2018 NFL Week 3 Picks Against the Spread: Redskins upset Packers, Saints thump Falcons
Plus more of Will Brinson's best bets for Week 3 in the 2018 NFL season
If Thursday night is any indication, the action in Week 3 is going to be off the charts. Tyrod Taylor suffers a concussion, Baker Mayfield comes in down a couple of scores and leads the Browns on a rousing comeback to . When people say football is completely unpredictable, they're right (although at least one person called his shot on this).
Which is a nice way of noting that boy, was I unable to predict anything last week. I actually managed to go 0-5 in my best bets and although I have a litany of excuses, no one wants to hear those. In fact, the only excuse I can make here is I didn't listen to myself; dealing with a bunch of issues on the homefront that were as unbelievable as the script Baker penned on Thursday night, I didn't change course and try to find some different games.
I saw the train coming and didn't bother getting off the tracks. I felt exactly how Sam Darnold looked, standing on the sideline after throwing an interception with his team down 21-17 to the Fighting Mayfields and realizing what was happening to him.
But like Darnold (and the Browns for two years before last night), I've got to get up off the mat and pick some daggum winners. Let's go. Yell at me on Twitter @WillBrinson and if you want all the gambling, fantasy, DFS and general football info your brain can handle on a daily basis, make sure and subscribe to the Pick Six Podcast.
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This line moved a little bit in favor of the Seahawks, presumably with money coming in on the home team. It's a little surprising, considering we just saw these two teams play on prime time. The Cowboys looked pretty dominant in a win over the lowly Giants, and the most impressive part was their front seven on defense. That's a bad formula for a Seahawks team that looked pretty sloppy and overwhelmed against the Bears on Monday night, with Seattle allowing Russell Wilson to get sacked six times for the second straight game.
But you know what? I'm not writing off Seattle completely yet. First of all, they have the best quarterback in this game. Second of all, they went against two good defenses in Denver and Chicago to start the season. And finally, they're playing at home for the first time this season. Do you know how many home games Pete Carroll's lost in September since he got the job with the Seahawks in 2010? Zero. Not a one. Give me the home team here with less than a field goal.
Standard field goal line game here right? Pete Prisco said subscribe here!) he thinks this line "stinks," which I think speaks to how people value these two teams. Most believe the Falcons are playing much better, which is fine, maybe. Atlanta egged against the Eagles and beat up on a banged-up Carolina team at home last week. The Saints lost a shootout to the Buccaneers and then nearly lost to the lowly Browns ... but what if Tampa Bay and Cleveland are better than we think and it's not a fluke how they're playing to start the season? That's very possible.(
Playing away from New Orleans could be a concern, but the Saints get to play in a dome so I'm not sweating the situation at all -- they play quite well in weather-proof scenarios not at home. This could be a "oh their defense is still good" game for New Orleans with a banged-up offensive line for Atlanta, and Alvin Kamara should have a field day against a defense missing Keanu Neal and Deion Jones.
Baltimore lost last Thursday night in an ugly one against Cincinnati, a game we probably should have seen coming considering the hype off a win over the Bills (unwarranted). This is a pretty decent amount of points, but I love a few things about this game.
One, the Ravens have the better quarterback (don't say that often). Two, John Harbaugh is 11-5 against the spread coming off a double-digit loss. Three, Case Keenum is banged up with a knee injury that, while it won't keep him from playing, could limit him. And four, I'm not sure the Broncos have played anyone great either; they beat the Seahawks and Raiders, both of whom were playing in Denver, by a combined four points. Traveling to the East Coast and taking on a substantially better opponent is a bad spot for this team. Baltimore rolls pretty handily.
This is an overreaction to Sunday, and it would have been higher if not for
you darn kids the refs letting Minnesota off the hook with that Clay Matthews roughing the passer penalty. Washington actually looked pretty good against the Colts, I thought, except for being sloppy most of the game. They could have easily won that matchup, and I think this is too much of a swing in terms of the line against a Green Bay team that is playing chicken with Aaron Rodgers' knee. The quarterback he could be doing worse damage to himself by continuing to play, and the Redskins have the ability to push the pocket and get pressure on passers. That could spell problem for a fairly immobile Rodgers.
Sleeper to watch this week: Josh Doctson, who has yet to find the end zone this season but who has been targeted fairly frequently and should have had a nice game last week but for one tough sideline catch that was ruled a drop.
Colts +6.5 at Eagles
Little worried about this line considering that Carson Wentz is coming back and the Eagles' coaching staff has a pretty good knowledge about the Colts group of coaches -- Frank Reich was the OC under Doug Pederson last year and defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus was in Dallas before -- but I actually think the benefit runs other way more.
I also believe the Colts are a better football team than people think. They showed a lot of it against the Redskins in Week 2, but people are chalking that up to Washington being bad. It's not the case. The Colts have turned, almost overnight, into a physical football team at the point of attack. Quenton Nelson is a monster up front, a guy who loves to destroy defenders, and it's resulted in additional protection for Andrew Luck and the ability to utilize Jordan Wilkins, Nyheim Hines and Marlon Mack in a variety of ways in the run game.
I'm going to wait on putting my picks in for this game: I really want to take Indy, but I'm also concerned about the injuries for both teams. T.Y. Hilton hasn't practiced as of Friday morning and neither has Anthony Castonzo. Jack Doyle and Mack are missing too. If Luck has no weapons and less protection, I might stay away. Unless the Eagles are just short everyone too: Jay Ajayi, Darren Sproles, Jason Peters and Alshon Jeffery are all on the injury report. If those guys look like they're all going to play on Friday, I might stay away. But don't sleep on the Colts stealing this one.
The "Battle of L.A." is going down this weekend and I think the Chargers will be my only "alternate" pick for the SuperContest -- I have until Saturday morning to get my picks in, and if there's some major injury on Friday or some changes to the Colts-Eagles injury report that I don't like, I may just zig and go with the Chargers here.
The Rams are abjectly terrifying: they have a great defense with great corners and a nasty defensive line. On offense, Todd Gurley is just picking up where he left off last year after landing a new contract this offseason. Brandin Cooks is set to have a monster year and Robert Woods remains underrated. Sean McVay is a genius with a better memory than an elephant on Adderall.
But the Chargers shouldn't be a touchdown underdog to someone in the same city where they play football. There aren't enough Chargers fans in L.A. to show up for a home game, much less an away game, but this is still a good football team. They were boatraced by the Chiefs in Week 1 but eventually made it a game. I was impressed with the road game beatdown they laid on the Bills, however. If they minimize mistakes and protect Philip Rivers, this will be a close game. The Bolts will probably figure out a way to screw it up late (horrible turnover or perhaps a missed field goal?) but they can keep this close and potentially pull off the upset.
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