49ers (2-1) at Jets (2-1)
Time: 1 p.m. today. Line: 49ers by 4.
The skinny: A month ago, Jets coach Rex Ryan said, “This has a chance to be the best team that I’ve had since I’ve been the coach here.” Really? Care to take one of those Maury Povich lie detector tests? The only way this team is going to the AFC Championship Game is if they buy tickets. After losing Darrelle Revis, the Jets face a tough team that is coming off a surprising loss. Also, the 49ers spent the week in Ohio to avoid cross-country travel, which may be key. They’ll take off against the Jets and bounce back.
The pick: 49ers.
Patriots (1-2) at Bills (2-1)
Time: 1 p.m. today. Line: Patriots by 4.
The skinny: Bill Belichick isn’t going to get back last Sunday’s game that got away from him and the Patriots in Baltimore and he’s also not getting back the $50G he was fined after grabbing an official. Now, it’s payback time for the Pats, who are 7-1 against the spread in their past eight trips to Buffalo. Beware of an angry Bill, Bills!
The pick: Patriots.
Seahawks (2-1) at Rams (1-2)
Time: 1 p.m. today. Line: Seahawks by 2½.
The skinny: Be honest, how many times have you seen the Hail Mary pass that Russell Wilson threw to M.D. Jennings, uhh, sorry, Golden Tate Monday night? (I nearly broke my DVR). I love the quote from Tate, who admitted to pushing off on the play, but said, “I wasn’t trying to cheat.” Ha! Seattle is 5-13 overall on the road since 2010, but the Rams’ Steven Jackson isn’t 100 percent.
The pick: Seahawks.
Vikings (2-1) at Lions (1-2)
Time: 1 p.m. today. Line: Lions by 4½.
The skinny: Minnesota registered the upset of Week 3 by beating the 49ers. I’ve been impressed with the Vikings’ Christian Ponder, who is second in the NFL in completions (70.1 percent). Take the points in a close NFC North game.
The pick: Vikings.
Chargers (2-1) at Chiefs (1-2)
Time: 1 p.m. today. Line: Chiefs by 1.
The skinny: Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles now has two career games of at least 230 yards; only hall of famer and Long Island product Jim Brown (3) has more. San Diego is 4-10-1 against the spread in its past 15 trips to Kansas City, but I’m fading the trend.
The pick: Chargers.
Titans (1-2) at Texans (3-0)
Time: 1 p.m. today. Line: Texans by 12.
The skinny: The Titans have given up an NFL-worst 113 points. Will the Texans drop 50? Houston’s defense, led by defensive end J.J. Watt (5½ sacks) will swat away the Titans.
The pick: Texans.
Panthers (1-2) at Falcons (3-0)
Time: 1 p.m. today. Line: Falcons by 7.
The skinny: As good as Atlanta has been on both sides of the ball, that’s how dreadful Carolina has been. The Panthers have had almost 10 days to regroup from their Thursday thumping against the Giants, but that’s not enough time against Matt Ryan at home.
The pick: Falcons.
Dolphins (1-2) at Cardinals (3-0)
Time: 4:05 p.m. today. Line: Cardinals by 5½.
The skinny: It seems the best defenses are in the NFC West (49ers, Seahawks, even the Rams). But none may be better than the Cardinals, off to their best start since 1974, having given up an NFL-low 40 points. The Dolphins should have beaten the Jets. But they’ll struggle vs. Arizona’s defense, led by linebacker Daryl Washington. He has 29 tackles and is one of five Cardinals defenders with two sacks.
The pick: Cardinals.
Raiders (1-2) at Broncos (1-2)
Time: 4:05 p.m. today. Line: Broncos by 6½.
The skinny: Peyton Manning was taken first overall by the Colts in 1998. Five years later, Carson Palmer went No. 1 to the Bengals. Now they’re each trying to make their marks with a second franchise. Oakland, which is coming off a big comeback win over the Steelers, is 4-1 against the spread in its past five meetings with Denver, and 6-0 against the spread in its past six games in the Mile High City.
The pick: Raiders.
Bengals (2-1) at Jaguars (1-2)
Time: 4:05 p.m. today. Line: Bengals by 2½.
The skinny: Can’t wait to see Ed Hochuli and the real refs back on the field. You know Hochuli, the guy who looks more like a linebacker than a line judge? He said he was so excited about the news that he “got down on the floor and started doing pushups.” Cincy will flex just enough muscle to win.
The pick: Bengals.
Redskins (1-2) at Buccaneers (1-2)
Time: 4:25 p.m. today. Line: Bucs by 2½.
The skinny: Some trends after three weeks. Note: these numbers are courtesy of the now-dismissed “replacement refs” (go back to your day jobs, fellas). Underdogs are 29-18-1 against the spread, including 13-6 against the spread at home. Home teams are 31-17 overall (including 19-10 as favorites). However, I don’t think the home favorite trend works here.
The pick: Redskins.
Saints (0-3) at Packers (1-2)
Time: 4:25 p.m. today. Line: Packers by 7½.
The skinny: Mike McCarthy and the Packers are a class act. I wouldn’t have let my team go out for the extra point after that abomination. Before the replacement refs sacked the Pack, Seattle’s defense did it eight times. Their O-line is an issue and as bad as the Pack needs this win, so do the Saints, trying to avoid an unthinkable 0-4 start.
The pick: Saints.
Giants (2-1) at Eagles (2-1)
Time: 8:20 p.m. today. Line: Eagles by 2.
The skinny: The Giants are underdogs, but I just don’t see it, especially after the way they roughed up Carolina last Thursday. The extra time off should benefit the banged-up Giants, who are 1-7 against the spread in their past eight meetings vs. the Eagles. Philly is lucky to be 2-1 with a minus-6 turnover margin. Quarterback Michael Vick has turned the ball over nine times (6 interceptions, 3 fumbles lost) himself. He’s also been hit a league-high 28 times. Osi Umenyiora will get the last laugh against LeSean McCoy as Big Blue (5-2 against the spread in last seven in Philly) not only covers, they win outright. Tough words for this Philly native to type.
The pick: Giants.
Bears (2-1) at Cowboys (2-1)
Time: 8:30 p.m. Monday. Line: Cowboys by 3½.
The skinny: I’ll take the better quarterback (Tony Romo) and better defense (Dallas ranked No. 1). Let’s hope for no more Monday Night Football fiascoes. Thank goodness the real refs are back!
The pick: Cowboys.
Bye week: Colts, Steelers.
— John Boell, Newsday