When I look at the Week 4 schedule, I see a lot of games that may not be that exciting to watch, but if the underdog comes to play, it could be a very interesting Sunday.
Just a few quick thoughts before the picks.
Texans at Colts (-1) – with Houston 0-3 and the 1-2 Colts heading to New England after this game, it’s basically an early playoff elimination game for these teams. I’ve been disappointed by both so far, especially in regards to the way the offenses have handled their returning QB. I would be worried for the Colts in this one with the way J.J. Watt was back on track last week (3.0 sacks), but T.Y. Hilton has shredded that defense throughout his career. Now we just have to see if Luck is still willing to get him the ball deep in this new offense.
Dolphins at Patriots (-7) – A sign of the end times would be the Dolphins going to 4-0 by beating the Patriots in New England. As good as that would be for the AFC, I just cannot see it happening even though I see very little happening from the Patriots on either side of the ball right now. Miami won the last meeting in December when no one expected it, and it’s not like this would be a shock after the way the Dolphins have produced big pass plays and interceptions this season. I just harp back on the way Miami is scraping by some so-so competition. Falling behind in New England is a no-no, and Adam Gase has been down by 18+ in his first two games there with the Dolphins. I am very interested to see what Ryan Tannehill does in the biggest game of his NFL career, but I’m not yet a believer that we’re seeing a changing of the guard in the AFC East.
Browns at Raiders (-3) – When I made my preseason predictions, I had the Browns going on a winning streak starting with the Jets game, followed by dropping Jon Gruden’s Raiders to 0-4. I might as well stick with it, picking the Browns to win their first road game since Week 5 of 2015. A big reason is the defense, which has been stellar so far. I think as long as Gregg Williams doesn’t leave too soft of a space for Derek Carr to keep dumping the ball into, they’ll get pressure on him and make him very uncomfortable. I also think the lack of pass rush by Oakland should help Baker Mayfield ease into his first start. I’d take Cleveland straight up in this one.
Ravens at Steelers (-3) – It’s been two dramatic come-from-behind wins by Pittsburgh in the last two meetings at Heinz Field. Baltimore plays this team tough all the time, and I see no exception this week. Baltimore’s offense has been much better so far this season and Joe Flacco even hung 38 points in the last meeting in December. These are better receivers to deal with and the Steelers have been giving up a lot of points since the Ryan Shazier injury. The offense is going to have to be great again, which it usually is at home. Antonio Brown is often held in check by the Ravens, but at least Jimmy Smith is still suspended. I’ll pick the Steelers to win by a small margin, but a Baltimore win wouldn’t be the least bit surprising.
Chiefs (-5) at Broncos – There will come a time when Patrick Mahomes has an off game, but he’s in historic form so far. He already has a start and a game-winning drive at Mile High under his belt, and I’m not sure any defense that lets Derek Carr complete 29-of-32 passes should still be considered as vaunted. The Chiefs have been doing very well in this rivalry the last few years and I think we’ll see another good game from Mahomes on Monday night. The only thing that can spoil it is if Case Keenum finally takes advantage of this poor KC defense. Keenum has really struggled in the first half this year.
NFL Week 4 Predictions
I had the Rams winning 30-24 on TNF, but the 38-31 final gives me a push to start the week against the spread.
I like NE, GB, DAL, and JAX all to rebound with a home win. I also think the Chargers are a double-digit favorite that should actually cruise this week now that Jimmy Garoppolo is out.