It’s great when there’s competitive balance in the NFL. In Week two, nine of 16 games were decided by six points or less with five of the nine being decided by a field goal or less. Of course, it makes for more difficult picks and predictions. But one thing is certain, prognosticating each week is fun. Below are NFL Week three spreads and predictions.
NFL Week Three Spreads and Predictions
Cincinnati Bengals at Buffalo Bills
The Cincinnati Bengals made the San Francisco 49ers look better than they they really are and that should continue when the Bengals take on the Buffalo Bills this weekend. Their initial injury report reveals several players are, at best, bruised and battered. A.J. Green, both tight ends and three offensive linemen are among those who are banged up and that can’t be good for those counting on them to cover the spread.
The problem for the Bills is they are hurting too. Rookie running back Devin Singletary (127 yards, one touchdown last week) is currently listed as day-to-day after tweaking a hamstring. But the defense appears to be healthier and has been playing good football.
The Last Word
Several players on both teams have at least rested this week in practice. Too soon too tell exactly who will miss any action this week. As of now, it appears Buffalo is in the best shape to get the victory.
Spread: Bills -6 / Predicted Final: Bills 21, Bengals 13
Miami Dolphins at Dallas Cowboys
It is sad times for the Miami Dolphins and their fans right now. This team ranks last in both offense and defense. People are calling it a ‘tank’ job but the truth is that it doesn’t matter. They weren’t going to win much this season regardless and it will probably never make sense to bet on the Dolphins this season.
Here’s a supposedly second-tier team running with the big boys right now. Right now they are in the same class as the Baltimore Ravens, Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots offensively. Dak Prescott may be seeing the field like never before. Receiver Michael Gallup is hurt and their injury report reads roughly twice as long as their Week three opponent. But Dallas is still fielding a better team than Miami.
The Last Word
The Cowboys, playing their best football in years, will probably rest key players late in the game. That’s something to consider for those trying to decide who to start on their fantasy team, when trying to choose between Dallas stars and near-equals elsewhere.
Spread: Cowboys -22.5 / Predicted Final: Cowboys 31, Miami 9
Denver Broncos at Green Bay Packers
The Denver Broncos escaped last week’s battle with the Chicago Bears relatively intact. But that doesn’t mean they’re not a bit worn. Fortunately for them, their opponent isn’t quite the sack-happy squad of a week ago. They shouldn’t be overwhelmed, even with starting right tackle Ja’Wuan James (knee) weeks away from his return. They do have starting cornerback Bryce Callahan set to make his 2019 debut.
Aaron Rodgers announcing, “we have a defense now,” after their Week one game may have been misleading. Their defensive unit is playing well, but isn’t necessarily top-shelf. Now, at least five defensive starters are either held out or limited this week in practice. Meanwhile, Jimmy Graham deals with a groin issue on an offense rated 29th.
The Last Word
Despite playing at home the Packers look ripe for their first loss of the season. To do this, the winless Broncos must overcome last week’s war and execute.
Spread: Packers -7.5 / Predicted Final: Broncos 20, Packers 17
Atlanta Falcons at Indianapolis Colts
The Atlanta Falcons defensive secondary leads the NFL in yards given up through the air. What they really need is to get Devonta Freeman going on the ground to return to the league’s higher rent district. With the Indianapolis Colts slightly banged up at linebacker, it would be advantageous to start Freeman this week.
Linebacker Darius Leonard showed concussion symptoms and is in concussion protocol this week. It’s too early to know if he’ll play. The starting cornerback Pierre Desir is day-to-day after hurting a knee.
The Last Word
The Colts really needed to be as healthy as possible coming into this week, especially with a back-up as their now starting quarterback, in order to win outright.
Spread: Colts -1.5 / Predicted Final: Falcons 24, Colts 17
Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs
The Ravens are an extremely dangerous team as they continue to grow and improve. This week will be a really good gauge as to what they might be capable of and the game might live up to the growing hype. Don’t count on the Chiefs to get much ground game going as the Ravens are the league leaders against it. The Ravens best chance offensively is to encourage an all-out shootout allowing Lamar Jackson running room.
No one should be trying to place limitations on the game of Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs still don’t have Tyreek Hill on the field, but Mahomes is basically to his team what Magic Johnson was to the Los Angeles Lakers back in the day. This Sunday could be a breakout day for running back Darwin Thompson. Thompson, at only 5’8″, seems to want to be taken seriously and hits the weight room daily. If he gets on the field with receivers Demarcus Robinson and Sammy Watkins it’ll be “pick your poison” for the Ravens defense.
The Last Word
The game is being advertised as a battle between two extremely mobile quarterbacks, Mahomes and Jackson. It’s much more than that when considering the Ravens top-rated run defense. Of course, the Chiefs not having to run because of Damien Williams being ruled out works for them. The game will be good but the Chiefs seem to just have too much going for them.
Update: The National Weather Service has now issued a Flash Flood Watch for the greater metropolitan area (in and around Kansas City) to take effect at 7 p.m. Saturday, running through to 7 p.m. Sunday.
With rain and thunder-storms in the forecast this game gets more interesting and more balanced. LeSean McCoy‘s status is still unclear but he could wind up being a factor. He runs great on off-tracks and without him the Ravens are the better-running team.
Spread: Chiefs -5.5 / Predicted Final: Ravens 23, Chiefs 20
Oakland Raiders at Minnesota Vikings
The Oakland Raiders could only generate ten points against a suspect Kansas City defense last weekend. Injuries hurt them in Week three with left tackle Trent Brown likely out or at least considerably hobbled. His knee injury kept him from practicing as late as Wednesday. Tyrell Williams and two other receivers are banged up. Defensive veteran Vontaze Burfict and rookie running back sensation Josh Jacobs are also limited.
The Minnesota Vikings injury report appears equally long but in lesser areas of need. Offensive weapons are set to fire but running back Dalvin Cook is carrying quite the load. Home field helps here more than the considered three-point differential.
The Last Word: The Vikings are the better team, but probably won’t blow out the Raiders.
Spread: Vikings -9 / Predicted Final: Vikings 27, Raiders 20
New York Jets at New England Patriots
The New York Jets replacement quarterback went down in Week two with a gruesome injury and a third-string named Luke Falk is now under center for the Jets. They did sign a back-up, David Fales, but the Jets don’t exactly appear to have a quarterback on their roster that can hang with Tom Brady.
The New England Patriots, if they’re as smart as people say, should give their starters considerable rest in the second half of this one. For a championship team, their 2019 schedule is suspiciously easier than others, but this doesn’t mean players won’t need rest.
The Last Word
There’s no reason to overthink this one. The Patriots are the better team in every phase and aspect.
Spread: Patriots -22 / Predicted Final: Patriots 38, Jets 3
Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles
The Detroit Lions are poised for victory here since they are relatively healthy. Left tackle Taylor Decker and middle linebacker Jarrad Davis return after missing the previous contest versus the Los Angeles Chargers. Quarterback Matthew Stafford might see his best offensive output of the season this week.
The Philadelphia Eagles are a pretty banged up squad. There are injuries to both of their top receivers, DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery, tight end Dallas Goedert and running back Corey Clement. Still, Carson Wentz will be on the field and they’re in Philly, which is always a tough place to play.
The Last Word
The game, on paper at least, looks like it’s the Lions for the taking. And maybe they deserve the benefit of the doubt.
Spread: Eagles -6 / Predicted Final: Lions 21, Bengals 17
Carolina Panthers at Arizona Cardinals
New kid on the block, Kyler Murray, will be locked and loaded this Sunday to get his first NFL regular season victory. He’ll take them any way they want to come, too. The team is playing as well as most expected and should pull this out with running back David Johnson in the line-up.
The Carolina Panthers are heading in the opposite direction, of course, with Cam Newton nursing a foot injury. He’s been sitting out of practice and with Newton out of the lineup this week, backup quarterback Kyle Allen will get the start.
The Last Word
Panthers head coach Ron Rivera‘s frustration showed in a press conference during the week while answering questions from the media, a clear indication there is pressure building. Not how a team wants to go into the next day’s preparation for a road game.
Spread: Cardinals -2 / Predicted Final: Cardinals 23, Panthers 13
New York Giants at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The New York Giants are fairly healthy but really hurt where weapons are concerned. Sterling Shepard, Bennie Fowler and Cody Latimer are either concussed or nursing groin pulls. Of course, no final verdict in yet on how newly-inserted quarterback Daniel Jones will do. But the Giants defense will need to step way up.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers list 11 players on their initial injury report and one critical question is linebacker Devin White. They’ll need him with the Giants expected to run a great deal of the time. They are extremely fortunate to be playing at home and catching Daniels in his first career NFL start.
The Last Word
With Jones making his first start in the NFL it is difficult to bet against the Bucs here.
Spread: Buccaneers -6 / Predicted Final: Buccaneers 27, Giants 20
Houston Texans at Los Angeles Chargers
Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is really talented, but his Week two performance left something to be desired. But in hindsight, however, he was also listed on last week’s injury report with a back issue. That is not the case this week. It’s highly likely, too, that it’s just one of those divisional things that can’t be fully explained. He has never done extremely well against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Watson is probably aching to bounce back, but right now the health of DeAndre Hopkins (ribs) and tackle Laremy Tunsil (ankle) are of concern.
Receiver Keenan Allen had success against a pretty good Darius Slay last week. He’ll garner extra attention this week and it might free up Mike Williams, a star waiting to happen when healthy. The Chargers secondary will make it hard on a shaky Texans offense.
The Last Word: The deciding factor here could be that the Texans have faced two top-10 teams in the sacks department this season and the Chargers are in the bottom four.
Spread: Chargers -3 / Predicted Final: Texans 27, Chargers 24
New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks
New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara is being quoted saying his team is built to win with or without Drew Brees. There’s also an article or two floating around out there that head coach Sean Payton is a really good coach, who is capable of helping his team get a win, with or without Brees under center. But Seattle is a difficult place to play. And even though Teddy Bridgewater is a veteran at this point his upside is limited at best no matter how well Payton may coach. Don’t expect Bridgewater’s stats to set the world on fire in Week three. But do expect Swiss army knife Taysom Hill to see lots of action.
This team’s luck continues. Week one they faced the Bengals without A.J. Green. In Week two, both Ben Roethlisberger and James Conner left Pittsburgh’s field of play. Drew Brees is now gone for the Saints in Week three. Additionally, the defense here gets a huge boost in the form of Ezekiel Ansah‘s debut on the line which also added Jadeveon Clowney earlier this year. Defensive tackle, Poona Ford could also be a returnee, shoring up a previously-thin unit.
The Last Word
The Saints will be forced into the passing games as Seattle is fourth overall at stopping the run. Playing from behind most of the last two-plus quarters doesn’t help matters.
Spread: Seahawks -4.5 / Predicted Final: Seahawks 24, Saints 16
Pittsburgh Steelers at San Francisco 49ers
This was supposed to be the somewhat mild two-game break sandwiched between the two difficult games leading up to a bye week for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Every game is considered difficult right now as this team finds itself colliding with the firm possibility that a new leading man may not relinquish his new role. Mason Rudolph was good in college and will be successful at the pro level. His success in Week three depends on the coaching staff. Specifically, how much faith they put in him and what the game plan looks like. Rudolph can think creatively on the fly and also throw over the top and the coaching staff needs to let him. Rudolph can also run well enough to be turned loose.
These San Francisco 49ers are determined to have the season their fans have been waiting on for quite some time. The defense is playing good, holding both opponents to just 17 points each. Jimmy Garoppolo is merely warming up after throwing for 296 yards and three touchdowns last week. This trend is expected to continue as the team hasn’t had nearly enough time to learn how to succeed together consistently. They should only get better.
The Last Word
The takeaway handicapping this game is that the Steelers defense has outperformed that of the 49ers unit while playing high-quality teams.
Spread: 49ers -6.5 / Predicted Final: Steelers 24, 49ers 20
Los Angeles Rams at Cleveland Browns
The Los Angeles Rams looked a bit more like themselves all game long last week, but they still haven’t put together a full game. And that probably won’t happen this coming Sunday night. But there are reasons to start Todd Gurley (or even Malcolm Brown) in fantasy. At least two starters on the Cleveland Browns run defense are hobbled this week.
The Rams secondary will have their stiffest test yet, but Baker Mayfield faces the toughest defensive front seven he’s seen all season. Tight end David Njoku is ruled out so extended scrambling may be induced.
The Last Word
The Browns will need to jump to an early lead and hold it most of the first half to contend. But there could be confusion for the Browns on offense and that could lead to turnovers. The Rams will take advantage and use the clock late as the defense continues to prove itself.
Spread: Rams -3 / Predicted Final: Rams 34, Browns 23
Chicago Bears at Washington Redskins
The Bears listed five starters on the injury report, including tight end Trey Burton (limited practice: groin), right guard Kyle Long (limited practice: hip) and defensive end Bilal Nichols (ruled out). That said, in the first two weeks the offense has managed a total of just 19 points. This week’s opponent, the Washington Redskins, are kept from being last in passing defense by only the Dolphins.
The Redskins lead the NFL in players put on IR (10). Still, they’ve scored 48 total points in two weeks (versus the Eagles and Cowboys). Case Keenum is an experienced and cagey veteran capable of making plays. Also good to note, they are one of just two teams (Ravens being the other) who have yet to commit a turnover.
The Last Word
Compared to the previous two defensive units the Redskins have faced, the Bears unit is next level. The idea that they probably won’t be able to run much on Chicago works against Keenum.
Spread: Bears -4 / Predicted Final: Bears 20, Redskins 10
Note: As always, the above includes up-to-the-minute Las Vegas odds plus game score predictions to better gauge the over/under and level of author’s certainty per game.
And remember, when betting, bet responsibly and be sure to return for Week four!