NFL picks, predictions against spread Week 4: Chiefs edge Patriots; Steelers tame Titans; Seahawks, Cowboys rock

When diving into Sporting News’ NFL picks and predictions against the spread in Week 4, there is renewed confidence for the final games of the 2020 season’s first month. It’s getting a little easier to read some teams, but injuries and other developments have created identity crises for other teams.

That has led to some disappointing straight-up results early, but at the same time, because of how tight some calls are, there has been more good fortune when navigating the spreads. Week 4 isn’t any easier; it offers a lot of slim lines but also features a few heavy favorites in lopsided matchups.

Here’s trying to get better with our fearless forecasts, one pick at a time. Here’s how we see another full slate of 16 games playing out this week. The point spreads come courtesy of Sports Insider:

NFL picks against the spread for Week 4

Game of the Week: Patriots at Chiefs (-7, TBD o/u)

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS

It’s no secret the Patriots’ secondary will try to take Travis Kelce or Tyreek HIll away from Patrick Mahomes. New England’s defensive personnel is better equipped to slow the tight end. On offense, you can bet the Pats will go run-heavy with Cam Newton and their bevy of backs to grind out a ball-control game plan and keep Mahomes off the field. But this is a hostile spot for Newton, and he will need to throw against a tough pass rush and active secondary to keep up with Mahomes, who won’t need too many possessions to ensure Kansas City makes a narrow Arrowhead escape.

Pick: Chiefs win 27-24 but fail to cover the spread.

Game of Midweek: Broncos (-3, 40 o/u) at Jets

Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET, NFL Network

Injuries have ravaged the Broncos’ roster. The defense is very thin and the offense is, somehow, even thinner. Denver still isn’t sure whether Jeff Driskel or Brett Rypien will start at quarterback in place of Drew Lock; Blake Bortles is not yet ready. The Jets still have Sam Darnold, who threw two pick-sixes against the Colts last week and is crumbling while surrounded by a breaking-down line, running game and receiving corps. Adam Gase knows he needs a big effort from his team to save his job. It might as well come in a coaching “revenge” game at home against an even more short-handed opponent.

Pick: Jets win 20-17.

Lock of the Week: Seahawks (-6.5, 54.5 o/u) over Dolphins

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

Russell Wilson is throwing pure heat. The Dolphins’ overpriced secondary includes a struggling Xavien Howard and a hurting Byron Jones. The Seahawks have been very good in cross-country road games in the Eastern time zone under Pete Carroll. Ryan Fitzpatrick has had two good games, so his streaky nature says he’s in for a clunker. Seattle is hurting on offense (backfield) and defense (back seven), but it won’t be challenged up front or on the ends.

Pick: Seahawks win 33-17 and cover the spread.

(Getty Images)
https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/76/44/russell-wilson-ftr_1n730y9shx4xm1ufc3tx0rosjk.png”>

Upset of the Week: Vikings over Texans (-3.5, 54.5 o/u)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

Let’s try again with this still-winless team from the NFC North against another AFC South opponent. The Vikings and Texans have both started 0-3 following their 2019 playoff runs, with Houston coach Bill O’Brien feeling more heat than Minnesota’s Mike Zimmer. The Texans’ run defense is the real concern here against Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison. Their offense is not as dangerous around Deshaun Watson as the Vikings’ offense is around Kirk Cousins as both Adam Thielen and rookie Justin Jefferson are tough covers. Look for Cook to make the game script unrelentingly positive for Minnesota, which this time will hold a lead late.

Pick: Vikings win 27-24.

Ravens (-13, TBD o/u) at Washington Football Team

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Ravens won’t get complicated here after they saw the Browns run all over Washington. Mark Ingram, J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards can be effective flanking Lamar Jackson, who won’t be thwarted in hitting big pass plays downfield, either. Dwayne Haskins doesn’t have much around him after second-year wideout Terry McLaurin and rookie back Antonio Gibson. Baltimore will belt out its greatest hits in a short way around to another side of Maryland.

Pick: Ravens win 34-14 and cover the spread.

Steelers (-1, 47 o/u) at Titans

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Titans’ defense has made some big plays, but it’s still being held together by duct tape. The secondary is struggling and the run defense wilts. That’s bad news when facing Pittsburgh, which is balanced and explosive as ever with Ben Roethlisberger and James Conner. The Steelers can contain Derrick Henry on the ground and tee off on Ryan Tannehill once they get to play with a lead.

Pick: Steelers win 27-24 and cover the spread.

Chargers at Buccaneers (-7.5, 45 o/u)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Chargers remain frustratingly inconsistent under Anthony Lynn. They looked great for four quarters against the Chiefs but then stunk it up at home enough to lose to the Panthers. They have a talented defense that presents the right matchups to stay in this game 2,500 miles from home. Tom Brady will figure it out in time, though, with the help of his talented skill-position supporting cast, and the Bucs will eventually rattle rookie QB Justin Herbert. Brady will face more of a grind against that secondary and pass rush, however.

Pick: Buccaneers win 24-17 but fail to dover the spread.

Saints (-3.5, 54.5 o/u) at Lions

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Saints aren’t falling to 1-3. They got throttled late in prime time by both the Raiders and Packers and they’re playing a fourth consecutive game in a comfortable, large indoor venue. The Lions will struggle with red-hot Alvin Kamara and they don’t really have answers for the speed and quickness of the Saints’ healthy wide receivers. Matthew Stafford, as a No. 9 opposite Drew Brees, will get to exploit great matchups for his wide receivers and tight ends. But New Orleans will put the game on ice with Kamara and Latavius Murray before Stafford can get a chance at one of his patented home fourth-quarter comebacks.

Pick: Saints win 31-27 and cover the spread.

(Getty Images)
https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/e9/30/prescott-elliott-121916-getty-ftrjpg_1ax3fc3l8mjon1l22lv3wvimnr.jpg”>

Browns at Cowboys (-4.5, 56 o/u)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Browns need to run to score and win. Running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt are at the heart of what Cleveland wants to do on offense, which is mainly to ease the burden on Baker Mayfield and the marquee receiving corps. That development has made for more favorable complementary football between the offense and defense. That said, Dak Prescott, with more help from Ezekiel Ellliot, will love seeing the matchups for his wideouts. The Cowboys can contain the run with their linebackers and then force Mayfield to face their pass rush while he’s in catch-up mode.

Pick: Cowboys win 34-27 and cover the spread.

Jaguars at Bengals (-3, 48 o/u)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

Gardner Minshew and Joe Burrow have different draft pedigrees, but both QBs have proved to be gritty gamers who can make up for whatever ails their teams on either side of the ball. Minshew cooled off in Week 3 while Burrow kept heating up. The latter is finding a groove with Tyler Boyd and his receivers, and this week will provide running back Joe Mixon an opportunity to offer his full support. Minshew can keep his team around on the road with more good running from James Robinson, but this game screams Burrow getting his first win late after three near misses.

Pick: Bengals win 24-20 and cover the spread.

Colts (-2.5, 45 o/u) at Bears

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Colts are the better team on paper, but the wild card in this game is the quarterback play of Philip Rivers on the road against a tough defense while Nick Foles likely starts over Mitchell Trubisky. The Colts have tended to be much better at home under Frank Reich, as evidenced by their resounding victories over the winless Vikings and Jets in Indianapolis. The visitors can be trusted to run the ball better here, though, and they should be favored in a black-and-blue-style game. Look for Indy’s offensive and defensive fronts to be more physical, powered by running back Jonathan Taylor and the team’s playmaking linebackers.

Pick: Colts win 17-13 and cover the spread.

Cardinals (-3.5, 52 o/u) at Panthers

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Cardinals are enjoying the Kyler Murray roller-coaster ride, and without a few mistakes in Week 3 they would have been sitting pretty at 3-0. Murray should not fear throwing to DeAndre Hopkins and running against the Panthers after Carolina’s defense overachieved against the Chargers. The Cardinals’ defense, meanwhile, can put consistent pressure on Teddy Bridgewater to limit the big-play effectiveness of his wide receivers.

Pick: Cardinals win 27-20 and cover the spread.

Giants at Rams (-13, 47 o/u)

Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET, Fox

The Giants don’t have much left around Daniel Jones, with their post-Saquon Barkley rushing committee looking bad and the receiving corps pretty much down to the promise of Darius Slayton. The Rams’ Aaron Donald will spend good time with Jones in the backfield and Jalen Ramsey will erase Slayton. The Giants also won’t have any answers on defense for Darrell Henderson, Cooper Kupp and Tyler Higbee.

Pick: Rams win 31-10 and cover the spread.

(Getty Images)
https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/4/a5/jalen-ramsey-laugh-091320-getty-ftrjpg_1a41te0hjzndj1rdbdlhf2cjwn.jpg”>

Bills (-2.5, 43.5 o/u) at Raiders

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS

This screams trap game for an expected 3-0 team on the road against an upstart 2-1 team. But the Bills are built much like the opponent that had little trouble with the Raiders in Week 3, the Patriots. The Raiders’ secondary cannot handle covering Stefon Diggs all over the field and their run defense isn’t equipped to handle Josh Allen and Devin Singletary. Josh Jacobs and Darren Waller will rebound to help Derek Carr more, but in the end, he won’t keep up with a sizzling Allen.

Pick: Bills win 24-20 and cover the spread.

Eagles at 49ers (-6, 54.5 o/u) 

Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC

This seems like another walkover for the 49ers against a team in green/NFC East team after they ripped into the Jets and Giants in consecutive weeks. But the Eagles can slow down the 49ers’ running game and will do things to help Carson Wentz against a good defense that is missing key players. Plus, backup QB Nick Mullens is on the other side facing a tough pass rush. The 49ers will still get the job done at home in prime time to get to 3-1, but it’ll be more of a grind against a desperate but talented team.

Pick: 49ers win 23-20 but fail to cover the spread.

Falcons at Packers (-7.5, 58 o/u)

Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN

The Falcons hope they can get Julio Jones back from a hamstring injury. The Packers hope they can get Davante Adams back from a hamstring injury. Regardless, look for Aaron Rodgers and Aaron Jones to light it up in Lambeau and keep up the offense’s high rate of scoring and big plays. The Falcons will counter with some Todd Gurley, but a lot more of Matt Ryan to Calvin Ridley and the other healthy pass-catchers. Jones has had massive games against Green Bay in the past and his presence would help Ryan in a high-scoring affair. But Rodgers proved last week, as well as last season, that he can manage well without Adams by spreading the ball around and leaning on Jones.

Pick: Packers win 38-27 and cover the spread.

Stats of the Week

Week 3 straight up: 8-6

Week 3 against the spread: 10-5

Season straight up: 29-17

Season against the spread: 32-15

Source: Read Full Article

Create Account



Log In Your Account