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

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistSeptember 23, 2017

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) warms up before the first of an NFL football game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Green Bay Packers, Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
David Goldman/Associated Press

The NFL didn't do would-be bettors any favors to start Week 3.  

Make no mistake—a thrilling 41-39 shootout between the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers in favor of the former via a trio of three touchdown passes from Jared Goff was just what the league needed after a miserable offensive start for most of the league. 

Bettors, though, came up lame thanks to the outcome considering the final spread had favored the Rams by three. 

A bad stroke of luck for many brave enough to even throw down coin on the Thursday game. Luckily for all involved, the rest of the slate provides some interesting lines and a few different angles to come out ahead. 


NFL Week 3 Schedule, Odds

Baltimore (-3.5) vs. Jacksonville in London | O/U 39.5

Atlanta (-3) at Detroit | O/U n/a

Cleveland (-1) at Indianapolis | O/U 40.5

Denver (-3.5) at Buffalo | O/U 40

Houston at New England (-14) | O/U 43.5

Miami (-6.5) at N.Y. Jets | O/U 41.5

New Orleans at Carolina (-6) | O/U 47.5

N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia (-6) | O/U n/a

Pittsburgh (-7.5) at Chicago | O/U 45.5

Tampa Bay at Minnesota (n/a) | O/U n/a

Seattle at Tennessee (-3) | O/U 43

Cincinnati at Green Bay (-8) | O/U 44.5

Kansas City (-3.5) at L.A. Chargers | O/U 45.5

Oakland (-3.5) at Washington | O/U 54

Dallas (-3.5) at Arizona | O/U 47

Bold denotes predicted winner against the spread and over/under projection. 


Baltimore (-3.5) vs. Jacksonville in London

How in the world does one figure out a game between the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars in London?

How does one figure it out even if it didn't take place across the pond? Baltimore looked so-so while winning 20-0 against a Cincinnati Bengals team that still hasn't scored a touchdown, then turned around and beat up on the Cleveland Browns, 24-10. Jacksonville, on the other hand, walloped the Houston Texans 29-7 before then getting whipped by the Tennessee Titans, 37-16. 

Meaning, neither team has exactly shown consistency. Joe Flacco has only thrown three touchdowns against two interceptions, and both of his running backs with north of 20 carries have hit on a four average. For Jacksonville, Blake Bortles has thrown two touchdowns and interceptions, and while rookie back Leonard Fournette has excited, he's averaging 3.5 yards per carry. 

At the least, both teams have reached out to ask others about traveling to London. 

"We talked to the players that haven't been there before to talk to our older players, about a routine," Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said, according to Stats LLC (via ESPN.com). "It's just knowing how to get your body prepared and ready to play. We've encouraged our younger players who haven't been there to make sure they talk to the players that have been with our team on how to hydrate or whatever it may be that we do."

One can forgive bettors for thinking there might be upset potential here. There might be against a Flacco who has looked shaky at best after missing critical stretches of the preseason with a back issue. But not against these Jaguars, a team yet to show anything in the way of consistency. 

Even appearing off, Flacco is a better option than Bortles, and his defense has at least shown reliable play through two weeks.

Prediction: Ravens 20, Jaguars 7


N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia (-6)

Before the season, there wasn't any way bettors could look at this matchup and consider it one of the easiest on the Week 3 slate. 

But it is. 

Thank the New York Giants. Eli Manning might have the worst offensive line in the league out in front of him. The schedule has been tough, producing a 19-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys and 24-10 loss to the Detroit Lions. But there is zero excuse for eight sacks of Manning while he settles for checkdowns on a 72.9 completion percentage with one touchdown against two interceptions. 

It doesn't help Giants head coach Ben McAdoo notably tossed him under the bus after the second loss. 

"Sloppy quarterback play," McAdoo said, according to USA Today's Lorenzo Reyes. "Quarterback and the center need to be on the same page there. We've got to get the ball snapped."

The Philadelphia Eagles, for the most part, simply need to show up for this one. The team hit the road for the first two games of the season and took down the Washington Redskins in 30-17 fashion before coming up just shy in one of the league's toughest places to play, a 27-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. 

The offense around Carson Wentz has newfound spacing, hence Alshon Jeffery boasting one touchdown and Nelson Agholor a pair. It'd help if Wentz didn't need to lead the team in rushing, but the real strength of the roster happens to rest in its pass-rush. 

Philadelphia already has eight sacks on the season, with 2.5 going to Brandon Graham and another two for Fletcher Cox. They're more than familiar with the Giants and ready to get after Manning at home.  

Prediction: Eagles 27, Giants 14


Cincinnati at Green Bay (-8)

Here's a fun one.  

In one corner sits the hosting Green Bay Packers, the Aaron Rodgers-led team with a win over the Seattle Seahawks already and an understandable road loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

In the other corner is the only team Rodgers has yet to defeat...the Bengals.  

While a fun stat, this one has the looks of a simple selection even in the face of the big spread. The Bengals have yet to score a touchdown this season despite two home games, prompting the firing of an offensive coordinator. Sunday, the team won't have star tight end Tyler Eifert or first-round wideout John Ross on the field.

Green Bay isn't exactly healthy either, but Rodgers—a guy almost casually making throws like this—puts the game out of reach against a struggling team: 

One could say the Cincinnati defense has looked good, yet holding the aforementioned Flacco to 20 points and Houston rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson to 13 in his first NFL start away from home isn't a big talking point. 

The difference here is sheer offense, with Green Bay getting the necessary nod to cover the spread. 

Prediction: Packers 28, Bengals 13


Stats courtesy of NFL.com. Odds via OddsShark.


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