NFL Week 4 Picks: Steelers will have to travel to London to get a win
The Steelers will have to travel across the Atlantic to get their first win of the 2013 NFL season.
Remember when we picked the Jacksonville Jaguars to cover 19.5 points against the Seattle Seahawks ? Good times.
It didn't happen. Turns out, it wasn't even close -- the Jags lost 45-17 -- but wehave high hopes this week.
In an effort to force American football on the rest of the world, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings will make their way to London, England for the annual international game. This time it features two of the league's worst outfits -- Pittsburgh and Minnesota are a combined 0-6 -- and the only redeeming quality about the matchup is that one of the teams will almost certainly leave England with a win (a tie isn't out of the question).
The Vikings are coming off a loss at home to a Cleveland Browns team that had just traded its best offensive player, running back Trent Richardson , and started third-string quarterback Brian Hoyer .
The Steelers, meanwhile, have had chances to win each week, and each week they've found new and exciting ways to lose, most recently thanks to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger .
But when these teams face off Sunday at 1 p.m. ET, we like the Steelers (+1.5) because there's no way we're taking Christian Ponder over Big Ben ( in London, no less!), no matter how much Pittsburgh's veteran quarterback is struggling.
And while the Steelers' defense isn't the formidable group it once was, it's still good enough to make the Vikings one dimensional. Which means stopping Adrian Peterson as opposed to worrying about Ponder consistently finding Greg Jennings , Jerome Simpson , Cordarrelle Patterson and Kyle Randolph.
Other Week 4 games
KANSAS CITY (-4.5) over New York Giants
After what Greg Hardy singlehandedly did to every Giants' attempt to protect Eli Manning , there's no reason to think that a much better Kansas City Chiefs team won't tee off on Manning this week. Also not helping: New York's defense isn't generating pressure, which is bad news for its suspect secondary. And while no one would describe the Chiefs' offense as explosive, quarterback Alex Smith has been a consummate game manager. And we mean that in the best sense of the word. He's smart, accurate, and doesn't make mistakes. There are worse situations a team could find itself.
DENVER (-10.5) over Philadelphia
Two weeks ago, after the Philadelphia Eagles destroyed the Washington Redskins on Monday night football, we talked bout the Denver-Philly matchup like it actually meant something. Two games later, these teams are going in opposite directions. The Eagles look a lot like their 2012 selves. Which is to say, the offense is inconsistent and the defense doesn't tackle. To be fair, Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy are both having better years in 2013, but it's not enough to make us think Philly is suddenly a playoff contender.
The Denver Broncos are exactly that, however. In fact, they're the favorites to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. As such -- and based on Seattle destroying Jacksonville last week -- we feel comfortable taking Denver despite the point spread (-10.5).
New England over ATLANTA (+1.5)
We liked the Miami Dolphins to beat the Atlanta Falcons last week and we don't see any reason that Atlanta will rebound Sunday against a New England team that is only getting better. Tight end Rob Gronkowski is expected to return, and with the continued development of rookie receivers Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins , the Pats' offense is close to finding its stride.
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The information comes from a poll of more than 9,200 people conducted by J.D. Power