NFL Picks Week 4
This season, I’ll be providing my picks every week for you, our readers. Last year, I was Gridiron’s top NFL Pick’em guru on Tallysight, going 167-99-1 (63%). We’re hoping to have even more success this year! Each week, I’ll give you my picks for the game, and a short write-up centered around the key reason why I’m making the pick that I am. You can also click over to see all our Free NFL picks for the week with more than a dozen Gridiron Experts picking each game.
And we’re off!
Indianapolis (-2.5) @ Chicago
The 2-1 Colts are road favorites against the 3-0 Bears and their new starting QB, Nick Foles. Filling in for the ineffective Mitchell Trubisky, Foles orchestrated a fantastic comeback, leading the Bears to a 30-26 win over Atlanta. Indianapolis’s strength this year has been their defense, as they’ve allowed a mere 18 points over their last two games. They’ve allowed the least points in the NFL so far this year, and rank first in Interceptions (6). Foles will need to be at his best, as he won’t be facing the Falcons’ secondary in this contest. At the same point, the Colts’ last two wins were over the combined 0-7 Vikings and Jets. Something has to give at this point. The Bears have surprised many with their undefeated start, and I don’t think they’re getting enough credit at home. I believe Foles’ magic is just beginning, and I like Chicago to squeak this one out at Soldier Field. Bears 23-21.
Seattle (-6.5) @ Miami
Miami is fresh off of a convincing Thursday Night win over Jacksonville and benefits from the extended rest as they welcome Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. Wilson & Co. have to travel across the country for this contest, but that’s not enough to scare me off of the Seahawks in Week 4. Wilson has been unbelievable so far this year, averaging 308 yards per game, along with a 14 TD: 1 INT ratio. While Seattle might be without Chris Carson, they do have two beasts at WR to spread the ball out to. DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett have combined for 7 TDs through 3 games, and I don’t see them slowing down in Miami. I see Wilson pacing the offense yet again and that they’ll steamroll the Dolphins on their home field. Seahawks 33-18.
Minnesota @ Houston (-3.5)
We’ll have two 0-3 teams squaring off in Houston this weekend as the Vikings visit the Texans. DeShaun Watson hasn’t been his productive self so far this year, as he’s struggled to find a rhythm. Watson has tossed 4 TDs compared to 3 INT so far in this early season while averaging 264 yards per game. The offense sorely misses their former top target, DeAndre Hopkins, and no current Texans wideout has fully stepped up to fill the void. Dalvin Cook was the centerpiece of the Minnesota offense last week, rushing for 181 yards and a TD. Rookie wideout Justin Jefferson also broke out, adding 7 grabs for 175 yards, including a 71-yard touchdown. Both of these teams also rank in the bottom 6 defenses (points against), so I wouldn’t be shocked if this is a true shootout. In the end, I trust Watson to make more clutch throws late in the game and see the Texans taking this game at home… but I’ll take Minnesota with the points. Texans 28-26.
Los Angeles Chargers @ Tampa Bay (-7)
The Chargers head across the country to play Tom Brady and the Bucs in Tampa. Justin Herbert comes into this game averaging 320 passing yards per game since he took over for the injured Tyrod Taylor. During his time as a starter, he’s honed in on RB Austin Ekeler and WR Keenan Allen as his primary weapons. Last week, Ekeler logged 143 total yards, along with a score, as he was used as both a back and a receiver. Allen had his best game of the year, catching 13 balls on 19 (wow) targets for 132 yards and a score. Tampa Bay will want to clamp down on Allen to mitigate the havoc he can wreak. Herbert will have his work cut out for him in the Florida humidity as he faces off with a legend in Brady. In his first three games as a Buccaneer, Brady has averaged just over 250 yards passing and added 6 TD passes compared to 3 INT. With Chris Godwin due to miss some time with a hamstring injury, Brady will need to focus again on Mike Evans. If Scotty Miller misses this contest with his hip ailment, look for Rob Gronkowski to grow on his decent output from last week. When push comes to shove, I don’t see Herbert being able to keep pace with Brady in this one, even if the Bucs’ offensive weapons aren’t at full strength. With that said, I think the rookie will keep this game competitive, backed by a stout defense that allows less than 20 points per game. The key is the pass rush. If the Chargers can get to Brady, they have a shot. Buccaneers 24-20.
Cleveland @ Dallas (-4.5)
Cleveland has a winning record through 3 weeks, while the Cowboys have stumbled to a 1-2 start. However, the Dallas schedule hasn’t exactly been a walk in the park. Their two losses are to two NFC West opponents (Seattle & LA Rams) that are a combined 5-1. Dak Prescott has thrown for more yards than any other QB in the game and has led Dallas to the highest total yardage in the league through 3 weeks (503.3 ypg average.) Despite the yardage, Prescott has only logged 5 TD passes. However, he’s spread the ball out exceptionally well, with Amari Cooper (25 rec/267 yards), Michael Gallup (11/246), and CeeDee Lamb (16/230) all producing early on. Ezekiel Elliott has produced moderately on the rushing end, scampering for 219 yards and 3 scores. Cleveland’s strength has been their duo of running backs, Nick Chubb (292 yards & 4 TD), and dual-threat Kareem Hunt (104 rushing yards & 1 TD / 42 receiving yards & 2 TD). QB Baker Mayfield has failed to establish a rhythm with WRs Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, as the pair has combined for just under 300 yards through 3 games. Mayfield will need to connect with Beckham and Landry early and often to keep pace. The Browns’ offense is at its best when it can lean on Chubb and Hunt to provide a balanced approach with a solid mix of rushing and passing. If Cleveland goes down early and has to rely on the passing game exclusively, this could get ugly. I think the Cowboys’ offense is just too potent for Cleveland to shut down. I’ll take Dallas at home. Cowboys 31-25.
Baltimore (-13) @ Washington
Baltimore won’t have to travel far to face off with the Washington Football Team. The Ravens fell to the Cheifs on Monday Night Football, as QB Lamar Jackson struggled mightily, throwing for a mere 97 yards and one TD. The rushing attack wasn’t much better, as Jackson led the way with 83 yards. This team is a run-first attack, which sets up their passing production. I’d suspect they’ll work hard to establish the run on Sunday before turning to Jackson to toss the ball for some knockout blows. Washington has stumbled to two losses after winning their season opener. Dwayne Haskins Jr. has averaged just over 208 yards per game and has tossed 4 TD compared to 3 INT. Terry McLaurin remains his favorite target, as he’s averaged just under 90 yards per game with one score. Here’s the main concern for Washington: their offense is subpar (26th in points per game) and the Baltimore defense doesn’t give up many points (3rd least points against.) With Washington’s middle-of-the-pack defense across the ball, Lamar should thrive. I just don’t see the Football Team scoring enough points to keep up with the reigning MVP. Ravens 30-12.
Jacksonville @ Cincinnati (-3)
Joe Burrow returns home after two consecutive road games. He’ll face off with the Jaguars, who have lost two straight. Jacksonville’s last defeat came at the hands of Miami, who dismantled them on Thursday Night Football last week. Both of these teams have been middle-of-the-road on both offense and defense. Burrow has shown some early promise, while Gardner Minshew II has flashed a few times. The biggest detriment to the Bengals’ offense has been the performance of Joe Mixon. Through 3 games, Mixon has rushed for 54.7 yards on just over 17 attempts per game. Mixon is one of the league’s best running backs, but he hasn’t had a whole lot of room to maneuver behind the suspect Bengals’ offensive line. I do think Mixon has a shot to rebound in this contest, and his production would be greeted warmly. On the other side, Jacksonville RB James Robinson has flourished recently, giving the Jaguars a legitimate threat, unlike any other skill position player they possess. While I think this will be a close back-and-forth affair, I like Burrow to pull out a close one at home, and to cover the spread. Bengals 24-20.
Arizona (-3.5) @ Carolina
Arizona dropped their first game of the season last week while Carolina tallied their first “W”. Kyler Murray will look to improve, as he’s thrown 5 INT so far this season compared to only 4 TD. Early on, Murray has honed in on his new WR DeAndre Hopkins, who has averaged 10.7 receptions and just under 119 yards per game. He’s only scored once but has proven that he’s still one of the game’s best. This Kliff Kingsbury offense is potent, though, and can score points in bunches. Kenyan Drake hasn’t truly broken out yet, and they’ve still managed to be effective offensively. Carolina has struggled with their pass rush this season, logging only 2 sacks (worst in the league.) Look for Murray to have plenty of time to throw on Sunday, and to be effective when he has the chance. Carolina is still missing Christian McCaffrey, and will again turn to Mike Davis and Robby Anderson to lead the offensive attack for Teddy Bridgewater. Even though the Panthers are at home, I have trouble seeing them keep pace with this potent Cardinals offense. Unless they can get to Murray, I think Arizona wins comfortably on the road. Cardinals 26-20.
New Orleans (-4) @ Detroit
New Orleans started the season with a surprising 1-2 record. They now find themselves traveling to tangle with the Lions. Detroit notched a surprising win last week over the Cardinals, handing them their first loss of the season. Both teams have been below average defensively, finding themselves in the bottom third of the league in points allowed. Detroit also hasn’t rushed the passer well, logging a mere 3 sacks (29th in the NFL) through 3 weeks. With Michael Thomas supposedly returning this week, and the legend Drew Brees at the helm for New Orleans, I fear for the Lions if they can’t rush the passer this Sunday. Brees is one of the game’s all-time best and will surely dismantle the Detroit secondary if he’s sitting comfortably in the pocket. Alvin Kamara has been electric in the early going this season, rushing for 153 yards and 3 scores, and adding 285 receiving yards and 3 scores as well. He’s the game’s best dual-threat back right now, and I simply don’t see how the Lions will contain him and Brees- especially if Thomas is back. Detroit’s offense has centered around Adrian Peterson (averaging 70 rushing yards per game) thus far. While Matthew Stafford has tossed 5 TDs, he hasn’t had his weapon, Kenny Golladay, until last week. Kenny G should make a difference, and log some impressive stats, but in the end, I just don’t think Detroit is equipped to slow down Brees, Kamara and Thomas. This game will be closer than many think in Detroit, but I can’t see New Orleans dropping this one. Saints 27-24.
New York Giants @ Los Angeles Rams (-12)
The New York Football Giants travel across the country to face the Rams at SoFi Stadium. At 0-3, the Giants look like a contender for the first pick, while the Rams just might be poised for a run at the playoffs. Jared Goff has been efficient, relying on his two top targets, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. With TE Tyler Higbee and RB Darrell Henderson Jr. coming into his own, the Rams are seemingly laced with offensive threats. New York, on the other hand, has lost so much talent to injury in this young season. Saquon Barkley is out for the year with a torn ACL, while top WR Sterling Shepard also finds himself on Injured Reserve. Instead, they’ll rely on Daniel Jones to make things work with WR Darius Slayton, TE Evan Engram, and RB Devonta Freeman leading the attack. Surely, there’s a reason why Big Blue ranks last in the NFL with 12.7 points scored per game. The Rams, on the other hand, find themselves averaging just under 30 points per game (7th in NFL). I see Goff turning in a workmanlike performance, and Henderson Jr. continuing his breakout in a comfortable home win for Los Angeles. Rams 33-20.
New England @ Kansas City (-7)
Kansas City has looked like the best team in football and will host the Patriots on Monday or Tuesday. Bill Belichick will surely want to win this one bad, as the Patriots have been back-and-forth with Kansas City for the last half-decade. Patrick Mahomes is hard to game-plan for, though. Mahomes leads the game’s best offense with 898 passing yards, and 9 TD compared to 0 INT so far this season. Mahomes & Co. dismantled the Ravens on Monday Night, proving that they’re the best in the AFC. Their offensive attack has seemingly endless options– Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill have combined for 449 receiving yards and 5 TD, while rookie RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire has posted 342 all-purpose yards and a score this season. New England will surely do their best to corral all of these weapons, and slow the game down. The Patriots have the league’s best rushing attack (178 rushing ypg), led by Cam Newton and Sony Michel, along with veteran Rex Burkhead. Unfortunately, Newton will miss this game after testing positive for COVID-19, so the Patriots will turn to Jarrett Stidham or Brian Hoyer. In the end, despite both of these defenses being serviceable, I just don’t think New England has the firepower to fully slow down Mahomes. Until someone proves that they can stop Patrick Mahomes, I’ll take KC every time. I like the Chiefs to win at home by a touchdown, and then some. Chiefs 30-22.
Buffalo (-3) @ Las Vegas
Buffalo comes into this game at 3-0, while the Las Vegas Raiders have started with a 2-1 record. I think the Raiders showed some major flaws last week in their loss to New England. They gave up 36 points and struggled to find a rhythm offensively. While the Raiders’ offense is still 8th in the league with 29.3 points per game, Buffalo’s offense is even better, with 31 points per game, and a potential MVP candidate at the helm in Josh Allen. In his best season yet, Allen is averaging 346 yards per game, which is 2nd best in the NFL. He’s also thrown for 10 TD compared to only 1 INT and has rushed for 2 more scores. With Allen taking better care of the ball through the air, he also needs to do so on the ground. His 3 lost fumbles are the only blemish on an otherwise fantastic season. He’s benefitted from the arrival of Stefon Diggs and the dynamic veteran duo of John Brown and Cole Beasley. I expect this offense to continue its success and take care of business in Las Vegas. Bills 28-25.
Philadelphia @ San Francisco (-7)
Is Carson Wentz finished? Everyone is asking that question. However, Wentz showed some fight late in the Cincinnati game last week, leading his team to a tie. Wentz did lose TE Dallas Goedert to injury, as he was leading the team with 138 receiving yards. Miles Sanders is back from injury and thriving, logging 190 yards in 2 games, and scoring once as well. Sanders seems to be the focal point of this offense and will need to have a fantastic game to withstand this San Francisco defense and keep the Eagles competitive on Sunday. San Francisco enters this home game banged up. They’ll likely be missing Raheem Mostert, Jimmy Garoppolo, Jordan Reed, and Tevin Coleman. Luckily, Jerick McKinnon should be good to go, as will TE George Kittle. With WR Brandon Aiyuk contributing, it seems Kyle Shanahan still has enough firepower to compete with this offense run by Nick Mullens. The backup QB Mullens has been serviceable and I think he’ll do enough to control the offense and execute Shanahan’s orders to pull out a home win over the Eagles here. 49ers 30-20.
Atlanta @ Green Bay (-7.5)
The Falcons’ season has gotten off to a horrible start. They’ve blown huge leads in two consecutive games and travel to Lambeau Field with an 0-3 record. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are waiting there with their sparkling 3-0 mark. Both of these teams tout potent offensive attacks. The Packers lead the league in points scored per game (40.7) while the Falcons rank 6th (30.0). Matt Ryan (961 yards & 7 TD/2 INT) has seemingly endless weapons through the air with Calvin Ridley (21 receptions / 349 yards / 4 TD) standing out as one of the game’s better receivers. Ridley is joined by Julio Jones (11/181/0) and Russell Gage (17/186/1) to form this potent receiving corps. Todd Gurley has rushed for 197 yards and 2 scores this year and could break out at any moment. On the other side, Aaron Rodgers has also been fantastic, tossing for 887 yards, 9 TD, and 0 INT. Surely, facing off with this abysmal Falcons defense, he should shine. Rodgers might get Davante Adams back this week, as he returned to practice on Thursday. Adams’ return comes at the perfect time, as Allen Lazard is now out definitely with a core injury. Aaron Jones has been equally impressive on the ground The difference between these two teams comes on the defensive side of the ball. I think Green Bay holds the edge there, and I just can’t bet on Atlanta making any clutch stops late… especially against Aaron Rodgers… especially at Lambeau. Packers 33-23.
Enjoy the games! Until next week…
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