Jim Poore isn't impressed with the Patriots lack of defense and thinks it could hurt them down the road. Here are Jim's Week 4 picks against the spread. Take a look and let him know what you think.

[Editor's Note: Congrats to Jim on his new baby. All these predictions and a baby in the same week. Best to Mom, baby and Jimbo from all of us here at PI.]

I am curious as to how many people out there still feel that the New England Patriots are Super Bowl contenders. After last week's game, I think only the truly optimistic will have those feelings. This team is a mess on the defensive side of the ball, with injuries and players totally underperforming. They now have the 32nd ranked defense in the NFL Thit means they have the worst defense, and I don't see any signs it is going to get any better.

Tom Brady right now only has two reliable targets, Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski, and their running game is highly suspect right now. When Aaron Hernandez returns that will definitely help, but right now Brady has to put up at least 35 points a game to give the Patriots any chance of winning. They need to make some changes, and very quickly.

And now onto the picks.
As always, home team in CAPS.
CHICAGO  6 1/2   Carolina
Both teams are struggling now, but at least Carolina has youth as an excuse. Cam Newton has fallen back to earth a bit, and the Bears are fighting injuries. The Bears are clearly the better team though, and being at home they should be able to beat the upstart Panthers.

Bears   27-17
St. Louis  1  Washington
The Rams have been a disappointment, and they need to get their act together to contend in the NFC West. The Redskins got off to a great start, but I think they are going to falter a bit. This is an early season must win for St. Louis. I think they get the job done.
Rams 24-21
Houston  4  Pittsburgh
This game could turn into a shootout, and if it does it should favor Houston. Ben Roethlisberger has been inconsistent. The Texans can score against anybody. I like Houston here, especially at home. The Texans are going to be very tough to beat this year.
Texans  36-27
New Orleans  6 1/2   JACKSONVILLE
The Saints have looked good, but I think their defense needs to get squared away. The Jaguars are like they always are, so-so. I am actually a little bit surprised that Jack Del Rio is still around, and the Jaguars franchise in general, at least in Jacksonville. The Saints might have a bit of a letdown after last week's big win, but I still don't see too many problems here.
Saints  29-16
Atlanta  4 1/2  SEATTLE

I am not sure what is going on in Atlanta, but whatever is going on it needs to be changed. I do know what is going on in Seattle. They have a bad football team. They could be the opponent that gets the Falcons going. In fact, they could be the opponent that gets everybody going.
Falcons 30-14
New York Giants  1  Arizona
The Giants have been better lately, and could be a factor in the NFC East. The Cardinals have looked pretty good, and have a leg up in the NFC West. I like the Giants here though. I think they are playing better.
Giants  20-17
CLEVELAND  1  Tennessee
The Browns have been ok, but I don't think they are a playoff team though. The Titans definitely are not, but they do seem to be playing hard. I like Cleveland here. They are at home, playing decent defense and will be 3-1 after this week.
Browns  23-21
DALLAS  1 1/2  Detroit
I think the wrong team is favored here. The Cowboys are 2-1 but they really aren't playing all that well, and Tony Romo is really banged up. The Lions are cruising, though they did pull out a squeeker last week. I just can't see Dallas winning this game. I don't think they are that good, and the Lions are.
Lions  28-20
SAN DIEGO  7  Miami
The Chargers are another team that I just don't think are that good. They really struggled last week against a bad Kansas City team. I am hearing that Tony Sparano is on the hot seat in Miami, and he should be. The players desperately want to win for him though. Not this week, though I think they can keep it close. I'll take Miami and the points here.
Chargers 30-24
GREEN BAY  13  Denver
Talk about two teams going in totally opposite directions. The Pack have looked great, while Denver, not so much. I don't see too many issues for the Packers here, especially in the cozy confines of Lambeau Stadium.
Packers  34-14
Buffalo  3  Cincinnati
The Bills are undefeated, but they are going to come back to earth soon. I don't think it will be this week though. Cincinnati is just not a good team, and the Bills shouldn't have any problems scoring. I like Buffalo here.
Bills 30-20
New England  4  OAKLAND
The Patriots are 2-1, but really are having some problems. The Raiders, on the other hand, are playing like early season playoff contenders. I am not sure the Patriots can stop Darren McFadden. I expect a lot of points again this week, but I think the Raiders pull the upset.
Raiders   35-31
PHILADELPHIA  7 1/2  San Francisco
The Eagles and their All Pro team better get moving. They haven't been playing well, and most thought they would be 3-0 at this point. Fortunately, the 49ers are nothing special. This could be the game to get the Eagles back on track. Could be.
Eagles  29-13
TAMPA BAY  10  Indianapolis
The Buccaneers have picked it up lately, while the Colts are in for a long season. Even with Peyton Manning, I didn't think the Colts were going to be anything special this year. I think they will win a couple of games, but this isn't going to be one of them. I like Tampa here.
Buccaneers 27-14
Game of the Week

BALTIMORE 3 1/2  New York Jets
The Ravens looked great last week, while the Jets lost a close game. Both teams will be in the playoffs this year, and this could be a preview of the divisional round. I think the Ravens are better, they are at home, and they should be able to get to Mark Sanchez.
Ravens  21-17
Stinker of the Week

Minnesota  1 1/2  KANSAS CITY
This is the Stinker for a reason. Both teams stink. I think Minnesota stinks less, but I have a feeling that the Chiefs will pull out a win. No reason.
Chiefs  17-16
Record For Week Three: 7-9 ( 9-7 without spread )
Record Through Week Three: 23-22-3 ( 31-17 without the spread )
Game of Week Record: 3-0
Stinker of Week Record: 0-3

Jim Poore has been a long time contributor to Patriots Insider with his weekly picks column. Let him know what you think. Email him here:

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