Sometimes the less you think, the better off you are. So here are my snap judgment selections for Week 4. Home teams in CAPS, spreads via covers.com.
ATLANTA (-8) over San Francisco
The 49ers canned their offensive coordinator this week and if they wanted to do it with style they should have waited until Sunday morning to tell him, as an homage to how much trouble he had just getting the plays in under the play clock. Atlanta thus far has continued the NFC South tradition of up-again, down-again teams, this year being an "up" year. San Francisco looks lost and playing a 1pm East Coast game after playing in Kansas City last week doesn't help matters.
PITTSBURGH (-1.5) over Baltimore
I tried to stay away from this game, but you can't not admire the way the Steelers are playing right now. Ray Rice is banged up for this one, a game where Baltimore will need every ounce of him. On a personal note, I'd love for the Steelers to go 4-0 without Big Ben, have him come back, lose 3 out of 4, and have everyone clamoring to get rid of him. The last 6 meetings between these teams have been decided by a total of 29 points, so count on a close one. I think the home field advantage at the Big Ketchup Bottle will make the difference for Pittsburgh.
Indianapolis (-7) over JACKSONVILLE
I'd lay up to 10 or 11 here. Indy is very good, Jacksonville is very bad. Sometimes it is that simple. The Jaguars looked slow and out of position on defense against the Eagles last week, and if their offense were more pedestrian they'd be accompanied by crossing guards. Here's hoping Austin Collie, white receiver extraordinaire, extends his TD streak to four games.
SAN DIEGO (-8) over Arizona
The Chargers are inconsistent but play well at home. The Cardinals are consistent in that they don't play especially well at home or on the road. General betting rules of thumb say to be wary of San Diego in September in October and then put the farm on them after Thanksgiving, but at home against a team as out-of-joint as Arizona I'm willing to ignore that for this week. The Cardinals have lost a lot more than Kurt Warner and Anquan Boldin; their defense really seems to miss Karlos Dansby and Antrel Rolle. They'll sure have some fun trying to cover Antonio Gates and the emerging Malcom Floyd.
MIAMI (+1) over New England (Monday Night)
This is a sneaky one because New England still has superior offensive talent, but has cracks on their offensive line and a defense that has surrendered 58 points (minus a kickoff return) to the Jets and Bills over the past two weeks. Brandon Marshall should have a 100-yard day without much problem against the Pats' secondary. Like I always say with the Dolphins, you can expect this to go down to the wire, in which case I'll play the Monday Night Home Dog rule, which is 3 for 3 thus far.
Last Week: 2-3-0