NFL Picks Week 4: Bleacher Report's Expert Consensus Predictions

Michael Schottey@SchotteyNFL National Lead WriterSeptember 24, 2013

NFL Picks Week 4: Bleacher Report's Expert Consensus Predictions

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    Week 3 represented a bit of a break in the NFL's close contests. It featured a number of blowouts, including some unexpected ones like the Indianapolis Colts taking the San Francisco 49ers behind their own woodshed.

    Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (pictured above) put up 40 points on the once-vaunted Pittsburgh Steelers. The Jacksonville Jaguars and Tampa Bay Buccaneers were blown out of the water by the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots, respectively.

    OK, maybe that last one was expected. 

    What does Week 4 have in store? Hopefully some easier games to pick, as almost everyone—from Bleacher Report's experts to those from around the web and television broadcasts—struggled in Week 3. 

    In terms of excitement, there's nothing wrong with this slate of games...nothing at all. We get the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions facing off in a classic NFC North matchup. Two of the best teams on paper go head-to-head as the Seattle Seahawks travel to Houston to take on the Texans. The Philadelphia Eagles and Denver Broncos square off—first team to huddle loses!

    All those picks and more as you scroll ahead. Don't like our picks? Feel free to leave yours in the comments below. 


    Michael Schottey: National Lead NFL Writer (Twitter)

    Matt Bowen: National Lead NFL Writer (Twitter)

    Mike Freeman: National Lead NFL Writer (Twitter)

    Ty Schalter: National Lead NFL Writer (Twitter)

    Matt Miller: National Lead NFL Draft Writer (Twitter)

    Erik Frenz: AFC East Lead NFL Writer (Twitter)

    Andrea Hangst: AFC North Lead NFL Writer (Twitter)

    Chris Hansen: AFC West Lead NFL Writer (Twitter)

    Knox Bardeen: NFC South Lead NFL Writer (Twitter)

    Brad Gagnon: NFC East Lead NFL Writer (Twitter)

    Tyson Langland: NFC West Lead NFL Writer (Twitter)

    Zach Kruse: NFC North Lead NFL Writer (Twitter)

Expert Standings

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    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Name: Last Week; Overall

    Consensus: 9-6; 31-12 

    Matt Miller: 10-6; 36-12

    Erik Frenz: 12-4; 34-14

    Andrea Hangst: 12-4; 34-14

    Chris Hansen: 13-3; 34-14

    Brad Gagnon: 11-5; 34-14

    Matt Bowen: 9-7; 33-15

    Ty Schalter: 9-7; 33-15

    Tyson Langland: 9-7; 32-16

    Zach Kruse: 8-8; 30-18

    Mike Freeman: 11-5; 29-19

    Knox Bardeen: 8-8; 28-20

    Michael Schottey: 9-7; 28-20

    To see how Bleacher Report's experts are faring against the best at other media outlets, check out Pick Watch.

San Francisco 49ers at St. Louis Rams

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    B/R Consensus Pick: 49ers (11-1)

    UPDATE: The 49ers beat the Rams on Thursday Night Football by a score of 35-11 to improve to 2-2.

    Original Picks

    Schottey: 49ers, 27-10

    Last week, I predicted the Colts would be the recipient of the 49ers' hate-fueled beatdown following an embarrassing loss. This week, the much weaker Rams are the matchup. If the Niners don't win this convincingly, it might be time to pull the ol' ripcord. 

    Bowen: 49ers, 20-14

    The Rams had the blueprint to stopping the 49ers offense last season with a mix of coverage and pressure. But this is 2013, and that St. Louis defense has some issues to correct. I'm taking the 49ers as they get back to the power run game.

    Schalter: 49ers, 24-20

    If anyone can restore his defense's toughness and passion, it should be Jeff Fisher. Until he does, I can't pick the Rams over a team as talented as San Francisco.

    Freeman: 49ers, 17-9

    The 49ers correct their scoring problems and defensive issues against a Rams team that can't stop anyone or protect Bradford.

    Miller: 49ers, 21-17

    No commentary due to paternity leave.

    Frenz: 49ers, 14-10

    The 49ers defense has to snap out of this funk at some point. A mediocre quarterback like Sam Bradford should be the antidote.

    Hangst: 49ers, 17-14

    Surprisingly, the 49ers are 1-2, just like the St. Louis Rams. Thursday games are unkind to both teams involved, and the Rams and Niners are not putting forth the offenses we all assumed they would this year. The 49ers just don't seem to be a team to drop three games in a row. But the lack of offensive firepower keeps the score low in a close game.

    Hansen: 49ers, 17-13

    The Cowboys tore through the Rams with the power run game in Week 3. The 49ers are reeling, but going back to their roots with the power run game makes sense. I like the 49ers to get a tough win on the road.

    Bardeen: 49ers, 21-10

    There's no way the 49ers lose three games in a row, right? This game against the Rams is a perfect opportunity for the offense to get back on track and the defense to return to normal.

    Gagnon: Rams, 16-14 

    St. Louis is at home, where it beat the 49ers last December. No reason that can't happen again, because the Niners are a mess right now. Either way, this is a close, low-scoring game.

    Langland: 49ers, 21-17

    The 49ers have looked awful the last two weeks, but so have the Rams. San Francisco is the more talented of the two teams, which means it will win in a nail-biter.

    Kruse: 49ers, 20-16

    Everything about the Thursday night game—from the Rams' success against the 49ers last season to Colin Kaepernick's current slump—screams St. Louis. But picking an NFC power like San Francisco to fall to 1-3 just doesn't feel right. On a short week, Jim Harbaugh will have his team ready to rebound.

New York Giants at Kansas City Chiefs

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    B/R Consensus Pick: Chiefs (10-2)

    Schottey: Chiefs, 21-6

    The Chiefs have one of the best defenses that no one talks about, and it's been that way for too long. Think Eli Manning and Co. have looked bad so far? You ain't seen nothin' yet.

    Bowen: Chiefs, 23-13

    The Giants offensive line versus the Chiefs' pressure? That's trouble for Manning. Look for the Chiefs to lean on man coverage and get to the quarterback often as they move to 4-0.

    Schalter: Chiefs, 27-17

    The Chiefs are not one of the best teams in the NFL, and the Giants are not one of the worst. The Chiefs pass rush will slice through the Giants' struggling offensive line, though.

    Freeman: Giants, 20-17

    At some point, Manning wakes up and pride kicks in. This is that moment.

    Miller: Chiefs, 28-24

    No commentary due to paternity leave.


    Frenz: Chiefs, 28-17

    Can't pick against a 3-0 team just like I can't pick an 0-3 team. The Chiefs may not have a truly elite offense, but they will find a way to take advantage of the Giants' suddenly stagnant defense.

    Hangst: Chiefs, 30-13

    The New York Giants were held scoreless by the Carolina Panthers thanks to a complete pillaging of their offense. Manning keeps turning the ball over, and the offensive line can't keep him protected. Their defense cannot rush the passer. The same cannot be said of the Chiefs, who will extend their win streak to four.

    Hansen: Chiefs, 24-17

    Although you should probably throw records out the window in this game, the Chiefs are playing great defense and get to face the turnover-prone Giants at home. New York’s defense hasn’t even been playing well enough to take advantage of an average offense that takes care of the football.

    Bardeen: Chiefs, 20-13

    The Chiefs won't bring the same kind of pressure on Eli Manning as Carolina did last week, but they will be able to penetrate New York's porous offensive line.

    Gagnon: Giants, 24-23

    I'd like to say I'm confident, but I'm not. Obviously the momentum is completely on Kansas City's side, but something tells me Eli Manning will come up big and both teams will come back to earth a bit in this matchup.

    Langland: Chiefs, 23-16  

    Alex Smith and Andy Reid are the hottest couple on the block right now, especially at home. Chiefs win again, which means the Tom Coughlin watch in New York is officially on.

    Kruse: Chiefs, 28-10

    If a 38-0 spanking doesn't light a fire under New York, nothing will. However, it will be difficult for the Giants to keep Kansas City's front seven off Eli Manning. The Chiefs roll to 4-0.

Baltimore Ravens at Buffalo Bills

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    B/R Consensus Pick: Ravens (11-1)

    Schottey: Ravens, 20-13

    We've seen the Ravens defense rebound a bit since their Week 1 thrashing at the hands of Peyton Manning and the Broncos. Against a rookie quarterback, the Ravens are going to pin their ears back and make EJ Manuel wish he was back studying for a midterm. 

    Bowen: Ravens, 27-10

    The Ravens showed us last week in the win over the Texans that they can still play some defense. That's not good for Manuel. Look for the Ravens to cause multiple turnovers on Sunday.

    Schalter: Bills, 20-17

    The Bills have played very tough at home, and if Ray Rice can't play (though he plans to), the Ravens offense doesn't match up well against Buffalo's defense. 

    Freeman: Ravens, 24-14 

    The Ravens have demonstrated remarkable resilience since they got beat in Denver.

    Miller: Ravens, 20-13

    No commentary due to paternity leave.

    Frenz: Ravens, 34-24

    The Bills defense has shown flashes of brilliance, but they won't get fully right until safety Jairus Byrd returns to the fold. Their offense on the other hand could hit a snag if C.J. Spiller is less than 100 percent, as he was against the Jets.

    Hangst: Ravens, 23-20

    Baltimore showed hints that its defense is indeed improved in its takedown of the Houston Texans in Week 3, though the offense still leaves something to be desired. The Buffalo Bills won't be an easy out, but that increasingly stout defense will do enough to secure the Ravens a road win.

    Hansen: Ravens, 23-21

    The Ravens have quietly battled back from a disastrous opener to get to 2-1, but they'll go on the road in Week 4. The Bills are better than expected, but the Ravens are starting to get all of their new pieces working together. I like the Ravens to earn a close win and get back in the conversation in the AFC.

    Bardeen: Ravens, 24-20

    This is a much different Ravens team than we saw in Week 1. There are signs the defense is returning to respectability, but the offense still needs to wake up. Buffalo looks better than expected, but its rookie quarterback may struggle here.

    Gagnon: Ravens, 27-24

    Manuel looked bad in New York, and that Baltimore defense is still pretty damn tough. The Bills are good enough to hang around at home, but they've made a habit out of falling short.

    Langland: Ravens, 30-24

    Buffalo has made it a point to compete week in, week out. Yet that won't be enough against Baltimore. Joe Flacco will experience his first monster game of the season en route to victory.  

    Kruse: Ravens, 27-14

    Baltimore's defense held the Texans to 4.3 yards per play in a Week 3 rout. I like the Ravens to rattle Manuel enough to escape Buffalo with a win.

Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns

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    B/R Consensus Pick: Bengals (12-0)

    Schottey: Bengals, 31-14

    The Browns' Week 3 offensive explosion can be explained by the Vikings' underachieving defense more than quarterback Brian Hoyer becoming a Hall of Famer all of a sudden. The Bengals will get infinitely more pressure than the Vikings did and will have a better answer for Josh Gordon in the secondary. 

    Bowen: Bengals, 28-17

    The Browns put some good stuff on tape with Hoyer taking over the huddle in the Week 3 win, but the Bengals have too many weapons on both sides of the ball.

    Schalter: Bengals, 35-21

    It's tempting to pick Cleveland at home after its Week 3 upset win, but the Browns secondary can't hope to cover A.J. Green.

    Freeman: Bengals, 30-14

    Hoyer reverts back to a pumpkin and the organization remembers it's supposed to be tanking this season.

    Miller: Bengals, 23-17

    No commentary due to paternity leave.

    Frenz: Bengals, 24-14

    A wild win over the Green Bay Packers may leave the Bengals ripe for a letdown, but if they're truly a good team, they should beat lesser competition on a consistent basis.

    Hangst: Bengals, 33-20

    The Bengals are flying high off two straight wins against tough teams, besting first the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 2 and the Green Bay Packers in Week 3. Though the Browns finally notched their first win last Sunday, they won't be much of a match for the vastly superior Bengals. As long as the Bengals don't overlook the Browns with the New England Patriots looming, they'll win this one.

    Hansen: Bengals, 17-14

    After an impressive game for the Browns in Week 3, they might struggle a little more against the very talented Bengals. I like both defenses in this game, but it’s a little easier to trust Cincinnati’s offense. Bengals get a close road win.

    Bardeen: Bengals, 31-10

    There is one thing that's true here: Cincinnati is the real deal. There's also one thing that isn't: Hoyer as a game-changing quarterback. I expect A.J. Green to flourish in this game.

    Gagnon: Bengals, 27-20 

    The Browns played the Bengals tough last year and played well in a surprising victory over Minnesota, but I think the Vikings are a mediocre team and Cincinnati could be on the verge of finding a groove. This probably isn't a blowout, but I can't see the Browns winning back-to-back games right now.

    Langland: Bengals, 27-14

    Hoyer did an admirable job against the Vikings in Week 3; however, one shouldn't expect a repeat performance in Week 4. The Bengals defense is starting to hit its stride.

    Kruse: Bengals, 23-16

    Beating good teams when you don't play your best football can be a springboard to bigger and better things. The Bengals will use their inspiring finish in Week 3 to beat a Browns team that suddenly came to life in Minnesota.

Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    B/R Consensus Pick: Bears (10-2)

    Schottey: Bears, 28-27

    It's difficult to pick against the Lions at home, but the Bears are the more complete team right now, and the Lions offense may struggle without the presence of receiver Nate Burleson. Look for the Bears (even sans Henry Melton) to get more pressure on Matthew Stafford than he's seen all season. 

    Bowen: Bears, 24-21

    Will Calvin Johnson make some plays? Sure he will. But the Bears defense causes three turnovers and Jay Cutler is once again clutch in the fourth quarter.

    Schalter: Lions, 28-24

    This game is always a street fight. The Lions get Reggie Bush back, and the Bears have lost defensive tackle Melton. That and home-field advantage swing it to Detroit.

    Freeman: Bears, 28-24 

    Chicago's line has been protecting Cutler. That gets tested against the dirty Ndamukong Suh. The Bears rely heavily on Matt Forte.

    Miller: Bears, 30-20 

    No commentary due to paternity leave.

    Frenz: Bears, 23-20

    This game could go either way, but the Bears are the better-coached team and are far less mistake-prone than their division rivals in both penalties and turnovers.

    Hangst: Lions, 24-23

    In a meeting between well-matched division rivals, the one who makes the most mistakes loses. The Lions are certainly a mistake-prone football team and the Bears capitalize on them (takeaways anyone?), but when this game also hinges on emotion and takes place in the loud Ford Field, Detroit gets away with a close victory.

    Hansen: Bears, 28-21

    The Bears are playing good football on offense, defense and special teams. The Lions have a great defensive front that is going to test the revamped Bears offensive line, but I like them to be able to get something going against that secondary. Charles Tillman has generally done a great job taking Calvin Johnson away from Matthew Stafford.

    Bardeen: Bears, 28-27

    This is always a fun game, and this year's matchup won't be any different. Chicago looks good in all three phases of the game. Even though the Bears line will get tested by the Lions front four, I think Chicago has too many weapons and will overcome.

    Gagnon: Bears, 30-23

    In last year's season finale in Detroit, Chicago's defense did a superb job defending Calvin Johnson. The Bears might be without Melton and the Lions might be better with Reggie Bush now, but Chicago is still healthier than it was then. The Bears are the much more talented team.

    Langland: Bears, 31-17 

    Mel Tucker's defense has done a phenomenal job of putting constant pressure on the quarterback and forcing turnovers. Don't be surprised if the Lions turn the ball over five times and lose the game for themselves.

    Kruse: Bears, 27-21

    Consider me a firm believer in the new Jay Cutler. He's been money in the fourth quarter of all three wins in 2013. The Lions front four will be a good measuring stick for the Chicago offensive line, however.

Arizona Cardinals at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Stacy Revere/Getty Images

    B/R Consensus Pick: Cardinals (8-4)

    Schottey: Cardinals, 21-6

    These two teams are still looking for an offensive boost. Expect a bunch of momentum-shifting interceptions, fumbles, etc. as the teams trade punches. In the end, I love the Cardinals' opportunistic defense against a rookie QB in his first game. 

    Bowen: Cardinals, 24-14

    Tough to pick the Bucs with Mike Glennon making his first start as a pro. Can the rookie read pressure? Can he handle a muddy pocket? Can he adjust to the speed of the regular season? Too many questions for me. I'm taking the Cards and veteran quarterback Carson Palmer. 

    Schalter: Cardinals, 17-10

    The Buccaneers haven't played as badly as their record indicates, but the Cardinals' stout run defense will shut down Doug Martin. With Glennon in at quarterback, I don't see the Buccaneers moving the ball at all.

    Freeman: Cardinals, 25-13

    The benching of Josh Freeman won't matter. Freeman is a symbol of a larger problem which is the Bucs just aren't that good on offense. The Cardinals defense takes advantage.

    Miller: Cardinals, 20-10

    No commentary due to paternity leave.

    Frenz: Buccaneers, 17-10

    There's no guarantee that Mike Glennon will be any better than Josh Freeman out of the gate, but the breath of fresh air at the game's most important position could help, as long as the Buccaneers defense can contain Larry Fitzgerald.

    Hangst: Cardinals, 20-13

    Greg Schiano finally has the quarterback he wants on the field, with Mike Glennon taking the place of the benched Josh Freeman. But is that enough to win this game? The problems the Buccaneers have aren't going to be fixed in one week by a quarterback switch. The Cardinals are the more consistent team, and this will be enough to earn them a hard-fought road win.

    Hansen: Buccaneers, 23-17

    Although the Cardinals have a strong run defense, Doug Martin is too talented to continue to put up average numbers. You couldn't be much worse than Josh Freeman through three weeks, so Mike Glennon may actually give this offense the shot in the arm it needs. I expect Tampa Bay to come through and avoid falling to 0-4. 

    Bardeen: Cardinals, 13-7

    Arizona is pretty good against the run, meaning Doug Martin might be neutralized. Mike Glennon's a rookie quarterback who's only seen three NFL games, all from the sideline. If Arizona takes Martin away, Tampa Bay can't win.

    Gagnon: Buccaneers, 20-17

    The Bucs aren't very good, but they fell just short against the Jets and Saints to open the year. This is Mike Glennon's first career action, but you can't do much worse than Josh Freeman anyway. Back at home, I think they take care of a Cardinals team that has lost nine straight road games.

    Langland: Buccaneers, 17-16

    Will Mike Glennon be the one to finally get the Buccaneers offense headed in the right direction? I say yes, yet the rookie signal-caller won't be able to do it alone. He will need to lean on Doug Martin late in the game to put the Cardinals away.

    Kruse: Cardinals, 16-10

    Tampa Bay is difficult to watch on offense. There's no reason to think Mike Glennon, a rookie third-round pick, will magically turn things around.

Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    B/R Consensus Pick: Colts (12-0)

    Schottey: Colts, 31-10

    The Jaguars are a pretty terrible football team right now, and the Colts are riding high after a victory in San Francisco. Look for the Colts to continue to establish their dominance and begin to shed their "close game" label. 

    Bowen: Colts, 24-16

    I don't know when I'm going to pick the Jags to win a game. But I know it's not this week versus the Colts. More power football from Indy as the Colts pick up the divisional win.

    Schalter: Colts, 21-17 

    The Colts gave the 49ers their best game and will likely have a letdown in Jacksonville. Not enough of one to fall to the Jags, though.

    Freeman: Colts, 30-7

    Colts get their turn at the punching bag known as Jacksonville.

    Miller: Colts, 20-9

    No commentary due to paternity leave.


    Frenz: Colts, 38-12 

    I haven't picked the Jaguars yet, and there's no sense in starting now. They couldn't even get on the scoreboard against the Seahawks until Seattle put its second-string defense on the field.

    Hangst: Colts, 27-10

    The Jacksonville Jaguars hung around to score a few points at the end of an otherwise brutal drubbing at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks when the Seahawks chose to pull their starters. The Colts won't be as kind to their divisional rival.

    Hansen: Colts, 30-10

    The Jaguars can’t beat anyone right now, and the Colts played a great game on the road in San Francisco in Week 3. Division games are always a little more interesting, and this could be a classic trap game, but don’t count on it.

    Bardeen: Colts, 34-13

    Jacksonville has the worst point differential in the league (minus-64), and Indianapolis can pour on points. There's no way the Jags can stop this improved offense that can now run as well as it moves the ball through the air.

    Gagnon: Colts, 26-20

    If I were thinking about point spreads, this one would scare me. The Colts are coming off such a big victory, but they're young and on the road again. Against a division rival that beat them in Indianapolis last year, this could be closer than most expect.

    Langland: Colts, 24-13 

    Blaine Gabbert will be back under center for the Jaguars, which is good news for Chuck Pagano and the Colts. Expect this game to be over by halftime.

    Kruse: Colts, 27-10

    I'd be tempted to call this a trap game if Jacksonville weren't so poor on both sides of the ball. The Colts don't have to play anywhere near perfect to beat a hapless Jaguars team.

Seattle Seahawks at Houston Texans

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    B/R Consensus Pick: Seahawks (10-2)

    Schottey: Seahawks, 34-16

    The Texans just don't have the killer instinct that great teams should have. The Seahawks do and are about to put on a clinic. Quarterback Matt Schaub is going to be seeing out of his earhole for a week as the Seahawks continue to roll.

    Bowen: Seahawks, 20-17

    I like the Seahawks here because of the secondary. Seattle can play Cover 1 and drop a safety into the box to limit the Texans' game plan.

    Schalter: Seahawks, 21-14

    The Seahawks aren't as invincible outside of CenturyLink, but something is rotten in Houston. The Seahawks' ground game will be the difference.

    Freeman: Seahawks, 28-16 

    I think Seattle will begin one of those five- or six-game win streaks.

    Miller: Texans, 20-17

    No commentary due to paternity leave.

    Frenz: Seahawks, 24-21

    A blitz-heavy defense like Wade Phillips runs is liable to get run all over by a quarterback like Russell Wilson.

    Hangst: Seahawks, 27-20

    While the Seahawks are a different team on the road, they just may be the best team in the NFL presently. The Houston Texans, on the other hand, are still developing their 2013 identity. To live up to the hype, the Seahawks would be helped by a road win—and they'll get it.

    Hansen: Seahawks, 27-19 

    Offensively, the Seahawks might not be amazing, but they are still pretty good. I don’t trust the Texans in the red zone against Seattle’s great defense. Houston’s defense might keep the Texans in striking distance, but the Seahawks should get the win.

    Bardeen: Seahawks, 27-17

    This game is a tale of teams moving in different directions. Seattle might be the best team in the NFC, while Houston isn't elite in the AFC any longer. Wilson should do well in this game.

    Gagnon: Texans, 24-21

    This Seattle team is playing so well, but it's dominant at home. It lost in Detroit and Miami last year, and that Houston defensive front could have a big day against an offensive line that is missing Russell Okung.

    Langland: Seahawks, 26-20  

    Winning on the road hasn't been the Seahawks' forte under Pete Carroll, yet things have been on the up-and-up since the end of last season. The Texans will put up a fight, but the Seahawks defensive line will prove to be too much.

    Kruse: Seahawks, 24-21

    Something tells me to pick the Texans at home here, but the Seahawks have also outscored their last two opponents by 54 points. Seattle is a notch better than Houston right now.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Minnesota Vikings

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    Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

    B/R Consensus Pick: Steelers (10-2)

    Schottey: Vikings, 13-10

    The London game can screw with predictions awfully quickly. So go with what you know. There may be question marks all over the field for both teams, but I'll take Adrian Peterson all day rather than a Steelers passing offense that has already struggled with timing on this side of the pond. 

    Bowen: Steelers, 16-12

    Someone has to pick up their first win of the season here, so I'm going with Dick LeBeau's defense versus Christian Ponder.

    Schalter: Vikings, 28-24

    It's hard to be excited about either team right now, especially on offense. The Vikings secondary leads the league in touchdowns allowed and interceptions, though, so it'll likely be a shootout.

    Freeman: Steelers, 20-17

    Same principle as my Giants pick. Pride will kick in, and Ben Roethlisberger gets slightly back on track.

    Miller: Steelers, 20-9

    No commentary due to paternity leave.

    Frenz: Steelers, 31-27

    Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense showed a pulse on Sunday night against a talented Bears defense. They'll take that momentum over the pond and get the win.

    Hangst: Steelers, 14-10

    Two 0-3 teams head to London—what a thrilling matchup for NFL fans in England. After three ugly losses, the Steelers will finally get a win, though I'm more inclined to believe this game is a 17-17 tie.

    Hansen: Steelers, 17-13

    Someone has to win this game. Dick LeBeau’s defense should be able to slow Adrian Peterson down a little bit, and Christian Ponder can’t be trusted to win with his arm. The Vikings had trouble covering the tight end and vertical threats last week, which sets up perfectly for Pittsburgh’s Heath Miller and Antonio Brown.

    Bardeen: Steelers, 17-10

    How can I not pick "Big Ben" when he's playing in London? Add that to the fact that I like Pittsburgh's defense a little more, and the Steelers win in a boring game with lots of sloppy offense.

    Gagnon: Steelers, 24-21

    The Steelers have lost a lot, but they're still much better than Minnesota. They should be able to contain Peterson, they still have the better quarterback and they still have more playmakers. At a neutral site, it's a narrow victory.

    Langland: Steelers, 20-14  

    Pittsburgh showed signs of life against Chicago in Week 4, and Minnesota lost to Cleveland. As long as Christian Ponder is the quarterback, I will pick anyone but the Vikes.

    Kruse: Steelers, 30-20

    The Minnesota defense hasn't stopped anyone in 2013, and Ponder is a human roller-coaster ride each and every week. Sorry, London; this won't be our best football export.

New York Jets at Tennessee Titans

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    Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

    B/R Consensus Pick: Titans (9-3)

    Schottey: Titans, 17-10

    Both of these defenses have looked like the real deal this season, and both offenses have overachieved compared to what most of us thought they'd look like. So, Titans in a close game at home as Chris Johnson finds a way to grind things out and Geno Smith doesn't. 

    Bowen: Titans, 22-13

    Gregg Williams versus a rookie quarterback. This could be a rough one for Smith against the Titans' complex defensive scheme.

    Schalter: Jets, 21-20

    This is the most interesting matchup of the week. Both quarterbacks, both offensive lines and both running games have the potential to take over the game, or give it away. The Jets defense is slightly stronger, though.

    Freeman: Titans, 21-20

    The defense is playing better. The Titans will pick Smith off three times.

    Miller: Titans, 20-13

    No commentary due to paternity leave.

    Frenz: Jets, 20-12 

    The Jets absolutely can't afford 20 penalties and two Smith turnovers again, but the Titans offense has not been impressive through the first three games and will probably be held to an even lower output by a Jets defense that's been one of the league's best thus far.

    Hangst: Titans, 22-14

    Through three games, the Jets are better statistically than the Titans in every important measure. They're both 2-1, however, and look better than anyone thought they would. The edge goes to the home team here; rookie quarterback Geno Smith will have a tougher go away from home.

    Hansen: Jets, 24-14

    The Titans didn't get much going against a Chargers defense that couldn’t rush the quarterback or cover. If the Jets can stop the run, they should be able to keep the Titans in check. I like the defense to win this game for New York, with the offense doing just enough.

    Bardeen: Titans, 20-17

    I just have a sneaky feeling that Smith's issues from Week 3 are going to continue into this game. Look for Tennessee to dial up a few new looks against the rookie quarterback and pull off the victory.

    Gagnon: Titans, 30-20

    Tennessee isn't getting enough credit, and the Jets are probably getting too much. That Tennessee defense could have a field day against Smith as the Titans roll at home.

    Langland: Titans, 13-10 

    Tennessee's defense is arguably the most underrated unit in the league right now, and New York's is the most overrated. I'm taking the underrated defense because it has a better offensive support system.

    Kruse: Titans, 23-10

    The Titans continue their feel-good story with a third win in four weeks. That Tennessee front seven should give Smith all he can handle.

Washington Redskins at Oakland Raiders

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    B/R Consensus Pick: Raiders (8-5)

    Schottey: Raiders, 20-13

    I'm picking the home team for this matchup, even though I'd like to pick against both squads. The Raiders looked competitive against the Broncos on Monday Night Football, and they can build off that. Meanwhile, the Redskins defense is going to give Terrelle Pryor plenty of opportunity to shine. 

    Bowen: Raiders, 31-27

    The Redskins haven't shown me enough in the defensive secondary, and Robert Griffin III still isn't the dynamic playmaker we saw last season. It'll be a big day for Pryor and the Raiders offense.

    Schalter: Raiders, 27-24

    It's a drag race between Pryor and RG3; the Redskins QB has a better pit crew but a flat tire.

    Freeman: Redskins, 17-14

    Pryor makes this a close game against a horrible Washington defense.

    Miller: Redskins, 24-14

    No commentary due to paternity leave.

    Frenz: Raiders, 24-20 

    Will RG0-3 get it together this season? If so, it's not looking too promising against the Raiders defense. Pryor could have a huge day against a Redskins defense that can't stop the run or the pass right now.

    Hangst: Raiders, 24-20

    Washington has yet to win a game, which is a bad situation to be in when traveling to Oakland. The Raiders, regardless of their record, are always good at taking advantage of weak teams visiting their West Coast home. This looks like a classic Raiders win.

    Hansen: Raiders, 27-17

    The Raiders get to play this game at home against a defense that has been a total disaster to this point. Mike Shanahan loves to beat the Raiders, but this isn’t Al Davis’ team anymore. Expect a big day for Oakland’s offense, with its defense doing enough to slow down a limited RG3.

    Bardeen: Raiders, 24-20

    RG3 still doesn't look like the player we saw run roughshod during his rookie season. On the other hand, Pryor looks much better than expected. I can see Pryor as the better quarterback, especially in a home game for the Raiders.

    Gagnon: Redskins, 23-20

    The Raiders are coming home on short rest. The Redskins are struggling, especially on defense, but they've gotten slightly better each week and still have an edge over Oakland. This isn't an 0-4 team.

    Langland: Redskins, 22-19 

    Washington has to win sometime, right? Even though the Redskins have to go across the country, I trust RG3 more than I trust Pryor. It's as simple as that.

    Kruse: Redskins, 27-17

    Maybe getting as far away from Washington as possible will help a lost football team find its way. A loss in Oakland would be a knockout blow.

Philadelphia Eagles at Denver Broncos

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    B/R Consensus Pick: Broncos (12-0)

    Schottey: Broncos, 35-16

    Both teams want to score early and often, but it's going to come down to mistakes—Peyton Manning avoiding them and Michael Vick making them. 

    Bowen: Broncos, 34-24

    I'm sure the focus will once again be on Chip Kelly's offense, but I'm looking at Manning versus this Eagles secondary. Manning produces big numbers in the win.

    Schalter: Broncos, 42-35 

    This might be the highest-scoring first quarter in NFL history. Vick and the Eagles will misfire first, the Broncos will pull away and Philadelphia will get close in garbage time.

    Freeman: Broncos, 40-20

    Manning continues to shred every defense he faces.

    Miller: Denver, 31-21

    No commentary due to paternity leave.

    Frenz: Broncos, 27-10 

    The Broncos offense will find a way to run more plays than the high-tempo Eagles offense. To this point, their defense has lived off turnovers, and the Eagles have been all too willing to oblige in that area.

    Hangst: Broncos, 40-14

    Stopping the Broncos on the road is hard enough, but coming into Denver to try to beat them? Forget it. The Philadelphia Eagles have played one masterful quarter of football but have done little else, while the Broncos can seemingly do it all.

    Hansen: Broncos, 40-24

    Manning is going to make quick work of Philadelphia’s defense. Even if the Eagles can score quickly, they won’t be able to put him away. The Broncos should be able to handle the Eagles at home with relative ease.

    Bardeen: Broncos, 37-24

    I don't think there's much doubt that Manning has these Broncos humming. They're possibly even the best team in the NFL. Vick showed a tendency in Week 3 to cough up the football. Like Peyton needs any help...

    Gagnon: Broncos, 41-17

    The Broncos look just fine on offense without Ryan Clady. Nobody can stop these guys, especially in Denver. This Philly defense is struggling, so this might get ugly.

    Langland: Broncos, 37-20

    Kelly will do his best to keep the Broncos on their toes, but the Eagles secondary has too many holes to shut down the NFL's best aerial assault.

    Kruse: Broncos, 38-24

    The Denver offense is something to behold once it gets revved up. And who really expects this Philly defense to hang with Peyton Manning and friends, especially on the road?

Dallas Cowboys at San Diego Chargers

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    B/R Consensus Pick: Cowboys (8-4)

    Schottey: Chargers, 27-21

    Maybe I'm putting too much stock in home-field advantage, but I just don't believe the Cowboys are as good as they looked against the Rams. Meanwhile, the Chargers are a much more complete team than they were last season. 

    Bowen: Cowboys, 26-24

    The Cowboys showed us they could run the ball to protect Tony Romo in the Week 3 win over Rams. That continues as they knock off the Chargers out West.

    Schalter: Chargers, 28-24

    I predicted a hiccup against the Rams, and it didn't happen. The Chargers are playing much better ball than the Rams, though, and they're hosting the Cowboys to boot.

    Freeman: Cowboys, 31-14

    Dallas has quietly become one of the best teams in the league.

    Miller: Chargers, 27-24

    No commentary due to paternity leave.

    Frenz: Cowboys, 24-16

    No pressure should be no problem for Romo and the Cowboys offense. Philip Rivers is in for a rude awakening against a Dallas defense that has really come together under the scheme of new coordinator Monte Kiffin.

    Hangst: Cowboys, 30-24

    Dallas' only loss this year has come on the road, but its easy dispatch of the St. Louis Rams in Week 3 solidified it as the only team in the NFC East that looks hard to beat. The Chargers have a lot of positives on their season thus far, but they won't be able to handle their high-powered visitors this Sunday.

    Hansen: Cowboys, 34-17

    San Diego’s secondary is a disaster. When Dwight Freeney isn’t getting to the quarterback, the Chargers don’t have anyone else who can. This should be a big game for Romo and Dez BryantSan Diego’s patchwork offensive line is also banged up, which could make it harder for Philip Rivers to produce, especially if he has to throw a lot more passes.

    Bardeen: Cowboys, 27-20

    Romo should pick apart this San Diego secondary, not only because the matchup is favorable, but because he should have plenty of time. Rivers, on the other hand, won't.

    Gagnon: Cowboys, 24-21 

    The Chargers played pretty well out East and have been better than I expected this season. At home, this is a toss-up against a Cowboys team that is equally as unpredictable. Ultimately, I'm giving a slight edge to a defense that has more bite and an offense that has more talent, even on the road.

    Langland: Cowboys, 23-21 

    Kiffin's defense is the real deal. Rivers won't even know what hit him come Sunday.

    Kruse: Chargers, 24-20

    San Diego could very easily be 3-0 right now. I also want to see the Cowboys put together back-to-back good weeks before I jump on the bandwagon.

New England Patriots at Atlanta Falcons

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    B/R Consensus Pick: Falcons (7-5)

    Schottey: Patriots, 23-17

    It's difficult picking against the Falcons at home, but I have to go with the team I believe has a better chance to figure it out on offense. The Falcons haven't been a tough out this season, and Tom Brady will find a way, even if it isn't pretty. 

    Bowen: Falcons, 24-23

    I don't like the matchup of the Patriots secondary versus Julio Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez. The Falcons get back to .500 with the Sunday night win.

    Schalter: Patriots, 21-20

    The Falcons are outplaying everyone and losing, and the Patriots are getting outplayed and winning. The pattern should reverse itself eventually, but I'm taking the Patriots this week.

    Freeman: Patriots, 24-21

    The Pats will get their first test against a good team, and Brady will help them pass. 

    Miller: Patriots, 35-28

    No commentary due to paternity leave.

    Frenz: Patriots, 21-13

    The Falcons pass defense has not been good this year, and the Patriots offense finally found its rhythm in Week 3. On the other side, the Patriots secondary may be one of the few in the NFL that can match up with the Falcons' potent offense. Gonzalez could have a field day, but the big plays will be kept to a minimum.

    Hangst: Falcons, 30-28

    The Falcons are dealing with numerous injuries, but the Patriots aren't exactly the picture of perfection they once were. Heading into Atlanta on a Sunday night is never an easy time. Matt Ryan will propel the Falcons to a much-needed win.

    Hansen: Falcons, 30-28

    It’s tough to bet against the Patriots when they might have Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola back from injury, but both of them could still be limited. The Falcons should have success against the New England secondary at home. I expect a high-scoring game, but the receivers in Atlanta are more trustworthy right now.

    Bardeen: Falcons, 33-30

    White is nearing 100 percent. If that happens this week, Matt Ryan will have all three of his big targets. That, in addition to the fact that Mike Smith rarely loses back-to-back games and rarely loses at home, means Atlanta gets back to .500.

    Gagnon: Falcons, 30-27

    The Patriots might be 3-0, but they've been merely staying afloat and avoiding disaster against bad teams. Now they're in Atlanta, where the Falcons rarely lose. Atlanta should also be hungry. No way that team falls to 1-3.

    Langland: Falcons, 30-27 

    The Falcons are a bit banged-up right now, but so are the Patriots. For me, the talent pool of Atlanta is superior to that of the Patriots. Plus, the Falcons always show up to play in front of their home crowd.

    Kruse: Falcons, 23-20

    If playing at home in prime time isn't motivation enough for Atlanta, then staring a 1-3 start in the face should be. Ryan simply has more to work with than Brady at this point.

Miami Dolphins at New Orleans Saints

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    Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

    B/R Consensus Pick: Saints (10-2)

    Schottey: Saints, 31-23

    The Dolphins defense is going to rough Drew Brees up a bit, but they just don't have the bodies to match up as the Saints spread it out 3-, 4- and 5-wide. Brees can take a hit as well as any quarterback and still complete a touchdown pass. In the end, he'll out-duel Ryan Tannehill, which is tougher than it used to be. 

    Bowen: Saints, 27-19

    The Dolphins are a solid 3-0 football team, but the Saints are too tough at home. Look for another big game from Jimmy Graham.

    Schalter: Saints, 28-27 

    Finally, a stellar Monday Night Football matchup. The Saints pass offense against the Dolphins pass defense is must-see TV. I'll still take Brees at home.

    Freeman: Dolphins, 22-20 

    One of the best stories in football continues because of Tannehill.

    Miller: Saints, 35-28

    No commentary due to paternity leave.

    Frenz: Saints, 19-17

    The Dolphins will prove in this game that they can contend with even the best teams in the NFL, but a slew of injuries—including to defensive star Cameron Wake—could be their undoing.

    Hangst: Saints, 27-17

    The Miami Dolphins offseason of improvement appears to have mostly paid off, with the team tied for first in the AFC East. But the Saints are especially good at home, and their new Rob Ryan 3-4 defense seems to have finally taken hold. Saints get the win.

    Hansen: Saints, 28-24

    I like the Dolphins, but New Orleans is playing great football and is tough to beat at home. It’s amazing the way Ryan’s defense is playing, and I have no explanation for it. The Dolphins could be missing Wake, so Brees should have a little extra time to find Graham.

    Bardeen: Saints, 27-20

    The Falcons were just a warm-up for the passing attack Brees and the Saints will show. I expect Graham to continue to shine and the new and improved Saints defense to confuse Tannehill.

    Gagnon: Saints, 30-21

    I don't know if the Saints defense is for real, but at least they're at home. Besides, I also don't know if Miami is for real, especially without Wake. 

    Langland: Saints, 31-30 

    Ryan's defense and Sean Payton's return to the sideline have me believing in the Saints again. I can't say the same for the Dolphins. Tannehill is a good player, yet there's no way he trades scores with Brees all game long.

    Kruse: Dolphins, 27-20

    I've picked against the Dolphins in each of the first three weeks. Lesson learned. Joe Philbin's club can play.

    Michael Schottey is the NFL National Lead Writer for Bleacher Report and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Find more of his stuff at The Go Route.


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