Well, the ever-so-popular sleeper pick Brownies are 0-3, so are the Bengals. Get this, one of them is guaranteed to be 0-4. Which will it be? Is it possible that Cleveland starts the ’08 season just like the Saints started the ’07 season? Did either team make me forget what I thought about them before their Week 3 game? Anything is possible. Check out which other teams I see being winless when Week 4 is over…
Denver Broncos (-9) @ Kansas City Chiefs:
When one team will just put up too many points for another to stay close: The Broncos – Chiefs saga. Unless this game was a 2 touchdown spread, I just can’t buy the Chiefs hanging around. They couldn’t do it with the Falcons, and they were ousted by the Raiders – the Broncos should blow another division foe right out of the water. The only question is how will the Broncos do it? I feel like Splinter Shannahan has taken on the Patriots persona from last year – put up as many points as you can as fast as possible and make teams uncomfortable early and often. The two point conversion. Passing late in the game against the Saints. I think they’ll put up 50 on the Chiefs just to try and piss some people off.
Cleveland Browns (+4) @ Cincinnati Bengals:
As much as I hate betting on the Browns right now, there’s just no way I can justify taking the Bengals as a favorite. You know why? Because they shouldn’t be favored to do anything but lose. I realize that Cleveland has played terrible thus far, and I also know that the Bengals were a couple Eli Manning passes away from a big upset over the Giants – but which team is better suited to win here? I’m thinking the Browns, honestly. Jamal Lewis will run easily on the Bengals, and Cincinnati isn’t consistent enough to pull too far ahead. I like the dogs here – as much as I can like a Brown anyway.
Houston Texans @ Jacksonville Jaguars (-7.5):
I would take the Texans if they didn’t play such horrible football away from home. Jacksonville is a tough place to play, mainly because they have a defense that halts drives and an offense that pounds defenses into submission. This game should be close early, but I would think a late score puts the Jaguars up by two touchdowns and that’s how the game ends. Again, I like the Texans – in Texas – but when they get mailed a couple states away they just aren’t the same team. If this game gets to +10, then I like then I would advise bettors to steer clear – but you can get 7.5 now, so go for the gusto!
Green Bay Packers (+1.5) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
The Packers were handled pretty well by the Cowboys, but Tamps isn’t Dallas, and even though this game is on the road, I don’t see Green Bay losing two in a row. They’ll come back after a mediocre performance against Dallas and handle the Bucs easily. Tampa Bay won’t be able to do to Green Bay what they did to Chicago, 400+ passing yards is out of the question. Expect less scoring and a nice road win against a solid defense for the Packers.
San Francisco 49ers (+6.5) @ New Orleans Saints :
This is a really tough one, so I’ll take the points. I don’t think the Niners are a good team quite yet, but neither are the Saints. New Orleans is getting points as if their best receiver (Colston) and their second best receiver (Shockey) aren’t out for a couple weeks with injuries. News flash, neither will play on Sunday. The 49ers have one of the best corners in the league in Nate Clements, he should shut down one side of the field for Drew Brees. With defensive speed and pass rushing prowess, I think the 49ers can pressure Drew into some mistakes. I’m sure Reggie Bush will find some room to thrive, and certainly New Orleans will rely on the run more in this one(Bush, Thomas, and McCallister), but that helps my case for taking the points. The 49ers look like the best value here.
Atlanta Falcons @ Carolina Panthers (-7):
I don’t know about this one. I don’t like the Panthers as a favorite, they are well known as heart breakers from that side of the betting spectrum, but I think Atlanta is getting a little bit too much credit here. They have a nice rushing attack, surely, but Carolina has a nice defense and a secondary that should be able to snag a couple arrant passes from Matt Ryan. I certainly like the Falcons future, but they are a 7-9 team at best. The Panthers are playoff caliber with a defense that is putting it all together. Coming off a loss last week in Minnesota, I think the Panthers come back strong against a Falcons defense that can’t chose one thing to stop. If the Panthers can run, and they can against Atlanta, they are a top notch football team. A touchdown seems like a lot, but I’d bet they cover.
Minnesota Vikings @ Tennessee Titans (-3):
I think the Titans are the better team here, they are playing in Tennessee, and their secondary isn’t as much of a question mark as the one in Minnesota. The Vikings will want to run, and with a stud like Adrian Peterson and a great back up like Chester Taylor, there is definitely something to like there. But they are going up against a Titans defense that is very good at taking the run away. I don’t think the Vikings can succeed without a rushing attack. I think the Titans do enough with their offense to take advantage of a weak secondary, and being at home I really like their chances to go 4-0 with a win in Week 4.
Buffalo Bills (-8) @ St. Louis Rams:
Not much about the Rams to like here. Sure, they could pull a Bengals and do well against the visiting Bills, but the chances of that happening aren’t great. I still don’t like giving 8 points to the Bills – they take too few chances to be a sure thing to win by a large margin, so I pick this game advising that you be a little bit careful – but right now there is absolutely no reason to like anything the Rams put out there. They lost to a Seahawk team that was down and out, and they didn’t even put up a fight. Steven Jackson is running a lot like Shawn Alexander did last year, Bulger is benched, and though Tory Holt is still always open, the offensive line can’t give a quarterback enough time to get him the ball. Take the Bills!
San Diego Chargers (-7.5) @ Oakland Raiders:
Is this the week that Kiffin gets the axe? It must be hard, as a player, to go week to week wondering that same question. Sure, they can look past it for the first week or two, but soon the realization that you are playing for a guy that is inevitably getting fired kicks in. That never helps a team. The Chargers are about to pull off maybe 5 or 6 straight wins, and right now a mediocre Raiders team is trying to play the part of speed bump. Take the Chargers here – it shouldn’t be much of a contest.
Philadelphia Eagles (-3) @ Chicago Bears:
I don’t buy the Bears as a playoff team. I’m buying the Eagles as a threat to be in the Super Bowl come February though. Chicago showed me last week, that if Philly wants to, they can throw the ball all over the Bears’ secondary. That’s not a good sign for Bears fans. McNabb isn’t 100% coming into this game, but I think he’ll play, and I think he’ll play well in his home state. Look for DeSean Jackson to shine as well – this should be a big win for the Eagles.
Washington Redskins (+11.5) @ Dallas Cowboys:
I do think the Cowboys are one of the best teams in football, but I don’t think they are a good value at +11.5 against the Redskins, even with the game being played in Dallas. Washington has a nice passing attack and a runner in Clinton Portis that poses enough of a threat to keep the Cowboys on their toes. The Redskins have fought back nicely after getting embarrased a little in their first game of the season. Jim Zorn isn’t as wet behind the ears as he seemed in week 1, and I like their chances to make a couple big plays that keep this game within 10.
Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers (-7):
The Steelers are a very good football team, especially at home. The Eagles shut them down a bit last week, but I don’t think the Steelers offense is that questionable. They didn’t look good against the Browns two weeks ago, but like I said, the Steelers are a different beast in Pittsburgh, and even with Willie Parker out, I still expect them to run on the Ravens a bit. Rashard Mendenhall, though he hasn’t done anything yet, is a very good back with the power and speed to do work against the best of defenses. I think that, without Willie, the Steelers will take more chances through the air, and that should mean good things for Santonio Holmes and the Steelers offense. As of right now the only line on this game is from a big casino, and I’m sure the books are waiting to see if Ben Roethlisberger is going to play. If he’s not playing, this line doesn’t exist, and I’ll try to get back on an make a proper pick. But for now, I’ll take the Steelers by more than a touchdown against a Ravens team that will find moving the ball next to impossible versus the Steel Show.