Week 4 NFL Picks
This season, I’ll be providing my picks every week for you, our readers. I’ve been Gridiron Expers’ Pick ‘Em columnist for the past few seasons, and I’m glad to be back at it again! 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.
For those in pick’em pools or states with legal betting, I hope my picks help you have a great weekend. Be sure to maximize your betting chances this exciting NFL season using Sidelines.io NFL odds page. Or reach out to me on Twitter, love to talk football this weekend.
Welcome back… it’s time for Football!
Washington (-1.5) @ Atlanta
Atlanta stole a game against the Giants last week with a last-second field goal, while the Football Team couldn’t keep up with Buffalo in their contest. Both teams saunter in at 1-2 on the season and haven’t met expectations overall. Matt Ryan and the Falcons’ offense has been awful in the early going, averaging only 16 points per game. Their defense has also been lackluster, allowing the 3rd most points in the league thus far. Washington hasn’t been much better, ranking 19th in scoring offense, and 29th in scoring defense through 3 weeks. The key to this game will be Taylor Heinicke’s ability to get the ball in the hands of his playmakers Antonio Gibson and Terry McLaurin. Although Heinicke has peppered Logan Thomas with opportunities this year, Gibson and McLaurin have yet to hit their groove. While they’ve underperformed, I do believe that the WFT defense is far superior to the Falcons’ defensive unit. I believe that they’ll find the ability to pressure Matt Ryan and limit the touches of Calvin Ridley. If they stick to this formula, I see Washington stealing this one on the road. Football Team 23-20.
Houston @ Buffalo (-16.5)
After Week 1 surprises, both of these teams have fallen back into their predicted performance pattern. Houston has lost 2 straight, while Buffalo has won their last 2 games convincingly after dropping their season opener. Josh Allen turned in a fantastic performance against Washington last weekend, netting 5 total scores and spreading the ball out to everyone in sight. When Allen is at his best, this offense is practically unstoppable. Houston, on the other hand, touts only one bright point- WR Brandin Cooks, who has accumulated 322 yards and a score through 3 games. With very few defensive cornerstones in place, Houston will struggle to slow down Allen, who will look to get Stefon Diggs back to his usual, dominant self. In the first few games, Cole Beasley has been a reception monster (23/194/0), while Emmanuel Sanders has flashed as well (11/194/2), but we all know Diggs makes this offense truly lethal. I predict Allen will look for Diggs early and often, and that the Bills defense will lock down Houston’s attack. All things considered, I believe Buffalo will cover this lofty spread at home and keep their streak alive. Bills 35-14.
Detroit @ Chicago (-2.5)
It’s anyone’s guess who will start at QB in Chicago this weekend. Andy Dalton is nursing a knee injury, Justin Fields had a putrid debut against Cleveland, and Nick Foles is waiting in the wings. Fields’ first start could’ve gone much better, as the Chicago offense totaled 47 (yes, 47) yards. Fields went 6 for 20 for 68 yards passing and was sacked 9 times. Now, this performance was not solely on Fields’ shoulders, but he certainly didn’t ignite the offense as many Chicago faithful hoped he would. Regardless of who’s starting at QB, they’ll need to spark Chicago’s playmakers. David Montgomery has started slow, accumulating 203 yards through 3 games, while Allen Robinson II has totaled 86 yards through 3 contests. Montgomery and Robinson are undoubtedly the catalysts of this offense and will need a jump start for Chicago to be successful. With that said, the Chicago defense has performed well in the early-going, logging 11 sacks (3rd in the NFL) and 3 INTs (7th.) Detroit sits at 0-3 but has exceeded expectations in their first few games. Aside from a big loss to the Packers, Dan Campbell’s team played Baltimore and San Francisco tough, surprising many. Jared Goff, D’Andre Swift, and TJ Hockenson have done their jobs early on and kept Detroit competitive, while RB Jamaal Williams has provided a needed spark at times. With all of the questions surrounding the Chicago offense, I have trouble trusting they’ll figure things out in one week. I’ll take the Lions to pull off the upset in Chicago. Lions 17-16.
Carolina @ Dallas (-4.5)
The Panthers will put their 3-0 record on the line at Jerry World on Sunday, as Carolina has exceeded everyone’s expectations early on this season. They’ve done so on the back of their elite defense, which ranks 2nd in the league allowing only 10 points per game. The Panthers also lead the league in Sacks (13.5) and rank 7th with 3 INTs. Offensively, they’re less exciting, especially given the absence of elite RB Christian McCaffrey. Chuba Hubbard will fill in while McCaffrey is out, but the offense will undoubtedly be far less effective. Sam Darnold will need to lean on the likes of DJ Moore and Robby Anderson to produce with Hubbard in the lineup. Moore has done so thus far, accumulating 285 yards receiving and a score through 3 games. Anderson, on the other hand, needs to break out if this offense hopes to stay relevant. Dallas, on the other hand, is having no trouble scoring, averaging 30 points per game. QB Dak Prescott has impressed in his return from injury, spreading the ball out to his plethora of WR options, and leaning on the run game when he needs to. RBs Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard have been fantastic changes of pace for Prescott, as they’ve rushed for 199 and 183 yards respectively, although Pollard touts a far superior 6.8 yards per carry. It’s worth mentioning that while Carolina is 3-0, they haven’t beat the highest quality opponents to get there (Jets, Saints, Texans.) Dallas is far more battle-tested at this point, and if this game comes down to a late possession, I’d bet on Prescott over Darnold to get the job done, especially at home. Cowboys 28-22.
Indianapolis @ Miami (-2.5)
Carson Wentz looked quite immobile in last weekend’s loss to Tennessee. Combine that injury with other injuries to the likes of Quenton Nelson, DB Rock Ya Sin, and standout DE Kwity Paye, and Indianapolis was at a major disadvantage. Obviously, Wentz’s mobility and ability to evade pressure are part of what makes him effective as a quarterback. Unless his ankles are significantly better this weekend, the Colts’ offense could be in trouble when they head to Miami. RB Jonathan Taylor’s performance and usage have also been of concern through 3 games. The Colts will need him to play a more prominent role to be competitive. The Dolphins are dealing with injuries of their own, with starting QB Tua Tagovailoa missing time and WR Will Fuller seemingly getting injured in overtime last week. Jacoby Brissett will take the helm for Miami, and will look to RB Myles Gaskin and WR DeVante Parker as his top weapons. Also in the fold is rookie WR Jaylen Waddle, who leads the team in receiving through 3 games. Brissett seems to like Waddle, as he targeted him a team-high 13 times last Sunday, once more than TE Mike Gesicki. Between Geiscki and Waddle, Indianapolis will need to focus on slowing down the journeyman Brissett if they want to be competitive. While both teams are banged up, I feel that Miami’s offensive attack is slightly better than that of the Colts. With the Colts floundering between Wentz’s injuries and Taylor’s inexplicable lack of usage, I can’t bring myself to pick Indianapolis here. I expect Waddle and Gaskin to truly break out on Sunday, and for Brissett to manage the game effectively, leading Miami to a close win at home. Dolphins 24-20.
Cleveland (-2.5) @ Minnesota
Cleveland heads to Minnesota with a record of 2-1, while the Vikings await with a 1-2 mark. Minnesota won their first game of the season last week, knocking off the Seahawks in a seemingly impressive victory. Cleveland, on the other hand, continued their winning ways with a 26-6 dismantling of Chicago. Both of these teams rank top-5 in Sacks and will look to pressure the opposing QB as a key to success on Sunday. Baker Mayfield has been average this season, while the team has leaned on its duo of RB studs, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Conversely, Kirk Cousins has paced Minnesota thus far, tossing 8 TDs compared to 0 INT and averaging over 300 yards per game. Stud RB Dalvin Cook missed last week, but Alexander Mattison filled in admirably, logging 171 all-purpose yards. Minnesota also touts WR Justin Jefferson, who took 9 catches for 118 yards and a TD last week in his best game of the season. I do believe that Mayfield is destined for better days this year and that the return of Odell Beckham will help him. I do see Cousins coming back down to earth on Sunday, and the Cleveland defense keeping up its hot start. I’ll take the Browns by a field goal on the road. Browns 27-24.
New York Giants @ New Orleans (-8.5)
The Giants are a mess right now. Although RB Saquon Barkley is inching closer to full health and QB Daniel Jones is playing some mistake-free football, they lack any consistency in the receiving corps. With Sterling Shepard’s injury last week and Kenny Golladay’s inconsistency, the passing game just isn’t all that threatening under Jason Garrett’s guidance. On the other hand, the defense, which was to be NY’s strong suit, has been quite mediocre thus far. New Orleans’ season has been a roller coaster thus far, led by QB Jameis Winston who can look like the best QB out there (Week 1), the worst QB in the league (Week 2), and somewhere in between (Week 3.) You never know which Jameis you’re going to get. With that said, two consistent aspects of the Saints’ attack have been their running game and their defense. Alvin Kamara is one of the league’s best backs and has paced this offense along with Taysom Hill and Tony Jones early on. The defense has been stellar, ceding the 3rd fewest points in the league, and leading the league in INTs. I expect the Giants to continue to struggle in New Orleans, and for Kamara to dominate this contest. While New York might force a turnover or two by the risky Winston, I believe the Saints’ defense will do enough to keep the Giants a score behind for most of the game. I do think the Giants will improve this season, but I don’t expect their upswing to begin this weekend in New Orleans. Saints 30-20.
Tennessee (-7.5) @ New York Jets
Last week, Tennessee knocked off the banged-up Indianapolis Colts in Nashville. Things were bleaker in Denver for the Jets, as they fell to the Broncos 26-0. The Jets have scored a total of 20 points through 3 games, and their rookie QB Zach Wilson hasn’t exactly been effective thus far. Wilson has thrown 7 INTs through 3 games, and only two touchdowns. Michael Carter is the best of the mediocre New York backfield, and despite some early promise, Wilson’s ineffectiveness has hampered WR Corey Davis. The defense hasn’t been awful, but they also haven’t garnered an interception yet this year. The Titans will be coming into this contest a bit less healthy than last week, as WRs AJ Brown and Julio Jones are highly questionable to play in this game. If the star duo of WRs can’t go for Tennessee, QB Ryan Tannehill will rely on the likes of Chester Rogers, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, and perhaps Josh Reynolds. Everyone, including the Jets, knows that the Tennessee offense runs through RB Derrick Henry. Through 3 games, Henry has rushed for 353 yards and 3 scores and looks to be as dominant as ever. The Tennessee defense is also vastly improved, and I don’t see the Jets’ offense breaking out this week. Look for Tennessee to win a controlled, Henry-centric game on the road. Titans 23-12.
Kansas City (-6.5) @ Philadelphia
After falling below .500 for the first time in a very long time, Kansas City will be gunning hard for a victory in Philadelphia. Sitting at 1-2, Patrick Mahomes & Company are in dire need of a victory. Mahomes, as always, has a ton of options to choose from in his offense, with WR Tyreek Hill and TE Travis Kelce leading the way. RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire was KC’s top performer last week, though, rushing for 100 yards on 17 carries and adding a receiving score. Perhaps that was the issue, as Kelce and Hill couldn’t find the end zone, and Mahomes threw 2 INTs. In any event, this Kansas City offense is lethal and will want to light up the scoreboard this weekend in Philadelphia. The Eagles lost their second game in a row on Monday night, and now have to face the Chiefs on short rest. Jalen Hurts has played well so far this year, throwing for 780 yards and 5 TDs through 3 games, while adding a score on the ground. Hurts will need to get his RB corps going, though, to take some attention off of himself. Against Dallas, the game script made it such that Hurts had to throw the ball a ton, and run it himself as well. Miles Sanders and Kenneth Gainwell inexplicably combined for only 4 carries, and the Eagles never had a chance in Dallas. Quez Watkins has been a pleasant surprise for the Eagles, logging 186 yards to lead the team in receiving through 3 games. Philly will need rookie Devonta Smith and TEs Goedert and Ertz to step up if they want to contend in shootouts moving forward. For now, though, I can’t pick against the Chiefs coming off of a loss, especially given how spotty the Eagles’ secondary can be. Give me Kansas City by 2 scores. Chiefs 34-20.
Arizona @ LA Rams (-5.5)
In a showdown of undefeated NFC West teams, we’re in for a treat with this game. To make it even more exciting, both teams rank top 3 in the NFL in points per game. Kyler Murray has led the Arizona offense this year with his dual-threat nature, spreading the ball out to his various weapons almost evenly. While Christian Kirk leads the team with 239 yards, DeAndre Hopkins, Rondale Moore, and AJ Green all have contributed this year and given Murray reliable targets. On the ground, James Conner and Chase Edmonds have split duties almost evenly and spelled Murray effectively. On the other side of the ball, Chandler Jones leads a defensive unit that ranks Top 10 in both interceptions and sacks. Los Angeles touts their own star on the defensive side with the game’s best player Aaron Donald. They also boast a shiny new Quarterback who has been stellar so far this year, Matthew Stafford. The former Detroit Lion has thrown 9 TDs to only 1 INT while averaging 314 yards per game in the young season. He’s peppered WR Cooper Kupp with targets and still has the ever-dangerous Robert Woods at his disposal. I think this is a matchup that you could see again in the playoffs, and it will be a real treat to watch. However, with the chips on the table, I trust Sean McVay to pull the right strings and for Stafford to lead a late drive, delivering a huge win to the surging Rams. Rams 28-27.
Seattle @ San Francisco (-2.5)
This NFC West showdown rounds out the best division in the NFL. Last week, both teams fell to NFC North foes, with Seattle losing to Minnesota by 2 scores, and the 49ers dropping a heartbreaker to Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay. San Francisco sits at 2-1 currently, but their wins (Detroit & Philadelphia) weren’t all that notable. QB Jimmy Garoppolo has managed the team to their two wins without making any stellar contributions. With that said, the 49ers run game is a bit different than it was for Week 1. With a season-ending injury to RB Raheem Mostert, the bulk of carries were going to Eli Mitchell. However, when Mitchell injured his shoulder, Trey Sermon took the lead role. In any event, it’s a revolving door in Kyle Shanahan’s backfield, and we’ll have to see who runs with the job moving forward. A bright point for the 49ers has been WR Deebo Samuel, who has logged 334 yards and a score through 3 games, while All-Pro TE George Kittle and the dynamic Brandon Aiyuk are also available options. For Seattle, Russel Wilson remains at the helm and has been his usual, efficient self to start the year, completing 73% of his passes for almost 900 yards and 7 TDs, without throwing an interception. Wilson focuses on WRs Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf to haul in most of his balls, and they’re far and away one of the league’s best duos. On Sunday, I expect a typical close NFC West game but have to side with Wilson over Garoppolo to lead his team to victory when it counts in the 4th quarter. Seahawks 27-24.
Baltimore @ Denver (-0.5)
Denver has started their season with a surprising 3-0 record and QB Teddy Bridgewater has the Broncos grooving. Baltimore, on the other hand, has won their last two consecutive games to pull their record up to 2-1. Lamar Jackson, the league’s foremost dual-threat, has 5 total touchdowns so far this season, although he seems to be nursing a back injury. If the injury slows Jackson down at all, it’ll be a major deterrent for the Ravens, who are without their top 3 running backs from the beginning of the season. Jackson’s top offensive contributors have been RB Ty’Son Williams (27/164/1), WR Marquise Brown (15/235/2) and Sammy Watkins (12/208/0), along with one of the league’s best TEs in Mark Andrews In any event, Baltimore ranks 3rd in yards per game, and #1 in rushing yards, to no one’s surprise. Denver, on the other hand, ranks 1st in the NFL in points against, having only yielded 26 thus far in 2021. We need to take that with a grain of salt, though, as their schedule has been comprised of the Giants, Jaguars, and Jets through 3 games. They also rank 1st in time of possession and 4th in INTs. Again, if Jackson is hampered at all by the back injury, this Denver defense can make him pay. Teddy Bridgewater has been efficient as the Broncos’ starter this year but has only logged 4 TDs. After the loss of Jerry Jeudy, he’s been honing in on Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick primarily, along with TE Noah Fant. Melvin Gordon III and rookie RB Javonte Williams have split the carries evenly and produced over 100 yards per game combined and 3 scores through 3 games. At this point, I can’t trust this Denver team until I see them play some quality competition. I have a feeling they’re a bit overrated at this point, but we’ll certainly find out when Baltimore comes to town on Sunday. While I think the Broncos will hang tough, I like the Ravens to squeak this one out on the road. Ravens 25-22.
Pittsburgh @ Green Bay (-6.5)
After a disastrous start to their season, the Packers have rebounded and now sit at 2-1. On the other hand, Pittsburgh started with a huge win at Buffalo and has fallen flat the last two consecutive weeks. Aaron Rodgers, as always, is the catalyst of this Green Bay attack, along with the league’s best WR, Davante Adams (25/309/1) and RB Aaron Jones. Jones has been especially productive this year, logging 2 rushing TD, and 3 receiving TD to lead the team in both categories. Aside from the “Big 3” in Green Bay, there haven’t been many other standouts, so their depth leaves some to be desired. Green Bay has also struggled to garner a pass rush this season, having only logged 3.5 sacks through 3 games. They’ll need to get after QB Ben Roethlisberger if they want to be successful against the Steelers. Big Ben isn’t exactly the most mobile and has taken quite a few hits so far this year already. Roethlisberger’s rookie RB, Najee Harris, has filed up the box score early on. While he hasn’t been overly effective as a rusher, Harris has logged 20 receptions for 149 yards and a score, making him a true dual-threat for Big Ben. As always, the Steelers’ trio of receivers Smith-Schuster, Claypool, and Johnson still loom large, but JuJu and Diontae are a bit injured at the moment and remain highly questionable for this contest. LB TJ Watt is also banged up for the Steelers, which certainly won’t help their cause. The last few weeks have been alarming for Pittsburgh, and a trip to Green Bay is never easy, even for fully healthy squads. At this point, I have trouble seeing Pittsburgh competing at Lambeau and think Rodgers and Co. will get the job done. Packers 30-20.
Tampa Bay (-6.5) @ New England
This is inarguably the biggest game of the week, as Tom Brady makes his return to New England. Brady has been stellar this year, at the age of 44, accumulating 1,087 passing yards, along with 10 TDs compared to only 2 INTs through 3 games. Brady has spread the ball out to his big 3 weapons, Evans, Gronkowski, and Godwin, pretty evenly thus far. While the running game struggles a bit as always, the Bucs should see the return of WR Antonio Brown this weekend from the COVID list, making them even more dangerous. Additionally, they also brought in DB Richard Sherman to bolster their decimated secondary. Tampa Bay ranks 1st in points per game (34.3) but also ranks 27th in points against (88 through 3 games.) While they can score with anyone, they certainly have seen their share of challenges defensively. New England, on the other hand, has been quite good defensively, ranking Top 6 in Sacks, INT, and points against through 3 games. Bill Belichick will certainly need to put his best game plan forward to knock off his longtime QB on Sunday night. The concern for New England is their offensive production and if they can keep up with the Bucs. QB Mac Jones has flashed some potential but has largely underwhelmed at the helm for the Patriots thus far. New England’s best offensive options are WR Jakobi Meyers and RB Damien Harris. Unfortunately, while they’ve been solid, neither Meyers nor Harris flash the star potential that we see on the Tampa Bay side. While the narrative of Brady’s return will certainly make this a “must-watch” game, I don’t believe the game will be all that competitive. Look for Tom & Tampa to cruise on Sunday Night. Buccaneers 32-20.
Las Vegas @ LA Chargers (-3.5)
Las Vegas has impressed everyone so far this year and somehow come into this game as a +3.5 point underdog. Derek Carr has averaged over 400 yards per game passing, Jon Gruden has revitalized the career of Peyton Barber (36/143/1), and the Raiders have 4 pass catchers with over 200 yards through 3 games. This offense is dynamic and can come at you from many angles, despite the absence of starting RB Josh Jacobs. TE Darren Waller is the team’s star offensive player and has logged 20 catches through 3 games. While he’s come back down to earth, Waller’s 19 target, 10 catch game in Week 1 shows how heavily involved he can be in the offense, and how dangerous he can be when Carr keys in on him. The Chargers are sitting at 2-1 and upset the Chiefs at Arrowhead last weekend. QB Justin Herbert has led the offense admirably, accumulating 956 yards and 6 scores through 3 contests. In the process, he has brought Mike Williams into the forefront, as the receiver has logged 98.3 yards per game and 4 scores thus far. Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler have been their productive selves, and Los Angeles truly looks like a contender in the AFC. Las Vegas’ defense has been middle of the pack but has rushed the passer well. DE Maxx Crosby is asserting himself as one of the league’s best, and I see him making a big difference on Monday night. Look for Carr to throw the ball all night, and to do so well. He’s on pace for a historic season, and I think Gruden will put all the weight on Carr’s shoulders that he can handle. I think this will come down to the wire, but Las Vegas has been so clutch this season, that I can’t bring myself to pick against them in the 4th quarter. Give me the Raiders to pull the upset and move to 4-0. Raiders 28-27.
Enjoy the games! Until next week…
A former D1 College Wrestler at Boston University, Brad hails from New Jersey. By day, Brad works in the corporate automotive world, but by night, he is an avid sports, football, and fantasy sports enthusiast with a passion for winning. Fun Fact: Brad ran and finished the 2019 Boston Marathon!
Over the past decade, Brad has won dozens of fantasy league championships and has been writing for Gridiron Experts for the past 4 seasons. While he’s surrounded by Giants and Jets supporters, Brad is a diehard Tennessee Titans fan, and, accordingly has dumped a ton of money into NFL Sunday Ticket in his years!