NFL Predictions 2019: Week 4

I thought I did pretty well assessing the games last week. I was 11-5 picking winners (30-17-1 overall) and I am happy with that, especially this early in the season. Somehow I mucked up my pretend bets though. I was 5-10-1 against the spread (19-28-1 overall) and 6-9-1 on the over/under (23-24-1 overall). I have a -10 hole to overcome against Vegas now, and that sucks after going -8 this week. When I picked Dallas 34-15 over Miami and it turned out 31-6 I lost both bets. I had Green Bay 20-16 over Denver, but they won 27-16 and covered. I went with Kansas City 26-17 over Baltimore and the scoring was a little higher at 33-28 so I lost both bets. I had New England 28-3, but their 30-14 win meant they failed to cover and the total was a push. I’ll have to focus better.

Philadelphia (1-2) @ Green Bay (3-0): The Packers have overachieved to this point and the Eagles are surprisingly struggling. Philadelphia had to rally in the opener to beat Washington and that’s not a good team. They have lost two close games since including last week at home against Detroit and I’m not sure that’s a good team either. Green Bay has allowed a total of 35 points and while their offense isn’t lighting up the scoreboard they have already faced some really good defenses. It’s a short week and the home team has all the momentum. How good is Wentz really? They feel like a team whose window has closed whereas their opponent feels like a team whose window is reopening: Green Bay 22, Philadelphia 20 (PHI +4/under 48)

Tennessee (1-2) @ Atlanta (1-2): The Titans had to feel great after smashing Cleveland in the opener, but despite not allowing more than 20 points in any game this season here they are with a losing record. Worse yet now they are 0-2 within the AFC South having lost to two teams that suddenly lost their starting quarterback suddenly. Matt Ryan is a serious starter, and historically very solid at home. The Falcons fell behind 20-3 last week at Indianapolis and ran out of time, losing 27-24. This is a pivotal game for both teams as they close out the first quarter of the season. The difference between 1-3 and 2-2 is huge. I trust Ryan more than Mariota: Atlanta 26, Tennessee 23 (TEN +4/over 45.5)

New England (3-0) @ Buffalo (3-0): The Bills and probably the rest of the neutral NFL fans believe or at least hope this is finally the end of the AFC East reign of terror for the Pats. The truth is, it likely isn’t. Buffalo is a soft 3-0. Gore is a legendary lead rusher, but how much gas does he have? Singletary has 127 yards on only 10 carries. Allen is a competent young quarterback and Brown has torn it up early in the season. Who is really going to be dangerous on this offense when it matters though? They won road games over both New York teams and then took Cincinnati here at home. This is a massive step up in competition. New England has endured the Antonio Brown saga, Julian Edelman is hurt and who cares? They will devise a strategy and win the game: New England 27, Buffalo 21 (BUF +7/over 42)

Kansas City (3-0) @ Detroit (2-0-1): Mahomes is exceeding his MVP hype and barring injury is going to repeat. Losing Hill hasn’t hurt this offense a bit and the Chiefs are on fire. The Lions have surprised thus far, but their lead back is averaging 2.6 yards per carry. Is that supposed to be an offense that can keep up with this aerial show? The dome is usually an advantage. In this spot it probably won’t be. The turf will help out the speed of the visitors who can score in bunches: Kansas City 34, Detroit 20 (KC -6/under 55)

Oakland (1-2) @ Indianapolis (2-1): The Raiders had their clocks cleaned in Minnesota as they embarked on a ridiculous stretch of games away from home that will see them not return until November 3. This is a pivotal game for them as they try to avoid figuratively drowning. At 1-3 they will not be able to survive the rest of this trip without spiraling. The Colts have rallied around Brissett and been solid in the wake of the Luck retirement. They have found a way to win and Mack has been fantastic thus far. Jacobs was sick last week and he has been solid as a rookie. I think both teams can run and this should be a close game. Overall the home team has a little more talent: Indianapolis 24, Oakland 20 (OAK +7/under 45)

LA Chargers (1-2) @ Miami (0-3): If the Dolphins added the points they scored in the first two weeks to their total last week in Dallas they still would have lost by more than two touchdowns. It’s been an ugly season and that is likely to continue. The Chargers have sputtered and this is just what the doctor ordered for them to regain their swagger. I’m not sure it’s a big of a blowout as everyone might expect. South Florida is a tough place to play in September, even for a warm weather opponent. Rivers is not going to let this one get away: LA Chargers 31, Miami 17 (MIA +16/over 43.5)

Washington (0-3) @ NY Giants (1-2): This probably should be a matchup between rookie quarterbacks, but Jay Gruden is clueless. Case Keenum is throwing for a ton of yards and tossing interceptions, and losing games. What’s the point? The Redskins aren’t making a run this season under Keenum and it’s time to see what Haskins can do. The Giants made their move and it already is paying dividends. Jones led a comeback from down 18 in his first start, something Eli hasn’t done in nearly four dozen such situations over the course of his (should be) HOF career. He’s mobile and dangerous. Unfortunately their elite back Barkley is hurt and that’s going to stunt his ability to win games. This is still a good situation for them. Other than Thompson, Washington isn’t strong in the backfield either. If New York can pull out this win, Jones will be sparked by the return of Tate from suspension and we’ll see if they can stay in the hunt. I think they win this one easily: NY Giants 28, Washington 21 (NYG -2.5/under 49.5)

Cleveland (1-2) @ Baltimore (2-1): Kids no longer remember that the Ravens were once in Cleveland and it’s funny how last week the Browns played another franchise that used to be in their city. That was a loss and this probably will be too. Mayfield was supposed to be elevated with the addition of OBJ and it hasn’t happened yet. They lack a second option in the backfield and by the time Hunt returns from suspension it might be too late. Kitchens has no answers as a head coach and hiring him over Gregg Williams could have been a mistake. Jackson has Baltimore firing with his passing ability and has run only 27 times thus far. Ingram has been a thumper in the backfield and at least one member of the Brown family is “boomin” in the NFL this season. I think it’s going to be close. These defenses are brutal and should control the action. If not for an embarrassing week 1 loss I think the visitors would be considered a tossup to win here in terms of perception. Losing to the Rams 20-13 is hardly a shameful result. I think this is the year of the Raven in the AFC North though and it starts here: Baltimore 21, Cleveland 19 (CLE +7/under 46.5)

Carolina (1-2) @ Houston (2-1): The Kyle Allen era might have begun last week for the Panthers. Newton has been roughed and used up for this franchise and it could be time for a change. He lit up an awful Arizona secondary so let’s pump the brakes and see what he does here. Having McCaffrey in the backfield makes life a lot easier. For a guy who wasn’t supposed to be a workhorse running back, the team has no other player aside from Newton (with 5) over 3 rushes for the season. He has absolutely carried the load and with Olsen healthy this offense has options for a young passer. Watson is young too, even though he feels like a veteran already. He has so much speed at the receiver position that I like his offense against most defenses. Allen has a homecoming here, but it’s not a successful one: Houston 28, Carolina 23 (HOU -4/over 47)

Tampa Bay (1-2) @ LA Rams (3-0): The Bucs are averaging 25 combined rushes between Jones and Barber and both Evans and Godwin have 14 receptions this season for a combined 493 yards. Now they have to do it on the road against a competent defense and I don’t think they can. Their defense just folded against a rookie quarterback in a loss to the Giants last week. The Rams muscled past Cleveland and are quietly unbeaten in defense of their NFC title. I like their defense and the offense is a lot healthier and dangerous than it was in the Super Bowl: LA Rams 28, Tampa Bay 17 (LAR -9/under 50)

Seattle (2-1) @ Arizona (0-2-1): Murray’s rookie season has produced a lot of fantasy points and no victories. David Johnson has 216 total yards in what was supposed to be his bounce back campaign. Fitzgerald is padding his HOF resume and that’s cool, but this league is about winning and the Cards haven’t done that yet. The Seahawks have gotten some big plays from rookie wide receiver Metcalf, but Carson is averaging only 3.5 yards per rush. Too much is on Wilson’s shoulders and I’m not convinced they are going to survive this spot. Arizona is a tough place to play. Their fans are passionate and in this league crazy things happen. Coming off a disappointing loss, however, I think they close this one out: Seattle 31, Arizona 28 (AZ +5/over 46)

Minnesota (2-1) @ Chicago (2-1): Cook is, well, cooking for the Vikings and it is reflected in their record. They are going old school running the rock and playing defense. The Raiders aren’t an awful team, and let’s remember that defense played 3 full quarters last week keeping Kansas City off the scoreboard. They were dominant and I know it’s tougher for them on the road, but their formula makes it easier. The Bears have the defense, no question. They have allowed a total of 39 points and are back home after winning twice on the road. Could they win? Absolutely, but I think currently Minnesota is playing better and with a good enough defense to shut down a fairly weak offense I think their field goals pile up to make the difference. Chicago’s offense is struggling: Minnesota 15, Chicago 10 (MIN +3/under 39)

Jacksonville (1-2) @ Denver (0-3): Gardner Minshew is a sensation already. He has taken the place of Mayfield as the fresh face on the scene. He might be part porn star from the 1970’s and what’s wrong with that? He has personality and led his team to a win. They have had extra days to rest and prepare for his road start here to see if he can get this team back in the hunt. The Jags play in a division that is clearly up for grabs. The Broncos are in a much different situation in the AFC South where it already seems they are out of contention. A loss here would probably seal their fate. Flacco has not done enough at quarterback, and even with a productive pair of young backs the offense is flat. Their high water mark for scoring is 16 points. This is going to be a defensive battle and I think it comes down to the home team being due and they finally get one: Denver 20, Jacksonville 16 (DEN -3/under 38)

Dallas (3-0) @ New Orleans (2-1): The Saints aren’t done yet apparently. Bridgewater was a first round pick for a reason and has a lot of talent around him. Huge win for them in Seattle last week and it really changes the conversation for this team. Losing that one puts them on the brink of 1-3 and fading. This is a rematch of what was a shocking result at the time last season when the Cowboys upended them 13-10 to snap a 10-game winning streak. Now the tables have turned and New Orleans can turn in the surprising win. I think it’s possible for sure. They are feeling confident and have the home field. Dallas has beaten up cupcakes thus far and this is a different situation. I believe they are ready in primetime to show they can keep it up: Dallas 27, New Orleans 21 (DAL -1.5/over 45)

Cincinnati (0-3) @ Pittsburgh (0-3): Who decided this game should be on MNF? I know the future can’t be predicted, but did anyone think the Bengals would be good this season? It’s shocking to see the Steelers at 0-3, but the big 3 are out of the picture. Rudolph has been thrust into the starting quarterback role and will be counted on to help them reinvent themselves on the fly. They feel they can compete or they wouldn’t have dealt a first round pick for Fitzpatrick. The Dolphins are hoping they are wrong and they end up with a top 5 selection. Pittsburgh has the defense and this shapes up to be an ugly game. Cincinnati’s two backs have only 119 rushes on 48 carries and that’s horrific. There is no doubt they will be picking a quarterback in the 2020 draft. For one night Tomlin will work some magic and have people believing his team can compete: Pittsburgh 26, Cincinnati 15 (PIT -3.5/under 44)

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