NFL Week 4 Picks

Welcome to the inaugural NFL Picks column on SportsIntel! Our intention is to bring you expert selections every week of the season from here on out. If we didn’t write on your game, feel free to request it!

Picks by Danny

Detroit at Minnesota

The Lions are coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Falcons, while Minnesota won a surprising game against the Bucs. I typically favor strong defenses, especially when playing at home, but with the Vikes starting Case Keenum in place of Sam Bradford I’m not too high on a Minnesota win. Matthew Stafford has been playing some of the best ball of his career and the Lion’s defense has been better than expected.

Results: Lions 21, Minnesota 17

Pittsburgh at Baltimore

This is perhaps the best rivalry in the NFL over the past decade. Both teams are coming off disappointing loses in week three and look to get right. The Steelers are the better team and should get a tough win on the road. Joe Flacco hasn’t found his groove yet this season and Pittsburgh has an incredibly talented roster with too much fire-power on offense to lay a clunker two weeks in a row. Also, the Ravens have yet to beat a good team.

Results: Steelers 27, Baltimore 20

Oakland at Denver

Another classic rivalry. I don’t know that will ever pick against the Broncos defense at home. I love Marshawn Lynch and the Raiders offense, however it’s tough sledding for anyone in Denver this year. The Raiders will make this competitive but the Broncos ride a great defense and solid run game to victory at home.

Results: Broncos 20, Raiders 17

Picks by Brad

New Orleans Saints (-2.5) vs. Miami Dolphins from Wembley Stadium in London

Miami is the designated home team for this one which probably doesn’t factor into the Vegas line since neither team is particularly accustomed to playing in London. Miami was really bad last week and New Orleans looked pretty good, plus the road weary ‘Phins still haven’t played a game in Florida and September is all but gone. All of this spells doom for Smokin’ Jay Cutler and the snake-bitten 2017 Miami Dolphins. Saints build on last week’s throttling of Carolina and win 34-10.

Tennessee Titans @ Houston Texans (EVEN)

It’s tempting to look at the one common opponent (Texans were killed at home by the Jags who got killed at home by the Titans) and assume that Tennessee has the edge here, but don’t take the bait! Houston is a different squad with Deshaun at QB and we saw what he can do last week in New England. Tennessee’s win last week against Seattle looks pretty good until you realize that they got a little lucky with some huge plays against a Seattle team that struggled with the humid weather. Texans get back into the thick of the AFC South race with a 24-23 win.

Philadelphia Eagles @ Dumb Lightning Bolt Team (-1)

Referring to the Carson Clippers as the “home team” will be a running joke this season because they have no home field advantage. Go Google up some images of their first two games at the Stub Hub Center (a soccer stadium in Carson, CA they’re temporarily calling home). Dolphins fans and Chiefs fans can clearly be seen in greater numbers. Serves ’em right. I am picking against the Iggles though, because I want to set up a win-win for myself. This way I either get to be right about my pick or happy about 0-4. Eagles struggle with the cross-country road trip and fall 20-19.

Picks by Chris

Green Bay Packers v. Chicago Bears

Something smells in Green Bay and it ain’t Limburger. The Packers are set to battle the Bears tonight and I’m not sure this is an open and shut case for Aaron Rodgers and company. Beyond early-season injuries, the Packers aren’t running the ball well, big money Martellus Bennet still seems to be developing a rapport with Rodgers, and the Packers secondary is still a work in progress. In short, many of their shortcomings from previous years are still evident in 2017. Cowherd said it first, but Aaron Rodgers may just be the best kept secret since Old Spice.

Meanwhile, the Bears run game overwhelmed a stout Pittsburgh defense last Sunday and the Packers may be without Mike Daniels tonight. Despite my affinity for the green and gold, if Tarik Cohen and Jordan Howard can carry this guy to victory, then I do believe the Bears have a fighter’s chance. Now, Howard was favoring a shoulder towards the end of regulation last week, but that didn’t stop him from grinding out yards for his team. His health will be a key to the Bears success tonight and if Glennon (or Trubisky… yeah I said it) performs marginally better than 101 yards of airborne offense, we could have a game on our hands.

But, this is a rivalry game, the Packers have home field advantage, and I’m a big fan of Old Spice. Chris’s verdict: Packers 24, Bears 14

Los Angeles Rams v. Dallas Cowboys

Really, Chris? The Rams? Listen, Todd Gurley looked nasty last week. In a quarterback league, there is something to be said for watching a running back control the field of play. I was a big fan of Gurley in 2015, which made 2016 even more disappointing than watching this unfold. So far in 2017, the Ram’s RB1 has tallied an impressive 241 yards on the ground, with another 140 through the air. Gurley is developing into a true dual threat out of the backfield, and Jared Goff looks much improved on his rookie outing. It’s early, but I think the Rams are on the upswing.

Meanwhile, Dak Prescott just got a taste of failure. He took a licking against the Broncos last week, and while it’s only one game, it was his worst professional outing by far. This week is important for the young quarterback, he needs to have a bounce back performance against an underperforming Ram’s defense. In the past, Prescott has shown poise and composure beyond his years, and he’ll need to tap into that maturity to be successful this year. NFL defensive coordinators are better prepared for him in 2017 and it’s going to be a much longer road to the playoffs.

I think the Ram’s defense figures it out before Dak Prescott and the Cowboys. Chris’s Verdict: Rams 28, Cowboys 21.

Kansas City Chiefs v. Washington Redskins

Full disclosure, I’m not too enamored by my local team, the Redskins. My interest in this match up is for one reason, and one reason alone.

Kareem Hunt.

The rookie from Toledo has been sensational through three games and I want to see more. Apparently, even the gents over at FiveThirtyEight can’t keep their eyes off of him. Much like the stats junkies over there, I’m curious to see how long he can sustain this level of performance, and he’s just damn exciting to watch. And, I’m a story guy. Or at least Brad has accused me of being one. Who predicted a young back out of Toledo was going to shake up the NFL so handily?

This is what football is all about. Not-so-bold prediction: Kareem Hunt. Err, Chiefs 31, Redskins 21.