By: Dallas Soukup

Eagles and Packers on bye this week. Might slow down Carson Wentz, but after the beatdown of the Steelers, probably not. Rodgers looked like his old self again last week after the tough Sunday night loss to the Vikings, whose convincing win with a dominating defense over the NFC champion Panthers last year reduces the shame. Week 4 picks!

Thursday, Sept. 29

Miami Dolphins at Cincinnati Bengals (-7)

I like Cincinnati, but Tannehill just has a knack for late garbage time high caliber play- brought the week 2 Patriots game within one score after a 21-3 deficit at the half- feel like Cincinnati takes an early lead, but the Dolphins’ line plays to its talent and forces AJ Green and Dalton to win the game for them- but the Dolphins can’t cover AJ Green. Look for an early Bengals lead, with a Dolphins comeback fall short at the end. Bengals 28, Dolphins 23

Sunday, Oct. 2

1 p.m. ET games

Indianapolis Colts (-2.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville teased us with delusions of grandeur all offseason, only to be 0-3, but their level of talent isn’t playing close to its potential on paper. On the other side, the Colts have Andrew Luck, some talented receivers, and nobody else. After this game, one of these teams will be cooked after both had postseason aspirations in a weak division. Jaguars 16, Colts 14

Cleveland Browns at Washington  (-7.5)

Might be the Super Bowl this year. Washington got a much needed win Sunday (sorry Tom) and if Cleveland’s kicker wasn’t terrible, they’d have beat a mediocre Dolphins team. This is also the first time since Week 15 of the 2015 season that the Browns are going to start the same guy at quarterback a second week in a row. Continuity is a good thing I’m told. Washington is already a mess, but  less of a mess than the Browns. Dan Snyder fun fact: he bought the Six Flags franchise and his first action was to kill the dancing old guy marketing campaign. So you now have yet another reason to hate Dan Snyder. Washington 30, Cleveland 17

Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots (-4.5)

Rex’s farewell home game in New England after all these years of getting destroyed by Belichick. As a Jet fan I respect the fact he brought me the happiest moment in my Jet fan life (beating NE in NE in the 2010 playoffs after losing earlier that season 45-3 in primetime) but Belichick figured him out by now. After their third string QB made Houston look like they were playing JV ball, in Belichick I begrudgingly trust and resign my Jets to Year 14 of not winning the division. Patriots 24, Bills 13

Seattle Seahawks at New York Jets (+2.5)

Russell Wilson is hurt and playing behind a terrible offensive line- at least Jimmy Graham got it together last week. I don’t trust anyone on the Jets to cover Graham if he plays as well as he did last week, but the Jets line won’t be as kind to Christine Michael as San Francisco last week. Also, who knows what Ryan Fitzpatrick will show up- the Seattle secondary is the best in the league, and Decker and Marshall are both banged up. Can’t see the Jets pull this one out. Seattle 23, Jets 10

Carolina Panthers (-3) at Atlanta Falcons

Minnesota shut down Carolina last week on offense, but Atlanta’s defense isn’t nearly that good. They brought Dan Quinn to Atlanta to turn them into Seahawks East, which hasn’t been working. Matt Ryan and Julio is always dangerous, and look for the Falcons to score, but Cam is the reigning MVP for a reason and with a healthy Kelvin Benjamin to throw to, and his ability to run the ball, can’t pick against Cam against an inferior team. Carolina 27, Atlanta 21

Detroit Lions (-1) at Chicago Bears

Detroit’s offense looks great, even without Calvin, and the Bears look totally incompetent. They are using a lot of spare parts on both sides of the ball, but I anticipate Cutler regressing after he returns from injury and we’ll see just how valuable Adam Gase really was- but no one is good enough to save Ryan Tannehill. The Lions showed resilience in their game in Green Bay last week, fighting to come back from a wide deficit, but the Bears don’t have close to the firepower Green Bay has, and Detroit should win this comfortably. Lions 31, Bears 13

Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans (-4.5)

Titans are so close to being good, but they need a few more parts. Houston, after having 10 days to lick their wounds from the loss in New England but no JJ Watt for the rest of the season, are counting on Osweiler to show the flashes he showed in Denver more consistently. This division has a good shot of going to a 7-9 team. I like Mariota, but I think he needs one more year. Titans 19, Texans 17

Oakland Raiders at Baltimore Ravens (-3.5)

Flacco loves the deep ball. Wallace would have been a perennial All-Pro if he was a Raven five years ago. I play Wallace in fantasy this week and am terrified. Oakland looks good on offense but their defense got lit up by Atlanta and New Orleans. The Titans don’t have the offensive firepower the Saints and Falcons have, but the matchup of Wallace and Oakland’s mediocre secondary, plus the factor of a 1 PM ET start for a West Coast team (Arizona in Buffalo last week?) Ravens should get the win at home. Baltimore 24, Oakland 20

4 p.m. ET

Denver Broncos (-4) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Trevor Siemian looked excellent against a good Bengal defense last week. Tampa’s defense isn’t that good, and the Bucs were able to score against the LA Rams, but this isn’t the LA Rams. Denver continues their roll. Winston will make plays, but Denver’s defense will continue to perform at an extremely high level. Denver 20, Tampa Bay 13

Dallas Cowboys (-2.5) at San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco is repeating history- dominating opening night home win on Monday night, followed by back to back stinkers. How much longer until we see Kaepernick in a meaningful game? Dak seems to be settling into a groove- I think the Romo/Dak debate will get a lot more interesting when it gets closer to Romo’s return. Interesting tidbit about the Cowboys- their road games’ tickets are about $150, but home games average only $50. Either way, not convinced SF is any good, have to take the Cowboys. Dallas 22, San Francisco 12

New Orleans Saints at San Diego Chargers (-4)

San Diego has been getting crushed by injuries all year but still puts up points- and New Orleans could sign me to play corner and have it be an improvement at this point. Brees always gets his points, but San Diego’s secondary is a lot better than people realize- much better than Atlanta, who had a pick six last week on Monday night. (Which was still less painful to watch than the debate.) The Saints are the kind of team that can throw for almost 400 yards, three touchdowns, and lose- their defense is not good. Also, if SD wears their powder blue jerseys at home, this is the jersey matchup of the season. Look for big games from both Rivers and Brees, with San Diego’s secondary being the difference. Chargers 34, Saints 28

Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals (-8)

Every logical fiber of my brain says the Rams are terrible, use your brain, etc etc. Except Jeff Fisher still has a job because he goes 5-1 in the division and 2-10 outside of it. Arizona is the better team and should win, but LA always breaks out the shenanigans and wins divisional road games it has no business winning. Thus, Fisher gets another deal. He’s the Ryan Fitzpatrick of head coaches. LA 23, Arizona 20

8:30 ET

Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers (-5.5)

After they crushed my Jets on defense last week, and the Steelers were similarly shut down by a much better than expected Philadelphia defense, I’m inclined to think this one has defensive slugfest potential. Will be interesting to see if Marcus Peters can slow down Antonio Brown. In the end, anticipating a defensive battle, with the Steelers home crowd the difference in a tight game. Steelers 24, KC 23

Monday, Oct. 3

New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings (-5)

Minnesota’s defense has done a convincing ‘85 Bears impression over the first three weeks. No AP, no Bridgewater, no problem- 3-0, shut down Rodgers and Cam in back to back weeks, and Bradford finally looks solid. This team will live and die by its defense, but this week the Viking defense will once again lead the team to victory. Diggs will catch another TD, Eli will throw a few picks under a heavy pass rush all night, and Minnesota opens their new stadium 4-0. Their week 7 game at Philadelphia suddenly looks huge. Vikings 26, Giants 14

All lines from Vegas Sports Book

 

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