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NFL Week 4 Picks: To The Quarter Pole They Go

Will the Steelers knock off the Texans in Week 4?

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - SEPTEMBER 25: A Pittsburgh Steelers fan cheers during the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 25, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Steelers won 23-20. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - SEPTEMBER 25: A Pittsburgh Steelers fan cheers during the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 25, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Steelers won 23-20. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Getty Images

With another week of work and school in the books for football fans across the country, it's time to turn our attention to Week 4 of the NFL season. The Bills, Packers and Lions all look to stay undefeated this weekend, while the Chiefs and Vikings matchup ensures that at least one team will be winless through the first quarter of the season. The Steelers meanwhile square off against a dangerous but volatile Houston Texans team. Let's take a look at the lines.

Last Week: 5-11

Season to Date: 21-25-1

Carolina (+7) at Chicago (+100)

  • Even though the price is not great (-120), I would go with the Bears here. They played fairly well last week in a loss to the Packers, and though they picked up their first win of the season last Sunday, the Panthers didn't really look all that great in the process. After two sensational games to begin his career, I'm expecting Cam Newton to have his second straight rookie-like performance. Pick: Chicago

Buffalo (-3) at Cincinnati (-105)

  • Gosh, I got burned by the Bengals last week. Really liked them against San Francisco, but they stumbled their way to a five-point loss. The Bills are 3-0 against the spread, but after beating New England, they obviously have the full attention of the betting public. I'm also concerned about how poorly Buffalo has played to start the game the last two weeks. So what to do? Against my better judgment, I like the Bengals defense to slow down the Bills' offensive fireworks. Pick: Cincinnati

Tennessee at Cleveland (-1)

  • Another tough game to pick featuring two teams that are hard to figure out at this stage in the season. Both are 2-1, yet nobody really seems to be talking about them. Maybe that's because both looked pretty pedestrian in their Week 3 wins. The Titans needed almost all of four quarters to put away the Denver Broncos at home; the Browns, meanwhile, needed an 80-yard scoring drive late in the fourth quarter to squeak past the Miami Dolphins by a single point. They too were at home. The loss of Kenny Britt will take some time for Matt Hasselbeck and the Titans' offense to adjust to, so I'm leaning towards Cleveland this week. Pick: Cleveland

Detroit at Dallas (-1)

  • I hate to say it, but I've been pretty impressed by the Cowboys. Their field-goal-fest win over the Washington Redskins on Monday night was far from pretty, but it showed a resilience and mental toughness that has been so sorely missing from the Cowboys in recent memory. Nice work by defensive coordinator Rob Ryan turning Dallas' defense into a stingy unit in so little time. I like them to throw some wrinkles at Matthew Stafford that confuse the young quarterback and ultimately slow down a Lions' offense that's been incredibly productive so far this season. Pick: Dallas

Pittsburgh (+4) at Houston (-105)

  • You don't think I'd pick against the Steelers here, would you? Maybe I should; Pittsburgh is only 1-2 against the spread so far, and 0-2 in games away from Heinz Field. I'm holding out hope that they look like the defending AFC Champions on Sunday and spank Houston as thoroughly as they did when the two teams last met (Week 1, 2008: 38-7). Pick: Pittsburgh

New Orleans (-7.5) at Jacksonville (-115)

  • That half point makes me at least pause, but only for just a second. Blaine Gabbert looked terrible in his debut last week. Good luck keeping up with Drew Brees and the explosive New Orleans Saints. Pick: New Orleans

Minnesota (-2.5) at Kansas City

  • It's do-or-die for both these squads. At 0-3, there's scant time to get their act together. For Minnesota in the more competitive NFC North, it may already be too late. I think there's enough veteran leadership on Minnesota though to stick together for another week. Pick: Minnesota

San Francisco (+9) at Philadelphia (-105)

  • Tough line here. It's hard for me to take the 49ers on the road. The Eagles have looked shaky, but this looks like a good matchup to me for them to get their defense on track for at least a week. Pick: Philadelphia

Washington (-2) at St. Louis

  • Trap game for Washington. Coming off a Monday Night Football loss in Week 3, the Redskins have had a short week of preparation. To minimize fatigue and unnecessary wear-and-tear, Mike Shanahan has conducted practice without pads. We'll see if that helps, but I think St. Louis plays there best game of the year in this spot. Their backs are squarely against the wall, and they'll be at home for the second consecutive week. Considering that they play in the lowly NFC West, a win this weekend puts the Rams right in the thick of things. If you were to heed that advice, might as well get a better payout and take them on the money line. Pick: St. Louis

New York Giants (-1) at Arizona

  • Arizona has been one of the league's better home teams in recent years, but after watching them last weekend against Seattle, I'm not ready to bet on them until Kevin Kolb has had a bit more time to familiarize himself with Ken Whisenhunt's offense. I was pretty impressed by the Giants' Week 3 win as well, and I think they'll build on the momentum of that win with another this week. Pick: New York

Atlanta (-5.5) at Seattle

  • I'm not impressed with Atlanta, and I don't think Seattle is nearly as bad as some might believe. Probably a mistake, but I'll take Seattle to at least keep it close. Pick: Seattle

Denver (+13) at Green Bay

  • Green Bay has looked tough. No reason to think they won't stay hot against the Broncos. Pick: Green Bay

New England (-5) at Oakland

  • Oakland was 0-for-8 on third down last week in their 34-24 win over the Jets. They survived with big plays and poor tackling. New England's defense is not very good, but you can't survive in the NFL if you can't convert third downs. I like the Patriots to bounce back this week. Pick: New England

Miami (+7) at San Diego

  • I might be reluctant to pick the Chargers so enthusiastically again this week if it weren't for the Dolphins' internal bickering. Through three weeks. Not good. Chargers win big here. Pick: San Diego

New York Jets (+4) at Baltimore (-115)

  • It would be mighty impressive if the Ravens could stomp the Jets. But I think they'll bounce back and play well this week. Baltimore might win, but I don't see this one being more than a FG game. Pick: New York Jets

Indianapolis (+10.5) at Tampa Bay

  • Too high. Tampa Bay doesn't blow teams out. They scrap and claw and fight for tightly-contested wins. With Kerry Collins out and Curtis Painter set to play, I think the Colts offense will be better this week. Painter showed flashes against Pittsburgh after being inserted in the fourth quarter. Pick: Indianapolis

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.