Two weeks in the books and Week 3 of the 2013 NFL season should only enhance this autumn’s excitement.
And with the Kansas City Chiefs now 3-0, even more pressure is on the rest of the AFC to win. But in the NFC things are obviously controlled right now by the Seattle Seahawks after their smashing performance against the San Francisco 49ers last Sunday.
So, with more at stake with every passing week, let’s sink our teeth into pro football’s third weekend of matchups.
*Note: Lines courtesy of FootballLocks.com. Also keep track of lines as they may change prior to kickoff of each time.
San Diego Chargers at Tennessee Titans (-3)
San Diego plays decently well on the road, but Tennessee proved its AFC potential in nearly upsetting the Texans in Houston in Week 2. Here, the better ground game and defense both belong to the Titans, though. Plus they bring a more capable pass rush to get pressure.
Pick: Tennessee straight up and against the spread
Cleveland Browns at Minnesota Vikings (-6.5)
Now that Cleveland doesn’t have a running game the Vikings defense will crush the Browns offense even more. Cleveland also has a sound defense but it’s not strong enough to slow down Adrian Peterson.
Pick: Minnesota straight up and against the spread
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New England Patriots (-7)
Tampa Bay’s greatest weaknesses remain its passing offense and passing defense. Quarterback Josh Freeman lacks the decision-making to match that of Tom Brady and New England is more opportunistic in coverage. Doug Martin is the X-factor here, but expect the Patriots to stack the box to make the Bucs one-dimensional.
Pick: New England straight up and against the spread
Houston Texans (-2.5) at Baltimore Ravens
The most intriguing game of Week 3, Houston and Baltimore will be a nail-biter. The Ravens appear inconsistent offensively, while the Texans have yet to play a full game on each side of the line. But Houston sports the more explosive offense to push the pace right now.
Pick: Houston straight up and against the spread
St. Louis Rams at Dallas Cowboys (-4)
St. Louis has an improved offense, but the defense needs to slow down big play attacks. Unfortunately, big plays are a strength of Dallas’ offense. And in a game that features solid pass-rushers and cover corners, this will down to quarterback play. Advantage: Cowboys.
Pick: Dallas straight up and against the spread
Arizona Cardinals at New Orleans Saints (-7.5)
Arizona’s pass rush is non-existent and it allows a 68.9 completion percentage. So, guess what Drew Brees will do at home in The Superdome? Dice up the Cardinals and rev up the tempo.
Pick: New Orleans straight up and against the spread
Detroit Lions at Washington Redskins (-2)
Washington’s defense has been exploited through two weeks. So how will they stop Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush? It won’t happen. Robert Griffin III remains a solid dual-threat under center, but the Lions defense is capable of controlling the line of scrimmage.
Pick: Detroit straight up and with the points
Green Bay Packers (-3) at Cincinnati Bengals
Green Bay and Cincinnati will be a fun matchup to watch. Each team has an explosive attack to put the opposing defense on its heels. The disparity here, however, does sit on the defensive end. Cincinnati fields a far better pass defense and are is better against the run.
Pick: Cincinnati straight up and with the points
New York Giants at Carolina Panthers (-1)
The Giants continue to have turnover issues. On the other hand, Carolina has two tough losses, a better ground game and a better defense right now overall. The downside is the Cats’ average points per game (15). Nevertheless, Cam Newton’s dual-threat ability is an edge along with Carolina’s defensive front led by Luke Kuechly.
Pick: Carolina straight up and against the spread
Atlanta Falcons at Miami Dolphins (-2.5)
Will the Dolphins be able to keep pace with the Falcons? It appears so coming in, because Ryan Tannehill has a 65.3 completion percentage and Miami ranks No. 14 in passing. That said, Atlanta still sports more high-powered attack and an improved overall defense.
Pick: Atlanta straight up and with the points
Indianapolis Colts at San Francisco 49ers (-10)
San Francisco’s defense it simply too good for the Colts to move the ball consistently. Andrew Luck has already been sacked seven times and the ‘Niners’ pass rush won’t let up. Turn the ball over to the 49ers offense and they face a Colts defense that lacks in coverage, and isn’t good at forcing turnovers or stopping the run.
Pick: San Francisco straight up and against the spread
Jacksonville Jaguars at Seattle Seahawks (-19.5)
What can we possibly expect from Jacksonville’s road trip to the Great Northwest? Aside from the obvious, not much. Seattle is simply the far better team overall and the Jaguars’ lack of offense alone already has them out of this contest.
Pick: Seattle straight up and against the spread
Buffalo Bills at New York Jets (-2.5)
Even during the Mark Sanchez era the Jets typically had the Bills’ number. Well, 2013 sports two rookies against one another in EJ Manuel of Buffalo and Geno Smith for Gang Green. Manuel is clearly the better decision-maker, not to mention the Bills back him with a better ground game and targets to establish balance.
Pick: Buffalo straight up and against the spread
Bears (-2.5) at Steelers
The lone concern for Chicago remains its pass defense as the Bears have allowed a 66.7 completion percentage through two games. In addition, each game was home and facing the Steelers in Pittsburgh is never easy. Ben Roethlisberger’s playmaking ability still exists, but so does a vulnerable offensive line. Here, the Bears have the edge at controlling the line of scrimmage.
Pick: Bears straight up and against the spread
Raiders at Broncos (-15)
Oakland’s 2013 identity has yet to unveil itself. Despite a slow Week 1 start against the Colts, the Raiders managed to nearly pull off the upset. Then they didn’t completely dominate the Jaguars at home despite winning. Traveling to Denver in Week 3, Oakland lines up against a Broncos team that can score in all three phases. Additionally, the Broncos have put up 66 second-half points in two games.
Pick: Broncos straight up and against the spread
Straight Up: 12-4
Straight Up: 22-11
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