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Week Four Picks

September 26th, 2019

I suppose there are worse ruts to be stuck in.

And, um, when I say I suppose, I probably mean I know.

Week three was the second week running in which my picks came in 11-5 straight up, 8-8 against the spread. And, yeah, I’d like to think I could do a whole lot better. But I’m pretty sure I should have done a whole lot worse. So I’ll take it.

For the season, I stand at 34-13-1 (.719) straight up and 24-23-1 (.510) with the points.

Given that I’m still mostly just flipping a coin at this point (I’ll start to feel like I have sufficient data to support poor analysis and worse decision making after this week’s set of games are in the books), the law of large numbers should probably catch up with me any second now. So, you know, approach all of the below with the complete lack of confidence and respect it deserves.

That is, here’s what not to expect in week four.

Philadelphia (+4.5) at Green Bay
I think I’m supposed to believe that the 3-0 Packers aren’t quite as good as their record implies, and that the 1-2 Eagles are better than their record lets on. And maybe both of those things are true. I certainly can think of teams I find more impressive than Green Bay. But I’m not picking based on what I think I’m supposed to think. Or at least not if it means taking the road team on a Thursday night. Packers by a field goal.

Carolina (+4.5) at Houston
The Cam Newton-less Panthers are playing their second straight road game. And this week’s competition is a good bit tougher than last week’s. Texans by six.

Cleveland (+7) at Baltimore
The Ravens have been playing pretty good football. The Browns, for all the preseason hype, have been playing like the Browns. Baltimore by nine.

Washington (+3) at NY Giants
The Giants still have a ways to go before they’re contenders again. But they’re already better than the awful Racists. New Jersey by four.

LA Chargers (-16) at Miami
The Chargers, stop me if you’ve heard this one before, are not known for their success record in 1 p.m. games on the east coast. And still, the Dolphins are scoring 5.3 points per game and allowing 44.3. So let’s go ahead and give the points. Chargers by 20.

Oakland (+7) at Indianapolis
You can probably count on the Raiders to beat all of the bad teams they play this season. That puts them in line for their next week when the host the Bengals in week 11. Colts by 13.

Kansas City (-6.5) at Detroit
I actually think the Lions can give the Chiefs a game. I recognize that I’m maybe the only person who thinks so. But that’s OK. I think Detroit’s offense is well positioned to take advantage of Kansas City’s inadequate D. And I suspect the Lions D can frustrate the Chiefs offense for at least a little while. In the end, I think the Chiefs have just too many offensive options for the Lions to be able to go 60 minutes against them. So I still like Kansas City in this one. But maybe by only a field goal.

New England (-7) at Buffalo
Spare me the whole “meeting of two 3-0 teams for control of the AFC East” bit, will you? The Bills can’t score on the Patriots’ defense. This one gets ugly early. New England by 17.

Tennessee (+4) at Atlanta
I don’t trust either of these teams, unless it’s to find ways to lose football games. I’ll give the edge to the home team, I suppose. But I won’t be shocked by any outcome. Falcons by three.

Tampa Bay (+9.5) at LA Rams
The home team’s better on both sides of the ball. Rams by a touchdown.

Seattle (-5) at Arizona
You get the feeling the Seahawks may be going into this game thinking they have something to prove, if only to themselves. The point they’re hoping to make, however, may not end up being quite so plain as they might like. Seattle by four.

Minnesota (+2) at Chicago
It would be interesting if one of these teams could beat a strong competitor. I think maybe the Vikings beating the Bears in Chicago would qualify. Minnesota by a three.

Jacksonville (+3) at Denver
I’m not really on the Minshew Mania bandwagon. But this week I can pretend to be. Because the risk is exceedingly low. Jaguars by a point.

Dallas (-2.5) at New Orleans
I’m not inclined to start believing in the Cowboys just because the Saints don’t have their starting QB. New Orleans by six.

Cincinnati (+4) at Pittsburgh
I don’t care how the Steelers have struggled to this point, they’re not losing at home to a terrible division opponent. Pittsburgh by three.

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