NFL Lines Week 4: Early Picks to Make Before Spreads Change

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistSeptember 25, 2012

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 23:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots throws a pass in the first half against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on September 23, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Now that three weeks are in the books, NFL fans should have a pretty good grasp on almost every team. There's enough information available to make a judgment about which squads are going to be in the mix and which ones are going to fade away.

That's key when it comes to picking games. There are often some spreads available early in the week that will change by the time the games kick off, which means fans have to lock them up before they shift.

Let's examine three that fall into the category for Week 4. All lines are courtesy of


San Francisco 49ers (-4)

Even though the 49ers lost to the Minnesota Vikings, it's not time to abandon ship. They are still one of the league's best teams and simply suffered a letdown after two huge wins. It happens to every team, even the elite ones.

A matchup with the New York Jets gives them a terrific opportunity to get right back on track. San Francisco's tremendous defense should have no trouble shutting down the Jets lackluster offense, and losing Darrelle Revis is a crushing blow to New York's secondary.

Most importantly, it's a statement game for the 49ers. Anytime a top team loses, it gets overanalyzed and the best way to get everybody to move on is winning the next game. Patrick Willis and Co. will do exactly that in blowout fashion.


New England Patriots (-4)

The Patriots have their first regular-season losing record in nearly a decade, but it won't stay that way for long. New England knows how important its trip to face the Buffalo Bills is this week, and, like usual, the Pats will rise to the occasion.

Even though they have lost two straight games, those losses have come by a combined three points. They could easily be 3-0 and this week's line would equal to a touchdown or more. That's why it's key to check the spreads early.

The Bills are dealing with injuries in the backfield and Ryan Fitzpatrick has proven he's as inconsistent as they come at quarterback. The Patriots will capitalize on those weaknesses and win by at least a touchdown, likely more.


Chicago Bears (+4)

The controversy after the ending of Week 3's Monday night game is still fresh, but it's never too early to look ahead at next week's game. It will pit the Bears against the Dallas Cowboys, two teams that currently sit at 2-1.

From every angle, this looks like a field-goal game. Both teams have enough talent to become contenders in the NFC, but are still working out the kinks. It will all come down to which defense can make more stops in the second half.

Chicago and Dallas each rank in the top 10 in points and yards allowed, which should lead to a tight game right down to the final minutes. Expect the Bears to win, but even if they don't, they should at least cover the spread.