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NFL Pick 'Em: Week 4

Posted: September 25, 2013 - 7:13pm

A strong 9-5-2 performance against the spread after week three leveled our season record at 22-22-4. A good spot to be considering the disastrous opening week of the season. Remember, anything over 53% against the spread is considered a quality mark in Vegas. Win at a 60% plus clip and you’ll become an incredibly popular man on the strip. Picking winners against the spread is difficult. It’s not for everyone. That’s why I encourage you to let your football heart rest easy each Sunday and blindly follow my lead to the cashier’s line.

There are a number of great matchups in week four of the NFL season. The slate gets off to a rocking starting Thursday evening with a critical NFC West matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and St. Louis Rams. The NFC West is widely considered to be the top division in football yet after three weeks the Seattle Seahawks are the only team with a winning record. The 49ers are particularly puzzling. San Francisco entered the season the clear favorite to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl and now they find themselves fighting to stay relevant. The week closes with a pair of great games on Sunday and Monday Night Football with the New England Patriots visiting the Atlanta Falcons and the Miami Dolphins travelling to New Orleans to play the Saints.

We’ve dug deeper into each every matchup for week four. I’m confident you can take these picks to the bank! Good luck and go Seahawks!

San Francisco 49ers @
ST. LOUIS RAMS +3

Looks like the bully of the NFC isn’t so tough after getting punched in the mouth back to back weeks. The 49ers are officially reeling after a shocking 27-7 loss to the Indianapolis Colts at home last Sunday. Colin Kaepernick can’t complete a pass and the defense is struggling with injuries and suspensions to star players Patrick Willis and Aldon Smith. The Rams have had success against the 49ers in recent years including a 16-13 win in the Edward Jones Dome just a season ago. Neither team can afford a 1-3 start in the tightly contested NFC. A short week favors the home side. Rams win 20-14

BALTIMORE RAVENS @ Buffalo Bills +4

The Ravens have found their footing after the Mile High Meltdown to open the season. Baltimore has won the past two weeks behind strong defensive efforts at home against the Cleveland Browns and Houston Texans. Star RB Ray Rice remains questionable to return from a hip injury. Buffalo has been competitive each week despite a number of injuries and the inconsistent play of rookie QB E.J. Manuel. The hallowed grounds of Ralph Wilson Stadium is always a tough place to play but expect the Ravens to pull out the victory. Ravens win 23-16

CINCINNATI BENGALS @ Cleveland Browns +4

The Brown Baggers, led by third string QB Brian Hoyer, pulled off a miraculously victory last Sunday in Minnesota just a few short days after trading their best offensive player Trent Richardson. Despite Richardson’s absence the Browns have emerging threats in WR Josh Morgan and monstrous TE Jordan Cameron. The Bengals are coming off a thrilling victory of their own against the Green Bay Packers. Cincinnati rallied from a 30-14 second half deficit to edge the Cheese Heads. The Bengals defense appears to be as vicious as the mascot that represents them. Bengals win 26-17

CHICAGO BEARS @
Detroit Lions +2

The undefeated Chicago Bears travel to Detroit to face the 2-1 Lions in a key early season NFC North matchup. The Bears appear rejuvenated under the guidance of first-year coach Marc Trestman. Detroit is an offensive juggernaut led by Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, and Reggie Bush. That offense suffered a blow this week however with WR Nate Burleson crashing his car while trying to stop a pizza from spilling in his vehicle. That sounds crazy but it’s true. Burleson’s absence will allow the Bear to focus on stopping Johnson without fear over getting burned on the other side of the field. A solid defensive efforts combined with the leadership skills of QB Jay Cutler will net the Bears a huge road win within the division. Bears win 30-23

New York Giants @
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS -5

The New York Giants are a train wreck. The team absolutely quit last week against a very average Carolina Panthers team during a 38-0 beatdown. The offensive line couldn’t block their own shadow. The Giants possess zero ability to run the football and poor Eli Manning is running for his life when he drops back to pass. That’s a recipe for disaster in the raucous environment they’re entering this Sunday. Kansas City is a brutal place to play and Chiefs fans will be something less than hospitable riding the heels of their 3-0 start to the season. Chiefs win 27-10

PITTSBURGH STEELERS @ Minnesota Vikings +2

The Steelers and Vikings pair up for the NFL’s annual trip across the Atlantic to play in London, England. Both teams enter the game with 0-3 records. The Steelers line play is a mess and Big Ben appears no longer capable of carrying the offense by himself. The Vikings actually made the playoffs last season behind the efforts of all world RB Adrian Peterson. Vikings QB Christian Ponder may have scored the greatest touchdown of all last season marrying Sam Steele but his play on the field has sharply declined ever since. Perhaps his mind isn’t on football. When in doubt side with the home team. Unfortunately there is no home team. Coin flip. Steelers win 23-20

Arizona Cardinals @
TAMPA BAY BUCS -3

The 0-3 Buccaneers have finally removed incumbent QB Josh Freeman from under center. Whether or not Freeman could be a viable NFL signal caller is debatable, but it certainly wasn’t working for him in Tampa. The Bucs are turning to North Carolina State rookie Mike Glennon in hopes of reviving an offense that’s been on life support. Just week ago I was buying stock in the Arizona Cardinals. This week I’m selling. The Cardinals were crushed in New Orleans last Sunday and will travel to Tampa without all three starting linebackers. It’s time for Tampa Bay to feed the Muscle Hamster. Bucs win 24-17

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS @ Jacksonville Jaguars +10

The Jaguars are the worst team in football. Rarely in the NFL can you make definitive statements but it’s safe to say that no other franchise is as inept as Jacksonville. Not even the Cleveland Browns. That’s remarkable. The Colts are coming off a resounding 27-7 win against a meek 49ers squad in San Francisco. Indianapolis’ rushing attack was very effective with the newly acquired Trent Richardson and veteran Ahmad Bradshaw toting the pigskin. If wunderkind QB Andrew Luck finally has a viable run game to sell play action fakes off of the Colts offense may prove unstoppable. Colts win 29-13

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS @ Houston Texans +3

The Seahawks travel to Houston to face a Texans team coming off a tough loss against the Ravens in Baltimore. As a Seahawks fan this game scares me. There a number of factors working against Seattle. It’s a 1:00 pm east coast start time and the Seahawks have traditionally struggled in this time slot. Seattle will also be without All-Pro left tackle Russell Okung. Okung’s absence didn’t matter last week against the lowly Jaguars but J.J. Watt and the Texans defense is a different animal. Russell Wilson will have to resort to his magic act more than few times facing the Texans pass-rush but I’m certain he’s up to the challenge. Can Texans QB Matt Schaub move the ball against the best defense in football? Seahawks win 21-14

New York Jets @
TENNESSEE TITANS -4

The New York Jets are visiting the Tennessee Titans in a surprising matchup of 2-1 teams. Both teams have been early season darlings in Vegas. They have combined 5-0-1 record against the spread. Something has to give this Sunday. Jets rookie QB Geno Smith was brilliant last week at home against the Buffalo Bills but I’m not buying him repeating that performance on the road. This is going to be a low scoring slug it out affair but rookie mistakes leading to costly turnovers for the Jets will be the difference in the contest. Titans win 16-10

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES @ Denver Broncos -12

Things are going to get worse before they get better for embattled first year Eagles Head Coach Chip Kelly. The Philadelphia media had labeled Kelly a genius after an opening week win against the Washington Redskins. We now know a horrid Redskins defense was as responsible for that performance as anyone. The Eagles have lost two straight games since and Kelly’s collegiate approach is being questioned. Facing the Denver Broncos, the top team in the AFC, is not the best opportunity to turn things around but a meaningless late TD gives the Eagles a backdoor cover. Broncos win 38-27

WASHINGTON REDSKINS @ Oakland Raiders -3

The fact that the Oakland Raiders have been favored twice through four games is astonishing. The Raiders are bad at football. The Washington Redskins have clearly struggled getting off to a 0-3 start to year. I just can’t imagine a Robert Griffin III led team starting the year 0-4. The Raiders may be without starting QB Terrelle Pryor due to a brain injury. Much of Oakland’s success has been created by Pryor’s ability to escape the pocket and create positive plays on the move. Backup QB Matt Flynn does not share that trait. Redskins win 27-16

Dallas Cowboys @
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS -1

The Cowboys impressed last week dominating the St. Louis Rams in Jerry World. Of course we’re familiar with the Cowboys routine led by Tony Romo. We knew the Cowboys would play well coming off a disappointing loss the Kansas City Chiefs the week prior. Now coming off a resounding victory we can safely expect the Cowboys to play miserably in San Diego. It’s who the Cowboys are. They despise prosperity. Chargers QB Philip Rivers is experiencing a late career revival this season. Rivers quality play continues against an over confident Dallas team. Chargers win 27-23

New England Patriots @ ATLANTA FALCONS -1

The 1-2 Falcons are desperate for a win. Atlanta began the season with Super Bowl aspirations. A 1-3 start to the season would put the Falcons in a ditch so deep they may never get out. The Patriots are undefeated through three weeks but haven’t looked nearly as dominant as they’ve been in past seasons. The Patriots simply aren’t that good. Their 3-0 record is boosted by matchups against bottom feeders in the Buffalo Bills, New York Jets, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, hardly murderer’s row. Falcons win 31-24

Miami Dolphins @
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS -7

I’m on the Dolphins band wagon. I like everything about their team minus the new child approved logo. The Saints are an experienced, undefeated team with a future Hall of Fame quarterback in Drew Brees. I wonder if the Monday Night stage against a former Super Bowl champion quarterback is too much for the young fish to tackle. The Dolphins will play well, it will be a fourth quarter game, but the Saints at home will pull away late. Saints win 30-20

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