We have now officially been back for one full week with the real referees, and this was the smoothest week yet. It was a great slate of games and even though some of my picks were waaaaay off, Week 4 was the most fun to me. A look ahead at Week 5 – the Cowboys, Raiders, Buccaneers, and Lions all have bye-weeks, and for most of these teams, they are much needed. The Bears blew the Cowboys out at JerryWorld after Romo threw 5 interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns. The Lions are in last place in the NFC North and have lost three in a row, and the Buccaneers and Raiders are both 1-3 a quarter of the way through the young season and need to figure things out if they want a shot at the postseason (although the way the Falcons have been playing, it’s going to take a lot for the Buccaneers to even pull a wildcard). We’ve got some big matchups this week so let’s get on to the picks!
Cardinals at Rams (+1.5) – The Cardinals snuck out a win against the lowly Dolphins last week, but I think that their run will end this week in St. Louis. If Sam Bradford can play smart football and not turn the ball over, I don’t see the Cardinals scoring enough points, especially with Beanie Wells on the IR.
Falcons (-3) at Redskins – Robert Griffin III continues to be a serviceable quarterback, but until the Redskins defense starts to make plays, they aren’t going to win very many games.
Eagles at Steelers (-3.5) – The Eagles have won 3 of their games by a combined 4 points. Their luck ends this week and the Steelers take control from the beginning. Especially if Vick gets back on the turnover train.
Packers at Colts (+7) – The Packers are coming off of a home win against the Saints, and the Colts are coming off of a bye-week. Andrew Luck and the Colts aren’t great but have nothing but upside, I like them to keep this really close.
Browns (+9) at Giants – The Browns played the Ravens close last week, and I think they will keep the trend going and give the Giants a tough game in New Jersey.
Dolphins at Bengals (-4) – Andy Dalton and Co. will prove to be too much for the Dolphins. Plus, I think that the Bengals defense will shut Tannehill and (league leading receiver [!]) Brian Hartline down.
Ravens (-5.5) at Chiefs – The Chiefs are just a bad team this season. Matt Cassel is awful and even though this game is at home, I think the Ravens never take their foot off of the gas.
Seahawks (+3) at Panthers – The Seahawks should get back on track after a stumble against the Rams last week. I think their run D proves to be more than Cam Newton can handle.
Bears at Jaguars (-5.5) – The Bears shut down the Cowboys on Monday Night Football in front of a National audience to prove that they are the real deal. Even though the Bears offensive line is practically nonexistent, I think they go into Jacksonville and win easily.
Titans (+5.5) at Vikings - This is a really interesting game. The Titans hung with the Texans through the first quarter before the Texans turned it on, but Chris Johnson finally showed that he is still alive by rushing for over 100 yards. The Vikings have been surprisingly good this season, but I think that the Titans will keep this real close.
Broncos at Patriots (-7) – The Broncos destroyed the Raiders last week, but I think that they will regress to the mean while Tom Brady and the Patriots show that they are still one of the top teams in the AFC.
Bills at 49ers (-9.5) – Ryan Fitzpatrick on the road against the best defense in the NFC? I’ll lay the points.
Chargers (+3.5) at Saints – The Saints almost beat the Packers last week but they still gave up 28 points. Until they win, I’m going against them. Plus, the Chargers looked fantastic in Kansas City last week.
Texans (-9) at Jets – If Mark Sanchez doesn’t perform well in this game (he won’t), he’s going to be benched in favor of Tebow. The Texans defense is just too good for the Jets poor offense, and I think that the Jets officially prove to the world that they just aren’t a very good team this year on Monday Night Football.