Which games will be close? Which games have upset potential? This is an evaluation of each NFL match-up with predictions against the spread and straight-up picks for week 3 of the 2010 NFL Season.
Visit my website HERE throughout the week for plenty of weekly NFL prediction links from other Associated Content writers. I keep their records throughout each week so you know who’s been streaky and who to follow each week.
FINAL UPDATE 9-23-10: I have made picks for the ATL @ NO and SF @ KC games. I have also changed my prediction on the Philadelphia at Jacksonville, Denver Broncos at Indianapolis Colts, and the spread pick on Oakland at Arizona.
Week 3 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Tennessee Titans at New York Giants (-3)
The New York Giants and Tennessee Titans looked impressive in week 1 victories while getting humiliated in week 2 against better teams. The Giants offensive line could have difficulty maintaining the Tennessee Titans defensive line and blitz schemes from Chuck Cecil. At the same time, how will Vince Young respond to being benched again after 3 turnovers?
I think the Giants are the better and more experienced team. They’ll handle the adversity better after a bad defeat. Also, they’re playing at home.
Straight & Against the Spread: – New York Giants (-3)
Week 3 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Cincinnati Bengals (-3) at Carolina Panthers
I’ve picked the Carolina Panthers for the past two weeks to win and cover the spread. Matt Moore and that secondary have performed far below my expectations, and I’m not sure they’ll be able to turn the ship around without Delhomme. Carolina’s years as a solid NFC competitor may be over and they might be finding themselves with a 4-6 win year in 2010.
Carolina’s rushing offense should be neutralized by Cincinnati’s run defense. Fans could see another 20-7ish game as I think Palmer can do some damage to the Panthers secondary. Don’t give the Panthers any credit and just take Cincinnati, even if its 100 points (yeah, I have no faith in them now). Also, Jimmy Clausen will probably start his first game.
Straight & Against the Spread: – Cincinnati Bengals (-3)
Week 3 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Dallas Cowboys at Houston Texans (-3)
The 2010 Media Super Bowl champions have proven that they’re not only a Super Bowl pretender, but they might be vying for one of the top 5 picks in the 2011 NFL Draft. The Cowboys have offensive weapons, but it does no good with Alex Barron. Add in a underachieving coaching staff and a decimated secondary that’s eliminating the Cowboys defensive advantage, and the Cowboys are in trouble.
The Texans aren’t a good match-up. Matt Schuab is quietly becoming an elite NFL QB the past 2 seasons. He passed for nearly 500 yards against Washington last week. The Cowboys could be down to 2 serviceable cornerbacks and Schuab will exploit it. The Texans pass defense could be their undoing in the long-term, but Tony Romo won’t exploit it enough since they’ll need to get into the 30s to even have a chance against Houston.
The Houston Texans won their first opening regular season game in history back in 2002 against the Cowboys 19-10. The Cowboys will be desperate to avoid 0-3, but Houston’s big victory in Indianapolis and their overtime comeback in Washington proves that the Texans can win big games… not good news for any team.
Straight & Against the Spread: – Houston Texans (-3)
Week 3 NFL Predictions against the Spread: San Francisco 49ers (-3) at Kansas City Chiefs
After an undefeated preseason and talks about a potential Super Bowl run, The San Francisco 49ers are 0-2 after a 31-6 to Seattle and a heartbreaking 25-22 loss to New Orleans. The Kansas City Chiefs may be the NFL’s biggest surprise at 2-0 after defeating the AFC West favorite 21-14 in the opening weekend. The 49ers struggles have been a result of turnovers. The Chiefs victories, while ugly, have been a result of capitalizing on turnovers and making big plays.
San Francisco is playing on a short week. They’re playing in Arrowhead, one of the NFL’s biggest home field advantages before the Chiefs collapse late in the 2000s. Matt Cassel vs. Alex Smith could be one of the worst quarterback duels in recent memory.
The big key of this game: The 49ers must avoid turnovers. The Chiefs have been opportunistic and the 49ers have been turnover prone. The points are too good to pass up here, and I think Alex Smith will make at least one critical mistake that, along with the Chiefs crowd, could subdue the 49ers to an 0-3 start.
Straight & Against the Spread: – Kansas City Chiefs (+3)
Week 3 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.0) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The most surprising 2-0 teams in the NFL? After going 2-14 in 2009, the Buccaneers are already 2-0 with victories against Cleveland and Carolina. Pittsburgh is 2-0 despite playing with a 2nd… and 3rd string quarterback. They’ve only given up 20 points in 2 games, and 8 of those against Tennessee were when they were being conservative at 19-3.
Josh Freeman is a developing quarterback and the Buccaneers lack a threatening rushing attack. The Pittsburgh Steelers played in 90ish weather with nearly 100 heat index in Tennessee, so they’ll be better prepared for Tampa Bay heat. Expect the Buccaneers offense to be smothered while Dennis Dixon or Charlie Batch orchestrate a couple scoring drives.
Straight & Against the Spread: – Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.0)
Week 3 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots (-14)
The New England Patriots had the most impressive week1 victory against the Bengals, but their defense allowed Mark Sanchez to throw for 3 touchdowns in one of Sanchez’s most productive games. Sanchez torched the left side of the Patriots defense where Darius Butler plays.
The Bills QBs (probably Fizpatrick) won’t exploit it. Don’t forget that the Patriots were 8-0 in regular season home games in 2009 while they dominated Cincinnati in week 1 this season. The Bills failed to cover a 13ish spread against the Packers, so there’s no reason to think they’ll cover against the Patriots.
Straight & Against the Spread: New England Patriots (-14)
Week 3 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens (-10.5)
NFL fans shouldn’t be discouraged by the Ravens defeat in Cincinnati. Road rivalry games are always tough, and the Bengals had an extra day to prepare. What they should be concerned about is how Joe Flacco doesn’t seem to be progressing as the Ravens starting quarterback. If the Ravens want to be Super Bowl contenders, Flacco can’t throw 4 turnovers.
A home game against Cleveland? They’ll probably cover the spread just on their interception returnsagainst Jake Delhomme and/or Seneca Wallace. If Cleveland wins, then Ravens fans can start worrying.
Straight & Against the Spread: – Baltimore Ravens (-10.5)
Week 3 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings (-12.0)
After 14-9 and 14-10 losses to the New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins, the Super Bowl aspirations for Minnesota have turned into a must-win scenario this week. The Vikings have played good defense, but the offense hasn’t found a rhythm. Favre seems effected from the ankle surgery, his receivers can’t stay healthy, and his offensive line is unstable. Add on questionable coaching, and the Vikings aren’t the 2009 team that should have represented the NFC in the Super Bowl.
The Vikings must win this game. Falling 0-3 with 5 consecutive games against 2009 playoff participants and more road games throughout the season will likely prove too much. Favre and Peterson can still outperform the Lions on home territory, especially with a wounded Matthew Stafford or Shaun Hill starting. I’d still consider the points, however. The Saints and Dolphins aren’t elite defenses, yet they smothered the Vikings.
Against the Spread: Detroit Lions (+12.0)
Straight Up – Minnesota Vikings
Week 3 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints (-3.5)
The New Orleans Saints are 2-0, but their victories haven’t been pretty. The offense has been somewhat stagnant, and they lost Reggie Bush to a fractured leg. The Atlanta Falcons looked miserable against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but they looked tremendous against the Arizona Cardinals. The Falcons perform better in domed facilities, and they’ll be playing at one this week.
These teams played to 35-27 and 26-23 last year, so it should be close. Don’t forget that the Saints won many games like this in 2009, also. They almost lost to the St. Louis Rams. The Saints are playing on a short week, but this is a divisional foe who they’re familiar with, so that shouldn’t have too much of an impact. The Saints have played their last 5 games in prime-time, so could their be an emotional letdown having to play a 3rd regional game?
For the Falcons, how healthy is Michael Turner? Turner had 150 yards in their first game last year and is the perfect back against that New Orlean Saints defense. The Falcons running game should be productive against the Saints. How well will the Falcons pass defense hold up? Can the Saints find their passing game?
Look for a tight game. Saints should win, but they won’t if they play like they have the past 2 weeks.
Against the Spread: Atlanta Faclons (+3.5)
Straight: New Orleans Saints
Week 3 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Washington Redskins (-3.5) at St. Louis Rams
The Washington Redskins defense has their first road test under Mike Shanahan in the St. Louis Rams. The Redskins defense surrendered nearly 500 passing yards to Houston last week, something that Redskins fans aren’t familiar with from their defense. Transitioning to the 3-4 could provide growing pains for the Redskins against pass-heavy offenses, similarly to how pass-heavy offenses took advantage of Green Bay’s defense in it’s inaugural season.
The Rams have played quality defense against weaker offenses, and I feel that the Redskins won’t exploit the Rams young defense. Sam Bradford doesn’t have the offensive firepower surrounding him. He’ll also play more conservatively being a rookie.
The Rams are improving, but they’re still bad. Redskins should win in a tight game.
Straight & Against the Spread: – Washington Redskins (-3.5)
Week 3 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Philadelphia Eagles (-3) at Jacksonville Jaguars
To my surprise, Michael Vick is starting for the Philadelphia Eagles. After 2 solid performances, Vick has overtaken the starting job from Kevin Kolb. Now, Andy Reid can’t definitively say if Kolb will be on the roster next month.
The Jaguars are a difficult home team in September because of the Florida Heat. They also have a running game that could be problematic for the Eagles to handle. However, Vick realizes this may be his last opportunity to resurrect his NFL career. I expect him to have a solid game against the Jaguars medicore-at-best defense and win it in the fourth quarter.
Against the Spread: – Jacksonville Jaguars (+3)
Straight – Philadelphia Eagles
Week 3 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Indianapolis Colts (-5.5) at Denver Broncos
I originally liked the Colts in a close game, but I’ve become warn on the Broncos throughout the week. First, the Broncos should have an extra passion after the unexpected loss of 23 year old receiver Kenny McKinley. The Colts are a dome team who I believe will be affected more than other teams by having to play in the thin air atmosphere of Colorado.
This was 28-16 in Indianapolis last year. The Colts don’t appear as good as their 14-0 start from 2009. The Broncos offense has looked better and should improve upon 16 points. The biggest concern for the Broncos will be how their aging secondary holds up against the Colts depth at receiver. Love the points here, and I think the Broncos could pull of an upset if their secondary can hold up.
Straight & Against the Spread: Denver Broncos (+5.5)
Week 3 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Oakland Raiders at Arizona Cardinals (-4.5)
The Oakland Raiders scored less than 200 points in 2009, and their offense could duplicate that. After 29 points in 2 games, the Raiders continue to be undisciplined by making penalties and surrendering big plays. They were trounced in week 1 while barely escaping their home opener against the Rams, who could be the league’s worst team for a second consecutive season.
The Cardinals lost 41-7, but Atlanta is one of the league’s best home field advantages. Derek Anderson hasn’t reverted to his Pro Bowl form from a few years ago, and the Cardinals are now inept on offense and defense.
The Cardinals should win but it’s iffy. I’d advise not betting this game on the spread, especially if you’re considering Oakland.
Against the Spread: Oakland Raiders (+4.5)
Straight – Arizona Cardinals
Week 3 NFL Predictions against the Spread: San Diego Chargers (-5.5) at Seattle Seahawks
This almost feels like a sucker bet. With the Chargers 38-13 victory against Jacksonville who beat Denver 24-17 who beat Seattle 31-14, that means San Diego will beat Seattle by greater than 38-13, right?
This game has upset potential. Seattle is a difficult road challenge for any team. San Francisco already found out in a 31-6 loss. San Diego was also victim to Kansas City on the road. If the Seattle Seahawks can create and capitalize off some turnovers, they could upset San Diego. You never know which San Diego team is going to show up, either.
I’d say anything over 3 points is too good to pass up. Could go either way, and since I haven’t forecasted many upsets this week, I’m going with Seattle.
Straight & Against the Spread: Seattle Seahawks (+5.5)
Week 3 NFL Predictions against the Spread: New York Jets at Miami Dolphins (-2)
Mark Sanchez had one of his worst games in week 1 and then followed that up with one of his best games. In week 3, which Sanchez will you see? That could depend on the conservative play calling of Marty Schottenheimer. The Dolphins are 2-0 overall with a 2-0 road record.
This is one of those games where either team could win by 3. Remember that the Dolphins swept the Jets 31-27 and 30-25 in 2009. This was during the Jets 1-6 slump. I’m going with the Jets because 1) I think they’re due 2) they’re not in a slump 3) Jets running game and 4) you get 1.5 extra points.
Straight & Against the Spread: New York Jets (+2.0)
Week 3 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Green Bay Packers (-3) at Chicago Bears
The Green Bay Packers were one of the NFC Super Bowl favorites entering 2010 and may be the NFL’s most balanced and complete team through two weeks. Their 2-0 start isn’t surprising. The Chicago Bears 2-0 start? It’s surprising on numerous levels. They were huge underdogs against Dallas and they barely escaped their home opener against Detroit in lieu of a controversial call.
Jay Cutler has been fantastic in his first two games under Mike Martz. He’s been efficient while avoiding the turnovers and maintaining his passing yardage. Cutler has had 5 touchdowns to 1 interception while throwing for nearly 650 yards in 2 games. The Bears need Cutler to continue his great play. Their passing defense nearly gave up 400 yards to Tony Romo and their offensive line has discrepancies.
Could the Bears possibly upset the Packers? It’s at Chicago, it’s on Monday Night, it’s one of the NFL’s biggest rivalries, and Lovie used to have a knack for beating the Packers. The Bears coaching staff must win this season or they’ll likely be replaced. If the Bears make it a defensive contest, they can win. However, the Bears will have difficulty keeping up with the Packers in a shootout because their opportunistic defense will take advantage of Cutler miscues.
Straight & Against the Spread: – Green Bay Packers (-3)
Interested in my totals predictions and top-10 power rankings? Want some predictions from other writers? Check out at my website under the 2010 football section. http://joshuahuffman-ac.tripod.com/
Cooper’s Picks. http://www.cooperspick.com/odds.asp?league=NFL September 23, 2010