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September 27, 2018

Week 4 NFL picks

For the gambling degenerates, here are my Week 4 NFL picks. To note, the team logos 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.


Vikings at Rams (-7): Starting corner Aqib Talib is out and Marcus Peters almost certainly will be as well, which is concerning against a Vikings team with a good pair of wide receivers in Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. So the Vikes have that going for them.

Unfortunately, the Vikings are a mess at the moment after getting blown out at home by arguably the least talented team in the NFL. Meanwhile, their best pass rusher, Everson Griffen, is going through some mental issues and likely won't be playing anytime soon. Now they have to travel out to LA on a short week.


Jets at Jaguars (-7.5): The Jaguars' swarming defense against a rookie quarterback feels like a pretty easy call.


Dolphins at Patriots (-7): I've seen some media types scoff at the notion that the Pats' dynasty is coming to an end, and that their 1-2 start is just a normal early-season hiccup they've experienced in the past. I mean, they'll get things right and return everything to the way it should be, right? Maybe. We'll see.

I will say that if an alien football scout from some other planet with no knowledge of previous seasons parachuted in and observed this NFL season through three weeks, he/she/it would think the Pats were a bottom-third team. They look like crap.

Still, the Pats own a nine-game winning streak over the Dolphins at home, and even at 3-0 this Miami team doesn't inspire much confidence.


Eagles (-4) at Titans: The Titans want to run the ball, a lot, even if they're not even very good at it, which plays right into the hands of the Eagles, who had the No. 1 run defense in the NFL in 2017, and currently have the No. 1 run defense through three games in 2018. In the passing game, Marcus Mariota is having trouble gripping the football, backup Blaine Gabbert is concussed, and the Titans have two offensive touchdowns so far this season.

The Titans do have a very good defense, which stole a pair of divisional games against the Jags and Texans, but Carson Wentz will find a way to put enough points on the board to outscore Tennessee's woeful offense.


Texans at Colts (-1): The Texans' offensive line is just so, so bad. We goof on the Giants' O-line quite a bit here, but Houston's is next-level awful.  


Bills at Packers (-10): I'll take 10 points, thank you very much.


Lions at Cowboys (-3): So Vegas essentially thinks the Cowboys are as bad as the Lions, given the three-point spread for the home team. I think Dallas is actually worse. Their receivers and tight ends might be the worst in the league, and their once very good offensive line has stunk. Conversely, the Lions have played better after a Week 1 debacle against the Jets.


Buccaneers at Bears (-3): Before the season began, this looked like a game between two irrelevant teams that the Red Zone channel would ignore all day. But after three weeks, there's an argument to be made that the Bucs have looked like the most explosive offense in the league, while the Bears have had the best defense.

My logic here is that I'm pretty certain that the Bears' defense isn't going anywhere, while I'm not so certain that Ryan Fitzpatrick can maintain his level of play.


Bengals at Falcons (-5.5): Before the season began, I picked the Falcons to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, and through three weeks they're making me look bad. They're decimated in the middle of the field, as they're missing both starting safeties as well as star linebacker Deion Jones. I do like them to handle the Bengals at home, though.


Seahawks (-3) at Cardinals: Hey, remember when these two teams owned the NFC West? Not anymore. The Seahawks are a shell of their former selves, and the Cardinals' offense is so pathetic that they average 8.1 yards per completion. There are 10 quarterbacks averaging more yards per attempt.

The Cards benched Sleevie Wonder, which is a step in the right direction, but they still have a whole lot of losing left to do this season. 


Browns at Raiders (-3): The Browns suddenly have a little juice after winning their first game in almost two years. They have a trio of top five picks in Miles Garrett, Denzel Ward, and of course, Baker Mayfield, all paying immediate dividends. They look like a team with something to play for, while the Raiders have predictably wilted after trading Khalil Mack for future draft picks that won't be as good as Khalil Mack.


Saints (-3.5) at Giants: This line is only 3.5? Sold.


49ers at Chargers (-10.5): With Jimmy G having torn his ACL, the Niners have to turn to backup C.J. Beathard. With Beathard under center last season, the Niners looked like a bottom five team. They're done. 


Ravens at Steelers (-3): I hate picking games when either of these two teams are involved. The Steelers are erratic, and while the Ravens win a lot of games, I just can't get myself to believe in a team led by Joe Flacco. I'll just take the easy way out and pick the home team.


Chiefs (-4.5) at Broncos: The Chiefs are the most fun team right now in the NFL, and I'm just going to ride them until they aren't anymore.

• Picks against the spread: Bills (+10), Lions (+3), Browns (+3), Saints (-3.5).

• Eagles picks: 2-1

• 2018 season, straight up 24-22-2 (0.521)
• 2018 season, ATS: 7-7-0 (.500)
• 2017 season, straight up: 181-86 (0.678)
• 2017 season, ATS: 36-32-2 (0.529)
• 2016 season, straight up: 171-94-2 (0.644)
• 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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