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NFL: Week 4 Game Previews and Selections

While NFL players welcome them, football fans tend to hate the bye weeks.

Especially when those bye weeks take away some of the best and most dependable teams. The Seattle Seahawks, Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals and Cincinnati Bengals all have the week off —  along with the Cleveland Browns and St. Louis Rams – so that means a number of opportunities to earn money have been removed from the betting equation.

However, we will try to muddle through.

We are fully aware of the dangers of riding with road favorites, but we are going to swallow hard and do that in a number of cases this week.



Looking to have found a rhythm this season, the Steelers will be heavy favorites against Kansas City on Monday night.


Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh (-7.5)


The Steelers looked like they would be up against it when they went to Carolina last week. The Panthers are usually solid at home, they have an athletic quarterback in Cam Newton and a nasty defense.

None of that mattered to the Steelers, who appeared to turn back the clock as they beat the Panthers with a decisive, physical effort on the road. Running backs Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount just smoked the Panthers defense with their running skills and the Steelers defense pummeled the Panthers as well.

What chance do the lowly Bucs have after getting run over by Atlanta. Certainly, the humiliation factor should mean that Tampa Bay will come with a better effort, but the youthful Bucs don’t have enough talent to compete for 60 minutes.

It’s difficult to say the Bucs staying within 10 points in this one, so look for a strong Pittsburgh 27-13 victory.


Green Bay (-1) at Chicago

The Packers have owned the Bears in recent years, and while Green Bay is off to a slow start, the Packers; desperation should serve them well here.

Green Bay regularly dominates the Bears at Soldier Field, and this game should be no different. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense was held in check by Detroit last week, but that is not going to happen two weeks in a row. The Packers have gotten off to 1-2 starts in each of the past two seasons and they have recovered.

If the offensive line gives Rodgers just a bit more time this week, he should be able to take care of the Bears back seven. Chicago has plenty of offensive weapons and Jay Cutler should also have a big day, but the Packers will perform better in the fourth quarter. Green Bay pulls off a 33-30 victory.


Jacksonville at San Diego (-13) 

This is another game that should be quite decisive. The Chargers may be one of the elite teams in the NFL, but they rarely get mentioned with the top teams in the league. If the Denver Broncos are going to make it back to the Super Bowl this year, they are going to have to find a way to handle the Chargers, and that’s not going to be easy.

For one, Philip Rivers is playing brilliantly and he has a great relationship with second-year head coach Mike McCoy. When a top-of-the-line quarterback is matched up with a brilliant coach, that’s usually the formula for success.

There should be no slowing down the San Diego express this week as they host perhaps the least talented team in the league. The Jaguars try hard for head coach Gus Bradley, but this will be the first start for rookie quarterback Blake Bortles and mistakes are sure to follow.

The Chargers will win and the only thing their backers have to worry about is the dreaded back-door cover. San Diego rolls to a 35-13 victory.


Atlanta (-3)  at Minnesota

The Falcons want to forget about last year and play the way they did in 2012 when they won the NFC South and were a game away from going to the Super Bowl.

Atlanta has played two superb games at home thus far, but they lost their only road game at Cincinnati. While the Bengals are the best home team in the league (11 straight up and ATS in the regular season), the Falcons did not play well in that game.

Matt Ryan is under pressure to play as well on the road as he does at the Georgia Dome. He certainly has the weapons in Julio Jones, Roddy White and Devin Hester to do just that.

The Vikings are still reeling because of the Adrian Peterson child-cruelty controversy. While Mike Zimmer has the make-up to be a fine head coach, he won’t be able to pull the Vikings out of it for several weeks. Look for the Falcons to play a winning road game and bring home the money in 23-17 victory.


New England (-3)  at Kansas City

The Patriots have won two of their first three games but they have not played well to this point in the season. In particular, the offense is lacking because Tom Brady does not trust any of his receivers other than Rob Gronkowski or Julian Edelman.

The Chiefs were impressive in winning on the road at Miami, so Andy Reid’s team should be in a positive state of mind as they get set for this Monday Night game.

Here’s the problem. The New England offense is going to come along sooner or later because the Brady-Bill Belichick combination will not be stopped. Additionally, the Patriots defense is better than it has been in years. Pass rusher Chandler Jones and cornerback Darelle Revis are just too much for quarterback Alex Smith to overcome. The Chiefs will give the Patriots all they want, but Brady and the Pats get it done in the fourth quarter by a 23-17 margin.


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