NFL Week 4 Preview – Steelers, Jags & Giants

Jimmy McGinty is nicely ahead on the NFL season so far and his Week 4 treble is Jacksonville, Pittsburgh and the New York Giants.

Week 3 recap: The Cardinals with their 5.5pt head-start hung on to cover the spread and land our week 3 treble. Miami finished strong to beat Oakland who wilted in the heat and Washington controlled things beautifully against Green Bay.

Only went 1 from 4 in the honourable mentions; Lions covered easily, Chargers had chances to and didn’t but both Bengals and 49ers were bad picks.

Treble: +8.2pts (7.5 from 9). Mentions: 6 from 13

Week 4

Those I’m struggling with:

Miami have had a few good spots (home adv in the heat) and are possibly a touch overrated as a result, but this spread looks about right as New England are struggling. Stop Gronk and they’ll struggle to move the ball.

Cleveland have extra rest coming off Thursday Night Football and the Raiders have no great home advantage but I’m not ready to start backing the Browns just yet.

San Fran are riddled with injuries but this 10pt spread versus Chargers still looks a little high to me. The Chargers D and OL have been very disappointing to date.

Atlanta’s defense is riddled with injuries but their offense looks like scoring a TD on every single drive. Bengals strong DL face a decent Falcons OL and it’s Bengals 3rd road game in 4wks so they don’t appeal as a bet.

You can’t run on Philly so I’ve no idea how Tennessee will score but conversely the Titans defense has been very good. This spread looks about right.

Houston’s defensive front will have lots of success against the Colts and the HOU OL won’t be under as much pressure as usual, so I like them here. But off to a 0-3 start I expected they’d be getting 3 or 4pts on the road, not 1.5.

Honourable Mentions:

Detroit (+3pts) in their weekly spot. It’s worked the last twice – this side are decent and underrated. The best chance Dallas have in games is with their defense as their terrible offense has averaged only 14pts through 3 games. However, now that defense is without their injured leader Sean Lee. Stafford will take advantage behind an OL that can cope with the strong Dallas rush. I’d make Detroit small favourites rather than getting 3pts only the worries include: Coming off the high of beating New England they may mess this up. And they don’t stop the run very well, so Zeke will put up big numbers.

Arizona (+3pts) delivered against the spread in week 3 when they were getting points at home against a bad offense. It’s the same again here. It’s also Seattle’s 3rd road game in 4wks. Seahawks had their first win last week, but it was a game that panned out perfectly as they got a lead and ran a lot, keeping Russ safe, and controlling the game. They won’t be able to do that every week. Earl Thomas trade rumours and missed practices continue. The Cardinals offense may get going this week as they roll out Josh Rosen under-centre. +3.5pts would be nice as this is likely to be low-scoring with kickers deciding it. Arizona covered this spread at home last week and Chicago are better than Seattle.

Denver (+5pts) face the juggernaut that is the Chiefs offense. I think they’ll shut it down well enough to cover with a decent headstart. This is the first remotely decent defense Mahomes will have faced and as good as he has looked he just can’t keep playing as he has. Denver is a tough place to go early in the season. They were in a bad travel spot last week when losing to Baltimore – they made lots of errors in the game as well. This week it’s Kansas City who are in the bad travel spot – their 3rd road game in 4 weeks.

Green Bay (-9.5pts) are yet another team who face opponents on their 3rd road game in 4 weeks. Buffalo come to town on a major high after surprising the Vikings. Time for them to return to normal. They are awful. Josh Allen is not a good quarterback. The Packers won’t take them for granted and will deliver a big win at home where they excel. Green Bay having a top10 offensive line really helps – the Vikings got destroying up front in the Bills shock win last Sunday. The only reason this isn’t a confident pick is Rodgers isn’t 100% so Green Bay may take it handy when up by double digits.

Chicago (-4pts) are the first good defense that Tampa will face, on a short week, where Chicago have a strong home advantage. The Bucs have a bad OL and face a league leading DL, a mismatch that could decide things. Allen Robinson is the best Bears receiver and he gets a good matchup also – the Bucs have been shredded by slot receivers through 3 games. The obvious worry is that Trubisky might not be able to take advantage of a bad secondary and cover 4pts, he didn’t last week.Week 4 Picks:

The Jacksonville (-7.5pts) defense is going to have a lot of fun this week. Facing a rookie QB who hasn’t looked NFL-ready, they’ll create plenty of turnovers. Sam Darnold has the highest interception rate this season. The Jets are playing their 3rd road game in 4 weeks and at this time of the year the Jags have a good home advantage. It’s hot in Florida – Tampa and Miami have had success at home as well - other teams are not conditioned to cope.

The Jets secondary is the strongest point of their defense but Bortles won’t be taking them on too often as he keeps it simple and the Jags run a lot. The Jags were bad last week when losing to the Titans but that was just a post-Patriots victory dip. They’ll bounce back knowing they can’t lose back to back games if hoping to claim the AFC South.

I’m not super comfortable picking a bad team like the New York Giants (+3.5pts) against a strong side like New Orleans but here goes. The Saints are on back to back road games and coming off an important win, which included overtime. This is an obvious slip-up spot. They had a dream matchup versus the injury hit Falcons secondary which Brees and Kamara took advantage of but the Giants defense will be ok – they’ve only conceded an average of 21pts so far. The Saints have opened the season with 3 dome-games, this suits Brees and the high-powered offense. Things will be a little slower outside in the Meadowlands.

The New York offensive line is brutal but their opening 3 matches were against strong defensive lines (Jax, Dal, Hou) who could take advantage of the weakness. They won’t be tested half as much by the Saints allowing Eli to find his receivers. Beckham will win his battle and the loss of Saints slot-corner Patrick Robinson will make Sterling Shepard’s job much easier this week.

The Saints would’ve lost by 7 rather than winning by 7 last Sunday if the coin toss landed on the other side. Getting more than a field goal at home I can take the Giants this week.

Pittsburgh (-3.5pts) are another team I’m not very high on so these picks worry me but again the value is there. A spread of 3.5 suggests these teams are nearly equal. They are not. The Ravens got Denver in a let-down spot last week and beat up a stink Bills team in week 1 – the Ravens are overrated with their 2-1 record. Joe Flacco is still in the bottom 10 QBs in the league and he won’t be able to keep up to Big Ben. The Steelers are the 7th top scoring team through 3wks and that included a wet day in Cleveland – there are no problems with this offense.

The Steelers have a strong home advantage and if they get out to a lead the Ravens will not be able to run the ball with Alex Collins – they’re best offensive option. Having no Jimmy Smith (suspended) to cover Brown or Smith Schuster will be felt. The Ravens had a long list of ‘Did not Practice’ on Wednesday meanwhile the Steelers get three important starters (DeCastro, Gilbert & Burnett) back from injury after missing week 3.

Advised Bet:

1pt treble Steelers -3.5pts, Giants +3.5pts & Jags -7.5pts