Entering NFL Week 3, only seven teams stand with 2-0 records. Two of those clubs meet in a high-profile bout that might very well be an NFC Championship game preview. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers head west to face the Los Angeles Rams in a game pitting the two teams with the best odds to win the NFC this season.
One week after underdogs ruled the NFL Odds, going 12-4 in Week 1, things came closer to even last week. NFL underdogs went 9-7 against the spread in Week 2. Home underdogs particularly struggled, going 3-4 against the spread and 2-5 straight up. The under hit nine times, with the over hitting seven times, in Week 2. The Browns couldn’t cover the league’s widest spread (+13.5), but won straight up 31-21. Both the Bucs and the Packers covered the other double-digit spreads last week. The Titans were the biggest underdog to cover (+6.5), with their 33-30 win in Seattle.
There’s only one double-digit spread so far in Week 3, but there are six spreads that stand at more than a touchdown. Four home teams enter their games as underdogs this week. Here’s a look at each NFL Week 3 game, with best odds, picks and predictions for each contest.
Carolina Panthers at Houston Texans Picks and Predictions
The Carolina Panthers play the Houston Texans to start Week 3 for the NFL. The Panthers hit the road for the first time this season after securing two wins at home through the first two weeks. Carolina (2-0, 2-0 ATS) dominated the Saints, despite New Orleans being favored by three entering that one. The Texans (1-1, 2-0 ATS), meanwhile, hung with the Cleveland Browns on the road in Week 2 until a hamstring injury forced quarterback Tyrod Taylor from the game. Taylor’s already been ruled out for Thursday night’s game.
The Carolina Panthers handled their business in Week 1 against the New York Jets, but few oddsmakers picked the Panthers to top New Orleans in Week 2. The Panthers snagged the victory as home underdogs comfortably, and looked good doing it. Sam Darnold completed 26-of-28 passes for 305 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception as well. He found D.J. Moore eight times for 79 yards and a TD. Christian McCaffrey provided 137 yards of total offense and a rushing touchdown to boot.
Carolina outgained the Saints 383-128 in Week 2, and their defense held Jameis Winston to just 11 passing yards and Alvin Kamara to just five rushing yards. The Panthers D is allowing just 190 yards per game and lead the NFL with 10 sacks.
The Houston Texans entered the NFL’s 2021 season with the longest odds to win the AFC, but looked good after dismantling Jacksonville in Week 1. But a Week 2 injury to quarterback Tyrod Taylor has this team hoping the veteran can return quickly. Rookie Davis Mills played inconsistently in his first NFL action after struggling throughout the preseason. Houston hung with the Browns in Week 2 through the first half, but after Taylor was ruled out with a hamstring injury, the wheels fell off the offense.
Taylor completed 10-of-11 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown in the first half against the Browns. He averaged 11.4 yards per attempt before being pushed from the game with that hamstring strain. His replacement couldn’t find that same rhythm, and struggled to move the offense. Mills went 8-of-18 for 102 yards a touchdown and an interception. He threw four interceptions this preseason, so that doesn’t bode well against a Panthers defense that has three interceptions through two games already this season.
To their credit, the Texans have covered the spread in both their games this year, but without Tyrod Taylor, it’s hard to see them doing so against a talented and aggressive Carolina defense. Deshaun Watson will reportedly remain inactive this week. Houston’s games have gone over four of the last five times, including both this season. The Panthers, meanwhile, are 4-1 against the spread in their last five games, and have covered each of their last seven road games. Carolina’s last five games have all gone under the total.
Picks and Predictions
Carolina 27, Houston 10
ML: CAR -312 (888sport); Spread: CAR -7.5/+100 (888sport); O/U: Under 43.5/-105 (FanDuel)
Washington Football Team at Buffalo Bills Picks and Predictions
The Washington Football Team plays the Buffalo Bills in a matchup of two teams coming off their first wins of the season. Washington (1-1, 0-2 ATS) likes what it has in Taylor Heinicke, but he faces a Bills defense coming off a shutout. Buffalo (1-1, 1-1 ATS) staked their claim to the AFC East by decimating the Miami Dolphins 35-0. Although the offense didn’t look sharp, the defense carried the day for the Bills.
The Washington Football Team survived their Thursday Night Football matchup in Week 2 with a 30-29 victory over the New York Giants. A late penalty gave kicker Dustin Hopkins a second chance and he didn’t miss, sending Washington to 1-1 on the season. The win got new quarterback Taylor Heinicke off the hook after his late interception nearly cost his team the game. Heinicke looks like a suitable starter though, considering he threw for 336 yards and two touchdowns against a good Giants defense.
Heinicke flashed much-needed chemistry with Terry McLaurin, the two connecting on 11 passes for 107 yards and a score. The passing game supplemented a subpar effort on the ground. Washington managed just 87 rushing yards on 22 carries. But the defense surrendering 29 points to a low-scoring Giants squad is concerning.
The Buffalo Bills entered the season with the second-best odds to win the AFC Conference and after a disappointing Week 1 performance, they finally looked the part in Week 2. The Bills put a beat down on the Miami Dolphins to the tune of 35-0. Buffalo’s defense assaulted Dolphins quarterbacks, registering six sacks, 11 quarterback hits and nine tackles for loss. The Bills knocked Miami’s second-year quarterback Tua Tagovialoa out of the game in his second series.
Josh Allen put up modest numbers against a solid Miami secondary, but he didn’t have to do much in this one. Allen went 17-of-33 for 179 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Devin Singletary looked like he was well on his way to a big day after he started the game with a 46-yard touchdown run. But Singletary managed just 36 yards on 12 carries after that.
It was Buffalo’s defense that won this one. The Bills grabbed three takeaways and kept Miami from converting any of their four fourth down conversion attempts. Buffalo’s D limited the Dolphins to 8-of-18 on third down and allowed just 216 total yards.
Buffalo’s currently on a 10-3 run against the spread dating back to last season, and they’ll look to atone for their Week 1 loss at home to Pittsburgh. Heinicke’s making his first career road start in this one, but it’ll have to be Washington’s defense that comes to play the most. If Washington’s D can force a few turnovers, they might be able to hang around and at least cover the spread.
The Bills have won five straight home games against Washington and are one a six-game cover streak against NFC teams. Bills games have hit the under both times this season and eight of the last 11 times they’ve played in September. Washington games, meanwhile, have hit the under 10 of the last 15 times against AFC opponents.
The Chicago Bears play the Cleveland Browns in this Week 3 matchup of Midwest teams looking to build momentum. The Bears (1-1) come in after getting a much-needed victory against the Cincinnati Bengals. Their defense finally showed up, but they lost their starting quarterback in the process. The Browns (1-1, 1-1 ATS) bounced back from their disappointing Week 1 loss in Kansas City to pull away from Houston in the second half.
The Chicago Bears held on to defeat the Cincinnati Bengals 20-17 despite a furious fourth quarter rally from Joe Burrow. Chicago saw their starting quarterback Andy Dalton leave with a knee injury and rookie Justin Fields took over for the second half. Fields put up modest numbers against the Bengals, posting just 60 passing yards. He completed only six of 13 pass attempts and threw a costly interception late. Field did add 31 rushing yards.
Chicago’s defense finally looked like itself this week, after getting gashed by the Los Angeles Rams in Week 1. The Bears D picked off Joe Burrow three times, including a 53-yard pick-six by Roquan Smith, and they forced a fumble during a key stretch where they established a three-score lead.
The Cleveland Browns took control of their Week 2 contest against the Houston Texans in the second half. Entering the break tied at 14, the Browns dominated the third and fourth quarters, securing the 31-21 victory. Early on though, the defense, incorporating eight new starters, struggled and they could face an interesting challenge in Fields this week.
Baker Mayfield completed 19-of-21 passes for 213 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Cleveland ran up 156 yards on the ground and are averaging the third-most rushing yards per game (154.5) through two weeks. Jarvis Landry exited with a knee injury and Odell Beckham Jr has yet to make his 2021 debut after last season’s knee injury.
The Bears defense ranks fifth through two weeks, allowing just 71.5 rushing yards per game, and they’ll need to limit Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt on the ground if they’re going to hang around in this game. It’ll have to be the defense for Chicago, considering their offense has scored just three touchdowns through two games.
Cleveland’s covered just one of their last six home games, and the Bears have covered six in a row against teams from the AFC North. But Chicago is just 2-5 against the spread in their last seven road games, with the Browns are 4-1 against the spread in their last five against NFC opponents, and 4-1 straight up in their last five home games.
Chicago’s only hope here is that their defense limits the Browns rushing attack and comes up with turnovers, like they did at home in Week 2. Cleveland enters with some concerns at receiver, considering the injuries, but they should be able to handle the Bears.
The Baltimore Ravens play the Detroit Lions in a matchup of two teams going in the opposite direction. The Ravens (1-1, 1-1 ATS) come to this one after a pair of thrilling primetime games in the first two weeks. Baltimore finally beat the Chiefs thanks to another spectacular effort from Lamar Jackson. The Lions (0-2, 1-1 ATS) hung around in their Week 2 Monday Night game in Green Bay, but fell apart in the second half.
The Baltimore Ravens looked very much like a team that holds the third-highest odds to win the AFC with their Week 2 come-from-behind win over the Kansas City Chiefs. Lamar Jackson finally defeated the Chiefs, and registered his ninth career 100-yard rushing game. That performance ties him with Michael Vick for the most 100-yard rushing games by a quarterback in NFL history. Considering the state of Baltimore’s backfield, there’s no reason to think he won’t break the record this week against the Lions.
The secondary remains a concern for Baltimore as they prepare for their Week 3 matchup in Detroit. The Ravens surrendered more than 30 points again in Week 2, marking the first time in franchise history the defense has allowed 30-plus points in each of their first two games.
The Detroit Lions hung around through the first half of their Week 2 matchup in Green Bay, even holding a 17-14 advantage at halftime. But they looked very much like team with the longest odds to win the NFC Championship after that. Detroit allowed the Packers to score touchdowns on their first three possessions of the second half and couldn’t keep up on offense.
Jared Goff started strong, but faded as the game went on. He finished 26-of-36 for 246 yards, and that’s after completing 13 of his first 14 passes. He found Quintez Cephus and T.J. Hockenson for touchdowns, but turned the ball over twice, with an interception and a fumble.
Detroit’s defense did little to stop the Rodgers and the Packers, especially in the second half, and now they have to face another former MVP at quarterback in Lamar Jackson. The Lions allowed a league-high 519 points last season, the second-most all-time, and they’ve started 2021 by giving up 80 points through two weeks.
The Ravens come to this one as a heavy favorite on the road, and they should have no problem running up points against this leaky Detroit defense. Baltimore is 8-2 against the spread in its last 10 games, and specifically 4-1 against the spread versus the Lions. The total has gone over in 13 of Detroit’s last 16 games at home. The Lions have also seen the over in four of their last five games, including both so far this season. The Ravens have also gone over both times in 2021.
Picks and Predictions
Baltimore 34, Detroit 24
ML: BAL -357 (UniBet); Spread: BAL -9/-110 (BetMGM); O/U: O 50/-109 (UniBet)
Arizona Cardinals at Jacksonville Jaguars Picks and Predictions
The Arizona Cardinals play the Jacksonville Jaguars in a game between two teams at the opposite ends of the standings. The Cardinals (2-0, 1-1 ATS) survived in their Week 2 thriller against Minnesota, hitting on big offensive plays and getting some luck at the end. The Jaguars (0-2, 0-2 ATS) couldn’t keep up with Denver in their home opener and have real problems on the offensive side of the ball.
The Arizona Cardinals sport an early MVP front-runner in Kyler Murray, who repeatedly escaped Minnesota’s pass rush to find open receivers down field. Murray went 29-of-36 for 400 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. He also ran for 31 yards and a touchdown. Murray scrambled away from a sack on one play to find Rondale Moore for a 77-yard touchdown.
The back-and-forth game against the Vikings ultimately ended after Minnesota’s kicker, Greg Joseph, missed a game-winning 37-yard field goal. Murray had some bad moments in this one, including a pick-six interception, but ultimately did enough for his team to win.
The Jacksonville Jaguars took their 17th consecutive loss with the 23-13 defeat at the hands of the Denver Broncos in Week 2. Jacksonville’s offense looked good to start, with Trevor Lawrence directing an 83-yard game-opening touchdown drive. But the Jaguars managed just 106 yards of offense for the remainder of the game.
Lawrence completed 14-of-33 passes for 118 yards, with a touchdown and two interceptions. He now has five picks in two games. One of Jacksonville’s top playmakers, Laviska Shenault, had just three touches totaling minus-3 yards. The Jaguars manage just 75.5 rushing yards per game through two games.
This game pits a high-powered offense against a team stuck in a rebuild. The Cardinals score 36.0 points per game, second most in the league so far, and more than double what Jacksonville puts up (17.0). The Jaguars defense surrenders 423.5 yards per game, and 30.0 points per contest, so Arizona should feast in this one despite having to come east.
Arizona might be 3-8 against the spread in its last 11 games, but the Jaguars are 1-4 against the spread in their last five home games. While the Cardinals total has gone under in each of their last five road games, the total’s gone over four out of the last five times these two teams have met.
Picks and Predictions
Arizona 34, Jacksonville 17
ML: AZ -333 (BetMGM); Spread: AZ -7.5/-105 (DraftKings); O/U: Under 52/-105 (PointsBet)
Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs Picks and Predictions
When: Sunday, September 26th, 1 PM
Where: GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO
The Los Angeles Chargers play the Kansas City Chiefs in an important matchup of AFC West division rivals. The Chargers (1-1, 1-1 ATS) botched their chance to start 2-0 after committing costly penalties and mistakes against Dallas in Week 2. The Chiefs (1-1, 0-2 ATS) come to this one with real questions about their defense, which is allowing 32.5 point per game through two weeks.
The Los Angeles Chargers missed the opportunity to start 2-0 this season with an uneven performance in Week 2. The Chargers saw two passing touchdowns wiped out by penalties, and piled up 99 yards on 12 penalties throughout the contest. Six of those took away first downs of the offense, which also saw second-year quarterback Justin Herbert throw a critical interception in the end zone. Los Angeles also missed a field goal along the way.
Herbert went 31-of-41 for 338 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions on the day. It was the 10th time in Herbert’s career he’s thrown for more than 300 yards, but it was another loss. The Chargers fought back from an early 14-3 deficit, but too many mistakes along the way prevented Los Angeles from starting the season 2-0.
The Kansas City Chiefs remain favored to win the AFC Conference, but the team’s worrisome defense makes those NFL futures bets all the more uncertain. The Chiefs allowed Baltimore to run up 251 rushing yards on 41 carries, a 6.1 yards per carry average. They also allowed Lamar Jackson to throw for 239 yards. The defense allows a league-worst 469 yards of total offense per game through the first two weeks.
The offense continued to carry the load for Kansas City in this one. Patrick Mahomes completed 24-of-31 passes for 343 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. But the Chiefs couldn’t find any success on the ground, gaining just 62 yards on 18 carries in this one.
The Chargers enter as 6.5-point underdogs, but Kansas City hasn’t covered a spread since November of 2020. Los Angeles saw their five-game cover streak end last week against the Cowboys. The Chiefs, meanwhile, come in 16-2 straight up over their last 18 home games.
And although the Chargers have won two of the last three matchups in this series, the last time these two teams played, Kansas City rested all their starters ahead of the playoffs. The total has gone over in four of the last five matchups between the Chargers and Chiefs at Arrowhead, and both KC games have hit the over so far this season.
Herbert and the Chargers have the offensive arsenal to hang around with Kansas City in this one, but Los Angeles has been mistake-prone early on this season. If they can clean up the mistakes, they should be able to put points on this Chiefs defense. But that’s a big if on the road.
The New Orleans Saints play the New England Patriots in this Week 3 matchup between a pair of 1-1 teams. The Saints (1-1, 1-1 ATS) fell flat on Sunday during their 26-7 loss to a division rival, after utterly dominating the Packers in Week 1. The Patriots (1-1, 1-1 ATS) took home a division win one week after dropping their home opener.
The New Orleans Saints entered Week 2 missing nine starters due to either injury or suspension, and were without eight assistant coaches because of COVID-19 protocols. And the team’s been on the road for three weeks thanks to Hurricane Ida, so this loss is certainly understandable. But the Jekyll and Hyde performance through two weeks makes making picks and predictions for New Orleans difficult.
The Saints looked like the opposite of the team that trounced the Green Bay Packers in Week 1. Jameis Winston came back to earth after his impressive opening performance. Winston threw two interceptions in Week 2 and managed just 11 yards through the air. What’s worse, Winston led the team with 19 rushing yards in this one. Alvin Kamara couldn’t find any room, gaining just five yards on his eight carries.
The New England Patriots dominated another rookie quarterback last week. After terrorizing Jets QB Zach Wilson into four interceptions in his first 10 pass attempts, New England head coach Bill Belichick improved to 22-7 against rookie starters since 2000. With their 25-6 victory, the Patriots now sport 11 consecutive wins over the New York Jets. New England won the turnover battle 4-0, and improved to 167-18 with a positive turnover differential under Belichick.
The Patriots kept the training wheels on rookie quarterback Mac Jones in this one. Jones went 22-of-30 for 186 yards, but didn’t make the mistakes his counterpart, Zach Wilson, made. The New England defense picked off Wilson’s first two throws of the game, another to end Wilson’s fourth drive, and a fourth in the opening drive of the second half. New England converted only three of their 12 third down tries, and went 1-for-3 in the red zone.
New England sports a 5-1 record straight up in its last six games against New Orleans, but those games featured Drew Brees and Tom Brady dueling. New Orleans has gone 12-4 against the spread in its last 16 road games. Under has been the play for both of these teams of late. The Saints have seen the under hit in each of their last five games, and five of their last six on the road. The Patriots, meanwhile, have seen the under in five of their last seven home games.
The game may very well come down to which Jameis Winston shows up, the good one or the bad one. If Winton’s good, the Saints can win straight up. If he’s bad, the Patriots could win easy. The sure fire bet here seems like the under.
Picks and Predictions
New England 20, New Orleans 17
ML: NE -143 (UniBet); Spread: NE -3.5/+102 (888sport); O/U: Under 41.5/-105 (FanDuel)
Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants Picks and Predictions
The Atlanta Falcons play the New York Giants in a matchup of two winless NFC teams. The Falcons (0-2, 0-2 ATS) come to this one following a second consecutive blowout loss to start the year. The Giants (0-2, 1-1 ATS) snagged defeat from the jaws of victory after a procedure penalty gave Washington a second shot at the game-winning field goal.
The Atlanta Falcons hung around in their Week 2 matchup against defending the Super Bowl Champs until a pair of pick-sixes killed their upset hopes. The Falcons have now lost seven games in a row, going back to last season, but they see their schedule soften somewhat over the next three weeks.
Matt Ryan threw for 300 yards, but tossed a crippling pair of pick-six interceptions in the fourth quarter that sealed the game for Atlanta. Ryan did find some rhythm with rookie Kyle Pitts, the No. 4 overall pick from last year’s draft. Pitts caught five passes for 73 yards. Ryan helped the Falcons trim an 18-point deficit to three in the third quarter before the Bucs pulled away.
The New York Giants saw their record fall to 0-2 after the late alignment miscue during Washington’s game-winning field goal attempt. Since 2017, the Giants hold a 18-48 straight up mark, tied with the Jets for the worst record in the NFL.
Daniel Jones tried to improve his personal mark to 5-0 against Washington with his performance, but New York came up short. Jones went 22-of-32 for 249 yards and a touchdown. He added a game-high 95 rushing yards and a touchdown on nine carries as well. Jones has developed a solid rhythm with Sterling Shepard, who caught nine passes for 94 yards. The Giants top free agent acquisition, Kenny Golladay, had another quiet game, making three catches for 38 yards.
The Falcons enter this matchup 2-5 against the spread but 0-7 straight up in their last seven games. Atlanta’s 0-5 straight up in their last five road games. The Giants, meanwhile, are 2-4 against the spread but 1-5 straight up in their last six games. The under hits more often than not for both of these clubs, with Atlanta seeing the under in 10 of their last 15, and New York seeing it in eight of their last nine.
This game feels like it could go either way, considering the Falcons hung with Tampa Bay so long. But Atlanta struggled against a mobile quarterback in Jalen Hurts in Week 1, and Daniel Jones should be able to get going as well. Couple that with the fact that New York’s at home on a long week and the Giants should win and cover in this one.
The Cincinnati Bengals play the Pittsburgh Steelers in a key early season AFC North matchup. The Bengals (1-1, 1-1 ATS) come in after an uneven performance in Week 2 that saw their franchise quarterback throw a career-high three interceptions, but the team rallied to within three points late. The Steelers (1-1, 1-1 ATS) couldn’t build on their positive momentum from Week 1 either, dropping their Week 2 game as a home favorite.
The Cincinnati Bengals came back to earth after their Week 1 win. The Bengals struggled through the first three quarters in this one, then saw their fourth quarter rally come up short. Joe Burrow had the worst game of his young career, as the second-year quarterback threw a career-high three interceptions. Burrow completed just 19-of-31 passes for 207 yards, and did have two touchdowns, but he struggled to build on Week 1’s momentum.
Joe Mixon couldn’t get going against the Bears after leading the NFL in rushing in Week 1. Mixon managed 69 yards on 20 carries. Rookie wideout Ja’Marr Chase caught his second touchdown pass in as many games, but was held to only one other grab.
The Pittsburgh Steelers came back down to earth after a thrilling upset win in Week 1. The Steelers offense struggled once again, and the offensive line allowed another 10 quarterback hits and two sacks on Ben Roethlisberger. Pittsburgh couldn’t find any offensive rhythm and lost the time of possession battle by nearly 10 minutes, which taxed an already short-handed defense.
Roethlisberger completed 27-of-40 passes for 295 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. The TD went to rookie running back Najee Harris, who couldn’t find his footing in the running game for the second straight week behind this offensive line. The Steelers let 2-0 slip from their fingers with the 26-17 loss to the Raiders.
This matchup has been one-sided of late, with the Steelers winning 11 of the last 12 games between these two straight up, including the last five in Pittsburgh. But the Steelers are 3-5 against the spread in their last nine games, but just 2-6 straight up in those contests. The Bengals have seen under hit in six of their last nine games, and nine of their last 12 playing in Pittsburgh. The Steelers have seen the over in four of their last six games.
The winner of this game will be positioned atop the AFC North division, and the loser could find themselves in the cellar. The Steelers have a lot questions on offense, particularly with the line and the running game. Cincinnati’s been better defensively, and if Burrow plays without making big mistakes, the Bengals might find an upset in this one.
The Indianapolis Colts play the Tennessee Titans in an important early season AFC South matchup of two playoff hopefuls. The Colts (0-2, 1-1 ATS) sputtered down the stretch of their Week 2 loss with their starting quarterback watching from the bench. The Titans (1-1, 1-1 ATS) bounced back in a big way after their disappointing Week 1 loss, securing a surprising underdog win on the road in Seattle.
The Indianapolis Colts slipped to 0-2 on the season after their 27-24 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. Red zone offense continued to be an issue for Indianapolis, which saw two more trips inside the 20 result in zero points. The offensive line, which should be a team strength, has allowed six sacks and 21 quarterback hits through two weeks. The inability to protect their quarterback saw Caron Wentz leave the game with an ankle injury late.
Wentz helped lead the Colts back from an 11-point second half deficit before exiting with his ankle injury. He finished 20-of-31 for 247 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Wentz was replaced by second-year quarterback Jacob Eason, who saw his first action as a pro. Eason’s second throw, though, was intercepted by Jalen Ramsey.
The Tennessee Titans bounced back from their disappointing Week 1 performance to pull off a stunning upset of the Seahawks in Seattle in Week 2. The Titans saw their Futures Odds falling after getting trounced by the Arizona Cardinals at home, but they may have rescued some hopes with their Week 2 win.
Ryan Tannehill and Julio Jones finally flashed some chemistry, connecting on six passes for 128 yards. It would have been more had Jones’ touchdown reception not gotten overturned by instant replay. Derrick Henry got rolling as well, running up 182 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
The Titans have to be happy they’re not facing another dynamic quarterback this week. Tennessee’s defense surrendered more chunk plays in Week 2, including a 51-yard reception and 63-yard touchdown to Tyler Lockett, as well as a 68-yard touchdown to Freddie Swain. The Colts, however, don’t feature the same explosiveness to their offense.
The last time these two teams faced off, Henry ran wild for 178 yards and three scores. Henry has eclipsed the 100-yard mark in each of his last three games against the Colts.
Tennessee’s win on Sunday snapped a four-game streak where the Titans didn’t cover the spread. The Titans have seen the over hit in six of their last seven AFC South games. The over has also hit in six of the last seven games for the Colts on the road. The road team has covered the spread in 14 of the last 19 games in this series, but Indy might see Jacob Eason make his first career start in this one.
Picks and Predictions
Tennessee 28, Indianapolis 21
ML: TEN -222 (888sport); Spread: TEN -5.5/-110 (BetMGM); O/U: Over 48.5/-105 (FanDuel)
New York Jets at Denver Broncos Picks and Predictions
The New York Jets play the Denver Broncos in a Week 3 matchup that features the widest spread in the NFL. The Jets (0-2, 0-2 ATS) travel west hoping their rookie quarterback can have a bounce back performance. The Broncos (2-0, 2-0 ATS) host their home opener looking to maintain the positive momentum to start the season.
The New York Jets struggled to muster anything in their Week 2 matchup against the New England Patriots. Having lost the last 10 in a row to New England, the Jets hoped rookie quarterback Zach Wilson might be able to turn the tide, but he was swallowed by it instead. Wilson’s first two passes were intercepted, and he followed that with a third interception on his fourth drive. Wilson through a fourth interception to open the second half.
New York ran the ball well against the Patriots, gaining 152 yards as a team. The Jets gashed New England on the ground several times, but failed to turn those positive plays into points. New York went 0-for-2 in the red zone. The defense did force four Patriots field goals, but the offense just didn’t do enough. Now New York faces another stiff test in Denver.
The Denver Broncos gets another inexperienced quarterback this week, welcoming Wilson to Mile High. The Broncos held Daniel Jones in check in Week 1, then ruined Trevor Lawrence’s home opener in Jacksonville in Week 2. Denver allowed Lawrence and the Jags an 83-yard game-opening touchdown drive, but limited Jacksonville’s offense to just 106 yards the rest of the game.
Teddy Bridgewater continued to prove his worth for the Broncos. Bridgewater went 26-of-34 for 328 yards and two touchdowns. He’s been efficient, completing over 75 percent of his passes again, and careful with the ball. After losing Jerry Jeudy in Week 1, Courtland Sutton stepped up, catching nine passes for 159 yards.
Bridgewater’s 36-13-1 against the spread in his career, and even though this is the widest spread of the week, the Broncos should have no trouble beating New York handily. Denver’s defense has allowed just 26 points through two weeks, and the Jets have only scored 20 in their two games. What’s more, Denver is 4-1 against the spread in its last five games when playing the Jets. The Broncos are just 2-6 straight up in their last eight home games, but New York is only 1-7 straight up in their last eight road games. Denver’s 5-2 against the spread in their last seven, while the Jets are 6-12 against the spread in their last 18. The under has hit in five of New York’s last six games, and seven of the Broncos last 10.
Picks and Predictions
Denver 31, New York 13
ML: DEN -588 (BetMGM); Spread: DEN -10.5/-105 (PointsBet): O/U: Over 41.5/-105 (FanDuel)
Miami Dolphins at Las Vegas Raiders Picks and Predictions
The Miami Dolphins play the Las Vegas Raiders in a matchup pitting a pair of AFC Playoff hopefuls. The Dolphins (1-1, 1-1 ATS) limp across the country for this one after getting whipped by the Buffalo Bills at home in Week 2. Miami enters with an offense ranked 32nd in scoring through two weeks, with just 17 points total, and may be without their starting quarterback. The Raiders (2-0, 2-0 ATS), meanwhile, look like a shoo-in for the playoffs after their 2-0 start. Derek Carr leads the league in passing with 817 yards through two weeks.
The Miami Dolphins thought they improved enough to challenge the Buffalo Bills for the AFC East crown in 2021. But after their Week 2 debacle, real concerns about the offensive line and Tua Tagovailoa’s rib injury cloud the remainder of the season. The offensive line failed to open any holes in the running game and allowed another six sacks in this one.
Miami’s offense turned the ball over three times, with a Jacoby Brissett interception and fumbles from Jakeem Grant and Jaylen Waddle. The Dolphins also failed to convert all four fourth down conversion attempts against the Bills. They managed a meager 3.1 yards per play and totaled just 216 yards for the day.
The Las Vegas Raiders went to Pittsburgh on a short week and won, proving a resiliency not seen very often with this franchise of late. The Raiders went to the game minus their starting running back, which put the onus for this game on Derek Carr. But the quarterback stepped up. Carr threw for 382 yards and two touchdowns, including a 61-yard strike to Henry Ruggs in the fourth quarter. Carr registered 263 of his yards in the second half.
The Raiders defense kept Pittsburgh in check throughout the afternoon. Las Vegas held the Steelers to 39 rushing yards on 14 carries, a 2.8 yards per rush average. They also limited Pittsburgh to 5-of-12 on third down, forced one turnover and sacked Roethlisberger twice. Another win here might goose Las Vegas’ odds at the AFC Championship.
The Dolphins stole the matchup in Las Vegas last season, with Ryan Fitzpatrick completing a no-look Hail Mary with under a minute remaining to get Miami within field goal range. The Raiders, though, look like a very different team in 2021. Miami’s seen the under hit in both its games so far, while the Raiders have seen the under come in once.
But the total has gone over in each of the last five games between these two clubs. And Miami sports a 7-1 record straight up in its last eight games on the road against the Raiders. The over has come in in each of Las Vegas’ last five home games. Despite last week’s beat down, the Dolphins are still 10-4 both straight up and against the spread in their last 14 games, but there are real concerns about the offensive line and the availability of their starting quarterback.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers flipped the switch late in their Week 2 win over the Atlanta Falcons. Tom Brady improved to 9-0 against the Falcons in his career. The 48-25 win marked the ninth consecutive game in which Tampa Bay scored at least 30 points. The Bucs have won each of those contests, but considering the high-powered Rams passing attack, the offense might need to do it again.
The Bucs allowed 300-plus passing yards for the second consecutive week, and traveling to Los Angeles won’t make life any easier. Despite two pick-six interceptions, there are real concerns regarding Tampa Bay’s secondary early on.
The Los Angeles Rams failed to cover a four-point road spread, but took the straight up victory over the Indianapolis Colts in Week 2. Worries about the team possibly looking ahead to their Week 3 matchup with the Bucs proved unfounded, as Los Angeles handled their business in Indy.
The Rams didn’t run away with this one like they did in Week 1, showing resilience on the road. Los Angeles needed to late scoring drives led by Matthew Stafford to secure the victory in Week 2. Stafford went 19-of-30 for 278 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He continued to establish his chemistry with Cooper Kupp, who caught nine passes for 163 yards and both scores.
When these teams met last November, Brady struggled against the Rams defense. LA won that game 27-24, but Brady’s locked in since then. Brady’s thrown nine touchdowns already this season, and seems to have his sights set on a new career-high. But the Rams feature an offense that can attack Tampa Bay’s only weakness, its inconsistent secondary. The Bucs needed a little help to escape with a win in Week 1, so playing a tough Super Bowl contender on the road in Week 3 will be no easy task.
This game is essentially a pick ‘em, considering the spread. The Rams are 7-1 against the spread in their last eight games against Tampa Bay, but Brady’s only been in there once. Los Angeles has seen the under hit in eight of their last nine home games. The Bucs, meanwhile, are 4-1 against the spread and 5-0 straight up in their last five games. Tampa Bay’s 4-2 against the spread in their last six road games. The total’s gone over in five of the Bucs last seven games overall.
Picks and Predictions
Los Angeles 30, Tampa Bay 27
ML: LAR +104 (UniBet); Spread: LAR +1.5/+102 (888sport); O/U: Over 55.5/-106 (UniBet)
Seattle Seahawks at Minnesota Vikings Picks and Predictions
The Seattle Seahawks play the Minnesota Vikings in a pivotal NFC conference matchup in Week 3. The Seahawks (1-1, 1-1 ATS) slipped to the bottom of the NFC West with their stunning loss to Tennessee at home last week. The Vikings (0-2, 1-1 ATS), meanwhile, could be 2-0 if it weren’t for a few different bounces. Both of these teams saw their Week 2 fates sealed by field goals.
The Seattle Seahawks melted down in the second half against the Tennessee Titans in Week 2. The Seahawks surrendered 17 unanswered points and saw their 24-9 lead evaporate at home. The sloppy second half play, which included a miss Point-After attempt that could have avoided overtime, prevented Seattle from a 2-0 record like the rest of the NFC West. 10 penalties for 100 yards hurt the home team in this one.
This second-half meltdown ruined an otherwise impressive start for Russell Wilson. The quarterback threw for 343 yards and two touchdowns, connecting on long scores with Tyler Lockett and Freddie Swain. But Seattle did little on the ground once again, gaining just 77 yards on 18 carries.
The Minnesota Vikings find themselves 0-2 after two very close losses to start the season. But the Vikings are staring directly at 0-3 if they can’t solve the issues plaguing their secondary. Minnesota allowed Cardinals’ quarterback Kyler Murray to complete 6-of-7 passes thrown at least 15 yards down field. Murray racked up 200 yards and two touchdowns, albeit with an interception as well, on those throws. The Vikings now have to deal with a similarly styled slinger in Wilson, who completed three passes of over 50 yards in Week 2.
Offensively, the Vikings seem to have something in second-year wideout K.J. Osborn, who caught five passes for 91 yards and touchdown. He and Kirk Cousins hooked up on a 64-yard touchdown on the game’s second play from scrimmage. Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen also contributed, with both catching six passes and a score. Dalvin Cook also looked good in this one, gaining 131 yards on 22 carries.
The Seahawks high-powered passing attack seems built to exploit Minnesota’s weakness in the secondary. But the Vikings can look at how Derrick Henry ran wild on Seattle in Week 2 and be hopeful Cook can replicate that. Seattle’s put up 29 points per game through two weeks, so the Vikings’ defense needs to be able to make some stops if they’re going to avoid 0-3.
Neither of these two teams has been particularly good against the spread of late. Seattle’s 5-10 in their last 15 against the spread, while the Vikings are 1-8 against the spread in their last nine. Straight up sees the Seahawks with a 5-2 mark, but Minnesota with a 1-5 record. And although these teams don’t play every year, Seattle’s won the last seven meetings between the two.
The over has hit in each of Minnesota’s last five games, and eight of their last nine at home. For Seattle, the under has hit in eight of their last 11 games. If the Seahawks are going to keep pace in the NFC West, they must win this ball game. And they have the offensive weapons to do it.
The Green Bay Packers bounced back in a big way after their disappointing start to the season. The Packers fell behind in the first half, but dominated in the second half to run away with their first win of the season. Aaron Rodgers found his form again, throwing four touchdown passes in this one, three of them to running back Aaron Jones. DaVante Adams hauled in eight passes for 121 yards in this one.
Rodgers finished 22-of-27 for 255 yards and passed John Elway for 10th all-time in passing yards (51,633). Rodgers once again proved way he’s an MVP, connecting on four touchdowns without an interception for the fifth-straight time following a loss.
The San Francisco 49ers managed a second road victory to start the season with their win over the Philadelphia Eagles. One week after riding their offense to the victory, it was San Francisco’s defense that won this one. The 49ers held Philadelphia to just three points until a late fourth quarter touchdown.
San Francisco limited Eagles QB Jalen Hurts to 190 passing yards and sacked him twice. Hurts did run for 82 yards and a score, though. Jimmy Garoppolo went 22-of-30 for 189 passing yards and one touchdown. $9ers rookie running back Elijah Mitchell struggled in this one, with 42 yards on 17 carries, and was banged up.
The 49ers have won six of the last 10 meetings straight up between these two, but Green Bay won in impressive fashion last season. The over has hit in seven of those 10 matchups. The total’s gone over in five of the Packers last six games, and five of the last seven times these two teams have faced off in San Francisco. The 49ers are 6-3 against the spread in their last nine games played in September.
With a running game limited by injuries, and passing game just limited overall, the 49ers might struggle to keep pace with Green Bay’s offense.
The Philadelphia Eagles play the Dallas Cowboys in the Monday Night Football matchup for Week 3. The Eagles (1-1, 1-1 ATS) dropped their home opener to the San Francisco 49ers 17-11, with their offense mustering little of note through the majority of that game. The Cowboys (1-1, 2-0 ATS) went to Los Angeles last week and won straight up as the road underdog. This is a pivotal early season matchup of two teams vying for the NFC East title.
The Philadelphia Eagles looked great in their Week 1 win over the Atlanta Falcons, but, as is the case with young teams, the inexperienced playmakers proved inconsistent in Week 2. Injury concerns cropped up too, as Philly saw a pair of Pro Bowlers (guard Brandon Brooks and defensive end Brandon Graham) exit.
Hurts completed 12-of-23 passes for 190 yards and was sacked twice. He ran 10 times for 82 yards and Philadelphia’s only touchdown, a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter. The Eagles defense held San Francisco in check early on, but the offense couldn’t capitalize on three straight three-and-outs to start the game. Perhaps the most frustrating missed opportunity came after a 91-yard completion got Philly to the 49ers’ six-yard line, the Eagles couldn’t convert any points.
The Dallas Cowboys avoided an 0-2 start with their 20-17 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. Dallas took a commanding 14-3 lead in the first quarter, but couldn’t muster much offense until the end after that. It took Dak Prescott leading an 11-play, 49-yard drive that resulted in a game-winning 56-yard field goal from Greg Zuerlein. Prescott finished with 237 yards and an interception, completing 23-of-27 passes.
The Cowboys ran up nearly 200 yards rushing against Los Angeles, but most of those came from Tony Pollard and not Ezekiel Elliott. Pollard put up 109 yards on 13 carries, while Elliott posted 71 yards on 16 tries. Both scored rushing touchdowns.
Hurts gets his first taste of the bright lights during Monday Night Football, and has to do it in Big D. The Cowboys offense looks good through two weeks, and their defense has been opportunistic. For the Eagles, the young playmakers have been understandably inconsistent through two weeks. Hurt represents a very different type of quarterback than the two Dallas has faced thus far, but injuries to both Eagles lines are a concern.
Dallas has won six of the last 10 games in this series both straight up and against the spread, but the Eagles have won two of the last three. Philadelphia lost their last six games against the spread on the road last season, but won both straight up and against the spread as road underdogs in Week 1. The Cowboys are 5-1 against the spread in their last six games. Dallas has seen the total hit the over in eight of their last 10 home games.
Picks and Predictions
Dallas 24, Philadelphia 21
ML: DAL -185 (888sport); Spread: PHL +4/-110 (BetMGM); O/U: Under 50.5/-103 (888sport)
Week 4 of the NFL season brings us a playoff rematch, sort of. The Buffalo Bills host the Miami Dolphins for the first time since January’s Wild Card round. But the Dolphins team that will invade Highmark Stadium is far from the one that a...
The NFL season is in full force with some teams looking like contenders, while others are trending towards the basement. There were some big upsets last week (hello, Arizona, Houston, and Indianapolis). Will there be any more as we wrap up...
Before we get to our NFL Week 4 picks, a question: How much do you really like football? It’s an easy question, but it requires a follow-up. What would it take for you to watch only one game this weekend, but it has to be Broncos vs. B...
Here we are: Week 3 of the NFL season. And as expected, the lone matchup of undefeated teams is… <<checks notes>> Philly at Tampa? Yup, here we are. Both teams are 2-0, winning their games by a total of 24 points. Both teams b...