Every season, there are weeks across the NFL that truly define the teams that have a legitimate shot to win the Super Bowl and the ones that don't. It's still really early in the campaign, but Week 3 could be one of those weeks.
There are a boatload of teams who are clearly superior playing against teams that are clearly inferior, but the catch here is that most of these games in Week 3 feature inferior teams that are playing at home. The situation is ripe for a slew of upsets this week for sure with as many as 10 road teams favored in games.
It all kicks off on Thursday Night Football with the up and coming Rams against the 49ers. Both teams were unlucky to lose last week in games that could have swung either direction, and that alone is a moral victory for two clubs that have flat out been awful over the course of the last few seasons. LA is laying a field goal in Santa Clara, a trend you'll notice a lot of this week.
Our first game of the year in London takes place in Week 3 as well. Baltimore doesn't technically count as one of the road teams favored to win this week, but it is officially a "road team" and has opened at -4 against the Jaguars. Jacksonville has had two polar opposite games thus far this season, first a big win over Houston, then a stunningly bad loss to Tennessee.
The Browns are road favorites this week, and that's not something you hear every day. In fact, you'd haven't heard that since 2015, and you haven't heard that they're favored by more than a point on the road since 2007. Cleveland still has just one win since the start of the regular season last year, but it's laying 2.5 against a woeful Indy team that seems destined to be one of the worst in the NFL this year, at least until Andrew Luck comes back from injury.
Pittsburgh (-8 at Chicago), Miami (-6.5 at the Jets), Denver (-1 vs. Buffalo), Atlanta (-3.5 at Detroit), Kansas City (-3.5 at the Chargers), Oakland (-3.5 at Washington) and Dallas (-3.5 at Arizona) are the other away favorites that are currently on the board. We've yet to add the Bucs, who will surely be favored over the Vikings in Minneapolis if Sam Bradford is out of the lineup (and perhaps even if he's playing).
As far as the home favorites? There aren't many of them, but the leader of the pack is not surprisingly New England. The Patriots looked like world-beaters against the Saints in Week 2, especially in a first half that saw 30 points go up on the board. Tom Brady and the gang will host the Texans in what could be a relatively wet and windy game in Foxboro thanks to the remnants of Hurricane Jose. New England is giving a dozen, though it should be noted that Houston's defense isn't necessarily guaranteed to give up all that many points in this or any given game.
The highest total of the week is the 53.5 between the Raiders and Redskins, though the Falcons and Lions could surpass that once that total goes live for Week 3. The lowest total is 40.5 between Baltimore and Jacksonville, though that number quickly dropped into the high-30s shortly after being released on Sunday night.
In the week’s Monday Night football finale, Dallas Cowboys fans will again be turning Phoenix into West Dallas when they travel to face the Arizona Cardinals. There shouldn’t be much of a home field advantage for the Cardinals with how well Dallas fans travel to that location, so keep that in mind when placing a wager.
Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers, Levi's Stadium - 8:25 p.m. ET (NFLN)
Opening Line: Rams -3, O/U 42
Preview: Though the San Francisco 49ers will be seeking their first win of the season, there has been some improvement through just two games played under the Kyle Shanahan regime. That said, it hasn’t been enough to get really excited about. The Los Angeles Rams crashed back down to earth against Washington, but Sean McVay’s squad showed some grit by battling back from double-digit deficits to tie the game twice. The Rams will kick off Week 3 looking to end a three game losing streak to their division rivals. Continue...
Baltimore Ravens at Jacksonville Jaguars, Wembley Stadium - 9:30 a.m. ET (Verizon)
Opening Line: Ravens -4, O/U 40.5
Preview: The Jacksonville Jaguars set the fantasy world afire when their defense registered 10 sacks against the Houston Texans. That unit crashed back down to earth last week at home against the Tennessee Titans. It however enters a prime spot for a rebound in Week 3 against a Baltimore Ravens team that’s gotten out to a perfect 2-0 start mostly due to stellar defensive play. This Week 3 tilt across the pond will likely play out while you sleep off a late night of partying. Continue...
Cleveland Browns at Indianapolis Colts, Lucas Oil Stadium - 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Opening Line: Browns -2.5, O/U 41
Preview: It’s been 21 straight games and two-plus years since the Cleveland Browns were installed favorites to win a game. That harsh reality came to a close on Sunday night when Bookmaker.eu linemakers released the opening odds for Week 3 and had Hue Jackson’s Browns installed as 2.5-point favorites to beat the Indianapolis Colts on the road. You have to go back to 2012 to find the last time Cleveland was favored in the visitor’s role, and the betting public isn’t buying it with the Browns down to 1-point favorites in an expected low scorer. Continue...
Pittsburgh Steelers at Chicago Bears, Soldier Field - 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Opening Line: Steelers -8, O/U 46
Preview: It’s been four seasons since the Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears last met on the gridiron. This meeting at Soldier Field will be the first since 2009. With Pittsburgh installed such a heavy favorite, it’s highly likely Bears’ fans will have liked both of those streaks to extend another season. Pittsburgh will be out to silence the naysayers who firmly believe they’re a much different team on the road. In order to do that, it’s best effort of the young season will be required. Continue...
Miami Dolphins at New York Jets, MetLife Stadium - 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Opening Line: Dolphins -6.5, O/U 41
Preview: After dropping three straight and failing to cover five in a row, the Miami Dolphins finally got the best of the division rival New York Jets last season by sweeping the season series in emphatic fashion. Adam Gase’s squad kicked their 2017-18 campaign off with an impressive come-from-behind win in Tinseltown against the Chargers, and will now travel all the way back to the right coast looking to keep their AFC East rivals winless overall. Continue...
Denver Broncos at Buffalo Bills, New Era Field - 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Opening Line: Broncos -1, O/U 40
Preview: After taking care of business in their first two home games against the Chargers and Cowboys, the Denver Broncos will hit the road for the first time in Week 3 looking to keep their unblemished mark intact. The Buffalo Bills have split their first two games with the lone home win coming against the Jets. This matchup will have sportsbooks in dire need of the home team showing up with early betting all one-way traffic on the visitors. Continue...
Houston Texans at New England Patriots, Gillette Stadum - 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Opening Line: Patriots -12, O/U 44
Preview: The Houston Texans have gotten their doors blown off each of the last three times they’ve run up against the New England Patriots. Bill Belichick’s troops embarrassed them in a pair of games last season, which included an ugly 34-16 defeat in the division round of the playoffs. These franchises have met a grand total of nine times, and the Pats have won eight of them. They also covered seven of those games against the spread. J.J. Watt and company will look to end that streak in Week 3. Continue...
New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers, Bank of America Stadium - 1 p.m. ET (FOX)
Opening Line: Panthers -6, O/U 49
Preview: The home team has come out on top three of the last four times this NFC South rivalry has played out. The Carolina Panthers will look to keep that streak intact in Week 3 when they welcome in the New Orleans Saints for the first of two regular season skirmishes. Should “Riverboat” Ron Rivera’s squad manage to defend its house, they will remain one of the lone unbeatens in the NFC. They’d also improve upon their dominance of N’awlens after coming out on top in four of the last five meetings. Continue...
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings, U.S. Bank Stadium - 1 p.m. ET (FOX)
Opening Line: Check Back Later
Preview: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were extremely impressive in their 2017-18 debut shutting the Bears out until the fourth quarter to pull out the 29-7 win and cover. The Minnesota Vikings were unable to build off their solid showing on Monday Night Football opening week in the Steel City, but Mike Zimmer’s offense was forced to deal with the absence of Sam Bradford. A line for this game likely won’t surface until his availability is known. Continue...
Atlanta Falcons at Detroit Lions, Ford Field - 1 p.m. ET (FOX)
Opening Line: Falcons -3, O/U 49
Preview: The defending NFC champion Atlanta Falcons will hit the road for the second time this season to play a third straight representative from the NFC North. They passed both tests the first two weeks, and are favored by a field goal in Week 3. That won’t sit well with an also undefeated Detroit Lions side that just got done laying the smack down in the Big Apple after dominating the New York Giants on Monday Night Football. Continue...
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles, Lincoln Financial Field - 1 p.m. ET (FOX)
Opening Line: Eagles -5, O/U 43.5
Preview: Four NFC teams have gotten out to 0-2 starts. The New York Giants are one of those teams after getting manhandled by Detroit on Monday Night Football. The Philadelphia Eagles dropped a tough one in Arrowhead to even their record at 1-1 overall, and now return to the comforts of the Linc for the first time looking to take their frustrations out on a division rival. After watching New York’s offensive line struggle with the Lions defensive front, you can bet Fletcher Cox and the gang will be ready to tie one off. Continue...
Seattle Seahawks at Tennessee Titans, Nissan Stadium - 4:05 p.m. ET (FOX)
Opening Line: Titans -2.5, O/U 44
Preview: In a matchup of potential playoff entrants, the Seattle Seahawks will hit the road for the second time this season to battle a Tennessee Titans outfit fresh off its first win of the season. The Titz lost their home opener to the Oakland Raiders, so they’ll no doubt be looking to put forth a better effort for the home crowd. However, Seattle will also be searching for its first road win in Week 3 after falling in Green Bay to open the year. Continue...
Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers, StubHub Center - 4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)
Opening Line: Chiefs -3.5, O/U 45.5
Preview: You can’t help but feel bad for Los Angeles Chargers kicker Younghoe Koo whose two crucial misses the first two weeks of the season has directly led to the team heading into this Week 3 matchup losers of two straight. On the other hand, the Kansas City Chiefs have won their first two games in covering fashion, and will no doubt take the field in Carson, CA confident about moving their record to 3-0. The fact that it’s taken six straight from their division rival will only have Andy Reid’s squad that much more confident. Continue...
Cincinnati Bengals at Green Bay Packers, Lambeau Field - 4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)
Opening Line: Packers -9, O/U 45.5
Preview: The Cincinnati Bengals are yet to score an offensive touchdown through two games played to date. Because of it, the team already made a change at offensive coordinator and will hope the move pays off against a humbled bunch of Green Bay Packers. Mike McCarthy’s squad just got its tails whipped by Atlanta for a second straight time and incurred a bevy of injuries in the process. This Week 3 litmus test will tell us a lot about both teams moving forward. Continue...
Oakland Raiders at Washington Redskins, FedEx Field - 8:30 p.m. ET (NBC)
Opening Line: Raiders -3.5, O/U 53.5
Preview: The Oakland Raiders put forth one of the more impressive wins of the season last week when they trounced the Jets 45-20 to easily cover the largest pointspread on the board. The Washington Redskins suffered a disappointing loss opening week, but bounced back on the road in Los Angeles where Jay Gruden’s squad logged the impressive 27-20 outright win as field goal underdogs to the Rams. With by far the highest total posted on the board, this Week 3 Sunday Nighter is sure to have some fireworks! Continue...
Dallas Cowboys at Arizona Cardinals, University of Phoenix Stadium - 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Opening Line: Cowboys -3.5, O/U 47.5
Preview: The Dallas Cowboys will take the field a very humbled squad after getting dominated by the Denver Broncos in their first road tilt of the season. On the flipside, the Arizona Cardinals return home for the first time this season pumped about the overtime win they managed to squeeze out in Indianapolis. We’re yet to truly get a feel for what these teams are all about, so this Week 3 concluder on Monday Night Football should be extremely telling. Continue...
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