We are three weeks in and the Patriots are 1-2, the Dolphins are undefeated, the Titans beat the Jaguars, and the Bills manhandled the Vikings. Oh and the Browns now have a win! So everything is going exactly as we all expected, right? Well not exactly, but we are getting to the point of the season where teams start getting into a groove. The pretenders start to show the cracks in their armor, while some of the league’s slow starters begin to get things turned around. We’ve already seen it a bit with the Saints getting their act together along with the Steelers going on the road to show that the Buccaneers are beatable. Week 4 will continue to answer some of those questions. Will the Dolphins and Chiefs continue their dominance against the Patriots and Broncos? Or will these teams finally start to slow down?
Thursday 9/27/2018 8:20 pm
Vikings vs Rams (-7)
Weather: 78 Degrees no chance of rain
This is a tough game to figure out. We just saw the Vikings get dominated by the Bills, who until now have been considered the worst of the worst, while the Rams continue to look like they can do no wrong. Yet, the Rams lose Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters and now there is some doubt if they can keep up with Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. The Vikings could also come out swinging after such a poor showing. With so many variables and viable possibilities, I could see this game becoming a shootout or a defensive matchup. With that, I’ll project something in the middle, but I don’t feel particularly great about it.
Pick: Vikings +7 (Low Confidence), Score: LAR 27 – MIN 23
Sunday 9/30/2018 1:00pm
Texans vs Colts (-1.5)
The Colts may be just 1-2 to start the season but they’ve been competitive every week. The Texans continued to disappoint as their loss to the Giants brings them to 0-3. The Texans secondary is atrocious and it could be the week for T.Y. Hilton to feast. The Colts are now onto their third right tackle of the season, and I expect J.J. Watt to put a lot of pressure on Andrew Luck. The Colts have played well so far, but I believe the Texans passing attack will start to gel a little better out the gate, meaning we could see some big games from DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller. This game should be a close one, but I believe the Texans manage to avoid going 0-4
Pick: Texans +1.5 (Low Confidence), Score: HOU 27 – IND 24
Bills vs Packers (-10)
Weather: 54 Degrees with no chance of rain
The Bills stunned everyone by destroying the Vikings as 16.5-point underdogs. While the Packers did little on the road against Washington. The Packers have plenty of weapons on offense, but they lost a big weapon on defense with Muhammed Wilkerson now on injured reserve. The Bills defense is also no slouch and has really started to get after opposing quarterbacks. While the Packers get home field advantage, I do believe the Bills put some pressure on Aaron Rodgers. Ultimately, the Packers should win this game, but I believe it’ll be closer than people think.
Pick: Bills +10 (Low Confidence), Score: GB 23 – BUF 16
Buccaneers vs Bears (-3)
Weather: 58 Degrees 2% chance of rain
The Buccaneers finally were defeated, but they didn’t go down without a fight and nearly made the greatest comeback in franchise history. The Bears did beat the Cardinals, but they allowed the final score to be a lot closer than you would expect. The defense continues to be one of the best in the league with Kahlil Mack, but the offense is starting to scare me with how little it seems that Mitch Trubisky has progressed as a quarterback. The Bucs have faced a good defense already in the Eagles, but they were at home and the Eagles haven’t reached their potential yet. Now they have to face a red-hot Bears defense while being on the road. This one could go either way, but if I had to back one side it’d be the Bucs to get enough big plays to keep it close.
Pick: Buccaneers +3 (Low Confidence), Score: Bears 26 – TB 24
Dolphins vs Patriots (-7)
Weather: 67 Degrees no chance of rain
Well, it looks like so many of us were a week early on the Patriots having a big bounce back. The Patriots are now 1-2 while the Dolphins made a nice comeback against the Raiders to become 3-0. The Dolphins have yet to face anyone of significance while the Patriots have lost to the Jaguars and a Lions team who knows a lot of their inner working with head coach Matt Patricia. In no set of projection would I have ever projected the Dolphins to go 4-0 and the Patriots 1-3. With the Dolphins down some defensive linemen and the Patriots being at home, I fully believe the Patriots make a statement in this game with a big home win.
Pick: Patriots -7 (Medium Confidence), Score: NE 30 – MIA 17
Lions vs Cowboys (-3)
The Lions have gotten better each week this season and topped off Week 3 with a decisive victory over the Patriots. They now go back on the road to face a Cowboys team who has been playing great defense despite a struggling passing attack. The Cowboys have yet to score more than 20 points this year, and I don’t believe that will change in Week 4. Looking at this matchup, while Cowboys CB Bryon Jones will be able to shut down either Kenny Golladay or Marvin Jones Jr. on any particular play, the rest of the secondary will struggle with Golden Tate and whoever Jones isn’t covering. The Lions are the best offense the Cowboys have faced and Dallas simply can’t throw the ball right now, so I’ll back the Lions to do enough on offense to be victorious.
Pick: Lions +3 (High Confidence), Score: DET 23 – DAL 17
Bengals vs Falcons (-5)
The Bengals offense has gotten off to a hot start so far this season, though it did slow down a bit Week 3 in Carolina. On the flip side, it looks like the Falcons offense has hit its stride with a huge Week 3 against New Orleans. Despite the successes of these two offenses, I don’t foresee this one being a true barn burner like we saw with the Falcons and the Saints. While the Bengals offense has played well, it’s not as prolific as the Saints. We also watched the Panthers run the ball up the middle repeatedly with great success. I imagine the Falcons will have seen that and will at least attempt to exploit that same weakness. I expect the Falcons to win, but for the Bengals offense to do enough against a banged up defense to keep it close.
Pick: Bengals +5 (Low Confidence), Score: ATL 27 – CIN 23
Jets vs Jaguars (-7.5)
Weather: 85 Degrees 8% chance of rain
This line started at about -9 for the Jaguars in Vegas, yet after a poor showing in Week 3 at home against the Titans, it has quickly dropped. The Jaguars offense was putrid in Week 3 as they did a complete 180 from what we saw in Week 2 against the Patriots. The Jets wowed us in Week 1 against the Lions, but have followed that up with losses against the Dolphins and Browns. I still do not believe this is a very good Jets team, but I do believe what we saw from the Jaguars was an off week. I expect things to come back to normal for the Jaguars with Leonard Fournette expected back. Look for the Jets to struggle on offense while the Jaguars do enough to win by double digits.
Pick: Jaguars -7.5 (Medium Confidence), Score: JAX 20 – NYJ 10
Eagles vs Titans (+4)
Weather: 81 Degrees 1% chance of rain
The Titans are on a two-game win streak after defeating the Jaguars, with their other win against the Texans. While these wins are impressive, I’m not ready to believe this is a playoff contending team for 2018. On paper, the Titans do not match up well against the Eagles. The Titans have had nothing going in the passing game and have relied heavily on the run game. The Eagles defensive line is one of the best against the run. The Titans may have home-field advantage and some momentum coming into Week 4, but the Eagles are the better overall team and Carson Wentz has one less week of rust to knock off. I’ll take the Eagles to cover the spread with ease this week.
Pick: Eagles -4 (Medium Confidence), Score: PHI 20 – TEN 10
Sunday 9/30/2018 4:05pm
Browns vs Raiders (-3)
Weather: 85 Degrees no chance of rain
The Browns got their first win in a long time in Week 3, but can they do it again in Week 4? Well, it’s definitely a decent matchup on the road against the Raiders. Teams don’t have a ton of tape on Baker Mayfield yet, so he’ll still be difficult to truly game plan against. Overall the Browns are actually the more talented roster (particularly on defense) with an offensive coordinator who can take advantage of Mayfield’s skills. The Browns defense has shown it is legit by containing some of the best offenses in the league (Steelers and Saints) and after a slow start in Week 3, completely shut down the Jets for the majority of the game. The Raiders have started hot every week, yet keep finding ways to lose in the second half. This one should be close with the Raiders up early and the Browns with a comeback opportunity at the end.
Pick: Browns +3 (Low Confidence), Score: OAK 24 – CLE 23
Seahawks vs Cardinals (+3)
The Seahawks really showed up to play at home in Week 3 against the Cowboys. Now they go on the road to Arizona to face another struggling offense. The Cardinals managed to take an early lead against the Bears thanks to some great field position provided by the defense. The Seahawks defense isn’t in the same class as the Bears, but it is still very good in its own right, while the offense should be considerably better than what we saw from the Bears. The Cardinals Josh Rosen is the biggest wild card here, but with an awful offensive line and an Offensive Coordinator who isn’t doing much in terms of scheme, I’m not sure how effective he’ll be able to be. I’ve personally bet on or against the Seahawks every week this year and at 2-0-1 so far, I am considering them again here, with the feeling they’ll to be ready to go on the road and handle their business.
Pick: Seahawks -3 (Medium Confidence), Score: SEA 23 – ARI 17
Sunday 9/30/2018 4:25pm
Saints vs Giants (+3.5)
Weather: 74 Degrees no chance of rain
It’s not often that you look at a line and feel like you’re missing something. Sure the Giants are at home. Sure the Saints defense hasn’t been able to stop much of anything. At the end of the day, though, do you really expect Eli Manning to be able to keep up with Drew Brees and company? I don’t. I do believe Eli will do enough to get Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham Jr. some decent fantasy production, but I do not believe it’ll translate into keeping this one close. The Saints defense will start to gel at some point, but for the time being, I’ll trust that the offense will overpower a defense that doesn’t have the pass rush or cover guys to keep Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara in check.
Pick: Saints -3.5 (High Confidence), Score: NO 33 – NYG 24
49ers vs Chargers (-10.5)
Weather: 82 Degrees no chance of rain
This is a very winnable game for a Chargers team that is in desperate need of a W. The 49ers lost their quarterback in Week 3 and will be without CB Richard Sherman as well. The 49ers defense already had enough issues when healthy, now they go on the road against a Chargers offense that should be ready to take advantage. The Chargers defense has been far from great, but this is by far the weakest matchup they’ve had. All in all the Chargers don’t feel like the type of team to run away with one, so with some garbage time points, the 49ers will make a case to cover the large spread.
Pick: 49ers +10.5 (Low Confidence), Score: LAC 27 – SF 17
Sunday 9/30/2018 8:20pm
Ravens vs Steelers (-3)
Weather: 65 Degrees no chance of rain
This tightly contested rivalry has another installment in Week 4. Last year at Heinz Field these two teams had the highest-scoring game in their history. Traditionally, though, these tend to have a low to medium amount of points scored. Historically, these two teams have had a number of games decided by three points when in Pittsburgh, with the Steelers generally winning. Both of these teams have given us some ups and downs already over just a few weeks. Because of this high level of variance, I’m inclined to trust the line on this one.
Pick: No Pick, Score: PIT 27 – BAL 24
Monday 10/01/2018 8:15 pm
Chiefs vs Broncos (+5)
Weather: 69 Degrees 2% chance of rain
Patrick Mahomes has been lights out through three weeks with 13 touchdowns to start the season. I would argue, though, that the Broncos are the best defense he’s played against so far, seeing as when they face the Chargers and Steelers, those teams were not prepared. The Broncos defense should be ready to go against a poor offensive line. I expect a lot of pressure from Von Miller and Bradley Chubb. Mahomes will likely still put up a decent stat line, but I don’t believe it’s one of those four plus touchdown days for Mahomes. Ultimately I’ll take the five points along with one of the best home-field advantages in the league.
Pick: Broncos +5 (Low Confidence), Score: KC 30 – DEN 27
Kyle Kontos is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Kyle, check out his archive.