NFL Picks Week 4: Survivor Pool Locks and Games To Avoid

Bailey Brautigan@BBrautiganFeatured ColumnistSeptember 29, 2010

NFL Picks Week 4: Survivor Pool Locks and Games To Avoid

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    MIAMI - SEPTEMBER 26:  Running back LaDanian Tomlinson #21 of the New York Jets runs against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Week 4 of NFL football is almost here, and you're scrambling to figure out which team to pick this week in your survivor pool.

    You may have already used up the Dolphins in Week 1, the Packers in Week 2, and perhaps the Colts in Week 3, so who's left?

    You might be tempted to take the New York Jets this week against the Bills, but remember:

    You can only use them once.

    I'll break down all the Week 4 games and give you advice on which are solid locks for your pool and which are best to stay away from.

7. Stay Away: Denver at Tennessee

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 26:  Chris Johnson #28 of the Tennessee Titans breaks for a long run during a game against the New York Giants at New Meadowlands Stadium on September 26, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty I
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Line: Titans at -6.5

    Why This Pick is Toxic: The Titans are 2-1 this season, and both of their wins were pretty convincing. Sure, they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers, but who hasn't these days?

    The Broncos have had a tough season so far with injuries and an unbelievable tragedy, but I refuse to underestimate this team. Kyle Orton is emerging as a top 10 quarterback, making the Broncos offense look very strong despite the absence of Knowshon Moreno.

    It might be tempting to pick the Titans as 6.5 point favorites, but beware! This game will be closer than you think!

    Predicted Score: Broncos 21, Titans 24

7. Solid Lock: Arizona at San Diego

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    SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 26:  Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers passes under pressure from Chris Clemons #91 of the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field on September 26, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks defeated the Chargers 27-20.(Ph
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Line: Chargers at -8

    Why This is a Lock: Both of these teams seem to be struggling this season, with the Chargers' only win coming from a less than mediocre team in the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Cardinals barely getting their win over the Oakland Raiders.

    But I think the Bolts will step it up this week. San Diego is off to a slow start, but they have playoff potential. And you'll see that on Sunday. I'll even give them the points.

    Predicted Score: Cardinals 13, Chargers 27

6. Stay Away: Cincinnati at Cleveland

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    BALTIMORE - SEPTEMBER 26:  Peyton Hills #40 of the Cleveland Browns is stopped by Jameel McClain #53 of the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Browns 24-17. (Photo by Larry French/Get
    Larry French/Getty Images

    Line: Bengals at -3

    Why This Pick is Toxic: AFC North matchups are never a good idea for survivor pools because you never know what could happen with these rivalries. The Browns hate the Bengals. The Bengals hate the Ravens. The Ravens hate the Steelers. And so on.

    Carson Palmer has been pretty shaky so far this season, and the Browns running game is looking really good. The Bengals are the better team, but the Browns kept up with the Ravens last week.

    I'm even predicting an upset here.

    Predicted Score: Bengals 21, Browns 24

6. Solid Lock: San Francisco at Atlanta

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    NEW ORLEANS - SEPTEMBER 26:  Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons throws the ball against the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome on September 26, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The Falcons defeated the Saints 27-24.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/G
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Line: Falcons at -7

    Why This is a Lock: I really liked the 49ers at the beginning of the season, but they have continued to disappoint me. Matt Ryan is phenomenal at home, and the Falcons are coming off a big win over the New Orleans Saints.

    If the 49ers couldn't get it done against the Chiefs or the Seahawks, they won't get the win over the Falcons.

    Predicted Score: 49ers 17, Falcons 31

5. Stay Away: Seattle at St. Louis

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    SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 26:  Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck #8 of the Seattle Seahawks passes against the San Diego Chargers at Qwest Field on September 26, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks defeated the Chargers 27-20. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Ima
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Line: Seahawks -1

    Why This Pick is Toxic: The Seahawks have been very impressive so far this season, but rookie quarterback Sam Bradford seems to be getting the hang of things in St. Louis.

    Both teams are coming off big Week 3 wins, and (as the line reflects) this really could go either way.

    Predicted Score: Seahawks 21, Rams 13

5. Solid Lock: Oakland at Houston

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    HOUSTON - SEPTEMBER 26:  Running back Arian Foster #23 of the Houston Texans rushes against the Dallas Cowboys in the second quarter at Reliant Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Line: Texans at -3

    Why this is a Lock: The Texans suffered their first loss in Week 3 to the Dallas Cowboys, and the Raiders almost got the win over the Arizona Cardinals.

    But, Houston is simply a much better team. The Texans will put up too many points for the Raiders to have a shot at keeping up.

    Predicted Score: Raiders 17, Texans 31

4. Stay Away: Chicago at New York Giants

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    CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 27:  Matt Forte #22 of the Chicago Bears runs the ball against Tramon Williams #38 of the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field on September 27, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Line: Giants at -4

    Why This Pick is Toxic: The Chicago Bears are undefeated, and even though they have had some luck with their wins, we have to admit that they play some down and dirty football. The Bears impress me because their wins may not have been pretty, but Chicago is only concerned about getting the W.

    The Giants look awful. Their only win was over the Carolina Panthers. Need I say more?

    Still, I think we have yet to see what either team is truly capable of, so your guess is as good as mine on this one.

    Predicted Score: Bears 27, Giants 24

4. Solid Lock: Indianapolis at Jacksonville

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    DENVER - SEPTEMBER 26:  Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts takes the field to run the offense against the Denver Broncos at INVESCO Field at Mile High on September 26, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Colts defeated the Broncos 27-13.
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Line: Colts at -7.5

    Why This is a Lock: The Colts have the best quarterback in the NFL, and the Jags have...

    Can anybody name a player on the Jaguars besides Maurice Jones-Drew?

    The Colts win this one easily.

    Predicted Score: Colts 34, Jags 20

3. Stay Away: Baltimore at Pittsburgh

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    BALTIMORE - SEPTEMBER 26:  Anquan Boldin #81 of the Baltimore Ravens passes against the Cleveland Browns  at M&T Bank Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Browns 24-17. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
    Larry French/Getty Images

    Line: Steelers at -1

    Why This Pick is Toxic: This is the game I am looking forward to the most in Week 4, but that doesn't mean you should pick either team.

    Again, this is an AFC North matchup, so it should be avoided at all costs. It will be a close one, but (as much as it pains me to say this) I think the Ravens will hand the Steelers their first loss of the season.

    Predicted Score: Ravens 17, Steelers 14

3. Solid Lock: Carolina at New Orleans

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    SAN FRANCISCO - SEPTEMBER 20:  Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints in action during their game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on September 20, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Line: Saints at -13.5

    Why this is a Lock: The Panthers may be the worst team in the NFL. They have to rely on a rookie quarterback, and they got stomped by the Bengals last week.

    The Saints may have lost to the Falcons, but they are still one of the top teams in the NFC.

    Carolina won't be able to pull off the upset at the Superdome.

    Predicted Score: Panthers 10, Saints 31

2. Stay Away: Washington at Philadelphia

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    JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 26:  Quarterback Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles is sacked by safety Sean Considine #37 of the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on September 26, 2010 in Jacksonville, Florida. The Eagles defeated the Jaguars 2
    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    Line: Eagles at -6

    Why This Pick is Toxic: Michael Vick has been explosive so far this season, but he has yet to start against some serious competition.

    Donovan McNabb will return to Philadelphia as a Redskin, and he will be looking to make a statement to his former team.

    I'll pick the Eagles to win, but try to avoid this game in your survivor pool if at all possible.

    Predicted Score: Redskins 24, Eagles 31

2. Solid Lock: Detroit at Green Bay

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    CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 27:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers throws a pass against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 27, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears won 20-17. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Line: Packers at -14.5

    Why This is a Lock: The Packers host the Lions. Do you really need more of an explanation?

    Green Bay is better on both sides of the ball, and the Lions are still missing Matthew Stafford. And Jahvid Best is still questionable.

    I'll give the Packers the points at Lambeau.

    Predicted Score: Lions 10, Packers 35

1. Stay Away: New England at Miami

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    FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 26:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots checks the clock against the Buffalo Bills in the second half at Gillette Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    Line: Patriots at -1

    Why This Pick is Toxic: This could be the best Monday Night Football matchup of the season. Both of these teams have lost to the Jets, and this game will be a battle for the top of the AFC East.

    Both of these teams will be solid survivor picks as the season progresses, but this game really could go either way.

    Predicted Score: Patriots 24, Dolphins 20

1. Solid Lock: New York Jets at Buffalo

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    MIAMI - SEPTEMBER 26:  Running back LaDanian Tomlinson #21 of the New York Jets runs against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Line: Jets at -5.5

    Why This is a Lock: Can someone please tell me why the Jets are only favored by 5.5 points? Sure, the Bills performed better than expected against the Patriots, but the Jets beat the Pats.

    And the Bills are terrible.

    Take the Jets.

    Predicted Score: Jets 28, Bills 17