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Against the Odds (2011) – Week 4

Let’s begin by reviewing how accurate Vinnie has been against the spread, through September:

9-6-1  overall

On to Week 4, for which Vinnie happens to be inclined toward road teams. Time to make some more reliable picks against the odds.

Detroit Lions @ Dallas Cowboys (-1.5)
: The Lions defense ranks fourth in the NFL in terms of pass yards allowed, racking up four interceptions and yielding only two passing touchdowns. Tony Romo is in for a long day, folks. His rib situation, injuries to his supporting cast, an offensive line that hasn’t been on the same page and now faces the challenge of keeping Detroit’s “Silver Crush” at bay, need I go on? Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson will keep their mojo going, here, against a Dallas defense which has some injuries on the back end. While Jahvid Best and his fellow Lions running backs are bound to struggle in attempt to drum up rushing yards against the Cowboys, it won’t matter all that much. Vinnie is still scratching his head at Dallas being favored.

Give me the Lions plus the points.

Minnesota Vikings @ Kansas City Chiefs (+1)
: Call Vinnie crazy, but Minnesota is more competitive and a tougher draw for opponents than the casual fan may realize. Despite below-average play from Donovan McNabb and the Vikings passing game, Adrian Peterson has been playing as well as ever, a trend which will continue (and then some) against Kansas City’s porous run defense. The absence of Jamaal Charles, meanwhile, not only takes away the Chiefs’ best player on offense but puts an inordinate amount of pressure on Matt Cassel. Let’s face it – Cassel played spirited enough football to keep the game within reach for his team a week ago, but that was against division rival San Diego. Minnesota’s corners are going to limit what Dwayne Bowe can do, while Jared Allen is probably going to get to Cassel relentlessly.

Give me the Vikings minus the points.

New Orleans Saints @ Jacksonville Jaguars (+7)
: This just in – Drew Brees will throw often, and throw well. Not only will the Saints pepper Jacksonville’s secondary with the usual deep passes to Devery Henderson or Robert Meachum, but there will be the lethal combination of Jimmy Graham, Lance Moore and Darren Sproles to contend with on short and intermediate routes. Plus, Marques Colston is apparently a possibility for the Saints’ active roster. And although Jacksonville has been decent defensively, Brees’ passes coupled with an improved (if underutilized) Saints running game pose way too great a challenge for this to resemble a close game. Sorry, Maurice Jones-Drew, but your contributions won’t be sufficient enough this week.

Give me the Saints minus the points.

New York Giants @ Arizona Cardinals (+1.5)
: The Giants remain in the thick of things in the wild NFC East, playing better than expected defense considering their lengthy injury list. With Osi Umenyiora inactive and Justin Tuck playing but hampered by a neck injury, for instance, Jason Pierre-Paul is really coming into his own at defensive end. No Mario Manningham for Week 3? Hakeem Nicks seemingly slowed down after banging his knee in the season opener? No problem. Victor Cruz has made the most of his opportunity, giving Eli Manning yet another weapon. The biggest mismatch in this game has to do with New York running the ball so well, thanks to both Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs, versus what has been a poor run defense on Arizona’s part.

Give me the Giants minus the points.

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