NFL Week 4 Picks: Road Squads That Will Earn Much-Needed Victories

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor ISeptember 26, 2013

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 22: Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers recovers his own fumble while trying to outrun the tackle of  Corey Wootton #98 of the Chicago Bears during the third quarter at Heinz Field on September 22, 2013 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Chicago won the game 40-23. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The last thing a struggling team wants to do is go away from home.

In 2012, home teams were 146-119, meaning they won 55.1 percent of the time and were just about as successful as the 9-7 New York Giants. 

Simply put, winning on the road is extremely difficult, no matter who you're playing against. Winning on the road when nothing seems to be going right can seem downright impossible.

Nevertheless, desperation can lead to motivation, which can in turn lead to success.

Let's take a look at a couple 0-3 squads with favorable road matchups along with a gander at all Week 4 picks. 


Washington Redskins

LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 22:  Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins runs with the ball in the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions at FedExField on September 22, 2013 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Much has been made about how rusty and tentative quarterback Robert Griffin III has looked in his return from major knee surgery. While those concerns are valid, what's more alarming is that it has been more like Washington C through the first two games. You know, because the "D" has been non-existent.

(I'm so sorry.)

Through the Redskins' first three games (all losses), they have given up 488 yards per game, 9.8 yards per passing attempt and 4.8 yards per rushing attempt. The first two numbers are worst in the league, while the last is a sparkling 28th. 

But don't forget they've faced the fast-paced Philadelphia Eagles, the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions, all top-four teams in yards per game this season. A matchup against the Oakland Raiders—likely without dynamic quarterback Terrelle Pryor, per ESPN's Adam Schefter—is going to be a breath of fresh air:

Even this colander-like defense can serve as resistance to Matt Flynn and Co.

And on the other side of the ball, Mike Shanahan's team can move the ball just fine. Even with RGIII still working his way back to full strength, Washington ranks 14th in pass offense and 11th in rush offense according to Football Outsiders' advanced statistics

Prediction: Redskins 28, Raiders 24


Pittsburgh Steelers

Note: This game is in London, but the Steelers are playing away from home and are technically the "road team." So I'm going to allow it. Because I'm the writer. 

With the NFL increasingly becoming a passing league, you'd think a team that ranks 10th in the league in passing yards and third in passing yards allowed would have at least notched one win through the first three games.

Not The Black and Gold, though, who have been plagued by a pathetic running game and an NFL-worst minus-9 turnover differential. 

Part 1 of that should be somewhat improved on Sunday, as bulldozer rookie running back Le'Veon Bell is set to make his debut and start, per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Mark Kaboly:

That should only further open things up for Ben Roethlisberger, who threw for 406 yards and an impressive 9.9 yards per attempt against the Chicago Bears last week, against a Vikings secondary that just gave up 321 yards and three scores to Mr. Brian Hoyer. 

On the other side of the ball, Christian Ponder's status is uncertain, and whether it's him or Matt Cassel, it's going to be ugly against the Steelers' still-stingy secondary.

Pittsburgh has plenty of problems in the trenches on both sides of the ball, and Adrian Peterson is, well, Adrian Peterson, but there are too many factors favoring Mike Tomlin's team.

Prediction: Steelers 27, Vikings 17