Week 3 NFL Picks: Predictions for Sunday's Games, Odds Guide and Over/Under Tips

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistSeptember 26, 2015

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) looks to throw a pass against the New York Jets during an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Monday, Sept. 21, 2015. (Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini)
Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

Kudos to bettors who thought it wise to wait until the weekend to make NFL Week 3 picks.

After a weekend in which anything that could go wrong did, those brave enough to wait now watch as the Seattle Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch deals with a calf injury, per ESPN.com's Sheil Kapadia, and the New Orleans Saints just revealed quarterback Drew Brees won't suit up, per Kapadia's colleague, Mike Triplett.

Granted, the house has adjusted to cover some sore spots, but it's better than having coin on large spreads only to find out Friday night the favored team's star player might not even play.

It seems the craziness will extend to this weekend. Here's a look at each line, over/under and predictions to help bettors weather the storm.

NFL Week 3 Odds

MatchupSpreadO/UPredicted Winner
Atlanta Falcons vs. Dallas CowboysE44ATL 33-14
Indianapolis Colts vs. Tennessee TitansIND -345.5IND 17-14
Oakland Raiders vs. Cleveland BrownsCLE -343CLE 23-20
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Baltimore RavensBAL -2.544.5CIN 24-14
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. New England PatriotsNE -14.548.5NE 30-13
New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina PanthersCAR -9.542.5CAR 34-23
Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York JetsNYJ -146NYJ 27-20
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Houston TexansHOU -740.5TB 17-10
San Diego Chargers vs. Minnesota VikingsMIN -144.5SD 20-10
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. St. Louis RamsE48PIT 28-20
San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona CardinalsARI -744.5ARI 24-20
Buffalo Bills vs. Miami DolphinsMIA -2.541.5MIA 27-24
Chicago Bears vs. Seattle SeahawksSEA -15.543.5SEA 36-24
Denver Broncos vs. Detroit LionsDEN -344.5DEN 20-17
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Green Bay PackersGB -749GB 28-17
Odds via Odds Shark. Author's predictions.
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Odds courtesy of Odds Shark.   

Indianapolis Colts (-3) vs. Tennessee Titans

Bettors might not want to freak out about the Indianapolis Colts and a rough 0-2 start. 

Remember last year? The Colts started in the same hole, then went on to win five straight, 10 of 12 total and two playoff games.

So no, a matchup against the Tennessee Titans at 0-2 doesn't look terrible, and there's good reason for Las Vegas to like the team's chances. Coach Chuck Pagano spoke about the team's recent struggles, per ESPN.com.

"You can't turn the ball over. You've got to protect. You've got to give (Luck) time, you've got to give him a clean pocket so he can step up and not get hit when he's releasing the ball and we've got to get it fixed," Pagano said. "You can't drive the length of the field, a 10-minute drive, and get to the 1-yard line and put the ball on the ground. You can't do it."

Luck might have three touchdowns to five interceptions as he tries to compensate for a leaky defense, but things will improve against Tennessee. The Titans defense took advantage of an unprepared Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense to win in Week 1, but more telling was a 28-14 loss to the Cleveland Browns last weekend in which the Browns rushed for 116 yards and Johnny Manziel threw two scores.

An offense with T.Y. Hilton, Andre Johnson and Frank Gore won't remain dormant for long. The Colts beat the Titans by a combined score of 68-27 in two games last year. Tennessee looks better this year, but against a familiar opponent, Luck and Co. will get back on track.

Prediction: Colts 17, Titans 14

New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers (-9.5)

Want a team in an 0-2 rut to really panic about? 

Try the Saints on for size with Brees out of the picture. On the road in Carolina, the Saints will trot out Luke McCown, who has 317 career attempts with nine touchdowns to 14 interceptions.

To make matters even worse, the New Orleans offense has looked anything but explosive, with Kenny Stills and Jimmy Graham lost in the offseason. On the road, things don't figure to improve with a backup under center.

On the other side of things, Cam Newton and the Carolina offense seem to be waking up. Things were sluggish in Jacksonville to start the season, but Newton put the team on his back, receiving a major boost by the coaching staff remembering tight end Greg Olsen existed and giving him 14 targets.

The New Orleans defense won't have an answer. It let up 31 points to the Arizona Cardinals, then turned around and let Tampa Bay have a rebound game with 26 points. If the Saints can't get it done against a rookie quarterback at home, they aren't going on the road without their starter to steal a win.

Prediction: Panthers 34, Saints 23

Denver Broncos (-3) vs. Detroit Lions

Talk about a tale of two teams. 

The Denver Broncos look sluggish at best to start the season, but they have two wins. The Detroit Lions, meanwhile, look miserable and are without a win. The hole could get deeper, too, as Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press noted several big-name contributors could miss the game:

Detroit welcoming Peyton Manning to town with a hobbled Matthew Stafford under center doesn't bode well for the home team considering the Lions defense can't stop anything.

That's exactly what Manning and coach Gary Kubiak want to hear after the team has rushed for just 130 yards on a 2.8 per-carry average through two games.

"The biggest thing right now offensively to me is protecting the quarterback and finding a way to make big plays," Kubiak said, per ESPN.com. "And the thing that enables you do to those two things is running the football."

Detroit's defense let up 96 yards and two scores against the San Diego Chargers, then another 199 and two against the Minnesota Vikings. So while Manning and Co. haven't wowed on the offensive side of things just yet (all the kudos go to the defense so far), the avenue to a big rushing game and ball-control offense looks wide open.

Expect the Broncos to pressure Stafford into mistakes while dominating time of possession on the road.

Prediction: Broncos 20, Lions 17

Stats courtesy of NFL.com and accurate as of Sept. 26. All advanced metrics courtesy of Pro Football Focus

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