If Week 4 of the NFL season goes anything like Week 3, I might have to take a one month sabbatical to recover, because I'm not sure I can handle anymore craziness. I mean, Week 3 was easily the most entertaining week of football in history and I'm not even sure I'm exaggerating.
There were highs (Justin Tucker), there were lows (rookie quarterbacks went 0-5) and then there was whatever the Bears did. I would say they played like garbage, but that would be an insult to garbage. Tucker had more yards on one kick (66) than the Bears had on offense (47) for their entire game. I'm not sure what rock bottom is in the NFL, but that has to be close. Even the Jets had more than 47 total yards and they're usually the worst at everything.
Although my original plan was to spend nine paragraphs talking about Tucker's kick, we don't have time for that because we need to move on to Week 4 and the most anticipated football game ever: TOM BRADY IS RETURNING TO NEW ENGLAND TO FACE BILL BELICHICK. This is also a Rob Gronkowski revenge game, but I have a feeling that angle isn't going to get as much play this week. Sorry, Gronk.
So who's going to win in Brady's first ever game against the Patriots? Let's get to the picks and find out.
Actually, before we get to the picks, here's a quick reminder that you can check out the weekly picks from every CBSSports.com NFL expert by clicking here, but you were probably already well aware of that since I mention it every week.
One other thing that I mention every week is that you can now hear me on the Pick Six Podcast, which is our daily NFL podcast here at CBSSports.com. For the rest of the 2021 season, I'll be joining host Will Brinson three days per week (Monday, Tuesday and Friday). Even though I'm only on three days per week, there's a new episode every single day from Monday thru Friday and you should try to listen as often as possible.
On Tuesday's episode, which you can listen to below, we covered the Cowboys 41-21 win over the Eagles, which mostly consisted of us wondering whether the Cowboys are one of the best teams in the NFC. The consensus is that they're a top-five team even though they don't have a top-five coach.
Alright, let's get to the picks.
NFL Week 4 Picks
Carolina (3-0) at Dallas (2-1)
1 p.m. ET (Fox)
I think I finally figured out why the Cowboys haven't been able to get back to the Super Bowl for the past 25 years. It's not because they're bad, it's because the NFL is obviously CONSPIRING AGAINST THEM: The league isn't giving them enough 1 p.m. games. If there's one quarterback in the NFL who is nearly unbeatable in 1 p.m. games, it's Dak Prescott. This used to be Andy Dalton's specialty and I'm assuming Dalton passed on his secret knowledge of winning 1 p.m. games while he played in Dallas last year, because the Cowboys have been nearly unbeatable with Dak when playing in the early Sunday slot.
Since Dec. 1, 2017, Dak has started 12 games at 1 p.m. and the Cowboys have gone 10-2 in those games. Not only are they 10-2, but they've averaged 35.2 points per game in their past six 1 p.m. starts. If the Cowboys only played at 1 p.m., they would have won the last 26 Super Bowls.
It's a good thing the Cowboys are at their best when they play early, because they're going to need to be at their best to beat Carolina. Not only do the Panthers have one of the best defenses in the NFL, but they're going to be coming into this game on 10 days of rest after playing on Thursday, which is the opposite of the Cowboys, who will actually be on a SHORT week after playing on Monday (Also, this rest discrepancy is more evidence that the NFL is conspiring against the Cowboys. IT'S SO OBVIOUS. All of this "America's Team" stuff was definitely a planned deflection by the league so that no one would ever suspect anything).
The one thing that worries me about the Panthers is that they won't have Christian McCaffrey. Chuba Hubbard should be able to pick up some of the slack, but asking one guy to fill McCaffrey's role is like asking someone from your high school art class to restore a Da Vinci painting. It's probably not going to go well. I hate picking against the Panthers here, especially with the extra rest, but I can't pick against Daytime Dak.
The pick: Cowboys 26-23 over Panthers
Arizona (3-0) at L.A. Rams (3-0)
4:05 p.m. (Fox)
With two undefeated teams facing each other in this game, you might be surprised that one of the teams is favored by six points over the other, but I'm not totally surprised here and that's because, for some reason, the Cardinals usually forget how to play football when they play the Rams.
The two coaches are good friends, but they clearly aren't great friends, because Sean McVay never lets Kliff Kingsbury win when they coach against each other. Since Kingsbury took over as Arizona's coach in 2019, he's 0-4 against McVay's Rams. For the most part, the Cardinals offensive strategy is to let Kyler Murray run around and do crazy things, but that doesn't work against the Rams because they don't let him run around.
In four career games against the Rams, Murray has only averaged 11.5 rushing yards per game, which is well below his career average of 40.9. He has also only averaged 3.54 yards per carry against L.A., which is well below his career average of 5.9. Basically, every time these two teams play, the Rams defensive game plan is to bottle up Murray and make him win the game with his arm, which he hasn't been able to do.
In his four career games against the Rams, he's averaged under 200 yards passing per game (187) and he's thrown four interceptions.
The biggest problem for the Cardinals is that McVay always seem to know everything that Kingsbury is going to do before Kingsbury even knows he's going do it. The Rams offense has been unstoppable and I think they're going to put up points, so this comes down to whether I think Murray can move the ball on the Rams defense and based on how things have gone so far in his career against this defense. I'll say no.
The pick: Rams 30-23 over Cardinals
Baltimore (2-1) at Denver (3-0)
4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)
The Broncos are one of just two undefeated teams left in the AFC, but despite that, I have no idea what to make of them and that's mostly because they've had possibly the easiest schedule in NFL history through the first three weeks.
The Broncos three wins have come against -- you're going to notice a theme here -- the 0-3 Giants, the 0-3 Jaguars and the 0-3 Jets. Here's a list of teams that would be undefeated right now if they played the Broncos schedule: Everyone. Well, maybe not everyone. The Jets wouldn't be undefeated. If they played the Broncos' schedule, that would mean playing themselves and I'm guessing they would find a way to lose that.
Anyway, the point here is that the Broncos' opponents have a combined record of 0-9. The Broncos are that guy in your fantasy league who's 3-0 even though he has the second-lowest scoring team every week. Somehow, he gets matched up against the team that scores the fewest points each week, which allows him to keep winning.
What I think I'm trying to say here is that Denver's three wins just aren't that impressive. I know, the Broncos don't make their schedule, but until Denver beats a good team, I'm not sure I can pick them to win.
Facing the Jags, Jets and Giants is like go-karting against your 8-year-old nephew. Facing Lamar Jackson is like entering the Indianapolis 500, except you don't have a car and you have to run the race on foot. The cars are just going to whiz by you and I feel like that's what Jackson is going to do to the Broncos defense on Sunday.
Also, if there's one team in the NFL that's more banged up than the Ravens, it might be the Broncos.
Every Ravens game this year has been absolutely bonkers and I expect nothing less in this game. In Week 1, they were leading the Raiders 14-0, but lost in overtime. In Week 2, they trailed the Chiefs by double-digits in the fourth quarter, but somehow managed to win. In Week 3, they won on a freaking 66-yard field goal. This week, they're playing in Denver, which is the one city most kickers love to play in, so I'm guessing Tucker wins it on a field goal, which may or may not be from 67 yards out.
The pick: Ravens 27-24 over Broncos
Tampa Bay (2-1) at New England (1-2)
8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)
If I've learned anything from watching trashy television for most of my life, it's that every celebrity breakup comes with a war of words and that's what stage we're at in the Brady-Belichick split. Except this is Brady and Belichick we're talking about, so they're saying a lot without actually really saying anything at all.
For instance, Belichick was asked on Monday why Brady ended up leaving New England.
"I'm not going to go back and rehash all that. We've talked about that," Belichick said
After reading that quote, I spent four straight hours scouring the internet for any quote from Belichick that explained the situation and I found nothing. I found Belichick dressed up as a pirate. I found Belichick asleep on a ferry, but I found nothing pertaining to Brady's exit. Belichick has never explained why he wanted Brady gone and we know he wanted Brady gone because Tom Brady's dad was railing about it last week.
"Belichick wanted him out the door," are the exact words that Brady's dad used last week. Brady is the one who got dumped in this situation and as we all know, hell hath no fury like a seven-time Super Bowl champion scorned. At least, I think that's how the saying goes.
Brady and Belichick both want to win this game, but I feel like it would mean more to Brady. He got his seventh Super Bowl ring and now, he can end the Brady-Belichick debate once and for all by beating his old coach in a stadium where Brady won hundreds of games.
Picking a winner here isn't as easy as I thought it would be, though. At first, I was leaning Buccaneers, but then I remembered that Belichick is a defensive mastermind who knows all of Brady's weaknesses, which had me leaning Patriots. But then I remembered that Belichick probably doesn't have the defensive talent he would need to implement the kind of game plan that it would take to beat Brady, which had me leaning back toward the Buccaneers.
Before we get to my pick, let's get ourselves fired up for this game by watching the only NFL promo I've ever seen that features an Adele song.
That song was clearly written about the Brady-Belichick break-up and after listening to it 14 times, I have to think Adele would pick the Buccaneers, so that's who I'm going to go with here.
The pick: Buccaneers 27-20 over Patriots
Las Vegas (3-0) at L.A. Chargers (2-1)
Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET (ESPN)
I'll be honest here, I don't even want to pick this game and that's mainly because I've whiffed on every Chargers game I've picked this season. Through three weeks, there are only three teams I've gone 0-3 picking and the Chargers are one of them. The problem is that I never have any idea what they're going to do. When I think they're going left, they go right. When I think they're going to zig, they zag. When I think they're going to zag, they beat Patrick Mahomes on the road.
In Week 1, I picked them to lose to Washington and even though they were trailing in the fourth quarter, they still won. In Week 2, I picked them to win, but then they lost on a 56-yard field goal even though Mike McCarthy tried his best to keep the Cowboys from winning. In Week 3, I picked them to lose and we all know what happened.
This game is fascinating and that's because I think the Chargers will be the best team that the Raiders have faced this year. They have a better defense than the Ravens (Vegas' Week 1 opponent), a better offense than the Steelers (Vegas' Week 2 opponent) and a better everything than the Dolphins (Vegas' Week 3 opponent).
Like every Raiders game this year, this is likely going to come down to how well Derek Carr plays. So far, he's looked like an early MVP candidate, which is a big reason why Vegas is undefeated.
If I've learning one thing from my winless streak of picking Chargers game this year, it's that I have to go against my gut and my gut says the Raiders are going to win, which means I'm picking the Chargers.
The pick: Chargers 34-31 over Raiders
NFL Week 4 picks: All the rest
Bengals 27-17 over Jaguars
Falcons 20-16 over Washington
Bills 34-20 over Texans
Lions 20-17 over Bears
Colts 24-17 over Dolphins (Pick could change if Carson Wentz doesn't play)
Vikings 30-27 over Browns
Saints 33-16 over Giants
Titans 31-20 over Jets
Chiefs 38-27 over Eagles
Seahawks 26-23 over 49ers
Packers 23-16 over Steelers
Best pick: Last week, I predicted that Bengals would upset the Steelers in Pittsburgh and guess what happened? The Bengals upset the Steelers in Pittsburgh. Now, did I know that Ben Roethlisberger was going to melt down so badly that Steelers fans were going to be calling for him to retire at halftime?
Ben Roethlisberger gotta retire at halftime— nelly ⚡️ (@nellychillin) September 26, 2021
Ben Roethlisberger should retire at halftime— dom (@DOMINlC23) September 26, 2021
Of course I did. Big Ben is nearly 40 years old and the only way you can be any good at that age is if you've spent the past 17 years eating a diet that consists only of quinoa, avocados and free range chicken and I can assure there is only one QB in the NFL who has been on that diet for the past 17 years and it is not Ben Roethlisberger.
Worst pick: I've made some bad decisions in my life -- like the time I tried to use a Wal-Mart coupon at Target -- but I have to say, picking Washington to beat the Bills last week might end up going down as my worst decision of the 2021 season. I'm not sure how I talked myself into picking Washington, so let's just pretend I was hacked. That excuse works whenever someone famous tweets out something dumb on Twitter so I'm going to start using it as an excuse anytime I make a bad pick.
I picked the winless Giants to win last week? I was hacked.
Wondering why I picked the Patriots to beat the Saints? I was hacked.
If all my Week 4 picks are wrong? I was hacked.
Finally, if you guys have ever wondered which teams I'm actually good at picking, here's a quick look:
Teams I'm 3-0 picking this year: Jets, Browns, Colts, Texans, Jaguars, Broncos, Vikings, Lions, Buccaneers, 49ers, Rams.
Teams I'm 0-3 picking this year: Washington, Saints, Chargers.
Straight up in Week 3: 12-4 (12-1 picking games that didn't involve the Saints, Chargers or Washington)
SU overall: 31-17 (31-8 picking games that didn't involve the Saints, Chargers or Washington)
Against the spread in Week 3: 11-5
ATS overall: 25-21-1
Exact score predictions: 1
Exact score, wrong winner: 2
So which picks can you make with confidence? And which undefeated team goes down hard? Visit SportsLine to see which teams win and cover the spread, all from a proven computer model that has returned almost $7,900 since its inception, and find out.