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NFL Week 3 picks: Giants beat Bucs; Jets (+22) and Dolphins (+23) don't cover as historic underdogs; Colts lock of week

Saquon Barkley could be in line for a

Saquon Barkley could be in line for a big day against the Bucs for the underdog Giants.  Credit: Jim McIsaac

If I would’ve told you before the season that there would be two teams favored by 20-plus points in Week 3, you would’ve said, “Yeah, right. What’s next? Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, Sam Darnold and Eli Manning all will be out, too?"

It’s been a crazy start to the season, highlighted by QB turnover and hard-to-believe spreads. This is the first week since the 1987 strike season that multiple teams are at least 20-point underdogs, according to ESPN. There’s a reason the Dolphins and Jets are getting so many points, so don’t think twice and lay the big number.

Underdogs went 9-7 against the spread (ATS) last week and are 19-13 overall.

My most confident picks ATS are the Colts, Cowboys, Patriots and Vikings. Two tricky games to avoid: Panthers-Cardinals and Bears-Redskins.

JETS (0-2) AT PATRIOTS (2-0)

TV: Ch. 2, 1 p.m.

Patriots by 22; O/U: 43.5

The Jets are not covering this number, even though it’s ridiculously high for Week 3. The Jets’ offense has scored 11 points in eight quarters and are on their third-string QB in Luke Falk. New England won, 43-0, at Miami as 18.5-point favorites a week after beating Pittsburgh by 30. New England hasn’t lost at home since Week 4 of the 2017 season. Its last three home wins vs. the Jets: 38-3, 26-6 and 41-3. Bill Belichick didn’t take his foot off the gas against his former defensive coordinator, and we all know how the HC feels about the NYJ. How’s 38-3 sound?

The pick: Patriots

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

TV: Ch. 5, 4:05 p.m.

Bucs by 6.5; O/U: 47

I’ve picked against the Giants the first two weeks, and there’s plenty of reasons to continue to go against a team that’s allowed 63 points. But like Pat Shurmur, I’m calling an audible. The line stayed at 6.5 after Eli Manning was benched in favor of Daniel Jones, and that’s just too many points against a Bucs team led by the inconsistent Jameis Winston. Since the start of 2015, the Bucs have won by seven or more in just seven of their 32 home games, and two of those would’ve been ATS losses vs. the Giants (32-18 loss in 2015, 25-23 win in 2017). Jones’ mobility gives the Giants more options, and Saquon Barkley is, well, Saquon Barkley. The key will be long drives to keep the Giants defense off the field. Upset! Giants 23, Bucs 20.

The pick: Giants

1 P.M. GAMES

DOLPHINS (0-2) AT COWBOYS (2-0)

Cowboys by 23; O/U: 47

How ‘bout them schedule makers! After opening with the Giants (35-17) and Redskins (31-21), Dallas gets the Miami Fish Tank fresh off 59-7 and 43-0 home defeats. Dak Prescott already has seven TD passes. He looks so improved in new OC Kellen Moore’s system, it wouldn’t be a shock if he matched that number Sunday. Not even Leon Lett could mess up this cover.

The pick: Cowboys

LIONS (1-0-1) AT EAGLES (1-1)

Eagles by 5.5; O/U: 45.5

Philadelphia is dealing with a ton of injuries and are on upset alert against a Detroit team that just beat the Chargers. Matthew Stafford and Kenny Golladay should have success against an Eagles secondary allowing the second most passing yards per game at 340.

The pick: Lions

BRONCOS (0-2) AT PACKERS (2-0)

Packers by 7; O/U: 42

Denver has two offensive touchdowns and likely will need three in this game to cover. Unless John Elway is replacing Joe Flacco and doing his best helicopter run from these teams’ Super Bowl XXXII matchup, the Pack should roll.

The pick: Packers

RAVENS (2-0) AT CHIEFS (2-0)

Chiefs by 5.5; O/U: 52

If the Ravens want to know how to beat the Chiefs, all they need to do is watch game tape from last season’s 27-24 overtime loss at Kansas City in Week 14. Yes, they lost, but the Chiefs needed a fourth-and-9 miracle throw by Patrick Mahomes late in regulation. Lamar Jackson will be able to hit some big plays against a vulnerable secondary and keep this close the whole way.

The pick: Ravens

RAIDERS (1-1) AT VIKINGS (1-1)

Vikings by 9; O/U: 43.5

Expect to see the Minnesota team that dominated Atlanta at home in Week 1. Dalvin Cook will give the Raiders fits, and Kirk Cousins should air it out against a beatable secondary. The Raiders are 8-14 in 1 p.m. starts with Derek Carr, and he’s 0-4 vs. the NFC North.

The pick: Vikings

BENGALS (0-2) AT BILLS (2-0)

Bills by 6; O/U: 44

Buffalo will be rocking for the Bills’ home opener after a 2-0 stint at MetLife Stadium. Andy Dalton is as beloved as a visiting player can be (remember how he and the Bengals helped Buffalo clinch a playoff spot in 2017?), but this is a bad spot against a loaded Bills defense. Cincy just allowed 573 total yards and 41 points at home to the 49ers. Josh Allen could have his best day as an NFL QB. 

The pick: Bills

LOCK OF THE WEEK

FALCONS (1-1) AT COLTS (1-1)

Colts by 1.5; O/U: 47

The last time the Colts played a home game, the retiring Andrew Luck was booed. Expect a happier homecoming after the Colts took the Chargers to OT and won at Tennessee. This is a favorable matchup in a home opener, and the spread is probably a point or two too low because of the Falcons’ win on SNF and the public still not sold on the Luck-less Colts.  Quenton Nelson anchors Indy’s dominant offensive line. Even if Marlon Mack can't go, the Colts can find success with Jordan Wilkins (82 yards on five carries in Week 2). Indy averages 5.5 yards per carry and 185 yards per game on the ground, tied for the second most with the Vikings . . . who in Week 1 steamrolled Atlanta by running 38 times for 172 yards and three scores. Matt Ryan (five INTs) could be forced to play catch-up.

The pick: Colts

4 P.M. GAMES

STEELERS (0-2) AT 49ERS (2-0)

49ers by 6.5; O/U: 43

This line went from a pick ‘em to San Fran -7 once Ben Roethlisberger was ruled out. But is he worth his jersey number in points? Seems a bit high. Mason Rudolph looks the part, and a desperate Pittsburgh team that just added safety Minkah Fitzpatrick can keep this close.

The pick: Steelers

SAINTS (1-1) AT SEAHAWKS (2-0)

Seahawks by 4.5; O/U: 45 

TV: Ch. 2

The Saints offense did little after Drew Brees went down, so how could you feel confident backing them in one of the toughest places to play? Russell Wilson (45-12 home record) keeps Seattle hot.

The pick: Seahawks

TEXANS (1-1) AT CHARGERS (1-1)

Chargers by 3; O/U: 48.5

Forget what you saw last week when these teams scored 13 and 10 points. This could be a high-scoring thriller. Give me the points against a Chargers team that always plays close games early on, and again has kicking issues.

The pick: Texans

PANTHERS (0-2) AT CARDINALS (0-1-1)

Cardinals by 2.5; O/U: 43.5

I was all set to take Carolina in one of those “play their best when you least expect it” type of spots. But with Cam Newton likely out, it’s time to desert that plan in the desert. Kyler Murray, the second QB to start his career with back-to-back 300-plus yard passing games (Newton is the other) almost pulled off the upset at Baltimore.

The pick: Cardinals

SUNDAY NIGHT

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

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

Rams by 3; O/U: 47

Cleveland followed up a 30-point loss with a 20-point win, but it was against the banged-up Jets. Baker Mayfield will face tons of pressure from Aaron Donald. The Rams have won 14 of 17 road games under Sean McVay.  

The pick: Rams

MONDAY NIGHT

BEARS (1-1) AT REDSKINS (0-2)

TV: ESPN, 8:15 p.m.

Bears by 3.5; O/U: 41

Chicago has scored 19 total points, so it’s no lock to cover anything over three, especially not on the road in prime time. This line suggests it would be Bears -9.5 at Chicago. Would you lay that number? Me neither.

The pick: Redskins

STAFF STANDINGS AND PICKS

JOE MANNIELLO

16-16 overall, 2-0 best bets

Last week: 10-6

Patriots Giants Cowboys Lions

Packers Ravens Vikings Bills

Colts Steelers Seahawks Texans

Cardinals Rams Redskins

BOB GLAUBER

13-19 overall, 0-2 best bets

Last week: 5-11

Patriots Giants Cowboys Eagles

Packers Chiefs Raiders Bills

Colts Steelers Seahawks Chargers

Cardinals Rams Bears

TOM ROCK

15-17 overall, 0-2 best bets

Last week: 9-7

Patriots Giants Cowboys Eagles

Packers Chiefs Raiders Bills

Falcons Steelers Seahawks Texans

Panthers Rams Bears

AL IANNAZZONE

15-17 overall, 1-1 best bets

Last week: 8-8

Patriots Bucs Cowboys Eagles

Packers Chiefs Vikings Bengals

Falcons Steelers Seahawks Chargers

Cardinals Rams Redskins

STAFF PICKS

Glauber

Patriots

Giants

Cowboys

Eagles

Packers

Chiefs

Raiders

Bills

Colts

Steelers

Seahawks

Chargers, best bet

Cardinals

Rams

Bears

Rock

Patriots

Giants

Cowboys

Eagles

Packers

Chiefs

Raiders

Bills

Falcons

Steelers

Seahawks

Texans – best bet

Panthers

Rams

Bears

Iannazzone

Patriots

Bucs

Cowboys

Eagles

Packers

Chiefs

Vikings

Bengals

Falcons

Steelers

Seahawks* (Best Bet)

Chargers

Cardinals

Rams

Redskins

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