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NFL Week 3 picks: Giants beat 49ers, Baltimore tops KC on MNF; Colts crush Jets; Falcons lock of the week

Giants quarterback Daniel Jones throws before an NFL

Giants quarterback Daniel Jones throws before an NFL game against the Bears in Chicago on Sunday. Credit: AP/Charles Rex Arbogast

The NFL season goes by fast. Really fast. Starting 0-2 is not ideal. Starting 0-3 is a nearly impossible hole to dig out of, so the theme of Week 3 will be desperation for the 11 teams that lost their first two games.

Favorites went 7-8 against the spread (ATS) last week (one game was a pick ‘em) after going 8-7-1 in Week 1. Home teams went 11-5 straight up and 8-8 ATS, bringing their records to 19-13 and 17-14-1.

My three most confident picks this week ATS are Atlanta, Cleveland and the Giants. One to stay away from: Carolina at the Los Angeles Chargers.

GAME OF THE WEEK

MONDAY NIGHT

KANSAS CITY (2-0) AT BALTIMORE (2-0)

TV: ESPN, 8:15 p.m.

Baltimore by 3.5; O/U: 54.5

This could be the game of the year, too. These teams – and these quarterbacks – are that good. We were denied a Kansas City-Baltimore AFC Championship Game last season, but there’s a strong shot we will get it in a few months. This figures to be a competitive, down-to-the-wire game. Patrick Mahomes is 5-0-1 ATS as an underdog, so backing him is understandable. But I’m going with the home team that has a little something to prove. Baltimore hasn’t lost a regular-season game since Week 4 of last season, but that one-and-done playoff performance is what people remember. Lamar Jackson, the reigning MVP, has picked up where he left off in leading 38-6 and 33-16 wins to open the season. In addition to Jackson’s game-changing rushing ability, Baltimore has three more running backs that could give Kansas City fits. Baltimore also has the secondary that can keep up with Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. I’d prefer if this line was 2.5, but if you like a team to win, you pick them minus 3.5. If they win by three, then so be it.

The pick: Baltimore

SUNDAY NIGHT

GREEN BAY (2-0) AT NEW ORLEANS (1-1)

TV: Ch. 4, 8:20 p.m.

New Orleans by 3; O/U: 52.5

When Aaron Rodgers was a Week 1 underdog, I wrote that it’s usually an automatic back-the-Pack situation. Of course, I picked against him and he made me pay for it. New Orleans just let Derek Carr carve them up, so Rodgers should do the same. Drew Brees isn’t the same without Michael Thomas.

The pick: Green Bay

THE LOCALS

SAN FRANCISCO (1-1) AT GIANTS (0-2)

TV: Ch. 5, 1 p.m.

San Francisco by 4; O/U: 41

No Saquon Barkley obviously hurts, but the 49ers’ injury report reads like a CVS receipt. They’ll be without their top two running backs, defensive end Nick Bosa and more. Jimmy Garoppolo may not play, either. This is too many points to lay with such a banged-up team. Throw in the fact that the 49ers complained about the MetLife Stadium turf last week, and this is literally the last place they want to play. Joe Judge will rally the troops around that. Daniel Jones had his breakout game in Week 3 last season and this is his opportunity to do it again. Give me Big Blue to not only cover but to give a spirited underdog effort and win. Call it 20-17.

The pick: Giants

JETS (0-2) AT INDIANAPOLIS (1-1)

TV: Ch. 2, 4:05 p.m.

Indianapolis by 11.5; O/U: 44

Unless this number approached Super Bowl III territory (Colts -18), it’s hard to back the Jets. Adam Gase’s offense has shown no creativity, and they’re just missing too many pieces. The Colts are hurting, too, but they just beat the Vikings by 17 at home.

The pick: Colts

1 P.M. GAMES

L.A. RAMS (2-0) AT BUFFALO (2-0)

Buffalo by 2.5; O/U: ??

While these head coaches share the same first name and first two letters of their last name, Sean McVay is all about offense and Sean McDermott is defensive-minded. The Rams are 19-6 on the road under McVay and improved to 5-0 in 1 p.m. starts on the East Coast with a strong win at Philadelphia. Jared Goff outplays Josh Allen to win the closest game of the week.

The pick: Los Angeles

LAS VEGAS (2-0) AT NEW ENGLAND (1-1)

New England by 5; O/U: 47.5

Cam Newton has looked phenomenal, but I’ve also liked what I’ve seen from Gruden’s Grinders. Josh Jacobs and the run game can extend drives, leaving Newton on the sideline. Let’s roll the dice on Las Vegas for a second straight week after it beat the Saints, 34-24, on MNF, its second straight 34-point output.

The pick: Las Vegas

HOUSTON (0-2) AT PITTSBURGH (2-0)

Pittsburgh by 4; O/U: 45

This line feels as if it should be higher, which is always a warning sign. It’s tempting to take Deshaun Watson in a desperate spot, but he was sacked four times in each of the first two losses, and the Texans will again be overmatched up front. 'Watt' to watch for: T.J. and Derek Watt of the Steelers will get the best of brother J.J.

The pick: Pittsburgh

LOCK OF THE WEEK

CHICAGO (2-0) AT ATLANTA (0-2)

Atlanta by 3; O/U: 47

This is one of those rare matchups when the 0-2 team is probably better than the 2-0 team. Expect Atlanta to come out firing after last week’s meltdown in Dallas. Matt Ryan (723 yards, 6 TDs) has been spreading the ball around – his top three targets have 16, 15 and 11 catches. With coach Dan Quinn’s seat already getting hot after his second chance, the Falcons will approach this game with an increased level of urgency.

The pick: Atlanta

CINCINNATI (0-2) AT PHILADELPHIA (0-2)

Philadelphia by 4.5; O/U: 46.5

It’s desperado time for the Eagles. They’ll avoid an 0-3 start, but don’t be so sure that they’ll take it easy. Joe Burrow has kept the Bengals close, and Cincinnati coach Zac Taylor – Sean McVay’s former quarterbacks coach with the Rams – surely will find inspiration from his old team’s 37-19 win at Philly. Back-to-backdoor covers could also be in play here for the Bengals.

The pick: Cincinnati

WASHINGTON (1-1) AT CLEVELAND (1-1)

Cleveland by 7; O/U: 45

Cleveland, on extra rest after a Thursday night win, should be feeling good about itself for a change. Washington will have its hands full with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, setting up play-action for Baker Mayfield. Back-to-back 30-point games? Break up the Brownies!

The pick: Cleveland

TENNESSEE (2-0) AT MINNESOTA (0-2)

Tennessee by 2.5; O/U: 49.5

Yikes! The Vikes can’t be this bad, right? Well, maybe they are. Minnesota has lost three starters to injuries, the biggest being linebacker Anthony Barr. That favors Derrick Henry and the Titans, who will grind out a tough win.

The pick: Tennessee

4 P.M. GAMES

DALLAS (1-1) AT SEATTLE (2-0)

Seattle by 5; O/U: 56

When Seattle lost at Dallas by two points in a wild-card matchup two seasons ago, it didn’t let Russell Wilson air it out enough. That hasn’t been the case the first two weeks, as the early MVP favorite has thrown for 610 yards and nine touchdowns. Dallas needed a miracle onside kick recovery to complete a rally from 20-0 down at home to beat Atlanta . . . a team Seattle steamrolled in the opener.

The pick: Seattle

TAMPA BAY (1-1) AT DENVER (0-2)

Tampa Bay by 6; O/U: 43

Denver is a tough place to play, but after losing its starting quarterback and top receiver to injuries, what’s the logic in backing the Broncos here? Tampa Bay’s defense will earn this cover. Love the under here.

The pick: Tampa Bay

DETROIT (0-2) AT ARIZONA (2-0)

Arizona by 5.5; O/U: 55.5

These teams played to a 27-27 tie in the desert in the 2019 season opener after Detroit blew a 24-6 lead. Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins have looked superb, but this number feels a bit too high against Matthew Stafford and a desperate Lions team that will benefit from having receiver Kenny Golladay back.

The pick: Detroit

CAROLINA (0-2) AT L.A. CHARGERS (1-1)

Los Angeles by 6.5; O/U: 43.5

The Panthers are one of nine teams to start 0-2 ATS. According to OddsShark’s Joe Osborne, those teams fare well in Week 3: 22-7 ATS over the last four seasons and 47-28 ATS over the last 10 seasons. Even without Christian McCaffrey, Carolina can keep this close against a Chargers team that may not be up for this game after last week’s OT loss to Kansas City.

The pick: Carolina

STAFF STANDINGS AND PICKS

(best bets in bold)

JOE MANNIELLO

12-19-1 overall, 2-0 best bets

Last week: 9-7

Giants Indianapolis L.A. Rams Las Vegas

Pittsburgh Atlanta Cincinnati Cleveland

Tennessee Tampa Bay Seattle Detroit

Carolina Green Bay Baltimore

BOB GLAUBER

18-13-1 overall, 1-1 best bets

Last week: 8-8

Giants Indianapolis Buffalo Las Vegas

Houston Atlanta Philadelphia Washington

Minnesota Tampa Bay Dallas Detroit

Carolina Green Bay Baltimore

TOM ROCK

18-13-1 overall, 1-1 best bets

Last week: 11-5

Giants Indianapolis L.A. Rams New England

Houston Atlanta Philadelphia Washington

Minnesota Tampa Bay Seattle Arizona

Carolina Green Bay Baltimore

AL IANNAZZONE

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

Last week: 6-10

San Francisco Jets L.A. Rams New England

Pittsburgh Atlanta Philadelphia Cleveland

Minnesota Tampa Bay Seattle Detroit

L.A. Chargers New Orleans Kansas City

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