NFL-The Lineman looks at six Week Four matchups


Sept 25 (Reuters) - Each Wednesday, The Lineman offers his predictions and analysis of six matchups from that week's National Football League (NFL) schedule.

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Last week 2-4

Overall 8-10

Pick of the Week 2-1

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Indianapolis Colts (2-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-3)

(Line Colts -7.5)

The poor, poor dysfunctional Jaguars are looking every bit like a team that could finish 0-16 while the Colts look like world beaters as they roll into Florida off a dominant win over the San Francisco 49ers.

Blaine Gabbert will be back under center for the Jaguars but to be honest this team is so bad it wouldn't make any difference if Peyton Manning was calling plays.

Running back Trent Richardson scored a touchdown in his first carry as a Colt last week against the Niners and can expect to find the end zone a few more times on Sunday against the NFL's worst rush defense.

Andrew Luck has thrown for just 663 yards and three touchdowns in three games but look for the Colts quarterback and Reggie Wayne to put on a show in Jacksonville.

The Colts defense ranks near the top of the league, allowing just 16 points a game, and should have little problems handling a toothless Jags attack that is averaging a league 230 yards total offense per contest.

Circle the 2014 NFL draft on your calendar Jags fans. That's all you have left to look forward to this season.

Lucky day in Jacksonville. Take the Colts and give up the 7.5.

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San Francisco 49ers (1-2) at St. Louis Rams (1-2)

(Lind 49ers -3.5)

Blown out by the Seattle Seahawks and then slapped around by the Colts at home - what has happened to the Niners, the sexy pre-season pick to win the Super Bowl?

Going into St. Louis to take on the improving Rams in a division matchup presents a huge challenge but this is a statement game for the Niners, who must get their mojo back and prove the last two weeks were just bumps on their way back to the Super Bowl.

Alarm bells are ringing in Niner-land, quarterback Colin Kaepernick was impressive in a Week One win over the Green Bay Packers has been out of sorts since.

Wide receivers Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham remain injured and Aldon Smith has entered rehab but the Niners are still a quality team with of offensive weapons in running back Frank Gore, receiver Anquan Boldin and tight end Vernon Davis.

A loss and the San Francisco could find themselves at the bottom of the NFC West.

This is a Thursday Night San Francisco treat. Take the Niners and give up the 3.5.

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

(Line Bears +2.5)

Jay Cutler is playing the best football of his career, Matt Forte is Mr. Everything in the backfield, the Chicago defense is, as usual, rock solid and leading the league in takeaways.

What that all adds up to is an impressive 3-0 start.

The Bears head to the Motor City to face gunslinging quarterback Matthew Stafford and a high-octane Lions attack that ranks seconds only to Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in passing offense averaging 336 yards per game.

Calvin Johnson will be handful for Bears corners Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman but Chicago will not have to worry about wide out Nate Burleson, who will miss the game after breaking his arm in a car accident.

Bears should win this one straight up, getting 2.5 points is a bonus.

Take the Bears and the bonus.

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Washington Redskins (0-3) at Oakland Raiders (1-2)

(Line Washington -2.5)

The big question here is whether Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor miss Sunday's game with a concussion. If Pryor sits Washington gets their first win of the season.

The Redskins defenses is the worst in the league giving up an average of 488 yards per game.

Fortunately for the Redskins, Oakland, particularly without Pryor, does not have the offensive weapons to take advantage of those weakness having averaged just 19 points a game.

Washington needs a big game from quarterback Robert Griffin III who has struggled to find his rookie season magic.

Redskins pull a win out of their hat.

Take Washington and give up the 2.5.

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Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) at Cleveland Browns (1-2)

(Line Bengals -4.5)

After trading away their top running back and starting untested Brian Hoyer at quarterback the Browns pulled off a shocker last week by upsetting the Minnesota Vikings but it won't happen again this week in the Ohio Derby.

The Bengals defense is a different class from the Vikings and should bring the Browns attack back to reality.

Andy Dalton and the Bengals finally started to show their stripes in back-to-back wins over the Pittsburgh Steelers and Packers.

Down goes Browns.

Take the Bengals and give up the 4.5.

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New England Patriots (3-0) at Atlanta Falcons (1-2)

(Line Falcons -1.5)

Patriots are off to 3-0 start but let's not get too excited as two of those wins were three points or less against two rookie quarterbacks (Buffalo's EJ Manuel and New York's Geno Smith) and Tampa Bay's Josh Freeman, who has been benched.

Atlanta has had tough road losses to New Orleans and Miami and now returns home to the Georgia Dome in need of a big win if they are to keep the Saints from running away with the division.

Matt Ryan has thrown for over 900 yards and Julio Jones is the NFL's top receiver. Big tight end Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White are also due for a breakout game.

Dirty Birds dump Pats.

Take the Falcons and give up the 1.5. (Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto)

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