NFL Week 3 Predictions and Picks Against the Spread

John Morgan
September 25, 2016 at 8:00 am ET

Thursday night the New England Patriots successfully completed Act Three of their 2016 FU 345 Park Avenue tour, crushing the Houston Texans 27-0 at Gillette Stadium. On Sunday Pats fans can sit back and relax, rooting on disaster and enjoying schadenfreude for rival teams and their salty-tear fans.

CBS owns the doubleheader this week and will beam a pair of interesting games involving AFC contenders into the New England area that are well worth watching. The Bengals host the Denver Broncos in the early game, and then the Jets travel to Arrowhead Stadium to play the Kansas City Chiefs. For the third straight week the primary game on FOX is a matchup between two NFC East clubs; this time it is Washington at New York.

 

★★★★★ Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals
Sunday, September 25 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts
Broadcast in all markets with the exception of northern California, southern Oregon, Reno NV, Tennessee, Florida, southern Georgia, Washington, Baltimore and New York City.
Bengals -3½ (opened week at -3½) . . . . over/under 42 . . . . CIN -190, DEN +170

The Cincinnati defense has allowed an NFL-worst 138 yards rushing per game with Vontaze Burfict suspended. Denver has rushed for 147 yards per game (5th), led by C.J. Anderson – though it should be noted that both games were at home and one was against the defensive sieve known as the Colts. This will be Bronco quarterback Trevor Siemian’s first start on the road. With Denver tackle Donald Stephenson out with a calf injury, the opportunity exists for Bengal defensive end Carlos Dunlap to pressure Siemian into a game changing turnover.

Prediction: Bengals 20, Broncos 17
Broncos +3½ . . . . . under 42 . . . . . Denver +170

Final Score: Broncos 29, Bengals 17 x
Broncos +3½ ✓ … under 42 x … Broncos +170 ✓

 

★★ Oakland Raiders at Tennessee Titans
Sunday, September 25 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Andrew Catalon, Steve Tasker
Broadcast in northern California, southern Oregon, Reno NV and Tennessee.
Raiders -1 (opened week as PK) . . . . over/under 47 . . . . OAK -120, TEN +100

Oakland was the trendy pick to make the leap to a playoff team in the preseason, but the early returns have not been impressive. The Raider defense ranks 31st in points allowed (34.5 points per game) and dead last – by a wide margin – with a whopping 518 yards per game. Tennessee’s defense has been a positive through two weeks. The Titan D has surrendered just one touchdown in two games. DeMarco Murray has done a nice job rebounding from last year’s forgettable season in Philadelphia, averaging 5.2 yards per carry.

Prediction: Titans 24, Raiders 20
Titans +1 . . . . . under 47 . . . . . Tennessee +100

Final Score: Raiders 17, Titans 10 x
Titans +1 x … under 47 ✓ … Titans +100 x

 

★★★ Arizona Cardinals at Buffalo Bills
Sunday, September 25 at 1:00 pm ET on Fox; Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston
Broadcast in Arizona and western New York.
Cardinals -3½ (opened week at -6½) . . . . over/under 47 . . . . ARI -190, BUF +170

Last week Buffalo fired offensive coordinator Greg Roman, after the Bills scored 31 points against a quality Jet defense that ranked 4th in yardage and 7th in points allowed last year. Rex Ryan is running out of excuses, and at 0-2 his coaching career could be running out of time. Perhaps the Bills should have retained Jim Schwartz. The former Bills defensive coordinator was given the boot after the 2014 season despite architecting the NFL’s number four defense; Schwartz now has the Philadelphia defense on the upswing. Enter Rex, and the Buffalo D plummeted to 19th last year. Now despite having a formidable opponent on the schedule this week, Ryan is looking ahead to next week’s game against the Patriots. Bill Belichick is taking up so much space in Ryan’s head he should be charged rent.

Prediction: Cardinals 27, Bills 17
Cardinals -3½ (two units) . . . . . under 47 . . . . . Arizona -190

Final Score: Bills 33, Cardinals 18 x
Cardinals -3½ xx … under 47 x … Cardinals -190 x

 

★★ Baltimore Ravens at Jacksonville Jaguars
Sunday, September 25 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Tom McCarthy, Adam Archuleta
Broadcast in Jacksonville, southern Georgia, Washington and Baltimore.
Pick’em (opened week as PK) . . . . over/under 47 . . . . BAL -110, JAC -110

Jacksonville has not been able to generate a pass rush and their best defensive back (Prince Amukamara) is slowed down with a hamstring injury. Baltimore falling behind by 18 points to the lowly Browns says more about where they are right now than their comeback against a third-string quarterback thrust onto the field mid-game due to injury does.

Prediction: Jaguars 24, Ravens 21
Jaguars pk . . . . . under 47 . . . . . Jacksonville -110

Final Score: Ravens 19, Jaguars 17 x
Jaguars pk x … under 47 ✓ … Jaguars -110 x

 

★★★ Cleveland Browns at Miami Dolphins
Sunday, September 25 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Spero Dedes, Solomon Wilcots
Broadcast in central Florida, southern Florida and Cleveland.
Dolphins -10 (opened week at -7) . . . . over/under 42 . . . . MIA -450, CLE +350

This is a rebuilding year for the inexperienced Browns, but the injuries are already taking a toll. Cleveland starts their third quarterback of the season, and the offense is now also without WR Corey Coleman. Even though they are winless and playing their home opener, the Dolphins could be complacent and looking ahead to next week’s game against the Bengals.

Prediction: Dolphins 20, Browns 13
Browns +9½ . . . . . under 42 (one unit) . . . . . Cleveland +350

Final Score: Dolphins 30, Browns 24 (OT) ✓
Browns +9½ ✓ … under 42 x … Browns +350 x

 

★★ Washington Snyders at New York Giants
Sunday, September 25 at 1:00 pm ET on Fox; Joe Buck, Troy Aikman
Broadcast in all of the northeast (except Buffalo and Baltimore), Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio (except Cleveland and Cincinnati), Mississippi, Arkansas, northern Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and New Mexico.
Giants -3 (opened week at -4) . . . . over/under 46 . . . . NYG -170, WAS +150

Many people are overreacting to the won-loss records of these two teams after two games. Washington lost to a very good Pittsburgh team in week one, and then lost by four to Dallas. The Giants should probably be 0-2 right now based on how hard they seemed to try to give away both of their first two games. With a regression to norm for both clubs, Washington wins a close one.

Prediction: Skins 23, Giants 20
Skins +3 . . . . . under 46 . . . . . Washington +150

Final Score: Skins 29, Giants 27 ✓
Skins +3 ✓ … under 46 x … Skins +150 ✓

 

★★★★ Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers
Sunday, September 25 at 1:00 pm ET on Fox; Thom Brennaman, Charles Davis
Broadcast in Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska.
Packers -7 (opened week at -8) . . . . over/under 47½ . . . . GNB -300, DET +250

One upset and the sports talking heads contrive a controversy, wringing their hands and asking what is wrong with Aaron Rodgers? The Detroit defense will be without defensive end Ziggy Ansah, and linebackers DeAndre Levy (quad) and Antwione Williams (hamstring) are doubtful and not expected to play. Expect Lambeau Field to play Todd Rundgren’s Bang the Drum All Day several times Sunday.

Prediction: Packers 30, Lions 17
Packers -7 (three units) . . . . . under 47½ . . . . . Green Bay -300

Final Score: Packers 34, Lions 27 ✓
Packers -7 push x3 … under 47½ x … Packers -300 ✓

 

★★★★ Minnesota Vikings at Carolina Panthers
Sunday, September 25 at 1:00 pm ET on Fox; Chris Myers, Ronde Barber
Broadcast in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, New Orleans, Knoxville, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana.
Panthers -7 (opened week at -6½) . . . . over/under 42 . . . . CAR -300, MIN +250

Sam Bradford had a nice game last week, but Carolina’s defense is far superior than Green Bay’s. On top of that Ron Rivera now has a bit of film on Bradford with the Viking offense to study and game plan against. Minnesota’s defense is very good as well (as we saw last week against the Packers), and the Panthers will be without starting running back Jonathan Stewart. Despite no Adrian Peterson, the Viking D should be able to keep this game closer than expected.

Prediction: Panthers 17, Vikings 13
Vikings +7 (one unit) . . . . . under 42 (three units) . . . . . Carolina -300

Final Score: Vikings 22, Panthers 10 x
Vikings +7 … under 42 ✓✓✓ … Panthers -300 x

 

★★ San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks
Sunday, September 25 at 4:05 pm ET on Fox; Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch
Broadcast in Baltimore, Miami, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Nashville, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, northern California, Alaska and Hawaii.
Seahawks -9½ (opened week at -11) . . . . over/under 41 . . . . SEA -410, SFO +340

Much of the focus of this game is on Seattle’s difficulties on offense. Wholesale changes to the offensive line have resulted in the Seahawks having scored just one touchdown in two games, totaling a mere 15 points. Forgotten in all that talk is that the Seahawk defense is still elite, allowing a minuscule 9.5 points per game so far. San Francisco has performed better than I thought they would, but they are still not a very talented team.

Prediction: Seahawks 20, Niners 13
Niners +9½ . . . . . under 41 (three units) . . . . . San Francisco +340

Final Score: Seahawks 37, Niners 18 ✓
Niners +9½ x … under 41 xxx … Niners +340 x

 

★★ Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Bucs
Sunday, September 25 at 4:05 pm ET on Fox; Dick Stockton, Chris Spielman
Broadcast in southern California (except San Diego) and Florida (except Miami and West Palm Beach).
Buccaneers -5 (opened week at -3½) . . . . over/under 42 . . . . TAM -210, LA +180

Both teams have looked horrible one week and pretty good in their other game. Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin is out, but there is not much of a dropoff from Martin to Charles Sims. The defensive line of the Rams has the talent to dominate this game and force turnovers. On the other hand LA has shown nothing offensively, and that should not change as long as Jeff Fisher remains the head coach. I’ll take the team looking to avenge last week’s loss, playing a home opener in the Florida heat and humidity, over the one traveling three time zones in a close game.

Prediction: Buccaneers 20, Rams 17
Rams +5 . . . . . under 42 (one unit) . . . . . Tampa Bay -210

Final Score: Rams 37, Bucs 32 x
Rams +5 ✓ … under 42 x … Bucs -210 x

 

★★★ Pittsburgh Steelers at Philadelphia Eagles
Sunday, September 25 at 4:25 pm ET on CBS; Jim Nantz, Phil Simms
Broadcast in all markets except for New England, New York, south Florida, Tampa, southern Illinois, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico.
Steelers -3½ (opened week at -5½) . . . . over/under 46½ . . . . PIT -175, PHI +155

Philadelphia has had a nice start, but this isn’t the same as playing Cleveland and Chicago. The Steelers have way too much firepower for the Eagles to handle and keep pace with, even with the game being played in Philly.

Prediction: Steelers 27, Eagles 20
Steelers -3½ (one unit) . . . . . over 46½ . . . . . Philadelphia +155

Final Score: Eagles 34, Steelers 3 x
Steelers -3½ x … over 46½ x … Eagles +155 ✓

 

★★★★ New York Jets at Kansas City Chiefs
Sunday, September 25 at 4:25 pm ET on CBS; Greg Gumbel, Trent Green
Broadcast in New England, New York, southern Florida, Missouri, Iowa, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico.
Chiefs -3 (opened week at -4) . . . . over/under 42 . . . . KAN -145, NYJ +125

The Kansas City defense is simply not the same without Justin Houston, and if not for Keenan Allen blowing out his knee in week one the Chiefs would probably be 0-2 right now. The Jets are solid on defense and doing enough on offense to win games – at least until the day comes when Ryan Fitzpatrick once again morphs into Ryan FitzPickSix.

Prediction: Jets 20, Chiefs 16
Jets +3 . . . . . under 42 (one unit) . . . . . New York +125

Final Score: Chiefs 24, Jets 3 x
Jets +3 x … under 42 … Jets +125 x

 

★★★★ San Diego Chargers at Indianapolis Colts
Sunday, September 25 at 4:25 pm ET on CBS; Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon
Broadcast in California, Reno, Houston, Jacksonville, Indiana and southern Illinois.
Colts -1½ (opened week at -3) . . . . over/under 51 . . . . IND -125, SDG +105

The San Diego game plan should be to run Melvin Gordon against the porous Indianapolis defense early and often, and then throw some deep passes to Travis Benjamin and Tyrell Williams once the Colts start to sell out to stop the run. Indy has not done a good job of identifying and acquiring talent at any position other than quarterback or wide receiver in quite a while now, and it shows with their product on the field.

Prediction: Chargers 24, Colts 20
Chargers +1½ . . . . . under 52 . . . . . San Diego +105

Final Score: Colts 26, Chargers 22 x
Chargers +1½ x … under 52 ✓ … Chargers +105 x

 

★★ Chicago Bears at Dallas Cowboys
Sunday, September 25 at 8:30 pm ET on NBC; Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth
Broadcast in all markets.
Cowboys -7½ (opened week at -4) . . . . over/under 44½ . . . . DAL -280, CHI +240

The Bears did indeed look bad against Philly, but when you rewatch their games you can see that their defense is better than advertised. The dropoff from Jay Cutler to Brian Hoyer is not too much to overcome, and the Dallas pass defense is shaky. WR Alshon Jeffery could be in line for a big game for the Bears.

Prediction: Cowboys 24, Bears 20
Bears +7½ (two units) . . . . . under 44½ . . . . . Chicago +240

Final Score: Cowboys 31, Bears 17 ✓
Bears +7½ xx … under 44½ x … Bears +240 x

 

★★★★ Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints
Monday, September 26 at 8:30 pm ET on BSPN; Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden
Broadcast in all markets.
Saints -3 (opened week at -3½) . . . . over/under 53½ . . . . NOR -145, ATL +125

If nothing else, games between these two teams are always entertaining. This one should be no different with two potent offenses and two sub-par defenses. I’ll take the Saints on the ten year anniversary of re-opening the dome after Katrina at home. This is a rare Monday night game that is far better than the Sunday night prime time event.

Prediction: Saints 34, Falcons 28
Saints -3 . . . . . over 53½ (two units) . . . . . New Orleans -145

Final Score: Falcons 45, Saints 32 x
Saints -3 x … over 53½ ✓✓ … Saints -145 x

 

★★★★★ Houston Texans at New England Patriots
Thursday, September 22 at 8:30 pm ET on CBS
Texans -1½ (opened at -2½) . . . . over/under 40½ . . . . HOU -135, NWE +115

I re-learned a lesson I should not have forgotten earlier this season: never underestimate the value of Bill Belichick as the head coach. When the Pats had the Texans backed up to their own 4-yard line in the 4th quarter it appeared as though I might nail the obscure New England point total of 22 points. As for Houston’s final score though, I was never close.

Prediction: Patriots 22, Texans 20
Patriots +1½ . . . . . over 40½ . . . . . New England +115

Final Score: Patriots 27, Texans 0 ✓
Patriots +1½ ✓ … over 40½ ✓ … Patriots +115 ✓

 

3-Team Parlay (one unit) x:
Packers -7 vs Lions (push)
Vikings-Panthers under 42 ✓
49ers-Seahawks under 41 x

4-Team 6-Point Teaser (one unit) x:
Packers -1 vs Lions ✓
Chargers +7½ at Colts ✓
Vikings-Panthers under 48 ✓
49ers-Seahawks under 47 x

 

Week 2 Results:
10-6 Straight Up
9-7 Against the Spread
9-7 Over/Under
3-unit plays: 1-1, -30
2-unit plays: 4-0, +800
1-unit plays: 4-2, +180
20 units invested
9-3, +950 on $2200 risk
43.2% ROI

 

Year to Date Results:
20-12 Straight Up
19-13 Against the Spread
18-14 Over/Under
3-unit plays: 2-3, -390
2-unit plays: 8-0, +1600
1-unit plays: 8-2, +580
18-5, +1790 on original $2310 risk.
39.7% ROI on total weekly investment.
77.5% ROI on original $2310 bankroll.

 

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the publisher of this website. Neither the author nor this website promote or advocate gambling. This is solely for entertainment purposes only. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, please call 1-888-ADMIT-IT or 1-888-GA-HELPS.

 

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