NFL picks, predictions against the spread Week 4: Packers get revenge on Lions; Chiefs crush Jets; Cowboys can’t cover

Week 3 was a trap set for several teams, including the Cowboys, Ravens and Jaguars. The Dolphins, Eagles and 49ers are now the only three undefeated teams left at 3-0. As for the four 0-3 teams, they are all playing in two of the matchups in Week 4, with half about to crack their goose eggs.

The spreads this week aren’t as big as expected in some favorites’ cases and are closer than expected in some underdogs’ cases. There’s a ramp-up in key early division games to give us a better handle on who’s standing out in the standings. There also are revenge games galore, both for players and teams.

Without a further ado, here are Sporting News’ NFL picks and predictions against the spread for Week 4:

(Odds courtesy of Sports Interaction)

POWER RANKINGS: Bills, Dolphins challenge 49ers, Chiefs near top

NFL picks against the spread for Week 4

  • Game of Midweek: Lions (-1.5, 45 o/u) at Packers 

Thursday 8:15 p.m. ET, Amazon Prime Video

The Packers shouldn’t forget what happened in Week 18 last season, when the Lions took away their playoff berth on Sunday night in Lambeau Field. Can Detroit win at Green Bay two straight times? Both teams are dealing with key injuries with a short week, but with both rushing attacks limited, look for it come down to which QB, Jared Goff or Jordan Love gets pressured more into key turnovers. Look for the Packers’ pass rush to come through more with the extra emotional energetic boost in play.

Pick: Packers win 23-20.

  • Game of the Week: Dolphins at Bills (-2.5, 53.5 o/u)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Dolphins and Bills should provide the expected epic battle between a red-hot offense and a scorching defense. The difference is Buffalo also can explode for big plays in its passing game with Josh Allen and Miami may be hurting too much at corner and wide receiver in relation to the hosts. Allen got his groove the past two weeks and the momentum carries here as the Bills restore themselves as AFC East favorites.

Pick: Bills win 30-27 and cover the spread.

  • Lock of the Week: Eagles (-7, 44.5 o/u) over Commanders 

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Commanders were an easily inflated 0-2 team after wins over the Broncos and Cardinals and got that rude awakening at home against the Bills. Their offensive line is crumbling quickly in pass protection for Sam Howell when there’s no success on the ground. The Commanders also still have plenty of holes in their pass defense for Jalen Hurts to exploit downfield.

Pick: Eagles win 27-14 and cover the spread.

  • Upset of the Week: Buccaneers (+3, 40.5 o/u) over Saints 

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, Fox

This becomes a revenge game (again) for Jameis Winston as he will need to start (again) for now an injured Derek Carr (shoulder). But this is a tough draw at home, as Alvin Kamara can be contained and Winston can make key mistakes vs. deep pass. rush. It won’t be easier for Baker Mayfield, either, with Marshon Lattimore containing Mike Evans (again), but Tampa Bay can come away with just enough big plays in a defensive battle.

Pick: Buccaneers win 20-17.

  • Falcons at Jaguars (-3, 43.5 o/u) in London 

Sunday 9:30 a.m. ET, ESPN+

The Falcons are hopeless offensively with Desmond Ridder if they can’t run the ball for massive yardage. The Jaguars will contain Bijan Robinson and force Ridder to throw often to keep up with Trevor Lawrence, who will rev up former Falcon Calvin Ridley again away from the coverage of A.J. Terrell at times with big assists from Christian Kirk and Evan Engram working inside. Jacksonville tends to handle the UK well and shuld drive past Atlanta easily across the pond.

Pick: Jaguars win 27-17 and cover the spread.

  • Broncos (-3, 46 o/u) at Bears 

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Broncos have remained a mess under Sean Payton after he vowed to clean things up from Nathaniel Hackett. While that’s somewhat true of getting Russell Wilson back on track offensively with the running game sputtering, the defense has been disturbingly bad. But at the very least, Denver is not as dysfunctional as Chicago. Someone’s orange needs to burst from 0-3. Count on a Payton working against the Bears here.

Pick: Broncos win 27-20 and cover the spread.

  • Ravens at Browns (-2.5, 41.5 o/u)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Ravens are banged up on the offensive line and their backfield keeps getting depleted. The injury bug also has eaten well into their defense and receiving corps, putting them on edge at 2-1. The Browns lost Nick Chubb and Jack Conklin, so they won’t have sympathy, just relentless pressure from Myles Garrett and coverage to contain Lamar Jackson’s transitional passing game.

Pick: Browns win 23-20 and cover the spread.

  • Bengals (-2, 44.5 o/u) at Titans

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, Fox

Joe Burrow should continue to gut through his ankle injury to pick apart the Titans’ reeling pass defense for his best, Burrow-like game of the season. The Bengals’ defense will erase a fading Titans’ rushing attack, too. putting Ryan Tannehill in uncomfortable situations. The Titans’ run-stopping means little in this spot. Zac Taylor gets the better of Mike Vrabel again in a non-playoff situation.

Pick: Bengals win 34-14 and cover the spread.

Anthony Richardson, Joe Burrow
  • Rams at Colts (-1, 45 o/u)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Rams go into Indianapolis on a short week with their passing game remaining their best offensive asset against a weak pass defense. The Colts have surprised so far under Shane Steichen, as they’ve found their running and passing, even when not Jonathan Taylor and Anthony Richardson haven’t been available. This is a coin flip grind of an interconference matchup, but Aaron Donald makes the disruptive defensive difference.

Pick: Rams win 24-20.

  • Vikings (-3.5, 45 o/u) at Panthers

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Vikings are now in the habit of losing one-possession games, a playoff hangover from their loss to the Giants. They’ll flip the script a little here with a break for their defense as Kirk Cousins rips into another struggling defense with all his weapons with a continued boost from the backfield. Whether it’s Andy Dalton or Bryce Young, the Panthers don’t have the firepower to keep up, even in a revenge game for former Viking Adam Thielen.

Pick: Vikings win 27-24 but fail to cover the spread.

  • Steelers (-3, 41 o/u) at Texans

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, CBS

Kenny Pickett is coming off his first two-TD pass game in the NFL, while C.J. Stroud has had those in his second and third career starts. This should make for a gritty duel between two young passers. Both defensive have struggled against the run, but have been effective vs. the pass in different ways. Advantage T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith vs. Will Anderson Jr.

Pick: Steelers win 24-20 and cover the spread.

  • Raiders at Chargers (-5.5, 47.5 o/u)

Sunday 4:05 p.m. ET, CBS

Jimmy Garoppolo will need to clear concussion protocol to go, but between Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers, the Raiders have the receivers to keep burning the Chargers’ secondary. They also will see good running lanes for Josh Jacobs. But on the flip side, Justin Herbert is on a heater and will rip into another big passing game with Keenan Allen, even no longer with Mike Williams.

Pick: Chargers win 35-31 but fail to cover the spread.

  • Patriots at Cowboys (-7, 43 o/u)

Sunday 4:25 p.m. ET, Fox

The Patriots come in with an up-and-down offense but rather reliable defense against limited attacks. They should try to wear down the Cowboys first with Rhamondre Stevenson and Ezekiel Elliott, with the latter returning to Dallas for a revenge game. Bill Belichick can scheme contain the run and CeeDee Lamb enough to make it interesting vs. a slumping Dak Prescott. The Cowboys’ pass defense will need to save the day late vs. Mac Jones.

Pick: Cowboys win 23-20 but fail to cover the spread.

  • Cardinals at 49ers (-14, 44 o/u)

Sunday 4:25 p.m. ET, Fox

The 49ers have become an offensive machine ever since the combination of Brock Purdy and Christian McCaffrey took over, giving them a much higher passing and running ceiling. Josh Dobbs has impressed filling in for Kyler Murray as a dual threat in his own right for Arizona, but San Francisco is a different kind of defensive matchup. Purdy will have no problems ripping into his hometown team.

Pick: 49ers win 31-14 and cover the spread.

  • Chiefs (-9.5, 42.5 o/u) at Jets

Sunday 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC

This will no longer be Patrick Mahomes vs. Aaron Rodgers, but rather the Chiefs’ defense vs. the Jets.’ defense. Chris Jones has been huge in his return, but Kansas City is playing well on every level to make things so much easier on Patrick Mahomes. That pays off here as the Jets’ pass defense does its best to keep the team in the game — until Zach Wilson pulls New York right out of it.

Pick: Chiefs win 26-10 and cover the spread.

  • Seahawks at Giants (-1.5, 47 o/u)

Monday 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN

The Seahawks stumbled out of the gate vs. the Rams but have responded well the past two weeks. Their offense is finding its 2022 form with Geno Smith and Kenneth Walker. That balance and explosiveness is a challenge for New York’s defense, which has struggled up front. On the flip side, Seattle’s pass rush can fluster Daniel Jones enough times with no Saquon Barkley for support again.

Pick: Seahawks win 27-24.

Kenneth Walker

Stats of the Week

Week 3 straight up: 11-5

Week 3 against the spread: 9-7

Season straight up: 30-18

Season against the spread: 24-23

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