NFL Week 4 Picks: Still Plenty of Exciting Match-ups Despite COVID Outbreaks

It’s been a bad week when it comes to the Coronavirus. The country as a whole is on the uptick, as is New England. U.S. president Donald Trump caught the virus after an outbreak originating from the White House. The Tennessee Titans have had 16 positive tests, 8 players and 8 staff members, and this caused the Titans-Steelers game to be pushed to Week 7 while those teams take a bye. The Patriots and Chiefs also have positive cases, so their game will be pushed back a couple days. But even with the COVID outbreaks and even with Titans-Steelers, there’s plenty of exciting NFL games to look forward to. So my NFL picks are here as usual. Last week, I went 9-6-1, bringing my overall record to 29-18-1 (30-18-1 including TNF). Keep reading to see my Week 4 picks.

TNF (Posted to Twitter Thursday)

Lock of the Week

QB Kyler Murray and the Cardinals may have struggled against a fully healthy Lions team last week. But the Panthers aren’t fully healthy. They are still missing RB Christian McCaffrey. They were able to bring an element of surprise and make it work last week with RB Mike Davis filling in. But that’s not going to work against a 2-1 Cardinals team that has 1.5 weeks of CMC-less Panthers film to refer to. Meanwhile, I expect Arizona’s offense to thrive in the run game and receiving game.

Upset of the Week

I originally thought the Saints would win this pretty comfortably. However, they will be without WR Michael Thomas, TE Jared Cook, and their top two corners. QB Drew Brees will have to rely on the RB duo of Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray. Meanwhile, I expect QB Matthew Stafford and his receivers to thrive against a depleted New Orleans secondary.

The Other Games

The Seahawks secondary has struggled all season, and I’m expecting QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and his receivers to make this close. But I expect QB Russell Wilson to continue to “cook” and continue to play at an elite level to lead Seattle to victory.
There’s only so much good defense can accomplish against the Ravens. I expect Washington to slow down QB Lamar Jackson and his offense, but fail to keep up with Jackson in the end due to a lack of offensive firepower against an equally good Ravens D.
The Cowboys are another pass heavy, offense focused team like Seattle and the results of this game will reflect that. The Browns will have success running the ball but will be forced to pass to keep up with the Dallas offense. I expect the Cowboys to air it out and come out on top here, but the Browns will put up a good fight and prove they can compete with playoff contenders.
I think the Bengals D will impress in this one, shutting down QB Gardner Minshew and his receivers. Meanwhile, QB Joe Burrow will get his chance to shine like he did at LSU against one of the weaker defenses in the league.
QB Deshaun Watson and WR duo should impress against this Minnesota secondary. However, I’m expecting a Vikings bounce back on the offensive side of the ball. QB Kirk Cousins will show he’s capable of leading this team to victory, utilizing RB Dalvin Cook and his own WR duo of Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson.
I think QB Justin Herbert will find plenty of open receivers to make this one close. QB Tom Brady and WR Mike Evans will also have a strong day thanks to the help of good blocking by the o-line and a strong trio of tight ends. Expect the Bucs to edge out the victory at home, but don’t be surprised if it’s a little lower scoring than this prediction.
The Rams offense has impressed so far and I expect more of the same this week. RB Darrell Henderson will post a big game to add to a breakout year and QB Jared Goff will throw the ball well. Without RB Saquon Barkley, the Giants won’t be able to keep up.
The Pats proved that though the Vegas defense has improved, it’s not unstoppable. QB Josh Allen has been dominating with better surroundings and I don’t see that stopping this week. Meanwhile, the banged up Raiders offense will struggle against one of the league’s better defenses.
The Colts defense has impressed, but it’s no match for Chicago’s D. The Bears are 3-0 without a clear answer at QB. There’s no reason they can’t top a Colts team that’s missing multiple of its WRs.
SNF
The 49ers were able to blowout the Jets and Giants without TE George Kittle and without many other important players. Kittle is back, but the 49ers are still crippled, so this game will be closer than the last two. The 49ers will come out on top in the end though, especially because QB Carson Wentz is missing a handful of his weapons.
MNF
Be prepared for a Monday Night shootout, possibly a higher scoring game than anything we’ve seen this year. QB Matt Ryan and his receivers will put up a lot of points for the Falcons. But I expect QB Aaron Rodgers, RB Aaron Jones, and WR Davante Adams to completely dominate against this Falcons D. Who knows, maybe the Falcons will lead early on. But I don’t expect their defense to hold up.
Monday/Tuesday
Don’t underestimate the power of Bill Belichick. He has been able to post competitive games with a number of different QBs in Tom Brady’s absences. If this game his played, the Pats are capable of making this close without QB Cam Newton. The Chiefs D is not looking great this year, and star DT Chris Jones is hurt. QB Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs will prevail in the end, but this will come down to the wire. After it’s all over, we’ll probably hear something like “We’re on to Denver.”

That’s all for my picks this week. Stay tuned for more posts soon.

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