NFL Week 4 picks: Chargers knock off Raiders; Rams stay undefeated

Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert celebrates after a touchdown with wide receiver Keenan Allen.
Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert celebrates after a touchdown with wide receiver Keenan Allen during the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday in Kansas City.
(Reed Hoffmann / Associated Press)
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Week 4 of the 2021 NFL season begins Thursday with the winless Jacksonville Jaguars taking on the Cincinnati Bengals. The Times’ NFL writer, Sam Farmer, examines this week’s matchups.

Farmer’s record last week: 10-6 (.625); season 28-20 (.583). Using point spreads with the scores Farmer predicted, the record against the spread last week would have been 5-11 (.313); season 19-28-1 (.404).

Times are Pacific. Lines according to FanDuel (O/U = over/under):

Jaguars (0-3) at Bengals (2-1)

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence views the stadium video monitor before a play.
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence views the stadium video monitor before a play during the second half against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday in Jacksonville, Fla.
(Phelan M. Ebenhack / Associated Press)
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Thursday, 5:20 p.m.

TV: NFL Network.

Line: Bengals by 8. O/U: 46.

Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase are getting into that comfortable rhythm, and that will create problems for the Jaguars. Trevor Lawrence will have some highlights but will struggle overall.

Prediction: Bengals 27, Jaguars 20

Texans (1-2) at Bills (2-1)

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen looks to pass while pressured by Washington Football Team cornerback Kendall Fuller.
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen, left, looks to pass while pressured by Washington Football Team cornerback Kendall Fuller during the first half on Sunday in Orchard Park, N.Y.
(Adrian Kraus / Associated Press)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 705.

Line: Bills by 16. O/U: 47.

Josh Allen continues to build his resume of spectacular games, and the Bills can make this as big a blowout as they want to. Forget, “Houston, we have a problem.” It’s already a complete fiasco.

Prediction: Bills 31, Texans 13

Colts (0-3) at Dolphins (1-2)

Miami Dolphins quarterback Jacoby Brissett during a game against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Jacoby Brissett during a game against the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday in Las Vegas.
(Rick Scuteri / Associated Press)
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Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 706.

Line: Dolphins by 2. O/U: 421/2.

Jacoby Brissett faces his former team, which has been seriously compromised by injuries. Carson Wentz is playing on two gimpy ankles. Neither of these offenses are likely to produce big numbers.

Prediction: Dolphins 21, Colts 20

Browns (2-1) at Vikings (1-2)

Minnesota Vikings tight end Tyler Conklin celebrates with wide receiver Adam Thielen in the end zone.
Minnesota Vikings tight end Tyler Conklin (83) celebrates with wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) in the end zone after Conklin scored a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday in Minneapolis.
(Stacy Bengs / Associated Press)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 707.

Line: Browns by 2. O/U: 511/2.

Vikings are coming off a huge win over Seattle, and they’re at home. Cleveland’s pass rush is ferocious, and Kirk Cousins is a different quarterback under pressure. Dalvin Cook’s return is the difference.

Prediction: Vikings 24, Browns 21

Titans (2-1) at Jets (0-3)

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry plays against the Indianapolis Colts.
Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry plays against the Indianapolis Colts in the first half on Sunday in Nashville, Tenn.
(Mark Zaleski / Associated Press)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 708.

Line: Titans by 7. O/U: 44.

The Jets are terrible, and it’s not all Zach Wilson. This team is springing leaks all over the place. With Ryan Tannehill, Julio Jones and Derrick Henry, the Titans should make this ugly in short order.

Prediction: Titans 27, Jets 23

Chiefs (1-2) at Eagles (1-2)

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes runs the ball.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes runs the ball during the second half against the Chargers Sunday in Kansas City, Mo.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

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TV: Channel 2. DirecTV: 709.

Line: Chiefs by 7. O/U: 541/2.

The Chiefs need to regain their balance, so this matchup comes at the right time for them. Philadelphia plays offense like I play “Madden” — just run around and start pushing some random numbers.

Prediction: Chiefs 24, Eagles 20

Washington Football Team (1-2) at Falcons (1-2)

Washington Football Team quarterback Taylor Heinicke hands the ball to running back Antonio Gibson.
Washington Football Team quarterback Taylor Heinicke hands the ball to running back Antonio Gibson during the first half against the Buffalo Bills Sunday in Orchard Park, N.Y.
(Adrian Kraus / Associated Press)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 710.

Line: Washington by 2. O/U: 471/2.

If Washington’s defense is going to wake up and resume its 2020 form, it could be here. The Falcons are coming off their first victory — over the winless Giants — but they weren’t an offensive juggernaut.

Prediction: Washington 20, Falcons 17

Lions (0-3) at Bears (1-2)

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields warms up before a game against the Cleveland Browns.
Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields warms up before a game against the Cleveland Browns Sunday in Cleveland.
(David Richard / Associated Press)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 711.

Line: Bears by 3. O/U: 42.

Both these teams are bad. Justin Fields got crushed by the Browns last week but has an easier task against the Lions. Detroit has to be smarting from the bizarre ending to the Baltimore game.

Prediction: Bears 23, Lions 21

Panthers (3-0) at Cowboys (2-1)

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott runs with the ball.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott runs with the ball during the first half against the Philadelphia Eagles in Arlington, Texas Monday.
(Roger Steinman / Associated Press)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 712.

Line: Cowboys by 5. O/U: 501/2.

Losing Christian McCaffrey really hurts the Panthers, even though Sam Darnold has played pretty well. Dak Prescott is playing great for Dallas, which has two backs who can control the tempo.

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Prediction: Cowboys 27, Panthers 24

Giants (0-3) at Saints (2-1)

New York Giants center Billy Price gestures against the Atlanta Falcons.
New York Giants center Billy Price gestures against the Atlanta Falcons during a game Sunday in East Rutherford, N.J.
(Adam Hunger / Associated Press)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 713.

Line: Saints by 8. O/U: 42.

The Giants are so-so when healthy, but now they’re banged up, so this could be ugly. The Saints have the emotional lift of being back in the Superdome, and they’re a better team all around.

Prediction: Saints 28, Giants 24

Cardinals (3-0) at Rams (3-0)

Rams tight end Tyler Higbee celebrates his touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Rams tight end Tyler Higbee celebrates his touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood Sunday.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Sunday, 1:05 p.m.

TV: Channel 11. DirecTV: 714.

Line: Rams by 5. O/U: 55.

Two 3-0 teams square off in the game of the week. The Rams aren’t even pretending to commit to the run, but Matthew Stafford has that right arm and so many weapons. L.A. has the better defense.

Prediction: Rams 38, Cardinals 27

Seahawks (1-2) at 49ers (2-1)

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson high fives wide receiver DK Metcalf.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson congratulates wide receiver DK Metcalf in the end zone after his touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings Sunday in Minneapolis.
(Stacy Bengs / Associated Press)

Sunday, 1:05 p.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 715.

Line: 49ers by 3. O/U: 52.

The 49ers are coming off that devastating last-second home loss to the Packers, and the Seahawks were embarrassed at Minnesota. Russell Wilson gets his team back on track vs. division foe.

Prediction: Seahawks 27, 49ers 24

Ravens (2-1) at Broncos (3-0)

Denver Broncos' Melvin Gordon III runs down the field against the New York Jets.
Denver Broncos’ Melvin Gordon III runs down the field against the New York Jets in the second half Sunday in Denver.
(Bart Young / Associated Press)
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Sunday, 1:25 p.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 716.

Line: Broncos by 1. O/U: 45.

Broncos’ 3-0 start is from wins over lowly Giants, Jaguars and Jets, but that defense is gaining confidence by the week. Denver lost two offensive linemen, which hurts, but has just enough at home.

Prediction: Broncos 23, Ravens 21

Steelers (1-2) at Packers (2-1)

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers looks on during the pre-game warm up.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers looks on during the pre-game warm up against the San Francisco 49ers Sunday in Santa Clara.
(Lachlan Cunningham / Associated Press)

Sunday, 1:25 p.m.

TV: Channel 2. DirecTV: 717.

Line: Packers by 7. O/U: 451/2.

The Packers are rolling after that abysmal start in New Orleans. When the Steelers suffer a lopsided loss at home to Cincinnati, you know something is awry. Aaron Rodgers keeps his team on target.

Prediction: Packers 28, Steelers 24

Buccaneers (2-1) at Patriots (1-2)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady smiles before a game against the Rams.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady smiles before a game against the Rams Sunday at SoFi Stadium.
(Kyusung Gong / Associated Press)

Sunday, 5:20 p.m.

TV: Channel 4.

Line: Buccaneers by 7. O/U: 49.

Tom Brady returns to Foxborough for first time as a visitor. He rises to occasion in biggest moments, plus the Buccaneers have to distance themselves from the drubbing they took in L.A. a week earlier.

Prediction: Buccaneers 31, Patriots 17

Raiders (3-0) at Chargers (2-1)

Las Vegas Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson kicks the game-winning field goal.
Las Vegas Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson (2) kicks the game-winning field goal against the Miami Dolphins Sunday in Las Vegas.
(Rick Scuteri / Associated Press)

Monday, 5:15 p.m.

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TV: ESPN.

Line: Chargers by 3½. O/U: 521/2.

Chargers look increasingly comfortable under Brandon Staley, and this will be a huge test. Raiders are rolling on both sides of ball, and they’re going to have a robust crowd. This goes down to the wire.

Prediction: Chargers 21, Raiders 20

Where do NFL fans gather to watch games in Southern California? From Packers to Bears and 49ers to Rams, use our guide to find your game-day spot.