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NFL Predictions: Week 4, 2019

Score predictions for all 15 games this week.

(View my Week 4 Power Rankings here.)

Believe it or not, we’re already into bye week season, with the 49ers and Jets having their break during Week 4. For San Francisco (3–0), it comes at an inopportune time, as I’m sure they’d like to keep the ball rolling on their early success.

For the Jets, though, this is exactly what they needed. Their current state of affairs is a far call from the 16–0 lead they held during the third quarter of their Week 1 game against the Bills. The Jets end up surrendered 17 unanswered in that contest to lose by a point and have since gotten beat up twice by the Browns and Patriots, illness and injury forcing them to resort to third-string quarterback Luke Falk.

Hopefully, Sam Darnold will be over his spell of mono by the time of the Jets’ Week 5 spell at Philadelphia. They desperately need to break into the win column soon to avoid a wasted season.

However, 30 other teams have games this week. Before taking a look at those, let’s check up on how I did last week.

Straight Up: 10–6 (28–19–1 Season); vs. Spread: 8–8 (23–24–1 Season)

I bounced back to about an average week after a very poor Week 2. Currently, I’m hitting about 60% straight up and 50% of spreads, numbers which will go up over the course of the season.

Again, for comparison, last year, I went 161–93–2 straight up, and 127–121–8 against the spread.

As we enter Week 4, I find myself liking most of the favorites, picking only Jacksonville to upset the Broncos, although, with the spread at just three points and Denver at home, it’s effectively a pick’em on a neutral field. But how can you not pick Gardner Minshew?

Here are all of my picks.

BYE: 49ers, Jets

As per usual, here are my top five matchups of the week.

5. Bears (-2) vs. Vikings (Sun/3:25pm)

All four members of the NFC North find themselves in my top five matchups this week, as the division has yet to lose a game to anyone outside it. Both the Bears and Vikings enter this one at 2–1, but both of those losses have come to the Packers. There are still plenty of questions about the Bears’ offense, but Kirk Cousins will be forced to throw to win this one, and Kirk Cousins Big Game Theory suggests that won’t end well. Bears 23–17.

4. Packers (-4) vs. Eagles (Thurs/7:20pm)

This could very well be a must-win game for the Eagles, which is a scary thought considering they’re coming off back-to-back losses and now must play in Green Bay on a short week. However, all three Eagles games have been within five points this season — they’ve been playing everyone close, and I don’t think that changes this time. The Packers don’t seem to have the firepower to run away with games. I’ll still take them to win, though. Packers 23–20.

3. Chiefs (-6.5) @ Lions (Sun/12pm)

I don’t the Chiefs envisioned that their Week 4 clash in Detroit would be a matchup of two undefeated teams. However, the Lions have done well to upset both the Chargers and Eagles and now have a chance to make a huge statement against Pat Mahomes and the league’s top offense.

Make no mistake, though — the Chiefs are big favorites, here. Even on the road, they’re -6.5, and I like them to cover. Chiefs 34–24.

2. Patriots (-7) @ Bills (Sun/12pm)

Similarly to the Chiefs and Lions matchup, the Patriots and Bills game features a Super Bowl contender and a surprise unbeaten. This will be the first real test for the Bills, who have beaten the Jets, Giants, and Bengals thus far.

Yes, Buffalo’s defense looks like the real deal. But the Patriots still haven’t allowed a touchdown since last year’s AFC Championship Game. I think that will change last week, but it won’t change the fact that the Pats are still lords of all they survey in the AFC East.

1. Cowboys (-2.5) @ Saints (Sun/7:20pm)

In Week 3, the Saints proved that they’re still a force to be reckoned with, even while Drew Brees recovers from thumb surgery. However, the schedule doesn’t get any easier following their victory over the Seahawks. Back in New Orleans, the Cowboys are up next, in what should feel like a heavyweight bout. I could see it going either way, but I’m taking Dallas, 28–24.

Connor Groel is a writer who studies sport management at the University of Texas at Austin. He also serves as editor of the Top Level Sports publication on Medium, and the host of the Connor Groel Sports podcast. You can follow Connor on Medium, Facebook, and Twitter, and view his archives at toplevelsports.net.

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