Hey everyone, I’m back again for another round of NFL picks. We went 11-4 last week against the spread which represented the first winning week of the season for us. I’m now a lot more confident in the strategy I have going and I believe I can keep this momentum going for the rest of the season now. Without further ado, here are my pick for week 4 of the NFL season.
*Home teams are denoted on the left side of the vs in a matchup
Cincinnati Bengals vs Jacksonville Jaguars pick
Spread: Bengals -7.5
I like there to be a decent amount of offense in this game and the Bengals to win this game by a touchdown. The offense has been solid all season minus the Bears game where they faced a high level pass rush away from home and with the Jaguars having a basically non-existent pass rush, the Bengals will find it easy to move the ball through the air. Joe Mixon should also have a strong game running the ball given that he’s comfortably the best running back the Jaguars have come up against so far this season so I would expect him to have a big day in this one.
I do like Trevor Lawrence to have a better day here as well though. This is probably the easiest matchup he’s had since his first game of the season and guys like Marvin Jones and DJ Chark will be able to get open against a moderate Bengals secondary. James Robinson will probably be looking to get more done through the air than on the ground since the Bengals have been strong against the run so far this season.
Overall, I like the Bengals to score easily and maintain long drives but over a touchdown is a big number for a team that isn’t top tier to cover. I’d say the Bengals are more of a middle of the road team and I can see the Jaguars being able to stay in the game without doing enough to win.
Bengals 27-20 Jaguars
Dallas Cowboys vs Carolina Panthers pick
Spread: Cowboys -4.5
I like the Panthers a lot here. I would back them to win the game outright and getting over a field goal on the spread is potentially very generous. My confidence in the Panthers stems from their defense. The Cowboys have been carried by their rushing attack in the last couple of games and the Panthers currently have the best run D in the NFL on yards per carry so I like them to stifle Elliott here and make Prescott beat them through the air. This should be where the injuries that Dallas has on its O-line start to kick in and I can see this being a tough day for them on offense.
The Panthers will also be a bit more limited on offense with the absence of Christian McCaffrey but the Cowboys D isn’t the best and I like the Panthers to still have solid enough offensive day and hit somewhere near the 25 point mark. That should be enough for them to win here for me.
Panthers 24-20 Cowboys
Minnesota Vikings vs Cleveland Browns pick
Spread: Browns -2
I like Cleveland here. They match up well against the Vikings on most sides of the ball with the only major advantage for the Vikings being at quarterback on current form. But the main matchup I like is the Cleveland defensive line against the Minnesota O-line, the Vikings have really poor protection which hasn’t been fully exposed in the last couple of weeks but this is the best D-line they’ve come up against so far this season and coming off 9 sacks against the Bears, the Cleveland D-line is in top form. I’d also expect Cleveland to be able to run the ball effectively here with their rushing tandem of Chubb and Hunt and even though they don’t have Landry available, Mayfield shouldn’t have to make a ton of risky throws in this one if the defense is able to control the game.
I like the Browns to win this by 10 and 2 seems to be a good number to take in a game that could get ugly if the Browns get ahead early.
Browns 27-17 Vikings
Chicago Bears vs Detroit Lions pick
Spread: Bears -3
This may turn out to be a stupid pick as there’s a world where the Bears blow the Lions out and give Goff nightmares but I like the Lions to win here. They played really hard last week and have shown that even though they may be a bad team this season, they aren’t going to go out with a whimper and the Bears do have some key injuries with Mack being out of practice at the moment and Eddie Goldman only being limited which should help Detroit on offense a lot. Jared Goff is probably a stronger QB than Justin Fields as well who will likely face more pressure behind a poor O-line, if Tre Flowers is good to play for the Lions then this pick only becomes stronger for me. The Bears offense will likely score some points this time at least with the Lions secondary being a poor unit and the run D only being a middling unit.
I see this game being a fairly ugly affair that the Lions can edge out by a field goal.
Lions 20-17 Bears
Buffalo Bills vs Houston Texans pick
Spread: Bills -16.5
As you know, I hate betting games with spreads of 14 or more and this is no exception. I will be on the Bills though for the sake of the blog since opposing them last week was a huge mistake on my end. The Texans are starting David Mills again and it looks like the coaching staff doesn’t trust him to do much so the Texans will try a run heavy offense against one of the stronger run Ds in the league. That likely won’t end well and I can only see them breaking off 1 big play in the whole game unless the Bills bench starters and even then their backups shut out the Dolphins. The Bills offense is getting back to the juggernaut levels of last season and will likely be able to score at will here either through the air or on the ground.
This one will be a blowout for me and there’s not much more to say than that.
Bills 30-7 Texans
Miami Dolphins vs Indianapolis Colts pick
Spread: Dolphins -2
As it stands, Carson Wentz looks likely to play and if that is the case, I’m on the Colts here. The vibes from their camp are that he is going to be in much better shape this week than last which are a good sign heading into this week. In terms of the matchup, these teams are dead even for me given they both have key O-line injuries and both have defenses that tend to defend the run better than the pass. The key for me here is that while the Dolphins have a slightly better defense, the edge in skill position players on offense is greater than the gap the Dolphins have on D.
I like Jonathan Taylor to have a big day here and carry the Colts to a win with Brissett looking a bit limited still as to who he targets in the passing game (he leans very strongly towards Gesicki and Waddle).
Colts 21-14 Dolphins
Philadelphia Eagles vs Kansas City Chiefs pick
Spread: Chiefs -7
I like the Chiefs to win but for this to be a close game that Mahomes may need to pull out in the clutch. The Chiefs have a target on their back from everyone this season it seems and a lot of teams will be going all out to beat them since they’re still seen as the best team in the league. The Eagles were poor against Dallas and will likely want to play much better at home. It would help if their coaches actually bothered to run the ball this time as the Chiefs aren’t great against the run and it will help Mahomes stay off the field. If they do run the ball, they should be able to have a balanced offense against a poor defense and keep in the game. They will need their D to play much better than on Monday as well but the Chiefs aren’t quite as good as Dallas at running the ball though Kelce having a big mismatch in his favour which should concern Eagles fans.
I like the Chiefs to win but the Eagles can at least keep this game close before losing it in the 4th quarter.
Chiefs 28-24 Eagles
New Orleans Saints vs New York Giants pick
Spread: Saints -7.5
I like the number for the Giants here. The Saints don’t score enough points to be favoured by a touchdown against anyone who isn’t carrying major injuries and the Giants don’t qualify for that. The Giants will improve during the season as guys like Barkley get fully back up to speed and even though the game was ugly last week, they should improve soon enough. The Saints were carried by their defense against the Patriots and though they should do ok here, I’d argue that the Giants have a better offense that will actually attempt to stretch the field. The Giants D-line will likely have a strong day here with the Saints missing their left tackle and Winston struggled under pressure against the Panthers so the Saints will likely need to lean on Kamara again to provide offense.
My concern for picking the upset outright is the Giants seem to be finding farcical ways to lose games and picking teams like that to win is never an attractive proposition, I can see them blowing it late again in a farcical way.
Saints 23-20 Giants
New York Jets vs Tennessee Titans
Spread: Titans -7
The Titans have an injury list as long as your arm but I still like them here. I’m hoping the spread gets driven down because of the injuries and we see a number under 7. The thing is the Jets are awful, especially on offense. Zach Wilson has struggled hugely and while I’m willing to cut him some slack for the time being considering he’s had 3 horrible matchups to start, I just don’t see the Jets being competitive yet. Getting shut out in Denver will have hurt morale a lot and the Jets lack the weapons to score heavily. The Titans meanwhile have Derrick Henry still even if they have other injuries and given the Broncos had a decent level of success running the ball, the Titans can have the same here and they’re usually good at pounding bad teams into the ground when needed.
Wilson will play better here, but the Titans can control the game clock and the game to get a win here.
Titans 24-13 Jets
Atlanta Falcons vs Washington Football Team
Spread: Football Team -1.5
Washington have massively let me down for the last 2 weeks but I’m giving them another shot here. They should be hurting having been embarrassed by the Bills last week and the Falcons O-line may be the worst in the league, this has to be the week their pass rush gets going. The Falcons D sucks as well which means Heinicke should be fine and Gibson can help carry the offense anyway considering he looked solid last week. This really should be a comfortable Washington win in a game that gets ugly, the only thing is if the Falcons can block then their receivers will be able to get open pretty easily but they may be passing a lot given that they have no real running game to speak of.
I’ll take Washington by 10 in this one.
Football Team 24-14 Falcons
LA Rams vs Arizona Cardinals pick
Spread: Rams -4.5
I’m taking the upset here. The Rams are a tad overhyped for me after beating the Bucs. The Bucs got defensive injuries during the game which killed them off completely and this Rams team is only a week removed from nearly losing to the Colts. I’d argue Arizona are a stronger team than the Colts so the spread could be a pretty generous number. If Murray gets protected he should be able to make plays to his receivers though Hopkins may be kept quiet by Jalen Ramsey given that he’s not fully fit for this game but Murray is good enough to cope. The Cardinals will need Watt and Jones to get to Stafford to have a chance in this one but I can see them being heavily motivated for this game given it’s against a big rival and a chance to make a statement so I like them to put him under enough duress to keep the Rams in a mid 20s point total.
I’m taking the Arizona Cardinals to win this game outright by 6.
Cardinals 30-24 Rams
San Francisco 49ers vs Seattle Seahawks pick
Spread: 49ers -2.5
This would normally be one of the better games of the season but both teams are currently a bit banged up. For me though the 49ers have the edge. Seattle have 3 starting offensive linemen injured and given their team is built to win shootouts and give Wilson a clean pocket, this destabilizes the whole team as seen in the last couple of games. The 49ers still have a fairly fresh D-line and have the personnel to exploit this weakness so they can slow down the Seahawks offense enough. The 49ers offense is by no means a juggernaut but with the Seahawks defense being pitiful, it shouldn’t matter and they can get plenty enough points to win this one.
49ers 30-24 Seahawks
Denver Broncos vs Baltimore Ravens pick
Spread: Broncos -1
This is the first real test for the Broncos given they’ve played 3 of the worst 5 or 6 teams in the league to start the season and I think they might fail it. The Ravens will be less injured than last week and the Ravens have a stronger offense than the Broncos with a QB in Jackson that can use his legs to avoid their stellar pass rush. I do see it being a close game and I like the Broncos as a playoff team in the long run but I’m just not sold on them being top tier with the offense they currently have. The Ravens D can clamp down on the running game and I’m also uncertain as to how comfortable the Broncos will be as a pass first offense.
I’ll take Baltimore to edge this game in a fairly low scoring affair.
Ravens 20-17 Broncos
Green Bay Packers vs Pittsburgh Steelers pick
Spread: Packers -6.5
I think this number is a bit too high. The Steelers should get TJ Watt back this week which will transform this defense and JuJu Smith-Schuster looks set to play as well having looked a possible doubt which will help the passing game. I think they matchup ok with the Packers given that the Packers have a mediocre pass rush so the offensive line issues the Steelers have won’t be too big an issue here and they should get to the 20s in points. The bigger issue for them though is that Aaron Rodgers looks back to his imperious self again and with Davante Adams having a big day last time, it looks like normal service has resumed for the Packers offense.
I believe the Packers will do enough to win the game but I can see it being another 2 minute drill for Rodgers at the end to win it so the Steelers should be able to cover the spread.
Packers 26-23 Steelers
New England Patriots vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers pick
Spread: Buccaneers -7
This is the most anticipated matchup of the week, not for the quality of game but more for the Bill Belichick vs Tom Brady dynamic. But I don’t see it being a thriller, Tampa Bay can just control the game and may look to run more than pass given that the Patriots are weaker against the run than the pass and it can save them getting injuries. I’d definitely be on Tampa for the spread if their defense wasn’t banged up since I have huge concerns about the Patriots offense but unfortunately it is which means the Patriots might get a bit of relief. I don’t see Jones struggling as much as last week but the Tampa run D is stout enough to stop the Patriots being able to build a rushing attack and it means the Patriots will need a plan B for this one.
I think Jones was a little unlucky to throw 2 picks last week but the lack of ambition in the Patriots offense concerns me and I have the Bucs winning by exactly 7 in a game they dominate.
Buccaneers 24-17 Patriots
LA Chargers vs LV Raiders pick
Spread: Chargers -3
This is one of those games which I think will be decided by a field goal, so I tend to take the underdog in the spread in these situations which means I’m on the Raiders. They managed to get a big win against an underrated Dolphins side last week and Carr is playing at the top of his game right now barring that one pick 6 last week. The emergence of Peyton Barber as a rushing threat could be very useful here since the Chargers currently can’t stop the run and that can help their defense rest in a game that looks very likely to be a shootout. This game will likely be decided by which team puts more pressure on the opposing QB and both teams should fancy their chances of getting to the QB given that O-line play is a hole in both teams.
I’m going to take the Raiders to edge it at the end just because Carr is playing at a slightly higher level than Herbert right now and the Raiders are a better coached team than the Chargers.
Raiders 30-28 Chargers