A sense of normalcy continues to sweep back over the realm of NFL picks heading into Week 4.
The prior week, for the most part, provided some expected outcomes, with teams like the New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers and Kanas City Chiefs picking up wins. Regression candidates like the Baltimore Ravens and New York Giants took losses.
That isn't to say there weren't upsets, but bettors can likely see trends starting to emerge with certain teams. It's a nice weapon of insight to have against oddsmakers, who have to churn out early-week lines right away.
Those early lines provide some interesting angles for bettors to pursue before the odds receive adjustments, so let's take a look at the full slate, equipped with spread and over/under projections.
NFL Week 4 Schedule, Odds
Chicago at Green Bay (-7.5) | O/U 45.5
New Orleans (-2.5) at Miami | O/U 49.5
Buffalo at Atlanta (-8) | O/U 48.5
Carolina at New England (-8.5) | O/U 47.5
Cincinnati (-3.5) at Cleveland | O/U 40
Detroit at Minnesota | O/U n/a
Jacksonville (-3.5) at N.Y. Jets | O/U 39.5
L.A. Rams at Dallas (-8) | O/U n/a
Pittsburgh (-3) at Baltimore | O/U 45
Tennessee (-1) at Houston | O/U 43.5
N.Y. Giants at Tampa Bay (-4) | O/U n/a
Philadelphia at L.A. Chargers (-1) | O/U 46.5
San Francisco at Arizona (-6) | O/U n/a
Oakland at Denver (E) | O/U n/a
Indianapolis at Seattle (-11.5) | O/U n/a
Washington at Kansas City (-7) | O/U n/a
Bold denotes predicted winner against the spread and over/under projection.
Chicago at Green Bay (-7.5)
This one can seem deceptive at face value.
Face value says the Chicago Bears head to Lambeau Field after a Week 3 win against the Pittsburgh Steelers, which is true.
Also true is the fact those Steelers are another major regression candidate this year and the Bears victory came via an overtime rushing touchdown. The Bears rushed for 220 yards and two touchdowns while missing a starter in the offensive trenches and only completing one pass to a wide receiver, which says more about the Steelers than the Bears.
That approach won't cut it against Aaron Rodgers.
Rodgers' injured line has had some problems protecting him, hence his suffering six sacks in a 27-24 win against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 3. The Bears can provide some pressure here thanks to players like Akiem Hicks and Leonard Floyd, but Rodgers can adjust and pick apart a shaky secondary.
Sounds simple and it is—Rodgers putting up points will force Mike Glennon to the air. The Bears have tried to work around Glennon's issues by mostly throwing at tight ends and running backs, hence three touchdowns and interceptions with an average of 5.75 yards per pass.
The only team to beat the Packers so far had Matt Ryan under center, a guy who could get a lead for his team and then watch his pass-rushers pin their ears back against Green Bay's line. Glennon isn't that guy.
Prediction: Packers 28, Bears 10
Cincinnati (-3.5) at Cleveland
A battle between winless teams normally isn't this interesting.
In one corner is the Cleveland Browns, a team with rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer under center. The Browns have a trial-by-fire attitude with him, considering they just let the Notre Dame product sling 47 pass attempts in a 31-28 loss to the Indianapolis Colts that he turned into 242 yards and two touchdowns against three interceptions.
There are blatant signs of rookie struggles though, as Bleacher Report's Brent Sobleski pointed out:
Brent Sobleski @brentsobleski
Interesting stat: Deshone Kizer's has been sacked 10 times through three weeks, yet he is afforded most time of any QB before being sacked.2017-9-25 12:06:47
Then there are the Bengals. One of this year's most disappointing teams started 0-2, failed to score a touchdown over the course of its first two games (both at home) and wound up firing offensive coordinator Ken Zampese.
In Week 3, the Bengals took a road trip to play the Packers and lost despite two passing scores from Andy Dalton.
As they say, something has to give. Cincinnati is on the road again here, yet sits as the favorite for a reason. The offense looks better with a new man at the controls (Bill Lazor), but the team simply ran into Rodgers. A Geno Atkins-led defense with Vontaze Burfict returning shouldn't have any problems pressuring Kizer into more mistakes, so this spread has the feel of what that will grow in a hurry.
Prediction: Bengals 24, Browns 20
Indianapolis at Seattle (-11.5)
One of the week's biggest lines seems obvious enough.
Yet, hesitation with the Seattle Seahawks given this sort of spread makes sense. The team lost in Week 1 on the road against the Packers, 17-9, then came up short against the Tennessee Titans on the road in Week 3, 33-27. The only win so far? A 12-9 home escape of the San Francisco 49ers.
Indeed, the outlook seems shaky in Seattle. But we've known Russell Wilson and the Seahawks struggle away from home. We know a heated NFC West rivalry is going to come up closer than expected sometimes because the two teams know each other so well.
We should also know the Seahawks won't have a problem with the reeling Colts.
The Andrew Luck-less Colts have one win thanks to a game against the Browns. The two losses were a 46-9 whipping at the hands of the Los Angeles Rams and a 16-13 overtime loss to the struggling Arizona Cardinals. The combination of Scott Tolzien and Jacoby Brissett isn't doing much under center (no, the latter's 259 passing yards against the Browns doesn't qualify), and the defense has had issues handling much of anything while only registering six sacks.
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This isn't to say the Seahawks don't have issues, especially not after an odd building approach applied to the offensive line.
"We know we had the opportunity to make plays and move the ball up and down the field," head coach Pete Carroll said, according to ESPN.com's Brady Henderson. "We missed a lot of passes in the first half, didn't throw the ball very well, catch the ball very well, and we left some huge plays on the field, so that made it difficult."
But a matchup with the Colts at home is a way to get things back on track and build some momentum. A line this big is always risky, but the Seahawks seem due for a big performance after some odd circumstances skewed their first three results.
Prediction: Seahawks 30, Colts 13