Slowly, the NFL is sorting itself out. Entering Week 4 of the regular season, its becoming more obvious which teams were preseason pretenders -- Denver Broncos, Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints -- and which ones are actually as good as promised -- Atlanta Falcons, Houston Texans, New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers.
And with all the new knowledge, I'd like to think I can slowly turn around my overall NFL picks record which last week was just below .500 (7-8-1). The record isn't winning me any money but it was a lot better than Week 2 that featured just four correct picks.
Like many NFL teams, I don't believe in moral victories. What I do believe in is moving in the right direction and I think I am doing that.
With a bunch of solid showdowns on the slate, lets get right to my NFL Week 4 picks and predictions.
(All opening line point spreads provided by Oddshark.com.)
Cleveland Browns (1-2) at Baltimore Ravens (2-1), Thurs., 8:20 p.m. on NFL Network
Point spread: Ravens 12-point favorites.
Pick: Ravens 30, Browns 17.
Prediction: Baltimore was able to come from behind and defeat the Patriots in a Sunday night thriller, and that showed me a lot. Of course, as much as this seems like a sure thing, it probably will not be.
Carolina Panthers (1-2) at Atlanta Falcons (3-0), 1 p.m. on FOX
Point spread: Falcons 6-points favorites.
Pick: Panthers 24, Falcons 21
Prediction: This just smells like a game that Cam Newton takes over and helps his team pull off an upset.
New England Patriots (1-2) at Buffalo Bills (2-1), 1 p.m. on CBS
Point spread: Patriots 3-point favorites.
Pick: Patriots 30, Bills 28.
Prediction: The Bills should get back running back Fred Jackson to fill the void of an injured C.J. Spiller (who also could play too). However, Jackson's return probably won't be enough to help the hungry Pats'.
Minnesota Vikings (2-1) at Detroit Lions (1-2), 1 p.m. on FOX
Point spread: Lions 6-point favorites.
Pick: Lions 21, Vikings 17.
Prediction: Matthew Stafford should play in this one, but there's no guarantee he will be 100-percent. Because of that, I have the Vikings covering the spread.
San Diego Chargers (2-1) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-2), 1 p.m. on CBS
Point spread: Chargers 3-point favorites.
Pick: Chiefs 23, Chargers 21.
Prediction: The Chiefs showed some life last week with a victory over the Saints. If they have put their bad play behind them a victory at home should be in the cards.
Seattle Seahawks (2-1) at St. Louis Rams (1-2), 1 p.m. on FOX
Point spread: Seahawks 1 1/2-point favorites.
Pick: Rams 17, Seahawks 10.
Prediction: Karma will find a way in this game, and its going to favor the Rams.
San Francisco 49ers (2-1) at New York Jets (2-1), 1 p.m. on FOX
Point spread: 49ers 3-point favorites.
Pick: 49ers 24, Jets 13.
Prediction: The 49ers defense should overwhelm a lackluster Jets offense. Plus, New York's defense doesn't have Darrelle Revis. That's just way too much to overcome for the Jets.
Tennessee Titans (1-2) at Houston Texans (3-0), 1 p.m. on CBS
Point spread: Texans 10-point favorites.
Pick: Texans 24, Titans 10.
Prediction: Right now, its a toss up for the two best teams in the NFL and the Texans are one of them while Titans are not. Houston is just too good to lose this one at home.
Oakland Raiders (1-2) at Denver Broncos (1-2), 4:05 p.m. on CBS
Point spread: Broncos 5 1/2-point favorites.
Pick: Broncos 28, Raiders 21
Prediction: This may not be the Peyton Manning that we all used to know, but you have to think these are the same Raiders.
Miami Dolphins (1-2) at Arizona Cardinals (3-0), 4:05 p.m. on CBS
Point spread: Cardinals 4 1/2-point favorites.
Pick: Cardinals 31, Dolphins 17.
Prediction: At the beginning of the year, this wouldn't have been a surprise pick. However, to think that Arizona is two touchdowns better is a bit crazy.
Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2), 4:05 p.m. on CBS
Point spread: Bengals 1-point favorites.
Pick: Bengals 24, Jaguars 10.
Prediction: This is like taking candy from a baby.
New Orleans Saints (0-3) at Green Bay Packers (1-2), 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Point spread: Packers 5-point favorites.
Pick: Packers 28, Saints 27.
Prediction: Both clubs need a victory in a very bad way, however, New Orleans just has too much working against them right now including an angry Packers squad.
Washington Redskins (1-2) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-2), 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Point spread: Buccaneers 2-point favorites.
Pick: Redskins 27, Buccaneers 20.
Prediction: If the Redskins want to contend for a playoff spot this is a game they need to have.
New York Giants (2-1) at Philadelphia Eagles (2-1), 8:20 p.m. on NBC
Point spread: Eagles 2-point favorites.
Pick: Giants 34, Eagles 28.
Prediction: Wait, the Giants are getting points against a team that turns the ball over more than anybody in the league? I'll take it.
Chicago Bears (2-1) at Dallas Cowboys (2-1), 8:30 p.m. on ESPN
Point spread: Cowboys 3 1/2-point favorites.
Pick: Cowboys 28, Bears 21.
Prediction: Close game, but the Cowboys squeak out the win. Only to squash that momentum in Week 5 with a loss.
Last week's record: 7-8-1. Season record: 19-26-3.