Welcome to week 3 of the NFL season. We are coming off a very good 3-1 week in week two. Are currently 6-4 on the year. This week’s slate is pretty ugly, not going to lie. We will have five previews of the biggest game of the slate. Time to make some money once again.
As always, the picks are brought to you by our presenting sponsor Betfred Sportsbook!
Buffalo at Miami
Spread: Buffalo (-5.5)
Buffalo steam rolled us on our only loss of the week. The Bills look the part as the Super Bowl favorites. The Dolphins are 2-0 on the year and have an impressive victory at Baltimore yet this line still has moved over two points in the Bills favor. It will be an electric early afternoon kickoff on a bright, humid, and hot sunny day in Miami.
Situationally, I would take Miami here- the Northeast team playing in hot weather down South. Still, I just can’t take Miami based on the way their defense has played. Miami ranked 31st in the NFL in pass DVOA. Starting corner Bryon Jones is out. One of the highest paid corners in the league Xavien Howard is playing with a groin injury he suffered during camp. The injury is pretty evident with Howard ranking 91st out of 111 starting corners in the NFL.
Miami blitzes at a 40 percent rate and often leaves their corners on islands. Buffalo should easily exploit this with Josh Allen being 2nd in the NFL in EPA versus the blitz. Buffalo has the third highest passing rate through the first three quarters. Buffalo puts up a big number early and Buffalo's defense gets tired in the second half, allowing for a Miami offensive resurgence in the second half. Buffalo wins in an offensive shootout 35 to 27.
Take the over.
The pick: over 53
Philadelphia at Washington
Spread: Philadelphia (-6.5)
Philly has become the NFL’s new darling after their big performance on Monday Night Football against Minnesota. Many sharp bettors were high on the Eagles before the season. They have proven them right so far. Philly ranks fifth overall in offensive DVOA, third in rushing in DVOA, and their defense ranks ninth in overall defensive DVOA. Jalen Hurts has made just one turnover worthy throw all season. Everything seems to be clicking with Philly.
On the other side, Washington was lucky to get past Jacksonville in Week 1. They dominated in the first half at Detroit in Week 2, before getting run off the field.
That’s the logical reason why everyone is in Philly in this game.
But I’m going to ride with Washington here. First, it’s QB revenge spot, Carson Wentz facing his former team for the first time. Wentz has actually played really well for the Commanders, he leads the league in touchdown passes and his top five in yards per attempt. Then add in the trend that underdogs in division matchups during the first five weeks of the season are 80-55-2 ATS in the last 15 years. Philly is the better team but going to sell them high this week on the road. Give me a desperate Washington team that keeps this game close.
The pick: Washington +6.5
Kansas City at Indianapolis
Spread: Kansas City (-5.5)
In the three years I have written this blog, I can count on my fingers the amount of times I have taken a road favorite laying more than a field goal. Sometimes, you have to get out of your comfort zone. This is one of those times. Patrick Mahomes is 31-22 ATS when not favored by double digits. Kansas City is essentially unbeatable in September when they aren’t playing the Los Angeles Chargers.
Plainly, I think the Colts just stink. After their first two games playing the Jaguars and Texans, here is how the Colts shake up. Their passing defense is the second worst in the NFL in defending early down passes.
They rank 31s in offensive DVOA. The strength of the team, the offensive line, ranks 21st in offensive line yards in the run game, and rank 23rd in adjusted sack rate/pressure rate in the pass blocking game. Then add the fact they are hosting Kansas City that ranks second in the NFL in yards per play, third in offensive DVOA, and an improved defense that ranks eighth in the NFL against the run, 14th in defensive EPA, and 6th in third down defense.
The only path to an Indianapolis victory is a Jonathon Taylor explosion that keeps Mahomes off the field, but remember, Mahomes torched Indy defensive coordinator Gus Bradley’s defense when he was with the Raiders. Mahomes tends to destroy cover 3 defenses, something the Colts run over 70% of the time. Kansas City puts up over 30 and they run away with this one.
The pick: Kansas City (-5.5)
Atlanta at Seattle:
Spread: Pick 'Em
The Atlanta Falcons (0-2) and the Seattle Seahawks (1-1) will battle it out in a must-win game for both teams if they want to avoid falling into a deep hole after three weeks. We have two coaches that play similar styles. They both like the run the ball and control the clock. Ironically only one team is really able to do it.
Pete Carroll has Russell Wilson out and wants to prove he can win his way. In order to win with Geno Smith at quarterback, you need to have a reliable run game. Seattle, simply doesn’t have it. They rank dead last in virtually every rushing category. After two weeks, Seattle is dead last in rushing yards with just 112 yards on 33 attempts. Seattle hasn’t had an offensive score in six quarters.
While Atlanta lost their first two games, Arthur Smith’s squad has shown plenty of promise. They nearly rallied back from 28-3 deficit against the defending Super Bowl champions on the road. They forced three turnovers and if it wasn’t for several careless turnovers of their own- they would have won. Atlanta had a double digit lead against the Saints in the fourth quarter of week one. It seems Arthur Smith has Atlanta going in the right direction.
The Falcons are 5-2 ATS in their last seven. Smith has won four of his last five against teams with losing records. This is a great get right game for Atlanta. It’s going to be a long year for Seattle. Give me the Falcons on the road here.
The pick: Atlanta (PK)
Green Bay at Tampa Bay
Spread: Tampa (-1)
The game of the week, Brady vs Rodgers for what could be the final matchup between these two greats.
But for all the all the excitement about the game, both teams are banged up with injuries. On Tampa’s side, their offensive line has been disarray. They will be on their third left tackle, Mike Evans is suspended and Chris Godwin is doubtful. The Packers receiving core is also banged up- Allen Lazard missed Week 1 and was limited to two receptions for 13 yards (albeit with a TD) last week. But he's still dealing with an ankle injury that has him limited at practice. Sammy Watkins has been ruled out and other receivers, Christian Watson (hamstring), and Randall Cobb (illness) have been limited at or missed practice this week. Neither of these great Quarterbacks will have much to throw to.
Which goes to my next point, the running game.
For Green Bay, Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon have been the focal points of the offense. As a team they are averaging 5.6 yards per rush (third best in the NFL). Additionally, Aaron Jones leads the team in targets. However, they will play a stout Tampa defense which ranks 27th in defensive line yards. Historically, this defense has been excellent against the run and ranked third in run defense last season. Over the first two games Tampa’s defense ranks first in EPA, first in scoring defense, and third in yards per play. The young defensive talent is the unit that is going to carry them all season.
For Green Bay, their defense looks stout on paper. They added to their defense through the draft, but the one Achilles heel continues to plague them is defending the run. Last week on Sunday night football the Bears averaged 5.6 yards per play on Sunday night football last week. If the Bears didn’t squash their red zone opportunities, we could be looking at an 0-2 Packers team. Tampa is going to concentrate on running the ball right down Green Bay’s throat. Although Green Bay has a stout running game of their own, their offense faces a tougher brick wall to run through this week.
Even with the injuries up front, I think Tampa controls the line of scrimmage and I simply trust Brady more than Rodgers late in the game. If you are giving me Tom Brady as a pick em at home, I will gladly take it.
Give me the Bucs.
The pick: Tampa Bay (-1)
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