NFL Week 3: Sunday Picks, Predictions & Colin Cowherd’s Blazin’ 5

Atlanta Falcons @ Indianapolis Colts, Lucas Oil Stadium, 1:00 PM, CBS (Colts -1.5, O/U: 47.5)

Brissett is off to a great start even though he’s only thrown for 336 yards but he has completed 64% of his passes with 5 TD’s and only 1 pick. TY has been his biggest target, nearly racking up half of those passing yards and 3 of those TD’s. TY is listed as questionable but it’s the Colts’ first home game without Luck so expect that crowd to be very supportive of a 1-1 team looking to beat a solid Falcons team to move above .500. The Falcons looked horrible in Minnesota and barely held off a very banged up Eagles team at home. With essentially no running game, they’ve had to heavily rely on Matty-Ice very early on and he’s been up and down. Ryan has completed 67% of his passes but is 1:1 on the TD/INT ratio (5/5). Take the Colts to cover in the win, in the under, Colts 23-20.

Baltimore Ravens @ Kansas City Chiefs, Arrowhead Stadium, 1:00 PM, CBS (Chiefs -5.5, O/U: 52.5)

You can’t crown Lamar Jackson just yet. He’s taken it to the weak Dolphins and barely pushed past the lacking Cardinals. He’s played well, completing 72% of his passes for 596 yards, 7 TD’s and no picks. He’s going to go pass for pass with Mahomes but Mahomes has better weapons. It might not have looked like it but the Chiefs struggled 3 out of 4 quarters against the Raiders. A massive record breaking 2nd quarter pushed Patrick and the Chiefs to a lead they would hold the rest of the game. Back at home, the Chiefs will look to assert their explosiveness again. Take the Chiefs to cover in the win, in the over, Chiefs 34-24.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Buffalo Bills, New Era Field, 1:00 PM, CBS (Bills -6, O/U: 43.5)

I don’t know what to make of the Bengals. Dalton has over 700 yards, 4TD’s/1 INT and completed 66% of his passes. The running game has lacked severely which only has 54 yards between their 2 backs. John Ross has emerged as the top target in Green’s absence. A close lose to the Seahawks on the road but a bad loss at home vs the 49ers has everyone wondering who they really are. The Bills will be without stud rookie running back Devin Singletary. Josh Allen has been grinding through the first 2 games, not playing stellar but efficient enough to win both games on the road. The Bills Mafia will be in full hysteria over a 2-0 start. Take the Bills to win but the Bengals to cover in the under, Bills 20-17.

Denver Broncos @ Green Bay Packers, Lambeau Field, 1:00 PM, FOX (Packers -7.5, O/U: 43.5)

The Broncos have had a rough start to the season after an opening night loss to the Raiders and a heartbreaking loss to the Bears last week. Flacco has looked every bit as mediocre as his time in Baltimore but have had good support from the running game with the surprise leading rusher being Royce Freeman. The defense has not been able to record a sack even with star Von Miller. The Packers are off to a fast start even though the first game was very rocky for the new offense but to start 2-0 against a very good Bears and Vikings defenses is a huge start. A big issue with the offense is the sacks allowed and the pressure Rodgers has seen early on. They’ve allowed 7 sacks for negative 55 yards which has contributed to being 7/27 on 3rd downs and 9 three and out drives. The defense has proven how much their improved and that’s really what has helped them stay in games as they continue to get in sync with the new offense. Take the Packers to cover in the win, in the over, Packers 30-21.

Detroit Lions @ Philadelphia Eagles, Lincoln Financial Field, 1:00 PM, FOX (Eagles -5.5, O/U: 45.5)

The Lions are coming off a hard fought win against the Chargers at home. Stafford has been very efficient early on as Kerryon Johnson has a slower start to the season than he would like. Stafford has been hooking up with Golladay and rookie tight end sensation TJ Hockenson (even though he only had 1 catch on 3 targets for only 7 yards in week 2). The defense is off to a fast start with 6 sacks and 2 picks. The Eagles are really banged up, so banged up that they had to cancel practice and just do a walk through during the week. No Desean Jackson, Jordan Mailata, or Corey Clement after last weeks rash of injuries. Still banged up but at least probable or questionable to play is Alshon Jeffery and Dallas Goedert. All of whom were injured, most in the 1st quarter of last weeks game. Wentz has been rusty to start and even took a few shots that fans were hoping he’d be ok from but with fast starts with Jackson, Ertz and Agholor, it’s only a matter of time until he is on fire, so long as he can stay healthy. Take the Lions to cover in the win, in the under, Lions 23-21.

Miami Dolphins @ Dallas Cowboys, AT&T Stadium, 1:00 PM, FOX (Cowboys -22, O/U: 46.5)

In my opinion, no analysis is going to persuade you in this one. Take the Cowboys to cover and in the under, Cowboys 30-10.

New York Jets @ New England Patriots, Gillette Stadium, 1:00 PM, CBS (Patriots -21, O/U: 43.5)

I have a similar feeling about the Jets as I do the Dolphins except the Jets have Le’Veon Bell. Like my prediction with the Pats/Dolphins last week, expect the Pats to run up the score on a divisional foe. With Belichick, the uglier the score, the better. Take the Patriots to cover and in the over, Patriots 35-13.

Oakland Raiders @ Minnesota Vikings, U.S. Bank Stadium, 1:00 PM, FOX (Vikings -9, O/U: 43.5)

Take the Raiders to cover but the Vikings to win in the over, Vikings 27-20.

Carolina Panthers @ Arizona Cardinals, University of Phoenix Stadium, 4:05 PM, FOX (Cardinals -2.5, O/U: 44.5)

Take the Cardinals to cover in the under, Cardinals 23-20.

New York Giants @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Raymond James Stadium, 4:05 PM, FOX (Buccs -6, O/U: 47.5)

Take the Giants to cover in the win, in the under, Giants 24-20.

Houston Texans @ Los Angeles Chargers, StubHub Center, 4:25 PM, CBS (Chargers -3 O/U: 49.5)

Take the Chargers to cover in the over, Chargers 28-24.

New Orleans Saints @ Seattle Seahawks, CenturyLink Field, 4:25 PM, CBS (Seahawks -4.5, O/U: 45.5)

Take the Seahawks to cover in the under, Seahawks 27-17.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ San Francisco 49ers, Levi’s Stadium, 4:25 PM, CBS (49ers -6.5, O/U: 44.5)

Take the 49ers to win but the Steelers to cover in the under, 49ers 27-21.

Los Angeles Rams @ Cleveland Browns, FirstEnergy Stadium, 8:20 PM, NBC (Browns +3, O/U: 47.5)

Take the Rams to cover in the over, Rams 31-24.

Colin Cowherd’s Blazing 5:

  • Baltimore at Kansas City – Kansas City (-5)
  • Detroit at Philadelphia – Detroit (+6)
  • NY Giants at Tampa Bay – NY Giants (+6)
  • Pittsburgh at San Francisco – Pittsburgh (+6.5)
  • LA Rams at Cleveland – LA Rams (-3.5)

NFL Week 1: Monday Night Football

Houston Texans @ New Orleans Saints, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, 7:10 PM, ESPN (Saints -6.5, O/U: 52.5)

The Texans made some moves this offseason to help Lamar Miller and the rushing game and it proved necessary as Miller is lost this season before the preseason ended to a knee injury. They traded for Duke Johnson and Carlos Hyde, who are a good enough tandum to be effective enough. They also valued Watson’s blindside (Tunsil) more than a second elite pass rusher (Clowney). The Saints had back to back disappointing losses in the playoffs to end their season, last year on a brutal non call PI. Not a bunch changed on their roster but with Murray replacing Ingram and Cook coming in for a hole at TE coming off of a great year with Oakland should keep their offense on track. Saints end a 5 year opening week winless drought by winning but take the Texans to cover in the over, Saints 31-27.

Denver Broncos @ Oakland Raiders, Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, 10:20 PM, ESPN (Raiders +3, O/U: 42.5)

The Broncos have been waiting for years and finally, they have someone to lead their offense in Flacco. Philip Lindsay is back 100% from his broken wrist in the last game of last year, building off an amazing performance as an undrafted rookie. Flacco will have two great young receivers in Sutton and Hamilton to throw to as well as veteran Sanders. The defense pretty much stayed the same, should continue to dominate. The Raiders were mired by the AB drama between the frostbitten feet, helmet issues and GM/fines/contract issues, they still showed on HBO’S “Hard Knocks” that they had still worked hard despite all of that and played fairly well fitting their pre season games. Impressive undrafted rookie Kellan Doss comes back from his week on the Jaguars practice squad to sign a decent deal to be on the 52 man roster to fill in for AB’s spot. He will see plenty of targets after his impressive pre season. Josh Jacobs was drafted to be the feature back for the offense and from what he showed in his limited carries in the pre season, we’re in for a treat. I may be a bit high on them but take the Raiders to cover in the upset win in the under, Raiders 21-20.

Week 1: Monday Night Football

It’s absolutely remarkable how Vegas can set these lines so close to the outcome of the games. Makes you wonder what the secret is, how much homework they do, what kind of insiders they have, or if there’s a formula or algorithm. I had two losses, 1 win and a push within zero to three points of the spread.  Four of the sixteen games could’ve gone either way with a late field goal.  I also had another five games where a touchdown either way could’ve changed the outcome for my bets.  That’s nine of sixteen games where one score (field goal or touchdown) could’ve swung my bets positive or negatively.  I’ve been following lines for  a few years now and I am still amazed by how close these lines are generated to the actual scores of games.  Let the conspiracy theorists converge!

As far as Sunday’s games, I’ve well documented my own 1pm games as mediocre and 2018 has started out no different there. 4-4 against the spread with two games very close from changing that in the 4th quarter of their games until late mistakes happened (Colts & Giants).  I called for a Browns win and they nearly pulled it off to give their fans free Bud Light on opening day no thanks to TJ Watt!  Still, it’s the first season since 2004 that the Browns haven’t lost the opener, so things are looking up in “The Land”.

I bounced back nicely in the 4pm games going 3-0-1. I called the Chargers struggle at home continuing from last season, AP looking good in DC and the Broncos starting the new chapter with Keenum (even though it was a push).

Sunday night was disappointing as far as covering the spread. Seven points is a lot to give up in any game, especially since you don’t know how the teams are going to do in full game action.  I also must admit that I underestimated the Khalil Mack factor.  He made his presence known in that first half, especially when Aaron Rodgers was knocked out before the half.  Still, if that line had performed like they did after the half, all game long, we probably would’ve seen a bigger win and possible cover for the Packers at home, so I’m sticking by my bet and it was just unfortunate to see the line play a poor first half and Rodgers missing nearly all of the second.

I finished Sunday with a 7-6-1 (54%) record, with the potential to pull out a 60% winner’s week in week 1 so I’m optimistic and anxious to watch these games. Now, on to Monday night’s picks…

N.Y. Jets at Detroit, 7:10 PM, ESPN (Lions -7, O/U: 45)

I know what you’re thinking, the Jets are starting rookie Same Darnold, the Lions will blow them out on the road. For that, I have to steal one from Lee Corso, not so fast my friend!  Darnold won that job outright from a guy who’s looked good in the pre-season after not playing for 2 years due to a horrific knee injury (Bridgewater) and a guy beyond his prime, which wasn’t that much of a prime to begin with (McCown).  Don’t mistake him for just some rookie either.  He was taken because he was good and seemed to be the most poised and prepared to start for a team right out of the gate.  The only question was how high would his ceiling be?

As for the rest of the team, they went out and signed Isaiah Crowell to help Powell in the backfield, Terrell Pryor and Andre Roberts to the receiving corps, and Spencer Long as starting center to help give Darnold protection and Weapons to use. The defensive side of the ball saw Trumaine Johnson and Morris Claiborne signed to help the secondary as well as Avery Williamson to start at middle linebacker.

The Lions pretty much go unchanged other than LeGarrette Blount being signed with rookie Kerryon Johnson to compete with Theo Riddick for carries to improve the ground game that Detroit has lacked in Reggie Bush (even he wasn’t a great rusher for them). Stafford has strung together nearly a decades worth of 4,000 plus yard seasons and doesn’t seem to stop that trend given Tate and Jones tearing it up on the outsides.  Jim Bob Cooter has drawn up a pretty exciting offense these last couple of seasons, let’s see what he can do with a fully functional offense.  Devon Kennard and Christian Jones where brought in to boost the linebacking crew and to improve the defense against the run, since they were near the bottom of the league in rushing allowed.  It’s not hard to do when you lose guys like Suh and Nata from your front.

Look for this to be close but don’t be surprised if the Jets keep it interesting. Take the Jets to cover getting 7 but lose to the Lions in the over, Lions 28-24.

L.A. Rams at Oakland, 10:20 PM, ESPN (Raiders +5, O/U: 47.5)

The Rams return for their second season under head coach Sean McVay who brought this team back to life after a dismal 4-12 first season in LA, with an 11-5 finish but a Wild Card loss to the Falcons. With Sammy Watkins leaving us fans thought that they’d still have an arsenal of guys to through to with then rookie Cooper Kupp looking pretty good in his first season but then we all were shocked when Brandin Cooks was picked up.  McVay wanted to make sure that Goff could replicate his 2017 success with having numerous guys to throw to on the outside.  The offense will continue to improve under McVay as he’s being compared to the likes of Kyle Shanahan, and having a genius like mind when it comes to the offensive game.  Veteran defensive pickups like Suh, Talib and Peters are sure to bolster a defense already feared from the likes of Donald.  Rams went all in on this team the last few years and their fans are being rewarded with the fantastic play and now early contenders for the NFC Championship predictions.

The Raiders made some offseason moves of their own, while one could’ve started a riot, some other veteran signings were poised to being back some of that offensive spark they had two seasons ago. Jordy Nelson and Doug Martin are seen as offering more to stabilize the offense and offer different options for John Gruden, who has not been on the sidelines as the head of a football club in a decade.  Justin Ellis and Tank Carradine were brought in to strengthen the defensive front while Tahir Whitehead and Emmanuel Lamur were to strengthen the outside of the box/front 8 of the defense.  Marcus Gilchrist and Leon Hall were brought in to help the secondary, adding to the overall presence of veteran leadership.

The one move that has been the buzz of the team, however, was the trading of Khalil Mack to the Bears for a few first round picks and more. Mack, who was looking for a new deal, seemingly was upset with how the Raiders were conducting their side of the negotiations and how little respect was given to Mack when contract negotiations were being discussed.  The Bears received immediate return after showing Mack some contract love in his first game as a Bear, and the Raiders were left looking like cheapskates and a laughing stock of the league for letting their best player go over a worthy contract negotiation, questioning Gruden and his philosophy.

The locker room has to be devastated and especially for the defensive side for the Raiders. The rams with all of the confidence in the world are going to Oakland as five point favorites.  Look for the Rams to win handedly and cover the five point spread in the over, Rams 38-17.

Don’t forget, Colin Cowherd had the Jets at +6.5 in his Blazinn 5 and while the Wise Men didn’t agree, I feel like it’s still a quality bet being given a whole touchdown. I’m also looking to get back above 50% on 7+ point picks.  Hope your Sunday was fruitful.  Pray to the football gods for Darnold that you can #beatyourbookie Monday night, and catapult me to 60% winners for the week.  Good luck to all!

#beatyourbookie