Bleacher Report’s Expert Week 3 NFL Picks
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Tyreek Hill (Rob Carr/Getty Images)
When the going gets tough, you continue to swing for
the fences—that’s what our NFL experts will do after another 7-9
Kirk Cousins has a new head coach, but his usual Monday Night
Football letdown sank our consensus picks below .500. Through two weeks, we’ve learned valuable lessons from previous shortcomings and will apply that wisdom for a
money-making Week 3 outcome.
NFL analysts Gary Davenport, Brent
Knox and Maurice
Moton; editors Ian
Kenyon and Wes
O’Donnell; and B/R Betting host of Winners Only Wednesdays Greg
Ivory had a meeting of minds this week. Still unafraid to go
bold, they’re in on four road underdogs, and they’ve picked two 0-2 teams that will
try to get off the schneid in the opponent’s building.
Before we look ahead to our Week 3 picks, let’s take a
look at the overall expert standings with last week’s results in parantheses.
1. Moton: 16-16 (8-8)
T-2. Davenport: 14-18 (8-8)
T-2. Ivory: 14-18 (6-10)
T-2. Kenyon: 14-18 (7-9)
T-2. O’Donnell: 14-18 (6-10)
3. Knox: 13-19 (6-10)
4. Sobleski: 11-21 (6-10)
Consensus picks: 14-18
Lines are from DraftKings as of Wednesday, Sept. 21, at 4 p.m. ET. Check
DraftKings for the latest odds info. Information on public betting trends is
courtesy of the Action Network. ATS
records are provided by Team Rankings.
Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) at Cleveland Browns (1-1)
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Najee Harris (Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Line: Browns -4.5
After victories in their season openers, both the Pittsburgh
Steelers and Cleveland Browns lost tight battles in Week 2, but the latter team
probably feels the sting a little more than the former.
Last week, the Steelers never gained a lead over the New England Patriots
and lost 17-14. Meanwhile, the Browns fell apart with
one minute and 22 seconds left in regulation, giving up 14 points to the New
York Jets in that short time span.
In 2021, the Steelers swept the season series with the Browns in Ben
Roethlisberger’s farewell year, winning both contests by at least five points.
Mitch Trubisky has taken over the offense, and he’s faltered, throwing for just
362 yards, two touchdowns and an interception with a 59.2 percent completion
rate. On top of that, Pittsburgh’s ground attack ranks 26th behind a shaky offensive line that has slowly trended in the right direction.
Yet Kenyon sees an easy-money bet because of the Browns’ limited quarterback.
“Any time you can get 4.5 points in a game that Jacoby Brissett is
the opponent’s starter, it is probably smart to take the points. The Browns are
coming off an embarrassing fourth-quarter collapse against the Jets after
barely squeezing out a victory over the lowly Carolina Panthers. Yes, the Steelers won’t have T.J. Watt (torn pectoral), share the same 1-1 record and will be playing this game
on the road, but they already have a win against the defending AFC
champion Bengals and lost a close game to Bill Belichick. I would take the
Steelers straight up; getting 4.5 points feels like stealing.”
Even if the Browns win a low-scoring slugfest, the crew believes
4.5 points is a wide margin for two teams that struggle to push the ball
downfield. Cleveland and Pittsburgh rank 26th and 28th, respectively, in
Consensus: Steelers +4.5
Prediction: Steelers 23, Browns 21
Houston Texans (0-1-1) at Chicago Bears (1-1)
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Justin Fields (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
Line: Bears -3
Within the first two weeks of the season, neither of these teams
have put together an offensive masterpiece, but both rank within the top
12 in points allowed. This matchup isn’t going to yield a lot of points, but
Moton sees the same weakness in both defenses.
“The offensive coordinators for both teams should implement a
run-heavy game plan. Through two weeks, the Chicago Bears have allowed the most
rushing yards, while the Houston Texans have permitted the third-most yards on
the ground,” he said.
“David Montgomery and Dameon Pierce will have a busy day for the
Bears and Texans, respectively, but Chicago can add extra wrinkles to its
ground attack with backup running back Khalil Herbert and dynamic quarterback
Justin Fields. At 32 years old, Rex Burkhead doesn’t have the pep in his step
to push Houston’s run game over the top. The Bears’ eighth-ranked ground attack
should outpace the Texans’ 27th-ranked rushing offense Sunday.”
Moton’s vote of confidence in Chicago’s run game broke the tie,
which tilts our consensus in the Bears’ favor.
Consensus: Bears -3
Prediction: Bears 21, Texans 16
Kansas City Chiefs (2-0) at Indianapolis Colts (0-1-1)
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Patrick Mahomes (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Line: Chiefs -6.5
Our experts couldn’t find a
reason to take the Indianapolis Colts against the spread, and the public has
gone heavy on the Kansas City Chiefs with 67 percent of wagers on the road favorite.
How can you blame the majority
The Chiefs offense hasn’t skipped
a beat without wideout Tyreek Hill. Their passing attack ranks sixth, and
quarterback Patrick Mahomes has thrown for 595 yards, seven touchdowns and zero
interceptions with a 73 percent completion rate.
Bettors should compare
Mahomes’ numbers to Colts quarterback Matt Ryan’s passing statistics (547
yards, one touchdown and four interceptions with a 60 percent completion rate)
to see why Kansas City heads into this game as the heavy favorite.
Moton also made his decision
based on the quarterback matchup.
“Usually, when everyone picks one
team it makes you think twice, but the Colts offense looks dreadful with Ryan
in his age-37 term. If he cannot move the ball through the air, running back
Jonathan Taylor will face a tough challenge against loaded boxes. The 2021 rushing
champion ran for just 54 yards in a 24-0 blowout loss to the Jacksonville
Jaguars last week.
“Meanwhile, the Chiefs’ aerial
attack still looks phenomenal without Hill because one of the league’s top
quarterbacks spearheads the offensive attack. Kansas City should win big
over a team that struggled to score against the Houston Texans and Jaguars.”
Consensus: Chiefs -6.5
Prediction: Chiefs 31, Colts 20
Baltimore Ravens (1-1) at New England Patriots (1-1)
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Lamar Jackson (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Line: Ravens -3
Even though the Baltimore Ravens
have a clear edge in quarterback talent with Lamar Jackson, the spread suggests we’re
in for a tight battle. The oddsmakers set this line for a good reason.
Though the Ravens have a dynamic signal-caller
who can create something out of nothing, they field the worst pass defense (ranked 32nd in yards allowed) headed into Week 3. We saw evidence of that as Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua
Tagovailoa recorded career
highs in multiple passing categories against Baltimore last week, throwing
for 469 yards, six touchdowns (two interceptions) with a 124.1 passer rating.
Fortunately for Baltimore, New
England has stretched defenses on plays few and far between. Quarterback Mac
Jones only has two touchdown passes with a couple of interceptions.
Like everyone else on the panel, Ivory chose the superior offense, and he noted a trend that’s unfavorable to the Patriots.
“I’m looking for the Ravens to bounce back in
this spot after collapsing late and losing to the Dolphins last week. The
defense has struggled to stop the pass while the offense is clicking. I don’t
think a Mac Jones-led Patriots team can keep up the scoring with Lamar Jackson and
the Ravens. Plus, the Patriots are 2-5 in their last seven games ATS. I’m
riding the trend and the Ravens to win this one.”
Consensus: Ravens -3
Prediction: Ravens 28, Patriots 23
New Orleans Saints (1-1) at Carolina Panthers (0-2)
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Jameis Winston (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Line: Saints -2.5
Based on the 2.5-point spread, bettors should be careful with
this matchup. Also, as Knox points out, the New Orleans Saints come into this
game with some big question marks.
“Maybe it’s the uncertain status of Alvin Kamara
(ribs), or perhaps it’s Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer’s report that Jameis Winston is playing with four
fractured vertebrae, but I have a feeling that this is going to be a very weird
game for New Orleans. Winston can be pressured into mistakes, and the
Panthers have a strong defensive front, so I think the miscues come in bunches
as they did against the Bucs last week.
“On paper, this should be an easy cover for New
Orleans. However, I see this being a lot like the NO-ATL game in Week 1.
The Saints and Panthers split the series last year, with each side winning at home.
I’m not convinced that Carolina actually pulls out the win, but I think a
desperate team at home makes this excruciatingly close.”
If Kamara suits up, that should put anyone who took the
Saints by a field goal at ease because he can take a lot of pressure off Winston. On the other hand, if the star running back misses consecutive contests, you may have second thoughts about
taking New Orleans against the spread (we sure will).
On Monday, Saints head coach Dennis Allen said
Kamara is “feeling a bit better,” and he got in a limited practice on Wednesday.
Consensus: Saints -2.5
Prediction: Saints 23, Panthers 17
Las Vegas Raiders (0-2) at Tennessee Titans (0-2)
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Davante Adams (AP Photo/David Becker)
Line: Raiders -2
do you hear the words “must win” attached to a Week 3 contest, but in a stacked
AFC, these 2021 playoff teams badly need a victory for 2022 postseason aspirations.
Week 2, the Las Vegas Raiders tasted defeat in an embarrassing fashion with a 29-23 overtime loss to an Arizona Cardinals squad (without three-time All-Pro wideout DeAndre
Hopkins) that trailed 20-0 at halftime.
the Raiders, the Titans lost in a heartbreaker when kicker Randy Bullock missed
a 47-yard field goal to beat the New York Giants in Week 1, but the Buffalo
Bills ran them off the field with a 41-7 victory in Week 2.
these floundering teams, Davenport thinks the Titans will control the game
flow with the 2019 and 2020 rushing champion bludgeoning a bottom-third defense.
“Given how genuinely
awful the 0-2 Titans looked Monday night against the Buffalo Bills, Tennessee
is a hard team to be enthusiastic about. But the 0-2 Raiders have problems of
their own, including a defense that ranks 23rd in the league after two weeks,”
sets up a game between two desperate teams where the Titans might actually be
able to get Derrick Henry going, and if they can do that, they can control
the game’s tempo and finally establish at least a little positive momentum. Or
at least that’s what I keep trying to tell myself.”
a clash of offensive styles, our crew chose the Raiders’ pass-happy attack with
Davante Adams, Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow over the Titans’ run-heavy
approach that features Henry, who is averaging just 3.1 yards per carry.
Consensus: Raiders -2
Prediction: Raiders 28, Titans 24
Detroit Lions (1-1) at Minnesota Vikings (1-1)
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D’Andre Swift (Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
Line: Vikings -6
Coming off a 24-7 Monday Night Football loss to the
Philadelphia Eagles, the Minnesota Vikings will look to rebound against a
division rival in the Detroit Lions, who have scored the second-most points and
racked up the fourth-most yards leaguewide.
Most of our panelists think the Vikings will redeem themselves with a win at
home, but they’re not ready to lay the points on them with one of the league’s
most productive offenses in their building.
O’Donnell presented arguments for and against the Vikings, but he
sided with the team that he believes needs a signature win Sunday.
“Consider this my doubling down on Kirk Cousins and
the Vikes. Nobody was really surprised to see one of the NFL’s statistically worst
Monday Night Football quarterbacks stumble face first into despair on the road
against an Eagles team that is peaking a little too early. A lot of folks, this
panel included, are high on the Lions coming off their first victory of the
season. They are 2-0 ATS,
13-6 ATS in Dan Campbell’s tenure if we add last season (and that includes a
1-1 straight up record and 2-0 ATS record vs. Minnesota), and the Lions took
the same Eagles team that just thrashed the Vikes to the brink in Week 1; I
respectfully understand all of that.
“But a six-point-favored Vikings team is probably more
than most anticipated, and that has me thinking the bookmakers are seeing things
the way I do: Cousins and the Vikes offense will bounce back aggressively in
this one. Detroit has proven to always be a threat to kick open the backdoor,
but I’m taking a page out of Jim
Fassel’s book early here in the season and backing a Vikings
team that needs to make a statement against a division threat in emphatic
Consensus: Lions +6
Prediction: Vikings 33, Lions 30
Cincinnati Bengals (0-2) at New York Jets (1-1)
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Joe Burrow (Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Line: Bengals -5
This past offseason, the Cincinnati Bengals revamped their
offensive line, signing center Ted Karras, right guard Alex Cappa and right
tackle La’el Collins. Despite those additions, quarterback Joe Burrow has taken
13 sacks (most in the
NFL), and he’s thrown more interceptions (four) than touchdowns
Coming off a 20-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, who had backup
quarterback Cooper Rush in for an injured Dak Prescott, the Bengals seem like
they’re battling a hangover from a Super Bowl loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
While Knox believes the Bengals will snap a three-game losing
streak, he doesn’t see them doing so in dominant fashion.
“I believe this will be a confidence-building game
for the Bengals, but not in the traditional sense. I think we’ll see Cincinnati
pull out a close one after losing back-to-back games in nail-biting fashion,”
“Joe Burrow seems to be struggling with pressure
recognition and pocket awareness right now, and that’s an issue against a very
talented front seven. Ideally, Cincinnati would take pressure off Burrow via
the ground game, but I see another underwhelming rushing performance by Joe
Mixon. Another up-and-down day awaits the Cincinnati offense. The Jets,
meanwhile, are finding an offensive groove behind Michael Carter, Garrett
Wilson and Co. I’d be more inclined to lean Bengals if Zach Wilson was under
center, but Joe Flacco (two turnovers in two weeks) has been relatively careful
with the ball, so I just don’t see a big margin here.”
Keep in mind that before the 2021 Bengals went on a
hot streak, they lost 34-31 to the Jets, who had backup quarterback Mike White
under center in place of Wilson.
With Burrow, Mixon, Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd, the Bengals have the offensive talent to blow out Gang Green,
which explains why they’re the consensus pick, but their pass-protection and
turnover issues could allow the Jets to stay close and cover the spread.
Consensus: Bengals -5
Prediction: Bengals 27, Jets 21
Buffalo Bills (2-0) at Miami Dolphins (2-0)
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Tyreek Hill (Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Line: Bills -6
The Buffalo Bills have trounced the reigning champion Los Angeles
Rams 31-10 and delivered a 41-7 beatdown to the Tennessee Titans, who finished as the No. 1 seed in the AFC last year. They look dominant on both sides of the ball with quarterback Josh Allen
(614 passing yards, seven touchdown passes and two interceptions with a 75.4 percent completion rate)
performing at an MVP level, and edge-rusher Von Miller (two sacks, three
pressures and four tackles for loss) giving the defense a significant boost on all three downs.
With that said, our consensus came down to O’Donnell, who backed
the Bills in Week 1 over the Rams and took them
to cover a massive 10-point spread against the Tennessee Titans in Week 2. This time, he
took the points over Buffalo.
“One of the rare times I find myself opposite my
MVP pick, Josh Allen, and the Bills. This is less about Tua’s monster
Week 2 performance and more of a feeling that the Bills have to come down to earth
a bit, especially because they still can’t figure out their running game and they’re taking on a different Dolphins team from last season that can cause problems.
“This game not being just a field-goal spread,
plus Miami having an extra day to prepare, gives me faith in the points being
the best play (similar to the Los Angeles Chargers at the Kansas City Chiefs last week), even if a victory isn’t
the ultimate result.”
Also worthy of note, Buffalo may
have two rookies, first-rounder Kaiir Elam and sixth-rounder Christian Benford, matched up
with a pair of explosive wideouts in All-Pro Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle on the
perimeter. Per NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, Bills starting cornerback Dane
Jackson avoided a serious (head/neck) injury. With that said, he could miss time
to recover. By the way, head coach Sean McDermott said safety Micah Hyde had to get checked out at the
hospital for a neck injury as well.
Against a banged-up and inexperienced Bills
secondary, the Dolphins can score enough points to make this one a nail-biter.
Consensus: Dolphins +6
Prediction: Bills 35, Dolphins 31
Philadelphia Eagles (2-0) at Washington Commanders (1-1)
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Jalen Hurts (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Line: Eagles -6.5
The Philadelphia Eagles had a
convincing win over the Minnesota Vikings under the bright lights of the Monday
Night Football stage. On a short week, they must refocus to face a division
rival led by their former quarterback, Carson Wentz.
Though the Eagles offense has
made strides with dynamic third-year quarterback Jalen Hurts and his new lead
wide receiver in A.J. Brown, who’s caught 15 passes for 224 yards, Sobleski acknowledged the Washington Commanders have a lot of offensive talent as well.
“The Eagles are on a roll to start this season. Hurts and Co. are 2-0 with the league’s top-ranked offense in yards.
But the Commanders aren’t far behind their division rival. The transition to
Carson Wentz has gone better than expected. Washington’s offense averages 306.5
passing yards per game so far.
“Eagles cornerback Darius Slay may be coming
off one of the best games of his career, but the Commanders have
three legitimate threats at wide receiver in Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel and
rookie Jahan Dotson. In fact, Dotson’s three receiving touchdowns lead
all rookies. Maybe an anticipated Wentz meltdown is due, especially against
his old team, but in the end, Washington has more than enough firepower to keep
pace with the Eagles.”
Wentz’s first matchup against his former club will dominate the headlines, but he must keep his emotions in check. The
Commanders signal-caller has thrown three interceptions, and the Eagles have forced
four turnovers in two weeks. If Wentz tries to fit one too many passes into
tight windows, Philadelphia’s opportunistic defense will make him pay for it.
We had a close call, but the majority of our
group can see Wentz making an error that changes the game in favor of the
Consensus: Eagles -6.5
Prediction: Eagles 31, Commanders 23
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1) at Los Angeles Chargers (1-1)
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Austin Ekeler (Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Line: Chargers -7
The Los Angeles Chargers have had extra time to make corrections and get healthy after a 27-24 Thursday night loss to
the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 2, but they’ll face a Jacksonville Jaguars team that put
together an impressive (24-0) shutout victory over the Indianapolis Colts last
Thus far, the Jaguars have stood out to Sobleski with their play on both sides of the ball.
“This selection is a nod to the Jaguars’
improvement under the direction of head coach Doug Pederson. The Chargers
are a better squad overall. However, Jacksonville has shown signs of life
after back-to-back seasons as the league’s worst team. Quarterback Trevor
Lawrence is working in rhythm as part of a much-improved offensive scheme.
Christian Kirk looks like a legitimate No. 1 receiver with 12 catches for 195
yards and two touchdowns in his first two games with the franchise.
“On defense, the Jaguars are physical and
athletic. Jacksonville’s front line dominated the Colts in Week 2. The Chargers are the favorite to win this game for a reason—because they’re one
of the league’s most talented teams—but the underdog Jaguars can keep
this one close.”
The Chargers’ scoring power likely hinges upon
quarterback Justin Herbert’s condition as he deals with fractured rib
cartilage and wideout Keenan Allen’s status (hamstring). If both head into
this contest with little to no lingering effects from their injuries, Los
Angeles can rack up 30-plus points. But if Herbert plays tentatively, the Jaguars
defensive linemen may smell blood in the pocket and attack.
In the event that Allen doesn’t suit up, we
could see more of Joshua Palmer, who caught four passes for 30 yards and a
touchdown last week, though tight end Gerald Everett and DeAndre Carter could also help fill the five-time Pro Bowl receiver’s void as they did against the Chiefs.
Consensus: Chargers -7
Prediction: Chargers 30, Jaguars 20
Los Angeles Rams (1-1) at Arizona Cardinals (1-1)
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Cooper Kupp (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Line: Rams -3.5
To put Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray’s Week 2
comeback performance into perspective, he pulled a rabbit out of his hat, running
all across the field to keep
his team alive for a 29-23 overtime victory over the Las Vegas Raiders.
For a team to make a big comeback, the other squad
must also collapse. Kenyon doesn’t think the Cardinals will pull off a comeback against a club that throttled them in the 2021 playoffs.
“The Kliff-Kyler tandem looked like it was falling apart last
week after the Cardinals fell into a 20-0 hole early before making a miraculous
second-half comeback. Consider me skeptical that they will maintain that
momentum against the defending Super Bowl champions. With the Rams being able
to generate so much interior pressure with Aaron Donald, it should be a long
day for Kyler Murray, who threw for 137 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions in their last matchup
in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs last year.”
Without star wideout DeAndre Hopkins, who’s serving a
six-game suspension for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug
policy, the Cardinals’ aerial attack could struggle with Donald on the interior
and cornerback Jalen Ramsey in the secondary. Nonetheless, as we saw last week,
Murray’s legs can become an equalizer, which swayed three of our panelists away
from the consensus.
Consensus: Rams -3.5
Prediction: Rams 31, Cardinals 26
Atlanta Falcons (0-2) at Seattle Seahawks (1-1)
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Marcus Mariota (Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Line: Seahawks -2
Our group likes this scrappy Atlanta Falcons squad. In Week 1,
they almost outright beat the New Orleans Saints but still covered a 5.5-point
spread. Last week, the NFC South club covered a 10.5-point line in a
matchup with the Los Angeles Rams, scoring 17 points in the final eight-and-a-half minutes of that game.
Against a lesser team than its last two opponents, Atlanta has a
shot to jump into the win column and end a four-game losing streak that
dates back to the 2021 campaign.
Moton doesn’t see it that way, though. He’s intrigued by Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll’s comments
about the offensive philosophy.
“On Monday, Carroll admitted that
the Seahawks have run a ‘solidly
conservative’ offense, and he seems ready to
let Geno Smith cook or at least give him more freedom to make plays downfield.
Seattle should trust him,” he said.
“Last year, Smith played four
games in offensive coordinator Shane Waldron’s system and started in place of Russell Wilson, who underwent
surgery on his finger, for three of those contests, throwing for 702 yards,
five touchdowns and an interception with a 68.4 percent completion rate. He
could see a spike in production with a more leeway in the offense and
wideouts DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett on the perimeter, especially in this
matchup against the Falcons’ 22nd-ranked pass defense.”
On Seattle Sports 710 AM’s Pete Carroll
Show, the Seahawks lead skipper said
they need to “keep expanding” offensively. Four of
our panelists sided with Atlanta, but Moton believes Smith has enough talent around
him to pull off the victory.
Consensus: Falcons +2
Prediction: Falcons 24, Seahawks 21
Green Bay Packers (1-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0)
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Aaron Jones (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
Line: Buccaneers -1.5
Recently, Aaron Rodgers hasn’t fared well against the Tampa
Bay Buccaneers, losing both of his 2020 outings against them (one in the
NFC Championship Game).
However, Rodgers has a team that’s trended in the right direction
in terms of health. Though left tackle David Bakhtiari continues to work his
way back from rehab on a torn ACL, Pro Bowl offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins and wide
receiver Allen Lazard made their 2022 season debuts last week.
We also saw the emergence of Green Bay’s ground attack as Aaron
Jones and AJ Dillon recorded a combined 33 rush attempts for 193 yards and a
touchdown against the Chicago Bears.
Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed Cole Beasley to
the practice squad—likely because of a thin wide receiver unit. In response to
an appeal, the league upheld its decision
to suspend Mike Evans for violating the player-safety policy after his involvement
in an on-field skirmish last week. Chris Godwin and Julio Jones didn’t suit up
in Week 2 because of hamstring injuries and missed practice on Wednesday.
Moton’s concerns about Tom Brady’s supporting cast influenced him
to give Green Bay the nod.
“Brady has a backup center in Robert Hainsey and a rookie left
guard in Luke Goedeke. Last week, left tackle Donovan Smith didn’t play because
of a hyperextended elbow. His replacement, Josh Wells, went down with a calf
injury, and the team placed him on injured reserve Wednesday. Now, he won’t have Evans because of a suspension. Meanwhile, Godwin and Jones remain questionable.
“Tampa Bay’s defense will keep the score close, but Brady doesn’t
have enough around him with running back Leonard Fournette and wideout
Russell Gage as his primary playmakers. The Packers will grind down the
Buccaneers’ defensive front with their rushing attack for a victory in a
Consensus: Packers +1.5
Prediction: Packers 21, Buccaneers 20
San Francisco 49ers (1-1) at Denver Broncos (1-1)
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Deebo Samuel (AP Photo/Scot Tucker)
Line: 49ers -1.5
new head coach Nathaniel Hackett, the Denver Broncos offense still needs that get-right moment.
a stunning 17-16 season-opening loss to the Seattle Seahawks, the Broncos
barely beat the Houston Texans in another clunky performance that included 13
penalties for 100 yards. Denver converted only three of its 12
third-down situations into first downs. By the way, the club trailed 9-6 heading into the fourth quarter.
Sunday, the Broncos will go up against a well-coached 49ers squad that has quarterback
Jimmy Garoppolo back under center after Trey Lance suffered a season-ending
Despite the Broncos’ sloppy execution,
Davenport senses that Denver will get its act together on the field.
“Given how completely out of sorts the Broncos have looked in
their first two games, this smacks a bit of getting cute—and getting cute very
rarely works out. But I can’t shake the notion that the Broncos are a better
team than what we’ve seen the first two weeks of the season, and if they can
just stop shooting themselves in the foot, they’ll show it.
“With Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback, the Niners are going to
run the ball, play defense and try to win close ones. It’s a recipe that has
worked in the past, but Sunday night it sets the stage for Russell Wilson to
pull off some late-game heroics in a win that should soothe some of the frayed
nerves in Denver.”
The oddsmakers set the line for an even contest, but if the
Broncos continue to commit unforced errors, the 49ers should cover with
Consensus: 49ers -1.5
Prediction: 49ers 24, Broncos 20
Dallas Cowboys (1-1) at New York Giants (2-0)
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Saquon Barkley (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)
Line: Giants -1
Before you wager your hard-earned
money, remember, Cooper Rush is 2-0 as the Dallas Cowboys’ starting quarterback,
and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has a top-10 unit in points (tied for ninth) and yards (sixth) allowed.
In other words, the Cowboys know
how to win ugly without quarterback Dak Prescott. That’s how they pulled out a 20-17 victory over the
Cincinnati Bengals, who have big-name players such as Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr
Chase and Joe Mixon.
With that said, the New York Giants have
done the same in the first two weeks. They haven’t scored more than 21 points
in either game. Moreover, the Big Blue passing offense has accumulated
the second-fewest yards. Yet this is one of six clubs with a 2-0 record.
The Giants have leaned heavily on
running back Saquon Barkley, who leads the league in rushing with 236 yards. In a key matchup, he’s going
against the Cowboys’ 19th-ranked run defense, which hasn’t allowed a touchdown.
Ivory chose the home favorite with
skepticism directed toward the Cowboys.
“No Prescott, no problem for Dallas? Is Rush the real deal? Will Michael Gallup be back? There are a lot of
questions around the team. While the Giants seem to be figuring
out the winning aspect early in the season, they have questions around
their offense as well. I’m rocking with the home team. It’s a division
game with a lot of uncertainties on both sides, so look for home-field advantage to matter. New York is 2-0 against the spread, and that trend will continue.”
Consensus: Giants -1
Prediction: Giants 23, Cowboys 20
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