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Week 4 NFL game picks: Rams top Cardinals in battle of unbeatens; Tom Brady bests Bill Belichick

Gregg Rosenthal went 9-7 straight up and 8-7 against the spread on his Week 3 NFL picks, bringing his season totals to 28-20 and 25-22, respectively. How will he fare in Week 4? His picks are below.

The lines below provided by Caesars are current as of 1 p.m. ET on Thursday, Sept. 30 unless otherwise noted below.


Tennessee Titans
ML: -340 · 2-1
New York Jets
+270 · 0-3
  • WHERE: MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
  • SPREAD: Jets +7 O/U: 44

The Titans are one of the worst 2-1 teams of the DVOA era, which is not a massive surprise when you watch them play. Ryan Tannehill is earning his yards the hard way, and Tennessee's defense will represent Zach Wilson's most forgiving opposition yet. The Titans' star-driven offensive system starts to fall apart if A.J. Brown is out with a hamstring injury, especially if Julio Jones stays banged up. In short, Tennessee probably shouldn't be a 7-point road favorite against anyone. 

UPDATE: Titans coach Mike Vrabel announced on Friday that Brown and Jones have been ruled out for Sunday's game.

Kansas City Chiefs
ML: -330 · 1-2
Philadelphia Eagles
ML: +260 · 1-2
  • WHERE: Lincoln Financial Field (Philadelphia)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
  • SPREAD: Chiefs -7 O/U: 54.5

This isn't about catching the Chiefs at the wrong time. The two-time defending AFC champions don't need more motivation; they need to clean up their turnovers and provide some defensive resistance in the red zone, where they have given up 12 touchdowns in 13 opponent trips. The Eagles were overwhelmed in Dallas, picked apart by a quarterback who didn't need a bunch of big plays to walk them up and down the field. Here comes another!

Dallas Cowboys
ML: -210 · 2-1
Carolina Panthers
ML: +175 · 3-0
  • WHERE: AT&T Stadium (Arlington, Texas)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | FOX
  • SPREAD: Cowboys -4.5 O/U: 51.5

I did not expect Panthers-Cowboys to look like a more compelling matchup than Brady vs. Belichick in Week 4, but here we are. Dallas' offense has no holes and looks like one of the league's best groups again, except this time, the Cowboys' defense competes. The Panthers are the inverse, a good-enough offense that has enjoyed watching its young defense swallow weaker quarterbacks whole for three straight weeks. Trying to stop Dak Prescott and this Dallas offensive line from getting first downs is a very different challenge.

New Orleans Saints
ML: -360 · 2-1
New York Giants
ML: +285 · 0-3
  • WHERE: Caesars Superdome (New Orleans)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | FOX
  • SPREAD: Saints -7.5 O/U: 42

The Giants are the best 0-3 team, which is absolutely damning with faint praise. Daniel Jones has played well overall, Saquon Barkley gets better each week in his return from injury and the defense was turning a corner against Atlanta, until it wasn't. Still, I can't help but believe there is something greater going on for this game. The Saints' defense is for real. Jameis Winston is getting help from unlikely places. Just over 15 years after Steve Gleason became a legend in New Orleans, there is an entire city ready to explode in celebration for a few hours.

Cleveland Browns
ML: -130 · 2-1
Minnesota Vikings
ML: +110 · 1-2
  • WHERE: U.S. Bank Stadium (Minneapolis)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
  • SPREAD: Browns -2 O/U: 51.5

Klint Kubiak is coordinating a dominant Vikings running game, one that his retired father and Kevin Stefanski could be proud of. Stefanski's roots in Minnesota -- where he crossed paths with the Kubiaks -- make this a matchup of mirror images on offense. Kirk Cousins does what Baker Mayfield does, but a bit better right now. I'm not yet confident of what I'm going to get out of either defense, so I give the slight edge to the Browns, whose offense has picked up right where it left off last season. Expect a very cranky Mike Zimmer if the game plays out like this.

Chicago Bears
ML: -145 · 1-2
Detroit Lions
ML: +125 · 0-3
  • WHERE: Soldier Field (Chicago)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | FOX
  • SPREAD: Lions +3 O/U: 42

As someone who has been hard on an offensive coach or two in my time, the criticism of Matt Nagy this week has felt a little intense. To put it another way: Justin Fields is not the only rookie quarterback struggling badly this season, and we've been spoiled lately by guys like Justin Herbert, Lamar Jackson and even Kyler Murray, who transcended schemes from Day 1. Andy Dalton's return to practice muddies the waters here, but neither quarterback will need many points the way the Bears' defense is playing, currently ranking ninth in DVOA.

Buffalo Bills
ML: -1600 · 2-1
Houston Texans
ML: +850 · 1-2
  • WHERE: Highmark Stadium (Orchard Park, N.Y.)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
  • SPREAD: Bills -16.5 O/U: 47

Rookie quarterbacks have been overmatched this season, a trend that third-round pick Davis Mills isn't about to buck in Buffalo. The Bills, with a veteran secondary buoyed by a youthful front, have given struggling quarterbacks no air to breathe. Mills can spin it when given time, but Buffalo defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier isn't going to allow that. It's the biggest point spread of the season, and I still believe the Bills will cover. No AFC team has as high a ceiling as Buffalo, because both sides of the ball can dominate.

Miami Dolphins
ML: -130 · 1-2
Indianapolis Colts
ML: +110 · 0-3
  • WHERE: Hard Rock Stadium (Miami Gardens, Fla.)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
  • SPREAD: Dolphins -2 O/U: 42.5

Hopefully another week helps Carson Wentz's mobility, but the Colts' problems extend well beyond their quarterback. Indy's offensive line is injured and has never played worse under Frank Reich. The same is true for the defense under Matt Eberflus, with many of the team's top players (Darius Leonard, Xavier Rhodes, Kenny Moore II) struggling, hurt or both. The Dolphins have similar issues up front offensively and are struggling to get off the field on defense, but Brian Flores still brings the chaos as a play caller. Miami's coverage ability should make a sluggish Colts offense look even slower.

Washington Football Team
ML: -120 · 1-2
Atlanta Falcons
ML: +100 · 1-2
  • WHERE: Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | FOX
  • SPREAD: Washington -1.5 O/U: 47.5

These have been two of the worst teams in football through three weeks, but one of them will soon be 2-2. Defensive variance and a tougher schedule are rocking Ron Rivera's defense each week. Taylor Heinicke is an upgrade at quarterback over what the WFT had a year ago, but not by nearly enough to make up for the defensive decline. The Falcons aren't even trying to throw the ball deep, and it's absolutely a bug -- not a feature -- that Cordarrelle Patterson has more yards from scrimmage than Calvin Ridley and Kyle Pitts. It's early, but I'm a little shook that Matt Ryan and Arthur Smith are leading an offense this bad. 

Seattle Seahawks
ML: +130 · 1-2
San Francisco 49ers
ML: -150 · 2-1
  • WHERE: Levi's Stadium (Santa Clara, Calif.)
  • WHEN: 4:05 p.m. ET | FOX
  • SPREAD: Seahawks +2.5 O/U: 52

A game to decide which NFC West team goes from disappointing start to outright alarm, if Seahawks fans aren't there already. The 49ers have the better record, but they haven't looked particularly good since the moment cornerback Jason Verrett tore his ACL in Detroit. A Niners offense that isn't running particularly well is not a Niners offense I understand, and their best runner last week played three snaps. The Seahawks' defense is having a hard time getting off the field, but they appear to be catching Kyle Shanahan's side at the right time, and perhaps in the right place. San Francisco has lost five straight at Levi's Stadium.

Los Angeles Rams
ML: -230 · 3-0
Arizona Cardinals
ML: +190 · 3-0
  • WHERE: SoFi Stadium (Inglewood, Calif.)
  • WHEN: 4:05 p.m. ET | FOX
  • SPREAD: Rams -4.5 O/U: 55

The 2021 Rams' offense is nothing like other Sean McVay offenses. It can be whatever it wants to be in a given week, like one where Matthew Stafford drops back to pass without play-action on all but three of L.A.'s snaps in a win over the defending champs. The old Rams would try -- and likely succeed -- in running through a Cardinals front that has been pushed around for 336 yards in the last two weeks by similar zone schemes. McVay may not want to work so hard for his yards anymore -- and he may not need to, with so many matchup advantages on the outside.

Green Bay Packers
ML: -320 · 2-1
Pittsburgh Steelers
ML: +250 · 1-2
  • WHERE: Lambeau Field (Green Bay, Wis.)
  • WHEN: 4:25 p.m. ET | CBS
  • SPREAD: Packers -6.5 O/U: 45.5

I believed that Mike Tomlin could sprinkle magic Steelers defense spice on his group and Pittsburgh would survive. But no team can withstand losing four starters from its vaunted defensive front, especially when one of them was the best edge player in football the last two seasons. T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith's potential returns would give the Steelers' defense a chance, but there are still big issues on the back end. Aaron Rodgers hunts mismatches in a way that Ben Roethlisberger no longer can.

Denver Broncos
ML: -115 · 3-0
Baltimore Ravens
ML: -105 · 2-1
  • WHERE: Empower Field at Mile High (Denver)
  • WHEN: 4:25 p.m. ET | CBS
  • SPREAD: Broncos -1 O/U: 45

I am so fascinated to see this game. Lamar Jackson has led the Ravens on a three-week roller coaster in which it's been difficult to establish much about this team. The defense got back to blitzing last week in Detroit, and Baltimore could feel more confident about one-on-one matchups against Denver after K.J. Hamler joined Jerry Jeudy on the sidelines. This Broncos defense is begging to be run on. Usually, Baltimore would be up for the task. But this does not feel like that Ravens team -- at least not yet.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
ML: -320 · 2-1
New England Patriots
ML: +250 · 1-2
  • WHERE: Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, Mass.)
  • WHEN: 8:20 p.m. ET | NBC
  • SPREAD: Buccaneers -7 O/U: 49

If you have ever enjoyed rooting against the Patriots, have I got the game for you! A mutiny is brewing among a blessed fan base angry to see Tom Brady on top of his game while New England turns into just another team. (That team: The 2000 Patriots?) The banged-up, boom-or-bust Bucs defense offers Mac Jones a better chance for some big plays, but not enough to keep up with Brady. It's a matchup where the Patriots will sorely miss Stephon Gilmore.


Las Vegas Raiders
ML: +145 · 3-0
Los Angeles Chargers
ML: -170 · 2-1
  • WHERE: SoFi Stadium (Inglewood, Calif.)
  • WHEN: 8:15 p.m. ET | ESPN
  • SPREAD: Chargers -3 O/U: 51.5

There is so little separating these teams, these quarterbacks. The Chargers' secondary could use a break after facing Dak Prescott and Patrick Mahomes in successive weeks, but 2021 Derek Carr presents a similar level of challenge. Four Raiders receivers have eclipsed 200 yards. Jon Gruden laughs at the league-wide trend to play-action, while Carr drops back and paints the sky like he's Daryle Lamonica. Al Davis would be proud. Among such even teams, I give the slight edge this early in the season to the one with greater offensive continuity and the one with two overtime wins already in its pocket.


Cincinnati Bengals
ML: -350 · 2-1
Jacksonville Jaguars
ML: +280 · 0-3

The Bengals' defense made Ben Roethlisberger look worse than any other team. No other defense has made Minnesota's offense look mortal. While injuries to safety Jessie Bates and cornerback Chidobe Awuzie are a concern heading into Thursday night, it should not take a great defense to slow down Trevor Lawrence. The Jaguars are the fastest-paced team in the league and get worse as the game wears on. It's as if they tire themselves out. Joe Burrow never had a stretch last season like the one Lawrence is going through, and Burrow's movement looked much better last week. I can't wait to see him talking to my NFL Network colleague Colleen Wolfe and the rest of the TNF gang after the game.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter.

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