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Week 4 NFL Picks: Still Needing Improvement

Well, after a pretty disastrous Week 2, Week 3 in the National Football League went significantly better with the ol' picks here at SB Nation Minnesota. Thanks to the Monday Night Football. . .um, "incident". . .we wound up going 9-6 with our picks straight-up, and even posting a win against the number with an 8-7 mark.

I did my pick for the Thursday night game between the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns via the Twitter:

The Ravens DID win straight up, but the Browns did cover. . .should have known better than to lay that many points. . .so I'm 1-0 straight up and 0-1 against the number thus far this week. Let's see if we can't improve things going forward, huh? As always, picks against the spread (provided by our friends at OddsShark) are for entertainment purposes only. Gambling is illegal at Bushwood, ladies and gentlemen.

Game of the Week: New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles (-1)

The Eagles played with fire in their first two games with their turnover issues, and got thoroughly scorched in a 27-6 thumping by the Arizona Cardinals in Week 3. The Giants went to Carolina and thrashed Cam Newton and company to the tune of 36-7. In this week's NBC NFC East National Game of the Week, it has all the makings of a decent match-up. . .if the Eagles can stop giving the ball to the other team. Averaging four turnovers a game is generally not a recipe for long-term success. Take the Giants in this one.

Straight-up: Giants, ATS: Giants

Lock of the Week: New England Patriots (-3.5) at Buffalo Bills

Another week, another running back for the Bills, as Tashard Choice steps into the top role with C.J. Spiller going down with an injury. The Bills beat the Browns last week, while the Patriots had a tough last-second loss against Baltimore. The Patriots are 1-2, and that can't last for long under Bill Belichick. This could very well be the week that the Patriots start righting the ship a little bit, and it could come at the expense of their division counterparts from upstate New York.

Straight-up: Patriots, ATS: Patriots

Upset of the Week: New Orleans Saints at Green Bay Packers

Bounty suspensions! Replacement referees! Ladies and gentlemen, it's Pity Bowl 2012! As a Viking fan, if I was schadenfreuding any harder, I'd be in Dusseldorf sipping a Löwenbräu and eating sommerwurst with a fraulein while wearing lederhosen during Oktoberfest. The only thing that would make this even better is if both teams could lose somehow. But, since they can't, let's pick them to both end the day at 1-3. Frankly, I don't even care if I get this pick wrong.

Straight-up: Saints, ATS: Saints

The Rest of the Week

Seattle Seahawks (-2.5) at St. Louis Rams

I don't think the Seahawks will need any controversy to come out on top in this one.

Straight-up: Seahawks, ATS: Seahawks

San Francisco 49ers (-3.5) at New York Jets

The curators of Revis Island have paved paradise and put up a parking lot. The Niners are probably going to be angry after last week's loss to the Minnesota Vikings, and didn't fly back to the West Coast this week, negating the usual travel issues.

Straight-up: 49ers, ATS: 49ers

San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs (pick)

An AFC West showdown at Arrowhead. If the Chiefs have Jamaal Charles back on track, then the home team has the advantage in this one, in my opinion.

Straight-up: Chiefs, ATS: Chiefs

Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans (-13.5)

The Texans are markedly better than the Titans, who got pretty lucky last weekend against the Detroit Lions. (Seriously, five touchdowns of at least 60 yards in length? How does that even happen?) That said, I'm not getting sucked into the same spread trap that I did in the Thursday night game. Now, watch Houston blow the Titans out.

Straight-up: Texans, ATS: Titans

Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons (-8)

Cam Newton has hit a bit of a sophomore slump, and the Panthers looked like they would rather have been anywhere else last Thursday against the Giants. Having to match up against Matt Ryan (the NFL's highest-rated QB through three weeks of the season), Roddy White, and Julio Jones could easily have them feeling that way again this Sunday.

Straight-up: Falcons, ATS: Falcons

Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos (-8)

The Raiders are probably flying high off of their upset of the Pittsburgh Steelers last weekend, while the Broncos are also at 1-2 after their loss last week against Houston. AFC West match-ups are never easy to pick, and while I think the Broncos will win this one, it will probably be close.

Straight-up: Broncos, ATS: Raiders

Miami Dolphins at Arizona Cardinals (-5.5)

The Cardinals are 3-0, and are playing incredible defense through the first three weeks of the season. Want to know what's more shocking? They'll probably be 4-0 after this one.

Straight-up: Cardinals, ATS: Cardinals

Cincinnati Bengals at Jacksonville Jaguars (pick)

I just have one question about this one. . .why in the heck is this one of the late games?

Straight-up: Bengals, ATS: Bengals

Washington Redskins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-1)

And another late game from the East Coast. Man, the NFL must have decided to just vacate the West Coast in Week 4 or something.

Straight-up: Buccaneers, ATS: Buccaneers

Chicago Bears at Dallas Cowboys (-3)

Still waiting for Jay Cutler to completely lose his mind on one of his offensive linemen. With DeMarcus Ware lining up across from J'Marcus Webb, there's a good chance we'll see it on Monday Night at Jerryworld.

Straight-up: Cowboys, ATS: Cowboys

Record Straight-Up Last Week: 9-6
Record Straight-Up For The Season: 27-18

Record ATS Last Week: 8-7
Record ATS For The Season: 20-24-1

Lock Of The Week For The Season: 2-1 straight-up, 0-3 against the spread
Upset Of The Week For The Season: 2-1 straight-up, 2-1 against the spread

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.