sizable advantage when carrying the ball to the left. Running backs Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders combined for 159 yards and two touchdowns (both by Howard), and Philadelphia managed to outscore Green Bay 28-14 over the last 32 minutes and 45 seconds — keeping itself alive in the NFC East hunt.

The weirdness expanded on Sunday, where the Giants were the only home team to defend its turf during the early afternoon games. Of course, teams like the Los Angeles Chargers, the New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs were favorites heading into the weekend, but both the Chiefs and Patriots had a tough going before walking away unscathed.

The Titans defense manhandled Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley in Atlanta, the Raiders offense blanked a young and injury-plagued Colts defense in Lucas Oil Stadium and Christian McCaffrey ran amuck on the Texans defense in Houston. In another surprising result, the Cleveland Browns — who looked rough through three weeks — took down the Ravens — who didn’t look rough through three weeks — in Baltimore behind a dominant performance from running back Nick Chubb. All in all, the winning road teams in the 1:00 p.m. slate outscored their opponents 191-119.

Road teams eventually lost fuel on Sunday Night and Monday Night Football, but there were a few surprising results in the late afternoon games. Very few fully expected the Cardinals to be able to defend home court in their 27-10 loss to the 3-1 Seattle Seahawks, but the two Florida teams traveling out West had dominant showings on the road.

Gardner Minshew and his terrific mustache brought his Jaguars team back from a 17-6 deficit against the Denver Broncos, rattling off 20 points in the second half to nab the victory. The Denver defense finally had a strong performance after a lackluster three weeks, but even they couldn’t rap up No. 15 and his scrambling magic. After an 0-2 start — and what could’ve been 1-1 if they converted on the last-second, two-point conversion against Houston — the Jags sit at .500 and tied atop the competitive AFC South.

None of those feats on the road compared to what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were able to do in Los Angeles on Sunday — torching the Rams talented defense for 55 points and 464 total yards. Jameis Winston went 28/41 for 385 yards and four touchdowns, while running back Ronald Jones II carried the ball 19 times for 70 yards and a touchdown. While neither defense showed up in the contest, the Bucs were able to keep pace with the prolific Rams offense and go toe-to-toe for a full 60 minutes. They had a strong run/pass balance, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin were monsters through the air and scored 81 percent of their points (45) in the second and fourth quarters.

Weeks like these prove to be anomalies throughout the course of any NFL season, but that doesn’t stop us for sitting back and wondering what got into the road teams across the league. Looking ahead to Week 5, it’s time for some of these home favorites from this past week to concoct some traveling magic of their own. Eight teams that lost at home in Week 4 hit the road for the first week in October, giving them a shot to make amends for spoiling their home-field advantage. Whether or not we get a repeat showing by the road teams or the home teams stand tall on Sunday, it’ll be an intriguing snippet to keep your eyes on when the weekend comes around.