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Thursday, 29 September 2022

NFL Week 4 Picks 2022 (September 29-October 3)

It feels like we wait forever for the return of the College Football and NFL games, but all of a sudden you look up and a quarter of the regular season is about to enter the record books.

After a couple of mixed weeks for the NFL Picks, Week 3 has proved to be very productive with a 6-1 record for the selections and it gives me a platform to build upon moving forward.

I just don't want to give anything back immediately and so Week 4 is a pivotal one to make sure I avoid overthinking my selections.

Before I get into my Picks, I have a few thoughts about what we saw in Week 3.

After three weeks of the season and the defeat suffered by the New York Giants, there are only two teams left with perfect records.

Some may have pointed to the Philadelphia Eagles being one of those, but the Miami Dolphins have surprised most, especially when you think of the schedule they have had to navigate.

Out of the two teams, the Eagles feel more 'real' as they have largely dominated their games compared with the Miami Dolphins who have perhaps needed a few things to break their way in wins over the Baltimore Ravens and Buffalo Bills. It does not feel as sustainable, although the Dolphins should be targeting a strong run through to the Bye date considering they are now going to be facing Cincinnati, New York Jets, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Chicago and Cleveland through to the middle of November.

Miami should be looking at no worse than a 7-3 record by then and they can build some momentum, but Philadelphia have been the more impressive of the 3-0 teams remaining and with games against Jacksonville, Arizona and Dallas to come, they should be looking at extending that unbeaten run a few more weeks yet.

Seeing teams remain unbeaten this early into the NFL season is not uncommon, but we usually have a few teams who have an imperfect record.

This season is different with the Las Vegas Raiders the only team to have lost all three games.

Last season close games went their way and the Raiders made the PlayOffs, but in 2022 those margins are going against them and I do think it is a long road back in the AFC West.

The Raiders Bye is scheduled for mid-October, but they are under pressure to rally right now- before then Las Vegas are facing Denver and Kansas City and you would think the season is over if the Raiders are not able to win both of those.

When a Head Coach has three winning seasons in succession, during which time the team won a Super Bowl too, you would think one poor season could be forgiven.

That was not the case in Philadelphia as the Eagles fired Doug Pederson, who had fallen out with Quarter Back Carson Wentz.

Doug Pederson spent some time away from the game before returning as Head Coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars and the early signs are that the long-suffering Jags fans will finally have someone leading who can restore the franchise to better days.

Not many would have picked the Jaguars to be leading the AFC South after three games, but they are the sole team in the Division with a winning record and will be looking for a third win in a row in Week 4.

Of course sport always finds a way to make headlines- Doug Pederson will be taking his Jacksonville team into Philadelphia to try and upset the unbeaten Eagles.

And I don't doubt for a second the fans will not be spitting too much love in the direction of the Head Coach who took them to their sole Super Bowl Championship.

Injuries, injuries, injuries.

Nothing can frustrate a fanbase and a team more than seeing key players going down and there were more who are going to have to sit on the sidelines after another bruising week of NFL action.

Mac Jones is going to be a huge miss for the New England Patriots if he is going spend any length of time out of the lineup, but losing your Quarter Back is an obvious blow.

The injuries that really hurt come along the Offensive and Defensive Lines and some of the unsung players in the Secondary that may not earn the same headlines as the Quarter Backs, but who are absolutely essential for teams to achieve all they set out to do.

So often games are won or lost at the Line of Scrimmage and I do think those injuries are the ones that can determine the outcome of a game on a week by week basis and ultimately will dictate how the season ends up unfolding.

My Power Ranking Top Five: Philadelphia, Miami, Buffalo, Kansas City, Baltimore.

My Bottom Five: Las Vegas, Houston, Seattle, New York Jets, Washington.

The NFL Picks for Week 4 can be read below.

Miami Dolphins @ Cincinnati Bengals Pick: It might not be a style of win they can replicate too often in the NFL, but the Miami Dolphins (3-0) won't care about anything other than still being unbeaten right now. They are the only team in the AFC that can say that and have already beaten two of their Divisional rivals following the Week 3 win over the Buffalo Bills, although it may be one that has come with some cost.

Tua Tagovailoa is pushing hard to be ready for Thursday Night Football, but it does not say much about his chances of playing when Head Coach Mike McDaniel admitted his Quarter Back would be considered Questionable in a usual week and if this game was set for a Sunday/Monday. Instead the Dolphins are heading off to face the Cincinnati Bengals (1-2) on a short week and at this stage it would be considered a surprise if Tagovailoa is able to suit up.

The Bengals secured a win over the New York Jets on Sunday, but they have suffered disappointing losses to open the season and needed that win to snap a three game losing run. Fortunately for Cincinnati, the AFC North does not exactly look the deepest of Divisions and a win on Thursday Night Football would mean they share the same number as the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns before both of those teams play later this week.

Joe Burrow and the Bengals will feel they still have some questions to answer about whether they are completely over their Super Bowl defeat, but the win over the Jets at least gives them some confidence. Tee Higgins is a doubt for the home team, but I still expect Joe Burrow to have a strong game at the Quarter Back position with the weapons the Bengals have given him.

The Quarter Back has to be excited about his chances of backing up the win over the Jets when you see the holes the Miami Dolphins have had in the Secondary, despite the unbeaten start to the season. They have given up plenty of yards through the air and the Bengals have the weapons to take advantage, while Joe Mixon is likely to be a factor catching the ball out of the backfield.

I expect Joe Burrow to be given enough time behind this Offensive Line, which has struggled this season, and that is largely down to the inconsistent Miami pass rush. There have been times the Dolphins have made the big plays at the line of scrimmage, but the feeling is that Cincinnati can run the ball better than they have for much of the season and that should set Burrow up in third and manageable situations to negate the need to let plays develop for too long down the field.

The question for the Miami Dolphins in this game is more about how much Offensive output they can get with the little time to prepare for Thursday Night Football. A limited Tua Tagovailoa will find it tough, but Miami do have an effective backup in Teddy Bridgewater and I think the former starter for the Minnesota Vikings and Denver Broncos will be able to have a decent game in relief of Tagovailoa.

One problem for Miami is that they continue to be a little one-dimensional Offensively as they have struggled to run the ball with any real conviction. They are unlikely to have much more joy against the Cincinnati Defensive Line, even with DJ Reader expected to miss out for the home team, and that would force Teddy Bridgewater to play with accuracy from third and long spots.

Like Joe Burrow, Miami have surrounded their Quarter Back with strong Receiving threats and both Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill have made strong starts to the season. However, Waddle is a little banged up and Teddy Bridgewater may not have the same chemistry as Tua Tagovailoa has shown he has with his new look Offensive skill players.

I still think there is a chance for Teddy Bridgewater to play well if Miami do have to call his number, but being in third and long means dealing with the Bengals pass rush and a Secondary which has played pretty well despite injuries.

Granted the Bengals numbers look better for the mere fact they have faced Mitchell Trubisky, Cooper Rush and Joe Flacco, but I do think a desperate team at home can have the edge on a short week.

For starters they are facing a Miami team that is coming in off an emotional win and this is the meat in the AFC East sandwich they are dealing with in Week 3 and Week 5. A banged up Quarter Back and a rough time being had by those remaining in Florida as they deal with Hurricane Ian are other distractions and I think the Cincinnati Bengals will be able to edge to a win and a cover of this mark.

The spread is a touch higher than I would have hoped for, but I think that is down to the fact that the Miami Dolphins will be going in with a backup Quarter Back. The rest of the team will want to step up for Teddy Bridgewater, but the struggles to run the ball may hurt Miami here.

Miami have been a really strong team to back at the window over the last couple of seasons, especially when they have been set as the underdog, but I think they used a lot of emotional and physical energy to beat the Buffalo Bills and it may leave them short. The Bengals have also covered in their last seven games against a team with a winning record, while they are 8-1 against the spread in their last nine Conference games and I think Cincinnati can be backed to end the last unbeaten record in the AFC on Thursday Night Football.

MY PICKS: Cincinnati Bengals - 3.5 Points @ 1.92 Bet Victor (2 Units)

Week 3: 6-1, + 8.92 Units (14 Units Staked, + 63.71% Yield)
Week 2: 6-5, + 0.98 Units (22 Units Staked, + 4.45% Yield)
Week 1: 5-5, - 0.72 Units (20 Units Staked, - 3.60% Yield)

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