2014 Quick Hitters (Week 4 NFL Picks)
Fresh off a season-best 12-4 mark, it’s time for Week 4 NFL Picks. Can we continue what’s been a solid season so far? Last week could have been even better if I didn’t switch off the San Diego Chargers right before I published my picks. It was fun to see them buck the trend of west coast teams traveling east for an early game. Bye weeks are here and we’re without three of the best teams in the league in the Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks who collectively have accounted for a lot of successful picks. I’m glad to not see the Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns or St. Louis Rams this week.
*Remember that my picks are straight up (MONEYLINE) and Vegas lines are merely used to determine whether I’m choosing an upset, favorite or even pick.
Here’s my results on the year:
Overall Record: 32-16
Last Week’s Record: 12-4
Record in Thursday Games: 2-1
Record in Sunday Games: 25-13
Record in Sunday Night Games: 1-2
Record in Monday Games: 4-0
Record in Upset Picks: 3-2
Record in Even Picks: 9-4
Record in Favorite Picks: 20-10
Record in “Toss-Up” Picks: 16-8
Record in “Moderate Confidence” Picks: 14-7
Record in “Lock of the Week” Picks: 2-1
*Even picks are classified as opening lines under 2.5 points.
New York Giants at Washington Redskins (Thursday Night Football)
Vegas Odds: Washington (-4)
The Pick: New York Giants in the UPSET
Reason: Time to get freaky with my Thursday Night Pick as I’m calling the upset. The Giants looked damn good against the Texans and probably should have won by a lot more than 13 points. The Redskins were equally impressive in a loss against the Eagles, but Philadelphia was so banged up in that game. I’m also not ready to call Kirk Cousins a good quarterback, so I’m taking the Giants.
Buffalo Bills at Houston Texans
Vegas Odds: Houston (-2)
The Pick: Buffalo at EVEN
Reason: I wish Houston opened a half point higher because this then would be an upset pick. Nonetheless, I’m taking the Bills in this spot because I have no trust whatsoever in Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Texans’ offense. At least the Bills have a sliver of threat with EJ Manual while they run the ball down opponents throats.
Carolina Panthers at Baltimore Ravens
Vegas Odds: Baltimore (-2)
The Pick: Baltimore at EVEN
Reason: Both of these teams are kind of blah right now. Carolina was embarrassed at home by the Steelers’ running backs last week and the Ravens barely escaped Cleveland with a victory. I went back and forth on this pick, but ended up on Baltimore who is usually tough to beat at home.
Miami Dolphins at Oakland Raiders
Vegas Odds: Miami (-4.5)
The Pick: Miami as a FAVORITE
Reason: The Dolphins have annoyed me a lot since their week one upset of New England (which I correctly picked). Since that upset, I’m 0-2 picking them after an understandable loss at Buffalo and a confusing home loss to Kansas City. I thought about going with spite and picking the Raiders, but you shouldn’t do that in picks. For that reason, I’m sticking with the Dolphins and hope they don’t burn me again.
Atlanta Falcons at Minnesota Vikings
Vegas Odds: Atlanta (-2)
The Pick: Atlanta at EVEN
Reason: I really want to pick the Minnesota Vikings in this spot, but not having Matt Cassell anymore is what makes me think otherwise. The Falcons offense is really good and this is a tough spot for Teddy Bridgewater to come in and try to win a shootout against Matt Ryan. Bridgewater will need a great effort from the Vikings defense to have a shot and I don’t see that happening this weekend.
New Orleans Saints at Dallas Cowboys (Sunday Night Football)
Vegas Odds: New Orleans (-2.5)
The Pick: New Orleans as a FAVORITE
Reason: I’m concerned about whether New Orleans showed me enough in the win over Minnesota to start believing in them. Meanwhile, Dallas is a rollercoaster of a team for the second year in a row. Morris Claiborne of the Cowboys’ secondary can’t guard anyone, but at the same time the Cowboys have a very good offensive line and should limit any kind of pass rush that Tony Romo would see from the Saints. I could see the Cowboys pulling this out, but more in likely the Saints will prevail.
New England Patriots at Kansas City Chiefs (Monday Night Football)
Vegas Odds: New England (-3.5)
The Pick: Kansas City in the UPSET
Reason: New England has showed me that they are not the same dominant Patriots team they have been in the past. They have some serious issues on the offensive line and at the wide receiver position. If any quarterback can win with less, it’s Tom Brady, but I’m willing to go out on a limb and say the Chiefs will be re-energized by the return of Jamaal Charles. If Charles doesn’t play, then I wasted an upset pick.
MODERATE CONFIDENCE PICKS
Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears
Vegas Odds: Chicago (-1.5)
The Pick: Green Bay at EVEN
Reason: My bias (GB is my favorite team) aside, the Packers have an all-time low public perception right now while the Bears are riding high. Green Bay has losses to good (maybe great) teams in Detroit and Seattle both on the road and Chicago has wins over struggling San Francisco/New York Jets. Additionally, the Bears have some more significant injury concerns in their secondary right now.
Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts
Vegas Odds: Indianapolis (-6)
The Pick: Indy as a FAVORITE
Reason: The Titans were dismantled by the Bengals last week while the Colts were dismantling the Jacksonville Jaguars. Andrew Luck is masking a lot of problems in Indy, but there’s no reason to believe that Tennessee has the firepower to take advantage of those weaknesses.
Detroit Lions at New York Jets
Vegas Odds: NY Jets (-1)
The Pick: Detroit as an EVEN pick
Reason: This has sneaky Jets win written all over it, yet I’m not taking Geno Smith until I see him make smart decisions in critical points of a game. The Lions have impressed me so far with a monster pass rush and Calvin Johnson being Calvin Johnson in an offense that will only get better as the season goes on.
Tampa Bay Bucs at Pittsburgh Steelers
Vegas Odds: Pittsburgh (-8)
The Pick: Pittsburgh as a FAVORITE
Reason: I actually think the Bucs have a shot at making this game interesting if the offense can get going against a depleted Steelers defense. However, there’s no way the Bucs’ defense can stop Big Ben and the Steelers, so stick with the home team.
Jacksonville Jaguars at San Diego Chargers
Vegas Odds: San Diego (-10)
The Pick: San Diego as a huge FAVORITE
Reason: The huge favorite (NE in week 3) didn’t do so well against the spread last week, but still gutted out a victory. For our purposes, we just need a winner, so the Patriots were all good last week. This is not a good spot for Blake Bortles to have his first career start all while the Chargers are playing some fantastic football.
LOCK OF THE WEEK PICK
Philadelphia Eagles at San Francisco 49ers
Vegas Odds: San Francisco (-3.5)
The Pick: San Francisco as a FAVORITE
Reason: How do you like me putting my “Lock of the Week” on the disappointing 49ers? I told you I want to be better than picking out double-digit lines for straight up wins, so here we go. The Eagles’ offensive line is currently in shambles and the 49ers need to give their fans a win in the new stadium. If San Francisco loses in this spot, it’s definitely panic time for them.
Week Four Pick Summary: 6 Favorites, 2 Upsets and 5 Even Picks
Let me know where you agree and disagree in week four. Good luck and most importantly enjoy the games!