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NFL Week 3 picks: Giants won't cover in Houston; Chiefs, Jaguars stay hot; Patriots a lock in Detroit

J.J. Watt and the Texans' pass rush should

J.J. Watt and the Texans' pass rush should give the Giants fits on Sunday.  Credit: AP/Winslow Townson

If Yogi Berra was an NFL analyst, he might say: The season can get late real early. There are seven 0-2 teams, and only five 0-3 teams have made the playoffs since 1980.

Underdogs went 9-5 against the spread in Week 2 (there were two pick 'em lines), and six won outright. Underdogs are 18-11-1 ATS this season, but this could be the week favorites have a say.

My most confident picks ATS this week are the Patriots, Jaguars, Chiefs and Seahawks. Three tricky games to avoid: Packers-Redskins, Broncos-Ravens and Giants-Texans. 

GIANTS (0-2) AT TEXANS (0-2)

Texans by 6; O/U: 42

TV: Ch. 5, 1 p.m.

The line opened at Texans -3 and doubled faster than Eli Manning was under duress in Dallas. The Giants have allowed eight sacks in two games and that was before they lost center Jon Halapio. It's hard to see them stopping J.J. Watt & Co. This is a similar spot to 2017, when the 0-2 Giants were a six-point 'dog at Philly. They covered and almost won. I want to take the Giants because they'll play all out to avoid another 0-3 start. The only problem? The Texans are in the same spot, and with that pass rush and this being Houston's home opener, there's too much working against Big Blue.The Giants have scored 15 and 13 points, and haven't scored 30 points in a game since the 2015 regula--season finale, a span of 34 games. It's hard to see Manning getting enough time to put up even 20 in this one. Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins won't have trouble doing it. 

The pick: Texans


COLTS (1-1) AT EAGLES (1-1)

Eagles by 6.5; O/U: 47.5

It's the return of Carson Wentz, who hasn't started since Week 14 last season. Expect him to be rusty, but not enough to pick against. Indy could be extra-motivated to win for coach Frank Reich, the Eagles' offensive coordinator last season. Andrew Luck can keep this close for a half, but look for the Eagles' pass rush to be the difference and for Wentz to make a couple of big throws in the second half. While this isn't Philly's home opener, it is the first Sunday game at the Linc this season, so expect an even more raucuous crowd than usual.

The pick: Eagles

BILLS (0-2) AT VIKINGS (1-0-1)

Vikings by 16.5; O/U: 40.5

With a spread this big, let's keep the analysis to a minimum, say one word for each point the Vikings are favored: Josh Allen against this defense? Vikings will be covering at halftime. Just lay the big number. K?

The pick: Vikings

49ERS (1-1) AT CHIEFS (2-0)

Chiefs by 6.5; O/U: 55.5

Get used to the names Patrick Mahomes and Jimmy Garoppolo. The young gunslingers will be two of the NFL's top quarterbacks for the next decade-plus. Mahomes (10 TDs, 0 INT) threw for six scores in a big win at Pittsburgh last week and should continue to light it up in the Chiefs' home opener. Kansas City has scored 80 points and allowed 65, so keep betting the over in their games until they give you a reason not to. Jimmy G should have some success, but Mahomes has too many weapons. Chiefs score 30-plus to get to 3-0 overall and 3-0 ATS.

The pick: Chiefs


Line: OFF; O/U: OFF (Titans QB status)

This line will be right around a touchdown, whether Marcus Mariota plays or not. When a team is fresh off a dominant win against a powerhouse like New England, you have to be leery of a letdown. That's not the case here as the Jaguars will be focused against a division foe that swept them last season, including a 37-16 shellacking in Jacksonville. The Jaguars' defense appears to be the best in the NFL, and it'll overpower a banged-up Titans O-line. The Jaguars (2-0 ATS) roll to a 3-0 start.

The pick: Jaguars


Falcons by 3; O/U: 53.5

Atlanta has won three of the last four meetings in the always-entertaining NFC South matchup, and holds a 52-46 series lead. New Orleans barely beat the Browns at home to avoid an 0-2 start. The Falcons had an impressive win over Carolina in which they went 4-for-4 in the red zone after a 1-for-5 showing in Week 1. Atlanta wins a fun one.

The pick: Falcons


Panthers by 3; O/U: 43.5

34-23. That's been the final score in the Bengals' two wins. Don't expect that many points in this one. Carolina is always tough at home, but Geno Atkins and the Bengals' front seven will be too much to handle, especially on extra rest. Andy Dalton is 3-0-1 vs. the NFC South, with a 37-37 tie coming against the Panthers in 2014. Could we have a tie for the third straight week?

The pick: Bengals


Ravens by 5; O/U: 44.5

Denver has won two home games by a combined four points. This will be its biggest test yet against a rested Ravens team that is better at home (Joe Flacco is 59-19 in Baltimore, 34-44 away). Baltimore's offense isn't explosive, though, so take the points as this one may be decided by a late field goal.

The pick: Broncos


Packers by 3; O/U: 45.5

It turns out Washington's easy Week 1 win at Arizona was more about the Cardinals than it was the Redskins. It's hard to back this team after a 21-9 loss to the Colts at home in Week 2, but be careful. Teams don't want to have back-to-back bad losses at home. This line gives me pause, but not enough to not back the Pack.

The pick: Packers


Dolphins by 3; O/U: 44.5

Despite the records, these teams are evenly matched, hence Vegas making the home team the standard 3-point favorite. Oakland played the Rams tough for three quarters and led at Denver the whole way before a last-second field goal. I'm willing to take a shot that this is the week Jon Gruden earns his first win with the Raiders (again).

The pick: Raiders


CHARGERS (1-1) AT RAMS (2-0)

Rams by 7; O/U: 48

TV: Ch. 2

Two of the NFL's most talented rosters face off in what could be a preview of an all-L.A. Super Bowl. The Rams look unbeatable, but don't forget that Raiders game in Week 1 was much closer than the final score. Philip Rivers can match Jared Goff with offensive weapons, so take the points in what should be a shootout.

The pick: Chargers


Seahawks by 1.5; O/U: 41.5

TV: Ch. 5

This is a great spot to back Seattle after two road losses. The Seahawks have won nine straight home openers and CenturyLink Field will be rocking. Russell Wilson loves playing there: 38-10 overall with 84 TDs to 24 INTs. Wilson works his magic to produce a vintage, low-scoring Seattle win. Play the under.

The pick: Seahawks


Bears by 5.5; O/U: 38

The new and improved Bears haven't done enough to be this big of a road favorite yet. So why are they the pick? Because the Cards have flopped, scoring six points in eight quarters while giving up 56. Khalil Mack stays hot in the desert, and Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen run wild as the Bears (2-0 ATS) win by double digits.

The pick: Bears




Patriots by 6.5; O/U: 54

TV: Ch. 4, 8:20 p.m. 

Things have gotten off to such a bad start in Detroit for Matt Patricia that he probably wanted to phone old boss Bill Belichick for some advice. The Patriots coach's presumptive response: We're on to Detroit. The last team you want to see when you're 0-2 is the Patriots. Especially when Belichick and Tom Brady are coming off a bad loss -— 31-20 at Jacksonville that wasn't that close. The Pats haven't lost two in a row since the end of the 2015 season. Check out these stATS courtesy of OddsShark's Joe Osborne: Under Belichick, the Pats are 49-24-1 ATS following a loss, including a 14-2-1 mark in the last 17 instances. They're 21-6 ATS following a double-digit loss, and 17-3 in the last 20 spots. In 18 previous matchups against his former assistants, Belichick is 12-6 (11-7 ATS). Brady is going to pick apart an overmatched Lions defense. Final score: Patriots 38, Patricias 17.

The pick: Patriots


STEELERS (0-1-1) AT BUCS (2-0)

Steelers by 1; O/U: 54

TV: ESPN, 8:15 p.m.

If all you did the first two weeks was back teams from Florida, you'd be able to afford a trip there. The Bucs, Jaguars and Dolphins are all 2-0 and a combined 6-0 ATS. The Bucs have been the biggest surprise, led by Ryan Fitzpatrick. He's thrown for what feels like 5,000 yards in back-to-back upsets of the Saints and Eagles (it's really been 819, with 8 TDs and a 78.7 completion percentage). Don't just take the Steelers here because of preseason expectations. They're high on drama, low on defense. Ride the hot hand of Fitzpatrick as the Bucs — who I predicted would start 0-3— improve to 3-0.

The pick: Bucs


(best bets in bold)


15-16-1 overall, 1-1 best bets

Last week: 8-8

Texans Eagles Vikings Chiefs

Jaguars Falcons Bengals Broncos

Packers Raiders Chargers Seahawks

Bears Patriots Bucs


12-19-1 overall, 1-1 best bets

Last week: 4-12

Texans Eagles Vikings Chiefs

Jaguars Saints Bengals Ravens

Redskins Dolphins Rams Seahawks

Bears Patriots Bucs


15-16-1 overall, 2-0 best bets

Last week: 7-9

Giants Eagles Vikings Chiefs

Jaguars Saints Bengals Ravens

Redskins Raiders Rams Cowboys

Bears Patriots Bucs


9-22-1 overall, 2-0 best bets

Last week: 3-13

Texans Eagles Bills Chiefs

Jaguars Saints Panthers Ravens

Packers Dolphins Rams Seahawks

Cardinals Patriots Steelers

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