The Sports Editors’ Week 4 NFL Picks

Martin: New York Jets (+3) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Since T.J. Watt was drafted in 2017, the Pittsburgh Steelers are 0-6 when the stud pass-rusher does not play. Without Watt in the lineup, the Steelers do not pose the same defensive threat for which they have earned a reputation. Moreover, quarterback Mitchell “NVP” Trubisky looks awful and has stunted the Steelers’ offense through their first three games. Frankly, the Steelers need their defense to carry Mitch which is a hard task given the loss of Watt. 

Maybe I am too optimistic as a fan, but this matchup seems winnable for a young New York Jets team. Finally, second-year quarterback Zach Wilson looks healthy enough to return to the lineup and replace backup Joe Flacco. Wilson is certainly the wildcard in this game. While some have already deemed Wilson a “bust,” I was impressed by his performance in his last seven games. I think Wilson will be an upgrade over the immobile Joe Flacco, who has missed stud receivers Garrett Willson and Elijah Moore on multiple plays. If Zach Wilson is unable to start this Sunday in Pittsburgh, then I am less confident in Gang Green. 

Stuzin: Miami Dolphins (+3.5) vs. Cincinnati Bengals

This one is a bit of a toss-up. Both offenses were firing on all cylinders in Week 3, and this is certainly shaping up to be a high-scoring game. The Bengals, who struggled in Weeks 1 and 2, came back and blew out the Jets. Quarterback Joe Burrow finished with three passing touchdowns and a QB rating (QBR) of 114.9, so clearly the offense is back. At the same time, the Dolphins defeated the seemingly-unstoppable Buffalo Bills last week, with QB Tua Tagovailoa finishing with a QBR of 123.8. This will be a close matchup, but I expect the undefeated Dolphins to narrowly beat this spread.

Notis: Tennessee Titans (+3.5) vs. Indianapolis Colts

There are two, equally possible outcomes for this pick. The first is the Titans get blown out at home. Tennessee’s defense is supposed to be top-tier but has proved otherwise in these first three weeks of the season. They were barely able to squeak past the weak Las Vegas Raiders and needed an incredible game from running back Derrick Henry to do so. When Henry can’t get going, the Titans offense looks more like the Titanic offense, crashing to its demise. If Colts quarterback Matt Ryan can turn back the clock, and if running back Jonathan Taylor can continue to produce, the Colts will stampede over the Titans.

On the flip side, the Titans very well could just hit their stride and take down the Colts. Against the Raiders, Henry bulldozed linemen and it opened up the passing game. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill was able to hit receivers in stride and put together great drives. The defense was able to shut the Raiders down when they needed to. Colts quarterback Matt Ryan has struggled early in the season and, with wide receiver Michael Pittman’s injury status unknown, he is without a primary target. Whatever the outcome, look for a Week 4 blowout in Nashville. 

Silverstein: Buffalo Bills (-3) at Baltimore Ravens

Bills Mafia should be heading into this heavyweight AFC showdown with a bad taste in its mouth. Last week in an important divisional matchup with the undefeated Dolphins, Josh Allen threw for 400 yards, the Bills more than doubled the Dolphins’ total yardage and ran 51 more offensive plays. But still, Buffalo somehow lost. The Bills had the highest time of possession in a regulation loss since the Jets lost to the Patriots in the 2014 season. Despite the bitter defeat, the Bills are still the Bills, and last week should be an outlier in an otherwise dominant start to the season. Meanwhile, the Ravens were able to pick Mac Jones off three times en route to a win over the Patriots, but the defense still ranks worst in the league in pass yards and points allowed per game. This could potentially turn into a high-scoring contest, but give me Buffalo on Sunday and a stark reminder of why they are one of the league’s juggernauts.