Week 3 of the NFL season is upon us and this is where things get interesting. An 0-2 start to the season is difficult to come back from, while an 0-3 start could realistically spell the end of your playoff hopes.
5 picks of the week
1. Washington Redskins @ New York Giants -4
The 0-2 Redskins travel to New York to take on the 2-0 Giants, fresh off of a 27-23 setback to the Cowboys last week. These two teams are somewhat similar in that they both have porous defences and offences with capable deep threats. That being said, we have more faith in the Giants’ offence, even with RB Rashad Jennings being deemed questionable for this tilt.
It seems that backup Shane Vereen is getting a ton of run anyways and the Giants are at their best when they go three wide and spread defences out with Odell Beckham Jr, Victor Cruz and Sterling Shepard.
From what we’ve seen so far this season from the Washington secondary, expect the Giants’ receivers to get the best of this matchup.
The Pick: NY Giants -4
2. Baltimore Ravens -1 @ Jacksonville Jaguars
The term “must-win” feels extreme at this early stage of the season, especially in the middling AFC South. However, after losses in their first two games, the Jaguars simply have to win this game against the 2-0 Ravens.
In spite of the losing efforts, the Jaguars had a positive start to the season hanging tough in a 27-23 loss to the Green Bay Packers at home. Unfortunately, they followed this up with a surprisingly poor performance in their loss to San Diego in Week 2.
Their Week 3 opponent, the Baltimore Ravens, sport a 2-0 record. However, appearances can be deceiving as the Ravens overcame a 20 point deficit to beat the hapless Cleveland Browns 25-20 this past Sunday. While such a comeback is a great story, the reality is that you simply cannot lose focus for such large stretches of an NFL game and claim to have a good team.
This is one of those games where the records do not tell the whole story and we expect the Jaguars to record their first win of the season.
The Pick: Jacksonville +1
3. New York Jets @ Kansas City Chiefs -3
The Jets travel to Kansas City fresh off of a much needed 37-31 victory over the Bills in Buffalo. New York got very good performances from Matt Forte (100 yards and 3 TDs) and Ryan Fitzpatrick (374 yards and a TD), while cornerback Darrelle Revis continued his horrific start to this season.
While Revis is not completely to blame for the Jets’ surprisingly poor defensive efforts thus far, he has been picked on for some very big plays this season in both Week 1 and Week 2. We do think he will fare better against a Chiefs’ side that isn’t known for stretching the field.
It’s likely that that Jamaal Charles will be making his season debut for the Chiefs, and the varied attack that he brings is just another threat to a Jets defence that has struggled thus far.
The Pick: Kansas City -3
4. Pittsburgh Steelers -3.5 @ Philadelphia Eagles
The Steelers have started off their 2016-17 campaign by beating two 2015 division winners in convincing fashion. Not only are they doing it without Le’Veon Bell, but they are getting production from an unheralded crop of wide receivers (outside of Antonio Brown).
Their defence remains a concern as both Kirk Cousins and Andy Dalton found success against the Steelers’ secondary, but the fact that they’ve only allowed one passing touchdown through two games is a promising sign. Moreover, the Steelers have only given up 101 yards on the ground through two games.
On the other side, the Eagles have been buoyed by an impressive debut from rookie QB Carson Wentz, who has led the Eagles to a pair of 14+ point victories. He will have to have another great performance for the Eagles to compete with a Steelers offensive machine that is firing on all cylinders.
The Pick: Pittsburgh -3.5
5. San Diego Chargers @ Indianapolis Colts -2.5
Chuck Pagano is on the hot seat and a 0-3 start to the season could end his tenure in Indianapolis. The Colts have been riddled by injuries this season, having gone through 5 cornerbacks already. However, they narrowly lost to the Lions and hung tough with the Broncos until two 4th quarter defensive touchdowns by Denver.
Playing against another team that has lost two of their most explosive players, the Colts are in a must-win situation and Andrew Luck is too good of a quarterback to let the Colts slide to 0-3.
The Pick: Indianapolis Colts -2.5
Arizona Cardinals -3.5 @ Buffalo Bills
The Pick: Cardinals -3.5
Oakland Raiders @ Tennessee Titans -1.5
The Pick: Titans -1.5
Denver Broncos @ Cincinnati Bengals -3
The Pick: Bengals -3
Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers -8
The Pick: Lions +8
Cleveland Browns @ Miami Dolphins -10
The Pick: Browns +10
Minnesota Vikings @ Carolina Panthers -7
The Pick: Panthers -7
San Francisco 49ers @ Seattle Seahawks -9.5
The Pick: Hawks -9.5
Los Angeles Rams @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers -4.5
The Pick: Buccaneers -4.5
Chicago Bears @ Dallas Cowboys -7.0
The Pick: Cowboys -7.0
Monday Night Football: Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints -3
The Pick: Falcons +3