Week three pick results: eight wins, three narrow losses, three major losses (by more than a converted touchdown).
My matchup analysis is based on players listed as “questionable” on the team’s official injury reports playing. I only recommend bets if the injury status of said players won’t influence the match outcome. Teams I think will win are listed in italics.
Wash at Falcons
WFB’s Antonio Gibson is questionable, which means that a contender for the best RB in the league in Jaret Patterson might get some reps for Wash, vastly improving their chances of victory. Coach Rivera is “pretty confident” Gibson will play though. Even without a decent run game I think Heinicke will have time to throw and should be able to beat an overmatched secondary, while the Wash defense can shut down the Falcons biggest receiving threat in Calvin Ridley and find holes in the Falcons o-line. I think the Washington win paying $1.81 is a safe bet.
Lions at Bears
Khalil Mack might miss the game, but his potential replacement Trevis Gipson might pick up the slack. The Lions will be without their best receiver in Tyrell Williams, as well as Trey Flowers and potentially Michael Brockers and Deandre Swift. Ryan Santoso is likely to replace the Covid-infected Austin Seibert at kicker. I think the Bears win by 14+ is a good bet as the Bears have some decent pieces offensively and should stymie the Lions offense through d-line pressure.
Titans at Jets
Sharrod Neasman might get reps to replace Lamarcus Joyner and Marcus Maye, although far inferior DBs might be in front of him on the depth chart. Do I hear boss music? Julio Jones and AJ Brown are out, meaning the HOF-level Cam Batson might get the reps he deserves, providing a boost for the Titans offense (see a highlight tape I made from Batson’s 2020 campaign to see his ability!). They’ll be without Bud Dupree, a big loss. Betting on a Titans win is a solid bet but it’s paying $1.37, so it might not be worth it considering the Jets could stop the fabled Titans run ok due to their quality d-line.
Browns at Vikings
Vikings’ DT Pierce, CB Boyd, RB Cook and LB Barr are questionable. If they all play, I think they’ll still lose, but perhaps by just a touchdown or less. That Browns offense is formidable – while the Vikings have some decent players at defensive tackle to win against the weak interior Browns o-line, the Mayfield-Beckham combo should be fruitful, while Rashard Higgins, Austin Hooper and the running backs should be able to make plays too.
Colts at Dolphins
Quenton Nelson, Braden Smith, TY Hilton are out, RB Taylor, QB Wentz, TE Doyle are questionable. Phins quality center Michael Deiter is out, Jacoby Brissett will replace IR’d Tua. I think the Dolphins will dominate this matchup UNLESS Brett Hundley starts over Wentz at QB. The ‘Phins have the defensive pieces like Christian Wilkins and Zach Sieler to stop the Colts run game, which will be much dimished due to their -line injuries. Defensively, I don’t think the Colts have the playmakers to stop the quality Jacoby Brissett from finding his great receiving weapons. Hundley is good enough to make this game competitive for the Colts, however. Check out this highlight video I made from his time with the Cardinals:
Panthers at Cowboys
All-Pro level guard Pat Elflein and solid running back Christian McCaffrey are out, ED Gross-Matos is questionable. Cowboys ED Armstrong, WR Gallup are out, Randy Gregory questionable (but likely to play). I expect the Cowboys offense to steamroll the Panthers D, which has benefited from playing against some very weak offenses through three weeks. With Gregory playing and linebacker vander Esch getting most defensive snaps, I think Darnold will be too bewildered to find his quality receivers. I think the +14 Cowboys win is a strong bet.
Giants at Saints
Terron Armstead, Erik McCoy out, as is Marcus Davenport, so the elite Payton Turner might still get reps (although only 44% of team snaps with the same situation last week). For the G men, Sterling Shepherd and Darius Slayton are out at receiver, meaning potentially more opportunities for Collin Johnson (49% snaps last week with Shep and Slayton playing), although the returning John Ross might take snaps also. I think this will be a very close game, although I give the edge to the Giants due to Daniel Jones’ elite play. The Saints will be in it despite a stymied offense, as they have some big-time defensive players like cornerback Marshon Lattimore, and a great special teams unit including returner Deonte Harris, punter Blake Gillikan and kicker Aldrick Rosas.
Chiefs at Eagles
Elite corner Rashad Fenton is out, while Charvarius Ward is questionable, so Deandre Baker will likely get more reps. Frank Clark is a game-time decision. For the Eagles, Mailata is out, so Dillard will replace him (no worries!). Brandon Brooks, Isaac Seumalo and K’Von Wallace are on IR – Nate Herbig will likely replace one of the guards, but Brooks is a massive loss, while Rodney McLoud will likely step in for Wallace. Even with the incredible Clark playing, I think this matchup will be very close, with the Chiefs having a slight edge due to having more game-changing talents.
Texans at Bills
Ike Boettger will likely replace Jon Feleciano at left guard. Texans have elite LB Cunningham on IR, DT Ross Blacklock on IR, Amendola is out, they cut the superior Joey Slye at kicker to play the ineffective Kaimi Fairbairn. The Texans have a +17.5 handicap, which isn’t too bad of a bet, as Whitney Mercilus will likely disrupt a lot of the Bills offense off of their left edge. The Texans offense will likely sputter however, meaning the Bills will likely win by atleast a touchdown, but probably by no more than three like Vegas seems to think might happen.
Cards at Rams
Cards OL Justin Pugh and Justin Murray are questionable but practiced Friday, so they will likely start at left and right guard respectively, while Josh Jones will likely start at right tackle in place of the questionable Kelvin Beachum. Sean Harlow and Max Garcia are on the cards (geddit) to replace either injured guard. For the Rams, ED Justin Hollins is on IR but Ogbonnia Okoronkwo is returning, so he and the quality Terrell Lewis will likely get a bunch of snaps. I actually think the Cardinals will crush the Rams – they have the DBs to shut down the Stafford-Kupp connection, and I think Kyler Murray is good enough to find his elite receivers despite likely pressure from the Rams’ great interior d-lineman. A +14 Cardinals win is a good bet and paying a whopping $9, so a big recommend there.
Seahawks at Niners
Niners’ Kevin Givens is on IR. Their CB situation is murky – Deo Lenoir and Emmanuel Moseley will start, with any of Marcell Harris, Dontae Johnson, Davontae Harris and recently signed Buster Skrine possibly replacing the injured K’Wuan Williams. George Kittle is questionable but the coaches seem to think he’ll play. For the Seahawks, Freddie Swain will continue to play a lot due to D’Wayne Eskridge’s likely absence, while there is uncertainty over whether Jamarco Jones, Jake Curhan or Cedric Ogbeuhi will replace Brandon Shell at right tackle. Gerald Everett is questionable due to a Covid diagnosis, while Travis Homer and Alex Collins will pick up Rashaad Penny’s RB2 slack. Without a game changer in Everett, I think QB Russell Wilson will struggle to beat a solid Niners D, while a healthy George Kittle and elite Deebo Samuel should reliably beat the below average Seahawks defense.
Ravens at Broncos
Ravens’ Ronnie Stanley is out, while Marlon Humphrey, Anthony Averett, Alejandro Villanueva and Deshon Elliott are questionable. For the Broncos, Graham Glasgow and Josey Jewell are out, while Shelby Harris, Dalton Risner and Melvin Gordon are questionable. This injury report makes betting on this game unwise – if the questionable players on both sides play, I think the Ravens win by double digits, but inactives on either side could sway the outcome of the game.
Steelers at Packers
Packers DT Tyler Lancaster on IR due to Covid, Randall Cobb could get more snaps with Valdez-Scantling out. I think the Packers defense will get to Steelers QB Roethlisberger and cause some turnovers, while Rodgers should find Devante Adams and Cobb pretty easily offensively. Packers by around 10 points IMO.
Bucs at Patriots
Pats’ James White out, Isaiah Wynn, van Noy, Uche, Trent Brown questionable. Bucs Gronk, Jamel Dean, Gio Bernard out. If the questionables play for the Pats, I think they have the edge, as they’ll have a dominant offense. The Bucs will always be a chance due to great special teams play. Shaq Barrett on D and the Bucs run game will feast if the Pats questionables are out, however.