I think you must take records with a grain of salt right now. There are a lot of quality 0-2 teams that play winnable games this week. Also, there are a couple 2-0 teams that have kind of lucked into an undefeated record. Records will start coming into play more after the first four games.
Week 3 is always a litmus test for many teams, especially if you currently sit at 1-1 or even 0-2. You don’t want to fall below .500 or end up winless after three games.
We pick every NFL game against the spread and throw out a few upsets in Week 3 of the 2016 NFL season.
Houston Texans at New England Patriots (+1.5) – My pick is Houston Texans
New England will be without QBs Tom Brady (suspension) and now Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder) this week against Houston. Rookie Jacoby Brissett will start with WR Julian Edelman serving as the backup, who was a QB in college. Houston is a legit title contender this year and with the Pats throwing their third-string quarterback out there, it’s hard not to take Houston. Vegas is still showing them respect as only a point and a half underdog.
Cleveland Browns at Miami Dolphins (-10) – My pick is Cleveland Browns
Here’s another game with a third-string quarterback. Cleveland lost QB Robert Griffin III (shoulder) for an undetermined amount of time and backup Josh McCown (shoulder) will also miss an extended period of time. Rookie QB Cody Kessler will start for Cleveland at Miami. He was a star in college at USC, he didn’t have the overall stature and arm strength many pro scouts look for in a QB at the NFL level. I think Cleveland’s defense will keep them in the game while relying on short passes and the ground game on offense. A double-digit point spread is a little too much for an average team like Miami to cover, give me the points.
Washington Redskins at New York Giants (-4.5) – My pick is New York Giants
I’ve changed my opinion of the New York Giants. I thought they were pretty average heading into the season. I think I discounted rookie WR Sterling Shepard a little too much. Shepard has looked great and is a legit third-option for QB Eli Manning. He will help Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham Jr. get open even more. Washington is better than their record, but CB Josh Norman can’t cover all three of New York’s receiving studs. I think the Giants will cover at home.
Baltimore Ravens at Jacksonville Jaguars (+1) – My pick is Jacksonville Jaguars
I just said Washington is better than their record, well Baltimore is possibly the worst 2-0 team in recent memory. They beat Buffalo in a stinker of a game and had to come back on Cleveland last week after being down 20-2 in the first quarter. Jacksonville is the better team, but I can’t make excuses for them last week in a blowout loss at San Diego. The Jags need to get a running game going. They have been pathetic so far. RB Chris Ivory practiced this week, so hopefully he can relieve the piss-poor T.J. Yeldon of his starting duties. I’m taking Jacksonville to cover at home.
Oakland Raiders at Tennessee Titans (-2) – My pick is Oakland Raiders
Oakland’s defense has been beyond horrible. They clearly miss the leadership of Charles Woodson. On the other side, Tennessee’s defense has been quite good, especially on the ground. Oakland’s offense has kept them in games, but so far it has been ‘whoever has the ball last, wins’, since their defense is so poor. Oakland is a very good road team, so I’m betting they will play much better than last week…so give me the points.
Arizona Cardinals at Buffalo Bills (+4) – My pick is Arizona Cardinals
Arizona looked great last week and I have a lot of faith in them against the disheveled Buffalo Bills. The Bills fired their offensive coordinator moments after he posted in a team picture. Head coach Rex Ryan is clearly trying to save his job. Buffalo’s offense was not the issue in last week’s lost to the Jets. I have a feeling Buffalo will suffer the same fate this week, so I’m taking the Cardinals.
Minnesota Vikings at Carolina Panthers (-7) – My pick is Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota started QB Sam Bradford last week against Green Bay and they got the victory. He was without star RB Adrian Peterson for most of that game and will be without him for most, if not all of the season. Peterson tore his meniscus and possibly his LCL, but Peterson has denied tearing his LCL. Carolina smoked San Francisco last week and it came as no surprise. They will have their hands full with the Vikings, who have the size in the secondary to help cover Carolina WR Kelvin Benjamin. This game will be closer than we assume, so I’m taking the points.
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers (-7.5) – My pick is Detroit Lions
Neither of these teams have impressed me this year. Green Bay squeaked by Jacksonville and couldn’t take advantage of late opportunities in their loss at Minnesota. Detroit took advantage of a banged-up Indy secondary, but still nearly lost the game…and then lost to Tennessee at home last week. I do think both teams are on the same level at the moment, but since this is Green Bay’s first home game, I have to give the slight edge to Green Bay…but not enough to give more than a touchdown.
Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals (-3) – My pick is Denver Broncos
Vegas still isn’t giving Denver QB Trevor Siemian any respect. It’s a fact that Denver’s defense is what won the game against Indy last week, but Siemian held his own. I think Denver is the better team, so the -3 point spread is a little odd to me. Cincinnati hasn’t impressed me at all, but both of their games have been on the road so far. They should play better at home this week, but Denver’s defense is just so damn good. I have to take the points here and possibly put a few jellybeans on the Denver moneyline.
Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-5.5) – My pick is Tampa Bay Buccaneers
To quote the great wrestling play-by-play man Jim Ross, this game could be “bowling shoe ugly.” The Rams have yet to score a touchdown and the Bucs were blown-out 40-7 last week. The bright spot for the Rams is that they actually beat Seattle and held them to just three points. I don’t think the Rams defense is great, but the Seahawks offense were just having issues. Bucs QB Jameis Winston had his worst NFL game last week throwing four interceptions, but had a fantastic game in Week 1. Winston threw 52 passes last week and had to play from a deep hole all game. I doubt they will face such a deficit this week and will be able to use the ground game. I think he will bounce back this week. I’m taking the Bucs to cover.
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks (-9) – My pick is San Francisco 49ers
Seattle hasn’t looked like the same high-quality teams we’ve been accustomed to enjoying. They have only scored one touchdown this season. Their defense has played at a high level, but I think this team misses former RB Marshawn Lynch. RBs Christine Michael and Thomas Rawls haven’t been able to do much against Los Angeles or Miami. They should have an easier time against the Niners, but I still think this line is a bit outrageous. Rawls is banged up, but is expected to play. I’m taking the points.
New York Jets at Kansas City Chiefs (-3) – My pick is Kansas City Chiefs
The Jets have impressed me this season and I think a lot of it has to do with Matt Forte. The Bears haven’t been good in a few years and I think people were sleeping on him. He’s dealing with a knee injury, but is expected to play this weekend. Another running back dealing with a knee injury is also expected to play, Chiefs star RB Jamaal Charles. I’m not sure how many snaps he will see, but he should ease back into the starting role. RB Spencer Ware has done a great job filling in for him. I think these teams are quite even, but the Chiefs always show up to play at Arrowhead. I have to take the Chiefs in this one.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Philadelphia Eagles (+3.5) – My pick is Pittsburgh Steelers
Eagles rookie QB Carson Wentz has made the Eagles front office look like the smartest guys in the room. He has shown leadership, poise and excellent decision-making skills in his first two games. I’m talking him up so people don’t think I hate the kid, since I think the Steelers will cover this game with ease. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is one of the best coaches in the NFL, so he will throw a lot of different defensive looks at the young QB. Wentz will look more like a rookie in this game than he has so far this season. I’m taking the Steelers to cover on the road.
San Diego Chargers at Indianapolis Colts (-2.5) – My pick is San Diego Chargers
It pains me to say that the Colts just don’t have the talent to compete in the AFC South this season. I’m a Colts fan and I don’t think I’ve ever said that about them since the AFC South was created. They just don’t have the depth at many positions and their running game isn’t there. It’s just The Andrew Luck Show and if he’s not dialed in, they don’t win games. The Chargers offense has been fantastic so far…the Colts secondary has not. The Chargers lost WR Keenan Allen and RB Danny Woodhead to ACL injuries and it’s unclear if TE Antonio Gates will play this week (hamstring), but I have very little faith in Indy’s defense. I’m taking the points in this one.
Chicago Bears at Dallas Cowboys (-7) – My pick is Dallas Cowboys
Touchdown point spreads aren’t covered at a very high percentage in the NFL, but I have a feeling the Cowboys will win by double-digits at home against Chicago. The Bears might be without QB Jay Cutler and have looked mediocre so far this season. QB Brian Hoyer could be taking Cutler’s place, so some may even think this is an upgrade. I don’t think it’s a huge drop-off in talent, but the Bears will be without LB Danny Trevathan and possibly WR Alshon Jeffery. I’m taking Dallas to cover at home.
Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints (-3) – My pick is New Orleans Saints
The Saints have lost both their games in the finals seconds of the game. They are much better than their 0-2 record. I think WR Willie Snead and TE Coby Fleener will have big games against Atlanta’s secondary and linebackers. This game could be close, but I think the Saints hold them off late and cover.
*These picks are for entertainment purposes
Sweetbob’s NFL picks against the spread record in previous seasons:
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob