Our NFL Week 3 preview has some interesting, possibly season changing games on tap. Minnesota, with the hot QB-WR combo of Sam Bradford and Stefon Diggs head to Carolina. Can Bradford and Diggs take apart the defending NFC Champs? Houston travels to New England to battle the Patriots as a slight road favorite. Will the Texans come up big? Keep reading for my take on this NFL in Week 3 preview!
Editors Note: Check also Week 3 Betting Picks by Matt Ross
NFL Betting – Regular Season Week 3 Preview
Thursday, Sept. 22
Houston Texans -2.5 at New England Patriots (8:25 pm ET)
Rumor has it that New England is going to go into this game with a single quarterback, rookie Jacoby Brissett, with WR Julian Edelman backing him up. I’m no expert but facing arguably the best defense in the NFL with a rookie QB is a recipe for disaster. You also have to figure that the Texans should be able to exploit a New England defense that yielded 389 passing yards and 24 points to the Miami Dolphins in Week 2. I’m going Houston against the spread.
Sunday, Sept. 5
Arizona Cardinals -4 at Buffalo Bills (1:00 pm ET)
Buffalo is a mess. Rex Ryan fired offensive coordinator Greg Roman after Roman’s offense scored 31 points in the Week 2 loss to the Jets. Ryan has no clue what he’s doing. The team doesn’t seem to have much heart. Arizona bounced back from their Week 1 loss with a stunning 40 to 7 blitzkrieg over Tampa Bay in Week 2. Arizona should keep it going for a while. The Cardinals cover.
Minnesota Vikings at Carolina Panthers -7.5 (1:00 pm ET)
Did NFL fans watch the same game that I saw on Sunday night when QB Sam Bradford and WR Stefon Diggs took Green Bay to school? Carolina allowed San Francisco’s Blaine Gabbert to pass for 243 yards and toss 2 touchdown passes. Minnesota has one of the best defenses in the NFL. Bradford to Diggs is the new hot thing in the league. Even with AP’s injury, Minnesota is the play at +7.5.
Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals -3 (1:00 pm ET)
Denver’s defense has looked every bit as good as it was last season. The offense might be better because QB Trevor Seimian has a stronger arm than Peyton Manning had last season. But Cincinnati needs to display a strong, tough, bounce back performance after losing 16 to 24 to Pittsburgh. The Bengals should play more conservatively on offense, rushing the football while trying to create matchup problems with WR A.J. Green, instead of throwing it 54 times like they did in Week 2. I actually think that the Bengals cover the spread in this game.
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers -8 (1:00 pm ET)
I don’t believe that Green Bay could cover 8 points against any team in the NFL right now. For some reason, I don’t know why, Green Bay’s offense hasn’t been nearly as effective as so many believed it was going to be at the start of the season. The Packers looked great in the first half against Jacksonville in Week 1. It looked terrible versus Minnesota for the entire game in Week 2. Detroit can score, they put up 39 versus Indianapolis in Week 1, or play defense, they held Tennessee to 16 points in Week 2. So, either way, the 8 points should mean a lot against Green Bay.
Baltimore Ravens pk at Jacksonville Jaguars pk (1:00 pm ET)
Jacksonville finally got the offense going against San Diego in the second half. The Jags scored 14 points. It wasn’t enough for them to get close to San Diego, who scored 38 points against the Jags’ D. Baltimore’s offense doesn’t look as talented as San Diego’s in 2 weeks. The Ravens’ D definitely isn’t as talented as the Chargers’ D. I think that the Jags win this game going away on Sunday.
Cleveland Browns at Miami Dolphins -10 (1:00 pm ET)
The Miami Dolphins looked great during the almost come back against the New England Patriots. But they didn’t look so good that they should be 10 point favorites over the Cleveland Browns. The Browns have a good enough team to almost beat the Baltimore Ravens in Week 2. Cleveland lost 20 to 25. Miami is a tough team. They should win this game. I just don’t think I can give up 10 points on a Hue Jackson coached Browns squad that plays with fire.
Washington Redskins at New York Giants -4.5 (1:00 pm ET)
The betting line figures to drift up some since Washington is 0 and 2 and the New York Giants are 2 and 0. It doesn’t matter. Even if the line stays at NYG -4.5, I’m all over Washington in this game. Why? In Week 1 and Week 2, the New York Giants have played the type of game that could get them into big trouble versus a team like the Washington Redskins. The Giants are playing a ball-control game. Sure, they might break out for 42 points. Or, the Redskins might sneak away with a 1 or 2-point win. Either way, I have to back Washington in the matchup.
Oakland Raiders at Tennessee Titans -1.5 (1:00 pm ET)
I truly want to put money on Oakland at +1.5. Overall, I think that Oakland has the much better offense. But the Raiders’ defense has been horrid in 2 straight games. I don’t see how the Titans don’t rush for at least 150 against Oakland’s defensive line in this battle. Tennessee took a huge step forward in terms of confidence after scoring 13 points in the 4th quarter to beat Detroit 16 to 15 in Week 2. They should be able to counter any fireworks that Raider QB Derek Carr displays on offense via their own eat up the clock offense. I think the Titans win a low-scoring, tight, game on Sunday by at least 2 points.
San Francisco 49’ers at Seattle Seahawks -9.5 (4:05 pm ET)
Seattle’s offense, which scored 12 points in Week 1 and 9 points in Week 2, should get on track versus a San Francisco defense that allowed the Carolina Panthers to rush for 176 yards in a 27 to 46 blowout SF loss this past Sunday. Seattle’s defense should do a number on SF’s offense. I don’t like giving up this many points, but Seattle has to be itching for a big win after playing so poorly in Los Angeles in Week 2.
Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers -4.5 (4:05 pm ET)
Could the Rams possibly score a touchdown against Tampa Bay in Week 3? Maybe. If so, it would be the Rams first TD of the season. The Rams are 1 and 1 after beating Seattle 9 to 6 off of 3 field goals in Week 2. The Rams definitely aren’t going to find an offense in Week 3. I don’t know. This one is tough. Tampa Bay got ransacked by Arizona 40 to 7 in Week 2. But, I do think that Tampa Bay has enough character as a football team to bounce back.
Then again, the Rams are getting +1.5 points more than I thought they’d get in this game. I have to back L.A. at +4.5 points.
Pittsburgh Steelers -4 at Philadelphia Eagles (4:25 pm ET)
Here’s another did you see what I saw games. Philadelphia has looked like one of the best teams in the NFL after 2 weeks. Pittsburgh does as well but Philly gets the Steelers at home in this game. The Eagles are legit. The 29 to 14 Monday night win over Chicago on the road in Week 2 proved it. I’m definitely backing Philly in this matchup.
San Diego Chargers at Indianapolis Colts -2.5 (4:25 pm ET)
Oh, Indianapolis! How you tease and tease but never come through with a win! San Diego should be 2 and 0 after dominating Jacksonville in Week 2 and losing to Kansas City in overtime in Week 1. Indianapolis should be where they are, 0 and 2, and allowing an average of 424 yards and 36.5 points per game. San Diego averages 372.5 yards and 32.5 points per game. The Bolts are the best moneyline bet on the board in Week 3.
New York Jets at Kansas City Chiefs -3 (4:25 pm ET)
This is a much tougher game to handicap than it looks. What it comes down to, for me, is the New York Jets’ ability to stop Kansas City’s offense. I just don’t think that’s going to happen. RB Spencer Ware should go back to his Week 1 dominating ways. He and QB Alex Smith were terrific against San Diego in Week 1. You also have to expect that WR Jeremy Maclin will get into the mix. The Jets allowed WR AJ Green to torch them for 180 yards and a TD. Buffalo WR Marquise Goodwin caught 2 passes for 112 yards and a TD in Week 2. KC gets the job done ATS.
Chicago Bears at Dallas Cowboys -7.5 (8:30 pm ET)
I don’t think the Bears have played as badly as so many thought that they have so far this season. In fact, a complete week with QB Brian Hoyer under center could lead to a surprising Chicago straight up win over Dallas in Week 3. The Bears’ defense was good until the turnovers against Philly on Monday night. As well as Dallas rookie QB Dak Prescott has played this season, he still hasn’t thrown a TD pass. A defensive mastermind like Chicago coach John Fox could come up with a brilliant defensive plan versus Prescott. 7.5 points are just too many to give to Fox and his coaching staff. I like the Bears to cover.
Monday, Sep. 26
Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints -3 (8:30 pm ET)
Both teams have horrible defenses, which means the winner comes down to the offenses. The Saints should definitely pull off the win since they are 6 and 1 straight up in the last 7 meetings between these rivals. Will the Saints cover the spread? Yes, I think that they will. Atlanta got lucky versus the Raiders in Week 2. New Orleans got unlucky versus the Giants. Saints all the way.