NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS) Week 3

Can we overreact to two weeks of action?

With two weeks in the books, we can start to figure out some things in the NFL. There are some very bad teams in the league and there are some very bad units as well. Both the Seahawks and Giants have terrible offensive lines while other teams have terrible defenses. Several teams are 1-1 with performances on each end of the spectrum so it'll be interesting to see how they show up in Week 3.

 

Record: 5-4-1 (53-32-3 last year)

 

Note: All times are ET and all games are on Sunday, Sept. 23.

 

Here are this week's best NFL picks against the spread :

 

Indianapolis Colts (1-1) at Philadelphia Eagles (1-1), 1 p.m.

Carson Wentz is back under center for the Super Bowl champs as they host the Colts. Head coach Doug Pederson swears he's not going to be calling plays with kid gloves for the quarterback who is coming back from a torn ACL. Still, he'll be without Alshon Jeffery, Mike Wallace and Mack Hollins leaving Nelson Agholor to lead an unproven bunch of receivers. The Colts' defense played above its head against the Redskins last Sunday. I don't expect them to do that again, but the Eagles' offense doesn't inspire much confidence in me right now. It'll be important to see if running back Darren Sproles is available because he's a good safety valve in the passing game. The Eagles' defense was undressed by Ryan Fitzpatrick so you know they'll put in a better effort against the Colts, who really have T.Y. Hilton and nothing else when it comes to legitimate playmakers. Philadelphia's run defense has been great so far and the Eagles will put plenty of pressure on Andrew Luck, who is still shaking off all of the rust from missing all of last season. Philadelphia has gone under in 13 of its last 19 home games. SELECTION: Under 47.5 points

 

Cincinnati Bengals (2-0) at Carolina Panthers (1-1), 1 p.m.

The Bengals are 2-0 so far with a pair of 34-23 wins over the Colts and Ravens. This is part of a stretch where they have three of their first four on the road. I'm not buying Cincinnati yet this season despite their early success. Running back Joe Mixon is injured so that means Gio Bernard is taking on a bigger role. Of course I'm concerned about A.J. Green going nuts on this bad Carolina secondary, but I think the Panthers can get enough pressure to make Andy Dalton uncomfortable. Carolina lost 31-24 in Atlanta last week. The Panthers struggled with the Falcons' offensive balance, allowing 170 rushing yards in the loss. The Panthers are a better team at home where they beat Dallas 16-8 in Week 1. Cincinnati has allowed 300-plus passing yards in both games. Some of that is because of game script, but I still think there will be opportunities for Cam Newton to air it out. The Bengals are just 8-8 against the spread the last three seasons on the road. I like the Panthers in this spot especially at this key number. SELECTION: Panthers -3

 

Denver Broncos (2-0) at Baltimore Ravens (1-1), 1 p.m.

I'll bite here and take a chance with the road team in this one. The Broncos took care of business by beating the Seahawks and Raiders at home. They did so with some solid balance on offense and just enough defense in the end. The secondary hasn't been shutting anyone down with Russell Wilson and Derek Carr each gashing Denver to some extent. Royce Freeman leads a three-man backfield for the Broncos, which has worked to this point. Baltimore's defense was ambushed early by Andy Dalton and the Bengals' passing attack last week. This coming a week after the Ravens demolished the Bills at home. I really think the bigger issue is how mediocre this offense is. Joe Flacco has had some success with his revamped WR corps of Michael Crabtree, John Brown and Willie Snead. Baltimore is 16-16 against the spread in its last 32 games. Give me the road team. SELECTION: Broncos +5.5

 

Oakland Raiders (0-2) at Miami Dolphins (2-0), 1 p.m.

This seems like an immense trap of a line, but I'll bite. I've been on the Dolphins twice already this season and have liked what I've seen. Kenyan Drake and the run game has taken some pressure off Ryan Tannehill. Still, the team has to cut down on the turnovers (four in the first two games). Oakland's defense has been gashed both on the ground and through the air because the Raiders have no pass rush or playmakers on that side of the ball. Miami's defense has actually played pretty well despite having a lack of stars. The Dolphins also have seen two of the weaker offenses in football in the Titans and Jets. The Raiders have scored 32 points on the Rams and Broncos. The run game has yet to produce 100 yards in a game. That puts more of the burden on Derek Carr and Amari Cooper (with Jared Cook doing his part). This a second straight road game for Oakland, who must make the cross-country trek for this one. Last year the Raiders won in Miami 27-24 in a game that saw both teams put up pretty close to the same numbers. I'll bite on the potential trick line and take the home team. SELECTION: Dolphins -3

 

Green Bay Packers (1-0-1) at Washington Redskins (1-1), 1 p.m.

The Redskins are one of those teams giving their fans a huge swing of emotions. Week 1 brought an easy win in Arizona highlighted by the revitalization of Adrian Peterson. Week 2 brought a 21-9 home loss in front of a bad crowd in which the offense struggled to get anything going. I think this team is somewhere in the middle as Alex Smith is better than he played last week. The Redskins' defense held up pretty well as well for the most part, but there's room for improvement. Green Bay comes into this one off two tough home divisional games. Aaron Rodgers isn't 100 percent, but is still throwing dimes. The defense was beaten up by Kirk Cousins last week. I think the home team is worth a look as an underdog. I think we get a better effort before the Skins' bye week. SELECTION: Redskins +3

 

Chicago Bears (1-1) at Arizona Cardinals (0-2), 4:25 p.m.

Things couldn't be any lower for the Cardinals right now. Arizona has scored just six points total in losses to the Redskins and Rams. Sam Bradford has been terrible under center leading me to believe Josh Rosen could see the field soon. Still, the Cardinals have some firepower in David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald. The defense has been beaten up with the Redskins grinding them down on the ground while the Rams took to the air. The Bears are flying high after a home win over the Seahawks on Monday night. It's a quick turnaround for this team and a long flight as well. Chicago arguably could be 2-0 after blowing a 17-point, fourth-quarter lead in Green Bay. Chicago has covered just five of its last 17 road games and won only two of them outright. I think there's a chance that the young Bears struggle in this one on the road. SELECTION: Cardinals +6

 

— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Josephs prefers non-Power 5 college football and may be the only one wagering on the Sun Belt. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.

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