My lock of the year, Ravens over Chiefs? Whoops…
Doesn’t look like there’s a Super Bowl hangover this year. In what most people, including myself, thought would be the game of the year on Monday night…well, it wasn’t. The Chiefs outclassed the Ravens from start to finish.
I think the bigger issue to me from Monday night’s game was the lack of success by reigning MVP, Lamar Jackson. To put it mildly, he stunk. And it essentially showed that the Ravens can’t rally when they have to essentially give up the running game (as we also saw vs. Tennessee in the playoffs).
So now Kansas City has the equivalent of a 1.5 game lead on the Ravens meaning Baltimore’s likely margin of error going forward, if they want to once again hold the AFC’s top spot and secure a 1st round playoff bye, is very slim.
After seeing all that was Week 3, here’s how I’d rank the NFL’s top ten teams:
1. Kansas City
5. Green Bay
7. New Orleans
9. LA Rams
10. New England
Just at a glance, the playoffs are going to be as wide open as ever assuming Kansas City potentially comes back down to the earth in the AFC. I can make an argument for up to 8-9 teams in the NFC as well.
On to the picks…and once again a decent, but not great Week 3. It would be nice to actually pick 10+ ATS winners one of these weeks…
Week 4 Picks
Last Week: 10-5-1 Straight Up (SU), 8-8 Against the Spread (ATS)
Overall: 30-17-1 SU, 23-25 ATS
Preseason Picks Matrix – Last Week: 6-9-1,Overall: 28-19-1
(Picks against the spread in parentheses; HOME TEAMS IN CAPS)
NEW YORK JETS 20, DENVER BRONCOS 16 (ATS: Jets +3.5)
CHICAGO BEARS 21, Indianapolis Colts 17 (ATS: Bears +2.5)
DALLAS COWBOYS 30, Cleveland Browns 21 (ATS: Cowboys -4.5)
Arizona Cardinals 29, CAROLINA PANTHERS 23 (ATS: Cardinals -3.5)
CINCINNATI BENGALS 31, Jacksonville Jaguars 21 (ATS: Bengals -3.5)
New Orleans Saints 28, DETROIT LIONS 23 (ATS: Saints -4.5)
Seattle Seahawks 31, MIAMI DOLPHINS 26 (ATS: Dolphins +6.5)
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS 24, Los Angeles Chargers 17 (ATS: Chargers +7.5)
Baltimore Ravens 31, WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM 19 (ATS: Washington +13.5)
LOS ANGELES RAMS 30, New York Giants 20 (ATS: Giants +12.5)
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 31, New England Patriots 24 (ATS: Patriots +7.5)
Buffalo Bills 24, LAS VEGAS RAIDERS 20 (ATS: Bills -3.5)
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS 26, Philadelphia Eagles 18 (ATS: 49ers -6.5)
GREEN BAY PACKERS 34, Atlanta Falcons 30 (ATS: Falcons +7.5)
COVID-related games (assuming they’re played this week)
Pittsburgh Steelers 23, TENNESSEE TITANS 17 (ATS: Steelers -1.5)
HOUSTON TEXANS 28, Minnesota Vikings 23 (ATS: Texans -3.5)
5 Quick Thoughts on Week 4
1. The Jets-Broncos and Colts-Bears games are the toughest games I’ve picked to date. I have absolutely no clue in either…the first one featuring two awful teams and the second with teams that seemingly play only one great half per game. Might as well flip a coin for both. For now I’ll go with my old rule…in toss-up games, take the home team.
2. I was planning to take the Titans over the Steelers…but with the whole COVID situation and Tennessee likely not able to practice this week, give me Pittsburgh in a contest of two likely AFC playoff teams (assuming it actually gets played).
3. In the other possible COVID-affected game…quite possibly the most stunning development to this point is that after Week 4, either the Texans or Vikings, two playoff teams which advance to the second round of the playoffs last season, will be 0-4. Houston can at least say they’ve opened with arguably the three best teams in the AFC while the Vikings have no excuse. With a loss, I wonder what changes might start to happen in Minnesota…probably not the head coach or the overpriced QB…but something would have to be different going forward.
4. I have a strangely good feeling about the Bengals this week…hence the reason I’m picking them as my top favorite for Best Bets (below). Jacksonville should’ve lost Week 1 to Indianapolis and really got beaten up by a subpar Dolphins team last week. Look for a BIG week from Joe Burrow, Joe Mixon, and company!
5. I’m making the Falcons getting more than a touchdown on Monday night in Green Bay my best underdog bet of the week for several reasons: 1. they usually have the lead late in the game, 2. Green Bay has won one home Monday night football game by more than 7.5 points since 2011. Dumb stat? Maybe…but the Packers generally aren’t a great home MNF team when it comes to covering larger spreads. I might be pulling that logic out of my rear end…but play or fade it as you will.
Week 4 Betting Locks
(Last Week’s Result, Season Record in Parentheses)
Favorite (LOSS, 1-2): Bengals -3.5 vs. Jaguars
Underdog (WIN, 2-1): Falcons +7.5 vs. Packers
Bet the Over (WIN, 3-0): Seahawks / Dolphins Over 54.5
Bet the Under (LOSS, 1-2): Colts / Bears Under 45