NFL Week 4 game picks: Patriots, Vikings, Broncos stay perfect

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Please insert cool line about bye weeks to intro my column here: _____________.

Yep, it's that time of the football year, with a light bye week to kick off the annual midseason vacations. The Eagles and Packers are off this week, meaning we can't write paeans to the great Carson Wentz or openly question the state of the Packers' offense for the 567th time. Aaron Rodgers' perceived disrespect-fueled games usually mean lots of points and a Cheesehead win ... or five. On to more "disrespect" ...

If they win in Arizona, you bet they'll crack the top 20 of the Power Rankings. And especially if they could please wear the uniforms they wore in the home opener. Who doesn't love the Rams' 1980s unis?

You can see my pick for that game -- and the other 14 on this week's slate -- below. Hit me with your hot take(s) on any of 'em: @HarrisonNFL is the place.

Now, let's get to it!

Elliot Harrison went 9-7 on his predictions for Week 3, giving him a record of 31-17 thus far this season. How will he fare in Week 4? His picks are below:

Indianapolis Colts 34, Jacksonville Jaguars 28

Sunday, 9:30 a.m. ET, CBS

This is a London game, a.k.a. a Jaguars "home" game. Londoners are quick to embrace this football team; after all, Jacksonville's offense puts up points like they're goals ... so you can see the congruence there! The Jags' offensive struggles, particularly at San Diego in Week 2, have been a bit mystifying, given that offense was not considered the weakness of this team coming in. The interesting matchups are Colts receiver Phillip Dorsett and tight end Jack Doyle versus that Jacksonville secondary.

Fun Fact No. 1: No team that has lost in London has ever made it to the postseason.

Fun Fact No. 2: Jags running back Chris Ivory holds the "London record" with 166 rushing yards in a game, a mark he set while with the Jets last season. #getexcited #INDvsJAX

Houston Texans 23, Tennessee Titans 17

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

Ignore the Titans' 1-2 record. General manager Jon Robinson's blueprint, in theory, is working. Tennessee is built to run the football, limit Marcus Mariota's pass attempts until it makes sense not to and play quality defense. Currently, the Titans are averaging 5.4 yards per carry on first down, consistently putting the offense in second-and-manageable situations. Meanwhile, the defense has allowed just three offensive touchdowns, tied with the Seahawks for second-least in the league. What does this all mean? More than any other team in the NFL, Mike Mularkey's group can ill-afford turnovers by the quarterback. Meanwhile, Mularkey's Houston counterpart, Bill O'Brien, probably trashed the game film from last week in New England. I expect the fired-up Houston defense -- looking to prove that it can survive without all-everything terror J.J. Watt -- to be all over Mariota. Either way, this series needs more pop ... like some Zach Mettenberger selfies. #TENvsHOU

Washington Redskins 29, Cleveland Browns 16

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

When the Browns placed former Redskins star Robert Griffin III on injured reserve earlier this season, we were robbed of a top-flight grudge match in Week 4 -- I guess Joique Bell versus the Lions will have to do. In other news, Cleveland rookie Cody Kessler, who certainly displayed poise in Miami last Sunday, will be facing an ailing Redskins secondary devoid of DeAngelo Hall and possibly Bashaud Breeland. Who knows what Browns coach Hue Jackson will do with Terrelle Pryor this week? Last week, the former QB became the first player since Frank Gifford in 1959 to have at least 120-plus receiving yards, 20-plus rushing yards and 30-plus passing yards in a game. Pryor reminds me of Roy "Jet Stream" Green, a former Cardinals defensive back who was slowly converted to wide receiver. In 1981, Green caught a touchdown pass and had an interception in a midseason upset of the Cowboys. Can't wait to see Pryor lined up on Josh Norman, although the key to this outcome will be whether or not Kirk Cousins will carry over his renaissance from last week. #CLEvsWAS

Seattle Seahawks 15, New York Jets 10

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, FOX

Here's what we know:

A) Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is going to be walking around like the Terminator after he got effed-up in the big-rig crash.

B) The Jets' defensive front is top-shelf. The Seahawks' offensive line? A well drink.

C) Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will throw the defense a few.

D) Seattle's secondary matches up very well versus the Jets' wideouts.

E) Jets coach Todd Bowles was an outstanding defensive coordinator in the NFC West and knows the Seahawks well.

F) Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will throw the defense a few more.

G) Those Matt Forte dumpoffs and screens won't play as well against a team like the Seahawks, who don't need to blitz.

Love this matchup, a true defensive slugfest that could go either way. Trusting the Seahawks on the road against a team that isn't playing very well. #SEAvsNYJ

New England Patriots 20, Buffalo Bills 14

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

Let's strip this Rex Ryan-vs.-Bill Belichick matchup down to the bare essentials. Well, I'd rather not strip either of those guys, but if I had to choose ... We know Ryan has tattoos. Guessing he has some hidden ones we haven't seen, too: Maybe Xs and Os, the 46, barbed wire of some sort? Still, nothing, nothing tops the sweater vest, especially when the Bills win. Ryan announced that Buffalo coordinator Dennis Thurman is calling the defensive plays. That's fantastic, but if the Bills can't get the run game going, this one won't be close. The good news for Buffalo is, if Jacoby Brissett starts again for the Patriots, New England will have to run the football, and Thurman's D has only allowed 3.4 yards per crack this season. One way or another, Rex's team can't get off to another slow start. The Patriots are 77-0 at Gillette Stadium when leading at halftime. #BUFvsNE

Carolina Panthers 30, Atlanta Falcons 22

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, FOX

Get excited about Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman, folks. There's just one small problem: Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis match up well against those guys. If the Panthers double Julio Jones (who helped end Carolina's perfect run last year with an insane catch), can Justin Hardy take advantage of Daryl Worley or James Bradberry? Doesn't matter, actually, because Hardy does most of his damage underneath -- Kuechly territory. A factor in Cam Newton and the offense stinking up the joint last week was the Vikings' pass rush getting to him eight times. When is the last time Atlanta racked up eight sacks in a game? Would you believe 2005, when three guys (Roderick Coleman, Brady Smith and Demorrio Williams) led the way with two apiece? What are the chances three Falcons post double-digit sacks this week? Take it away, Spock. #CARvsATL

Oakland Raiders 30, Baltimore Ravens 26

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

Did you know Oakland has never beaten the Ravens in Baltimore? Yep, the Raiders are 0-5 in Charm City. Meanwhile, Khalil Mack doesn't have a sack. And the Ravens don't have a loss.

OK, Silver-and-Black fans -- take solace in the fact that Baltimore bested a wholly ineffective Blake Bortles last week and beat up Josh McCown the week prior. Week 1, the Bills couldn't get anything going -- some of that due to solid defense, much of it because of a Buffalo offensive line that laid an egg. Don't think Derek Carr and his line will be an easy out. That is, if Raiders receivers don't stone-hands the ball like in Nashville. Offensively, it's up to deep-ball dynamo Joe Flacco to hit the vertical throws that are open against a secondary that's allowed the most big pass plays (20 yards or more) in the NFL. #OAKvsBAL

Detroit Lions 34, Chicago Bears 17

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, FOX

Long-time rivalry that loses its due respect because the Packers and Bears have been going at it longer. Detroit and Chicago have faced each other every year since 1934. Actually, in 1932, back when the Lions were the Portsmouth Spartans in Ohio, these two franchises competed in an unofficial championship game as a tiebreaker. The game was played in Chicago Stadium, an indoor arena, due to a blizzard. And the bout received widespread coverage, providing pro football with a PR lift while showing league officials that a championship game was a great idea. The next season brought the first NFL Championship, the precursor to the Super Bowl. Speaking of winning titles, the Lions haven't won their division since 1993. They need this contest if they are to have a shot in 2016. Shutting down Jordan Howard will be the top priority, as I anticipate the rookie back getting much work. Matthew Stafford: 27 TD, 6 INT since Jim Bob Cooter became the OC. Wow. #DETvsCHI

Denver Broncos 28, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 14

Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET, CBS

Last week, the Broncos sent a clear message to the rest of the AFC -- and your friendly hack writer -- with the performance of the passing game. Trevor Siemian made believers out of plenty, yet let's not forget the offensive line's part of the equation. Denver's starting quarterback is smart with the football, but make no mistake: The 5:94 sack-to-pass-attempt ratio speaks to the work of OC Rick Dennison and offensive line coach Clancy Barone. Maybe not incredible, but noteworthy for an inexperienced quarterback who went 8 for 8 on passes of over 10 yards last week. The Broncos aren't solely throwing 5-yard ins and none-yard outs. That's precisely what Jameis Winston will be throwing if his protection breaks down against Wade Phillips' front. Winston suffered through five giveaways two weeks ago and had two more versus the Rams. #DENvsTB

Arizona Cardinals 23, Los Angeles Rams 17

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX

The Rams' front four got after Jameis Winston late in that ballgame last Sunday. The coaching staff unleashed Aaron Donald, moving him around enough to create matchups that ultimately were to Los Angeles' advantage. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams decided to make this move late, just in time for Dirk Koetter to not have time to make the necessary adjustments. Robert Quinn provided the key play last Sunday, a fourth-quarter strip-sack that Ethan Westbrooks took 77 yards to the house. Can this group sway the outcome against last year's division winners? The Cardinals' offense has been, to put it kindly, inconsistent thus far in this young season. The blame, at least nationally, falls at No. 3's feet. Is it me, or has Michael Floyd been absent? Remember, in one five-game stretch last season, he posted four 100-yard games with four touchdowns. He hit concussion protocol this week, so we'll see what comes of that. But the Cardinals need Floyd. And Floyd needs new money. #LAvsAZ

San Diego Chargers 35, New Orleans Saints 23

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX

Spoke with NFL Digital researcher @MarkDulgerian, who said, "Philip Rivers reminds me of those veteran Western Conference point guards (an older Jason Kidd, veteran Derek Fisher, Steve Nash) who distribute the ball so well. ... They don't care who you are: If you have an open shot, they'll find you." Appropriate, with Tyrell Williams out of Western Oregon being one of those guys for whom Rivers makes life easier. Williams possesses raw ability, with Ken Whisenhunt manipulating ways to get him open. The Saints allow far too many receivers to run around like kids at the public swimming pool. That means the absence of Keenan Allen will hurt a bit less for San Diego in this game. Drew Brees carries more than equal ability, but he must feel the pressure of trying to put 50 points up every time out. #NOvsSD

Dallas Cowboys 29, San Francisco 49ers 21

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX

In a game we'll call rivalry-esque, the Cowboys face the 49ers in NorCal for the first time in five years. The last time Dallas played there, the not-clutch, never-wins-a-game-in-the-waning moments Tony Romo won the game late in the fourth quarter with broken ribs and a punctured lung, throwing a pivotal pass to a reality show star. Ahh, facts never fit the sports narrative, do they? This time around, Dak Prescott gets the call, and I don't envision him having to win it for the Cowboys at the end. If the 49ers' front struggled with the Seahawks' offensive line last week, wait until they get a load of these guys. Look out for Vance McDonald, as the Dallas defense has struggled with the tight end in recent weeks.

Fun fact: Prescott has rushed for a touchdown in two straight games, making him the first Cowboys QB to manage that feat in 50 years! Don Meredith pulled it off in three straight games back in 1966. #DALvsSF

Pittsburgh Steelers 28, Kansas City Chiefs 24

Sunday, 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC

Decided to let my colleague, @MarkDulgerian (it's your week, buddy!), break down this game from a scouting perspective. He has worked in scouting services and is a research maven. You'll see my thoughts on his thoughts in parentheses. Here's his vantage point on Chiefs at Steelers ...

The key in this game will be the Steelers' passing chemistry, which has looked out of sync early on. Can they get their groove back against an opportunistic Chiefs pass defense that scores high in anticipation and football intelligence? (Yes, they can.) Well, expect Le'Veon Bell to get his usual workload taking handoffs, but it's his presence in the short-to-intermediate passing game that should help widen windows for Big Ben. Alex Smith has been his usual self this season, averaging 9.9 yards per completion, the lowest figure in the NFL. (Might be true, but Smith shouldn't always be criticized for this.) So look for Keith Butler's unit to get physical on the perimeter and try to disrupt Kansas City's rhythm on offense. There were only three total touchdowns scored in the 2015 battle between these two teams, but Landry Jones was at the helm for the Steelers, so no need for Andy Reid to dig up last year's game plan. (Spot-on analysis, even from an undercover Steelers homer. With the return of some key offensive players, expect some points to be scored.) #KCvsPIT

Minnesota Vikings 21, New York Giants 13

Monday, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

What does the Vikings' defense not possess? The front is stout. The LB crew can play with anyone. Harrison Smith is a high-impact player in the back end. And the experienced D is dotted with several young studs. Then there's the unsung players, like Andrew Sendejo, who already has 23 tackles, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. How about Linval Joseph, who is the Vikes' occupier DT, the dude who is not supposed to put up stats? Well, Joseph has posted 18 tackles and three sacks. How this group handles Sterling Shepard is key. If the Vikings bracket Odell Beckham Jr., who will mirror Shepard in the slot? Most likely Captain Munnerlyn, who holds his own at one of the toughest positions in pro sports. Sans Rashad Jennings and Shane Vereen in the Big Blue backfield, this is a challenging matchup for the Giants. #NYGvsMIN

THURSDAY NIGHT'S GAME

Cincinnati Bengals 27, Miami Dolphins 17

Thursday, 8:25 p.m. ET, NFL Network

This is the week we see the real Bengals. I think. Cincinnati has endured an extremely difficult schedule, starting on the road in New York and Pittsburgh, then returning home to face the defending champs. Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian burned the secondary last week with vertical throws. Thank goodness Dolphins signal caller Ryan Tannehill never hits any of those. Look for A.J. Green to rebound, too, as the Dolphins struggled to contain Browns receiver Terrelle Pryor, a former QB, last week.

Interesting side note: The last time these teams squared off on Thursday night, Cameron Wake was the finisher, sacking Andy Dalton in the end zone, in overtime, for a kick save and a beauty. Last week, Wake forced Browns QB Cody Kessler to fumble, then had another strip-sack called back because he jumped the snap.

Additional side note: You have my pick for Thursday night, but be sure to make yours, as well. Go to NFL.com/budlight to vote for "Which Can will Win" or use #DolphinsCan or #BengalsCan on Twitter.

#MIAvsCIN

Follow Elliot Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonNFL.

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