Last week, we went 3-2 on my top five picks and 12-4 against the spread overall. While we walked away with a profit this past week, I want to tell my readers that 3-2 on my top five picks is not acceptable. I'm after a 4-1 weekly record or 5-0 weekly record -- both of which we achieved several times last year. I called the Green Bay Packers covering against the Detroit Lions, the Baltimore Ravens making slight work of the Houston Texans and the Arizona Cardinals covering 6.5 points against the Washington Football Team. However, I failed to foresee that Justin Herbert would start in place of Tyrod Taylor and also could not guess the kind of impact he would make on the Los Angeles Chargers, as they covered against the Kansas City Chiefs. My biggest misstep was claiming that the Minnesota Vikings could upset the Indianapolis Colts, but I do think there is something we can take away from that game.
Many of us were surprised to see the Colts open up as favorites over the Vikings after their embarrassing season-opening loss against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Sometimes, it's clear Vegas knows more than we do, since Kirk Cousins threw three picks as the Vikings were destroyed by Philip Rivers and Co. The Vikings are facing the Tennessee Titans this week, and the latter is just a 2.5-point favorite. You may think it's an easy choice to take the 2-0 Titans to cover, but this may be another situation where Vegas knows more than us. I'm staying away from that game. There are five picks I'm pretty confident about this week, however, and I suggest placing money on all five.
All odds courtesy of William Hill Sportsbook.
Top five picks record: 5-5
Overall ATS record: 19-12-1
Who'll cover the spread in Week 3? Pete Prisco, R.J. White and SportsLine's Kenny White join host Will Brinson to offer their best bets and break down every game; listen below and be sure to subscribe for daily NFL goodness.
Houston Texans at Pittsburgh Steelers
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Point spread: Steelers -4
I wonder why the schedule makers hate the Texans so much. First, they have to open the season on the road against the reigning Super Bowl champions, then they have to take on the Ravens in Week 2 and now, they face off against another undefeated team on the road. The Steelers failed to cover against the Denver Broncos last week, which is why I believe this line has been hovering around that 4-point range. While Pittsburgh didn't look incredible last week, we did see James Conner return to form with his first 100-yard game of the season and the emergence of rookie Chase Claypool -- who caught an 84-yard touchdown pass. Deshaun Watson is a star, but his run game has been virtually nonexistent. He will have his hands full this week against the likes of Bud Dupree and TJ Watt -- who lead a unit that is averaging five sacks and two takeaways per game.
The pick: Steelers 27-20
Carolina Panthers at Los Angeles Chargers
Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET (CBS)
Point spread: Chargers -6.5
I was incredibly impressed with Herbert last Sunday. The former Oregon star passed for 311 yards, one touchdown, one interception and rushed for a touchdown -- joining Otto Graham and Cam Newton as the only players to record over 300 passing yards and a rushing touchdown in a first career game. He did a great job getting both Austin Ekeler and Joshua Kelley involved, made it a point to target Keenan Allen and certainly did not look like a rookie playing in his first professional game. Herbert has a huge opportunity this week, and can prove to head coach Anthony Lynn that he truly should be in the conversation for starting quarterback with a big win against Carolina. As for the Panthers, Christian McCaffrey is going to miss a few weeks with an injury and Teddy Bridgewater is going to have to find a new go-to player on offense. McCaffrey recorded a total of 48 touches in the first two games, so it almost goes without saying that a large part of Carolina's offense will not be on the field this Sunday.
The pick: Chargers 24-14
New York Jets vs. Indianapolis Colts
Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET (CBS)
Point spread: Colts -11
As we already mentioned above, the Colts rebounded from an embarrassing loss to the Jaguars to smash the Vikings, 28-11. Rookie running back Jonathan Taylor was outstanding on the ground with 101 yards and a touchdown while the defense picked off Cousins three times. Meanwhile, the Jets suffered a 31-13 loss to the 49ers despite the fact that several of San Francisco's starters went down with injuries during the bout. This 11-point spread is by far the largest this week, but I still think I'm going to take it. The Jets lost by 10 points in Week 1 and 18 in Week 2. Additionally, they have scored just 30 points so far this season, which ranks second-worst in the NFL. I'm not in love with the Colts, but I did think they found somewhat of a rhythm last Sunday.
The pick: Colts 31-10
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Denver Broncos
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET (Fox)
Point spread: Buccaneers -6
Tom Brady and the Buccaneers got their first win as partners last Sunday, as they took down the Panthers 31-17. It wasn't a perfect performance, but the Buccaneers may have found a new starting running back. Leonard Fournette rushed for 103 yards and two touchdowns in Week 2, and appears to be a better option than Ronald Jones. Bruce Arians has claimed that the starting running back role is Jones' to lose, and many believe he may have already lost it. The Broncos did cover against the Steelers last week, but they appear ready to crash and burn. Drew Lock is going to miss several weeks with a shoulder injury, Courtland Sutton is out for the year after suffering a knee injury, Von Miller is still on IR as is cornerback A.J. Bouye. Give me the Buccaneers to cover on Sunday.
The pick: Buccaneers 30-17
Green Bay Packers at New Orleans Saints
Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)
Point spread: Saints -3
Wow, the Saints loss to the Las Vegas Raiders on "Monday Night Football" was ugly. Drew Brees was unable to throw downfield, Emmanuel Sanders was not a part of the game plan with Michael Thomas injured, the Saints racked up 10 penalties for a total of 129 yards and Carr destroyed the Saints secondary for 282 yards and three touchdowns. Tight end Darren Waller did anything he pleased against New Orleans, as he caught 12 passes for 103 yards and a touchdown. As for the Packers, it finally appears people are waking up and realizing that they are a good team. Despite going 13-3 last season and sweeping the division, people tabbed them as a clear-cut candidate to regress. A rookie head coach took this team to the NFC Championship game last season, and now we want to act surprised that they are leading the NFL with a total of 85 points scored. If I had to predict exactly how this game is going to go on Sunday night, I would say that the Saints jump out to an early lead before Aaron Rodgers leads a big comeback in the second half. I'm taking the Packers outright.
The pick: Packers 33-29
Other Week 3 picks
Jaguars (-3) 23-17 over Dolphins
Eagles 24-21 over Bengals (+5.5)
49ers (-4) 17-10 over Giants
Bills (-2.5) 23-20 over Rams
Patriots 27-26 over Raiders (+6)
Falcons (-3) 30-14 over Bears
Browns 21-20 over Washington (+7)
Titans (-2.5) 26-23 over Vikings
Seahawks (-5) 31-21 over Cowboys
Cardinals (-5.5) 40-20 over Lions
Ravens (-3.5) 34-27 over Chiefs