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NFL Picks Week 4: Game-by-game predictions against the spread

This week's picks against the spread from Big Blue View's Jesse Bartolis.

Our picks haven't offered much to cheer about thus far.
Our picks haven't offered much to cheer about thus far.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Yeesh! I've had some very good years at picking games against the spread, but so far this year is definitely not one of them. You could say I'm the New York Giants of picking games right now. Thankfully it can't get any worse. On the bright side, if you're actually betting money and you're picking against me you're doing very well this year. I think by Week 4 you get a little bit of sense of who should be good and who should be bad, so hopefully I'll get things straightened out.

Last week all the games I felt comfortable with were losses and my "lock of the week" -- the Vikings giving only 3 points to the Browns (at the time I made the pick) -- even lost. That one was shocking to me. The Browns starting their third-string quarterback traveled to Minnesota who has been good at home went in and beat up on the Vikings. Come on Minnesota, how does that happen? The Vikings apparently forgot they were a playoff team last year.

This week is odd in that there are so many home underdogs.

Best Bets

San Francisco 49ers (-3.5) at St. Louis Rams

I know last year the Rams played the 49ers very well twice, and maybe I should have learned my lesson from that, but I just don't think the 49ers are nearly as bad as they have played this year and I bet they come out and beat on the Rams pretty good. The Rams' defense has looked terrible this year in all three phases.They're giving up 28.7 points per game and besides Robert Quinn and his four sacks (and three came in the first game) no one his hitting the quarterback, which is what they did very well last year. The 49ers on the other hand have had a difficult schedule playing against the Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks, and Indianapolis Colts, three teams that made the playoffs last year and one team that is the early season favorite for the Super Bowl (the Seahawks). I usually try to stay away from Thursday night games because they tend to be a little sloppy, but this is a game the 49ers should win big. Pick: 49ers

New York Jets (-6.5) at Tennessee Titans

I've been saying it all year and I'll continue to say it, even though I don't expect the Jets to end up with a great record I really love the talent along their front seven and I don't see them being out of many games this year. The team seems to be rejuvenated right now under Geno Smith and is doing well enough on offense to win some games. The Titans are maybe the league's most underrated team -- and a team that would be even better if they could get more consistent quarterback play, but I don't trust that they are a team that is 6.5 points better than anyone. I think the Titans win this game, but I think most of their wins this year will be close games. Pick: Jets

Miami Dolphins at New Orleans Saints (-3.5)

This might be another I should have learned my lesson pick, but I'm going to take the Saints to win by at least four points. The Dolphins have impressed me this year even though I think I've picked against them every week. Tannehill is not the greatest quarterback yet, but he has shown a lot of poise and is developing well, he's completing nearly 67 percent of his passes this year and averaging 7.7 yards per completion. He is a talented guy and the future looks pretty good, but this is still the up and coming Miami Dolphins traveling into New Orleans, and no one looks good when they travel into Saints territory. The Saints don't lose often at home and have made many very good teams look silly. Right now the Saints seem to be clicking...on defense! They are giving up only 12 points per game, who saw that coming? The offense has been no slouch, but imagine how good the Saints can be if the offense continues to improve which seems likely when Drew Brees is the quarterback. I like the Saints to win by more than 3.5 points. Pick: Saints

New York Giants at Kansas City Chiefs (-5.5)

I'm trying a little reverse psychology here, to see if we can spark something in the Giants. I'm picking the Giants to lose big, and even if I was an unbiased fan there is plenty of evidence to support this assertion. The Chiefs pass rush has been terrorizing opponents while the Giants offense can't block. Even when the Giants are good they have trouble stopping running backs of Jamaal Charles ilk. His ability to cut back and make the big play is something that be reminiscent of the man times Lesean McCoy has gashed this defense The Giants defense is predicated on forcing turnovers and Alex Smith doesn't turn the ball over too often. The Giants have had a terrible time against Andy Reid in recent history. The Chiefs look like an emerging Super Bowl contender and the Giants have played like they want the second pick in the draft (they're still better than the Jaguars). Put all of that together and you have the ingredients for a Chiefs blowout. Now, there are times when the Giants will rise up and play up to the competition and I certainly would welcome that this Sunday even if it means being wrong with my pick. Pick: Chiefs

Lock of the week

We'll try the other way this week where I'll pick against the Vikings. Although I feel good about the Jets/Titans game and all evidence presented this far this season says the Chiefs should be bigger than 5.5 point favorites against the Giants I don't want to put my full faith in the Jets and I can't bring myself to complete pessimism about the GIants quite yet.

Pittsburgh Steelers (-1.5) at Minnesota Vikings

Maybe I'm living in the past, but the Steelers have to be able to beat the Vikings right? I mean Dick Lebeau going up against Christian Ponder. The Steelers are in the same cellar the Giants are in (and how weird is that to see) but the Vikings are there too, and only one team has a big time quarterback advantage. The Vikings haven't been able to generate any pressure on defense and haven't been able to stop anyone. They are giving up 30 points a game despite playing Detroit (4th in offense), Chicago (22nd in offense) and Cleveland (25th in offense). Pick: Steelers

Remaining games. All points spreads from SB Nation's Odds Page.

Baltimore Ravens (-6) at Buffalo Bills
Pick: Bills

Cincinnati Bengals (-5.5) at Cleveland Browns
Pick: Browns

Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions (-2.5)
Pick: Bears

Seattle Seahawks (-2.5) at Houston Texans
Pick: Seahawks

Indianapolis Colts (-7.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars
Pick: Colts

Arizona Cardinals at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3.5)
Pick: Cardinals

Washington Redskins at Oakland Raiders (-3.5)
Pick: Redskins

Dallas Cowboys (-1.5) at San Diego Chargers
Pick: Chargers

Last week: 5-10-1

Lock of the week: 0-1

Season: 16-31-1 (Terrible)

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