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Week 4 NFL Picks

The Chicago Bears have a new coach and new offense but their bread-and-butter is still the defense. Can it derail Calvin Johnson and the Lions to maintain first place in the NFC North? (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

[To honor Chip Kelly and his ADD offense, I’m plowing through this week’s picks in less than 20 minutes. Translation: It’s been a busy week. Don’t have kids.]

Last Week:  8 – 8 – 0
Season:     28 – 20 – 0

Binge Watching Breaking Bad (Bye Week)

Packers
I consider this the worst bye week of the season but it probably came at a perfect time for the Packers. They’re dropping running backs on a weekly basis and their bizarre loss to the Bengals in Week 3 requires at least ten days to forget.

Panthers
Ron Rivera is thoroughly enjoying the bye week. He was 60 minutes from unemployment. Set Cam Newton free and he shall set you free. Remember that, Ron, and you’ll do just fine.

Thursday Recap

49ers 35 at Rams 11
The Rams are just a bad football team. I emailed my brother this pick on Thursday afternoon. I picked the 49ers. Then I switched and picked the Rams to cover. I’m wrong so often it feels right.

Early Games (1:00PM ET)

Ravens at Bills
A quick reflection on the Bill’s young season: Then: Nearly beat the Patriots. Impressive. Now: Patriots are crippled and struggling. Then: Defeated Panthers in final seconds. Now: Panthers gave away another close game. Then: Mostly manhandled by the Jets. Now: Bills aren’t very good. RAVENS If I were Charles Barkley; Ravens -3

Bengals at Browns
Cincinnati is a good team with bad habits; too many turnovers, stupid penalties, and questionable coaching. They’ll win but their self-inflicted wounds will keep Cleveland around. BENGALS If I were Charles Barkley; Browns +5

Bears at Lions
I think Jim Schwartz is a clown. The Lions lucked into a victory against the Redskins. If anyone is excited about Detroit after that game I encourage you to watch the tape. Two charity turnovers and a dropped touchdown saved the Lions. BEARS If I were Charles Barkley; Bears +3

Giants at Chiefs
The Giants have to win sometime, right? Kansas City has gotten a lot of love but I’ve been mostly unimpressed with Alex Smith and the offense. GIANTS If I were Charles Barkley; Giants +5

Cardinals at Buccaneers
Josh Freeman needs a hug. The Buccaneers need a new coach. The Cardinals are better than last week’s lopsided defeat to the Saints. CARDINALS If I were Charles Barkley; Cardinals +2.5

Colts at Jaguars
RIP Maurice Jones-Drew. It was fun while it lasted. (I have a small fear of the young Colts congratulating themselves for last week’s win and laying a stinker here, but I can’t pick the Jaguars.) COLTS If I were Charles Barkley; Colts -9

Seahawks at Texans
Seattle is arguably the NFL’s best team. Houston is unquestionably in a heap of trouble; struggling running game, underachieving quarterback, injuries, and on and on. This just feels like a game Houston finds a way to win. TEXANS If I were Charles Barkley; Texans +3

Steelers at Minnesota (in London)
It was about time the NFL sent one of its signature franchises abroad. Too bad they did so in a year when said signature franchise is one of the worst five teams in the league. Also, good for all the players who spoke out about playing for a team in London. Our football will never replace their futbol. Let’s just let it be. VIKINGS If I were Charles Barkley; Vikings +3

Afternoon Games (4:05PM ET)

Jets at Titans
Jake Locker had his best game as a pro last week against the Chargers. If he had more receiver help we’d hear more about him. (Apologies to Nate Washington, who is one of the more underrated receivers in the league.) TITANS If I were Charles Barkley; Titans -4

Redskins at Raiders
I like Terrelle Pryor. Sure he’s raw, but it’s always a good sign when your young quarterback doesn’t display the “deer in headlights” look. You know, the one Eli Manning still flashes a few times a season. REDSKINS If I were Charles Barkley; Redskins -3.5 [Pick may change depending on Pryor’s status.]

Cowboys at Chargers
I thought the Chargers were headed to 3-0 and then Jake Locker converted a 3rd and long for the winning touchdown with 15 seconds to go. Philip Rivers will never be what he once was but he’s about as close as you can get through the season’s first three weeks. CHARGERS If I were Charles Barkley; Chargers +2.5

Eagles at Broncos
People like to argue about whether or not the NFL has figured out Chip Kelly’s offense. Does it matter? Kelly’s offense can’t survive its own bad defense. I’m quite confident the NFL has figured THAT out. BRONCOS If I were Charles Barkley; Broncos -11

Sunday Night (8:30PM ET)

Patriots at Falcons
The Falcons need a “good” win. They fell short in the final seconds to open the season against the Saints, barely held on against the Rams, and suffered another late collapse in Miami. Though the Patriots are 3-0, their wins have come in less than convincing fashion against the Bills, Jets, and Buccaneers. Or, as you know them, the NFL’s AAA teams. FALCONS If I were Charles Barkley; Falcons -1

Monday Night (8:30PM ET)

Dolphins at Saints
Beating a mentally weak Falcons team in Miami was impressive. Take down the Saints in ‘Nawlins and I’ll be really impressed. I’ve picked against the Dolphins every week. Why change now. SAINTS If I were Charles Barkley; Saints -6.5

*****

If I were Charles Barkley…
Last Week: 5 – 10 – 1
Season:    16 – 29 – 3


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