Josh Frey’s Week 4 NFL Picks: The Vikings Need to Make a Statement
This is where the comeback begins. After two horrendous weeks to start the season, I finally had a winning week with a 9-7-1 record on the Week 3 picks.
Unfortunately, we flew a little too close to the sun with the big favorites as Dallas got shellacked by Arizona, and Jacksonville didn’t fare much better against Houston. I also have to point out that I said I would have picked Miami over Denver if the spread was 20 points, and it turns out we could have gone all the way to 50 on that spread.
Now, though, it’s time to keep the ball rolling. There’s a long way to go in order to get back to .500. Per usual, the spreads and point totals are found via ESPN. Before we dig into the Week 4 NFL picks, here’s a look back at how we did in Week 3:
- 49ers -10.5 (W)
- Chiefs -12.5 (W)
- Titans +3.5 (L)
- Falcons +3 (L)
- Saints +2 (W)
- Dolphins -6.5 (W)
- Vikings -1 (L)
- Patriots -2.5 (W)
- Bills -6.5 (W)
- Jaguars -9 (L)
- Ravens -7.5 (L)
- Seahawks -6 (W)
- Cowboys -12 (L)
- Steelers +2.5 (W)
- Buccaneers +5 (L)
- Bengals -3 (T)
- Bengals/Rams U44 points (W)
Season Record: 19-28-2
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers
- Spread: Lions -1.5
- O/U; 46 points
Frey’s Pick: Lions -1.5
Honestly, even knowing about the injuries on Green Bay’s side, it took me aback a bit to see the Detroit Lions favored agaisnt the Green Bay Packers AT Lambeau Field. Oh, and the matchup is in primetime on Thursday Night Football. In years past, this would be a game that screams Packers by 20, but then, Week 18 of the 2022 season happened.
Green Bay ruled out David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins on the offensive line while De’Vondre Campbell and Zayne Anderson are out on the defensive side. Aaron Jones and Christian Watson could be back, but will Jordan Love have enough protection in the pocket?
On the other side, David Montgomery is listed as questionable after missing Week 3, and if he were to go, that brings a big piece back to Detroit’s backfield. I’ll take the Lions to win their second consecutive game at Lambeau.
Denver Broncos at Chicago Bears
- Spread: Broncos -3.5
- O/U: 46 points
Frey’s Pick: Broncos -3.5
How bad do you have to be in order to be 3.5-point home underdogs against a team that just got blown out by 50? Well, that’s where the Chicago Bears find themselves heading into Week 4.
This Bears offense has been completely stagnant all season, and there have been very few improvements even with the offseason acquisitions. As a result, we find ourselves in a spot where not only head coach Matt Eberflus could be on the hot seat, but so could Justin Fields.
On the other side, Denver got embarrassed in historic fashion last weekend. Sean Payton is going to remind his players of that all week, and they need to come into this game with a fire in their belly. This is a dumpster fire of a matchup, but even with a disastrous start to this season for the Broncos, I find myself having more faith in them figuring things out than Chicago.
Atlanta Falcons at Jacksonville Jaguars (London)
- Spread: Jaguars -3
- O/U: 43.5 points
Frey’s Pick: Jaguars -3
It would make sense to have some doubts regarding the Jaguars after they got blown out by a rebuilding Texans team last weekend. However, the Falcons are coming off a lofty loss of their own, and this game takes place in London.
This is something that Trevor Lawrence and the Jags are used to at this point (four such games since 2018) while it’s a bit new for this Falcons team (only two games across the pond since 2014). I’ll ride with the Jaguars to bounce back this week and get themselves back into the AFC South race.
Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills
- Spread: Bills -2.5
- O/U: 54 points
Frey’s Pick: Bills -2.5
Miami is going to be the popular pick in this game — as they should be after their 70-20 dismantling of the Denver Broncos. They look to be getting some extra firepower again this week with the return of Jaylen Waddle.
However, if there is a team suited to take down this monstrous offense, it’s the Bills. They recorded nine sacks against Washington last week and should bring the heat against Tua Tagovailoa on Sunday. Buffalo will put a temporary halt on the Dolphins hype train.
Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns
- Spread: Browns -3
- O/U: 40.5 points
Frey’s Pick: Browns -3
This is a matchup of two ferocious defenses. The Browns and Ravens rank first and second in terms of yards per play, and nobody has been able to move the ball through the air against either of them.
However, Baltimore has once again been struck by big injuries to begin the year. Rashod Bateman, Odell Beckham, and Marlon Humphrey have continued to miss practice throughout the week. The Browns may be without Nick Chubb for the rest of the year, but Jerome Hill has been more than suitable as his replacement. The Browns take care of business at home.
Cincinnati Bengals at Tennessee Titans
- Spread: Bengals -2
- O/U: 41 points
Frey’s Pick: Bengals -2
The Bengals got off to another slow start against the Rams on Monday night, but they seemed to figure a few things out down the stretch. This defense will give Ryan Tannehill fits all afternoon, and Derrick Henry simply doesn’t look like the King Henry of years past.
Joe Burrow continues to gut out his calf injury, and against a Titans defense that has been among the worst against the pass, I would expect a big game from he and Ja’Marr Chase this weekend. Cincinnati comes into Tennessee and wins handily.
Los Angeles Rams at Indianapolis Colts
- Spread: Colts -1
- O/U: 47 points
Frey’s Pick: Colts -1
Anthony Richardson seems on track to return for Indy, which could make this game a bit more interesting with his dynamic athleticism. Both of these teams have been surprising en route to 2-1 records through three weeks, but the Colts have done a much better job at creating turnovers and making big plays defensively.
Indy has forced five turnovers and currently ranks second as a team in sacks with 12. Matthew Stafford isn’t going to be able to avoid this pass-rush for a full 60 minutes as we saw on Monday against the Bengals. Indy pulls this one out at home.
Minnesota Vikings at Carolina Panthers
- Spread: Vikings -4
- O/U: 45.5 points
Frey’s Picks: Panthers +4, O45.5 points
This is an extreme desperation game for both teams as they both enter the weekend at 0-3. Especially considering the divisions that house these two teams will have at least one 3-1 team by the weekend, each need a win in order to try and maintain pace.
As a result, I’d expect this to be a very close game filled with plenty of points. Neither defense has been great to begin the year, and with Bryce Young on track to return to the field, he will bring some athleticism at the QB position that the Vikings have struggled against in recent years.
If I were picking this game straight-up, I would lean towards Minnesota, but close games are the Vikings way. The Panthers will keep this close.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints
- Spread: Saints -3
- O/U: 40.5 points
Frey’s Picks: Saints -3, U40.5 points
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers finally started showing their true colors against a ferocious defense in Philadelphia on Monday night. Baker Mayfield struggled to deliver accurate passes while under duress from the Eagles front, and that should be a similar story against a Saints defense that has created pressure on a regular basis.
Of course, Derek Carr is probably out this week with his shoulder injury, putting Jameis Winston in a starting role for New Orleans. The Winston snaps did not look great against Green Bay, but with a week of preparation and Alvin Kamara returning to the field, the Saints will squeak out a win at home. Five of the first six games for these two teams have gone under their point totals as well, so I’ll toss in the under 40.5 points as well.
Washington Commanders at Philadelphia Eagles
- Spread: Eagles -8
- O/U: 43.5 points
Frey’s Pick: Eagles -8
As mentioned earlier, the Commanders allowed 9 sacks in Week 3 against the Bills. That total could be even higher against this Eagles defense. Sam Howell is not going to have time to throw the ball, and Philly has been equally dominant against the run.
Assuming Philadelphia’s offense continues to play some efficient football, this should be a very smooth win for the Eagles.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Houston Texans
- Spread: Steelers -3
- O/U: 42.5 points
Frey’s Pick: Steelers -3
C.J. Stroud and the Texans hung one of the biggest upset wins of the weekend by defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars on the road last weekend. However, this high-flying unit will come to a halt against Pittsburgh,
In Week 1 against the Ravens, Houston was unable to muster a touchdown against one of the top passing defenses in the league. Even that group, though, didn’t have a pass-rush the caliber of Pittsburgh’s led by T.J. Watt. Stroud is going to have a very difficult time avoiding pressure in this one, and the Steelers will get another win,
Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers
- Spread: Chargers -5.5
- O/U: 48.5 points
Frey’s Pick: Chargers -5.5
Justin Herbert put on a passing clinic against the Minnesota Vikings last weekend, and now, he gets a home matchup against a Raiders defense that has been atrocious against the pass to start the season. LA may not have Mike Williams anymore, but there are plenty of weapons for Herbert to throw to in this offense.
Meanwhile, this Raiders offense has been just as bad as their defense. Josh Jacobs has been a non-factor through the first three weeks, and Jimmy Garoppolo has not been the answer at QB. The Chargers earn their second win of the season to get back to .500.
New England Patriots at Dallas Cowboys
- Spread: Cowboys -6.5
- O/U: 43 points
Frey’s Pick: Cowboys -6.5
The Cowboys are coming off a drubbing against the Arizona Cardinals, which may end up being one of the worst losses of the season when it’s all said and done. As a result, I expect them to come out fired up against a Patriots squad that is playing back-to-back road games.
New England hasn’t been great on the offensive side of the ball to start the year, ranking among the bottom 10 in both points and yards per play. The Cowboys have too much firepower for them to keep up in this one.
Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers
- Spread: 49ers -14
- O/U: 44 points
Frey’s Pick: Cardinals +14
Believe it or not, the Arizona Cardinals are one of three teams in the league to begin the 2023 season with a 3-0 record against the spread. They have been a much better football team than just about anyone expected coming into the year.
Obviously, the 49ers are a very talented football team, and I wouldn’t expect Arizona to pull off another upset, particularly on the road. However, a full two touchdowns is one of the bigger spreads we’re going to see all year. I’m going to keep riding the underdog kings until it stops working.
Kansas City Chiefs at New York Jets
- Spread: Chiefs -9.5
- O/U: 42.5 points
Frey’s Pick: Chiefs -9.5
The Jets need to figure something out at the quarterback position. Zach Wilson has not been the answer to their problems following Aaron Rodgers’ injury, and Kansas City is starting to get their own offense rolling after putting up 41 points against the Bears. We’re not gonna overthink this one. Chiefs win big on Sunday night.
Seattle Seahawks at New York Giants
- Spread: even
- O/U: 47.5 points
Frey’s Pick: Seahawks
The New York Giants rank among the worst teams in the league in terms of points scored, total yards, offensive DVOA, offensive EPA, and turnovers. That is not the make of a competitive squad, especially when you combine it with a defense that ranks similarly poorly in all of those metrics.
Seattle has gotten back on track over the past two weeks, scoring 37 points in each of their past two wins. The Giants have scored 43 points in their first three games combined, and it took an Arizona collapse for them to capture their only win of the year. Even with some extra rest for the home squad, nothing has suggested that New York is a good football team. I have to ride with the Seahawks here.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.