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Week 3 picks, predictions against the point spread

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Where should you put your money this week?

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Use this as your open thread for today’s non-Giants games.

Well, last week was not good. But we’re ready to bounce back. Lines make a little more sense after two weeks of play rather than one, so let’s see if we can use that information to make a quick turnaround.

Remember these picks are strictly for fun and entertainment purposes and please for your sake do not take these picks as gambling advice. Lines used here come from the Westgate Las Vegas via OddsShark. Home team in CAPS.


Jets (+3) over CLEVELAND

The Jets and Browns are probably pretty close (they’re 25th and 27th by Football Outsiders’ DAVE, which still includes preseason projections). Both sides look to have the advantage on defense (Browns sixth in defensive DVOA vs Jets 25th offense and Jets second-ranked defense vs Cleveland’s 30th-ranked offense). Coaching could have a big impact here and that advantage … goes to the Jets? Like, pretty easily, right? What a world.

NOTE: Well, Baker Mayfield and the Browns had other ideas here.


MINNESOTA (-17) over Buffalo

Stealing from last week: there’s a point where the line would be so high I’d seriously consider the Bills. Seventeen points ain’t it. Buffalo’s offensive line and skill players against the Minnesota defense? I’d need at least three touchdowns to think about it.

HOUSTON (-6) over Giants

Both of these teams are 0-2, but they’re very different 0-2’s. Houston should at least be 1-1, possibly 2-0. They’re still 11th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA. The Giants, meanwhile, should absolutely be an 0-2 team and it would be hard to spot them less than a touchdown on the road.

[FanPulse: Each week we survey 100+ fans at each of our 32 SB Nation NFL communities. This week, Giants fans here at Big Blue View predicted a 6-point Texans win while our Texans site, Battle Red Blog, predicted a 1-point Texans win. Find more results here]

KANSAS CITY (-6.5) over San Francisco

There’s going to be a point when Patrick Mahomes stops throwing touchdowns at will, but I’m not sure that’s going to be this week against a 49ers defense that ranks 21st in yards allowed per drive through two weeks. San Francisco only stays close in this game if the offense can take advantage of Kansas City’s league-worst defense, but the offense has been off to a slow start.

New Orleans (+3) over ATLANTA

Atlanta’s defensive losses were felt a little against the Carolina PanthersChristian McCaffrey had 14 receptions for 102 yards — and they’re probably be felt even more against the Saints. I wouldn’t be surprised if this game is pretty high scoring — New Orleans’s defense has cratered back to 25th in DVOA — so I’m going to ride with the better offense.

Green Bay (-3) over WASHINGTON

Washington might be one of the weirdest teams to figure out through two weeks — a blowout win over Arizona (good!) and a not close loss to Indianapolis (huh?). The defense has been the standout, but that’s also been from forcing a high rate of turnovers — they’re fourth in turnovers forced per drive. That’s probably not going to happen against Aaron Rodgers, one and a half legs or not.

PHILADELPHIA (-3.5) over Indianapolis

The Eagles snuck out a 1-1 record with Nick Foles, though that could have easily been 0-2. It’s not just that the returning Carson Wentz is replacing Foles, he’s replacing the worst possible version of Foles. That’s about as big a quarterback upgrade you can get, no matter what you feel about how Wentz will perform in his first game back from his torn ACL. Indianapolis’s defense — 26th in yards allowed per drive — is exactly the unit you’d like to break him in against.

MIAMI (-3) over Oakland

Miami is one of the most surprising teams of the early season. They have the top defense in the league by DVOA through two weeks thanks to a high turnover rate. That might not help against a risk-averse Derek Carr, but rushing Carr to throw could force some bad decisions. Meanwhile, the Raiders defense can’t stop much of anything, which is good for an ok Dolphins offense.

BALTIMORE (-5.5) over Denver

Baltimore is somewhere between the dominant force against Buffalo and the just competitive enough but mistake prone version we saw against Cincinnati. Denver is a 2-0 greatly aided by playing two home games early in the season. Baltimore should be the better team — top-10 in both DVOA and DAVE — and the defense has been fantastic, even when accounting for the Bengals game — first in yards allowed per drive and fourth in points allowed per drive.

Cincinnati (+3) over CAROLINA

The Bengals have been on fire lately. The switch to Bill Lazor as offensive coordinator has really helped Andy Dalton work out some of the struggles he typically shows. That could be a factor against a Carolina defense that has been off to a slow start — 22nd in yards allowed per pass attempt. However, the Bengals might need to rely on someone other than A.J. Green since the Panthers have allowed just 42 yards per game to opposing No. 1 wide receivers.

JACKSONVILLE (-6.5) over Tennessee

The Jaguars defense is either facing Blaine Gabbert or a less than 100 percent Marcus Mariota. Sometimes picks don’t have to be complicated.

Chargers (+7) over RAMS

The Rams have played like the better team coming in, but a touchdown feels like a slight to the Chargers. The team is still seventh in DVOA through two weeks and the offense has been really good. It might not be enough to win, but it could be enough to keep it close.

SEATTLE (-1) over Dallas

We can say the era of playoff caliber Seahawks teams is over. But it’s still hard to completely write them off. They started with two tough road games, but the defense still played pretty well. They’ll get a not fairly impressive Cowboys offense at home and maybe their first win of the season.

Chicago (-5.5) over ARIZONA

Arizona had a top-5 defense and an offensive scheme that took advantage of its best players then made offseason hires to do the exact opposite of what was done previously. The Cardinals are a mess and borderline unwatchable. Khalil Mack and the rest of the Chicago defense will feast on Sam Bradford for as long as he’s in there, which for the sake of everyone hopefully isn’t long.

New England (-7) over DETROIT

Detroit looks like a mess through two weeks and even though the Patriots haven’t looked dominant at any point — even in the Week 1 win against Houston — the Lions shouldn’t pose much of a threat. Darius Slay, the Lions’ best weapon on defense, hasn’t practiced this week, so that doesn’t help them at all.

TAMPA BAY (+1) over Pittsburgh

Pick between an unsustainable big-play Buccaneers offense or a Steelers defense that has been susceptible to big plays playing on the road. It might not be time to press the panic button in Pittsburgh, but it’s also difficult to see this defense being the one that stops Tampa Bay’s current roll.

Last week: 4-11-1
Season: 13-17-2