NFL Preview: Week 3
A slow descent into the Maelstrom
Week 2 record: 7-9
Overall record: 14-17-1
La Cerradura De El Padre: 2-0
The above video is a quick look in at me trying to hit the spreads. Close, but nope. Another poor week full of near misses and outright wins without a cover. At some point the luck will even out, but not this week. On the plus side, La Cerradura De El Padre cruised to another easy victory.
Best Call: Broncos (-6) The Jags did next to nothing against the Broncos defense (7 of those points were via kick return). Their defense played a lot better this week, keeping the Broncos in check for the most part. Had Trevor Lawrence not turned the ball over as much, this game might have been close. But he is a rookie, and that Broncos defense is an absolute nightmare. I think it’s going to be a long season for Jacksonville, but I do think they can get things to the point of being more competitive. Just not yet.
Worst Call: Dolphins (+3) The Dolphins somehow played even worse than they did in week 17 last year. There was the thought that their young offensive line might get better with experience and practice this season, but that does not seem to have occurred. Instead, it seems they are getting worse. Whatever the reason, this team is in danger of losing it’s QBs every week. They allowed 24 QB pressures this week, and most of those were of the unblocked variety. No QB is going to stay healthy with that. Look at Joe Burrow last year. We need to be real careful here moving forward
Bad Beat: Seahawks (-6.5) The Seahawks frittered away a 14 point lead in the second half, basically allowing Derrick Henry to jog down the field over and over, until they had lost the game. That sounds pathetic, but it’s actually really hard to tackle him, so I don’t want to be too insulting. Still, Russell Wilson's status as a late game miracle worker is becoming more and more questionable. This week, he lost the game with a walk-off safety, or he would have if the referees had made the correct call. Instead, they simply punted and lost that way.
On to week three. A lot of big lines, especially in the early games. With plenty of points given, we need to avoid the temptation to pick a bunch of favorites. Last week, the big lines were definitely a mixed bag. The Browns, Seahawks and Steelers all needed a touchdown to cover and failed. We also are entering a very tough week. It’s week three. All the 0-2 teams know they are in big trouble. Going 0-3 is a playoff death knell. I expect those 0-2 teams to empty the playbook. This is the week of the underdog.
Carolina Panthers at Houston Texans +8.5
Neck Foles made his first start last night for the Texans. While it wasn't Trevor Lawrence bad, it still wasn't enough to save my pick of the Texans. A late Panthers touchdown cost me the cover and made me an unfortunate 0-3 on TNF aka “Terrible, Nonetheless Football”. Perhaps TNF aka “The home of the AFC South” is just my achilles heel. Speaking of injuries, Christian McCaffrey tore apart the hopes of 10 percent of Americans last night and his hamstring. TNF is the worst.
Washington Football Team vs. Buffalo Bills -7
The Bills killed the Dolphins and pushed this line into the stratosphere.The problem is, until the game was clearly out of hand, Josh Allen continued to struggle. He only completed %50 percent of passes. He threw a pick again. He got very little pass yardage. It felt like the Dolphins did a lot of that to themselves. Meanwhile the WFT played poorly but escaped with a win against a bad Giants team at home. On the plus side, Taylor Heinicke didn’t play too badly. The Giants defense is not terrible. Could he be a Kurt Warner? It would be cool if he was. However, that was at home. This is his first challenge this season on the road. A funny thing happened to this line during the week and it fell 2 points. A last second switch leads me to take the Bills -7
Chicago Bears vs. Cleveland Browns -7.5
The Bears may have just been saved from themselves by Andy Dalton’s injury. After a very slow start behind the Red Nerf Gun, the Bears had Justin Fields step in. While he didn’t light the world on fire, he also didn’t lose the game. His mobility will open up options for them on the ground they currently don’t have. That offense wasn’t working well with Dalton in there either. I think Fields has a lower floor than Dalton at the moment, but he also provides upside that Dalton doesn’t have. All of this makes for a tough call. The Browns have played ok the first few weeks, but their defense isn’t rock solid. Their offense is good, but not high octane. Not covering against the Texans was a bit of a warning shot. I am nervous of this line being over a touchdown. The Bears aren’t the joke this line sees them as. I am taking the Bears +7.5.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Detroit Lions +8
The Lions are a huge home dog, I do not trust this Ravens team at all. Their defense has been spotty so far. I do not trust them with a line over a touchdown. Lamar Jackson is VERY up and down, not just from game to game, but from play to play, and I don’t think they have the pieces to really take apart the weakest part of this Lions team, the secondary. Especially on the road, I am just not comfortable that this offense has the juice to be a justified favorite of more than a touchdown. Unconnected, but this right here in the above clip is good coaching. Harbaugh actively involves Lamar in the decision making process for a key play. In an offseason where several QBs were alienated by their franchise not caring about their thoughts, it has never been more important to communicate effectively at all levels. Bad leadership makes individual decisions. Good leadership builds consensus. Lions +8
Indianapolis Colts vs. Tennessee Titans -5.5
Two teams that have not lived up to expectations so far, both the Colts and Titans would be in huge trouble if there weren’t the only two teams that can win that division. The Titans were nearly routed in back to back games, but were saved by Derrick Henry. The Colts have been close in both of their games at home against elite competition, but couldn’t come out on top. Carson Wentz did the most Wentz thing possible and sprained both his ankles. He has shown 0 improvement from last year. If it’s possible to like neither team in a matchup this week, it’s this one, where both of these teams have big flaws. The Colts are desperate however at 0-2. The Titans just got bailed out. I suspect this game will end VERY close. Taking the points… again Colts +5.5
Los Angeles Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs -6.5
If you saw my article from Monday, The OCHO, you would know that the Chiefs are ATS poison. They are 1-10 in their last 11 regular season games ATS. That includes the last two weeks when they failed to cover as favorites. Here they are almost A TOUCHDOWN favorite despite the Chargers being a solid team. If the Chargers can clear up some of the sloppy play, not only can they cover, but they can win this game. Look at the above throw. The cornerback literally stops running because he simply thinks that throw is impossible. It should be. It isn’t for Justin Herbert. The Chiefs defense is barely holding it together, giving up 30+ points a game in the last two. Admittedly, those were good offenses, but so are the Chargers. Do you feel confident that the Chiefs can score the 36+ they will need to cover this? I do not. They have scored 36+ 4 times in the last 20 games. Chargers +6.5
New Orleans Saints vs. New England Patriots -3
Which New Orleans Saints team is real? The one that played the Packers? The one that played the Panthers? That CK to NTH was a swing well beyond the NTH degree. Injuries were a huge factor. So was the COVID issue with the coaching staff. The answer to this question will probably decide this matchup. We know who the Pats are. A very conservative offense that will rely all season on its defense to generate opportunities and points. Mac Jones has done a great job avoiding mistakes, and it wasn’t his fault the Pats lost week 1. So you have one team with a wildly vacillating outcome, and another with a very steady projection. Right now, I am going to take the Patriots at home. Although if you bet this… wait till game time. Who knows who is playing for this Saints team. Patriots -3.
Atlanta Falcons vs. New York Giants -3
The Falcons have been incredibly bad so far this season. Watching the Eagles struggle to score 10 points at home against the pitiful 49ers secondary was a shock after week one when they ran it up on the Falcons, yet the Falcons are giving up 40 points a game. The Giants can’t get to 40 behind their offensive line, but I think at home, this should be an easy win for them. Both these teams are 0-2, so they both need it. The Falcons are still trying to work in a new scheme. The Giants have Daniel Jones. Both teams have problems. The Falcons have a lot of more important problems right now though.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers -3
This pick used to be as automatic as the sun rising or setting. Did you see the games the last two weeks for the Steelers though. Ben Roethlisberger looks absolutely awful and beyond that, a pectoral muscle is dealing with an injured Roethlisberger. He is simply lobbing the ball down the field hoping for the best on any deep throw. That can work from time to time, but they are never getting the type of chunk gains a player like Justin Herbert can get, where the receiver can do things after the catch. They also can’t fall back on the run behind that line. Of course, Ben Roethlisberger will be the last to notice his decline as he searches for other parties to blame. Meanwhile, the Bengals have played the Bears and Vikings to a draw basically the first two weeks. I just don’t see the Steelers losing at home twice in a row. This is another line that moved a lot, giving a point and a half back to the Steelers. Steelers -3
Arizona Cardinals vs. Jacksonville Jaguars +7.5
Learning absolutely nothing from last week, the Cardinals are also not double digit favorites to a Jaguars team that showed very little improvement from week 1. The KR TD hid a team that actually lost by 17 to a solid but unspectacular Broncos team. Now they are going against a solid and sometimes spectacular Cardinals team that barely hung on to win last week. I don’t love this game. The Cards are probably a little overconfident after last week. The Jaguars are desperate. But until these spreads get to double digies, I gotta go here. Look at Urban Meyer above. His body language is so pathetic here while claiming he is in Jacksonville for the long haul, I almost want to say, “It’s ok to lie Urban. Don’t feel sad. Every coach does it.” God protect this man from his inevitable heart attack. This is also La Cerradura De El Padre. Cardinals -7.5
New York Jets vs. Denver Broncos -10.5
Things just keep getting worse for Zach Wilson who is coming off being manhandled by a rough New England defense, and headed to maybe the best defense in the league right now. The Broncos are a hell scape for opposing QBs. The problem with this line is the expectation that Teddy Bridgewater and the offense can do enough to make it happen. They might, but their passing attack has been hit or miss so far. Their running game has been a dud. I love the Broncos to win, but I do not like this line. I think the Jets will reign in Zach Wilson here and demand boredom. I expect them to avoid mistakes and just try to stay in the game. I believe they will squeeze out a cover. Jets +10.5
Miami Dolphins vs. Las Vegas Raiders -4.5
Are the Raiders for real? The Raiders have played really well through the first few weeks of the season, scoring upset wins over the Ravens and Steelers. David Carr has been playing fantastic football, and for the most part, after a rocky start against the Ravens, he has been avoiding his usual turnover bugaboo. In comes Miami, who played one of the worst football games I have ever seen last week. There really isn’t much more to say. It was bad in every possible sense. Is that who they are? Or was it an aberration? Bad matchup? Remember, they beat the Patriots in New England the week before. I’m not really sure who they are at this point, but if you thought I loved the Raiders as underdogs, wait till you see how much I hate them as a favorite. When you see headlines like the one above, it’s time to fade the Raiders. Hey, I don’t make the rules. Dolphins +4.5
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Los Angeles Rams +1.5
The Rams are a home dog in the Buccaneers first foray away from Tampa for the season. So far, the Bucs and Rams have played fairly equally in terms of performance. The Buccaneers have put points up by the bucketful (see above). The Rams have looked a little less overwhelming on offense, but better on defense. That fits the identity of these two over the last few years. I am a little worried about the Bucs here though. I think they have been on some cruise control the first few weeks. I don’t know that they understand the kind of heat this Rams team is going to bring to this matchup. I think Matt Stafford is capable of moving the ball on the Buccaneers questionable secondary. Most of all, I just think this is like an early season Super Bowl for the Rams. I think they empty the playbook here. I also think the Rams have the pieces to keep the Bucs under thirty. I’ll take the home dog Rams +1.5
Seattle Seahawks vs. Minnesota Vikings +1.5
The home dog Vikings have been snake bit the last few weeks, losing once in OT and another on a last second missed FG. Meanwhile the Seahawks had one strong game against the Colts, and another classic Seahawks WTF performance against the Titans. If you can figure out what the Seahawks are going to do in any game or even any quarter, please clue the rest of us in, because I sure don’t. Meanwhile the Vikings seem pretty much like last year. A bad secondary causes them to give up points, while their offense allows them to keep up. This game is pretty critical to both of them. I am going to go Vikings here as the home dog. I love that the person who posted the above failed to consider that the only team the Vikings don’t play is the Vikings, which is how that graphic happens. Vikings +1.5
Green Bay Packers vs. San Francisco 49ers -3
The 49ers are a very unimpressive 2-0 having taken wins off of the bad Lions and an Eagle team where the jury is still very much out. Are the 49ers really good? I have a lot of questions. They have plowed through 4 running backs already, and their primary cornerback, not to mention other injuries. Meanwhile, the Packers are brilliantly set up to take advantage of the 49ers in the way the Lions and Eagles were not. By passing on the boundary. I think this will cause a huge problem for the 49ers defense. I don’t like the 49ers here, and would actually take the Packers outright over the spread option. So why is this line so high? History. The Packers almost always suck against the 49ers. This year, I think their defensive deficiencies and lack of a running back are going to catch up with the 49ers. Packers +3
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys -3.5
The Cowboys are favored at home, and rightfully. With the said, the Eagles defense has been good so far. Their offense, with Jalen Hurts, is going through the kind of growing pains a team goes through with a second year QB. The Cowboys continue to be hamstrung by dumb penalties, bad clock management, and an overall inability to get the details right. Look at the above situation. Read his excuse. He knew the clock was running but didn’t know the time. CALL TIMEOUT RIGHT THEN!!! Why wait 28 seconds??? I don’t trust this Cowboys team, ESPECIALLY with points. They just have this ability to lose points in ways they shouldn’t. I’ll take the Eagles +3.5