Week 3 of the NFL season is here. Time to place your bets. Which games should you pick and which should you avoid? Jimmy Traina and Tom Mantzouranis break down everything you need to know entering this weekend's NFL action.
Jimmy Traina: Giants +1 at Panthers. The Giants have played awful football this season. They had six turnovers in their season opener at Dallas and four more last week in their loss to the Broncos. The defense gave up 77 points in two games. Starting running back David Wilson has been buried. Despite all that, I don't think they'll struggle in beating the Panthers on Sunday. The Giants' two losses came at Dallas and against Denver. Carolina is not near that level, so I'm banking on the G-Men to cut down on the turnovers and put plenty of points on the board thanks to a lethal passing attack. The Panthers, meanwhile, are 0-2 and coming off a demoralizing loss at Buffalo. I have no faith coach Ron Rivera will be able to rally his squad to bounce back, while I have plenty of confidence Tom Coughlin will do that with his team. I just can't see the team that comes out of this game 0-3 being the Giants.
Tom Mantzouranis: Cardinals +7 at Saints. The Saints are looked at in a more favorable light than the Cardinals to the general football-watching public, but Arizona poses a number of matchup problems. Despite a balky hamstring, Larry Fitzgerald should play, and he (along with Michael Floyd, who has the size that generally gives the Saints trouble) should have at least a couple of big plays against a secondary that lost valuable slot corner Patrick Robinson for the season. On the other side of the ball, though the Cards have had trouble sacking the quarterback this season, they still have a physical front-seven, and the Saints' offensive line has had trouble protecting Drew Brees so far this season. I can see them breaking out for three or four sacks and keeping this one close, maybe even pulling off the road upset.
Week 3 NFL Betting Odds
|(Odds courtesy of COVERS.COM)|
Stay Away From
Traina: Redskins -1.5 vs Lions. Washington's defense is a complete sieve, and RGIII is still shaking off the cobwebs. That doesn't mean it's time to trust the Lions on the road.
Mantzouranis: Titans –3 vs. Chargers. I still refuse to believe Tennessee is for real, despite a decent defensive showing against the Steelers and a near-upset of the Texans. I'm dubious about the Chargers, too, but I think Mike McCoy is doing a good job in San Diego, both on and off the field. I don't think the Chargers are going to be a good team over the long haul of this season, but last week's win over the Eagles could have a galvanizing effect on a roster that is starting to believe in McCoy.
Best Of The Rest
Traina: Seahawks -19 vs. Jaguars. Don't give me any lip about the line being astronomical. The Seahawks defense alone may cover this spread. OK, that's a bit over the top, but I'm banking on the Jaguars not scoring more than six points in this game. The risk here is you could get burnt by a late backdoor cover while Seattle goes into a prevent defense and allows Jacksonville to march down the field with ease. I still say this game has 34-3 blowout written all over it.
Bills +2.5 at Jets. I've been impressed by Buffalo quarterback E.J. Manuel in his first two weeks. The Bills have played hard under new coach Doug Marrone and seem inspired by the rookie quarterback. The Jets defense has played well over the first two weeks, and could give the Manuel some trouble, but that's where C.J. Spiller comes in. Meanwhile, the Jets offense remains completely putrid. Even more astounding, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg seems intent on letting rookie quarterback Geno Smith air things out instead of pounding the ball with the combination of Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory. Big mistake.
Mantzouranis: Lions at Redskins, over 49. You saw what Aaron Rodgers did to the Redskins secondary last week? He wasn't throwing the ball to Megatron. The Lions' defense isn't all that great, either, despite their middle-of-the-pack ranking. Robert Griffin III now has two games under his belt, and he's endured a week of hearing people doubt him and even call for his benching. He may not still be the same old RGIII, but I think he's capable of putting up enough points to do Washington's part in reaching the over.
Vikings –6.5 vs. Cleveland. Have you been following the news this week? Dolphins –1 vs. Falcons. Miami's defense is for real, which would be bad enough for a Falcons team whose offensive line is hurting. And as if Roddy White's injury wasn't troublesome enough, the Falcons are also going to be missing Steven Jackson, Sean Weatherspoon and Kroy Biermann. Jackson's injury has gotten the most pub of the three, but Biermann's is an absolute killer. He was the Falcons' lone real pass rush threat, and his versatility helped key the defense (case in point: he actually played a lot of coverage against Jared Cook last week, helping limit Cook to one catch for 10 yards.