PORTLAND, Ore. — The first human beings God created were Adam and Eve. Then a few thousand years ago he created the Jews, followed by other world religions. One hundred years ago, he created the National Football League. This is one of those agonizing weekends where two of his most beautiful creations are in direct conflict. What does a Jewish football fan do when the Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashanah falls on an NFL weekend? Like the incoming NFL 2019 Week 4?
An Orthodox Rabbi would tell Jews to be in synagogue. An NFL Commissioner who is not Jewish would probably be happy with more television viewers.
With the return of ESPN’s NFL Primetime, let us remember the words of uber-announcer and proud Jew Chris Berman. “Welcome to NFL Primetime. We wish our Jewish viewers a Happy Rosh Hashanah. For those of you watching this broadcast on the East Coast, you should be in temple right now. We caught you!”
For some, perhaps, NFL football is itself a kind of secular religion.
Whatever the case this weekend, Jews living on the West Coast can take heart. Rosh Hashanah does not begin until Sunday night. Jewish football fans can watch all of the morning and afternoon games and half of the night game. Since the television is already on, watching the whole night game works if you can find a Sunday night service that starts very late. Those on the East Coast may have to forego the night game. As for Monday Night Football, any advice I would give would either anger my Rabbi or the NFL Commissioner. I will leave the Monday Night Football dilemma to private conversations between Jews and their Hebrew God.
CDN’s NFL 2019 Week 4 extravaganza
With that, here is the NFL 2019 Week 4 Preview and Bettor’s Guide, with point spreads provided by FootballLocks.com and all times Eastern.
Thursday, September 26, 2019, 8:20 p.m.
As is often the case with a jam-packed long weekend of NFL football, NFL 2019 Week 4 begins on Thursday evening.
Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers (-4.5) —
The Eagles are now a 1-2 football team. The Packers now have a defense. At home, with a defense, we can trust the Packers to win. However, the Eagles will be desperate, making for a tight game. Packers win but fail to cover.
Sunday, September 29, 1:00 p.m.
Now we move to the biggest day of football taking place during NFL 2019 Week 4. Some key games are on tap
Carolina Panthers at Houston Texans (-4.5) —
Kyle Allen threw four touchdowns in his very first start in place of an injured Cam Newton. Deshaun Watson can match that blow for blow. Houston has the better defense and is at home. Texans wins but fails to cover.
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens (-7) —
The Browns put up a heck of a fight at home in a seven point loss to the Rams that went down to the final seconds. Hosting Baltimore, the spread would be high. At Baltimore, it is not. Lamar Jackson is improved. Baltimore’s defense remains very stout. Ravens cover.
Washington Redskins at New York Giants (-3) —
The Giants tried to lose last week but failed. Washington tried to loose badly and did. Daniel Jones was sensational in his very first start, and has most likely permanently taken Eli Manning’s job. At home against a terrible Washington team on the brink of mutiny, give the Giants the benefit of the doubt. Giants cover.
Los Angeles Chargers (-16) at Miami Dolphins —
After losing at home by 49 and 43 points, the Dolphins last week went on the road and only lost by 25. Normally this sky high spread would be justified in this NFL 2019 Week 4 contest. But the Chargers are perpetual underachievers. Of course the Chargers can perform better, but they never live up to expectations. Chargers win but fail to cover.
Oakland Raiders at Indianapolis Colts (-7) —
The Colts are better than expected while the Raiders were blown out for the second straight week last week at Minnesota. Indianapolis has nothing special on defense, while the Raiders secondary is a mess. Games that rely on defense, the Raiders lose. Games that rely on offense, Derek Carr tends to get the job done. Upset special, Raiders win outright.
Kansas City Chiefs (-6.5) at Detroit Lions —
Patrick Mahomes is unstoppable. The Lions have an ordinary defense. The Chiefs have a pinball offense and a super human leading it. The spread is high, but Mahomes gets the benefit of the doubt until someone stops him. Chiefs cover.
New England Patriots (-7) at Buffalo Bills —
Both teams are 3-0, but nobody is taking the Bills seriously. And certainly not in this NFL 2019 Week 4 contest. That’s because the oddsmakers know this is the week the Bills get exposed as pretenders. This Patriots team is better than the team that has been to the last three Super Bowls. That is scary. Patriots cover.
Tennessee Titans at Atlanta Falcons (-4) —
A pair of inconsistent underachieving teams meet. At home, go with the Falcons’ offense, especially against an uninspiring Tennessee team lacking an identity.
Sunday, September 29, 4:00 p.m.
Either an early or a late dinner will help you catch these NFL 2019 Week 4 contests. For Jewish fans, consult the opening paragraphs of this week’s CDN Preview and Bettors Guide.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Los Angeles Rams (-9.5) —
Bruce Arians will turn the Buccaneers around, but not in this game. The Rams are at home and have a great offense. Tampa Bay has a terrible defense. Tampa Bay’s offense can put up points. But do not expect a shootout when Michelin Man Wade Phillips unleashes Aaron Donald against the mistake-prone Jameis Winston. Rams cover.
Seattle Seahawks (-5) at Arizona Cardinals —
The Seahawks suffered a stunning hime loss last week against New Orleans. They were blown out. The Cardinals are supposed to be exciting on offense, but it takes time for exciting to gel. Seattle will be angry. Pete Carroll still has a very good defense and will enjoy unleashing hell on the rookie Arizona quarterback.
Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears (-2) —
Both teams have great defenses and suspect offenses. At home, trust Chicago. Khalil Mack is more reliable than Kirk Cousins. Bears cover.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Denver Broncos (-3) —
Despite being winless, Denver put up a fight at Green Bay. The Jaguars do have a defense, but Denver is due. Broncos cover.
Sunday, September 29, 8:00 p.m.
Jewish fans should consult our NFL 2019 Week 4 suggestions, offered in this week’s introductory paragraphs.
Dallas Cowboys (-2.5) at New Orleans Saints —
Playing a backup quarterback would normally justify the Saints being an underdog, even at home. Yes, Dallas is very good. However, Teddy Bridgewater is no ordinary backup and the Saints went on the road and absolutely blasted a good Seattle team. Last week was a statement that the Saints are not going to fold it up. If the Cowboys want to truly be a Super Bowl contender, a win here would amplify that chatter. Upset special, Saints win outright.
Monday, September 23, 8:20 p.m.
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers (-4) —
The Steelers have never had a losing season under Mike Tomlin, but now sit at 0-3. But Monday night, in this concluding game of NFL 2019 Week 4, they enjoy the good fortune of playing a woeful Bengals squad. With a national Monday night audience, expect the Terrible Towels to wave passionately. The Steelers’ offense, even with backup quarterback Mason Rudolph, is still way better than the Cincinnati defense. Steelers cover.
— Headline image: Official NFL logo w. shofar for Rosh Hashanah. Fair use collage.