Last Week Recap: No picks last week. In fact, this is my first crack at NFL oddsmakers this season. That’s probably a good thing given how unpredictable the first two weeks tend to be in the NFL.
Now that the league has settled in a little, here are my five picks against the spread for Week 3:
Cowboys at Cardinals, 7:30 p.m. CT, Monday
This game doesn’t kick off until Monday night but it’s one of my favorite’s on this week’s slate. The Cowboys were shut down by the Broncos last week in Denver and the talk all week has been about Ezekiel Elliott’s effort (or lack thereof). That said, in order to do what Denver did to Dallas, a team has to have the ability to not only slow down Elliott but also blanket the Cowboys’ receivers. Arizona’s defense is good, but not Denver good. Plus, the Cardinals continue to reshuffle their offensive line in front of Carson Palmer, who no longer has the services of David Johnson. Palmer, outside of the second half last Sunday in Indianapolis, has looked shaky. I like Dallas to get back on track Monday night.
The Pick: Dallas Cowboys -3
Giants at Eagles (-6), 12:00 p.m. CT
Regular listeners of “The Turn” and “The No Huddle” know I’m not high on the Giants this season. GM Jerry Reese decided that adding another weapon in the passing game (i.e. Brandon Marshall) was more important than fixing New York’s offensive line. Through two weeks, we’ve seen how well that strategy has worked for a Giants team that has one touchdown in eight quarters. That said, the Eagles have their own issues. Carson Wentz has new weapons in the passing game, but the Eagles have not fixed their rushing attack. Plus, their offensive line has underperformed thus far, too. Public bettors are fading the Giants coming off their lousy performance on national TV, but they’re also desperate and this is a divisional game. I’ll take the points.
The Pick: New York Giants +6
Dolphins at Jets (+6), 12:00 p.m. CT
I generally don’t like to lay points on the road with NFL teams but I’m forced to in Week 3. Out of the 16 matchups this week, a whopping 10 road teams are favored. Jay Ajayi (knee) is banged up but he did return to a full practice on Friday. Assuming he’s healthy, the Dolphins will establish their running game against a middling Jets run defense. Josh McCown has looked competent his first two weeks under center, but New York has nothing around him. The road team is 14-6-1 against the spread in the last 21 meetings between these two teams and the favorite is a perfect 4-0 at the betting window in the last four meetings. I’m fading the Jets.
The Pick: Miami Dolphins -6
Texans at Patriots (-14), 12:00 p.m. CT
Bill Belichick is 8-0 at home against teams starting rookie quarterbacks, so it’s unlikely Deshaun Watson helps the Texans pull off the upset Sunday. That said, I like Houston to keep the score within two touchdowns. Watson gives the Texans an added dimension with his running ability and the Patriots had a major problem setting the edge against the Chiefs in Week 1. If Watson and Lamar Miller can attack the edges of New England’s defense, then they can play keep-away from Tom Brady and keep things close. Speaking of Brady, the only way to keep things tight against the Pats is to put pressure in his face. In J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus, the Texans have multiple defenders that apply pressure. The Patriots win, but Texans cover the 14.
The Pick: Houston Texans +14
Atlanta Falcons at Detroit Lions (+3), 12:00 p.m. CT
The Falcons lost their best pass-rusher in Vic Beasley (hamstring, out a month) in their win over the Packers on Sunday night, so this one won’t be a cakewalk in Detroit. Matthew Stafford has strung together two efficient games and the Lions have seemingly found a running game for the first time in years. That said, Greg Robinson is a massive problem at left tackle and even with Beasley and Courtney Upshaw out, the Falcons should generate enough pressure against Stafford. This is an even matchup so I think it’ll come down to the running game. While Abdullah has been good, Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman form one of the best 1-2 backfield punches in the NFL. Despite this game feeling like a small trap, I like the Falcons to get it done in Detroit.
The Pick: Atlanta Falcons -3