Week 4 should be easier to pick than Week 3. Of course, that’s not saying much. (See: last week’s 7-8-1 record, for gosh sakes!)
Several of this week’s games have spreads of 6½ or more points. Two games — Giants at Rams and Ravens at Washington — have 13-point spreads that shouldn’t disappoint the Survivor Poolers.
The only upset predicted here this week is the Bears beating the Colts. It’s only fitting that Nick Foles’ team wins as an underdog to set up his Super Bowl LII rematch with Tampa Bay’s Tom Brady, then of New England, next Thursday night.
Last week’s picks: 7-8-1; vs. the spread: 8-8.
Year to date: 29-18-1; 26-21-1
Vikings games: 2-1
Vikings (+3½) at Texans: Texans by 7
Practice!? We’re talkin’ ’bout practice!? The Vikings haven’t gotten much of it this week because of the league’s first COVID-19 outbreak. Of course, after watching that two-minute drill at the end of the Titans game, we might not be able to tell the difference. Texans 31, Vikings 24
Saints (-4) at Lions: Saints by 6
Drew Brees needs Michael Thomas to take the passing load off Alvin Kamara. Thomas might return this week. Either way, New Orleans should have enough to get by the Lions.
Cardinals (-3½) at Panthers: Cardinals by 5
Arizona is coming off a really bad game. Carolina is coming off a really good game. Who wins? Arizona, naturally.
Jaguars (+3) at Bengals: Bengals by 4
The Jaguars defense and pass rush isn’t what it was before the mass exodus of talent. So there should be a one-week break in the beat-Joe-Burrow-to-a-pulp part of the Bengals’ schedule.
Browns (+4½) at Cowboys: Cowboys by 7
The Browns have been running the football while posting their first winning record since the 450 B.C. season. But you can’t beat the Cowboys’ scoring machine without slinging the ball.
Seahawks (-6½) at Dolphins: Seahawks by 10
Russell Wilson. Nothing else matters.
Chargers (+7½) at Buccaneers: Bucs by 3
It won’t matter who the Chargers start at quarterback. The Bucs have the defense to stop either one. And Tom Brady is playing well.
Ravens (-13) at Washington: Ravens by 14
What’s a good way to get over playing Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs? Take on Dwayne Haskins and the Washington Not-So-Good Football Team.
Giants (+13) at Rams: Rams by 14
What’s a good way to get over playing Josh Allen and Buffalo’s offense? Have NFL punching bag Daniel Jones and the Giants travel across the country to play you.
Patriots (+7) at Chiefs: Chiefs by 1
If this game is played Monday or Tuesday, don’t be surprised if Ground Belichick comes up with a way to win ugly while chewing up time of possession. But Mahomes doesn’t need much time to figure out a way to win
Bills (-3) at Raiders: Bills by 4
It’s a long flight to play a shootout, but Buffalo has the firepower to post its first 4-0 start since 2008.
Eagles (+7) at 49ers: 49ers by 3
Outplayed by rookie Joe Burrow last week, Carson Wentz heads west to get outplayed by backup Nick Mullens.
Falcons (+6½) at Packers: Packers by 14
The Falcons can’t stop anybody when it matters. That’s a bad trait when facing Aaron Rodgers.
Colts (-2½) at Bears: Bears 27, Colts 24
Mr. Foles, you’ll be facing Mr. Rivers on Sunday and Mr. Brady on Thursday night. And how fitting is it that Nick Foles is the underdog in his first start with the 3-0 Bears?
Last week’s upset special: Vikings (+2½) 24, Titans 22. Result: Titans 31, Vikings 30.
Upset special record: 1-2.