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Good week for football, bad week for Pro Picks

September 26, 2018

Graphic shows NFL team matchups and predicts the winners in Week 4 action; 3c x 4 3/4 inches; 146 mm x 120 mm;

In what was generally a good week of football, minus those weighty roughing-the-passer calls, it was a bad week for Pro Picks. The quality of play vastly improved compared to the opening two weeks of the schedule. The prognostications were awful.

Time to rally, and a good option is presented on Thursday night with the best matchup of Week 4.

The Rams have that look. They rank third in offense, sixth in defense. Their point differential of 102-36 is astounding. They can move the ball on the ground with Todd Gurley, or through the air with Jared Goff, Brandin Cooks and Gurley. Their defense is staunch, led by a powerhouse front.

No weaknesses, right? Not exactly.

Take a look at their cornerback situation, where both starters are hobbled and likely will be absent against the Vikings. Aqib Talib had surgery and Marcus Peters was helped off the field on Sunday. That means backups on the outside to cover the dangerous pair of Stefan Diggs and Adam Thielen.

“We can call the same calls with those guys. In fact, we did in the (last) ballgame,” defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said. “I feel confident in those guys.”

We’re not quite that confident, particularly with Minnesota getting such a nasty wakeup call from Buffalo last weekend.

Minnesota, ranked eighth in the AP Pro32, is a 6½-point underdog at the No. 1 Rams. Give us the points.

RAMS, 30-28

KNOCKOUT POOL

So the idea is to NOT get knocked out? Now we get it — after flopping with the VIKINGS last week, as did much of America. Let’s go with the JAGUARS.

No. 29 San Francisco (plus 10 1-2) at No. 20 Los Angeles Chargers

Niners losing Jimmy G is as big a hit as any team has taken this season.

BEST BET: CHARGERS, 33-10

No. 12 Cincinnati (plus 5 1-2) at No. 18 Atlanta

Bungles no more, Cincinnati is better than people think. Falcons are hurting.

UPSET SPECIAL: BENGALS, 27-23

No. 2 Kansas City (minus 5 1-2) at No. 19 Denver, Monday night

Too many points to lay for such a rivalry game, and in the Mile High City.

CHIEFS, 24-20

No. 9 Baltimore (plus 3) at No. 14 Pittsburgh

NFL could put this bitter matchup on every Sunday night and it would be entertaining.

STEELERS, 30-24

No. 6 Miami (plus 6 1-2) at No. 10 New England

Lots of excitement in South Beach, dismay at North Station. Calm down.

PATRIOTS, 20-19

No. 23 Detroit (plus 3) at No. 24 Dallas

Can Matt Patricia out-scheme dormant Cowboys as he did Patriots?

COWBOYS, 17-16

No. 3 Philadelphia (minus 3 1-2) at No. 15 Tennessee

Two banged-up first-place teams. Carson Wentz makes the difference.

EAGLES, 21-15

No. 11 Tampa Bay (plus 3) at No. 16 Chicago

Toughest game to figure on this week’s schedule.

BEARS, 24-23

No. 28 Buffalo (plus 10) at No. 13 Green Bay

Bills won’t catch injury-ravaged Packers napping as they did Vikings.

PACKERS, 27-20

No. 27 New York Jets (plus 7) at No. 4 Jacksonville

That loss in Cleveland could plague Jets for a while.

JAGUARS, 24-16

No. 21 Seattle (minus 3) at No. 32 Arizona

Cardinals will win a game. Just not this week.

SEAHAWKS, 20-13

No. 30 Houston (plus 1 1-2) at No. 26 Indianapolis

Texans will win a game. Just not this week.

COLTS, 19-16

No. 22 Cleveland (plus 2 1-2) at No. 31 Oakland

Raiders will win a game. Yes, this week.

RAIDERS, 22-20

No. 5 New Orleans (minus 3) at No. 25 New York Giants

Resilient Saints march through Meadowlands.

SAINTS, 30-20

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2018 RECORD:

Last Week: Against spread (6-9). Straight up (9-7)

Season Totals: Against spread (23-22-1). Straight up: (27-19-2)

Best Bet: 2-1 against spread, 3-0 straight up

Upset special: 1-2 against spread, 0-2-1 straight up

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