(Image credit Marc Lebryk /USA Today Sports)
Written by: Nicholas Mullick
Before we take a look at my picks for Week 3 let's take a look at my week 2 performance.
Week 2: Record 4-10-1
Overall record: 11-18-2
Now that we have gone through how I went in Week 2, I will now give my weekly NFL picks with spreads for Week 3. The Spreads from these games were all found on Draftkings.
Thursday Night Football
Carolina Panthers at Houston Texans (Spread +8)
This is a weird game to have on a Thursday Night. The Texans won’t have Tyrod Taylor for the Houston Texans as he is currently dealing with an injury. Deshaun Watson unsurprisingly won't play due to his legal issues and requesting to be traded from the organization. A lot of reports came out that the Texans would consider playing him but let's get to the point. I doubt that Watson plays this season at all. Now we get to see 3rd round rookie Davis Mills play this game and he did not impress against the Browns and was highly inaccurate. It is not a good sign as well that Mills will have a shorter time than usual to prepare for this game and I think Carolina's defense is too good. The Texans Defense will have a handful as well with the Panthers offense which is good and I am happy Darnold has the tools to be successful now. I am going to go with the Carolina Panthers to win this game and cover the spread. The Carolina Panthers would have been my survivor pick If I was alive in the survivor pool.
My Pick: Carolina Panthers (-8)
Sunday Football 1:00 PM
Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants (Spread -3)
Before I talk about the game itself it would feel wrong if I did not talk about the injury that occurred with o-lineman Nick Gates.
A career as a professional athlete is never guaranteed. There are always going to be injuries but those injuries will have an effect on a player not only on but off the field especially. These players take a chance sacrificing their bodies to play a sport that they love. On Thursday Night Football against the Washington Football Team, New York Giants offensive lineman Nick Gates suffered a brutal leg injury. He broke his left leg and it was extremely gruesome to watch. The injury was so gruesome that NFL Network would not even show a replay of the injury. I have seen the photos and the film where he got injured and it was stomach-turning.
I hate when Injuries like that happen. Like Robert Saleh said when Cameron Clark suffered his Neck injury, “It’s never good because football goes away at that moment. It’s about the person, his family, everyone in his life. That’s what takes precedence at that moment. Football just goes away.’’ This is the quote that should be carried when gruesome injuries occur, like the one Nick Gates suffered. Gates underwent season-ending leg surgery and has been ruled out for the rest of the 2021 NFL season. He is expected to make a full recovery from his injuries which is the best news of the week for the Giants. I wish Nick Gates a speedy recovery and will be excited if he returns to the football field next season.
Now let's get into the game that I would consider the first Tank game in the Tournament for the 1st overall pick. Both teams have been absolutely terrible this season. Let's talk about the Falcons and I got to be honest their poor performance so far is not a surprise to me at all. This team is in full rebuild mode and it is going to take a few seasons before we see the Falcons compete in the playoffs. Again I wish Matt Ryan didn't waste one of his final years this season with the Falcons. I hope he joins a competitive team and can get another chance at a ring. Not much really to say for the Falcons but their o-line got worse since they lost Alex Mack. But I got to say this Defense is easily the worst in the conference. Excluding Dante Fowler and Grady Jarrett, they really don't have much at defense in this game. At least AJ Terrell is looking promising but I don’t think he will play vs the Giants due to injury which will be an issue with this crowded receiving core. Let's get to the Giants and what is there to say but they should be better than what they are. First off, the Giants defense has been terrible this season so far and if they don't improve against the Falcons offense then it is panic time for this defense. Offense I have no clue what they are doing. First of all, where in the world has Kadarius Toney been? He was missing all game last week and the Giants are not properly using him. The o-line has not been good but Andrew Thomas has not been terrible this season. Fantasy wise I really like RB Saquon Barkley in this game. I can see him having a big game vs the Falcons especially as he is healthy. I don't really know about Daniel Jones but he did solid against Washington and I think he will be solid against the Falcons. If you are alive in survivor I can see why you would take the New York Giants. But, you would be crazy to bet on this game and I will not bet it for sure. But I will take the Giants as I feel they are better than the Falcons and are the home team.
My Pick: New York Giants (-3)
Arizona Cardinals at Jacksonville Jaguars (Spread +7)
I am not going to go on too long from here. I think that this game is a mismatch as the Arizona Cardinals offense, defense, special teams, and even coaching are better than the Jacksonville Jaguars. I’m going to make a bold prediction, I doubt Urban Meyer lasts as the head coach for 2 seasons. I don’t think he will be a one-and-done coach but my goodness I don't see him lasting long coaching in the NFL. The Jaguars are a mess right now and Trevor Lawrence is not doing well. Did you know that Trevor Lawrence leads the NFL in uncatchable passes which is not a good stat to have? It doesn't help that the receivers keep dropping balls and his o-line is not protecting him. I am going to go with the Arizona Cardinals in this game.
My Pick: Arizona Cardinals (-7)
Baltimore Ravens at Detroit Lions (Spread +9)
I don't really know what to think about the Baltimore Ravens. Especially as they are dealing with a ton of injuries throughout their team but this team fought back and defeated the Kansas City Chiefs. Kudos to Lamar Jackson in the game vs the Chiefs. Say what you want about how he can't throw deep and is inaccurate at times but he was a big reason why the Ravens won this game. He and the Ravens will face off against a terrible Lions defense. The Ravens have plenty of weapons to completely dominate this Lions secondary. The Lions though have been solid holding their ground against the 49ers and the Packers and fought back in both of these games where they lost. I am not a big fan of Jared Goff but he hasn't made terrible throws so far with the Lions. The Lions don’t have a ton of good receivers except for Tight End T.J. Hockenson. The o-line is dealing with a lot of injuries. At least Goff has D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams in the backfield. I think this game is going to be a lot closer than what a lot of people think. I will take the points with the Detroit Lions.
My Pick: Detroit Lions (+9)
Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans (Spread -5.5)
Before we start this game, let's get to the Obvious with Carson Wentz’s injury. First off How in the world did Wentz manage to injure both of his ankles? Luckily it is only a sprain but I don't think that the Colts will start Wentz in this game for two reasons. The first is to not risk further injury to an injury-prone player like Carson Wentz. The second involves the trade scenario with Wentz as the Colts traded a conditional 1st round pick to acquire him. The pick turns into a 1st round pick if Wentz plays 75% of the snaps this season or plays 70% of the snaps and makes the playoffs. I think that holding him out the first game will give the team a bit of leverage when trying to keep their 1st round draft pick in the 2022 NFL Draft to help build the team for the future. If Wentz does not play Week 3, then there will be three more games where if Wentz does not play then the pick does not transfer. But if Wentz does not play the Colts backup is Jacob Eason who was taken in the 4th round 122nd overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. Eason does have a ton of potential and I wonder how he will do against the Titans. I think that the Colts are dealing with way too many injuries both on offense and defense. So I will go with the Titans in this game. But this is a no bet for me because I am not confident with the Titans defense especially with their secondary.
My Pick: Tennessee Titans (-5.5)
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers (Spread -3)
Normally I would not say the team I would go with for my pick this early but this game to me is an easy one. I will take the Bengals in this game. Why? Well, news came and What a surprise Big Ben is dealing with another injury this time it is a pectoral injury and could miss week 3. But the news also came out that Ben should be available to play Week 3 while dealing with this injury. Yeah like this worked the last time you tried this Tomlin. What happened the last time Ben played with a serious injury, well Ben suffered an elbow injury and he has never been the same QB that he was. To be honest I think the Steelers would be a better team with Mason Rudolph or Dwayne Haskins at QB than Big Ben would. Not only that but this Bengals defense is going to steamroll this o-line and provide pressure to the quarterback. Even though the Bengals secondary is terrible I think that they could be a bit healthier vs the Steelers. The Steelers defense will have issues as they are dealing with a ton of injuries with Joe Haden, TJ Watt, and Devin Bush and I think the Bengals will do a tremendous job against this beaten-up Steelers team. I absolutely will take the Bengals in this game with pride and I will bet on this game.
My Pick: Cincinnati Bengals (+3)
Washington Football Team at Buffalo Bills (Spread -7.5)
I debated this game a lot as I really like both teams. Let's start with Washington as their offense is pretty solid. They have a strong o-line and nice weapons for Taylor Heinicke. I like Heinicke but I feel he is more of a confident backup than a starter. Imagine if the Washington Football Team had stability at quarterback this team would be a lock for the playoffs especially with how good this defense is. The biggest question that will stick with this team for years is What if the Dwayne Haskins selections paid off well and he was not a bust? The Bills are a team that I had projected to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. The Bills defense has done a solid job and contributed to how well they performed against the Miami Dolphins. The Bills offense has a lot of talent but their o-line has not been performing well this season and will have a handful to deal with Washington’s defense. I think this game will be close so I will take Washington but this game is a no bet for me.
My Pick: Washington Football Team (+7.5)
New Orleans Saints at New England Patriots (Spread -2.5)
This game is extremely underrated as I feel this could be one of the best games of the week. But there are a lot of question marks between both teams. The question mark for the saints is consistency. How consistent will the Saints offense and defense play because there are some plays that look amazing but other plays where the Saints look extremely sloppy? I wonder if their sloppiness had to do with a chunk of their coaches being out due to a Covid-19 outbreak but we will see in this game. The Patriots biggest question is how will they handle the offense. If I was Bill I would heavily use the running backs as a pass-catching option as Christian McCaffery had a strong performance against the Saints. Mac Jones has also been solid as a starter for the team and It will be interesting to see how he will perform against a better defense. I am going to pass on betting this game but I am leaning towards the Patriots as they are the home team but I am not confident at all.
My Pick: New England Patriots (-2.5)
Chicago Bears at Cleveland Browns (Spread -7)
This game got more interesting as Justin Fields will be the starter for the Chicago Bears in this game. Dalton will not play due to suffering a knee injury. I am really excited to see how Fields plays even though he did not perform too well last week. This week he will have a tremendous test against the Cleveland Browns defense which is one of the best defenses in the NFL. I really like Cole Kmet in this game as the Browns linebackers have struggled to cover tight ends. But this Bears offense has a lot of tools for Justin Fields to use but their o-line is not a solid unit. The Browns offense is dealing with injuries with Baker Mayfield almost giving many survivors pool players a heart attack dealing with a minor shoulder injury. No Jarvis Landry for this game and I don't know if Odell Beckham Jr will play for the team either which is a big issue with this offense. I am not going to bet on this game and I am going to take the points with Chicago but I am not confident in this game at all.
My Pick: Chicago Bears (+7)
Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs (Spread -6.5)
This is the game for the 1:00 pm games that I am interested in seeing. The Chargers defense is okay but their secondary is injured which will help the Chiefs offense make an impact in this game. I like Clyde Edwards-Helaire in this game as the Chargers defensive line is not the best. Especially with the defensive tackles and Jerry Tillery who is terrible, he stinks too. He has not panned out well as a 1st round pick for the team and is a liability in run defense. So I expect Clyde Edwards-Helaire to have a strong game and he is a must-start for fantasy football if Jerry Tillery is still starting for the Los Angeles Chargers. Justin Herbert has been surprisingly good for the LA Chargers since he was taken by the team. I really like Austin Ekeler in this game fantasy-wise as the Chiefs struggle with patch-catching running backs. The offense should do a good job against a Chiefs defense that is not as good as originally thought. Speaking of Which I got to ask is Frank Clark hurt? While I was looking back at the Ravens game he looked like he was limping a little bit and I don't see him as of now, not on the injury report. Hopefully, Clark rebounds in this game. I think this game will be close so I will be taking the Chargers. I think the Kansas City Chiefs will win this game after a cliche special teams screw up from the Los Angeles Chargers.
My Pick: Los Angeles Chargers (+6.5)
Sunday Football 4:05 PM
New York Jets at Denver Broncos (Spread -10)
Not going long with this game. The Broncos will absolutely steamroll a beaten-up New York Jets team. It is going to be a long game for Zach Wilson but hopefully, he performs better this week. The team is going to have to travel and play in Denver. Denver is a tough place for any away team to play. Teddy Bridgewater has been the best QB the Broncos have had since Peyton Manning left the team. I wouldn't say this is a total mismatch because I don't know which team has the better coach because I am not 100% sold on Vic Fangio yet. I will be betting on the Denver Broncos and I would be shocked if they did not dominate the New York Jets.
My Pick: Denver Broncos (-10)
Miami Dolphins at Las Vegas Raiders (Spread -4)
Tua Tagovailoa has officially been ruled out with a rib injury and when that news came out I immediately chose the Raiders to win this game and cover the spread. I am shocked that this spread is as low as it is now. The Dolphins o-line is terrible and I am not confident with Jacoby Brissett as the starter in this game. This game will also take place in Las Vegas and It will be an east coast team going to play a game on the west coast. This Raiders team is a lot better both on offense and on defense and they should be healthier against the Miami Dolphins. I will be taking the Las Vegas Raiders in this game.
My Pick: Las Vegas Raiders (-4)
Sunday Football 4:25 PM
Seattle Seahawks at Minnesota Vikings (Spread +1.5)
Not going to go long with this game as the Minnesota Vikings have regressed a lot. I don’t think their offense is not healthy as Dalvin Cook is dealing with an injury and their o-line is still dealing with a ton of issues. Luckily the Seahawks pass rush is not that good but their secondary could cause issues with the Vikings receiving core. The Vikings defense has not been good at all this season especially with this secondary. If Brashad Breeland has been terrible and he is getting close to potentially being cut if he continues to struggle. I mainly chose this game as which quarterback would I trust the most and all day I would go with Russell Wilson over Kirk Cousins. If things don't change soon I won't be surprised if the Vikings decide to blow it up and rebuild. I would absolutely say Mike Zimmer is on the hot seat if he did not sign extensions for last season. I will take the Seahawks and I am shocked this spread is as low as it is.
My Pick: Seattle Seahawks (-1.5)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Los Angeles Rams (Spread +1.5)
This is easily the game of the week for me. In fact, this could potentially be the NFC Championship game later on in the playoffs. Let's start with the Buccaneers. It is still amazing that they have kept almost every player that started during Super Bowl 55. This Buccaneers team is extremely scary. But we have to keep in mind that Antonio Brown tested positive for Covid-19 and will most likely be out of this game. The Buccaneers have a question with running backs like Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette have not been well at all this season. I'd rather have Giovanni Bernard in fantasy over the other two options as he has been performing the most consistent in this game. I got to congratulate Matthew Staafford as he is free from the Detroit Lions. He finally has a good offensive line, a competent running back, and a competent coach in Sean McVay. Even though running back Darrell Henderson might not play due to injury the Rams have Sony Michel that was acquired by the New England Patriots via trade. This Rams defense has played extremely well. I got to say Aaron Donald is the best Defensive lineman that I have ever seen play Football. He has to double or even triple block him in order to stop him from providing pressure to the quarterback. This game will take place in Los Angeles which gives an advantage to the Rams. Especially as the Buccaneers have to travel across the United States to play this game. Again this game is a no bet for me but I will take the points with the Los Angeles Rams.
My Pick: Los Angeles Rams (+1.5)
Sunday Night Football
Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers (Spread -3)
Now, this is an interesting game to watch on Sunday night. I'd rather watch Rams vs Buccaneers at this spot but I am not complaining about the Packers facing the 49ers. I don't really know what to think of the 49ers as I really like how much depth they have on offense. I wonder what they are doing with Brandon Aiyuk at wide receiver. The 49ers offensive line is one of the best in the NFL today. But the main reason why I am going with the Packers is how bad the 49ers secondary is due to how injured it is. Aaron Rodgers should dominate and throw all over this beaten-up secondary. This is a no bet for me but I will take the points with the Green Bay Packers but I am not confident in this game at all.
My Pick: Green Bay Packers (+3)
Monday Night Football
Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys (Spread -3.5)
This is an easy pick for me. I will take the Eagles. I really think that this team is extremely underrated. I am still a believer in Jalen Hurts and he has been a big reason why this team has performed well the last two weeks. They have a ton of tools that they can utilize but this J.J. Arcega-Whitside they should cut him. I mean he has been terrible since the Eagles drafted him in the second round and has not gotten better and is more of a liability for this offense. Their o-line is beaten up and they need to perform well in this game. The Eagles defense is not as terrible as many people thought it would be originally but the secondary has a challenge with the Cowboys receivers. Now let's talk about the Dallas Cowboys. I think their offense is solid mainly due to how good Dak Prescott is and the receivers that surround him. I have to admit I think we are now witnessing the massive regression of Ezekiel Elliott and I would pick Tony Pollard in fantasy as a Cuff back option. Dallas just lost a major part of their defense as Demarcus Lawrence suffered a long-term injury and he will miss many games this season. I still don't trust the Cowboys mainly because Mike McCarthey is the head coach and he has continued to make questionable coaching decisions throughout his tenure with the Cowboys. I will gladly take the points as I think the Eagles will be winning this game or Dallas wins in a close game by a field goal.
My Pick: Philadelphia Eagles (+3.5)