Week 3 NFL Picks Against the Spread

Big bounceback final week. Can we get scorching and stay it going? It’s the query America wishes replied as we head into Week 3.

We’ve were given every other complete slate of video games on the time table. Lines are courtesy of FanDuel. Stats are courtesy of TruMedia/Pro Football Focus until another way famous.

Week 2 file: 12-4

Season file: 18-14

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns (-4.5)

The drawback for the Browns up to now this season has now not been Jacoby Brissett; it’s been the protection. Cleveland’s offense ranks fourth in anticipated issues added (EPA) in keeping with force, however the protection ranks twenty seventh.

The Steelers, in the meantime, have considered one of the NFL’s maximum inept offenses. After seeing how their offseason performed out, I assumed, “Well, the offense can’t be worse than it was last year.” Through two video games, it’s been.

There’s no manner to be ok with this sport. Either you’re taking Mitchell Trubisky and a nasty offense on the street otherwise you’re taking a protection that simply melted down in opposition to Joe Flacco and the Jets. When doubtful, simply take the issues.

The select: Steelers (+4.5)

Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots (+2.5)

Games through which Lamar Jackson has had 300-plus yards passing and 100-plus yards speeding: two.

Games that each and every different quarterback in NFL historical past has had 300-plus yards passing and 100-plus yards speeding: 3.

The Ravens protection fell aside final week in opposition to the Dolphins, however Jackson used to be terrific, finishing 21 of 29 passes for 318 yards and 3 touchdowns, whilst additionally speeding 9 instances for 119 yards and a ranking. The blitz gave the Ravens a wide variety of problems final 12 months, but if the Dolphins rushed 5 or extra, Jackson used to be 12-for-14 for 206 yards and two touchdowns. That’s a actually, actually encouraging signal.

As for the Patriots, Nelson Agholor delivered a pleasing 44-yard TD take hold of final week of their win in opposition to the Steelers. But their offense simply doesn’t have numerous juice. I hate going in opposition to Bill Belichick as a house underdog, and Jackson is taking part in thru an elbow damage, however I believe the Patriots are going to have a difficult time right here.

The select: Ravens (-2.5)


Bills WR Stefon Diggs
Photo via Joshua Bessex/Getty Images

Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins (+6.5)

Two encouraging indicators from Mike McDaniel in that comeback Dolphins win final week:

  1. He may well be a QB elevator. The objective this season used to be to look what Tua Tagovailoa seemed like with the proper items round him. The query with quarterbacks isn’t all the time Is he the man? Sometimes, it’s extra easy: Can you win with him? In phrases of EPA in keeping with force, that used to be the Dolphins’ very best offensive efficiency since 2008, and this used to be simplest McDaniel’s 2d sport.
  2. I liked the manner McDaniel controlled that sport. He didn’t panic and get in touch with timeout too early on the Dolphins’ final force. He knew that the Dolphins sought after to attain a landing, but in addition that they didn’t need to give Jackson an excessive amount of time to position in combination a force. With 44 seconds left, McDaniel known as an inside of run to Chase Edmonds, which stuck the Ravens via marvel and won 28 yards. Miami scored two performs later. Jackson were given the ball again with simply 14 seconds left. Perfectly finished via Miami.

As for the Bills, what’s left to mention? It doesn’t really feel like there’s a protection in the NFL that may prevent Josh Allen at this time. Their protection may well be a bit banged up; 3 participants—security Micah Hyde, defensive take on Jordan Phillips, and cornerback again Dane Jackson—didn’t apply Wednesday, however they’re so well-coached. I believe they’ll be capable of stress Tagovailoa into a few turnovers on this sport.

The select: Bills (-6.5)

Kansas City Chiefs at Indianapolis Colts (+5.5)

This line is terrifying. The Chiefs are 2-0. They have the higher trainer. They have the higher quarterback. They are coming off of a mini bye, having performed final Thursday evening. The Colts are 0-1-1. They have regarded dead. They have fallen into deep holes in every in their first two video games, and feature been outscored 44-3 in quarters 1-3 of the ones video games. They have a nasty left take on scenario and a nasty extensive receiver scenario, and their protection is vanilla. How may they be simplest 5.5-point underdogs?

I don’t have a perfect solution. Maybe they get working again Jonathan Taylor going and string in combination lengthy drives. Maybe they play with a way of desperation. Maybe Waze malfunctions, the Chiefs’ bus will get misplaced going to the stadium, and they have got to forfeit.

All I do know is once I see a “too good to be true” line, I take the different aspect.

The select: Colts (+5.5)

Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings (-5.5)

Monday evening used to be a large unhappiness for the Vikings. Defensively, they stayed in the identical static, split-safety coverages and were given picked aside. Offensively, Kirk Cousins seemed like he had by no means observed a blitz prior to. He used to be 4-for-12 for 22 yards when the Eagles despatched 5 or extra rushers. He used to be 3-for-12 for 38 yards in opposition to guy protection.

Guess what the Lions find irresistible to do on protection? Blitz and play guy protection.

I used to be skeptical of Detroit’s offense getting into the season, however thru two weeks, the Lions rank 6th in EPA in keeping with force. Running again D’Andre Swift and extensive receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown seem like stars. They’ve been in a position to resist offensive line accidents. And Jared Goff appears comfy. I may well be leaning an excessive amount of on a small pattern, however I really like what I’ve observed from the Lions up to now.

The select: Lions (+5.5)

Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Commanders (+6.5)

Three instances in NFL historical past has a quarterback thrown for 300-plus yards and rushed for 50-plus yards whilst finishing over 80 % of his makes an attempt:

  1. Lamar Jackson in Week 5 of final season
  2. Josh Allen in the wild-card spherical of final 12 months’s playoffs
  3. Jalen Hurts on Monday evening in opposition to the Vikings

That used to be the very best sport of Hurts’s profession. He used to be correct, made performs from inside of the pocket and outdoor the pocket, and used to be in complete command.

The Commanders fell in the back of 22-0 in opposition to the Lions prior to making it shut in the 2d part. When Carson Wentz has had time, he’s hooked up on some great throws downfield. When he’s been harassed, it’s gotten unsightly. But the greatest factor for Washington is on the different aspect of the ball. The Commanders protection has had too many miscues. I believe Hurts takes merit.

The select: Eagles (-6.5)

Cincinnati Bengals at New York Jets (+4.5)

Pro Football Focus has a metric known as pressure-to-sack proportion. It appears at how ceaselessly a quarterback takes a sack when he’s harassed. Through two video games, Joe Burrow leads all quarterbacks at 38.2 %. It’s clearly now not all on Burrow. ESPN’s cross block win fee metric measures how ceaselessly a staff provides up stress inside of 2.5 seconds of the snap; via that metric, the Bengals rank twenty fifth. Bottom line: This wasn’t meant to be as dangerous an issue in 2022. But it’s been.

The Jets are coming off an exciting win in opposition to the Browns, they usually beat the Bengals in Week 8 final season. But I’m now not giving up on the Bengals but. Burrow is simply too just right, he’s were given guns, and he’s needed to handle less-than-stellar coverage in the previous. I believe Cincinnati rebounds in a large manner right here.

The select: Bengals (-4.5)

Jacksonville Jaguars at Los Angeles Chargers (-7)

How glad are Jaguars gamers to have Doug Pederson as their head trainer after final season with Urban Meyer? This glad:

Trevor Lawrence used to be in complete command final week in opposition to the Colts, and Pederson known as a perfect sport. Defensively, the Jaguars’ entrance appears ambitious.

As for the Chargers, what took place to go trainer Brandon Staley? Last 12 months, the nerds liked him as a result of he used to be the NFL’s maximum competitive trainer on fourth down. But in opposition to the Chiefs in Week 2, Staley made up our minds to punt two times in Kansas City territory and kick a box objective on fourth-and-2. Did the jocks get to him? Say it ain’t so!

As of this writing, we don’t know what Justin Herbert’s standing for this sport will probably be after he suffered a rib damage in Week 2. Regardless, the Jags are a frisky staff and a difficult matchup.

The select: Jaguars (+7)

Green Bay Packers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-1.5)

The Bucs received’t have extensive receiver Mike Evans on this sport after he used to be suspended for his involvement in final week’s fracas in opposition to the Saints. It’s unclear whether or not Tampa Bay gets extensive receivers Chris Godwin or Julio Jones again. And the Bucs may well be right down to their third-string left take on.

The Packers bounced again with a win on Sunday evening in opposition to the Bears, however Aaron Rodgers and Co. face a stiff check in opposition to a Bucs protection that’s taking part in effectively. This may well be every other irritating sport for Tom Brady, however Tampa Bay has proven it may possibly win in several tactics. I really like the Bucs to stay undefeated.

The select: Bucs (-1.5)

Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals (+3.5)

Kliff Kingsbury will have to be writing Nathaniel Hackett a thank-you card this week. If now not for Hackett’s in-game efficiency (extra on that later), Kingsbury could be taking a wide variety of warmth. The Cardinals wasted a timeout in the first quarter in opposition to the Raiders as a result of the play clock used to be winding down. The identical factor took place in the 0.33 quarter. And once more in the fourth! They arrange for the game-tying two-point check out without a time left in law, however the Raiders known as a timeout. Following the timeout, the Cardinals couldn’t get a play off and needed to take a extend of sport as a result of they didn’t have any timeouts left. They transformed, however it used to be from the seven-yard line! The comeback used to be nice, however they have been so disorganized.

The Rams just about blew a large result in the Falcons and haven’t been at their very best thru two video games. But the Cardinals weren’t aggressive in the playoff sport between those two groups final season, and I believe this one may observe a an identical script.

The select: Rams (-3.5)

Atlanta Falcons at Seattle Seahawks (+1)

Week 1 used to be the Seahawks’ Super Bowl, once they were given an emotional win over Russell Wilson and the Broncos. In a Week 2 loss to the 49ers, the Seahawks ran simply 47 performs and had 216 yards of offense. The complicated metrics recommend that the Seahawks are a nasty staff. It’s simplest two video games, however they’re twenty sixth in EPA in keeping with force offensively and thirty first defensively.

The Falcons blew their sport in Week 1 in opposition to the Saints and staged a livid comeback in Week 2 prior to falling to the Rams. Tight finish Kyle Pitts has simply 4 catches for 38 yards on 10 goals thru two video games. I believe that head trainer Arthur Smith gets him the ball early and ceaselessly on this sport. The Falcons transfer the ball successfully and get their first win.

The select: Falcons (-1)

New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers (+3)

Jameis Winston is on the damage record with again and ankle accidents, and he’s coming off a sport through which he used to be sacked six instances and threw 3 interceptions.

Jaw-dropping stat from The Athletic’s Joseph Person: The Panthers are 1-25 below Matt Rhule when permitting 17 issues or extra. That’s some spectacular offensive ineptitude. They have now not received a sport since Nov. 14, 2021. You know what that implies: They’re due!

This is an unimaginable sport to select. I want I may wager in opposition to myself getting this one proper.

The select: Panthers (+3)

Titans RB Derrick Henry
Photo via Joshua Bessex/Getty Images

Las Vegas Raiders at Tennessee Titans (+1.5)

Going into the season, I used to be maximum to look how Josh McDaniels would deal with the non-X’s-and-O’s sides of training. It seems like we’re about to determine. The Raiders are 0-2 and coming off a meltdown loss to the Cardinals. Davante Adams had two catches in that sport and left the locker room prior to newshounds entered. Maybe Adams will pass off on this sport, and the Raiders will notch their first win. But will McDaniels be capable of stay everybody pulling in the identical route if they begin their season 0-3?

The Titans also are searching for their first win. They were given blown out via the Bills on Monday evening, and key gamers like left take on Taylor Lewan and edge rusher Bud Dupree suffered accidents.

The Raiders are the extra gifted staff, and it’s conceivable that that is going to briefly turn out to be a transition 12 months for the Titans. But the infrastructure in Tennessee is powerful with Mike Vrabel, and the Titans have their backs in opposition to the wall. It’s a toss-up sport, however I’ll trip with the Titans.

The select: Titans (+1.5)

Houston Texans at Chicago Bears (-2.5)

The Bears have tried 28 passes thru two video games. That’s 24 fewer than another staff and 76 fewer than the Jets, who lead the league with 104. In Week 1, the Bears performed in dangerous climate, however on Sunday evening in Green Bay, Justin Fields tried simply 11 passes. Keeping that during thoughts, it feels protected to mention that even supposing the Bears get a lead on this one, they’re now not going to head for the jugular.

The Texans are 0-1-1 and feature been aggressive in each video games. Their offense isn’t going to do so much, however their protection has been decent. Unless we get defensive touchdowns or a special-teams ranking, I’m now not seeing numerous issues right here. Houston helps to keep it shut.

The select: Texans (+2.5)

San Francisco 49ers at Denver Broncos (+1.5)

As I discussed on The Ringer NFL Show, the RedZone channel will have to be required to chop to Broncos video games each and every time head trainer Nathaniel Hackett is confronted with a fourth-down choice for the remainder of the 12 months.

My favourite collection from final week got here on third-and-1 in the 0.33 quarter. The Broncos ran a fullback possibility with Andrew Beck. Beck has been in the league since 2019. He had one profession elevate going into that sport. Shockingly, he were given stopped for a loss. On fourth-and-2, Hackett first made up our minds to head for it. Then he modified his thoughts (for like the 0.33 time that sport). Kicker Brandon McManus were given onto the box overdue. He drilled a 54-yarder. Only one drawback: The play clock expired! The Broncos went from going for it on fourth-and-2 to making an attempt a box objective to having to punt on account of a extend of sport penalty. It used to be a masterpiece in mismanagement. Shout-out to the Broncos fanatics who began loudly counting down the play clock in the fourth quarter to assist the house staff.

Trey Lance’s damage is a large bummer for the 49ers, however it doesn’t actually exchange expectancies for the 49ers this 12 months. Jimmy Garoppolo can get them to the Super Bowl. He’s finished it prior to. And their protection may well be particular.

Everyone’s piling on Hackett at this time, so zagging and taking the Broncos may well be good. But I simply can’t get there.

The select: 49ers (-1.5)

Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants (-1)

This seems like an unsightly, low-scoring sport. Success fee measures how ceaselessly a staff produces a favorable play. It’s a just right metric to have a look at with a small pattern as it strips out the outliers; every play is both thought to be a success or now not a success in response to EPA. So a seven-yard final touch on third-and-6 is handled the identical as a 50-yard final touch—they’re each a success. The Giants offense, thru two video games, ranks thirty second in luck fee. They’ve hit on some large performs, however the numbers recommend that not anything they’re doing is sustainable. Now they have got to stand Micah Parsons and a Cowboys protection this is taking part in effectively.

But the Cowboys offense figures to have a difficult time, too. New beginning quarterback Cooper Rush used to be environment friendly final week in a win over the Bengals, however going through Wink Martindale’s competitive, blitzing protection will probably be a problem.

I will be able to’t consider I’m choosing the Giants to visit 3-0. I hate myself already.

The select: Giants (-1)

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