Home / RJ’s NFL Picks – Week Four

RJ’s NFL Picks – Week Four

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I went 10-6 last week. That puts me at 29-18 for the season. For a comparison, check out the “experts” over at ESPN.

Here are my picks for the NFL’s Week 4:

*Sunday September 28, 2008*

RJ’s Lame-Game Of The Week: Cleveland 0-3 at Cincinnati 0-3 – 1:00 PM (Line: Cincinnati by 3)

Last Week: Cleveland was beaten by Baltimore, 28-10. The Browns managed just 169 total net yards and turned the ball over three times (all Derek Anderson INTs). Cincinnati lost to the Giants in overtime, 26-23. T. J. Houshmandzadeh caught 12 passes for 146 yards and a TD in the loss.

What To Expect: The Bengals have essentially no pass rush (just one sack for the entire team through three games). This is good news for Derek Anderson, who’s been sacked 7 times already this season. Anderson isn’t used to facing much pressure; he was sacked just 14 times all of last year (and he started in 15 games). The pass rush has clearly rattled him so far this season: He’s thrown five interceptions and has a dismal quarterback rating of 43.5. So the fact that he’ll presumably have plenty of time in the pocket this week leads me to believe that the Browns will be able to put some points on the board for a change (they’ve scored just 26 points total this year, last in the NFL). Therefore, I think they’ll pull off the upset on the road.

RJ’s Pick: Cleveland by 2

Minnesota 1-2 at Tennessee 3-0 – 1:00 PM (Line: Tennessee by 3)

Last Week: Minnesota beat the Panthers, 20-10. The offense dominated the time-of-possession, and the defense sacked Jake Delhomme five times and forced two fumbles. Tennessee defeated Houston, 31-12. LenDale White ran for two scores and the defense intercepted Matt Schaub three times.

What To Expect: The Vikings have an excellent run defense and are clearly a better offensive team with Gus Frerotte under center. The Titans have a great all-around defense (they’ve given up just 29 points total this season, best among NFL teams that have played three games), and are clearly a better offensive team with Kerry Collins starting at quarterback. I don’t expect a blowout, but I do believe the home team will get it done.

RJ’s Pick: Tennessee by 7

Denver 3-0 at Kansas City 0-3 – 1:00 PM (Line: Denver by 9.5)

Last Week: Denver won against New Orleans, 34-32. Brandon Marshall caught six passes for 155 yards and a touchdown. Kansas City lost to Atlanta, 38-14. Tyler Thigpen was really quite bad, completing just 14-of-36 passes for 128 yards, one TD, and three INTs.

What To Expect: The Broncos have scored 114 points through three games, best in the NFL. The Chiefs have scored 32, fourth-fewest in the league. Denver’s big weakness is their pass defense, but will the Damon Huard-led Chiefs be able to take advantage of that? I doubt it.

RJ’s Pick: Denver by 14

San Francisco 2-1 at New Orleans 1-2 – 1:00 PM (Line: New Orleans by 6)

Last Week: San Francisco stomped Detroit, 31-13. Frank Gore rushed for 130 yards and a touchdown, and also caught four passes for 32 yards. New Orleans lost at Denver, 34-32. Drew Brees threw for 421 yards and a touchdown in the loss.

What To Expect: The Saints have a potent passing game, but a sub-par running game. And their defense leaves much to be desired. TE Jeremy Shockey is out with an injury, and OL Jamar Nesbit is suspended for, apparently, using steroids. The 49ers have an above-average offense (especially running the ball), and a solid pass defense. I’m going with the upset.

RJ’s Pick: San Francisco by 1

By the way, did you hear the news? Matt Millen was fired! I was so happy when I found out, I fell to my knees and wept. Then laughed hysterically. Then wept some more. I’m pretty sure I had some sort of a breakdown. But it was worth it. ^_^

Arizona 2-1 at New York Jets 1-2 – 1:00 PM (Line: New York Jets by 1.5)

Last Week: Arizona lost to Washington, 24-17. Larry Fitzgerald had 7 catches for 109 yards and a TD in a losing effort. The New York Jets were abused by San Diego on MNF, 48-29. They could manage just 41 yards on the ground, and Brett Favre and Kellen Clemens combined to throw three picks.

What To Expect: Favre is gimpy but expected to start after injuring his ankle last week. Kurt Warner should have a lot of success against the Jets secondary, but don’t expect much from Edgerrin James. I’m going to have to pick another road ‘dog here.

RJ’s Pick: Arizona by 4

Green Bay 2-1 at Tampa Bay 2-1 – 1:00 PM (Line: Tampa Bay by 1.5)

Last Week: Green Bay lost to Dallas, 27-16. The Packers defense gave up 217 yards on the ground. Tampa Bay beat Chicago in overtime, 27-24. Brian Griese completed 38-of-67 passes for 407 yards and two TDs, and incredibly wasn’t sacked once.

What To Expect: The Packers defense was already pretty porous, and now it looks like cornerback Al Harris might be out for the season with a spleen injury (ouch!). Look for Earnest Graham to have a 100-yard game rushing. This should be a close game.

RJ’s Pick: Tampa Bay by 4

Atlanta 2-1 at Carolina 2-1 – 1:00 PM (Line: Carolina by 7.5)

Last Week: Atlanta defeated the Chiefs, 38-14. Michael Turner gained 104 yards on the ground and got into the end zone three times. Carolina lost to Minnesota, 20-10. The Panthers had just 47 yards rushing on 20 attempts.

What To Expect: The Falcons lead the NFL in rushing with an average of 203 yards per game. The Panthers run defense is just mediocre, so Jerious Norwood and Michael Turner should combine for at least 150 yards on the ground (unless the Falcons fall behind early and have to go one-dimensional). So, yup: I’m going with yet another road ‘dog.

RJ’s Pick: Atlanta by 1

Houston 0-2 at Jacksonville 1-2 – 1:00 PM (Line: Jacksonville by 7.5)

Last Week: Houston lost to the Titans, 31-12. Matt Schaub was awful, completing just 17 of 37 passing attempts, and throwing 3 INTs and no touchdowns. Jacksonville beat the Colts in Indianapolis, 23-21. Both Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew rushed for over 100 yards.

What To Expect: Texans fans are calling for future Hall of Famer Sage Rosenfels to replace Matt Schaub, but head coach Gary Kubiak is ignoring them, for now. The Jaguars should rack up some serious yardage on the ground in this one.

RJ’s Pick: Jacksonville by 11

San Diego 1-2 at Oakland 1-2 – 4:05 PM (Line: San Diego by 7)

Last Week: San Diego crushed the Jets, 48-29. Philip Rivers threw for 3 TDs, and LaDainian Tomlinson ran for two more. Oakland lost at Buffalo, 24-23. The Raiders were dominated in time-of-possession, and JaMarcus Russell completed just 9 of 19 passes.

What To Expect: Philip Rivers should throw for at least 300 yards against the weak Raiders pass defense. San Diego’s pass defense is pretty bad, too, but Oakland is last in the league in passing yards per game. JaMarcus Russell isn’t scaring too many cornerbacks or safeties. And remember, San Diego is one defensive play and one bad call away from being 3-0 right now. This should be a blowout.

RJ’s Pick: San Diego by 17

Buffalo 3-0 at Saint Louis 0-3 – 4:05 PM (Line: Buffalo by 8.5)

Last Week: Buffalo beat the Raiders, 24-23. Marshawn Lynch ran for two scores in the come-from-behind victory. Saint Louis lost to Seattle, 37-13. The Rams defense allowed 245 yards on the ground, while their offense managed just 65 rushing yards on 24 carries.

What To Expect: Saint Louis is last in the league in rushing yards per game. Their passing game hasn’t been much better, so Marc Bulger has been benched in favor of the ageless Trent Green. Defensively, they are also horrendous. The Rams have given up 116 points (most in the NFL) and have scored just 29 (worst in the NFC). The Bills have a solid defense and an above-average passing attack. This should be an absolute slaughter. A shutout is not out of the question, either.

RJ’s Pick: Buffalo by 21

RJ’s Game Of The Week: Washington 2-1 at Dallas 3-0 – 4:15 PM (Line: Dallas by 11)

Last Week: Washington beat Arizona, 24-17. Jason Campbell was very efficient, completing 22 of 30 passes for 193 yards, two TDs, and no interceptions. Dallas defeated the Packers at Green Bay, 27-16. Marion Barber rushed for 142 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries.

What To Expect: Redskins DE Jason Taylor is out for at least a week after having emergency surgery on his injured calf. The Cowboys lead the league in total yards per game. On paper, this looks like a relatively easy win for Dallas. But Washington usually plays Dallas close, even when the Cowboys are playing at home and clearly have the better team (as is the case here). Also, Jason Campbell has been excellent so far this year. He hasn’t thrown a single interception, and his quarterback rating is in the triple digits. I predict a victory for the home team, but no blowout.

RJ’s Pick: Dallas by 3

Philadelphia 2-1 at Chicago 1-2 – 8:15 PM (Line: Philadelphia by 3)

Last Week: Philadelphia beat Pittsburgh, 15-6. The Eagles defense racked up a total of nine sacks. Chicago lost at home to the Buccaneers in overtime, 27-24. Brandon Lloyd caught six passes for 124 yards and a score (his first TD since 2005) in the loss.

What To Expect: Donovan McNabb should have great success against the Bears secondary. Matt Forte will struggle to get more than a yard or two per carry against the Eagles run defense. Kyle Orton will likely spend a significant portion of the game laying on his back, with a very large man on top of him. (He might like that more than you’d think.) What I’m saying is, don’t expect a close game.

RJ’s Pick: Philadelphia by 10

*Monday September 29, 2008*

Baltimore 2-0 at Pittsburgh 2-1 – 8:30 PM (Line: Pittsburgh by 5.5)

Last Week: Baltimore beat Cleveland, 28-10. Le’Ron McClain rushed for two touchdowns, the first (and second) of his career. Pittsburgh lost to the Eagles, 15-6. The Steelers were held to just 33 yards rushing on 19 attempts.

What To Expect: Ravens QB Joe Flacco has a flaccid (lol) quarterback rating of 55.7 through two games. But Baltimore has a solid defense, one of the best in the league, and we saw just how bad the Steelers looked against a good defensive team last week. Also, Willie Parker is injured and will not be able to play. However, Pittsburgh has one of the top defensive units in the league themselves. I expect a very low-scoring game (bet the under!).

RJ’s Pick: Pittsburgh by 3

[Bye Week Teams: Detroit Lions 0-3, Indianapolis Colts 1-2, Miami Dolphins 1-2, New England Patriots 2-1, New York Giants 3-0, Seattle Seahawks 1-2]

(If you’re interested, you can check out the full list of Danny Sheridan’s Odds and ESPN’s NFL “Expert” Picks.)


Week One – 9-7
Week Two – 10-5
Week Three – 10-6

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About RJ

  • Here are some other “expert” picks worth taking a look at.

  • EEL

    Here are my picks for week 4. 11-5(straight up) last week.
    (Straight up )Week 4
    49ers (Always)
    Ravens- Monday
    GOOD LUCK !!!

  • smokytla

    Okay, as I promised, I’m gonna post the results from my research. What I am posting is the result of 83 people’s picks (from sources such as espn, cbs, msn, sporting news and many more). The collective winning record (from the winning overall pick for each game)from these experts, for the season, is 35 and 12. This is better than any individual expert. I only have a 30-17 record because, instead of going with the research, I just “HAD to go with my niners and the packers etc” 8^) Anyhoo, the highest “expert” record I have on my spreadsheet is 34.

    I am going to post the collective winning picks and the breakdown of how many picked which team. I’ll post 2 different ways…the total picks, then the breakdown of just people who have 33 & 34 wins for the season. For this particular week, the winning pick is the same for both breakdowns. Other weeks, the overall may be one team but the higher scoring experts might be different….

    Out of 83 sources
    NO 69 picks to SF 14 picks
    NYJ 48 to AZ 35
    GB 57 to TB 26
    Car 76 to Atl 7
    Cin 61 to Cle 22
    Jax 78 to Hou 5
    Ten 65 to Min 18
    Den 73 to KC 10
    SD 75 to Oak 8
    Buf 71 to StL 12
    Dal 78 to Was 5
    Phi 61 to Chi 22
    Pit 65 to Bal 17 (only 82 because Jaworski doesn’t pick the mon night game)

    For the top 7 scorers of the season (the 33 and 34 scores)
    NO 6-1
    NYJ 5-2
    GB 4-3
    Car 7-0
    Cin 6-1
    Jax 7-0
    Ten 7-0
    Den 6-1
    SD 6-1
    Buf 6-1
    Dal 7-0
    Phi 6-1
    Pit 7-0

    I hope this information is useful! Please let me know because my feelings won’t be hurt if you wanna tell me that I’m just using up valuable blog space…. 8^)

  • Smokytla, good work. Interesting.

  • Things are going well for me going into the fourth week 32-15. At espn I am beating all but 3 experts, who I am all tied with oddly enough, and losing to Accuscore by one game. But Accuscore is a machine, (which will one day become self aware and rule us all) so I’m not getting down on myself too much.

    I will also say RJ, you go with the road team far too much. The safe choice is usually the right choice. All 4 of my bad picks last week were home teams beating road teams. But I am going to give myself a muligan on the Pats vs the Fins game as there should be a rule you can only score so many TD’s in one game.

    And now my picks for week 4…

    1. The Titans will beat out the Vikings, who are now realizing that being pumped up during the off season doesn’t actually make you a better team.
    2. Denver will win over the Cheifs and my fantasy star Cutler (who I usually drafted in the 5th or 6th round) will have another steller game.
    3. I think the Saints can beat out the 49er’s in their own house. They had a good game offensively last week, and I think home team advantage helps the defense more as well. I’ve also yet to give the 49ers the much coveted “Consistant” badge either.
    4. I also think the Jets will beat out the still over rated Cards at home. I do think it will be a close high scoring game though with 2 gunslingers in the pocket.
    5. I’m going to go with the Pack on the road over Tampa, even though they are a good team. I just think the Pack is better.
    6. Carolina will win one at home as well and DJ Hackett will have a excellent game because he is starting on my a couple of my fantasy teams because of other being on a bye week. He was good back in Seattle if he was healthy after all.
    7. The Jags are just going to walk all over the Texans, enough said.
    8. I think the Bengels will beat the Browns in what could be the most unexciting game of the year. Unless of course the Rams and the Cheifs meet this year which I think they don’t.
    9. The Chargers will also beat out the rival Raiders, who are still doing better than I thought they would this year.
    10. The Bills are going to send the few Rams fans home before the half as they walk all over the home team. Trent Green will get the bench and Steve Jackson will just start taking snaps and running it to shave off the 1 second a hand off requires. Okay, probably not but it would be funny.
    11. Dallas will beat the Redskins, but the Skins will still have a good showing when all is said and done.
    12. The Eagles will also beat the Bears, who will also play a respectable game but just got beat by a better team.
    13. And finally the Steelers will beat out the Ravens, but probably in a close low scoring game. I will also get a text msg from a drunk army buddy about how last week against the Eagles was just a fluke and his team is going all the way this year.

  • Min, Den, NO, NYJ, GB, Car, Jac, Cin, SD, Buf, Dal, Phi, Bal.

  • DOM

    week 4 = predicatble?

    smokylta cool stuff… i like how 12 out of 14 games are at least 3 to 1! the other two games jets vs cards and tb vs pack.. well theyre pk on spread as well..

    anyways.. 28-19 overall..

    Tampa Bay

  • EEL: Thanks for the picks. Nice to see someone else pick the 49ers!

    smokytla: Thank you for taking the time and the effort to post the results of your research. (Not a waste of space at all!)

    Adam: Thanks for contributing. You may be right about my road picks … we’ll find out one way or the other in about 24 hours!

    alessandro: Thanks as always.

    DOM: Same as above.

    I would greatly appreciate it if everyone could “Digg” my weekly NFL articles. If you’re not registered there, I promise you it’s quick, easy, and free. Thanks.

    – RJ

  • smokytla

    Glad you guys like … 8^) I will continue to post my findings then … RJ, you had a link to Sunday Countdown — that is actually one of my sources.

    How does one “digg” your articles/register?

    It was a lonnnnnng week — can’t wait til 10am tomorrow!

    -Smoky T

  • Final Scores:

    Carolina 24, Atlanta 9 – RJ 0-1

    Cleveland 20, Cincinnati 12 – RJ 1-1

    Jacksonville 30, Houston 27 (in OT) – RJ 2-1

    KC 33(!), Denver 19 – RJ 2-2

  • Final Scores:

    NO 31, SF 17 – RJ 2-3

    Jets 56(!), Arizona 35 – RJ 2-4

  • Final Scores:

    TB 30, GB 21 – RJ 3-4

    Tennessee 30, Vikings 17 – RJ 4-4

  • ESPN’s NFL “Experts” through eight games:

    Wickersham 6-2
    Fleming 5-3
    Hoge 4-4
    Jaworski 4-4
    Schlereth 4-4
    Allen 4-4
    Mortensen 5-3
    Golic 6-2
    Accuscore 5-3
    Pick ’em 5-3

  • smokytla

    I’m so pissed … I found out Palmer wasn’t playing and was going to change to Cle but got sidetracked and didn’t…. wah! And, hello, what’s up with KC? And St Louis? And the frickin raiders? Thought this week was going to be much more predictable! Sigh. So far, the best “expert” score is 7 … one of my sources has 4 out of 6 experts who picked 7! I think only 3 others got a 7! What a disappointment this week again….

  • smokytla

    okay, so i worried too soon about St Louis and Raiders … phew … after KC (and Miami last week) I got prematurely worried. 8^)

  • Final Score:

    SD 28, Oakland 18 – RJ 5-4

    (It’s official: The Raiders are choke-artists! Leading 15-3 at home going into the 4th quarter, they give up 25 points and the final 15 minutes and lose again. Lane Kiffin will likely be unemployed by the time this comment goes through…)

  • smokytla

    okay, so i worried too soon about St Louis and Raiders … phew … after KC (and Miami last week) I got prematurely worried. 8^)

  • Final Score:

    Buffalo 31, Rams 14 – RJ 6-4

    (Scott Linehan is probably toast now, too…)

  • smokytla – How about that Redskins-Cowboys game?

  • Final Score:

    Redskins 26, Dallas 24 – RJ 6-5

  • smokytla

    Happy bout the Cowgirl loss even though I did pick them (all but one in my pool did) — maybe they will have a little humility now and humble”ness” ….?? Nah, never … especially as long as they have “third person” “nobody can catch me” TO on their team) 8^)

  • Final Score:

    Bears 24, Eagles 20 – RJ 6-6

  • EEL

    Man my picks looked like crap this week 5-10. I picked a few upsets but the wrong ones ! Someone explain the play callin on 1st and goal for the EAGLES game ( NO WESTBROOK )?

  • smokytla


    I didn’t do much better — only got 7 for the week. And somebody really does need to explain what’s gotta be the stupidest play call of the day. Uh, hello … what WERE they thinking? I was dumbfounded by that maneuver. It was like they wanted to lose the game. Frustrating day yesterday for sure.

  • Final Score:

    Steelers 23, Baltimore 20 (in OT) – RJ 7-6 (and I nailed the spread!)

  • ESPN’s NFL “Experts” –

    Wickersham 9-4
    Fleming 8-5
    Hoge 7-6
    Jaworski 6-6
    Schlereth 6-7
    Allen 7-6
    Mortensen 9-4
    Golic 9-4
    Accuscore 8-5
    Pick ’em 8-5

  • RJ ATS in Week Four: 7-6-0

  • Through 4 weeks:

    ATS: RJ 27-32-1

    Straight-up: 36-24

  • ESPN’s NFL “Experts” through four weeks:

    Wickersham 37-23
    Fleming 40-20
    Hoge 36-24
    Jaworski 35-21
    Schlereth 38-22
    Allen 39-21
    Mortensen 41-19
    Golic 38-21
    Accuscore 41-19
    Pick ’em 38-22

  • EEL

    Im not an EAGLES fan i live near PHILY. Most of the fans are love’em when they win & hate them when they lose! Personaly i like to see them lose but when u see bad play callin i gotta call em out. You have ( westbrook ) out dont you have to that ball in ( McNabb’s ) hands. Thats just my opinion ! You gotta give it to your next best ( McNabb )? Let him make a play !

  • Rich

    It’s nice to see everyone’s picks and comments, but i have to sit bad laugh sometimes because of the upsets and no one ever comments on their comments after being so confident…as of this week i am

    No spread:

    Spread (this in my pool that has 691 teams)
    i have 38 wins

    leader has 42 wins

  • DOM

    Rich you are right.. you can have all the inside info, and every last statistic that could possibly help you pick a winner.. **but in the end its all a guessing game.**… and maybe thats what makes it so fun. I do think its funny however to see people thinking they know it all and get squashed in the end.. thats also part of the fun though.. =)

  • Week Five is up!