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Sam Farmer's NFL picks: Week 4

September 26, 2008|Sam Farmer

I almost lost my job to a chimp.

That's right, my bosses were ready to let a monkey take a wild stab at picking NFL winners, figuring he couldn't do much worse -- and maybe he'd do better -- than my 15-16 performance through the first two weeks.

Give it a rest, Bonzo, because I'm back on track.

I used a highly sophisticated system to bust my slump, one honed over my last 14 seasons covering the NFL: I went with all the home teams.

Gimmicky as it sounds, I did like a lot of those teams I picked, so I decided to stick to the pattern. Regardless, it worked: My teams went 12-4, and now I don't have to share my desk with an ape.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday, September 27, 2008 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 30 words Type of Material: Correction
NFL picks: Sam Farmer's NFL picks for games this weekend in Friday's Sports section said the Houston Texans did not play last week. The Texans didn't play two weeks ago.

For another week, at least.

Atlanta at Carolina: With two victories, the Falcons are already halfway to their 2007 victory total. But those two wins came at home against bottom dwellers Detroit and Kansas City, and it will be a lot tougher on the road against an actual NFL team. Pick: Carolina

Cleveland at Cincinnati: After this game against two winless teams, there will be one less O in Ohio. Cleveland is 0-4 in Cincinnati since last winning there in 2003, and Derek Anderson doesn't figure to be much help this time. Warm up Brady Quinn, and give this one to the Bengals. Pick: Cincinnati

Houston at Jacksonville: The Texans didn't lose last weekend. Then again, they didn't play. Jacksonville got their running game rolling last Sunday, and now it's time for the Jaguars defense to resume its typical form. Pick: Jacksonville

Denver at Kansas City: The Chiefs are the first team since 1960 to start three different quarterbacks in their first three games. They are switching back to Damon Huard this week, and everything points to the Broncos routing them. However, strange things can happen within the division, and this game will be closer than the stats suggest. Pick: Denver

San Francisco at New Orleans: The 49ers are looking to start 3-1 for the first time since 2002, which happens to be the last time they made the playoffs. They have a very good pass defense, and one that will be tested against a great Saints passing game. The home team wins this one. Pick: New Orleans

Arizona at New York Jets: The Jets are coming off a short week, Brett Favre is limping around, and their defense couldn't handle San Diego's passing attack. The Cardinals, meanwhile, are looking surprisingly good. Pick: Arizona

Green Bay at Tampa Bay: Aaron Rodgers will be tested in this one. He's coming off his team's first loss of the season, playing on the road, and facing a team that's playing really well. He'll pass often . . . and pass the test. Pick: Green Bay

Minnesota at Tennessee: Gus Frerotte looked decent last Sunday in Minnesota's first victory of the season, and Adrian Peterson practiced lightly this week to rest his sore hamstring. They would have to be at their best to win at Tennessee, where the Titans are on a defensive roll. Pick: Tennessee

San Diego at Oakland: Philip Rivers has looked terrific this season, so that helps make up for the toe injury to LaDainian Tomlinson, who normally kills the Raiders. Don't completely count out Oakland -- the Raiders looked pretty good at Buffalo last Sunday -- but San Diego has too much firepower. Is this Lane Kiffin's finale? Probably. Pick: San Diego

Buffalo at St. Louis: This is the next best thing to a bye week for the Bills, who should easily win at St. Louis. The Rams will have a hard time keeping Marshawn Lynch in check, and that will open Buffalo's passing attack. Pick: Buffalo

Washington at Dallas: Jason Campbell seems to have gotten the hang of Jim Zorn's West Coast system, and the Redskins look a lot better now than they did in the opener. But keeping pace with the Cowboys is a different story. Pick: Dallas

Philadelphia at Chicago: The two key components to Philadelphia's offense, Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook, are banged up, and there's a good chance Westbrook won't play at all. Simply put, that means Chicago has the edge in a game that would normally go to the Eagles. Pick: Chicago

Baltimore at Pittsburgh: Even though they've won two of their first three games, the Steelers have yet to get their offense on track. Worse, they won't have Willie Parker for this one, and Ben Roethlisberger has issues with his shoulder and throwing hand. That's just the kind of thing Baltimore's defense likes to hear. Pick: Baltimore

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sam.farmer@latimes.com

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