One great week, one terrible week and one average week. We have covered all of our bases through three weeks of action. I’m glad I laid the points with the Tennessee Titans and Carolina Panthers as my best bets, but I discovered I’m overrating both the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots. I went 12-4 picking winners straight up, including three upsets I was pretty confident on.
This week features some incredible matchups. We will get to find out if the Denver Broncos are for real, as they face their first half-decent opponent in the Baltimore Ravens, and then of course we get Tom Brady vs. Bill Belichick. Will this game be close, or will Brady drop 50 in his return to Foxboro? I’m not exactly sure, but I do know everyone will be watching.
Top five picks record: 8-7Overall ATS record: 24-24Straight up record: 29-192020 ATS record: 125-120-9 (2 official picks missed due to COVID rescheduling)
All NFL odds are via Caesars Sportsbook
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Andy Reid returns to Philly this week. Reid went 130-93-1 with the Eagles and is the winningest coach in franchise history with more than twice as many wins as any other coach. If he wins on Sunday, he will become the first coach in NFL history to win 100 games with two different teams. It’s wild that the Chiefs are in last place in the AFC West right now. This is the first time they’ve been under .500 since Week 10 in 2015. After a divisional loss, you know Patrick Mahomes and Co. have to be more motivated than ever, and they have a chance to take out some frustration against a flailing Eagles team.
The Dallas Cowboys defense is improved, but the Eagles offense did not look good on Monday night. Philly’s first touchdown was scored by the defense and the last score was a garbage-time touchdown that didn’t mean anything. The Chiefs are 0-3 against the spread this season, but they have faced three good teams. This could be a spot for the Chiefs to regroup with a big road win. People may be tempted to buy half a point, but it might not be necessary.
The pick: Chiefs -7 Projected score: Chiefs 28-20
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
New York Jets
Are you ready for the wild stat of the week? Seriously, CBS Sports research gave us this stat and I didn’t believe them so I went back through game logs to double check. Jets rookie quarterback Zach Wilson has struggled through his first few NFL games — especially in the first quarter. He’s completed just 2 of 11 passes for 18 yards and thrown two interceptions in first quarters this season. Two completions and two picks in three first quarters!
Now, I want to put it out there that Wilson’s struggles aren’t all his fault. He’s been pressured on 47 percent of his dropbacks — which ranks third-most in the league — and has been sacked more than any other quarterback (15 times). The Jets are 0-3 against the spread and just lost their best defender in Marcus Maye for a few weeks due to an ankle injury. Nothing is going right for the Jets, as they have scored just six points over the last two games. Now, they host a Titans team that has won two straight and has a defense that’s getting better.
It’s worth noting that the Titans may not have starting wide receivers Julio Jones or A.J. Brown this weekend. I really don’t care. Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and Chester Rogers were the receivers who caught touchdowns last weekend and they looked fine. Tennessee still has Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry. I say they cover. The Jets are 6-13 against the spread since the start of last season and 18-32-1 against the spread since the start of 2018. Both are worst in the NFL.
The pick: Titans -7 Projected score: Titans 26-16
Carolina Panthers at Dallas Cowboys
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (FOX)
Two teams undefeated against the spread enter AT&T Stadium on Sunday, and only one will leave 4-0. The Panthers haven’t lost a game through three weeks, but they faced two terrible teams and then one that was missing several coaches due to COVID-19 and had a couple important players out due to injury. The Panthers have the No. 1 defense in the NFL, but how legitimate are they? We will find out on Sunday, as this Cowboys offense can attack through the air or on the ground. In fact, they are the first offense since the 1984 49ers to record an 80 percent completion rate and 150-plus rushing yards in consecutive games.
The Panthers had a long week to prepare for this matchup, but they won’t have star running back Christian McCaffrey. He’s the most important player for Carolina’s offense, so it will be up to Sam Darnold to weather this defense which leads the NFL with eight takeaways. Carolina also has four defensive backs on IR now, so CeeDee Lamb and Co. could be set for a big day. I’m not ready to say the Cowboys are Super Bowl contenders, but I like this spot for them at home with momentum — even if it’s on a short week.
The pick: Cowboys -4.5 Projected score: Cowboys 30-23
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)
Green Bay Packers
Remember how hot the Steelers started last year and then how they faded at the end of the season? It feels like we are seeing that again — except it’s happening way sooner. Ben Roethlisberger looked old against the Cincinnati Bengals last week. The defense didn’t look good either, as Joe Mixon asserted his will against the Steelers front seven and Ja’Marr Chase ran wild in the secondary. Aaron Rodgers got back on track in the second half of Week 2 against the Detroit Lions, and while the defense let up against the 49ers a bit last week, Rodgers came in and finished the job. The Packers are 2-0 against the spread over the last two weeks and they will improve to 3-0 on Sunday. Too much firepower, and the Packers are at home.
The pick: Packers -6.5 Projected score: Packers 28-21
Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)
New England Patriots
Here we go, the game of the week. You know Tom Brady wants to drop 100 points on Bill Belichick’s head, but I would imagine Belichick has some surprises for him defensively. No one knows Brady better as a player than Belichick does — his strengths and his weaknesses. Still, this Buccaneers team is just better than the Patriots.
Another reason I’m high on the Bucs in this matchup is because they lost to the Los Angeles Rams last week. That has to motivate Brady even more, and the stats back it up. The Bucs went 5-0 against the spread following a loss last season, and four of those matchups were double-digit wins.
The pick: Buccaneers -7 Projected score: Buccaneers 30-20
Other Week 3 picks
Bengals (-7.5) 30-20 over JaguarsSaints (-7.5) 28-20 over GiantsBills (-16.5) 30-10 over TexansBears (-3) 24-20 over LionsBrowns (-2) 28-24 over VikingsColts (+2) 21-17 over DolphinsWashington (-1.5) 27-25 over FalconsRams 30-27 over Cardinals (+4.5)Seahawks (+2.5) 30-26 over 49ersBroncos (-1) 26-24 over RavensChargers (-3) 31-23 over Raiders
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