Currently 9-2 on the season, Nick Ballistreri previews his 5 Best Bets of Week 3.
Week 2 Record: 3-2
NFL Season Record: 9-2
Bengals at Bills
Did you know that the Bills are 2-0? I’m not saying that their competition was the greatest (Jets,Giants), but being undefeated after 2 weeks is nothing to scoff at. The Bills are a good team, with a solid defense and a rapidly improving QB in Josh Allen. The Bengals…well they’re the Bengals. They have talented players but can’t seem to put anything together.
The Bills are 6 point favorites in this one. A week prior I rode with them as 1.5 point favorites on the road and they came out on top. The Bengals are licking their wounds coming off of a 41-17 loss to the 49ers. Coming into this game, news has come out that the Bengals offensive line is severely undermanned, and that is bad news for Andy Dalton and co’. Give me the Bills and the points in this one, as they will move on to 3-0.
Lions at Eagles
The Eagles were so close to going 2-0. Driving with little time left, QB Carson Wentz dropped a dime down the left sideline to a wide open Nelson Agholor for what would have been a game-winning TD…if he didn’t drop it. The Eagles never recovered, and fell to 1-1 on the season. The Lions are coming off a huge Week 2 victory against a very tough Chargers team, 13-10, showing their defensive prowess in the process. They are still undefeated, albeit at 1-0-1 as opposed to 2-0.
The Eagles are 6.5 point favorites coming into this one, and while on paper that seems fair, this is not a normal week at the office for the Eagles. If you watched their SNF game, their players were dropping like flies. The damage has carried over into Week 3, as receivers Desean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery are both looking unlikely to play in this one, leaving Carson Wentz’s receiving corps looking very thin this week.
I think that will be trouble for the Eagles in this one. The Lions have a good defense, and can put up points on offense with Stafford at the helm. I’m not saying the Lions should be favored in this one, I think it should be more along the lines of a toss-up. Give me the Lions and the points in this one.
Panthers at Cardinals
The classic 0-2 vs 0-2 game. If you told me before the season that the Cardinals would be 0-2, I would’ve expected it. If you told me the Panthers would be, I’d be scratching my head. Well, that’s where we are right now, and not only are the Panthers winless, Cam Newton is the biggest question mark of their season right now.
Cam Newton is not ruled out for Week 3 yet, but it’s looking that way. That leaves the Panthers with QB Kyle Allen, who played well in a meaningless game in Week 17 last season. He’s no slouch, but nobody is mistaking him for Cam Newton.
The Cardinals on the other hand have been close in both Weeks 1 and 2. They’re winless, but they’ve proven to be a tough out. With rookie QB Kyler Murray proving to be as dynamic as advertised, this team can produce fireworks in the right setting. The Cardinals are listed as 2.5 favorites at home in this one.
The way I look at this one is like this: the Cardinals have been close this season, and it’s looking like they’re about to push one across the finish line. The Panthers conversely have not looked good in either game, and now just lost their QB. This one isn’t an easy one to pick, but I’m going with the Cardinals in this one, with the caveat being the ML and not -2.5.
Jets at Patriots
To be honest, there’s not much to write about this one. Vegas has set this line at a historic clip, making the Patriots 22.5 point favorites at home against the banged-up Jets. I don’t think it’s high enough.
The Patriots beat the Dolphins 43-0, and while that score looks pretty, they really didn’t play that well. The offense sputtered at times, and if it wasn’t for 2 pick-sixes, the score would be much closer. Keep in mind this was against the Dolphins, where it’s anyone’s guess if they’d beat Clemson right now. (They would)
The Jets are a trainwreck, plain and simple. I picked them to have a solid year, but that was before disaster struck. Sam Darnold was diagnosed with Mono, and then his backup Trevor Siemien blew up his leg. They are left with Luke Falk, their 3rd string QB against the Patriots, who are historically motivated against the Jets. On top of this bad news, star linebacker, and one of the prizes of the Jets offseason, CJ Mosley, is ruled out of this one.
Oh, and I almost forgot, the Jets are coming off a short week. Give me the Patriots, and yes, give me them at -22.5. I can’t believe I just wrote that.
Rams at Browns
After losing 43-13 in Week 1, everyone jumped off the Browns bandwagon. After beating the Jets by 20 in Week 2, everybody is back on. In the words of Aaron Rodgers, everyone needs to R-E-L-A-X. The Browns are not as bad as they looked in Week 1, and are not as dominant as they looked in Week 2.
For the Rams, it’s business as usual. They are 2-0 coming off a blowout of the Saints last week, although Drew Brees left this one early with an injury. The Rams look as good as advertised. The offense is still explosive, and the defense is flying around making plays all across the field.
The Rams are 3 points road favorites in this primetime matchup. I think the line is fair, but I also think the Rams are the better team. The defense is good enough to give Baker Mayfield fits, and I don’t see Odell Beckham getting off for another long touchdown this week. This will be a close game, but with the Browns coming off a short week, I’m taking the Rams, but I’m BUYING them to -2.5.