Mike Ivcic’s Week 4 NFL Preview and Free Picks

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Mike Ivcic’s Week 4 NFL Preview and Free Picks ]]> include($base_url . “/includes/header.htm”); ?>

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By Mike Ivcic, UltimateCapper Contributing Writer

Buffalo Bills @ Cincinnati Bengals
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Bills by 3
I don’t believe in the Bills yet, especially with a hard schedule still staring them in the face. But that starts after this game in Cincinnati. It’s a no win for Buffalo, though – a win, and it’s what a good team is supposed to do, whereas a loss can sufficiently quiet any “contender” discussion for a couple of weeks. It is, however, the Bengals.
Pick: Buffalo 31, Cincinnati 14

Carolina Panthers @ Chicago Bears
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: Bears by 7
In watching three games this season, I fail to see how anyone can think the Bears are a touchdown better than another NFL team. Sure, they smoked Atlanta, but they then got trounced by New Orleans and handled by Green Bay. I know Carolina isn’t at their caliber, but Cam Newton is proving to be at least a legitimate passing threat, and Chicago’s offense has looked awful the last eight quarters – and that’s when they manage to keep Jay Cutler standing upright. The Bears might win, but take the touchdown at your own risk.
Pick: Chicago 20, Carolina 17

Detroit Lions @ Dallas Cowboys
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: Cowboys by 1
A lot of one and two point lines this week, which are virtually pick’em lines. I think Detroit’s undefeated season comes to an end here, only because the Cowboys still need this win more than the Lions do. Dallas’ secondary is weak, though, so taking Detroit is a completely plausible and rational option here – especially since I’m taking the Cowboys.
Pick: Dallas 24, Detroit 20

Minnesota Vikings @ Kansas City Chiefs
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: Vikings by 2
It’s the “Someone Has To Win” Bowl! I love these games, mostly because I don’t care who wins, and inevitably the team I pick… won’t. So let’s go with the Chiefs at home to rally from a 16-0 halftime deficit and come away with their first win of the year – leading Lesley Frazier to announce in his postgame press conference that he’s hired a motivational speaker for halftime, because whatever he’s saying clearly isn’t working.
Pick: Kansas City 21, Minnesota 19


New Orleans Saints @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: Saints by 7.5
I got cocky with the Chargers-Chiefs line last week, and it burned me. I only tell you these here because my reaction to this game is the same, but I figured by writing this instead, maybe the football gods won’t look down so disapprovingly.
Pick: New Orleans 38, Jacksonville 6

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Houston Texans
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Texans by 4
Toughest game on the board. If that line is 6, I take the Steelers all day. One point lower, and I’m a lot more comfortable with the Texans pick. Looks like Vegas got this one right, so we’ll bank on a Big Ben costly turnover and Houston emerging back atop the AFC South.
Pick: Houston 27, Pittsburgh 20

San Francisco 49’ers @ Philadelphia Eagles
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: Eagles by 8.5
The Eagles burned me last week with the high line, and I’m actually convinced that there’s a chance Alex Smith and 49’ers could come into Philadelphia and win. Yes, I just wrote that sentence – I reread it multiple times just to make sure. That said, the safe bet is for the Eagles to win the game. Just don’t talk yourself into a “vintage-Michael-Vick” performance and you’ll be fine.
Pick: Philadelphia 23, San Francisco 17

Tennessee Titans @ Cleveland Browns
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Browns by 1
Remember the one point lines? Here’s the second of three. Play this game in Nashville, and I take the Titans, but I still believe in Colt McCoy, Payton Hillis, and the Cleveland Browns! I will now go take a long walk off a short bridge.
Pick: Cleveland 28, Tennessee 24


Washington Redskins @ St. Louis Rams
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: Redskins by 2
Tough loss to come back from for the Redskins, especially against a team that knows it’s running out of time to get into the race. Again, the issue is health for the Rams, who simply don’t seem to have enough healthy weapons to make things work this season.
Pick: Washington 21, St. Louis 16

Atlanta Falcons @ Seattle Seahawks
Sun, 4:05pm, FOX
Line: Falcons by 5.5
Seattle does play well at home, which gives some pause to the higher-than-a-field-goal line, but ultimately this really is as big of a “must-win” as there can be for Matt Ryan and the Falcons. A loss could put the Falcons two full games behind both the Saints and Buccaneers, and with the NFC East and North shaping up to be pretty good battles, the Falcons can’t afford any missteps. As always, take the desperate, talented team regardless of home field and thank me later.
Pick: Atlanta 30, Seattle 13

New York Giants @ Arizona Cardinals
Sun, 4:05pm, FOX
Line: Giants by 1
The third and final line measured by a single point. This one is a bit less disconcerting than the other two, because I don’t think Vegas has come around to the Giants yet. This defense is for real, and Arizona showed last week in Seattle that they, clearly, are not.
Pick: New York 22, Arizona 14

Denver Broncos @ Green Bay Packers
Sun, 4:15pm, CBS
Line: Packers by 13
I got burned with the Packers the last time the line was this high, so we’ll take Denver’s defense to at least keep the score respectable long enough for Aaron Rodgers to crank it into high gear for one final, game-ending drive for the ten-point win.
Pick: Green Bay 24, Denver 14


Miami Dolphins @ San Diego Chargers
Sun, 4:15pm, CBS
Line: Chargers by 7
San Diego looked awful in last week’s win over the Chiefs. The Dolphins haven’t looked awful, but they keep falling short in crucial times. Sounds like the perfect cover-but-don’t-win formula to me.
Pick: San Diego 21, Miami 20

New England Patriots @ Oakland Raiders
Sun, 4:15pm, CBS
Line: Patriots by 4.5
Oakland’s reward for a big win is a date with the vengeful Patriots, who will watch tape of last week’s Jets-Raiders game and realize Mark Sanchez never threw downfield. That’s not a problem for Brady and company. Stopping the pass is, though. Good thing Darren McFadden is a running back.
Pick: New England 31, Oakland 24

New York Jets @ Baltimore Ravens
Sun, 8:20pm, NBC
Line: Ravens by 4
The road trips get progressively harder for the Jets, who could be looking at 2-3 if they can’t win this one, with a trip to New England next week. The defense looked ugly against Oakland and surely will perform better, and Baltimore had a good week last week, so they’re due for a sub-par performance this week – or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.
Pick: New York 17, Baltimore 13

Indianapolis Colts @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Mon, 8:30pm, ESPN
Line: Buccaneers by 10
Regardless of who is under center for Indianapolis, if it’s not Peyton Manning, then the defense had better come to play like they did last week. Tampa should win this game, but I’m going to go with the Colts defense continuing to play at their high level, at least until the season is officially a lost cause in the next couple of weeks.
Pick: Tampa Bay 24, Indianapolis 16

Straight Up: 34-14
Against Spread: 21-22-5

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