NFL Picks Week 3: Breaking Down the Lines for Each Game
There are some pretty big point spreads on some of the games this week.
This is probably because teams are settling in and the folks who set the lines are getting a better feel for the teams.
Throw in the injuries and new starters for some teams and this will probably be the week where most of the lines come closer to what actually happens.
Here is a breakdown of the lines and who will probably win.
Cincinnati Bengals at Carolina Panthers
Line: Cincinnati at -3
Is the Line Right? No. Jimmy Clausen in his first start against a Bengals defense that looked better in the second half of the Patriots game and really came into its own against Baltimore.
Who Moves the Line For the Panthers: Steve Smith. He is the guy that gets everything going. If Clausen gets the ball to him early and often, Panthers might have a shot.
Who Moves the Line For the Bengals: Carson Palmer makes everything go, but the team feels better if Cedric Benson gets a whole lot of carries.
The more the season progresses the better Palmer's chemistry with Terrell Owens will get.
Will Cincinnati Cover? Yes. I'm surprised the line is this low.
San Francisco 49ers at Kansas City Chiefs
Line: San Francisco at -2
Is the Line Right? Yes. Both of these teams are as unpredictable as the quarterbacks who lead them.
Who Moves the Line For the Chiefs: Their dynamic running back tandem of Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones combined to run for over 130 yards on the ground.
Who Moves the Line For the 49ers: Everything goes through Frank Gore and the offensive line's ability to open holes for him.
Will San Francisco Cover? Yes. If they didn't lose the turnover battle to the Saints, 4-0, they would have beaten the world champs.
Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings
Line: Minnesota at -10.5
Is the Line Right? Yes. The Vikings are going to come out and end the game early. They need a win to right their ship.
Who Moves the Line For the Lions: It used to be Calvin Johnson, but it very well might be Jahvid Best after his three touchdown coming out party last week.
Who Moves the Line For the Vikings: The Vikings will go as far as Adrian Peterson can take them. Unfortunately for them it was only to the one yard line last week.
Will Minnesota Cover? Yes. Unless they can't get a hold of Best.
Dallas Cowboys at Houston Texans
Line: Houston at - 3
Is the Line Right? Yes. Technically, it is. But the line doesn't take into consideration the Cowboys' desperation.
Who Moves the Line For the Cowboys: Tony Romo to his many weapons. They are playing in the great state of Texas so even though it's miles away, Cowboys fans will be heard.
Who Moves the Line For the Texans: Arian Foster and Andre Johnson split the load. If both play well, Houston is a great team.
Will Texans Cover? No. A slow start like they had against Philadelphia will lead to a loss. Dallas really needs this game.
Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints
Line: New Orleans at - 4.5
Is the Line Right? Yes. Divisional games are always tough.
Who Moves the Line For the Falcons: The running game. Last week is was Jason Snelling for over 100 yards, but it is usually and will probably be Michael Turner this week.
Who Moves the Line For the Saints: Drew Brees is hitting on all cylinders these days. No reason to think he can't continue at home this week.
Will New Orleans Cover? Yes. It is going to take a full 60 minutes of great football to beat the champs at home. Possibly more than that.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Line: Pittsburgh at - 2.5
Is the Line Right? Yes. Tampa seems like an up and coming team. While Pittsburgh's offense has questions.
Who Moves the Line For the Bucs: Josh Freeman, their young quarterback. He is learning on the job but has a great arm and poise.
Who Moves the Line For the Steelers: Rashard Mendenhall is the only consistent performer on the offense. The problem is, everyone knows that he is getting the ball.
Will Pittsburgh Cover? Yes. But barely. Most likely another low scoring game for the Steelers.
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens
Line: Baltimore at - 10.5
Is the Line Right? Yes. The Ravens offense is scheduled for a coming out party.
Who Moves the Line For the Browns: The running game. The committee of Jerome Harrison, Peyton Hillis and occasionally a few reverses for Josh Cribbs.
Who Moves the Line For the Ravens: They love to run but the team will only go as far as Flacco takes them, and he is struggling.
Will Baltimore Cover? Yes. Finally Flacco uses all of his new weapons and Baltimore wins big.
Tennessee Titans at New York Giants
Line: Giants at - 3
Is the Line Right? Yes. The Giants haven't looked great, but Vince Young was benched and booed last game.
Who Moves the Line For the Titans: Chris Johnson, except when he plays the Steelers. He needs to get yards for them to win.
Who Moves the Line For the Giants: Contrary to what Brandon Jacobs wants to believe, the Giants are a running team, but Ahmad Bradshaw is the runner.
Will The Giants Cover? No. Tennessee is an up and down team, and this week is an up week.
Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots
Line: Patriots at - 13.5
Is the Line Right? Yes. The Bills are the only team in the division not challenging for the crown. And they just benched their starting quarterback.
Who Moves the Line For the Bills: Buffalo wants to run the ball, but they will need yards and leadership from Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Who Moves the Line For the Patriots: Even though he had one of his worst games ever, Tom Brady is still the man in Foxborough.
Will New England Cover? Yes. They will get healthy against Buffalo.
Philadelphia Eagles at Jacksonville Jaguars
Line: Eagles at - 3
Is the Line Right? Yes. Both teams have questions on offense. Major ones.
Who Moves the Line For the Jaguars: MJD, Maurice Jones-Drew needs to touch the ball early and often.
Who Moves the Line For the Eagles: This game could go any way, because we don't know what to expect from Kevin Kolb. It will help Kolb's cause to get the ball to LeSean McCoy.
Will The Eagles Cover? Yes. But it might be because Vick comes in for relief.
Washington Redskins at St. Louis Rams
Line: Redskins at - 3.5
Is the Line Right? Yes. The Redskin's offense is hitting on all cylinders, and the Rams are led by a precocious leader.
Who Moves the Line For the Rams: Steven Jackson needs help, but he is the straw the stirs the drink.
Who Moves the Line For the Redskins: Donovan McNabb threw for 400 yards against Houston and is looking rejuvenated.
Will The Redskins Cover? Definitely. If the Redskins play like they did last week, they will be okay.
San Diego Chargers at Seattle Seahawks
Line: San Diego at - 5.5
Is the Line Right? Yes. The Chargers are a great team on offense with Vincent Jackson and still pretty good without him.
Who Moves the Line For the Seahawks: Matt Hasselbeck. People in Seattle must really be confused. Which Seattle team do they have? The world beaters from week one or the team that got walloped last week.
Who Moves the Line For the Chargers: Philip Rivers is still the man that everything goes through.
Will The Chargers Cover? Yes, they will and then some.
Oakland Raiders at Arizona Cardinals
Line: Arizona at - 4.5
Is the Line Right? No! Didn't this team just get blasted by Atlanta?
Who Moves the Line For the Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald is still their best player. But he misses Kurt Warner and Anquan Boldin. Badly.
Who Moves the Line For the Raiders: Fresh off of a 30 carry, 145 yard game, I would have to say Darren McFadden is the man in the Oakland backfield. For now.
Will The Cardinals Cover? No. They might win, but they won't cover.
Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos
Line: Colts at -6
Is the Line Right? Yes, but it could even be higher on paper.
Who Moves the Line For the Broncos: Tim Tebow. Just kidding. Kyle Orton has been great this season and is continually underrated.
Who Moves the Line For the Colts: Some guy named Peyton Manning. Another underrated talent.
Will The Colts Cover? No. That's right. I said the spread could've been higher on paper, but I look for the Broncos to keep it close and lose by a field goal.
New York Jets at Miami Dolphins
Line: Dolphins at - 1.5
Is the Line Right? Yes, this game is going to come down to who has the ball last.
Who Moves the Line For the Jets: I am tempted to say Mark Sanchez, but the Jets are a running team first and foremost. Tomlinson and Greene are the keys.
Who Moves the Line For the Dolphins: Miami also comes at you with their running game. Brown and Williams make everything go for them. No one runs the "wild cat" more effectively.
Will The Dolphins Cover? Yes. They will move to 3-0 and take a commanding lead in the division over the Jets.
Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears
Line: Packers at - 3
Is the Line Right? Yes, even though the Packers are on the road, they are a very good team.
Who Moves the Line For the Bears: Jay Cutler might have turned the corner. And Mike Martz has certainly turned the offense into a machine. Matt Forte might be the poor man's Marshall Faulk.
Who Moves the Line For the Packers: I wonder how many Super Bowls would it take for Aaron Rodgers to surpass the legend of Favre.
Will Green Bay Cover? Yes. It will be a hard fought game but they will win by a touchdown.