NFL

NFL picks, predictions for Week 4: Bills edge Dolphins in AFC East thriller; Cowboys, Ravens survive close calls

Of the six divisional games in Week 4 — all of which are intriguing – the one can’t-miss game has to be the AFC East matchup between Miami at Buffalo. 

There will be several replays of Buffalo offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey’s viral reaction to last year’s loss to the Dolphins, but these teams played three awesome games against each other last year. Those games – which included an AFC wild card matchup – were decided by a combined total of eight points.  

Buffalo has outscored its last two opponents by a score of 75-13 under coach Sean McDermott. The Bills have responded to a Week 1 loss against New York, and they cannot afford another division loss. In those three games against Miami last season, Josh Allen averaged 352 passing yards per game with nine TDs and two interceptions. 

Miami scored 70 points in a 50-point blowout against Denver in Week 3. Second-year coach Mike McDaniel has the offense clicking around Tua Tagovailoa and a supporting cast of Tyreek Hill, Raheem Mostert and De’Von Achane, who scored four total TDs in Week 3. Jaylen Waddle (concussion) also might be back. 

POWER RANKINGS: Bills, Dolphins challenge 49ers, Chiefs near top; Bears, Broncos at bottom

It adds up to the game of the week type feel. This rivalry hasn’t been this good since Jim Kelly and Dan Marino in the 1990s. Each week, Sporting News will pick the games straight up and against the spread. Here is a look at our record this season: 

  • Straight up: 30-18 (11-5 in Week 3) 
  • ATS: 25-21-2 (11-5 in Week 3) 

Last week was our best week of the season in terms of picking against the spread. Will that continue in Week 4? Here are our straight-up picks (lines courtesy of BetMGM): 

NFL picks, predictions for Week 4

  • Detroit Lions (-1.5) at Green Bay Packers

Thursday, 8:20 p.m., Prime Video 

Detroit coach Dan Campbell is 3-1 against the Packers, and that includes last year’s 20-16 victory at Lambeau Field. The last three meetings were decided by a combined total of 16 points. Jordan Love and Jared Goff each have been sacked only three times this season. How much will Green Bay’s Rashan Gary and Detroit’s Aidan Hutchinson change that? Love’s development has been impressive, but this will be another teaching moment in a tight game. 

Pick: Lions 24, Packers 21 

  • Atlanta Falcons at Jacksonville Jaguars (-3) 

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

This is an interesting matchup by two teams that stumbled in Week 3. Jacksonville is 6-4 S/U at home under Doug Pederson the last two seasons. Trevor Lawrence has a balanced passing attack, and Calvin Ridley scores a TD against his former team. The Jags also rank eighth against the run (84.0 ypg.). Stick with the home team here. 

Pick: Jaguars 31, Falcons 21

  • Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills (-2.5) 

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS

Miami won the turnover battle in all three games last season, and Mike McDaniel’s offense is clicking at an extraordinary level. Tua Tagovailoa leads the NFL in yards per attempt (10.1), and Josh Allen has taken just two sacks the last two weeks. Which defense takes the other quarterback out of their comfort zone? 

Pick: Bills 34, Dolphins 31 

Russell Wilson, Sean Payton
  • Denver Broncos (-3.5) at Chicago Bears 

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS

It’s a battle between two winless teams that were outscored 111-30 last week in college-style blowouts. That makes this one a true toss-up, and it will revert to quarterback play. Russell Wilson does not turn the ball over as much as Justin Fields in this game, and that’s the difference. That over (46.5) seems hard until you realize how bad the defenses have been. 

Pick: Broncos 28, Bears 24

  • Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns (-2.5) 

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS

We have picked the Browns incorrectly straight up each of the past three weeks, but we’ll just pin that on the inconsistency of Deshaun Watson. The Browns’ defense under Jim Schwartz, which ranks first in the league in total defense (163.7) and points per game (10.7), is legit. Lamar Jackson is 6-1 against the Browns as the starter, and he left with an ankle injury in the only loss. 

Pick: Ravens 22, Browns 21 

  • Cincinnati Bengals at Tennessee Titans (-1) 

Sunday, 1 p.m., Fox

Joe Burrow is 3-0 against the Titans, including postseason. Burrow averages 289 passing yards in those games, and despite the short week Cincinnati should be able to put together enough on the road against Tennessee, whose offense can’t be any worse than last week. 

Pick: Bengals 27, Titans 21 

Matthew Stafford
  • Los Angeles Rams at Indianapolis Colts (-1)

Sunday, 1 p.m., Fox

This is a hard-to-figure-out spread no matter how many times you look at it. Gardner Minshew led an impressive victory against Baltimore, but he also took five sacks. Matthew Stafford is still making it work, and he will play better indoors. Los Angeles’ pass rush – led by Aaron Donald – will do the rest. This game would be more fun with Cooper Kupp and Jonathan Taylor on the field. 

Pick: Rams 23, Colts 21 

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints (-3)

Sunday, 1 p.m., Fox

Monitor Derek Carr, who suffered a sprained AC joint against Green Bay in Week 3. This might turn into a battle between former Heisman Trophy winners Jameis Winston and Baker Mayfield. That screams defensive struggle, and the Saints are a touch better on that side of the ball not to mention at home. We’ll take New Orleans at home – with or without Carr. 

Pick: Saints 22, Buccaneers 18

  • Washington Commanders at Philadelphia Eagles (-7) 

Sunday, 1 p.m., Fox

These teams split last year, and Washington has won two of the last three at Philadelphia. That suggests that line might be too high, but the Commanders are coming off a 37-3 reality check against the Bills. That makes this NFC East rivalry even more difficult to read, but it’s tough to take Washington knowing the run defense has allowed more than 5.0 yards per carry the last two weeks. Jalen Hurts and D’Andre Swift will enjoy success against that. 

Pick: Eagles 30, Commanders 24

  • Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) at Houston Texans 

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS

C.J. Stroud, meet T.J. Watt. The Steelers’ linebacker leads the NFL with six sacks, and Pittsburgh has a chance to pick up a second straight road victory. The Texans are an improved team under DeMeco Ryans, and Stroud showed what he could do with solid pass protection – a total of 280 passing yards and two TDs with no sacks – in Week 3. The Steelers will turn up the pressure. 

Pick: Steelers 25, Texans 18

  • Minnesota Vikings (-3.5) at Carolina Panthers 

Sunday, 1 p.m., Fox

While Stroud is thriving, Carolina might be without Young, who suffered an ankle injury in Week 2. Andy Dalton passed for 361 yards in Dalton’s place in Week 3, but it was an inefficient performance in a loss to Seattle. The Vikings have lost three one-score games despite the fact Kirk Cousins ranks third in the NFL in passer rating (108.2). Minnesota gets in the win column. 

Pick: Vikings 26, Panthers 23 

  • Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers (-4.5) 

Sunday, 4:05 p.m., CBS

The Raiders are struggling to find offensive options outside of Davante Adams, who has 322 yards and three TDs. Jimmy Garoppolo continues to struggle with interceptions, too. That’s not the right recipe against a Chargers’ team that finally won a close game. Los Angeles’ three games have been decided by a total of nine points. Can we trust a cover? 

Pick: Chargers 27, Raiders 22 

Dak Prescott
  • New England Patriots at Dallas Cowboys (-7) 

Sunday, 4:25 p.m., Fox

The Cowboys were brought back to Earth in a brutal loss at Arizona, and the Patriots picked up their first victory of the season. That was on the road. Prescott will be more comfortable at home, and the Patriots are averaging just 17.3 points per game. The Cowboys lead the NFL with a +6 turnover differential, and that always matters against Bill Belichick. 

Pick: Cowboys 28, Patriots 24 

  • Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers (-14) 

Sunday, 4:25 p.m., Fox

That’s the largest line of the week, and it hasn’t moved. That’s faith in San Francisco, which along with Buffalo are the only teams that rank in the top five in scoring offense and scoring defense. The Cardinals are coming off an impressive upset against Dallas, but can Joshua Dobbs take the show on the road? Both of last year’s games were blowouts, but we think this one falls right on the line. 

Pick: 49ers 30, Cardinals 17 

  • Kansas City Chiefs (-9.5) at New York Jets 

Sunday, 8:20 pm., NBC

We all know who the star of this game was supposed to be. Instead, the Taylor Swift-Travis Kelce fascination will continue, and the Chiefs will look to cover for a third straight week since the Week 1 loss to the Lions. Zach Wilson – who has a 52.4% completion percentage – might be running out of chances here. Patrick Mahomes does the rest. The Jets won’t generate enough offense to keep up. 

Pick: Chiefs 31, Jets 17 

  • Seattle Seahawks (-1) at New York Giants 

Monday, 8:15 p.m., ESPN

The Seahawks are road favorites against the Giants, which had a long week after a Thursday Night Football loss to the 49ers. Saquon Barkley (ankle) still remains uncertain, but the line has dropped a half-point from its open. The Seahawks won their only game as an away favorite last week, and Kenneth Walker III picked it up in the running game last week. 

Pick: Seahawks 24, Giants 21

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