Week 3 of the NFL season kicks off on Thursday night with a grudge match of sorts as Andy Reid leads his undefeated Kansas City Chiefs against the Philadelphia Eagles—the team that fired him nine months ago.
This matchup is an enticing pick because it’s currently favoring the home Eagles despite the team’s impotent defense to this point.
But there are other intriguing bets this weekend you could do well in wagering on. I’ll give my picks for every game and highlight three games that I’d recommend picking in the text below.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (+3) at Philadelphia Eagles
Through two games, so far so good for the new Kansas City Chiefs boss. In Week 3, Andy Reid travels to Philadelphia to meet the team he made his name with in the NFL.
Meanwhile, new Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly found out that winning isn’t as easy at the NFL level last week against a surprising San Diego Chargers team. The Bolts controlled the clock and made it difficult for Kelly’s high-tempo offense to take flight with a solid performance from their defensive front seven.
Like the Chargers, the Chiefs have nothing but talent along their defensive front. That unit has helped stifle opponents to just 54 yards per game on the ground and no scores. Their pass D hasn’t been too far off either. The Chiefs are currently tied for the most sacks in the NFL with nine and have allowed just 194 yards through the air per game.
Sure, the Eagles are explosive, and they're going to come at the Chiefs quickly. But Reid will continue to have his team well-prepared and playing its best football with the added bonus of beating the team that fired him less than a year ago.
HOUSTON TEXANS (-2.5) at Baltimore Ravens
The Houston Texans have finally found balance on offense, and they’ll use that to keep the revamped Baltimore Ravens defense on its toes at M&T Bank Stadium this week.
Young receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Keshawn Martin both delivered clutch plays down the stretch last week after veteran Andre Johnson left with a concussion. Johnson will likely suit up in this one, so Matt Schaub will have plenty of weapons with which to exploit a Ravens pass D that was torched by Peyton Manning in Week 1.
Baltimore looked better against the Cleveland Browns last week, but the Titans are not the Browns. They’re AFC contenders that will pick up another important early season win by at least a field goal in Week 3.
CHICAGO BEARS (-2.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers
The Chicago Bears face another tough AFC North defense in Week 3. Jay Cutler is soaring heading into the matchup behind a revamped offensive line and new tight end Martellus Bennett.
Pittsburgh’s Steel Curtain defense, once the gold standard in the league on that side of the ball, is beginning to show cracks in its armor. Without a potent pass rush—last in the NFL with just one sack through three games—the Steelers have been much more beatable this season.
Offensively, they don’t look much the Steelers of old, either. After riding a solid rushing game to success over the past decade, they haven’t been able to get anything going on the ground this season—currently ranked next-to-last with just 36.5 yards per game.
Ben Roethlisberger is the wild card here. If he can find a way to avoid pressure and move the ball against Chicago’s average pass defense, they could keep it closer than expected. Still, expect Cutler to engineer another late game-winning drive if necessary to boost his team to 3-0.