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NFL picks against the spread, Week 4

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Let's see what Jesse's crystal ball says this week.

Can the Saints give the Giants something to cheer about this weekend?
Can the Saints give the Giants something to cheer about this weekend?
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Another winning week, barely, keeps me floating until I catch fire. I won't be spending all day in front of the TV this weekend, but that's only because the Giants are coming into my hood and I'll be at the game.  If you're going to be at the Bills-Giants game this weekend hit me up, maybe we'll see each other.

Baltimore Ravens (-2.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers

Michael Vick can make games exciting and the Steelers have enough dynamic offense weapons for Vick to thrive, but he has always been a guy who could be prone to turning the ball over. I also think the Ravens are in a desperate position here and losing this game will essentially ruin their season. I like the Ravens to have a huge effort here and come away with the win

Pick: Ravens

New York Jets (-1.5) at Miami Dolphins (In London)

The Dolphins are one of the most disappointing teams in the league so far to me. They have a young quarterback who had improved every year he entered the league and signed one of the league's premier defensive players, they looked poised for big things, but have struggled mightily. I think this week is a bounce back week for them. If the Dolphins lose here with a coach that doesn't look like he's the future it could have a snowball effect for much of the rest of the year.

Pick: Dolphins get things going right

Jacksonville Jaguars (+9) at Indianapolis Colts

I want to believe the Jaguars are moving in the right direction and are a young team on the rise, but nothing they have done this year really points in that direction. Still a divisional game vs. a struggling Colts team gives me some hope the Jaguars can keep one close

Pick: Jaguars cover

Houston Texans (+6.5) at Atlanta Falcons

The Texans are another team I expected more out of this season. The Falcons, meanwhile, in a weird scheduling quirk have played the NFC East three times, get the Texans this week and then the Washington Redskins next week. That means through the first five games of the season they won't play a divisional opponent! Weird. Anyway, their offense has found balance this year and with the dominance of Julio Jones has put a hurting on the NFC East. Matt Ryan has also been very good at home in his career.  The Texans have been pretty good on defense (ninth in points allowed) and should get Arian Foster back this week. I think with a run game and defense they can keep it close.

Pick: Texans cover

Carolina Panthers (-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Panthers are 3-0 and are second in the league in points allowed while the Buccaneers have struggled mightily on offense, only scoring 16.3 points per game. Jameis Winston might one day be a great franchise signal caller, but I think this weekend will be tough sledding.

Pick: Panthers

New York Giants (+5.5) at Buffalo Bills

I will actually be at the Giants Bills game this week so I'm hoping for a big Giants victory, but there is a lot to be concerned with in this game. The Giants under Tom Coughlin have routinely (at least to my recollection) struggled with mobile quarterbacks, there always seems to be big breakdowns and Tyrod Taylor is very mobile, so that's one issue.  The Giants also have the league's worst pass defense and can't muster any sort of pass rush to begin with, which will only be compounded by the Bills good run game (because there were not likely be a ton of third and long opportunities). The Bills have weapons on offense, too, like Charles Clay, Sammy Watkins (if he plays), and Percy Harvin that could cause the team "Giant" problems. Quite frankly, and I've said this every week, the Bills from top to bottom have one of the league's most talented rosters -- the  only big question is at quarterback.

The next, and biggest issue is the Bills absolutely dominant defensive front against a Giants team that has struggled to create any sort of real positive yardage in the run game. In order for the Giants to score enough here they will have to get more out of Larry Donnell and the third receiver (and it looks less likely that Cruz will play than it did yesterday). I think the Giants could really struggle on offense all day and I wouldn't be surprised to see Eli throw his first interception this week and maybe 2. The Bills will create heavy pressure from the interior which has always been a big problem for Eli when he gets guys directly in his face and Marcel Dareus and Kyle Williams are two of the best in the league at doing just that.  And they also create heavy pressure from the outside with Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes. They have led the league in sacks two years in a row now for a reason.

The Giants should consider doing what the Patriots did to the Bills and spread out the field and throw it all over with a quick passing attack to tire out the pass rushers and make their linebackers cover in space, but that doesn't seem like something they will do because they strongly favor a balanced run/pass attack, which I don't particularly think will be that successful.

Pick: Unfortunately, I like the Bills pretty easy here, but hopefully I'll be: let's say "cozy enough" to still have had a good time.

Oakland Raiders (-3) at Chicago Bears

I actually like the Bears here if Jay Cutler plays, but right now it looks like it's going to be Jimmy Clausen. The Raiders have done a lot of traveling this season already and playing another early east coast game could mean they come out flat, but they are the more talented team and Clausen is just not any good.

Pick: Da Raiders, Jimmy Clausen is terrible

Philadelphia Eagles (-3) at Washington Redskins

The Eagles looked like they got some things going right on offense last week while the Redskins struggled mightily against the Giants, but playing on a short week on the road against a divisional opponent can be tough. I think with the extra few days off and their ability to run the ball I think they could surprise the Eagles. Maybe it s more wishful thinking then anything, I just think it's going to be a good week for the Redskins.

Pick: Washington wins outright

Kansas City Chiefs (+4) at Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals look like one of the league's top teams  (they are seventh in offense and defense in total points) and Andy Dalton is playing better now than he has at any point in his career having thrown 8 touchdowns to 1 INT for a 121 QB rating. The Chiefs pass rushing ability could always make this interesting and a bad day for Dalton, but I like the Bengals here.

Pick: Bengals

Cleveland Browns (+7.5) at San Diego Chargers

The injury report isn't out yet, but the Chargers have a ton of injuries along the offensive line and have had a hard time blocking for Rivers which has caused them a lot of problems in getting their offense going. On defense the Chargers are giving up a 135.7 yards per game on the ground and while the Browns aren't a great running team they should be able to have some success on the ground.

Pick: Browns cover

Green Bay Packers (-8.5) at San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers have been awful and Rodgers can make any team look terrible, but I think the 49ers will keep this game closer than people think behind Carlos Hyde and maybe getting more out of the running game with Kaepernick.

Pick: Packers

Minnesota Vikings (+6.5) at Denver Broncos

The Broncos defense is legit, but the Vikings defense isn't too shabby either. Adrian Peterson also seems to be back to being one of the league's best backs. I think the Vikings lose, but it's closer than 6.5.

Pick: Vikings stay within the 6.5

St. Louis Rams (-7) at Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals look like juggernauts early in the season, and evevn though Rams have a knack of keeping games in the division I don't think they can muster enough offense to contend with the Cardinals who are especially good at home.

Pick: Cardinals cover

Dallas Cowboys (+4) at New Orleans Saints

Brandon Weeden is not any good and I think the Cowboys are going to be in trouble if Drew Brees can go Sunday.

Pick: Saints by more than 4

Detroit Lions (+10) at Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks looked better with Kam Chancellor back, but they were going against the Jay Cutler hapless Bears. The Lions have struggled mightily on offense, but they have weapons. And while the Seahawks should be clearly favored I think Monday nights can still bring out the best in teams at times and I think the Lions play much better than they have.

Pick: Lions stay within 10

Record Against the Spread

Week 1: 9-6-1
Week 2: 7-7
Week 3: 9-7

Overall: 25-20-1