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Week Four Picks

October 4th, 2020

It’s starting to look like I could finish week four perfect straight up and against the spread.

I got the Thursday night game right. And as positive Covid-19 tests roll in left and right, for all I know Thursday night’s game could turn out to be the whole of the slate.

Let’s assume the NFL manages to avoid having to reschedule or scrap the whole thing, though, and just take a look at what not to expect in the off chance they play some of these games (sometime between Sunday and Wednesday).

Jacksonville (+2.5) at Cincinnati
Pondering a game like this, it’s easy to see why the NFL would want to press on with the 2020 season despite the very real risks of this pandemic. I mean, professional football just doesn’t get any more exciting than this, does it? One of these teams has to win. I figure it probably turns out to be the marginally more competent Jaguars. Jacksonville by a field goal.

Cleveland (+3.5) at Dallas
I know the Browns have a better record than the Cowboys at this point. But still, really? Three and a half? Are we expecting most of the Dallas offense to call in sick? Dallas by 13.

New Orleans (-3) at Detroit
It’s looks to me as if the 2020 Saints may have some real problems. But so do the Lions. New Orleans by a point.

Seattle (-5.5) at Miami
Cross-country travel is the only factor that prevents a blowout here. Seahawks by a touchdown.

LA Chargers (+7) at Tampa Bay
The Bucs offense is still finding its way. The Chargers have yet to find their offense. Tampa by nine.

Baltimore (-14) at Washington
This game should be over by the end of the first quarter. Ravens by 20.

Arizona (-3) at Carolina
The Cardinals aren’t consistently playing up to their potential. The Panthers have no potential. Cards by four.

Minnesota (+3.5) at Houston
Through three weeks, these two teams don’t have win between them. The Texans at least have the excuse of having played an absolutely brutal opening schedule. Houston by a field goal.

NY Giants (+13) at LA Rams
Sooner or later one of the New Jersey teams is going to win a football game. I think. But it’s not going to be this week. Rams by two touchdowns.

Indianapolis (-3) at Chicago
The Bears are 3-0. Their opponents are a collective 1-8. The Colts are 2-1. Their opponents are a collective 1-9 (through Thursday night’s Jets loss). So you tell me how to size up this match. I think the Colts are probably slightly better. But maybe not by enough to win by more than three even with a very short road trip. Let’s say Indy wins it straight up and it’s a push with the points.

Buffalo (-3.5) at Las Vegas
There was a time when these teams regularly engaged in very entertaining postseason matches. We might get back there sooner than later. But only if the Raiders are able to develop a defense. Buffalo by six.

Philadelphia (+7.5) at San Francisco
Seven and a half seems like an awful lot for a banged-up team to be giving. Then again, the Eagles. San Fran by 10.

Atlanta (+6.5) at Green Bay
I don’t have much to say here. Packers by a lot. What’s a lot? I’m not sure, but it’s definitely more than six and a half, and probably less than, I don’t know, 49.

New England (+7) at Kansas City
You can’t get an actual line on this game, so I just stuck with what was there before the whole thing was thrown into doubt following Cam Newton’s positive Covid-19 test. New England was already facing an uphill battle here. The Patriots defense has been shaping up promisingly, but it’s not ready for this kind of a challenge yet. Maybe the Pats O could have stepped up against a suspect Chiefs D and made it a game. But it’s probably too early in the season for that, too. With New England maybe traveling to Kansas City on the day of the game to play with Brian Hoyer behind center? Forget it. (I like Hoyer as a backup. But he’s not at this point going to come off the bench to lead a team to victory over the defending champs.) If the game is played, Chiefs win it by at least 10.

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