Week 2 of the NFL season brought us another round of thrilling fixtures, a halftime retirement and some unemployed kickers. Green Bay and Minnesota played out in an incredible tie, Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes put up 6 passing touchdowns and the Jaguars got some revenge for last season’s AFC Championship game. Off the field, the rich somehow got richer as the Patriots added Receiver Josh Gordon, whilst Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell still continues his holdout. With an exciting slate of fixtures on the card this week, let’s get into the Week 3 preview.
Monday, September 24, 3am (AEST), Hard Rock Stadium
The Miami Dolphins enter Week 3 coming off two consecutive hard-fought wins over the Titans and Jets respectively. QB Ryan Tannehill is completing over 72% of his passes this season, whilst Running Backs Frank Gore and Kenyan Drake have formed an impressive 1-2 punch. However, it’s been the Dolphins defence that’s managed to steal the show. They’ve manage 5 interceptions so far and only allowed an average of 16 points a game. Veterans Robert Quinn, Reshad Jones and Kiko Alonso definitely make this an intimidating unit to match up against.
After a deflating loss against the Broncos last week, the Raiders make the cross-country journey looking for their first win of the season. Quarterback Derek Carr was excellent last week, completing over 90% of his passes on the way to 288 yards. Receiver Amari Cooper looked impressive with 116 yards last week, whilst RB Marshawn Lynch has managed a touchdown in both weeks so far. Conversely, the Raiders rushing defence has struggled immensely this season. After giving up 168 yards and two scores on the ground last week, they will need to tighten things up against a strong Miami rushing attack.
Prediction: Dolphins -3
I believe the Raiders defence is probably the worst unit in this matchup. Miami’s strong running game will prove to be too much, whilst their strong defence holds Derek Carr and beast mode at bay. Dolphins 23-17 Raiders.
Monday, September 24, 3am (AEST), Mercedes Benz Stadium
The Falcons bounced back with a competitive 31-24 home victory over the Panthers last week. QB Matt Ryan led the way with two passing touchdowns to go along with a career-high two rushing touchdowns. Running Back Tevin Coleman also earned his keep, managing 107 yards on the ground. The Falcons defence has held up well the first two weeks of the season. Defensive Backs Desmond Trufant, Robert Alford and Ricardo Allen make this a difficult unit to pass on.
New Orleans Saints
It took a few mistakes from Browns Kicker Zane Gonzales, but the Saints managed to get the job done last week. QB Drew Brees has gotten off to his usual strong start, completing over 80% of his passes and throwing for 5 touchdowns on the season so far. After a poor showing in Week 1, the Saints defence rebounded in Week 2, allowing only 18 points. Lineman Cameron Jordan and Sheldon Rankings have forged a strong partnership up front, whilst CB Marshon Lattimore has continued to build off his strong rookie campaign last year.
Prediction: Saints +3
Games are always close between these two fierce rivals. If the Saints are looking to build off of a strong 2017 campaign, this is a game they need to come out and take on the road. I predict QB Drew Brees to outduel Matt Ryan en route to a Saints victory. Saints 31-27 Falcons.
Monday, September 24, 3am (AEST), FedEx Field
The Redskins are looking to rebound off a poor showing last week as they welcome the Packers to town in Week 3. After a strong Week 1 showing, star Running Back Adrian Peterson couldn’t get anything going last week. Similarly, QB Alex Smith and the rest of the Redskins offense couldn’t manage to find the end zone. The Redskins defence did manage quite a solid showing against Andrew Luck and the Colts offense. Linebackers Mason Foster and Zach Brown are forming an impressive duo, whilst shutdown CB Josh Norman will prove a formidable opponent for Aaron Rodgers.
Green Bay Packers
The Packers enter Week 3 off a frustrating home tie against the Vikings last week. QB Aaron Rodgers put in a typically strong performance with 281 yards and a score, but the Packers running game failed to really get going. The pass defence put in a weak performance against the Vikings and were gashed by Kirk Cousins to the tune of 425 yards and 4 touchdowns. They’ll need a much better performance this week to contain the deep Washington receiving corps.
Prediction: Redskins +3
After a disappointing home loss last week, I believe the Redskins are undervalued in this current market. I expect Alex Smith, Adrian Peterson and co. to have some success against this Packers defence and that their strong defensive front will be able to contain Aaron Rodgers. Redskins 24-23 Packers
Monday, September 24, 3am (AEST), U.S Bank Stadium
The Vikings missed a golden opportunity to steal one last week against the Packers, ultimately settling for a tie. New QB Kirk Cousins was on fire, whilst star Receiver duo Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen combined for an impressive 259 yards and 3 scores. The formidable Vikings defence has held up well against two impressive QB’s in the first two weeks. Linval Joseph, Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen combine for a strong partnership up front. This is complemented well on the back end by DB’s Xavier Rhodes, Harrison Smith and Andrew Sendejo.
The Bills struggled mightily again last week, down 28-6 at halftime on their home turf to the L.A Chargers. New QB Josh Allen struggled in his first start, being sacked 5 times and throwing 2 interceptions. Similarly, star running back LeSean McCoy couldn’t get anything going on the ground. It was another poor performance from the Bills defence, which wasn’t helped by the baffling retirement of Vontae Davis at half-time. Veterans Lorenzo Alexander and Jerry Hughes have showed promise, whilst Rookie Tremaine Edmunds will be one to watch.
Prediction: Vikings -16.5
After two truly pathetic performances from the Bills to start the season, I simply can’t advise putting your hard-earned money on them against the spread. Whilst 16.5 points may seem like a lot, the Vikings have the offensive firepower to ensure this one is over relatively quickly. Vikings 34-10 Bills.
Monday, September 24, 3am (AEST), Lincoln Financial Field
Buoyed by the return of QB Carson Wentz, the Eagles will look to shake off last week’s defeat as they host the Colts in Week 3. Wentz should prove to be a significant upgrade on backup QB Nick Foles, who has struggled to start the season. Similarly, Wentz’ strong arm should also open up opportunities for the Eagles running game against a vulnerable Colts defence. The usually formidable Eagles defence was surprisingly carved open by Bucs QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to the tune of over 400 yards and four touchdowns. Buoyed by their strong home crowd, I expect Fletcher Cox, Malcolm Jenkins and co. to put in an improved performance this week.
The Colts should come into Week 3 confident after a dominant road win over the Redskins last week. It wasn’t pretty from the offense, but they got the job done. T.Y Hilton was a standout with 83 yards and a score, whilst RB Jordan Wilkins had an impressive 6.1 yards per carry. The Colts defence was truly phenomenal last week, holding a formidable Redskins offense to only 9 points. Darius Leonard and Clayton Geathers combined for an impressive 31 tackles, whilst Jabaal Sheard and Margus Hunt had 4.5 tackles for loss between them up front.
Prediction: Eagles -6.5
Buoyed by the return of Wentz and their strong home crowd, I expect a bounce back performance from the Eagles this week. The defence will be back to their ferocious best, whilst Wentz will give the offense back some firepower that they sorely missed. Eagles 30-20 Colts.
Monday, September 24, 3am (AEST), TIAA Bank Field
The Jaguars host the Titans in Week 3 after their statement victory over the Patriots last week. Often maligned QB Blake Bortles delivered the goods in Week 2, to the tune of 376 yards and 4 touchdowns. Star Receivers Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook combined for 198 yards and two scores. Moreover, the star-studded Jags defence did an excellent job containing Tom Brady and co. Linebackers Telvin Smith and Myles Jack were everywhere, whilst CB duo Jalen Ramsey and AJ Bouye continued their trend of shutting down opposing receivers.
The Titans head into Week 3 off of a scrappy 3-point home win over the Texans. Backup QB Blaine Gabbert struggled, throwing for only 117 yards and a pick. With the defence keying in on the run, the impressive RB duo of Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis was also held back. Led by free agent acquisition Malcolm Butler, the Titans defence has impressed in the opening weeks. Star defensive lineman Jurell Casey has proved a handful up front, whilst veteran Linebacker Wesley Woodyard has also enjoyed a strong start to the campaign.
Prediction: Jaguars -6.5
Whether it’s former Jaguars QB Blaine Gabbert or the returning Marcus Mariota, I expect the Titans offense to struggle on Sunday. The strong Jaguars secondary will hold off an anaemic Titans offense, whilst Blake Bortles and Co. manage the game effectively. Jaguars 23-10 Titans.
Monday, September 24, 3am (AEST), M&T Bank Stadium
The Ravens enter Week 3 off of a disappointing loss to the division rival Bengals. Despite his strong numbers, QB Joe Flacco appeared to struggle, whilst RB Alex Collins couldn’t get anything going on the ground. Look for Receivers Jon Brown and Michael Crabtree to feature heavily this week. The Ravens struggled on defence, giving up 3 early touchdowns to Bengals Receiver AJ Green. Led by Safeties Tony Jefferson and Eric Weddle, I can see the Ravens secondary putting in a much better performance this week.
Having pulled off two narrow home wins, the Broncos come into Week 3 sitting pretty. Despite the home success, QB Case Keenum has largely struggled, throwing 4 interceptions so far this season. Rookie RB Phillip Lindsay has looked impressive so far and will need to be a focal point moving forward. The typically strong Broncos pass defence was carved open by Raiders QB Derek Carr last week. They gave up 288 yards on 32 attempts in Week 2 and will need to improve on this to find success in Baltimore.
Prediction: Ravens -5
I think the Broncos are very lucky to be 2-0 right now. The Ravens are simply the better team here. Combine that with home field, a better QB and a better coaching staff and you have a comfortable Ravens victory. Ravens 31-17 Broncos.
Monday, September 24, 3am (AEST), Arrowhead Stadium
The Chiefs come into Week 3 after two thrilling offensive victories. QB Patrick Mahomes has stolen all of the headlines, throwing 10 touchdowns and no interceptions so far this season. Receivers Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins, along with Tight End Travis Kelce, will prove to be a nightmare matchup for any pass defence. The usually stout Chiefs defence has struggled this season, allowing over 450 yards and three scores to Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger. They’ll need to clean things up this week to contain Jimmy G and the upstart 49ers offense.
The 49ers held on last week in a 30-27 home win over Detroit. QB Jimmy Garoppolo put in a more assured performance this week, throwing for 206 yards and two touchdowns. Running Back Matt Breida had an outstanding afternoon with 138 yards and a score, whilst veteran Receiver Pierre Garcon enjoyed 57 yards and some crushing blocks. Buoyed by the return of Linebacker Reuben Foster, the 49ers defence has enjoyed a solid start to 2018. With star Defensive Tackle Deforest Buckner dominating up front, along with All-Pro CB Richard Sherman shutting down his side of the field, the 49ers possess a balanced and talented defence.
I think that getting 7 points represents immense value for the 49ers here. I’m confident that Head Coach Kyle Shanahan can dial up an offensive game plan that allows Jimmy G to thrive. The strong 49ers defence also represents a challenge for the young Chiefs QB Mahomes. 49ers 27-24 Chiefs.
Monday, September 24, 3am (AEST), Bank of America Stadium
The Panthers enter Week 3 off a hard-fought loss to the division rival Falcons. QB Cam Newton put up some strong numbers last week, throwing for 335 yards and 3 scores. Dual threat Running Back Christian McCaffrey had 14 catches for 102 yards, whilst wideout Devin Funchess notched 7 catches for 77 yards himself. The typically strong Panthers defensive front was outplayed by the Falcons offense last week. That said, I’d favour a unit that features stars such as Luke Kuechly, Kawann Short and Mario Addison to bounce back strongly here.
After consecutive 34-23 victories, the Bengals sit alone atop the AFC North. QB Andy Dalton has thrown an impressive 6 touchdown passes this season, including 3 to star Wideout AJ Green in the first half last week. Controversial RB Joe Mixon has also started the season strong and is the second leading rusher through 2 weeks. The Bengals defence has looked stout so far against two relatively strong offenses. Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap have provided a strong push up front, which has been complemented well by Dre Kirkpatrick and Darqueze Dennard in the secondary.
Prediction: Panthers -3
With Bengals RB Joe Mixon out injured, I believe the strong Panthers front seven will make the difference in this game. I expect Andy Dalton and Co to struggle, whilst Cam Newton and Christian McCaffrey make enough plays for the Panthers offense. Panthers 24-13 Bengals
Monday, September 24, 3am (AEST), NRG Stadium
The Texans come in to Week 3 off the back of two narrow losses to the Patriots and Titans. QB Deshaun Watson put up some impressive numbers in last week’s loss, throwing for 310 yards and two touchdowns. RB Lamar Miller has enjoyed a fast start to the campaign, whilst receiving duo Will Fuller and DeAndre Hopkins both eclipsed 100 yards last week. The defence did a strong job of containing the Titans offense last week. A defensive line that features JJ Watt, Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus will prove to be a nightmare matchup for many opposing offenses.
New York Giants
The Giants enter Week 3 off a relatively poor showing in a Sunday night loss to the Cowboys. QB Eli Manning averaged a measly 6.3 yards per attempt last week, whilst Rookie phenom Saquon Barkley struggled to get going in the running game. The Giants defence has started the season well and put in a solid performance against the Cowboys last week. Alec Ogletree, Janoris Jenkins and Landon Collins lead a defence that could give the Texans offense some trouble.
Prediction: Giants +6
With both teams coming off disappointing starts, I believe getting 6 points with the Giants represents decent value here. I expect Head Coach Ben McAdoo to do a better job of getting Barkley and star wideout Odell Beckham involved this week in a better Giants performance. Prediction Texans 21-20 Giants.
Monday, September 24, 6:05am (AEST), LA Memorial Coliseum
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams enter Week 3 off of a dominating 34-0 win over the Arizona Cardinals. 3rd year QB Jared Goff threw for 354 yards and a score, with new Receiver Brandin Cooks managing 159 of those yards. Superstar RB Todd Gurley also managed 3 rushing touchdowns on the afternoon. The dominant Rams defensive front destroyed the Cardinals offense, allowing 0 points only 137 total yards. Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh and Michael Brockers form a fearsome trio up front that will prove difficult to contend with for opposing offences.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers come into Week 3 off of a comfortable road victory over the hapless Bills. Star QB Phillip Rivers completed an impressive 23/27 passes for 256 yards and 3 scores, whilst Running Back Melvin Gordon managed 3 total touchdowns on the afternoon. The Chargers defence also put in a solid display, sacking Bills QB Josh Allen 5 times and shutting down star RB LeSean McCoy. Without star pass rusher Joey Bosa, this Melvin Ingram led unit will face a tough test in Week 3.
Prediction: Chargers +7
Whilst the Rams are a very impressive team, I believe that getting 7 points with the Chargers is good value here. I expect Phillip Rivers and Co to put up some points on this formidable Rams Defence, whilst the defence does just enough to keep them in it. Rams 30-27 Chargers.
Monday, September 24, 6:25am (AEST), University of Phoenix Stadium
The only way is up for the Cardinals after a dismal 34-0 loss to the Rams last week. QB Sam Bradford threw for only 90 yards and a pick, whilst star RB David Johnson struggled to get anything going on the ground. The defence didn’t fare much better and was unfortunately carved apart by Rams QB Jared Goff. I expect that a unit led by Patrick Peterson and Antoine Bethea will be able to rebound effectively this week.
The Bears come into this one off of a solid Monday Night Football win over the Seahawks. QB Mitchell Trubisky had a mixed evening, throwing for 200 yards and 2 scores, but also getting picked off twice. Look for the Bears to re-establish the running game led by Jordan Howard this week. The defence did a phenomenal job, shutting down the Seahawks rushing attack and sacking Russell Wilson 6 times. The linebacking trio of Khalil Mack, Danny Trevathan and Rookie Roquan Smith must be excited about the prospect of facing this anaemic Cardinals offense.
Prediction: Cardinals +6
Two poor performances from the Cardinals have undervalued them here. Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky just isn’t good enough to be laying 6 points on the road. Expect the Cardinals defence to step up here in a close one. Cardinals 17-16 Bears.
Monday, September 24, 6:25am (AEST), Century Link Field
The Seahawks return to the safe confines of Century Link Field after back-to-back road losses. The poor offensive line play has been a storyline, with QB Russell Wilson getting sacked 6 times last week and the running game struggling to get going. It was a better performance last week from the Hawks defence, containing the Bears running game and limiting QB Mitchell Trubisky. Buoyed by the return of star Linebacker Bobby Wagner, I expect this Earl Thomas led unit to put in a better performance this week.
The Cowboys got back on track last week with a hard-fought 20-13 win over the Giants. Star RB Zeke Elliott led the way with 78 yards and a touchdown, whilst QB Dak Prescott managed the game effectively. The Cowboys defence has looked strong this season, allowing an average of 14.5 points per game so far. A strong front seven led by Taco Charlton, Demarcus Lawrence and Sean Lee will need to lead the way against a weak Seahawks offensive line.
Prediction: Seahawks -1.5
The Seahawks have one of the best home field advantages in the NFL. With star LB Bobby Wagner returning, I expect the Seahawks defence to have some success against a struggling Cowboys offense. QB Russell Wilson will make just enough plays to eke out the victory. Seahawks 20-17 Cowboys.