NFL picks, predictions for Week 4: Packers extend Steelers’ suffering; Rams, Raiders stay perfect

Tom Brady’s return to New England will define Week 4 of the NFL season. 

But it’s not the only fantastic game on the schedule. A battle of NFC West unbeatens should be the most-entertaining game of the day. The Rams and Cardinals face off in a battle of top-five offenses. In the same afternoon window, the 49ers will try to drop the Seahawks to a 1-3 start. In the NFC West, that can’t happen. 

Same goes for the AFC North, and Pittsburgh travels to Green Bay for a blue-blood matchup between future Hall of Fame quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger. The Chiefs also will look to avoid a 1-3 start at Philadelphia. 

We get all that before Brady walks out of the tunnel from the visitor’s side at Gillette Stadium. 

Each week, Sporting News will pick games straight up. Week 3 was better: 

With that in mind, below are our picks and predictions for Week 4: 

NFL POWER RANKINGS: New team takes over the top spot

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Week 4 NFL predictions

Thursday, 8:20 p.m., NFL Network 

The Bengals have a chance to go 3-1 at the expense of former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer. Perhaps most surprising for Cincinnati is an improved defense that has allowed just 18 points per game. Joe Burrow wins the head-to-head battle with Trevor Lawrence again. 

Pick: Bengals 26, Jaguars 19 

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS 

Zach Wilson has thrown six interceptions the last two weeks, and the Jets have just 20 points in three games. Can Tennessee’s D take advantage? The Titans have forced just one turnover through three games. Derrick Henry tops 100 yards again, and Ryan Tannehill keeps the hot hand. The Titans create a few turnovers as a result. 

Pick: Titans 30, Jets 20 

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS 

Is this an early-season must-win for the Chiefs? Kansas City is a few plays from being 0-3, and the Eagles’ defense has played well for the most part. The Chiefs finally got the running game going in Week 3, but turnovers were the problem. Look for Patrick Mahomes to clean it up on the road. Andy Reid, who was released from the hospital Monday, improves to 3-0 against his former team. 

Pick: Chiefs 34, Eagles 21 

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Sunday, 1 p.m., FOX

The Panthers have been brilliant early in the season with Sam Darnold, but Christian McCaffrey (hamstring) has an uncertain timetable for return. Carolina has won the last two meetings with Dallas, but this isn’t the right spot. One aspect to watch with the Cowboys: the workload balance between Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard.

Pick: Cowboys 28, Panthers 24 

Sunday, 1 p.m., FOX 

The Saints rank 31st in the NFL in total offense but are 2-1 and back home for another grind-it-out game with the Giants. New York is another 0-3 team looking for that first victory, but it’s just not going to happen on the road. 

Pick: Saints 27, Giants 16 

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS 

If we’re going to take Cleveland serious as a Super Bowl threat, then this is the exact kind of road game it needs to win. Minnesota is a couple field goals away from being 3-0, but their run defense just hasn’t been strong enough in the first three weeks. Dalvin Cook (ankle) missed Week 3 and his status is certainly one to monitor throughout the week.

Pick: Browns 33, Vikings 28 

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Sunday, 1 p.m., FOX

The Lions are getting closer to that first victory for first-year coach Dan Campbell, and the Bears have injury issues at quarterback with Justin Fields and Andy Dalton. Detroit’s Jared Goff finally gets his first victory with his new team.

Pick: Lions 22, Bears 19 

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS 

The Bills are in scorched-earth mode since the Week 1 loss to Pittsburgh, and they’ve outscored their last two opponents 78-21. Brandin Cooks has been a bright spot for the Texans, but they won’t be able to keep up in this one. Can they cover that gigantic spread? 

Pick: Bills 38, Texans 20

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS 

Former Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett has not thrown a TD pass in two games, and the Dolphins are struggling to find a consistent running game. Carson Wentz finally gets his first victory with the Colts in another tight contest. 

Pick: Colts 26, Dolphins 23 

Sunday, 1 p.m., FOX 

Washington has allowed 30.7 points per game through three weeks, and that is dangerous against Atlanta, which edged the Giants out in a defensive struggle. Chase Young gets on track with a multi-sack game, and that forces a few mistakes from Matt Ryan. 

Pick: Washington 21, Falcons 18 

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Sunday, 4:05 p.m., FOX 

The Seahawks and 49ers both lost in Week 3, which increases the urgency to keep up with the undefeated Rams and Cardinals. Seattle swept both meetings last year, and Russell Wilson will deliver a performance that increases the pressure to play Trey Lance in San Francisco. 

Pick: Seahawks 28, 49ers 27 

Sunday, 4:05 p.m., FOX 

Sean McVay and Kliff Kingsbury bring two of the league’s best offenses into what should be the game of the week. The Cardinals and Rams each are scoring more than 30 points per game. Kyler Murray and Matthew Stafford have kept fantasy owners happy. It’s going to be a shootout. McVay is 8-0 against Arizona. Make it 9-0. 

Pick: Rams 34, Cardinals 31 

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Sunday, 4:25 p.m., CBS

Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger have gone head-to-head just two times; once in Super Bowl XLV and the other in a 2009 regular-season shootout at Heinz Field. The Steelers have won the last five regular-season meetings, a streak that dates back to 1995. This will be another entertaining shootout with the Steelers facing a 1-3 start. 

Pick: Packers 33, Steelers 30 

Sunday, 4:25 p.m., CBS

Louisville fans will love this QB matchup. The Broncos are unbeaten, and Teddy Bridgewater is playing mistake-free football. He has the third-highest QBR in the NFL, and Denver can prove it belongs with the contenders with a victory against Lamar Jackson-led Baltimore. The Ravens find a way to win another close game. 

Pick: Ravens 29, Broncos 26 

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Sunday, 8:20 p.m., NBC 

This should be the most-watched SNF game of all time. Tom Brady makes his return to Gillette Stadium, and it will be similar to when Brett Favre made his first return to Lambeau Field with Minnesota. The great ones always deliver on that stage. Brady gets the Bucs back on track. 

Pick: Buccaneers 31, Patriots 21 

Monday, 8:15 p.m., ESPN 

This relocation rivalry is fun when both teams are good. The Raiders have won their last two trips to Los Angeles, and they have a chance to improve to 4-0. Derek Carr and Justin Herbert, both ranked in the top five in passing yards, put on an offensive show. The Raiders do it again on MNF. 

Pick: Raiders 29, Chargers 27

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