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Week 4 NFL picks against the spread

Case Keenum

Believe it or not, we have reached the final week of the first quarter in the NFL season. Last week was a good one. With an 11-5 mark against the spread. The season mark stands at 26-21-1. Let’s keep rolling.

Thursday Night:

*Vikings at Rams -6.5 This is a tough one. The Rams are really good, but a team that was embarrassed by like the Vikings were last week is always a smart pick, but the road team on Thursday night is always at a tremendous disadvantage. Injury concerns in the L.A. secondary are the deciding factor. Min 27 Lar 24

Sunday:

Bills at Packers -10- Credit to the Bills for destroying the Vikings last week in an upset no one saw coming. However, Buffalo is still bad even though last week was a reason for hope. Lambeau is a tough place to play, especially with the Packers coming off a tough outing. Aaron Rodgers at 70% should be plenty to get the job done this week. At the same time, Buffalo is bound to come down at least a little bit after last week. They are ten point underdogs for a reason. GB 31 Buf 17

Bengals at Falcons -5.5- The Falcons are tough at home and have gone over 25 points a game pretty regularly for the last couple years on the dome turf. Giovanni Bernard is a fine player, but the Bengals need a thumper type back like Joe Mixon to keep the Atlanta offense on the sidelines. His absence will really hurt here. Atl 31 Cin 23

 

NFL picks against the spread
Matt Patricia (Photo by bostonglobe.com)

*Lions at Cowboys -3 This is sports. So, any statement can eventually be made to look foolish. Still, how in the world is Dallas a favorite here? Detroit is not a juggernaut by any stretch, but they are certainly a team with lots of talent on offense that can score. Meanwhile, Dallas has a total of 41 points in three games and is fortunate to have a win on the board. The players to fix that offense are not on the roster right now. Det 24 Dal 17

Texans at Colts -1.5- This number is surprisingly low. Despite winning only one, the Colts have played well in all three games and Andrew Luck looks healthy. Meanwhile, Houston has needed garbage time scores to make their losses look respectable and Deshaun Watson is clearly not the same player he was last year prior to his injury, at least not yet. Ind 20 Hou 13

Dolphins at Patriots -6.5- We have seen the Patriots start slow before. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have earned the benefit of the doubt. That is all this pick and line is about. However, it should be noted that falling behind the surprising Dolphins by three game and losing at least one matchup with them would be a tough hole to dig out of, even for New England. NE 31 Mia 21

Jets at Jaguars -7.5- There is almost no way to envision the Jacksonville defense letting a rookie quarterback get the better of them at home. However, just when we started think Jacksonville is a complete football team, Blake Bortles and the offense went out and laid yet another unexpected egg last week. It is performances like that that make it very difficult to pick the Jags to cover a number of any significance. Jac 17 Nyj 14

Eagles -4 at Titans- Tennessee scored nine points last week and injury concerns surround their top two quarterbacks. There is no reason to think the offense will fare any better this week. Carson Wentz found a way to win and looked okay doing last week in his long-awaited return for the Eagles. Two teams going in opposite directions will play itself out here. Phi 24 Ten 14

Bucs at Bears -3- These teams are somewhat similar. Both have outperformed expectations so far thanks to some good coaching and good play from unexpected sources. The difference is in Chicago is playing at home and has Khalil Mack. Mack may be the only force strong enough to bring Fitzmagic to a complete halt. It was alive and well even in defeat last week. Chi 21 TB 17

 

Baker Mayfield
Photo: Wall Street Journal

Browns at Raiders -2.5- Pump the breaks a little on the Baker Mayfield hype train. Last Thursday was a great start, but that was all it was. Also, Oakland is not as bad as their winless record suggests. They have been in the game late all three weeks so far. Also, Jon Gruden and his staff have had a week to prep for Mayfield, the Jets didn’t. Oak 28 Cle 21

Seahawks -3 at Cardinals- The Seahawks are not what they once were, but Russell Wilson is still carrying the franchise well with seven touchdowns tosses in three games and the defense is still plenty good enough to overwhelm a rookie quarterback in his first start like Josh Rosen. Sea 24 Ari 13

Saints -3.5 at Giants- The Giants finally put together a complete game to get their first win last week. Also, the Saints going on the road to play outdoors is always a risky proposition, but betting on the Giants particularly Eli Manning and offensive line to play with any sort of consistency in consecutive weeks is even riskier. This is the weakest pick of the week. Nor 23 Nyg 16

49ers at Chargers -10.5- The Chargers have lost to the Rams and Chiefs. There is no shame in that. We still don’t really know how good this team is or is not. However, we do know what San Francisco looked like with C.J. Beathard at the helm last year and it was not pretty. He may have improved since then, but that is impossible to bank on, at least for this week. Lac 28 SF 13

Ravens at Steelers -3- This game is always hard-hitting and close, as it should be between division rivals. It is never smart or fun to predict a push, but it wouldn’t be surprising here. Last Monday night’s win felt huge for Pittsburgh. Even without Le’Veon Bell, the Steelers have more offensive weapons than Baltimore has guys who can cover them, especially in Pittsburgh. These teams actually have better offenses than defenses right now which will make for an interesting change of pace on Sunday night. Pit 31 Bal 27

MNF:

Chiefs-5 at Broncos– No, Patrick Mahomes probably is not going to throw 13 touchdown passes every three weeks all season long, but it is hard to imagine anyone slowing him down right now. Denver’s defense is living off medication at the moment, at least against the pass. They have allowed a 90+ passer rating in all three games this year. This is not a good recipe for dealing with the Chiefs at the moment.
The good news for Denver is the Kansas City defense has struggled as well. Case Keenum has made a lot of big plays for the Broncos offense and should get some good looks in this one, but Denver’s red zone issues on both sides of the ball will be different in a close game KC 34 Den 31

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