Each week, Jeffrey Flanagan makes his NFL picks with and against the spread... Check out Week 4 here.
By JEFFREY FLANAGANFS Kansas City
LAST WEEK STRAIGHT UP: 7-9
SEASON STRAIGHT UP: 28-20
LAST WEEK VS. SPREAD: 6-10
SEASON VS. SPREAD: 22-26
CHARGERS (-3) AT CHIEFS
The Chiefs' season-saving win at New Orleans could really carry some weight if they follow it up by stopping the Chargers here at home. To do so, the Chiefs' defense will have to continue to fly to the ball as it did in the second half against the Saints. If the Chiefs do that, Philip Rivers can be forced into some errant throws, and for the Chiefs to win, they'll need at least two or three turnovers.
The reason the Chiefs need some cheap scores or great field position is still based on
Matt Cassel's shortcomings. It was clear last week that Romeo Crennel doesn't even trust Cassel – the Chiefs played for the tie at the end of regulation. The scary part here for Chiefs fans is the Chargers' defensive line is good, really good, and the Chiefs now have a new center (Ryan Lilja) and left guard (rookie Jeff Allen).
They'll need another big day somehow from Jamaal Charles, even with the reshuffled o-line. And they need Cassel to at least make one or two (sort of) big plays.
Chiefs 19, Chargers 16
BROWNS (+12) AT RAVENS
The Browns would be a lot more feisty if you could count on their offense to deliver just once in awhile. That won't happen this week against the Ravens' defense. The Ravens might be a bit tired coming off a short week (Sunday night game) and having spent a lot of energy beating the rival Patriots. But by the second half, they run away with this one.
Ravens 24, Browns 10
PATRIOTS (-4) AT BILLS
The Bills always seem to give the Patriots fits, and now they've got them at home, and with a little momentum, having won two straight. Huge game for the Pats, who simply can't go 1-3, can they? The Bills give them a scare but....
Patriots 27, Bills 24
PANTHERS (+8) AT FALCONS
Falcons and Matt Ryan are looking more and more like the class of the NFC. Huge and dominant win on the road against San Diego. Now they get division rival Carolina at home, and they've owned the Panthers of late. They own them again.
Falcons 31, Panthers 16
49ERS (-4) AT JETS
Anyone care to explain the dud the
49ers laid last week at Minnesota? Wow. The Jets got a much-needed win last week on the road against the Dolphins but didn't look great doing it. This will be a big-time defensive struggle but Jets' secondary is minus its best player and the 49ers are too good to lose two straight.
49ers 17, Jets 12
TITANS (+13) AT TEXANS
Of course, the Titans will want to get into a shootout again as they did last week in the win over the
Texans, maybe the best team in the AFC, might oblige. But keep in mind the Texans' defense is better than Detroit.
Texans 30, Titans 20
SEAHAWKS (-1) AT RAMS
The Seahawks got a huge gift last Monday in the most-talked about game of the year. Got a feeling the football gods are going to stick it to Seattle, mainly because of Pete Carroll's arrogance (he still claims the final play was a good call). The
Rams keep getting better each week.
Rams 20, Seahawks 17
DOLPHINS (+7) AT CARDINALS
Who are these Cardinals? Beating the Pats and Eagles in back-to-back weeks can't be a fluke. And now they get the young Dolphins at home. Hmmm. Arizona keeps rolling.
Cardinals 28, Dolphins 20
RAIDERS (+7) AT BRONCOS
The season-saving win last week over Pittsburgh is typical Raiders – week in and week out you never know what to expect. This week they carry the momentum over for awhile, but surely Peyton Manning can't lose three straight. Rest assured it will be a wild one.
Broncos 38, Raiders 34
BENGALS (-1) AT JAGS
Don't understand this spread at all. Not even sure this will be close.
Bengals 27, Jags 13
SAINTS (+9) AT PACKERS
All the signs point to a
Packers blowout here. The Packers must still be furious about having a win taken away from them Monday night. And the Saints are reeling after a humiliating loss at home to the Chiefs. The Packers' offense is due to explode and the Saints' defense is pitiful. But, the Saints are still a proud team that won't go down easy.
Packers 27, Saints 20
REDSKINS (+2.5) AT BUCS
Interesting game here. The hoopla around RPG III has waned slightly after that big opening win in Ne Orleans. Tampa continues to be a tough team to dispose of. Ask the
Cowboys. Don't feel strongly about this but at home, Tampa should prevail.
The Bears are having a heckuva time trying to protect
Jay Cutler, and it won't get any easier in Big D. This is pretty evenly matched but the Bears are thin at running back and without a ground game to slow down the Dallas pass rush, Cutler likely will be forced into some mistakes.
Cowboys 24, Bears 16
VIKINGS (+5) AT LIONS
Can the Vikings, after pulling out a shocker against the 49ers, keep it up on the road against a Lions' team in disarray? The Lions have yet to play a solid game and this has to be the time they do, against a division rival.
Lions 31, Vikings 24
GIANTS (+2) AT EAGLES
Whoa. Wrong team favored here. Sure, it's scary when a team with Michael Vick has its backs up against the wall, though one loss on the road shouldn't have sent the Eagles faithful into such a panic. The champs are still the champs until proven otherwise.