Since 1980, if a team is 3-0 after Week 3 there’s about a 78 percent chance it will make the playoffs. On the other hand, if it’s 0-3 it has less than a three percent chance. Just something to ponder. Here’s a cheat sheet for all the Week 3 games on the NFL schedule along with Sports Interaction’s NFL Week 3 odds and this writer’s predictions.
Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers, Thursday
If it weren’t for the Rams last year, the 49ers might have been the second team to go 0-16 in a season. Yep, both of San Francisco’s wins were against Los Angeles. The Rams looked much improved so far in 2017, while the 49ers are predictably winless and have totaled four field goals in their two losses.
Point spread: Rams -2.5 Pick ATS: San Francisco
Baltimore Ravens vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Breakfast at Wimbledon! Or something like that as this kicks off at 9:30 a.m. ET from Wembley Stadium in London. The Jaguars are the home team as they annually give up one home game to play in London. Many think the team will move there eventually. These overseas games tend to be sloppy with the time difference, etc. Baltimore is 2-0 and its defense has allowed only 10 points. However, the team’s Pro Bowl guard, Marshal Yanda, was lost to a season-ending ankle injury in Week 2. He’s arguably the best lineman in the NFL.
Point spread: Ravens -4 Pick ATS: Jacksonville
Denver Broncos at Buffalo Bills
Matchup of first-year head coaches in Denver’s Vance Joseph and Buffalo’s Sean McDermott — both were formerly defensive coordinators elsewhere. The Broncos are 2-0 and crushed Dallas on Sunday, but this will be their first road test. Buffalo won its home opener over the sorry Jets but then did nothing offensively in a Week 2 loss in Carolina.
Point spread: Broncos -2.5 Pick ATS: Buffalo
New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers
These NFC South rivals couldn’t be more different defensively. The Saints have given up a total of 65 points in losses to the Vikings and vs. New England. The Panthers have surrendered only six points in wins over the 49ers and vs. Bills. These teams split last year, each winning at home by a field goal.
Point spread: Panthers -6 Pick ATS: Carolina
Pittsburgh Steelers at Chicago Bears
Pittsburgh was shaky Week 1 in Cleveland but dominated the visiting Vikings in Week 2. Some would argue that the Steelers have the best offense in the league, but the defense has outplayed that unit thus far. Chicago nearly upset Atlanta in the opener but didn’t show up Week 2 in Tampa Bay, barely avoiding a shutout.
Point spread: Steelers -7 Pick ATS: Chicago
Atlanta Falcons at Detroit Lions
Potential letdown game for Atlanta off dominating the Packers in their new building in an NFC Championship Game rematch on Sunday night. But short week for Detroit after visiting the Giants on Monday. The Lions beat the Falcons in the most recent meeting, 22-21 three years ago in London.
Point spread: TBA (Atlanta likely -3) Pick ATS: TBA
Cleveland Browns at Indianapolis Colts
The Browns are 0-2 as expected. Might it be time already for a quarterback change? Rookie DeShone Kizer was picked off three times and lost a fumble in the Week 2 loss to Baltimore. In addition, young receiver Corey Coleman suffered a likely broken hand. The Colts basically are the Browns when they don’t have QB Andrew Luck, and they haven’t yet. No surprise, then, that Indy is 0-2. Look for Jacoby Brissett under center for a second week in a row.
Point spread: Browns -1 (Cleveland a road favourite!! first time in three years) Pick ATS: Indianapolis
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings
The Bucs didn’t play Week 1 due to Hurricane Irma but dominated visiting Chicago 29-7 this past Sunday, nearly pitching a shutout. The Tampa defense forced four turnovers. Starting running back Doug Martin was out suspended and remains so here. Minnesota played without starting QB Sam Bradford in Week 2, and he was missed big time in a 26-9 loss to Pittsburgh. Bradford has a left knee injury but has a decent shot of playing vs. the Bucs.
Point spread: TBA (due to Bradford) Pick ATS: TBA
Houston Texans at New England Patriots
Texans on extra rest after winning in Cincinnati 13-9 on Thursday in Week 2. Rookie QB Deshaun Watson made his first start and threw for 125 yards while rushing for 67 and a touchdown. Starting cornerback Kevin Johnson was lost 4-6 weeks to a sprained MCL. There’s no talk of panic surrounding the Patriots now after they thumped the Saints in New Orleans on Sunday. Tom Brady threw for 447 yards and three scores. The Pats beat the Texans handily twice last year, including playoffs.
Point spread: Patriots -13 Pick ATS: Houston
Miami Dolphins at New York Jets
Miami also got off to a late start to its season due to Hurricane Irma and won at the LA Chargers 19-17 in Week 2. Cody Parkey hit a 54-yard field goal with 1:05 to play. Jay Cutler threw for 230 yards (no picks) in his Dolphins debut. It’s the Jets’ home opener. They weren’t very competitive in losses in Buffalo and Oakland. New York was 0-2 last year vs. Miami.
Point spread: Dolphins -6 Pick ATS: Miami
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
Short week for the Giants after hosting Detroit on Monday. Odell Beckham was iffy for that one with an ankle injury suffered in the preseason. It’s Philly’s home opener after winning in Washington and losing in Kansas City. Second-year QB Carson Wentz has thrown for 640 yards and four TDs thus far. These NFC East rivals split in 2016.
Point spread: TBA (Eagles likely -3) Pick ATS: TBA
Seattle Seahawks at Tennessee Titans
Bit of a break for Seattle here in that it’s not a 10 a.m. Pacific time start but 4:05 ET. The Seahawks are lucky to be 1-1 as they have scored just 21 points. Their offensive line is a disaster. The Titans are also 1-1 after a 37-16 whipping of the Jaguars in Jacksonville. But rookie receiver Corey Davis, the No. 5 overall pick in this year’s draft, left with a hamstring injury. So did No. 1 running back DeMarco Murray. The team doesn’t believe either is serious but worth monitoring.
Point spread: Titans -1.5 Pick ATS: Tennessee
Cincinnati Bengals at Green Bay Packers
No team has looked worse offensively than the winless Bengals, who have yet to score a touchdown. That led to the firing of offensive coordinator Ken Zampese after their Week 2 Thursday night loss to Houston. It’s the first time in the history of the conservative franchise that a coordinator was fired during the season. Quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor takes over as OC. Green Bay was largely manhandled in an NFC title rematch in Atlanta on Sunday night and played without two starting offensive linemen due to injury. Then the Pack lost two top receivers in the game. None of the injuries are thought to be serious.
Point spread: Packers -8.5 Pick ATS: Cincinnati
Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers
Is Kansas City the best team in the AFC right now? A case can be made after wins over the Patriots and Eagles. Rookie running back Kareem Hunt has been fantastic with five total touchdowns. The winless Chargers played their first game in their new L.A. home in Week 2 and lost 19-17 to the Dolphins. Blowing games last minute has been a problem for this franchise the past few years and it happened again as Younghoe Koo missed a 44-yard field goal attempt vs. Miami with 5 seconds left (he also missed a late one in Week 1). In one bright spot, Antonio Gates set an NFL record with his 112th touchdown reception as a tight end. Kansas City swept the Bolts in 2016.
Point spread: Chiefs -2.5 Pick ATS: Kansas City
Oakland Raiders at Washington Redskins
The Sunday night game. Oakland is rolling offensively with 71 points scored. Michael Crabtree had three TD catches in a Week 2 blowout of the Jets. Washington bounced back from a Week 1 loss to Philadelphia with a 27-20 victory at the Rams. Kirk Cousins threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Grant with 1:49 to play for the winning points.
Point spread: Raiders -3 Pick ATS: Washington
Dallas Cowboys at Arizona Cardinals, Monday
The Cowboys dominated the Giants in Week 1 but then were crushed in Denver on Sunday. Ezekiel Elliott was invisible against that good Broncos defense with just eight yards on nine carries. There’s a chance Elliott’s six-game suspension could begin this week depending on what happens in court. Arizona began life without injured superstar running back David Johnson in Week 2 but won 16-13 in OT at Indianapolis. The Cardinals never led until the final play.
Point spread: Cowboys -3.5 Pick ATS: Dallas