Friday, October 2, 2009

NFL Week 4 Picks

Since I'm 33-15 picking games so far this year I figured it was about time to drop some knowledge. Plus the baseball playoffs aren't completely set yet so I have to write about something.

Detroit at Chicago (-10)

Yes, the Lions won last week against the Redskins. Chicago isn't great by any standards, but the struggling Matt Forte should be able to get back on track against a defense allowing 4.5 yards per carry this season. Jay Cutler and company will put up points against the Lions, who won't follow up their 19-game losing streak with a two-game winning streak. Bears 31, Lions 17.

Cincinnati (-5.5) at Cleveland

I understand the Browns are playing at home, but this spread could legitimately be doubled. Cleveland will be going with Derek Anderson at quarterback instead of Brady Quinn and I don't think Anderson will hit the ground running. Add in the now-balanced Cincinnati offense and a struggling Browns' defense, and this one could get ugly. Bengals 27, Browns 10.

Seattle at Indianapolis (-10.5)

Instead of Peyton Manning vs. Matt Hasselbeck, we get Peyton Manning vs. Seneca Wallace. This game could have been interesting, but instead Manning and the Colts should be able to jumpstart the running game with Donald Brown (not Joseph Addai) against a defense that allows almost six yards-per-carry. Manning will have the Colts up by double-digits by the half and Julius Jones will become a non-factor, if he even becomes one. The Colts pass rush, even without Dwight Freeney, should make it a long day for Wallace. Colts 24, Seahawks 13.

New York Giants (-8.5) at Kansas City

The Giants got their ground game going last week and their offensive balance spells trouble for the Chiefs. Matt Cassel will have fun with the Giants pass rush, especially with Dwayne Bowe questionable again this week. Expect a similar result to last week's Giants-Bucs game. Giants 21, Chiefs 10.

Baltimore (+2) at New England

The Jets beat Tom Brady in Week 2 by blitzing him and not allowing him to establish a rhythm. The Ravens will do much of the same, with the difference being the possibility of Wes Welker returning. Even still, Baltimore will contain the New England passing game and should put up enough points to move to 4-0 on the year. Ravens 21, Patriots 17.

Tampa Bay at Washington (-7)

The Redskins aren't much better than the Bucs, but the state of flux surrounding the Tampa Bay quarterback situation is enough to scare me away. The Redskins should be able to run the ball even if Clinton Portis can't play, as the Bucs are 31st in run defense. Jason Campbell might make one big play, and if he does it will be more than enough. Redskins 17, Buccaneers 7.

Tennessee (-3) at Jacksonville

The Titans have to win eventually, don't they? The Jaguars can't stop anybody defensively and Tennessee allows just 2.2 yards-per-carry to opposing ballcarriers, so Maurice Jones-Drew will be bottled up. Titans 24, Jaguars 16.

Oakland (+9) at Houston

The Texans have allowed over 200 yards per game on the ground this season, and as inept as the Raiders' passing game is they have two capable backs in Darren McFadden and Michael Bush. Matt Schaub may struggle to make as many big plays as he has the last two weeks against a respectable Raiders secondary and Nnamdi Asomugha could pull a Darrelle Revis on Andre Johnson. The Texans should win, but it won't be a blowout. Texans 20, Raiders 14.

Buffalo (-2) at Miami

Lots of quarterbacks are making their first starts of the season this week, and I don't like any of them so far. The Bills pass defense isn't as bad as the stats look (they faced Brady and Drew Brees, and Byron Leftwich threw 50 passes against them), so they should be able to handle Chad Henne. The return of Marshawn Lynch may not matter with the stingy Dolphins run defense, but Trent Edwards will make it a point to find Terrell Owens and Lee Evans downfield against a struggling secondary. Bills 17, Dolphins 13.

New York Jets (+7) at New Orleans

Two undefeated teams who have done it different ways: The Saints high-octane offense vs. the Jets unrelenting defense. Drew Brees will have more success than Brady did in Week 2, as the Saints running game will take some of the pressure off. But Brees will have to look away from Marques Colston, who gets the unenviable task of going up against Revis on Sunday. The Jets will rely more heavily on Mark Sanchez and the passing game this week than usual, as the Saints have kept opponents in check on the ground. Brees was held without a touchdown last week and while that won't happen again, he will be checking down all day and big plays will be limited. This is a close call, but don't expect me to go against my team (and that defense). Jets 20, Saints 17.

Dallas (-3) at Denver

The Broncos will be proven fraudulent this weekend at home. They have not seen an offense like the Cowboys yet this season and if Tony Romo takes care of the football again, Dallas should be able to move the ball. The Broncos won't go down without a fight, but I don't see them moving to 4-0. Cowboys 21, Broncos 13.

St. Louis at San Francisco (-9.5)

It looks like Kyle Boller will be going for the Rams, and since it's his first start I will go against him out of sheer principle. St. Louis is a mess right now and Mike Singletary will have the 49ers motivated after a last-second loss to the Vikings. With Frank Gore injured, pre-season stud Glen Coffee will get a chance to shine against one of the league's worst run defenses and the San Francisco defense will keep the Rams' only weapon, Steven Jackson, under wraps. 49ers 20, Rams 7.

San Diego (+6.5) at Pittsburgh

If there was ever a week for the Steelers to really get going on the ground, this would be it. I just don't see it happening, as neither Willie Parker nor Rashard Mendenhall is good enough to make up for Pittsburgh's deficiencies up front. Philip Rivers will take advantage of the absence of Troy Polamalu on route to a win. Chargers 17, Steelers 14.

Green Bay at Minnesota (-3.5)

The matchup everybody has been waiting for: Brett Favre and the Vikings (sound weird?) vs. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Rodgers may be the more talented quarterback right now but Favre is still Favre, as annoying as he may be, after orchestrating another miracle last week. Adrian Peterson should go over 100 yards and Favre will continue to manage the game and make plays when necessary. Minnesota will shut down Ryan Grant and force Rodgers to beat their talented pass defense through the air, which I don't see happening. Vikings 30, Packers 24.

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