Current Record: 4-4
After an underwhelming 1-2 start to the NFL season after week 1, we were able to battle back to .500 after week 2 and even came close to being better than that if a couple of bounces went our way in the Rams vs Colts game last weekend. But it could be much worse, and it’s time to look onwards and upwards to week 3 in the NFL. The last week of September football brings us a lot of interesting matchups, but as we get further and further into the year we can start to predict how games are going to swing a little bit easier. So without further a due, let’s take a look at what lines we like for this weekend in the NFL.
Los Angeles Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs (-7)
We still have yet to the Chiefs come close to playing their best football this year. They have a huge chance to have a statement game at home. Coming off of a tough loss last week against the Baltimore Ravens gives them extra motivation. They host their division rival, LA Chargers who have had a lackluster 1-1 start to their season. Obviously, the Cheifs have also started the season 1-1. The Chargers have wasted a big opportunity for a strong start to their season against the lowly NFC East. They squeaked out a four-point victory against the Washington Football Team in week 1 and fell short to the Dallas Cowboys in week 2.
In that game against Dallas, the Chargers were only able to put up 17 points against Dallas. They did hold a dynamic Cowboys’ offense to 20 points. This week, that task only looks more daunting against Patrick Mahomes and company. I think this is the week where the Chiefs re-establish themselves as the team to beat in the AFC this week with a route over the Chargers and win by a score of 35-20.
Chicago Bears (+7) @ Cleveland Browns
You don’t have to look hard to find teams in the league with quarterback injuries this season, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a team that benefits from that injury like the Chicago Bears. Justin Fields makes the Bears a team to look out for. I do not think he will carry the Bears to the playoffs or anything, but it is much more difficult to prepare for a guy like Fields than it is for Andy Dalton. Fields was able to get a full week of practice in with the first time offense.
Last week, the Browns failed to cover the spread against a Houston Texans team led by a third-string quarterback last week. If Chicago can man up and play hard-nose physical run defense, they will put themselves in a great position to make this a close ball game. Baker Mayfield has yet to prove he can dominate an NFL defense using his arm. I don’t see the Bears winning this game, but they will keep the Browns’ margin of victory very close. I predict that Cleveland wins this game 27-21
Arizona Cardinals (-8) @ Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars don’t belong in the same breath as Arizona. The Cardinals were really put to the test by the Vikings last week and were able to get punched in the mouth and respond and come out with a big win in week 2. On the other hand, the Jags have been laying down and dying. Urban Meyer insists on making his rookie quarterback throw the ball 40 times a game which just leads to turnovers. You can’t expect a rookie quarterback to not make mistakes, and it’s his job as the head coach to minimize those mistakes. The Jags’ defense is not good enough to bail them out when they turn the ball over, and Kyler Murray is not the type of quarterback to waste extra opportunities. I see Arizona winning comfortably by double digits.
Indianapolis Colts @ Tennessee Titans (-5.5)
The Colts join a rather long list of teams who have been bitten by the injury bug, specifically at the quarterback position this year. News broke earlier this week that Carson Wentz sprained his ankle in last week’s game but did return to practice today. They’re saying his availability will be a game-time decision, but I still see the Titans winning this game by a touchdown.
The Titans had a huge win last week against the Seattle Seahawks (which I said would happen in last week’s picks even though they were 6.5 point underdogs, not a big deal) led by a monster performance by Derrick Henry. He had 35 carries for 182 yards and three touchdowns in the win over Seattle. It usually takes Mike Vrabel a few more weeks to realize that if you give Derrick Henry the ball enough times, the defense is just going to give up on trying to tackle him. If he carries that game plan into week 3, the Titans will walk away with another win against the Colts, regardless of who suits up at quarterback. I see the Titans winning 31-23.
Cincinatti Bengals (+3) @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Death, taxes, and Ben Roethlisberger having some sort of injury. This time it is a left pectoral strain. But the Bengals seem like a team that is going to be in very close games every week this season. Joe Burrow seems to be finding good chemistry with former LSU teammate Ja’Marr Chase. Joe Mixon has done a good job of carrying the workload in the run game. They still need an offensive line, but they may catch a break this week if TJ Watt is unavailable on Sunday.
The Bengals suffered a tough loss to the Bears last week but came very close to coming back and winning that game after a scoreless first half. Big Ben is not going to go out and put up 40+ points on any team in the league. Furthermore, Joe Burrow seems to have the confidence that he always has a chance in this game. These teams are not crazy talented, but I think this will be one of the best games of the weekend. I think Cincinnati squeaks out a win by a score of 24-23.
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