NFL picks, Week 4: Close games on paper all around

Mitch Stringer-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Picks and predictions for Week 4 in the NFL.

Due to the launch of SB Nation United, I managed to miss my Week 3 picks last week. This is good because I did absolutely horrible in the picks I made but did not post. I'd been doing well through the first two weeks, but everything went to hell thanks to some bad teams playing well and the replacement referees giving it one last hurrah before their incompetence went from "totally outrageous," to "riotous unacceptability."

Clean slate for all of the good teams this time 'round, yeah? This includes the San Francisco 49ers, who managed to job to the Minnesota Vikings despite being favored in just about every category on paper. This week, we've got some intriguing matchups,and things look much more evenly-matched than a week ago, so we'll probably end up with five or six record-breaking blowouts, with the way this season is going. Let's just jump into the picks, shall we? First, three things:

Lock of the Week: There's quite a few close games this time around, and the best action might be on the New England Patriots over the Buffalo Bills. Now, the Bills have managed to keep things relatively close against New England in recent years, but something tells me the Patriots are going to blow them away in Week 4.

Tossup of the Week: Quite a few of these games could go here, but let's go with the Washington Redskins versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs have managed to look amazing one second and terrible the next, while the Redskins have a rookie quarterback who isn't quite sure of who his best targets are and what he wants to do with the ball. This one could be ugly and it could be all over the place.

Something Extra: While I briefly considered the Arizona Cardinals for the lock of the week over the Miami Dolphins, you just can't depend on a team like them. So many things are wrong with that roster, and they still don't have a quarterback. The Dolphins are in a sorry state but in much the same way the Cardinals can shock a great team, they're probably just as susceptible to losing to a bad one.

Atlanta Falcons 35, Carolina Panthers 31
New England Patriots 38, Buffalo Bills 13
Detroit Lions 21, Minnesota Vikings 16
Houston Texans 21, Tennessee Titans 14
San Diego Chargers 14, Kansas City Chiefs 10
San Francisco 49ers 21, New York Jets 10
St. Louis Rams 17, Seattle Seahawks 7
Arizona Cardinals 28, Miami Dolphins 14
Denver Broncos 14, Oakland Raiders 10
Cincinnati Bengals 28, Jacksonville Jaguars 17
Green Bay Packers 31, New Orleans Saints 24
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24, Washington Redskins 17
Philadelphia Eagles 24, New York Giants 21
Chicago Bears 28, Dallas Cowboys 17

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