Week 3 against the spread

Week 3 NFL picks against the spread

With two solid weeks in the books for the 2019 NFL regular season, we think we know everything about who the actual good and bad teams are in the league. With somewhat predictable results over the first 32 games, however, it’s a bad idea to start feeling overconfident in our early success.

Week 3 presents the challenge of desperate teams pulling out the stops to get first wins, and undefeated teams deflating a little. With that, there are some tight lines to navigate, and likely some humbling experiences to follow.

Nevertheless, this is supposed to be a fearless forecast, so it’s once more into the breach with our latest bold picks.

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes have been the AFC’s two hottest QBs away from New England. Theywill double down on their duel in Arrowhead fromlast season, only now with Jackson armed with more big passing to try to match Mahomes. The Chiefs will be pumped for their home-opener, but the Ravens will fly with them until late in the fourth quarter.

Chiefs win 31-27 but fail to cover the spread.

Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET, Fox​

Jameis Winston will get plenty of punch from Mike Evans and Chris Godwin downfield, while promising rookie first-rounder Daniel Jones,the Giants’ new starter, will gethelpfrom Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram on shorter routes to counter. New York isn’t that bad, and Tampa Bay isn’t that good. Look for Barkley to carry his desperate team even morewhile the Bucs are stopped by their more limited backfield.

Giants win 24-20.

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

WithoutSam Darnold and coming off a second consecutive bad home loss, the last team the Jets want tovisit on a short week is the Patriots. Look for New England totake away Le’Veon Bell and force New York into uncomfortable throwing situations against its revamped pass rush. Tom Brady will do whatever he wants with Antonio Brown stretching the field, and Sony Michel will do his best impression of his former Georgia backfield mate, Nick Chubb.

Patriots win 38-14 and cover the spread.

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Colts won’t mess around with this one. They will use their powerful offensive line to pound away with Marlon Mack andneutralize the speed of the Falcons’ front. That will set up some favorable shotsoff play-action between Jacoby Brissett and T.Y. Hilton. The Falcons’ passing game will cause some issues for a Coltsback seven dealing with injuries. Atlanta’s new one-dimensional ways will cost them as Indy wins with ball control — and, yes, an Adam Vinatieri winner back home in the dome.

Colts win 23-20 and cover the spread.

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Bengals are another team interested in throwing a ton, and the early numbers have been gaudyfor Andy Dalton, Tyler Boyd and John Ross. But their offensive line isn’t doing much to get the run going and has wilted with the frequent drop-backs. The Bills will bring good pressure and can take away Ross deep with the speedy Tre’Davious White outside. The Bengals also won’t have an answer for the Bills’ power rushing attack, supplemented by Josh Allen. Buffalo will getit done at home andmove to 3-0, dropping Cincy to 0-3.

Bills win 27-17 and cover the spread.

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Broncos are 0-2 because of their offense, and the Packers are 2-0 because their defense. Those trends will continue in this game, only with Aaron Rodgers and Aaron Jones building on last week’s success that came against a stingier overall defense. Green Bay’s defense will give up chunks on the ground early but will be in position to tee off on Joe Flacco late and make another big play in the secondary to put the game away. There will be no Rodgers and Matt LaFleur controversy, as they will be on thesame page in a third convincing victory.

Packers win 27-16 and cover the spread.

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Lions will go in confident and aggressive with Matthew Stafford and Matt Patricia as an unbeaten (1-0-1) team. The Eagles look like they’ll be shorthanded in the receiving corps, and they won’t find much rushing success, but Carson Wentz will be ready to throw the ballaround on short, intermediate and deep routes. Once Philadelphia has a late lead, defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, Detroit’s former coach, will bring a late blitz that secures the win.

Eagles win 30-23 but fail to cover the spread.

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Dolphins have been outscored 102-10 in their first two games, both at home, and now need to travel to the house of the hottest team in the NFC. Dak Prescott will do what Lamar Jackson and Tom Brady didto this defense, and Ezekiel Elliott will eat plenty, too. The Cowboys will give up a few more points because of their bend-but-don’t-break style, but they will still winhandily, pulling away with Zeke playing thecloser rolein the fourth quarter.

Cowboys win 42-14 and cover the spread.

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Raiders will go into their first road game with a hobbled offense and a lost defense. Derek Carr can expect to be swarmed, especially if Tyrell Williams doesn’t play. Oakland also will run into the Dalvin Cook buzzsaw out of Minnesota’s improved power rushing attack. It will beanother short day at the office in terms of limited throwing for Kirk Cousins, but it will addup to a hearty 2-1.

Vikings win 23-13 and cover the spread.

Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET, Fox

The Cardinals’ run defense is vastly improved, but without Patrick Peterson — and given the issues they have had covering both the outside and intermediate middle of the field —this matchupbodes well for Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel and Greg Olsen all working to help lift Kyle Allen in another strong spot start. Kyler Murray will hang tough and get into more slinging fun with David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk, but in a battle of former college QB teammates, Carolina willexecute a few more big pass plays than Arizona will.

Panthers win 30-27.

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS

This is one of those last-possession, coin-flip games. The Texans struggled against a team with a strong secondary last week, and the Chargers have that with Casey Hayward and Desmond King. This is also a chance for Joey Bosa and the pass rush to rev up chasing Deshaun Watson. Hopkins will fight through a tough matchup to rebound for Watson, and the running of Carlos Hyde also will be a boon for Houston. Philip Rivers has more favorable matchups for Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, and the Texans also have had trouble covering backs, which will allow Austin Ekeler to stay hot.

Chargers win 30-27 and cover the spread.

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS

The Saints will try to generate enough offense without Drew Brees, and do that, they need to focus on getting the ball to Alvin Kamara, Michael Thomas and Jared Cook as much as possible on short-to-intermediate routes to exploit Seahawks’weaknesses in the secondary. But the Saints’ defense also can be burned by big passesand has been worn down by the power running game early this season. That plays right into the hands of Russell Wilson and the young Seattle backfield committee, especially at home. The last time Teddy Bridgewater was opposite Wilson, it was in the 2015 wild-card playoffs. This game will featurea lot more points.

Seahawks win 34-24 and cover the spread.

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS

Mason Rudolph has a tough assignment making his first NFL start on the road against a red-hot pass rush, trying to out-duel Jimmy Garropolo. Mike Tomlin and Keith Butler will clean up some things on defense, but the balance, multiplicity and versatility of Kyle Shanahan’s offense around Jimmy Garoppolo,with tight end George Kittle being the biggest matchup nightmare,is too much to handle.

49ers win 27-17 and cover the spread.

Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC

The Rams have a big coaching edge with Sean McVay over Freddie Kitchens. Coming back to their one-time home, they will spoil the Browns’ first Sunday night game since 2008. They will do it with a heavy dose of Todd Gurley and Malcolm Brown offensively and Aaron Donald getting inBaker Mayfield’s face defensively. The Rams will be more efficient and balanced, and Wade Phillips will find a way to contain Odell Beckham Jr. with Aqib Talib and safety help.

Rams win 27-20 and cover the spread.

Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN

The Bears still won’t earnmany style points to get to 2-1, but they will turn to their new running game with rookie David Montgomery to complement what Khalil Mack and friends do defensively. The result will be a rough outing for Case Keenum in what’s suddenly become a pass-happy scheme out of necessity. Mitchell Trubiskywill playa bit better against a shaky secondary to further rebuild his confidence.

Bears win 20-13 and cover the spread.

Week 2 record straight up: 11-5
Week 2 record against the spread: 10-6
Season record straight up: 24-6
Season record against the spread: 18-13
Upsets of the Week: 2-0
Locks of the Week: 2-0

Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET, NFL Network

The Titans have dominated this series of late, winning five of six andtwo in a row at home on Thursday night. There’s a lot of attention on Jacksonville’s defense, but Tennesseeis better overall on that side of the ball. The Titans also have the better hammer back in Derrick Henry, who rushed for 238 yards and 4 TDs when the teams last met in December. The Mariota-Minshew matchup is a wash.

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