The 2016 NFL season continues to move at a torrid pace, as week three has already arrived with a few teams already looking at lost seasons and others starting to look like legit contenders.
Injuries have ravaged some clubs, with big names like Adrian Peterson, Danny Woodhead, Jonathan Stewart, DeMarcus Ware and Doug Martin all hitting the shelf. Peterson and Woodhead look to be lost for the remainder of the year, while other players could leave their teams in a tough spot for multiple weeks.
Heading into week three, every team has another chance to prove a slow start is just a mild gaffe, or that a perfect 2-0 run is a sign of things to come. Let’s take things one step further as we survey the week three landscape by breaking each matchup down and handing out our week three NFL Picks based on Bovada’s spreads and totals.
Week 3 NFL Odds and Picks
Texans (-1.5) @ Patriots (+1.5) Total: 40.4
The spread is pretty weak for this one because Jimmy Garoppolo is doubtful and for the third week in a row Rob Gronkowski’s status is unknown. Houston brings an elite defense into town, but they don’t get much of an edge against a Patriots team that has found ways to win despite not having Gronk or Tom Brady.
That being said, New England’s run probably runs out with raw rookie Jacoby Brissett starting this week. We’ll take the Texans to cover, but this game probably will be low-scoring so you can comfortably bet on the Under.
Pick: Texans 20, Patriots 16
Lions (+8) @ Packers (-8) Total: 48
Detroit won in Green Bay for the first time in over 20 years last season, so it’s fair to wonder if they’ll suddenly make it back to back road wins against a superior Packers squad.
Green Bay has caught a ton of heat for coming up lame at Minnesota last week, but it’s entirely possible they get the blood flowing again with their first Lambeau Field appearance during the 2016 regular season. The spread could be dicey here, but Detroit’s defense hasn’t been amazing and this is a tough place to stage an upset. We’ll give Aaron Rodgers and co. the benefit of the doubt for week three as they cover and help push for the Over.
Pick: Packers 31, Lions 24
Redskins (+4.5) @ Giants (-4.5) Total: 46.5
We get to see this week who is the better performer AND trash talker between Odell Beckham Jr. and Josh Norman. While that wide receiver vs. cornerback matchup could make for must-see television, it probably won’t have a huge impact on a game in which the Giants look like the better team.
Mostly, we’re just not betting on Kirk Cousins in a road game against an improved Giants defense. The game should be close, though, which should yield to the Under and the Redskins just barely beating the spread.
Pick: Giants 24, Redskins 20
Vikings (+7) @ Panthers (-7) Total: 43
Adrian Peterson is pretty much done for the year, so we’ll find out real quick just how good Sam Bradford and these Vikings are.
To be frank, even if All Day was healthy and didn’t look like crap through the first two weeks, it’d be tough to pick the Vikes on the road against a good Panthers team. This spread is a bit thick considering how good Minnesota’s defense looks, though. Because of that, Minnesota should beat the spread in what could be a defensive battle that promotes the Under.
Pick: Panthers 23, Vikings 17
Ravens (-1) @ Jaguars (+1) Total: 47
The Ravens and Jags are seemingly going in opposite directions, as Baltimore has used a fast start to stay a perfect 0-2, yet the would-be rising Jaguars are still searching for their first win.
Blake Bortles and a talented Jacksonville defense offer upside – especially at home – but from what we can tell so far, the Jags just aren’t very good. If they come in turning the ball over like they did last week, this one won’t be close. With Baltimore’s defense and main M.O. to control the ball, we would aim for the Under, as well.
Pick: Ravens 24, Jaguars 20
Browns (+10) @ Dolphins (-10) Total: 41.5
Cody Kessler is starting for the Browns, who had a 20-2 lead at home last week and still couldn’t get a win. We don’t have a ton of faith in Miami, but they’re at home and believe it or not, are the better team.
The Dolphins eating a 10-point spread will forever be impossible to buy, but Kessler could be a train wreck in his debut. You have to attack them to cover here, while a possible blowout should aid the Over.
Pick: Dolphins 31, Browns 13
Cardinals (-5) @ Bills (+5) Total: 47
Rex Ryan attempted to produces some form of false confidence by suggesting Buffalo’s week three date is exactly what the Bills need. He couldn’t be more wrong, as Arizona responded in week two like a title contender that was ashamed of losing at home in week one.
The talent difference is startling here, too. Sammy Watkins isn’t healthy and Buffalo’s defense just isn’t good enough right now to combat a pretty explosive Cardinals attack. Arizona should cover and chasing the Over makes sense given how bad the Bills have been defensively.
Pick: Cardinals 30, Bills 23
Raiders (+1) @ Titans (-1) Total: 47
Oakland showed guts and offensive upside in weeks one and two, but not a lick of defensive aptitude. Tennessee isn’t the worst opponent on the road, but Marcus Mariota showed up in the clutch and we’ve now seen this Titans defense look good two weeks in a row.
It’s crazy to think the Titans could get the leg up on a Raiders team many had pegged for the playoffs, but their defense is better and they’re at home. We should see some points here one way or another and we’ll give the home team the slight edge to cover.
Pick: Titans 33, Raiders 30
49ers (+9) @ Seahawks (-9) Total: 40
This game is impossible to call, seeing as a Seattle loss in L.A. last week makes sure nothing is ever again truly off the table.
It’s still unbelievably difficult to win in Seattle, though, while the Niners obviously aren’t a scary team with Blaine Gabbert at the offensive controls. The Seahawks will win, but the time of blindly granting them spreads and totals is gone. Instead, let’s brace for a tight defensive battle where Seattle barely squeaks out a victory.
Pick: Seahawks 16, 49ers 13
Rams (+5.5) @ Buccaneers (-5.5) Total: 42
The Rams shocked us all with a big win last week and now they have a chance to somehow get to 2-1 if they can topple human turnover machine, Jameis Winston.
Tampa Bay looked to be onto something with a big road win in week one, but last week they got exposed. Call us crazy, but that Rams defense looked possessed and a Todd Gurley breakout game has to be just around the corner. The points won’t be there and a straight up pick is dicey, but the Rams should at least beat the spread.
Pick: Rams 19, Buccaneers 16
Steelers (-3.5) @ Eagles (+3.5) Total: 46
The Steelers and Eagles are both 2-0 as they face off in what naturally will be dubbed the Battle of Pennsylvania.
Maybe not, but this is a very interesting matchup between a legit Super Bowl contender and a team that is basically coming out of nowhere. The Eagles are at home and have looked impressive, but Carson Wentz can’t be perfect forever. Look for a better Steelers team to get the best of him as they cover.
Pick: Steelers 27, Eagles 20
Chargers (+3) @ Colts (-3) Total: 52
This is the second most explosive game of the week and given the talented offenses at hand and the turf in Indy, we can ride with the Over. Picking the winner is the tough part, as the Bolts have been surprisingly tough through two weeks and the Colts have come up short in both of their games.
Conventional wisdom suggests San Diego struggles slightly more on the road, while Indy absolutely has to have this game to avoid an 0-3 hole.
Pick: Colts 34, Chargers 31
Jets (+3) @ Chiefs (-3) Total: 43
This is another interesting matchup, as both teams sport capable offenses and talented defenses. Neither defense has been quite elite thus far, while both offenses have the tendency to waver in the face of adversity.
We tend to side with the Jets here, seeing as Matt Forte has been a wrecking ball for them and their defense still has a ton of upside when it comes to stopping the run. Expect a close game with some points, but a Jets win should be a safe play.
Pick: Jets 27, Chiefs 23
Bears (+7) @ Cowboys (-7) Total: 44.5
Jay Cutler (thumb) is out for the next few weeks, putting Brian Hoyer at the controls for the Bears. That can only end horribly, while Chicago wasn’t looking like a world beater to begin with.
Not much more analysis is needed here, but Dallas is at home and it feels like we’re closing in on a big breakout game for Dak Prescott. Because of that, we’re feeling saucy enough to shoot for the Over and give Dallas the cover here.
Pick: Cowboys 33, Bears 16
Falcons (+3) @ Saints (-3) Total: 53.5
This has to be the most explosive game of the week, as the Saints laid a serious egg in week two and are so unstoppable at home on offense. Drew Brees and co. should be back to their high-flying ways, while the Falcons offense is also too much for the trash Saints defense to stop.
These bitter divisional rivals always put up points in tight affairs, so we can expect a close game and chase the Over here. The edge goes to New Orleans, who have lost twice by a combined four points. They don’t lose at home usually and will be desperate for a win here on Monday Night Football.
Pick: Saints 38, Falcons 31
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