Week 3 NFL Picks In opposition to the Unfold

Week 3 NFL Picks In opposition to the Unfold

Large bounceback final week. Can we get sizzling and maintain it going? It’s the query America wants answered as we head into Week 3.

We’ve bought one other full slate of video games on the schedule. Strains are courtesy of FanDuel. Stats are courtesy of TruMedia/Professional Soccer Focus until in any other case famous.

Week 2 report: 12-4

Season report: 18-14


Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns (-4.5)

The issue for the Browns up to now this season has not been Jacoby Brissett; it’s been the protection. Cleveland’s offense ranks fourth in anticipated factors added (EPA) per drive, however the protection ranks twenty seventh.

The Steelers, in the meantime, have one of many NFL’s most inept offenses. After seeing how their offseason performed out, I believed, “Effectively, the offense can’t be worse than it was final yr.” By way of two video games, it has been.

There’s no means to be ok with this sport. Both you’re taking Mitchell Trubisky and a foul 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 factors.

The choose: Steelers (+4.5)

Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots (+2.5)

Video games by which Lamar Jackson has had 300-plus yards passing and 100-plus yards dashing: two.

Video games that each different quarterback in NFL historical past has had 300-plus yards passing and 100-plus yards dashing: three.

The Ravens protection fell aside final week in opposition to the Dolphins, however Jackson was terrific, finishing 21 of 29 passes for 318 yards and three touchdowns, whereas additionally dashing 9 instances for 119 yards and a rating. The blitz gave the Ravens all types of points final yr, however when the Dolphins rushed 5 or extra, Jackson was 12-for-14 for 206 yards and two touchdowns. That’s a extremely, actually encouraging signal.

As for the Patriots, Nelson Agholor delivered a pleasant 44-yard TD seize final week of their win in opposition to the Steelers. However their offense simply doesn’t have loads of juice. I hate going in opposition to Invoice Belichick as a house underdog, and Jackson is taking part in via an elbow damage, however I feel the Patriots are going to have a troublesome time right here.

The choose: Ravens (-2.5)

Payments WR Stefon Diggs
Photograph by Joshua Bessex/Getty Pictures

Buffalo Payments at Miami Dolphins (+6.5)

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

  1. He could be a QB elevator. The objective this season was to see what Tua Tagovailoa seemed like with the appropriate items round him. The query with quarterbacks isn’t all the time Is he the man? Generally, it’s extra easy: Are you able to win with him? When it comes to EPA per drive, that was the Dolphins’ greatest offensive efficiency since 2008, and this was solely McDaniel’s second sport.
  2. I cherished the best way McDaniel managed that sport. He didn’t panic and name timeout too early on the Dolphins’ final drive. He knew that the Dolphins needed to attain a landing, but in addition that they didn’t need to give Jackson an excessive amount of time to place collectively a drive. With 44 seconds left, McDaniel referred to as an inside run to Chase Edmonds, which caught the Ravens abruptly and gained 28 yards. Miami scored two performs later. Jackson bought the ball again with simply 14 seconds left. Completely executed by Miami.

As for the Payments, what’s left to say? It doesn’t really feel like there’s a protection within the NFL that may cease Josh Allen proper now. Their protection could be just a little banged up; three contributors—security Micah Hyde, defensive sort out Jordan Phillips, and cornerback again Dane Jackson—didn’t observe Wednesday, however they’re so well-coached. I feel they’ll be capable to strain Tagovailoa into a few turnovers on this sport.

The choose: Payments (-6.5)

Kansas Metropolis Chiefs at Indianapolis Colts (+5.5)

This line is terrifying. The Chiefs are 2-0. They’ve the higher coach. They’ve the higher quarterback. They’re coming off of a mini bye, having performed final Thursday night time. The Colts are 0-1-1. They’ve seemed lifeless. They’ve fallen into deep holes in every of their first two video games, and have been outscored 44-3 in quarters 1-3 of these video games. They’ve a foul left sort out scenario and a foul extensive receiver scenario, and their protection is vanilla. How might they be solely 5.5-point underdogs?

I don’t have an amazing reply. Perhaps they get working again Jonathan Taylor going and string collectively lengthy drives. Perhaps they play with a way of desperation. Perhaps Waze malfunctions, the Chiefs’ bus will get misplaced going to the stadium, they usually should forfeit.

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

The choose: Colts (+5.5)

Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings (-5.5)

Monday night time was a giant disappointment for the Vikings. Defensively, they stayed in the identical static, split-safety coverages and bought picked aside. Offensively, Kirk Cousins seemed like he had by no means seen a blitz earlier than. He was 4-for-12 for 22 yards when the Eagles despatched 5 or extra rushers. He was 3-for-12 for 38 yards in opposition to man protection.

Guess what the Lions love to do on protection? Blitz and play man protection.

I used to be skeptical of Detroit’s offense coming into the season, however via two weeks, the Lions rank sixth in EPA per drive. Working again D’Andre Swift and extensive receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown seem like stars. They’ve been capable of face up to offensive line accidents. And Jared Goff seems to be snug. I could be leaning an excessive amount of on a small pattern, however I like what I’ve seen from the Lions up to now.

The choose: Lions (+5.5)

Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Commanders (+6.5)

3 times in NFL historical past has a quarterback thrown for 300-plus yards and rushed for 50-plus yards whereas finishing over 80 p.c of his makes an attempt:

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

That was one of the best sport of Hurts’s profession. He was correct, made performs from contained in the pocket and outdoors the pocket, and was in full command.

The Commanders fell behind 22-0 in opposition to the Lions earlier than making it shut within the second half. When Carson Wentz has had time, he’s linked on some good throws downfield. When he’s been pressured, it’s gotten ugly. However the greatest concern for Washington is on the opposite aspect of the ball. The Commanders protection has had too many miscues. I feel Hurts takes benefit.

The choose: Eagles (-6.5)

Cincinnati Bengals at New York Jets (+4.5)

Professional Soccer Focus has a metric referred to as pressure-to-sack share. It seems to be at how typically a quarterback takes a sack when he’s pressured. By way of two video games, Joe Burrow leads all quarterbacks at 38.2 p.c. It’s clearly not all on Burrow. ESPN’s move block win charge metric measures how typically a crew offers up strain inside 2.5 seconds of the snap; by that metric, the Bengals rank twenty fifth. Backside line: This wasn’t speculated to be as unhealthy an issue in 2022. Nevertheless it has been.

The Jets are coming off an exciting win in opposition to the Browns, they usually beat the Bengals in Week 8 final season. However I’m not giving up on the Bengals but. Burrow is just too good, he’s bought weapons, and he’s needed to cope with less-than-stellar safety previously. I feel Cincinnati rebounds in a giant means right here.

The choose: Bengals (-4.5)

Jacksonville Jaguars at Los Angeles Chargers (-7)

How joyful are Jaguars gamers to have Doug Pederson as their head coach after final season with City Meyer? This joyful:

Trevor Lawrence was in full command final week in opposition to the Colts, and Pederson referred to as an amazing sport. Defensively, the Jaguars’ entrance seems to be formidable.

As for the Chargers, what occurred to move coach Brandon Staley? Final yr, the nerds cherished him as a result of he was the NFL’s most aggressive coach on fourth down. However in opposition to the Chiefs in Week 2, Staley determined to punt twice in Kansas Metropolis territory and kick a discipline 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 can be after he suffered a rib damage in Week 2. Regardless, the Jags are a frisky crew and a troublesome matchup.

The choose: Jaguars (+7)

Inexperienced Bay Packers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-1.5)

The Bucs gained’t have extensive receiver Mike Evans on this sport after he was suspended for his involvement in final week’s fracas in opposition to the Saints. It’s unclear whether or not Tampa Bay will get extensive receivers Chris Godwin or Julio Jones again. And the Bucs might be right down to their third-string left sort out.

The Packers bounced again with a win on Sunday night time in opposition to the Bears, however Aaron Rodgers and Co. face a stiff take a look at in opposition to a Bucs protection that’s taking part in properly. This could be one other irritating sport for Tom Brady, however Tampa Bay has proven it may possibly win in several methods. I just like the Bucs to stay undefeated.

The choose: Bucs (-1.5)

Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals (+3.5)

Kliff Kingsbury needs to be writing Nathaniel Hackett a thank-you card this week. If not for Hackett’s in-game efficiency (extra on that later), Kingsbury can be taking all types of warmth. The Cardinals wasted a timeout within the first quarter in opposition to the Raiders as a result of the play clock was winding down. The identical factor occurred within the third quarter. And once more within the fourth! They arrange for the game-tying two-point strive with no time left in regulation, however the Raiders referred to as a timeout. Following the timeout, the Cardinals couldn’t get a play off and needed to take a delay of sport as a result of they didn’t have any timeouts left. They transformed, however it was from the seven-yard line! The comeback was nice, however they had been so disorganized.

The Rams almost blew a giant result in the Falcons and haven’t been at their greatest via two video games. However the Cardinals weren’t aggressive within the playoff sport between these two groups final season, and I feel this one might observe an identical script.

The choose: Rams (-3.5)

Atlanta Falcons at Seattle Seahawks (+1)

Week 1 was the Seahawks’ Tremendous Bowl, after they bought 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 superior metrics counsel that the Seahawks are a foul crew. It’s solely two video games, however they’re twenty sixth in EPA per drive 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 earlier than falling to the Rams. Tight finish Kyle Pitts has simply 4 catches for 38 yards on 10 targets via two video games. I think that head coach Arthur Smith will get him the ball early and infrequently on this sport. The Falcons transfer the ball effectively and get their first win.

The choose: Falcons (-1)

New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers (+3)

Jameis Winston is on the damage report with again and ankle accidents, and he’s coming off a sport by which he was sacked six instances and threw three interceptions.

Jaw-dropping stat from The Athletic’s Joseph Individual: The Panthers are 1-25 underneath Matt Rhule when permitting 17 factors or extra. That’s some spectacular offensive ineptitude. They haven’t gained a sport since Nov. 14, 2021. what which means: They’re due!

That is an not possible sport to select. I want I might guess in opposition to myself getting this one proper.

The choose: Panthers (+3)

Titans RB Derrick Henry
Photograph by Joshua Bessex/Getty Pictures

Las Vegas Raiders at Tennessee Titans (+1.5)

Going into the season, I used to be most to see how Josh McDaniels would deal with the non-X’s-and-O’s features of teaching. It seems like we’re about to seek out out. 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 earlier than reporters entered. Perhaps Adams will go off on this sport, and the Raiders will notch their first win. However will McDaniels be capable to maintain everybody pulling in the identical path if they begin their season 0-3?

The Titans are additionally searching for their first win. They bought blown out by the Payments on Monday night time, and key gamers like left sort out Taylor Lewan and edge rusher Bud Dupree suffered accidents.

The Raiders are the extra proficient crew, and it’s attainable that that is going to shortly flip right into a transition yr for the Titans. However 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 choose: Titans (+1.5)

Houston Texans at Chicago Bears (-2.5)

The Bears have tried 28 passes via two video games. That’s 24 fewer than some other crew and 76 fewer than the Jets, who lead the league with 104. In Week 1, the Bears performed in unhealthy climate, however on Sunday night time in Inexperienced Bay, Justin Fields tried simply 11 passes. Preserving that in thoughts, it feels secure to say that even when the Bears get a lead on this one, they’re not going to go for the jugular.

The Texans are 0-1-1 and have been aggressive in each video games. Their offense isn’t going to do loads, however their protection has been respectable. Until we get defensive touchdowns or a special-teams rating, I’m not seeing loads of factors right here. Houston retains it shut.

The choose: Texans (+2.5)

San Francisco 49ers at Denver Broncos (+1.5)

As I discussed on The Ringer NFL Present, the RedZone channel needs to be required to chop to Broncos video games each time head coach Nathaniel Hackett is confronted with a fourth-down determination for the remainder of the yr.

My favourite sequence from final week got here on third-and-1 within the third quarter. The Broncos ran a fullback choice with Andrew Beck. Beck has been within the league since 2019. He had one profession carry going into that sport. Shockingly, he bought stopped for a loss. On fourth-and-2, Hackett first determined to go for it. Then he modified his thoughts (for just like the third time that sport). Kicker Brandon McManus bought onto the sphere late. He drilled a 54-yarder. Just one downside: The play clock expired! The Broncos went from going for it on fourth-and-2 to attempting a discipline objective to having to punt due to a delay of sport penalty. It was a masterpiece in mismanagement. Shout-out to the Broncos followers who began loudly counting down the play clock within the fourth quarter to assist the house crew.

Trey Lance’s damage is a big bummer for the 49ers, however it doesn’t actually change expectations for the 49ers this yr. Jimmy Garoppolo can get them to the Tremendous Bowl. He’s completed it earlier than. And their protection could be particular.

Everybody’s piling on Hackett proper now, so zagging and taking the Broncos could be good. However I simply can’t get there.

The choose: 49ers (-1.5)

Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants (-1)

This seems like an unsightly, low-scoring sport. Success charge measures how typically a crew produces a constructive play. It’s metric to take a look at with a small pattern as a result of it strips out the outliers; every play is both thought-about profitable or not profitable primarily based on EPA. So a seven-yard completion on third-and-6 is handled the identical as a 50-yard completion—they’re each profitable. The Giants offense, via two video games, ranks thirty second in success charge. They’ve hit on some large performs, however the numbers counsel that nothing they’re doing is sustainable. Now they should face Micah Parsons and a Cowboys protection that’s taking part in properly.

However the Cowboys offense figures to have a troublesome time, too. New beginning quarterback Cooper Rush was environment friendly final week in a win over the Bengals, however going through Wink Martindale’s aggressive, blitzing protection can be a problem.

I can’t imagine I’m selecting the Giants to go to 3-0. I hate myself already.

The choose: Giants (-1)

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