NFL week three has a few interesting matchups on tap. During commercials for the Pats-Jaguars game – or if it turns into a blowout – Pittsburgh at St. Louis and Cincinnati at Baltimore are a pair of compelling early games on CBS. Once the game against Jacksonville ends, Pats fans should be interested in leaving the tv on to watch a pair of AFC East teams meet as the Bills are at Miami in a late game on CBS. The other late game on CBS is a bit of an anomaly, as it is a cross-flex game between two NFC teams: Seattle will look to get their first win of the season as they host the Bears, who will be quarterbacked by Jimmy Clausen.
One early game on FOX features an underachieving 0-2 team versus a 2-0 team that has exceeded expectations as the Jets host the Philadelphia Eagles. Atlanta is at Dallas in a clash of 2-0 teams early, and the late game on FOX should be a good one with San Francisco at Arizona. Detroit looks for their first win Sunday night at home against the Broncos, and the week wraps up with Kansas City at Green Bay on Monday night.
For those without the Sunday Ticket, check out the television maps at 506 sports to see what is being broadcast in your area. Patriots fan JP Kirby does a fantastic job compiling not only the weekly NFL maps, but also television maps for college football and major league baseball. You can follow JP on twitter @506sports.
Pittsburgh at St. Louis, early game on CBS; Greg Gumbel, Trent Green
Steelers -1½; over/under 48½; Steelers -110, Rams -110
Ben Roethlisberger played in a clean pocket all game last week at home against the Niners, but the Rams present a much more difficult obstacle with their front seven. While I understand St. Louis having a letdown after defeating Seattle in week one, I did not expect them to come out as flat as they did in Washington. The St. Louis defense already has eight sacks this year, but to be effective they will need to limit Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell first; Bell totaled 2,215 yards from scrimmage last year and gets his first action of the season after serving a two-game suspension. I’m thinking that the Steelers aren’t quite as good as they appeared to be last week, and the Rams are nowhere near as bad as they were in week two; a slight lean to St. Louis here.
Prediction: Rams 24, Steelers 21
Rams +1½; under 48½
San Diego at Minnesota, early game on CBS; Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts
Vikings -2½; o/u 48½; Vikings -130, Chargers +110
Are the Vikings the team that was manhandled by the Niners in week one, or the one that beat up Detroit last week? San Diego’s offense has surrendered 52 points, but that was against two better offenses than Minnesota. Similar to the game above, I believe both teams will regress closer to their true selves rather than duplicate last week’s results. San Diego averaged 5.2 yards per carry against a Bengal defense that is superior to the Vikings, and Minnesota will not force three turnovers like Cincy did.
Prediction: Chargers 24, Vikings 21
Chargers +2½; under 48½ (one unit)
Tampa Bay at Houston, early game on FOX; Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston
Texans -6½; o/u 40½; Texans -280, Bucs +240
One thing about mediocre teams like Tampa Bay is that they haven’t learned how to handle success, so they very rarely win consecutive games. Another thing about mediocre teams like the Bucs is that they never win two games in a row on the road. Beating a team with what may be the league’s worst defense (New Orleans) is one thing; beating a team with a strong defense when you have a rookie quarterback that left college after his sophomore year and is playing in only his third NFL game – that is a monumental task.
Prediction: Texans 20, Bucs 10
Texans -6½ (one unit); under 40½ (two units)
Philadelphia at N.Y. Jets, early game on CBS; Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch
Jets -2; o/u 46; Jets -130, Eagles +110
The Eagles and their abysmal offense are in a tough spot here. The Jets are stout against the run and with the return of Darrelle Revis, they have little to be concerned about against Sam Bradford throwing to Riley Cooper and Josh Huff. If Rex Ryan was still coaching I would assume that Jets would become overconfident and unable to handle success, but Todd Bowles has this club well grounded.
Prediction: Jets 20, Eagles 13
Jets -2 (one unit); under 46 (two units)
New Orleans at Carolina, early game on CBS; Chris Myers, Ronde Barber
Panthers -6½; o/u 42½; Panthers -360, Saints +300
The New Orleans offense was built around Drew Brees, who will not play. I wonder if Verizon is nervous now that their ‘backup’ spokesperson, Luke McCown, will actually have to start? With no Brees the Saints offense is doomed; they’ll need their defense to step up. Carolina is averaging only 185 yards passing and although the Saints have given up 57 points in two games, they did manage to force a couple of timely turnovers last week.
Prediction: Panthers 27, Saints 13
Panthers -5½ (one unit); under 42½
Jacksonville at New England, early game on CBS; Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon
Patriots -13½; o/u 47½; Patriots -1400, Jaguars +800
The Patriots have failed to cover in their last four games as a double-digit favorite, and are 2-9 when laying 13 or more going back to 2008. Normally in a situation like this Bill Belichick might hold back a bit with the remainder of the season in mind, but this could be different. Next week is a bye so players will get extra rest, plus there is still the specter of the NFL FU Tour of 2015, post-deflategate. Jacksonville has quietly assembled a nice group of receivers (Allen Hurns, Allen Robinson, Marquise Lee), and we have seen the New England secondary give up some chunks of yardage in the first two games. That could open things up for rookie running back T.J. Yeldon; we saw what DeAngelo Williams was able to accomplish on the ground against the Pats in week one. I’m shooting for a 14-point final point differential in this game; I took Jacksonville plus 14½ early in the week, then hedged and middled that by going with the Pats when the line dropped to 13½.
Prediction: Patriots 34, Jaguars 20
Patriots -13½; over 47½ (two units)
Cincinnati at Baltimore, early game on CBS; Andrew Catalon, Steve Beuerlein
Ravens -2½; o/u 44½; Ravens -140, Bengals +120
Take out the quarterback position and Cincy has the best group of skill position players (RB, WR, TE) in the NFL. The Bengals swept the Ravens last year, and the Baltimore defense is not the same as it has been in years past now that they are without Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata. While the Ravens could easily be 2-0 and are at home and due for a close one to go their way, the Bengals are the better team right now.
Prediction: Bengals 24, Ravens 17
Bengals +2½; under 44½
Oakland at Cleveland, early game on CBS; Carter Blackburn, Chris Simms
Browns -3½; o/u 42½; Browns -180, Raiders +160
There’s not really much to go on between these two teams, but one trend does stand out: the Raiders have lost 17 straight games when playing in the eastern time zone. While one of these two has to somehow win back-to-back games, I’ll have to simply go with the home team here.
Prediction: Browns 27, Raiders 21
Browns -3½; over 42½
Indianapolis at Tennessee, early game on CBS; Tom McCarthy, Adam Archuleta
Colts -3, o/u 46; Colts -165, Titans +145
Indy has struggled to run and has a whopping eight turnovers, but that was against two very good defenses. The Andrew Luck-era Colts have made a living feasting off the miserable AFC South; look for Indy to get their first victory here. The Tennessee secondary is not very good; T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief and Andre Johnson should be able to fully exploit that deficiency.
Prediction: Colts 28, Titans 21
Colts -3; over 46
Atlanta at Dallas, early game on FOX; Joe Buck, Troy Aikman
Falcons -1, o/u 44; Falcons -120, Cowboys +100
I really do not understand these ‘power rankings’ that mainstream sports media compiles. How is Dallas with no Tony Romo, no DeMarco Murray and no Dez Bryant rated a top-five team? You may as well simply make 32-team standings based on the won-loss record, and call that your ‘power rankings’. The delta from Romo to Brandon Weeden – who has lost eight straight games as a starter – is worth at least six points.
Prediction: Falcons 20, Cowboys 17
Falcons -1; under 45 (two units)
San Francisco at Arizona, late game on FOX; Thom Brennaman, Charles Davis
Cardinals -6½, o/u 44½; Cardinals -270, 49ers +230
The Cardinals lead the NFL with a plus-37 point differential, and rank first in Football Outsider‘s DVOA at 85.2%. Division games are always tough, but I’ll give Arizona a slight lean to cover.
Prediction: Cardinals 28, Niners 20
Cardinals -6½; over 44½
Chicago at Seattle, late game on CBS; Jim Nantz, Phil Simms
Seahawks -14½, o/u 43½; Seahawks -1600, Bears +900
The Bears are on the road without their starting quarterback and best receiver. They’re playing an angry team that plays with a lot of emotion in a very loud stadium. Jimmy Clausen has completed only 53% of his NFL passes, with more than twice as many interceptions as touchdowns while compiling a 1-10 record as a starter. Don’t let the big line scare you; take the chalk, sit back and watch Seattle romp.
Prediction: Seahawks 31, Bears 3
Seahawks -14½; under 43½ (one unit)
Buffalo at Miami, late game on CBS; Spero Dedes, Solomon Wilcots
Dolphins -3, o/u 42; Dolphins -150, Bills +130
This will be Miami’s first home game of the season and Buffalo’s first road game, but the Dolphins historically don’t really have that much of a home field advantage: the Dolphins are 37-42 straight up and 13-30 ATS as home favorites over the past decade. The Miami defense has some very good players but their edge players do not contain and gap integrity is an unknown concept. That being said, Ryan Tannehill has done an excellent job against the blitz in his career, making this game a difficult one to handicap.
Prediction: Bills 20, Dolphins 17
Bills +3; under 42; Bills +130
Denver at Detroit, Sunday night on NBC; Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth
Broncos -3, o/u 44½; Broncos -170, Lions +150
Peyton Manning doesn’t seem to realize that he can’t make a deep pass any longer, and keeps throwing wounded ducks. At some point that will result in losses by Denver, but probably not inside a dome against this Detroit defense that is allowing an astonishing 81.2% of opponent’s passes to be completed against them. On the other side of the ball Detroit has not been able to open up any lanes for their running backs, and against the Bronco defense that means a lot of third and longs. The Denver pass rush will thrive in those situations; if Matthew Stafford suffered a beating against the Vikings, how will the Lions offensive line protect him against Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware and company? At 0-2 Detroit will be playing with some desperation, and will have a boisterous crowd inside Ford Field for their home opener. A win by the Lions would not surprise me at all – let’s not forget that Denver could easily be 0-2 right now also – but right now on paper the Lions do not have the edge in one single phase of the game on either side of the ball.
Prediction: Broncos 27, Lions 23
Broncos -3; over 44½
Kansas City at Green Bay, Monday night on ESPN; Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden
Packers -6½, o/u 49; Packers -320, Chiefs +260
The Packers are dealing with a lot of injuries, while Andy Reid will have had ten days to prepare for this game. Look for the Chiefs to keep this game close.
Prediction: Packers 24, Chiefs 20
Chiefs +6½; under 49
The Patriots are off next week, but here is an early look at the week four games:
Thursday: Ravens at Steelers (-3½)
Sunday: Jets vs Dolphins (-1) in London
Jaguars at Colts (-7)
Texans at Falcons (-3½)
Panthers (-3) at Bucs
Giants at Bills (-5½)
Raiders at Bears (no early line)
Eagles (-2½) at Skins
Chiefs at Bengals (-3)
Browns at Chargers (-6½)
Packers (-6½) at Niners
Vikings at Broncos (-5½)
Rams at Cardinals (-4)
SNF: Cowboys at Saints (no early line)
MNF: Lions at Seahawks (no early line)
Week Two Results:
Last week was a rarity – a losing record straight up yet at the same time a better record against the spread. The end result was only a small negative where it matter$ most though, with three out of four higher confidence plays coming through.
Straight Up: 5-11
5-Unit Plays: none
4-Unit Plays: none
3-Unit Plays: 1-0 (+300)
2-Unit Plays: 2-1 (+180)
1-Unit Plays: 0-5 (-550)
Money Line: 1-1 (-65) [risked 230]
Teasers: 0-1 (-110)
All Plays: 4-8 (-245)
Year To Date Results:
Straight Up: 17-15
5-Unit Plays: none
4-Unit Plays: none
3-Unit Plays: 3-0 (+900)
2-Unit Plays: 5-2 (+560)
1-Unit Plays: 3-7 (-470)
Money Line: 1-1 (-65) [risked 230]
Teasers: 0-1 (-110)
All Plays: 12-11 (+815)
Posted Under: Uncategorized
Tags: against the spread CBS ESPN FOX Jacksonville Jaguars NBC New England Patriots NFL odds picks predictions television tv Week 3