NFL Week 4 Picks: Bills Now In Trouble? Can Chiefs Solve Bucs?

Also: Football is back in London this week

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September 29

Week 4 in the NFL is looking pretty, pretty good.

We start the week with a potential playoff preview featuring the reigning AFC champions on Thursday night and end it with a rematch of the NFC Championship Game. In between, we’ve got a Super Bowl LV rematch and, dare we say, a potential Super Bowl preview in Philadelphia.

And that doesn’t include the showdown between MVP frontrunners in Baltimore. Oh, and one more thing: London games return starting this week, so you can watch 14 straight hours of football Sunday. Not a bad little weekend.

NESN.com’s Mike Cole and Ricky Doyle are all over the slate with their weekly against-the-spread picks. In addition to making their ATS picks for every game on the Week 4 slate, the duo broke down their top plays of the week — including a handful of totals — on this week’s episode of “The Spread,” NESN’s football picks podcast.

Before diving into their full Week 4 picks, here’s how they fared last week.

Here are their Week 4 picks, with consensus betting lines from the NESNBets live odds page.

THURSDAY, SEPT. 29

Miami Dolphins at (-3.5) Cincinnati Bengals, 8:15 p.m. ET
Mike: Bengals. Getting the wrong end of the number movement here, but this is a tough spot for Miami. The Dolphins just went to the wire in the Florida sun with a division rival for an emotional win. Now, they get a short week against a team finally feeling some confidence — and their quarterback is banged up.
Ricky: Bengals. Are the Dolphins a legitimate threat? Maybe. But they also shut down a toothless Patriots offense, needed an epic fourth-quarter comeback to beat the Ravens and probably should’ve lost to the Bills. Buffalo outgained Miami 497 to 212 in Week 3 while dominating the time-of-possession battle. The Bengals are well positioned for success at home.

SUNDAY, OCT. 2

(-2.5) Minnesota Vikings vs. New Orleans Saints, 9:30 a.m. (in London)
Mike: Vikings. New Orleans has some major injury issues on offense, and I do wonder whether the defense — which has been good — can hold down Minnesota long enough to keep it within the number. Since I’m taking the Vikings, I clearly don’t think they can.
Ricky: Vikings. Blindly betting chalk in London has been profitable over the years, as favorites are 18-12 ATS across the pond, oftentimes winning in blowout fashion. Throw in Jameis Winston’s injury issues — must’ve been an uncomfortable flight — and it’s hard to imagine New Orleans’ offense keeping pace. The Saints have trailed by at least 15 points in all three of their games this season.

(1.5) Cleveland Browns at Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m.
Mike: Browns. I’m a low-key Falcons believer, but Atlanta’s defense, especially against the run, has been dreadful. The Falcons rank 27th and 32nd in run defense by DVOA and EPA, respectively — and here comes the NFL’s best rushing attack through three weeks. Cleveland should be able to control the game.
Ricky: Browns. If you listened to “The Spread” this week, you know I share Mike’s cautious optimism regarding the Falcons’ trajectory. But there’s a difference between being a bad team on the rise and an actual good team. And the Browns, I think, remain a step ahead, with their biggest strength presenting a bad matchup for the Falcons’ most glaring weakness.

(-3) Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens, 1 p.m.
Mike: Ravens. Baltimore is 5-0 ATS as a home dog since 2019, and the Ravens are one of maybe three teams that can even come close to matching Buffalo’s firepower. And that’s before you consider the MASH unit that is the Bills’ secondary.
Ricky: Ravens. Am I jumping off the Bills bandwagon after one loss? No way. But just think about this for a second: You have a chance to grab a field goal at home with a well-coached AFC contender that’s led by the NFL MVP frontrunner — all while Buffalo’s defense is incredibly banged up. Sorry, that’s an opportunity I just can’t pass up.

Washington Commanders at (-3) Dallas Cowboys, 1 p.m.
Mike: Cowboys. The line doesn’t really make sense, all things considered. The Dallas defense against the Washington offense makes it feel like this should be more than just field goal or so for home field. Not gonna overthink it, though, for better or worse.
Ricky: Commanders. Feels like an ultimate letdown spot for the Cowboys, who are coming off a Monday night win over the Giants and next have back-to-back road matchups with the Rams and Eagles. The Commanders, meanwhile, are volatile enough to do something crazy — like win this game outright.

Seattle Seahawks at (-4) Detroit Lions, 1 p.m.
Mike: Seahawks. The strength of the Lions to this point by far has been their offense. Well, now they have injuries to key members on that side, and their defense remains a sieve. Settle finds a way to keep it close.
Ricky: Seahawks. Let’s pump the brakes on the Lions hype until their defensive issues are resolved.

(-5) Los Angeles Chargers at Houston Texans, 1 p.m.
Mike: Texans. It might be a square pick at this point, which tells you a lot about LA’s situation. That said, Justin Herbert might get killed this week without his two best offensive linemen, going up against a Texans defense ranking fifth in sacks and eighth in pressure rate. Just feels like a low-scoring, tighter-than-it-should-be slopfest.
Ricky: Texans. The Chargers’ injury situation is not good. Not good at all.

Tennessee Titans at (-3.5) Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m.
Mike: Titans. Mike Vrabel has had his way with the Colts, winning four of the last five meetings by a combined 45 points. Indy got a nice win last week against KC but looked sloppy and inefficient at times while trying to give it away late.
Ricky: Titans. This game is an excellent opportunity for Indianapolis’ offense to finally find its footing, with Tennessee’s defense ranking 30th in EPA/play and 30th in rush EPA. But there’s just something about the Titans in an underdog role, where they’re 20-15 SU under Vrabel, and Jonathan Taylor showing up on the injury report is anything but encouraging.

Chicago Bears at (-3) New York Giants, 1 p.m.
Mike: Giants. The Bears being 2-1 despite allowing 157 rushing yards per game is nonsensical. Hate laying points with the Giants, but this could be a big Saquon Barkley game.
Ricky: Bears. The Giants are coming off a short-week loss to the Cowboys in which their offensive line (again) looked inept, allowing pressure on 24 of Daniel Jones’ 42 dropbacks, the highest clip of his career and of any NFL quarterback this season. They also have a trip to London — where they’ll face the Packers — looming in Week 5. The Bears aren’t good, let’s be clear. But Chicago’s defense ranks third in pressure percentage, while its offense revolves around the run game, creating a recipe that spells trouble for the G-Men.

Jacksonville Jaguars at (-6.5) Philadelphia Eagles, 1 p.m.
Mike: Jaguars. Jacksonville’s defense has been especially impressive, allowing just 10 points combined points over the last two weeks to Indianapolis and the Chargers. They’re especially stout up front where they could limit the Philly rushing attack. And it appears Doug Pederson is working wonders for Trevor Lawrence, who has a 120.3 passer rating the last two weeks while completing nearly 77% of his passes. The line feels too high.
Ricky: Eagles. This is a beefy line. And the Doug Pederson revenge factor absolutely is top of mind. But the Eagles — second-ranked pass defense and eighth in pressure percentage, Pro Football Reference — will be Trevor Lawrence’s toughest challenge yet, especially since they’re more than capable of stuffing the run and making opposing offenses become one-dimensional.

New York Jets at (-3) Pittsburgh Steelers, 1 p.m.
Mike: Jets.
Can we say for sure the Patriots, who won in Pittsburgh as favorites, are that much better than the Jets? Might be a little too soon for that, but I’ll still grab the points here, partially under the belief the Jets offense will get a shot in the arm with the return of Zach Wilson.
Ricky: Steelers. The Jets offense might get a shot in the arm… and a punch in the face. Because I’m still not sure Wilson is any good, and a road matchup in Pittsburgh after a long layoff seems like a real chore.

Arizona Cardinals at (-1) Carolina Panthers, 4:05 p.m.
Mike: Cardinals. Arizona can’t be this bad … can they?
Ricky: Panthers. Yes, they can.

New England Patriots at (-9.5) Green Bay Packers, 4:25 p.m.
Mike: Patriots. The Patriots’ secondary has been good, and Aaron Rodgers is throwing the ball shorter than ever. I expect Bill Belichick to build a defensive game plan around that, potentially frustrating a Green Bay offense that has struggled to score this season. The Green Bay run defense has looked iffy at times, which should play right into New England’s offensive attack with Brian Hoyer under center.
Ricky: Packers. The Patriots will turn this into an ugly game by design and probably keep the score close for three-plus quarters, after which Green Bay will pull away late because New England’s offense is unable to capitalize on its opportunities.

Denver Broncos at (-2.5) Las Vegas Raiders, 4:25 p.m.
Mike: Broncos. I’ll probably be the last one off the Broncos, but I think they can take advantage of what’s been a pretty rough Raiders offensive line. The Denver pass rush can get home and force Derek Carr into more mistakes, and maybe a couple of short fields helps get the Broncos offense going.
Ricky: Raiders. Three one-possession losses, some stalled drives and a closed-door meeting. That’s the story of Vegas’ 2022 season, which actually could take a turn for the better seeing as the offense has been fairly decent, albeit inconsistent, and things tend to even out if you keep putting yourself in position to succeed.

(-1) Kansas City Chiefs at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 8:20 p.m.
Mike: Bucs. Tampa Bay might have the best defense in the league right now, which isn’t great for a Chiefs team that has sputtered a bit since running through Arizona in Week 1. Frustration is starting to boil over, as evidenced by the Patrick Mahomes-Eric Bieniemy spat. Having to solve Todd Bowles’ defense probably won’t help in that regard.
Ricky: Chiefs. The Bucs’ defense has been awesome. But the Chiefs’ defense has been really good, too, and the ceiling remains far higher for Kansas City’s offense at this point given all of the uncertainty surrounding Tampa Bay’s offense, particularly along the line.

MONDAY, OCT. 3

Los Angeles Rams at (-1.5) San Francisco 49ers, 8:15 p.m.
Mike: 49ers. If you believe in the revenge game, this definitely checks that box, and the 49ers pushed the Rams, who were better last season, to the brink in the championship game. San Francisco’s pass rush might be the difference-maker here, as the Rams haven’t yet proved they can protect Matthew Stafford on a consistent basis. And it seems unlikely the Niners’ offense is as bad as it was a week ago in Denver.
Ricky: 49ers. Did you know Jimmy Garoppolo is the most profitable quarterback vs. opponents over .500 since his first career start in 2017, going 18-8 SU and ATS in such matchups, per Action Network? Well, now you do.

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Thumbnail photo via Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports Images

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