I'm glad I got all my boasting out after going 11-5 against the spread in Week 1, because I fell back to earth in Week 2. A 5-11 record won't happen again on my watch. But that's gambling. Ebbs and flows. It's about the end of the year record.
We got robbed with the Los Angeles Rams failing to cover against the Indianapolis Colts by half a point, and for all the love we give Kyler Murray, I wish he could have covered the spread against the Minnesota Vikings. Then, Lamar Jackson earned his first victory over Patrick Mahomes despite not having his team at full strength. I can't believe of their four matchups this was the one he emerged victorious. We are back to .500, and ready to for more.
Top five picks record: 5-5
Overall ATS record: 16-16
Straight up record: 17-15
2020 ATS record: 125-120-9 (2 official picks missed due to COVID rescheduling)
Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET (NFL Network)
This is a large spread, but I'm going to lay the points with Carolina. The main reason being Tyrod Taylor is out due to injury, which sets up Davis Mills to make his first career start. He's also going up against a very tough defense.
I'm not sure how many people know this, but the Panthers have the No. 1 defense in the league through two games. They lead the NFL in scoring defense, total defense, opponent rush yards per game, opponent pass yards per game, sacks and opponent yards per play. Now, these aren't statistics that are going to stand, but they are an underrated unit that's young and talented. As for the offense, Christian McCaffrey is back to his old self and I'm sure Sam Darnold is excited to reintroduce himself to the NFL world on a national stage. He wants to put up points. Yes, the game is in Houston, but Carolina has won two straight there.
The pick: Panthers -8
Projected score: Panthers 27-14
Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
The Titans are coming off of a thrilling overtime win over the Seattle Seahawks, which makes it appear they are back on track after getting waxed on their home field in Week 1. Teams can have a figurative hangover after an emotional road victory like that, but there's reason to believe the Titans won't. They return to the embrace of their home fans in preparation to host a familiar opponent with quarterback issues. Carson Wentz somehow sprained both of his ankles, but I wouldn't be shocked if he started on Sunday. Still, there's no way he can be 100 percent.
The Colts offense hasn't been great, as they are averaging 20 points per game (tied for No. 25 in the league). The Colts have also run eight plays inside the five-yard line -- which is tied for the most in the NFL. But, they've scored 0 points on those plays. With a banged-up Wentz in his first road game of the season, I'm not expecting fireworks.
Additionally, this is Houston Oilers week in Nashville. Nearly 80 former players will be in attendance, and it's going to be a special day in Nissan Stadium.
The pick: Titans -5.5
Projected score: Titans 30-21
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (Fox)
I'm still upset that the Cardinals did not cover for me last week, but they are much better than this Jaguars team so I'm going to give them a shot. Plus, I'm a perfect 2-0 against the spread picking Jaguars games -- even picking the Texans to cover against them in Week 1.
Imagine things being so bad that you have to release a statement to your fanbase after just two games. Two games! Like, you couldn't wait until at least 0-3 to apologize via social media?
The Cardinals have the No. 2 offense in the NFL through two games while the Jaguars have the sixth-worst defense. They are allowing an average of 30 points per game while the Cardinals are averaging 36 scored. Jacksonville hasn't scored more than 21 points in a game yet, I'll take AZ -7.5.
The pick: Cardinals -7.5
Projected score: Cardinals 35-24
Seattle Seahawks at Minnesota Vikings
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET (Fox)
This Seahawks team is better than the Vikings, and their collapse last week was incredibly unfortunate. There are two things to know about this matchup: Dalvin Cook is injured and Russell Wilson has never lost to the Vikings. He's 7-0 against Minnesota -- including playoffs. That's the best win-loss record vs. Minnesota by any player in NFL history.
I would bet Seattle's loss last week against Tennessee put some pep in their step. Unlike the Vikings' loss, which was just flat out demoralizing. The Vikings have allowed 24-plus points in a franchise-record nine straight games. That's the longest active streak in the NFL.
The pick: Seahawks -2
Projected score: Seahawks 28-23
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Los Angeles Rams
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET (Fox)
This stat comes courtesy of SportsLine's Allan Bell: The last nine times the Rams won two games in a row, they lost that third game eight times. In fact, they didn't cover the spread in eight of them either. Now, they have to host Tom Brady, who currently leads the NFL in passing touchdowns with nine.
This could be a preview of the NFC Championship game, which of course means Brady is probably going to ball out. We got a preview of the eventual NFC Championship game last year in October, when the Bucs hosted the Green Bay Packers. Brady and the offense went on a 38-0 run after going down 10 in the first quarter on the way to a blowout win. I doubt this is going to be a blowout. There's a reason the spread is so close. The Buccaneers were two-point underdogs to the Rams earlier this week, according to Caesars Sportsbook. Now, they are 1.5-point favorites. Both of these teams haven't had perfect starts to the season, but I'm betting on Brady.
The pick: Buccaneers -1.5
Projected score: Buccaneers 31-27
Other Week 3 picks
Falcons (+3) 27-24 over Giants
Browns 28-24 over Bears (+7)
Bengals (+3) 26-21) over Steelers
Bills 30-25 over Washington (+7.5)
Patriots (-3) 27-23 over Saints
Ravens (-8) 36-23 over Lions
Chiefs (-6.5) 28-21 over Chargers
Broncos (-10) 31-20 over Jets
Raiders (-4) 28-17 over Dolphins
Packers (+3.5) 26-24 over 49ers
Cowboys (-4) 29-23 over Eagles
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