13 Titles: Vegas Bets on NFL Week 3
Another week of 9–7. I feel like the opposite of Jeff Fisher. Am I Marvin Lewis then? Good enough for a playoff appearance but nothing further. 18–14 overall against the spread. We also went 4–1 against Colin Cowherd’s 3–2 in his Blazin 5 picks. I got some flak for picking Tennessee over Detroit, but here we are. It all evened out later when the Tampa Bay (+7) pick blew up in my face, which is exactly why Arizona deserves the banner picture. Feast your eyes on Week 3’s picks.
Houston (PK) at New England
Why Houston wins: Romeo Crennel, Mike Vrabel, Vince Wilfork, and Bill O’Brien all return to New England. This is like a family reunion of the former Patriots. They beat a solid Kansas City team and a weak Bears team, both at home, so this is their first road test. However, defense travels, and it’s harder for offenses to prepare in a short week. The Patriots are also without their starting and back up QB, forcing Jacoby Brissett to make his debut. A rookie QB making his first start, on national TV, against a great defense, on 3 days preparation. Since JJ Watt entered the league, his team is 11–3 when facing rookie quarterbacks. This game was made for Houston’s defense to shine……….
Why New England wins: The return of Gronk. The best weapon in football plans to return tonight, and that should ease some pressure off of Brissett, as well as give the run game another excellent blocker. New England is near untouchable at home in the Belichick era, regardless of who’s playing.They’ll run the ball, dink-n-dunk to Edelman and Gronk, and their defense isn’t too shabby either. As mentioned previously, Belichick is the best in the game at neutralizing the opposition’s best weapon (i.e. Deandre Hopkins). Belichick could prove tonight that this team can win in any which way, led by their defense tonight. THE PICK: HOUSTON (PK)
Denver at Cincinnati (-3.5)
Why Denver wins: Denver has the gold standard of defense in the NFL, led by their stifling pass rush and stingy secondary. This Cincinnati team allowed 7 sacks from the New York Jets in Week 1, so Andy Dalton could be hitting the floor quite a bit in this game. Von Miller has looked absolutely unstoppable, so it’ll be interesting to see how he fares without Demarcus Ware lining up on the other side………Why Cincinnati wins: No Demarcus Ware means the Bengals can focus more attention on Von Miller. It’s amazing how the Colts gave one-on-one match ups all day last week, instead of doubling him or at least having a running back or tight end chip Von on their way out. The Bengals will have to block better than the Colts ever did, and get AJ Green back involved after he was contained by Pittsburgh last week. They’ll get back on track with a win at home to try and keep pace with Pittsburgh. THE PICK: DENVER(+3.5)
Oakland at Tennessee (-1.5)
Why Oakland wins: Tennessee hasn’t looked good at all. Tennessee was dominated by Minnesota, then barely slid by Detroit in a game where they almost broke the record for most penalties in a game. Oakland’s offense is putting up mass amount of numbers, and Tennessee just can’t hang if it comes to a shootout. The Titans are a run based team that wants low scoreboard games, not shootouts. If Oakland is throwing like crazy and lighting up the scoreboard, Tennessee just can’t keep up…………Why Tennessee wins: Oakland puts up a lot of points, but their defense gives up as much too. This defense has allowed over 500 yards in each of its two games, and they would be 0–2 had they not converted a ballsy two point conversion in New Orleans. The Titans already focus on running the ball, and if throwing is as easy as everyone makes it look against Oakland, then the Titans may finally find the balance they’ve been searching for. THE PICK: OAKLAND (+1.5)
Arizona (-4) at Buffalo
Why Arizona wins: Arizona just destroyed Tampa Bay after getting an early wake up call from New England. They looked refocused, more prepared, and downright pissed off. This Bills team is not much better than the Buccaneers, if not at all. Buffalo allowed the Jets to score on 7 of their 11 drives, and now have the Cardinals coming into town. The Bills just fired their offensive coordinator after an abysmal start, and now face a team that just had 4 interceptions against Jameis Winston. Bruce Arians and his team should be able to absolutely dismantle the Bills and send their season into an early 0–3 tailspin……..
Why Buffalo wins: It’s fairly common for teams to be sluggish when they travel from west coast to east coast, as is the case for Arizona. Buffalo also had extra time to prepare for Arizona after they last played Thursday the 15th. Rex Ryan may be coaching for his job in this one, so Buffalo will be trying to pull out all the tricks to avoid an 0–3 start going into their match up at New England. A loss here could be the tipping point in Rex Ryan’s departure. THE PICK: ARIZONA (-4)
Baltimore (-1) at Jacksonville
Why Baltimore wins: Jacksonville is 30th in the league in rushing, 30th in 3rd down defense, and last in the league in point differential. Not the best start for a team expected of taking the leap to becoming a playoff team. Baltimore has thrown the deep ball well, and that’s something Jacksonville has failed to defend lately, which was a reason they lost to the Chargers despite Keenan Allen’s absence……….Why Jacksonville wins: Jacksonville may be the best opponent Baltimore faces so far, compared to the lackluster competition from Buffalo and then barely beating Cleveland. Jacksonville has more potential than a 0–3 start by a playoff caliber team. They have the talent, they play at home, and they finally right the ship against a Ravens team who hasn’t played anyone of substance yet. THE PICK: JACKSONVILLE (+1)
Cleveland at Miami (-9.5)
Why Cleveland wins: Those 9.5 points look too much to give to an 0–2 Miami Dolphins team. But then you remember: No RG3, no McCown, your QB situation is now Cody Kessler or Charlie Whitehurst. Their first round draft pick just broke his hand, and Cleveland is just flat out cursed and/or in football purgatory for reasons unexplained. They looked like they were about to go up 21–0 on Baltimore, but the extra point was blocked and returned to make it 20–2. At that moment, every single person knew Cleveland was going to blow it and find a way to lose that game…………Why Miami wins: Look above. Those are all the reasons why Cleveland loses. In terms of Miami, they finally catch a break. They put up a good fight by almost catching New England, but couldn’t recover from their early hole. Furthermore, they almost beat Seattle, but blew it in the final moments. This will be a much easier test, in Miami no less. Under the radar, Jarvis Landry leads the league in receptions and Ryan Tannehill threw 20 completions on 21 attempts in the second half of last game. They should easily win and get some momentum going into their Thursday night match up with Cincinnati. THE PICK: MIAMI (-9.5)
Washington at NYG (-4.5)
Why Washington wins: New York beat two teams that weren’t in the playoffs last year, and they still have to beat NFC East Champion Washington to fully take the reigns of the division. The hype surrounding the Norman v. Odell show down is growing, but what needs to be understood is that those two aren’t going to be matched up every play. Odell plays everywhere. On both sides, in the slot, in motion, even in the backfield time to time. Other players need to step up to stop Odell when Norman isn’t covering him, and when Norman is single covering Odell, the rest need to expose Victor Cruz and Sterling Shepard. Odell is either getting the ball, or he’s a decoy. They must take advantage when Odell doesn’t get the ball……..
Why NYG wins: The Giants defense may be the most improved unit in football. They managed to stop Dallas’ run game and stop Drew Brees. All the money they spent on defensive additions may finally give Eli Manning the balanced team to return to the playoffs. That defense now gets a home field matchup against Kirk Cousins who has been awful of late. Kirk has also been reported to have lost the confidence of a group of players in his own locker room. If the Giants win, that puts Washington in a 3 game hole with two losses coming to division opponents. THE PICK: NEW YORK (-4.5)
Detroit at Green Bay (-7.5)
Why Detroit wins: Last season the Lions won in Green Bay for the first time since 1991. They had lost 24 straight there, and it looked like it’d be 25 when they entered Lambeau with the worst record in the league. If they can win then, why not now? Green Bay’s offense is struggling, the defense is missing guys due to injuries and a suspension, and Matt Stafford actually isn’t playing that bad. Now’s the time, if there is an appropriate time, to beat Green Bay at Lambeau…………Why Green Bay wins: Exact opposite of the above. They had won 24 straight at home against the Lions, so why would they lose two straight? Lambeau is one of the most difficult places to play in. The Lions had a ridiculous amount of penalties last week, they only have two (TWO!!!) healthy linebackers, Ziggy Ansah is hurt, and their starting runningback, Ameer Abdullah, was just placed on the IR. Packer fans, myself included, are aware of the offense’s struggles, but we also realize their potential. They just need one game to get this offense back on track and calm everybody down. This could be the game that they lay the absolute smack down on somebody and get their confidence back. It’ll work out in time, and even the Lions coach Jim Caldwell said he sees greatness, not struggle when he watches Aaron Rodgers. He knows the breakout game is coming. Don’t poke the bear. THE PICK: GREEN BAY (-7.5)
Minnesota at Carolina (-7)
Why Minnesota wins: They haven’t been able to run the ball. Yet they’re 2–0 riding an elite defense and Stefon Diggs. Bradford was exceptional against the Packers and despite Peterson being a non-factor, they still got the win. Now that Peterson and Kalil are out, even more pressure is put on Bradford, Diggs, and the defense to carry the team. They’ve already gotten two wins this way, why not a 3rd? We’ve seen how Cam can struggle against a great defense, and Carolina’s missing starting running back Jonathan Stewart…………
Why Carolina wins: Carolina didn’t lose a single game at home last season, and that trend looks like it will continue. Cam is clicking with Greg Olsen and Kelvin Benjamin, and Minnesota may have a let down after such a great performance against Green Bay. Carolina’s depth and talent should prove too much for an injured Minnesota team. THE PICK: CAROLINA (-7)
San Francisco at Seattle (-9.5)
Why San Fran wins: Seattle doesn’t look like their immortal self as of late. The offense can’t run the ball, the offensive line can’t block anyone, and Russell Wilson can’t create anything because of it. They lost to the Rams, who got blown out by this 49ers team, and they nearly lost at home to Miami. 9.5 points is way too many points. Seattle has only scored 15 points in two games ………….Why Seattle wins: Similar to Green Bay, they are 1–1 and only a couple points away from what would have been 2–0. They couldn’t play any worse and yet they’re still in a position to win at the end of the game. San Francisco got throttled by the only playoff team they played, and now they go into Seattle, one of the hardest places to win on the road. The 49ers haven't beaten the Seahawks since 2013, and Seattle’s defense should force numerous turnovers at home. THE PICK: SAN FRAN (+9.5)
Los Angeles at Tampa Bay (-5.5)
Why LA wins: LA might be the most bipolar team in the league. First they get blown out by the 49ers, and then they nearly post a shutout against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. We’ve already seen what one NFC West defense can do to Jameis Winston, what will this one do? They obviously can’t light up a scoreboard, so their defensive front will have to dominate the line of scrimmage and make this one ugly. Hell, maybe they’ll block for Todd Gurley for once and get him going………..Why Tampa Bay wins: Jameis and co. look like the group to rebound. They took their lumps in Arizona, and now they’re back home against a below average LA team. The Rams don’t have an offense, so if Tampba Bay gets a few stops, Jameis will have more than enough opportunities to score and put this game out of reach. This is also another case of a west coast team having to travel all the way to the east coast. THE PICK: TAMPA BAY (-5.5)
Pittsburgh (-3.5) at Philadelphia
Why Pittsburgh wins: Pittsburgh has beaten two teams that were in the playoffs last year, while Philadelphia has beaten arguably the two worst teams in the league. There’s a major difference in competition level faced already. The Steelers also won without Antonio Brown having a major influence on the game against Cincinnati. The odds of Brown having two straight off games are slim to none and Carson Wentz will either sink or swim once he plays Big Ben and the AFC North favorites…………
Why Philly wins: Philly’s defense has been great in their first two games, forcing two picks, two fumbles, 6 sacks, and a safety. If they can get that production against Pittsburgh, they’ll give Carson Wentz a short field and more opportunities to score. Ertz is unable to go, so Agholar and Matthews will continue to get a lot of targets, and Ryan Matthews should be fed to keep Pittsburgh’s offense off the field. THE PICK: PITTSBURGH (-3.5)
NYJ at Kansas City (-3)
Why NYJ wins: They finally put it together and closed a game out. They went to Buffalo on a short week and got a much needed victory. Quincy Enunwa is a spark for this offense and he’s paired well with Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. They’ve had extra time to get healthy and prepare for Kansas City, and in reality they were minutes away from being 2–0 after letting Cincinnati steal one in week 1. Revis has been getting burnt, but Kansas City doesn’t throw it deep that often. Jets are better than the 3 points Kansas City is favored by. Kansas City had to use overtime to put away the Chargers and then lost to Houston…………Why Kansas City wins: The possible return of Jamaal Charles helps, but they still have Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West. Marcus Peters racks up interceptions like crazy, and Ryan Fitzpatrick likes to throw them. Jeremy Maclin has seen 22 targets, and he should keep expecting more. Whether or not Revis can stop him is the question. Travis Kelce doesn’t have a touchdown yet, perhaps it’s time. THE PICK: NYJ (+3)
San Diego at Indy (-3)
Why San Diego wins: Without Keenan Allen or Danny Woodhead, the Chargers found a way to destroy Jacksonville. Melvin Gordon looks like a whole new runningback, and Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin were great in the win over the Jaguars. Rivers just plugs the next guy in and goes about his bolo-tie wearing business. Not to mention, Indy may have the worst defense in the league, allowing 73 points in two games. This could become a shootout…………
Why Indy wins: Similar to Rex Ryan, Chuck Pagano’s time seems to be nearing an end. An 0–3 start would not be satisfactory to Jim Irsay, especially in a weak division that they won and went to the AFC Championship game just two seasons ago. People blame Andrew Luck for the lack of wins given his monstrous new contract and the hype surrounding him, but in reality he’s getting no help. The roster isn’t that talented, the offensive line stinks, and the defense is horrendous. You can’t continually ask him to put up over 35 points a game while taking countless hits. THE PICK: SAN DIEGO (+3)
Chicago at Dallas (-7)
Why Chicago wins: I can’t decide if Jay Cutler not playing is a good thing or bad thing for Chicago. Really, how large of a difference is there between the performance of Cutler and his backup Brian Hoyer? Everyone on this Chicago team is hurt, and putting them in the spotlight to be embarrassed Sunday night in Dallas is just brutal. They only win if Dak throws multiple interceptions, something he has yet to do…………Why Dallas wins: Dak now holds the NFL record for the most attempts without an interception to start their career at 75. Carson Wentz isn’t too far behind him, so it’ll be interesting to see who makes the mistake first. The Cowboys should be able to dominate both sides of the ball. Chicago’s defense is riddled with injuries, and it looks like Hoyer will start in his return to the state of Texas. THE PICK: DALLAS (-7)
Atlanta at New Orleans (-3)
Why Atlanta wins: Atlanta could win by utilizing Julio Jones against the below average secondary New Orleans has. After a disappointing home loss to Tampa Bay, Atlanta responded with an impressive road win at Oakland. Matt Ryan has 5 touchdowns and only 1 interception, and actually leads the NFL in passer rating right now (WHATTTTT).
Why New Orleans wins: It’s the 10th anniversary of the Monday night game following the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The crowd is going to be insane, Drew Brees is much better at home, and New Orleans can’t fall to 0–3. Sean Payton is 15–5 in his career against Atlanta, and this will be a special occasion. Steve Gleason, who blocked the punt in that memorable game ten years ago, will make an appearance at the game, despite his ongoing fight with ALS. New Orleans should be quite the location for such a special occasion for that city. THE PICK: NEW ORLEANS (-3)