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September 28, 2017

Week 4 NFL picks

Eagles NFL

For the gambling degenerates, here are my Week 4 NFL picks. To note, the helmets indicate who I think will win the game, not cover the spread. At the end of the picks, I'll note a few teams that I like based on the spread.

Bears at Packers (-7): The Bears beat the Steelers last week and the Packers barely eked out a win at home over the lowly Bengals. Recency bias is the reason this line is only 7. Packers all day.

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Saints (-3) at Dolphins: I think it's easy to look at this game and say, "Drew Brees vs. Jay Cutler, huh? Yeah, I'll take the Saints, thanks."  That's not awful logic, but the Saints haven't had a winning record on the road since 2011 and were 16-24 on the road from 2012-2016. Additionally, while the Dolphins lost to a terrible Jets team last week, this was a playoff team a year ago. I saw this team in person for three days during training camp. This is not a bad team. It's difficult for me to pick road favorite with a defense as bad as the Saints'.

Update: Oops, this game is in London, so while it's not a true 'home game' for the Dolphins, the Saints are still playing away from their dome.

Bills at Falcons (-8): The Falcons might be the best team in the NFL through the first month of the season.

Steelers (-3) at Ravens: Who loses 44-7 to the Jaguars? Awful.

Bengals (-3) at Browns: I think some have talked themselves into the Browns having made significant improvements, and I think they'll be a popular pick this week. I don't see it. They are still very clearly a bottom-three team in the NFL, in my view. The Bengals aren't good either, but they still have way more talent than Cleveland.

Rams at Cowboys (-6.5): I think there's a valid debate over whether or not Zeke Elliott is the same runner this year that he was last year. He certainly doesn't look like it. At a minimum, either Zeke or his offensive line, which is obviously the greatest five men ever assembled on a football field, are not matching last year's performance.

Still, I'm not buying this Rams team because they beat the garbage Niners and Colts.

Titans (-1.5) at Texans: The Texans have won five straight at home over the Titans by a combined score of 160-85. In Week 3, they nearly beat the Pats at Gillette. At 1-2 overall (and 0-1 in the division), they have their backs against the wall. While the Titans are looking like AFC South favorites, I like the Texans to pull this one out at home.

Lions at Vikings (no line): Again, the Vikings game has no line, and it's hard to pick their games not knowing if Sam Bradford will play or not. That's getting annoying. I'll just take the Lions, I guess.

Panthers at Patriots (-9): For how good the Panthers' defense is (yes, I'm aware the Saints did some damage last week), I think that getting 9 points is a good value play. 

Jaguars (-3) at Jets: Weirdest stat of the young season so far -- the Jaguars lead the NFL in point differential, at +38.

49ers at Cardinals (-7): Who cares?

Eagles at Chargers (-1): The Chargers are 0-3, but they are nowhere near as bad as their record would indicate. This is a very dangerous team with a good quarterback and two stud edge rushers. I believe that they will find ways to exploit the Eagles' banged-up defense and get pressure on Carson Wentz defensively.

Giants at Buccaneers (-3): Last week, the Giants got solid play from Eli Manning, as good as a performance they could hope for from their offensive line, and their opponent was missing arguably four of their six most important players on defense in the second half. And they still lost. I don't love the Bucs' roster, but I like them to handle their business against what looks like a broken Giants team.

Raiders at Broncos (-2.5): Both of these teams are coming off bad road losses, particularly the Raiders, who got their asses kicked by the Redskins on Sunday night. It's not easy flying cross-country, getting your ass kicked, flying back to the West Coast, having a week of practice, and then playing in freaking Denver.

Colts at Seahawks (-13): Survivor pick alert (we'll keep this going until I fail you). Don't be a hero. Just take the Seahawks at home over this crap Colts team.

Week 1: Bills

Week 2: Raiders

Week 3: Patriots

Week 4: Seahawks

Redskins at Chiefs (-7): I am so tempted to take the Redskins here, but I can't bring myself to do it. The Chiefs are too good.

• Picks against the spread: Bengals (-3), Texans (+1.5), Panthers (+9), Jaguars (-3), Chargers (-1), 
• 2017 season, straight up: 29-18 (.617)
• 2017 season, ATS: 5-6 (.455)
• 2016 season, straight up: 171-94-2 (.644)
• 2016 season, ATS:  41-34 (0.547)
• 2015 season, straight up: 163-93 (0.637)
• 2015 season, ATS: 46-30-2 (0.605)

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