The kickoff to Week 4 of the 2013 NFL season is still weeks away, but spreads are already available for the upcoming slate of games.
Between the disparity of teams squaring off and generous opening numbers, three favorites stand out as stone-cold locks to dominate and easily cover on Sunday.
Granted, it's easy to rail against two hapless and winless teams at this juncture in the season, but the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Giants look incapable of beating anyone—much less two of the hottest teams in the league.
The Seattle Seahawks are the only reigning playoff team in the NFC with a winning record. With a difficult trip to Reliant Stadium in facing the Houston Texans, they should still improve to 4-0 with relative ease.
Read on to find out why that is, and how the aforementioned win-free franchises will continue to be saddled with a goose egg in the "wins" column.
Indianapolis Colts (-4) over Jacksonville Jaguars
After a 27-7 road victory over the San Francisco 49ers, how is it that the Colts are only given a four-point benefit of the doubt over what is arguably the league's worst team?
The Jaguars are downright awful and are incapable of generating any sort of offense outside of garbage time. Indianapolis held the dynamic Niners QB Colin Kaepernick in check and played a physical brand of football not seen from the team in recent memory.
Luck took it to his old Stanford coach in Jim Harbaugh, and ESPN's Colin Cowherd implied it was a welcome development:
You know Colts 27, 49ers 7 is being applauded around league tonight. Many want Jim Harbaugh humbled.— Colin Cowherd (@ESPN_Colin) September 22, 2013
To manhandle a Harbaugh team to that extent speaks volumes to how the Colts are playing on both sides of the ball. Look for the defense to swarm Jags running back Maurice Jones-Drew and maul QB Chad Henne in an easy win at EverBank Field.
Prediction: Colts 34, Jaguars 13
Kansas City Chiefs (-4) over New York Giants
Who will win first in 2013?
Tom Coughlin's Giants are an absolute mess at this point with an 0-3 record, a defense that can't stop a nosebleed and a quarterback in Eli Manning who has thrown eight interceptions.
That's a bad amalgamation of elements, which makes it likely impossible for the G-Men to have a respectable 2013 season. Manning isn't helped by a league-worst rushing attack that averages 44.3 yards per contest, either.
Week 3's 38-0 loss to Carolina was particularly awful for Manning, a two-time Super Bowl MVP:
Eli Manning had an 11.4 Total QBR for Giants today. He's only had 2 games that rated worse in the last 5 seasons— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 22, 2013
Meanwhile, new Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has revitalized the franchise, and QB Alex Smith is playing mistake-free football, unlike Manning.
Kansas City has yet to turn the ball over in its 3-0 start and has nine takeaways.
The Giants can't seem to avoid making mistakes, so this should be a blowout victory for the home team at Arrowhead Stadium—a hostile environment liable to compound the Giants' giant problems.
Prediction: Chiefs 24, Giants 10
Seattle Seahawks (-2) over Houston Texans
The margin is so minimal that picking the other way would essentially imply the Texans winning outright, and that won't happen.
This should be a defensive battle, but the Seahawks will be able to keep their undefeated record intact. Although the Texans have a formidable duo at wide receiver in Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins, Seattle has the personnel to match up with physical corners in Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner.
Even though it's only his second year, Russell Wilson is a trustworthier signal-caller than his Texans counterpart, Matt Schaub, who was dinking and dunking in a 30-7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 3.
Wilson's mobility presents problems even for a vaunted Houston defense, while Schaub simply doesn't bring anything resembling that as a statuesque and inconsistent pocket passer.
Seattle is the best team in the NFL and will continue to prove it with a signature road victory as it shows it can get the job done even away from the friendly confines of CenturyLink Field.
Prediction: Seahawks 31, Texans 20
|Away Team||Home Team||Pick (Opening Spread)|
|San Francisco 49ers||St. Louis Rams||Rams (+2.5)|
|Baltimore Ravens||Buffalo Bills||Ravens (-3)|
|Indianapolis Colts||Jacksonville Jaguars||Colts (-4)|
|Cincinnati Bengals||Cleveland Browns||Browns (+3.5)|
|New York Giants||Kansas City Chiefs||Chiefs (-4)|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||Minnesota Vikings||Vikings (PICK)|
|Chicago Bears||Detroit Lions||Lions (-3)|
|Arizona Cardinals||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Cardinals (+3)|
|Seattle Seahawks||Houston Texans||Seahawks (-2)|
|New York Jets||Tennessee Titans||Jets (+6.5)|
|Philadelphia Eagles||Denver Broncos||Broncos (-7.5)|
|Washington Redskins||Oakland Raiders||Raiders (+2.5)|
|Dallas Cowboys||San Diego Chargers||Chargers (-1.5)|
|New England Patriots||Atlanta Falcons||Falcons (+2)|
|Miami Dolphins||New Orleans Saints||Dolphins (+5.5)|