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Sam Farmer's NFL Week 4 picks

A look at this week's matchups, including predicted score and comment.

September 29, 2011|By Sam Farmer
  • Raiders running back Darren McFadden scores against the Jets on a 70-yard run in the second quarter Sunday. McFadden and the Raiders take on New England next.
Raiders running back Darren McFadden scores against the Jets on a 70-yard… (Kirby Lee / US Presswire )

The Times' NFL writer, Sam Farmer, examines this week's matchups. Lines according to Glantz-Culver (O/U = over/under). Last week's record 11-5 (.688); season 33-25 (.688). Using point spreads with the scores Farmer predicted, the record against the spread last week would have been 7-8-1 (.467); season 18-27-3 (.400).

Buffalo (3-0)

at Cincicnnati (1-2)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

Bills 30, Bengals 17

TV: None. DirecTV: 704.

Line: Bills by 3. O/U: 44.

The Bills have to guard against overconfidence, especially because they had to dig their way out of deep holes to pick up their last two wins. The Bengals are erratic, looking good or very bad.

Tennessee (2-1)

at Cleveland (2-1)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

Browns 17, Titans 13

TV: None. DirecTV: 705.

Line: Browns by 1. O/U: 39.

Both teams are coming off back-to-back wins. The Browns get the edge because they're at home and the Titans don't have Kenny Britt and haven't gotten Chris Johnson rolling.

Pittsburgh (2-1)

at Houston (2-1)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

Texans 27, Steelers 21

TV: Channel 2. DirecTV: 706.

Line: Texans by 4. O/U: 45.

You'd better believe Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has been working all week on ways to exploit Pittsburgh's problems along a depleted offensive line.

Detroit (3-0)

at Dallas (2-1)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

Lions 24, Cowboys 21

TV: Channel 11. DirecTV: 707.

Line: Cowboys by 1. O/U: 46.

The Lions were pulverized in Dallas last season, but this is a much different team. A matchup to watch is second-year center Phil Costa trying to hold off Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.

San Francisco (2-1)

at Philadelphia (1-2)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

Eagles 30, 49ers 14

TV: None. DirecTV: 708.

Line: Off the board. O/U: Off the board.

The Eagles have the receivers to draw the 49ers into a shootout, and that could present problems for a young San Francisco line trying to contain Cullen Jenkins and Jason Babin (four sacks each).

Carolina (1-2)

at Chicago (1-2)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

Bears 24, Panthers 17

TV: None. DirecTV: 709.

Line: Bears by 6. O/U: 44.

As outstanding as Cam Newton has been, he will need to be better in the red zone against a tough Bears defense. Carolina's coverage teams are suspect, so it could be a big day for Devin Hester.

Washington (2-1)

at St. Louis (0-3)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

Rams 24, Redskins 17

TV: None. DirecTV: 710.

Line: Pick 'em. O/U: 43.

The Rams are coming home after a 30-point loss at Baltimore. At a similar point last season, they lost by 38 at Detroit … and returned home to upset San Diego. An encore of that?

New Orleans (2-1)

at Jacksonville (1-2)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

Saints 28, Jaguars 13

TV: None. DirecTV: 711.

Line: Saints by 7. O/U: 45.

Jacksonville's good defense will be tested by the league's No. 2 offense, and the Jaguars don't have the firepower to hang close in a shootout. They will need to force turnovers.

Minnesota (0-3)

at Kansas City (0-3)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

Vikings 20, Chiefs 17

TV: None. DirecTV: 712.

Line: Vikings by 1. O/U: 40.

Both of these winless teams have shown flickers of life. Even though they are on the road, the Vikings have a slight edge because they can control the clock with Adrian Peterson.

NY Giants (2-1)

at Arizona (1-2)

Sunday, 1 p.m.

Giants 24, Cardinals 21

TV: None. DirecTV: 713.

Line: Giants by 1. O/U: 44.

Provided they can avoid a letdown after beating the Eagles, the Giants should be able to control the clock with the run and get after Arizona quarterback Kevin Kolb.

Atlanta (1-2)

at Seattle (1-2)

Sunday, 1 p.m.

Falcons 20, Seahawks 14

TV: None. DirecTV: 714.

Line: Falcons by 4. O/U: 39.

Even with the 12th Man, the Seahawks are going to have a difficult time matching the offensive prowess of Matt Ryan and his Falcons receivers. Atlanta will look to take the crowd out of this early.

Denver (1-2)

at Green Bay (3-0)

Sunday, 1:15 p.m.

Packers 35, Broncos 10

TV: None. DirecTV: 715.

Line: Packers by 12. O/U: 46.

The Packers score so much and in so many ways, opponents are forced to pass. Defenders will be able to pin back their ears and go right after Kyle Orton, so it could be a long day for him.

New England (2-1)

at Oakland (2-1)

Sunday, 1:15 p.m.

Patriots 30, Raiders 24

TV: Channel 2 DirecTV: 716.

Line: Patriots by 4. O/U: 54.

The Patriots had better be careful. Oakland is very dangerous, especially with the way Darren McFadden is running. But Tom Brady seldom has two bad games in a row.

Miami (0-3)

at San Diego (2-1)

Sunday, 1:15 p.m.

Chargers 24, Dolphins 20

TV: None. DirecTV: 717

Line: Chargers by 7. O/U: 45.

The Chargers are always capable of an early-season letdown, even at home, but they should be able to put away Miami, particularly with their newfound maturity on defense.

NY Jets (2-1)

at Baltimore (2-1)

Sunday, 5:15 p.m.

Ravens 20, Jets 17

TV: Channel 4.

Line: Ravens by 3. O/U: 41.

The Ravens are on a roll and they always play the Jets tough. New York would benefit greatly from a reliable running game, but it doesn't have one at this point.

Indianapolis (0-3)

at Tampa Bay (2-1)

Monday, 5:30 p.m.

Buccaneers 28, Colts 13

TV: ESPN.

Line: Buccaneers by 10. O/U: 41.

The Colts played surprisingly well against Pittsburgh, mostly because their defense thrives in the loud confines of home. The quarterback situation is a mess, though.

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