My NFL Picks Week 4: Four undefeated teams look to go 4-0 while the unbeaten Eagles get a rest

Week 4 brings with it the first byes of the season, with the surprising 3-0 Eagles and the Packers getting an early week off. Thursday features a battle of 1-2 teams when the Dolphins visit the Bengals, with both teams looking to get to .500 to avoid falling too far behind in the playoff race. There are four teams looking to go 4-0 on the season, including the Patriots, who have one more game to get through before QB Tom Brady makes his season debut in Week 5; they’ll play the Bills at home. Of the undefeated teams, the Vikings probably have the toughest game coming up this weekend; they host the Giants on Monday night. I went 8-8 last week to maintain my .500 record for the season, with a 24-24 mark. I’m using the lines from ESPN’s Pigskin Pick ‘Em game. My picks are in bold and my survivor pool pick is in red

Thursday Night Football
Dolphins at Bengals (-6.5)The Dolphins haven’t looked good this season, needing overtime to beat the Browns last week after letting them score a season-high 24 points. The Bengals have been a bit of a disappointment thus far, but their two losses have come against good teams in the Steelers and Broncos. Broncos should win the game, and I think they can do it by a touchdown to cover the spread.

Sunday morning London game
Colts at Jaguars (+2.5) – It looks like the people who thought the Jaguars could be a playoff team this year were wrong. Off to a 0-3 start, the team is struggling on both sides of the ball — ranking 26th in the league in both points scored and points allowed. At 1-2, the Colts aren’t living up to expectations either, but they’re a better team than the Jags and should get a win on the road.

Sunday 1PM games
Panthers at Falcons (+2.5) – The Panthers had a hard time with a tough Vikings defense as they suffered their first loss of the season in Week 3, but now they get a defense that allowed 32 points to a winless Saints team on Monday night. QB Cam Newton and the rest of the Panthers offense should have a much easier time against Atlanta than they had against the Vikings. A 2.5-point spread seems kind of low in this game. I expect the Panthers to win by at least a touchdown.
Bills at Patriots (-6.5)The Patriots have some question marks entering their final game without Brady, including who will start at quarterback. Even with uncertainty at that key position, the Patriots are facing a defense that has given up 55 points in the last two games. The Patriots will be able to put up points on the Bills. I expect them to win by a touchdown.
Lions at Bears (+2.5) – The Bears are 0-3 and desperate to start getting some wins. I don’t think it’ll happen this week, though. Lions QB Matthew Stafford has done a good job leading the offense so far this season. Lions easily cover the spread in this one.
Browns  at Redskins (-8.5) – The Browns aren’t good, but the Redskins haven’t been overly impressive in their first three games either. WR Terrelle Pryor had a breakout game for Cleveland in Week 3 and will look to make it two straight big games in a row. I don’t think it’ll be enough to win, though. Redskins win the game, but I don’t trust them to cover a 8.5-point spread.
Titans at Texans (-6.5) – It’s been a bad week for the Texans. Not only did they get shut out by the Patriots last Thursday but they had to place DE J.J. Watt on injured reserve Wednesday, which means he’ll miss at least eight weeks but is likely to miss the remainder of the season. That puts pressure on the rest of the defense, including LBs Whitney Mercilus and Jadeveon Clowney to excel. After a poor offensive performance in Week 3, it’s hard to trust the Texans’ offense. I think they’ll get the win, but I’m taking the Titans and the points.
Raiders at Ravens (-3.5)These two teams are pretty evenly matched. Not many people expected the Ravens to be 3-0 at this point but QB Joe Flacco has played well. I think this one will come down to the defense and the Ravens have the advantage there, so I’m going with the home team.
Seahawks at Jets (+3.5) – With the way Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick performed last week, throwing six interceptions, I think the Seahawks defense will be able to contain the Jets offense. The health of Seahawks QB Russell Wilson is a concern, though, as he had to leave last week’s game early. I think he’ll be able to play and perform pretty well so I still like Seattle to win — and cover.

Sunday 4PM games
Broncos at Buccaneers (+3.5) – This is a matchup of a good defense (the Broncos) against a bad defense (the Buccaneers). The Bucs have given up 40 and 37 points, respectively, in the last two weeks. I expect the Broncos to be able to score on Tampa and the defending Super Bowl champs could win by double digits.
Cowboys at 49ers (+2.5) – I’m surprised the spread is so small in this one. Rookie QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliott have shown that they are the real thing thus far. Although WR Dez Bryant is hobbled with a foot injury, he still has a chance to play, and even if he can’t go the Cowboys should easily handle the 49ers and cover the spread.
Rams at Cardinals (-8.5) – Before last week, I might have taken the Cardinals to cover the spread, but they didn’t look good last week, scoring just 18 points against a bad Bills defense. The Rams’ defense is better than the Bills’ so I think the Cardinals will win the game, I don’t think they’ll be able to cover the spread.
Saints at Chargers (-4.5) – The Saints’ defense could be the worst in the league, but their offense is able to put up points. This should be a blow out, and I trust Saints QB Drew Brees more than Chargers QB Philip Rivers, even though Brees plays better at home than he does at home. I think the Saints will at least keep the game close so I’m taking them with the points, even though I’m not convinced they’ll win the game.

Sunday Night Football
Chiefs at Steelers (-5.5)The Steelers get RB Le’Veon Bell back this week after he was suspended for the first three games of the season. That’ll provide a boost to an offense that already includes one of the best receivers in the league in WR Antonio Brown. Even though the Steelers disappointed last week against the Eagles, I’m not big on the Chiefs’ offense so I’ll take the Steelers to bounce back and not only win but cover the 5.5 points at home.

Monday Night Football
Giants at Vikings (-4.5)The Vikings are looking to go 4-0 when they host the Giants. While injuries have taken on a toll on the Vikings’ offense, their defense has been impressive so far in 2016. As Giants QB Eli Manning is apt to throw interceptions, I think the Vikings’ defense will be able to limit the Giants enough that the offense won’;t need to get into a shootout to win this one. QB Sam Bradford has looked fine filling in for injured QB Teddy Bridgewater, so I’m going with the Vikings in the last game of the week.

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