NFL Week 4 Picks Against the Spread
Week 4 of the NFL season will test the mettle of its undefeated teams, and also guarantee that at least one winless team will move out of that category.
The Falcons are crossing the country to do battle on the West Coast, while the New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens will be the first game of the season with possible playoff implications.
The "Bays" are both heavy favorites, as Green Bay and Tampa Bay enter their games with lines of -12 and -10, respectively.
There are sure to be some surprises, but here is how every team will stack up against the spread in Week 4.
Detroit Lions vs. Dallas Cowboys 1:00 ET
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The Detroit Lions have not faced a top-tier NFL QB yet in this young season. Tony Romo claims that his rib is "feeling better," but Ndamukong Suh will be sure to try and test that claim.
Regardless of health, another week of practice for Romo and his young receivers will make them hard for the untested Detroit secondary to handle. When the Cowboys get the lead at home, they will not abandon the run like the Vikings did against the Lions last week.
LINE: DALLAS -2.5
PICK: DALLAS 31-24
New Orleans Saints vs. Jacksonville Jaguars 1:00 ET
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A trip to Jacksonville will do nothing to slow down Drew Brees and the Saints. Facing a depleted Jaguars defense, Brees will have plenty of room to operate and stake the Saints to an early lead.
Blaine Gabbert will learn a thing or two from the sidelines while watching Brees operate with a ruthless efficiency that is being overlooked nationally.
LINE: NEW ORLEANS -7
PICK: NEW ORLEANS 38-10
San Francisco 49ers vs Philadelphia Eagles 1:00 ET
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Sporting a new glove on his right hand, and hoping for an increased awareness of illegal contact against him from the referees, Michael Vick and the Eagles will head west to take on the 49ers.
In an effort to keep Vick upright and healthy, the Eagles will rely on LeSean McCoy to carry the load, and they will be rewarded. The Eagles might not run away with this one, but they will find a way to win on a tough road trip.
LINE: PHILADELPHIA -9.5
PICK: PHILADELPHIA 24-17
Washington Redskins vs. St. Louis Rams 1:00 ET
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The Washington Redskins missed a chance to push their record to 3-0 against a vulnerable Cowboys team last week. This week, they face a desperate St. Louis squad eager to put a notch in the win column.
The Rams are looking to possibly get WR Danny Amendola back, which should have a huge impact on the Rams' ability to move the ball.
All outward appearances are that the Redskins are not facing internal strife as a result of DeAngelo Hall's comments and the accusations of simulating snap counts, but there is definite cause for concern.
LINE: WASHINGTON -2.5
PICK: ST. LOUIS 28-21
Cleveland Browns vs. Tennessee Titans 1:00 ET
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The Tennessee Titans have found a way to rise above the lackluster play of Chris Johnson, and will now face a season without Kenny Britt. The Cleveland Browns have also been a nice surprise, but their strength of schedule to date is underwhelming.
Chris Johnson will out-duel Peyton Hillis and make life easier on Matt Hasselbeck, who has been forced to carry this team to a 2-1 start. The Titans defense will limit the Browns offense and force McCoy into some costly turnovers.
LINE: PICK 'EM
PICK: TENNESSEE 28-17
Buffalo Bills vs. Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 ET
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The Buffalo Bills will be sure not to repeat the mistakes of the past and get off to a quick start against Cincinnati. There are still lingering questions about the Bills defense, which Andy Dalton and AJ Green will look to exploit.
Even if this game devolves into a shoot-out, the Bills have proven that they are up to the task and will not fall into a trap in Cincinnati. The Bills offense will overpower the Bengals defense and put the game away early in the fourth quarter.
LINE: BUFFALO -3
PICK: BUFFALO 34-21
Minnesota Vikings vs. Kansas City Chiefs 1:00 ET
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The "Battle of the Beatens" takes place at Arrowhead Stadium this Sunday. While the Chiefs can place some blame on injury depletion, the Vikings have simply let wins slip away. One of those problems can be fixed.
The Minnesota Vikings are still clinging to the outside hope that they can be a wild card contender in the NFC. Jared Allen will make sure that the Kansas City offense cannot find a rhythm, while Adrian Peterson shoulders the load on offense. The Vikings will put two halves together and finally play a complete game.
LINE: MINNESOTA -3
PICK: MINNESOTA 21-10
Carolina Panthers vs. Chicago Bears 1:00 ET
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The Chicago Bears are reeling, as their once impressive Week 1 victory over the Falcons becomes a distant memory. To be fair, they have lost to what many consider to be the "class" of the NFC in Green Bay and New Orleans, but they have not shown much in either loss.
Carolina, by contrast, is surpassing expectations in terms of competitiveness, and is hungry to defend the honor of Head Coach Ron Rivera. Cam Newton presents a whole new set of complications that the Bears defense has not encountered yet, but in the end, his inexperience gives way to a veteran Chicago defense.
LINE: CHICAGO -6.5
PICK: CHICAGO 24-21
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Houston Texans 1:00 ET
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The Houston Texans want to give Arian Foster a full workload this week, and he will have his hands full against the Pittsburgh Steelers defense. Houston wants to prove that they are legitimate contenders in the AFC, and a win against the Steelers can help that cause.
The Steelers are heading to Houston with a banged up offensive line on the heels of an underwhelming performance against the Colts.
Luckily, the Texans don't boast the same speedy pass rush as Indianapolis, but they will generate enough pressure to keep Big Ben on the run. That will allow the upgraded Texans secondary to make plays that turn the game.
LINE: HOUSTON -3.5
PICK: HOUSTON 27-24
Atlanta Falcons vs. Seattle Seahawks 4:05 ET
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The Atlanta Falcons rushing attack is dangerous enough that Seattle will be forced to commit their entire defensive line to stop it. That leaves a vulnerable secondary in coverage with Roddy White and Julio Jones, which is not favorable for the Seahawks.
The Falcons are desperate to right the ship and get back to .500, and a visit to Seattle is just the medicine for that.
LINE: ATLANTA -4.5
PICK: ATLANTA 31-13
New York Giants vs. Arizona Cardinals 4:05 ET
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The New York Giants have another good season going with their defensive line, which could be bolstered by the return of Osi Umenyiora. Eli Manning feeds off the defensive success and will put the Giants in a position to capitalize.
The Arizona Cardinals, on the other hand, are reeling from a sloppy loss to the Seattle Seahawks and are still seeking an identity on offense. Kevin Kolb will find it hard to be effective under constant pressure, and the Giants should score a nice road victory.
LINE: NEW YORK -1
PICK: NEW YORK 21-13
Miami Dolphins vs. San Diego Chargers 4:05 ET
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The San Diego Chargers have had to work hard for both of their victories against winless teams this season. That trend will continue against the Miami Dolphins, who enter Sunday sporting a winless record.
Philip Rivers has seen his interceptions per attempt rate rise alarmingly high this year, already tossing six in his first three games. Miami will use that to win the turnover battle, and recover the offensive form that they displayed against New England in Week 1 to pull it out for Coach Tony Sparano.
LINE: SAN DIEGO -7
PICK: MIAMI 28-21
Denver Broncos vs. Green Bay Packers 4:05 ET
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The Green Bay Packers are well on their way to defending their Super Bowl crown. The addition of a healthy Jermichael Finley gives their offense an even more explosive dynamic.
The Denver Broncos are a team struggling to rebuild, and just looking to keep from being embarrassed. The Green Bay defense has been operating under a "bend, but don't break" mentality that will help the Broncos.
The Packers will have this game well in hand, but a late touchdown from the Broncos will make the final score look closer than it really was.
LINE: GREEN BAY -12
PICK: GREEN BAY 34-24
New England Patriots vs. Oakland Raiders 4:05 ET
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The Oakland Raiders have the unfortunate task of trying to stop an angry Tom Brady. The Raiders are boasting a prolific rushing attack that should perform well against the Patriots, but it won't be enough to keep pace with Brady.
When the Patriots push the tempo and stake an early lead, Jason Campbell and the Raiders passing game will come up short in an attempt to match them. Not even another great rushing game from Darren McFadden will save the Raiders.
LINE: NEW ENGLAND -5
PICK: NEW ENGLAND 35-20
New York Jets vs. Baltimore Ravens 8:25 ET
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This is the type of game that Rex Ryan was hired to coach. Sunday Night Football, with playoff implications already so early in the season, will bring out the best in Ryan and his Jets.
Ryan will have a defensive plan to slow down Joe Flacco and the Baltimore offense, giving Mark Sanchez and company opportunities to convert on favorable field position. It will be a nail-biter, but the Jets are comfortable in the spotlight and should rise to the occasion.
LINE: BALTIMORE -3.5
PICK: NEW YORK 17-14
Indianapolis Colts vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Monday Night Football
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Josh Freeman will not miss his chance to shine in front of a national audience on Monday Night Football. Raheem Morris has done a great job of making sure that the Buccaneers never give up and always win the games that they "should" win.
The Indianapolis Colts might see more improvement from Curtis Painter, but it will continue to be painfully obvious that this team is 100 percent geared to succeed with only Peyton Manning at the helm.
LINE: TAMPA BAY -10
PICK: TAMPA BAY 28-13