Spread picks and scores for every NFL Week 4 game

Mike Renner makes score predictions for every game of Week 4 of the NFL season.

| 2 years ago
(AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

(AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

Spread picks and scores for every NFL Week 4 game

As with every week, I’ll be giving a primer of all Week 4’s games, as well as highlighting the key matchups. I’ll give you my picks and how confident I am in each, from a betting perspective. The confidence grade is on our patented -2 through +2 scale. Basically, if I give my prediction a positive grade, I feel good about the bet. If it’s zero, I’m on the fence. And if it’s negative, I really don’t like the line either way. For the season, I’m 15-6 on positively graded picks, and 12-15 on all others.


Jets (-2) at Dolphins

I have picked the Jets to cover every week this year, and I’m not changing my ways just because of a bad loss to the Eagles. This defense is as stout as they come, and the Dolphins offense is a mess right now. Miami’s Dallas Thomas and Jamil Douglas are ranked 68th and 69th amongst guards, and they have to deal with our top-rated 3-4 defensive end in Muhammad Wilkerson. The other matchups that makes me confident in the Jets are the 6-foot-3-inch Eric Decker and 6-foot-4-inch Brandon Marshall going against the 5-foot-10-inch Brent Grimes and 5-foot-9-inch Brice McCain.

Prediction: Jets 34, Dolphins 17

Confidence grade: +1.5


Jaguars at Colts (-9)

There are a ton of lines in the 5–10 range this week that really scare me. This is one of them, and for a big reason: the health of Andrew Luck’s shoulder. If it’s fully healthy, I think he builds upon the superb fourth quarter he had against Tennessee, and shreds the Jaguars’ 25th-ranked coverage unit. If it’s not healthy, it’s really a toss-up between two evenly matched teams.

Prediction: Colts 30, Jaguars 24

Confidence Grade: -1.5


Giants at Bills (-5.5)

No teams have tried to even test the Bills on the ground this season, and I don’t see the Giants bucking that trend. Opposing offenses have dropped back to pass a ridiculous 165 times in three games against Buffalo, and only the red-hot Tom Brady has come close to having some success. Eli Manning has been getting the ball out in a quick 2.2 seconds so far this season, but outside of Odell Beckham Jr., the results have been nothing special. Victor Cruz isn’t back just yet, and the Giants desperately need him, with 11 drops through three weeks. I expect a heavy dose of Karlos Williams, and that’s a good thing for the Bills

Prediction: Bills 27, Giants 17

Confidence Grade: 0


Panthers (-3) at Buccaneers

It’s time to get to know Josh Norman. The Panthers fourth-year corner currently owns our second-highest coverage grade, and has a 38.8 passer rating against this year. At 6-foot, he should hold up just fine against the Buccaneers’ taller receivers. On the other side, I expect Cam Newton to have his way with the Tampa Bay defense. They have our 15th-ranked coverage unit, but have yet to face a quarterback of Newton’s caliber (with the exception one healthy half from Drew Brees). Beating the Bucs’ zone schemes isn’t as much about receiver talent as it is about quarterback talent, and Newton is playing some of the best football we’ve ever seen from him with a +4.9 season grade.

Prediction: Panthers 28, Buccaneers 21

Confidence Grade: +0.5


Eagles (-3) at Redskins

The Eagles picked up their first win against the Jets last week, although it wasn’t because their offense figured out their woes. The fact is, the Eagles defense has been extremely stout after being dealt a difficult hand with all the quick possessions their offense has coughed up. They’ve been above league average in run defense and pass coverage, and at league average in pass rush. I also don’t see Chip Kelly’s offense suffering for too much longer, and with DeAngelo Hall out, I think they’ll finally be able to win some one-on-one matchups.

Prediction: Eagles 25, Redskins 17

Confidence Grade: +0.5


Raiders (-3) at Bears

The Bears, despite their start, actually have a couple of big things going in their favor. The first is that they’ve played likely the top three teams in the NFC to start the season. The second, they hung with the Packers and Cardinals as long as Jay Cutler was in the game. If Alshon Jeffery and Cutler play, I anticipate they’ll be able to take advantage of the Raiders 28th-ranked coverage unit. If not…let’s not even get into what happened last week. On the other side, Derek Carr has put up some impressive stats, but he’s still missing too many throws and his 72.4 accuracy percentage is 21st in the league.

Prediction: Bears 24, Raiders 21

Confidence Grade: 0


Texans at Falcons (-7)

This one hinges largely on the health of Arian Foster. If he’s 100 percent, I anticipate they’ll be able to finally move the ball regularly on the ground. If he’s not, I expect more of the same. Foster has elite vision for a running back, while Alfred Blue has always been poor in that aspect. The best place to exploit the Falcons is through the air, but unfortunately that’s been where the Texans have also been the worst. Ryan Mallett looked much improved against Tampa Bay, but he’s still extremely inaccurate, with the third-worst accuracy percentage in the NFL. The Texans don’t really have anyone in their secondary that can match up with Julio Jones (I’m not sure any team does, really) and I see the Falcons taking it big.

Prediction: Falcons 33, Texans 20

Confidence Grade: -0.5


Chiefs at Bengals (-4)

The Bengals, once again, look like a playoff team, while the Chiefs have little identity to hang their hat on. The return of cornerback Sean Smith should help beef up that defense, but it comes right as his replacement, Phillip Gaines, heads to the IR. The Chiefs’ defense doesn’t worry me as much as their offense. The Bengals defensive line, particularly Geno Atkins (+15.7) and Carlos Dunlap (+6.2), have been eating teams alive up front. I like the Bengals to keep rolling along in this one.

Prediction: Bengals 27, Chiefs 21

Confidence Grade: 0


Browns at Chargers (-7.5)

The Browns are not as hapless as this line suggests, and frankly, the most lopsided matchup of this game is in the Browns’ favor. The Chargers defensive line has been swallowed up against the run this year, game in and game out. Cleveland’s defensive line has as well, but the Chargers don’t have the offensive line to take advantage of it as the Browns do. The surprising thing is that the Browns secondary has been completely exposed this year, after it was one of the best in the NFL in 2014. Newcomer Tramon Williams is the only starting corner or safety with a positive coverage grade. I think that’s flukier than any serious sign of decline, and think the Browns will do more than hold up on the road.

Prediction: Browns 21, Chargers 17

Confidence Grade: +1


Packers (-9) at 49ers

The Packers have had well-documented struggles against the 49ers in recent memory, but the huge turnover from San Francisco this offseason may solve those woes. The most beneficial turnover for Green Bay comes in the 49ers coverage. Patrick Willis was superb in locking down the middle of the field in coverage, while Carlos Rogers, Tarell Brown and Chris Culliver were an excellent nickel package. This year, not a single 49ers’ starter has a positive coverage grade. That’s a problem against Aaron Rodgers. Nine points is a lot, but I don’t see how they’ll be able to slow down the Packers offense.

Prediction: Packers 35, 49ers 21

Confidence Grade: 0


Rams at Cardinals (-7)

The Cardinals have cracked the winning formula by passing and stopping the pass at an extremely high level. They are currently our third-ranked passing team and second-ranked pass defense. The good news for them is that the Rams haven’t even been mediocre at either, and really a below average team outside of their utterly dominant defensive line. In past years, that would have been be a big issue for the Cardinals, but they have been much stouter on the offensive line in 2015.

Prediction: Cardinals 31, Rams 21

Confidence Grade: -.5


Vikings at Broncos (-7)

The Vikings offense has been a tad disappointing through three weeks of the season. Teddy Bridgewater has been hampered by the talent around him, but still hasn’t shown as many signs of improvement in year two. That doesn’t bode well as they face the NFL’s hottest defense at the moment. The Broncos have our number one ranked coverage unit and are pressuring opposing quarterbacks on 50 percent of their dropbacks, an incredible figure. Von Miller against rookie right tackle T.J. Clemmings could be an absolute nightmare for the Vikings.

Prediction: Broncos 24, Vikings 13

Confidence Grade: -0.5


Cowboys at Saints (-4.5)

Brandon Weeden looked halfway decent in his first start of the year, grading at -1.0, but came away empty handed in the win column in Week 3. The Cowboys are easily the more talented team, outside of quarterback, as the Saints pass defense has graded out as the worst in the league. It really all comes down to the quarterback though. If Drew Brees is completely healthy, this line makes sense. I suspect he won’t be, though, and after seeing him throw through a shoulder injury with disastrous results (-5.5 grade) against the Buccaneers in Week 2, I’ll side with the Cowboys.

Prediction: Cowboys 20, Saints 17

Confidence Grade: -1


Lions at Seahawks (-9.5)

Matthew Stafford is broken. There is really no sugar-coating it. He has an assortment of some of the best weapons in the NFL, yet he can’t find or hit open receivers consistently. The offensive line has been a huge issue, and currently has the lowest grade of any in the NFL. That doesn’t excuse Stafford from blame, though, as he is also the lowest graded player at his position. The only reason I see this staying close is because of the fact that the Seahawks have serious offensive line problems of their own, but I don’t see any way the Lions go into Seattle and take this one.

Prediction: Seahawks 21, Lions 14

Confidence Grade: -1


Season Record: 31-17 (27-21 ATS)


| Senior Analyst

Mike is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has also been featured on The Washington Post, ESPN Insider, and 120 Sports.

  • crosseyedlemon

    It looks like most of the sportsbooks have taken the Cowboys/Saints game off the board so even if they re-list that game it’s a good one to avoid. The Colts aren’t even close to hitting on all cylinders so the 9 points is just too much to lay here. When two bad teams meet there is never any value in taking the favorite so as bad as the Bears are they are a safer choice than the Raiders laying 3 on the road.

  • HomeTeam305

    Lock of the week no Point Spread? Cincy at home? GB on the road? Seattle at home?

    • crosseyedlemon

      Lock picks are ridiculous as even so called experts rarely hit better than 55% on them over the course of several seasons. Not sure why totals were not included with this article. Might be fun to add a few prop bets too (as that is where the real sharpies earn their dough).

  • corners

    “The other matchups that makes me confident in the Jets are the
    6-foot-3-inch Eric Decker and 6-foot-4-inch Brandon Marshall going
    against the 5-foot-10-inch Brent Grimes and 5-foot-9-inch Brice McCain.”

    Same argument was brought up[ lsat year with finnegan and grimes and marshal and the other bears wr. They were shut down by the short guys…..
    Never use height against a player that already has a starting nfl spot. His journey was hard the whole way.

    +1.5 is underestimating your opponent.

    • Sam Doohan

      The Fins have not looked good though, and I think the Jets receivers are better regardless of their height. I think the Jets win by 7 at the most, probably more like 3 but I think they do win and I don’t think it’s all that close.

    • ddoch1374

      Didn’t Brent Grimes pick off megatron last year in the end zone? I’m not too worried about grimes anyways.

  • Jaguars28

    We should be able to beat the Colts Luck or not.