I don’t usually rush to judgement about any teams after watching them play just two games, but guys, I’ll be honest, I don’t think the Jets are going to make the playoffs this year, and I’m not even completely convinced they’re going to win a game after what happened on Sunday.
On paper, it seemed like they might have a chance to win in Week 2 and that’s mostly because the 49ers barely had enough healthy players to field a team. If you want to know how many players were injured, just think of a random 49ers player — any player — and there’s a good chance they didn’t play on Sunday due to an injury or they got injured during the game.
George Kittle? Richard Sherman? Deebo Samuel? None of them played.
Jimmy Garoppolo? Nick Bosa? Raheem Mostert? All injured during the game.
At one point, I think the 49ers only had four players on the field. Sure, I’m exaggerating, but not by much. Despite all those injuries the Jets managed to lose by 18 points. They also gave up a first down on third-and-31, which was kind of fitting, because if there has been one play in the NFL this year that perfectly sums up the Jets’ entire season so far, it was that one.
I hate to take any drama out of any of my picks this week, but I would like you guys to know that I will not be taking the Jets in Week 3.
So who will I be taking? Glad you asked. Let’s get to the picks.
Actually, before we get to the picks, here’s a quick reminder that you can check out the weekly picks from every CBSSports.com NFL expert by clicking here. I get four cents every time someone clicks through on that link, so make sure to click early and often. Actually, that’s not true, I think the money actually just goes to the budget CBS has allotted for Will Brinson’s hair care.
Speaking of Brinson, he’s the host of the Pick Six Podcast, and just in case I haven’t made it clear over the past two weeks, I’ll be joining him three days per week on the podcast — Monday, Tuesday and Friday — for the rest of the NFL season. Even though I’m only on three days per week, there’s a new episode every single day from Monday through Friday and you should try to listen as often as possible (You can listen to Tuesday’s episode below and click here to check it out and subscribe).
Alright, that’s enough of that. Let’s get to the Week 3 picks.
NFL Week 3 Picks
L.A. Rams (2-0) at Buffalo (2-0)
1 p.m. ET (Fox)
Point spread: Bills -2.5
I don’t know how it happened, but in a span of two weeks, Josh Allen has somehow gone from being a completely average NFL quarterback to being a front-runner for the MVP. Is it dumb to talk about the MVP in September? Yes, but I also once thought it would be dumb to mention Allen’s name in any conversation involving the MVP, yet here we are, so I’m not going to pretend to know what’s dumb and what’s not anymore.
If you’ve missed what Allen has done over the first two weeks of the season, it’s been nothing short of amazing. Not only is he leading the NFL in passing yards, but he’s just the fourth player in NFL history to pass for at least 700 yards with six or more touchdowns and zero interceptions through the first two weeks of the season. The only other quarterbacks to pull that off were Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes. Let me repeat that because it really just doesn’t sound believable: Josh Allen just did something that only Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes had ever done. The good news for Bills fans is that Manning, Brady and Mahomes all made it to at least the AFC title game in the seasons where they got off to that hot start.
Apparently, we’re living in some sort of bizarro world right now, because the problem with the Bills so far this year is their defense. Before the season started, I thought for sure that the defense would have to carry Allen if Buffalo was going to be good, but instead, it’s been the opposite.
If you haven’t been following the Bills defense so far this year, here’s what they’ve done: They gave up 17 points to the Jets, which is like giving up 71 points to a normal team. They also gave up 28 points to the Dolphins, which isn’t very impressive either, because, I mean, it’s the Dolphins.
The way I see it, the Bills have one big problem in this game and that problem is that they’ll be facing a good offense for the first time. Also, as we all know, I never pick against Sean McVay when he’s coaching against an AFC team in the regular season, and if you didn’t know that, now you do. In his head coaching career, McVay is 10-2 against AFC teams.
The pick: Rams 34-27 over Bills
Dallas (1-1) at Seattle (2-0)
4:25 p.m. ET (Fox)
Point spread: Seahawks -4.5
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been hearing murmurs on the internet about something called “Let Russ Cook,” which I initially thought was a new cooking show that Russell Wilson would soon be getting on The Food Network, but apparently, I was wrong. As it turns out, “Let Russ Cook” has nothing to do with food, which is sad, because I totally would have watched a cooking show with Russell Wilson and I definitely would have watched if it was with him and Guy Fieri. The show could have even been called “Fourth and Fieri,” and yes, I’m trademarking that name now, so don’t even try to steal it. The Seahawks could have even promoted some of the recipes from the show from their official Twitter feed. It would have been a match made in heaven.
I mean, let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to see Wilson and Guy Fieri make a delicious spinach empanada? I certainly do.
Anyway, the “Let Russ Cook” mantra started because Wilson and the Seattle fanbase wanted to see the quarterback throw more this year and apparently, not only are the Seahawks letting Russ Cook, but I’m pretty sure they gave him the keys to the kitchen. This is my convoluted way of saying not only does it feel like they’re letting him throw more, but it seems like Wilson has more say in the offense, and in the least surprising development of all-time, the Seahawks offense now looks unstoppable.
Over the first two weeks of the season, Wilson is averaging more than 300 yards per game, he’s on pace for 72 touchdown passes and the Seahawks are averaging 36.5 points per game. Not to mention, he shredded the Patriots defense and manhandled a Falcons team that would have beaten the Cowboys on Sunday if anyone on the Atlanta’s hands team had been taught how to recover an onside kick.
The one problem with the Seahawks is their defense, which is actually kind of a huge problem. Through two weeks, the Seahawks are surrendering 485 yards per game, which is the most in the NFL, and that’s likely only going to get worse now that they’ve lost Bruce Irvin for the season. The good news for Seattle is that the Cowboys’ defense is giving up 401.1 yards per game, which is almost as bad (There are five NFC teams surrendering 400 or more yards per game: Three of them are 0-2 while the other two are the Seahawks and Cowboys).
I think what I’m trying to say here is that this game is going to be a shootout. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, this game is being played at Seattle in the month of September, which I’m only mentioning because the Seahawks pretty much never lose at home in the month of September. Since Pete Carroll was hired in 2010, the Seahawks have gone 16-1 in September home games.
I have no idea why the Seahawks are so unbeatable in September home games, but if I’ve learned one thing during my life, it’s that I don’t need to understand something to appreciate it. I mean, I’ve never really understood the plot of any movie that Christopher Nolan has ever made, but I still appreciate them. I was thinking about seeing Tenet, but I still don’t even know what happened in Memento, and that came out in 2000. Once I figure that out, I’ll allow myself to watch another one.
The pick: Seahawks 34-31 over Cowboys
Green Bay (2-0) at New Orleans (1-1)
8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)
Point spread: Saints -3.5
For some reason, out of all the games in Week 3, this one intrigues me the most and that’s mostly because I still have no idea what to make of Green Bay. The thing about the Packers is that I’m still not exactly sure how good they are this year. To be clear, they’re definitely good, I just don’t know how good. In Week 1, they beat the Vikings 43-34 in a game that told me nothing, because it was against the Vikings. I mean, have you seen the Vikings play this year? It’s like watching the NFC’s version of the Jets.
In Week 2, they trailed the Lions 14-3 before mounting an absurd comeback and winning the game 42-21, and I’m still trying to decide if I’m more worried by the fact that they trailed by double digits against DETROIT or if I’m more impressed that they outscored the Lions 39-7 over the final three quarters.
I think what’s happening here is that I’m trying really hard to talk myself out of picking the Packers, but I can’t do it, and that’s mainly because of Aaron Rodgers. I don’t know if it’s because his team tried to draft his replacement or if it’s because he want on that tequila bender during the offseason, but Rodgers has been unstoppable this year. He’s averaging more than 300 yards passing per game, he’s only taken one sack and he hasn’t thrown a single interception. The man has no weaknesses and I’m not picking against someone who has no weaknesses.
Also, whatever the fountain of youth is, I think Drew Brees has found the opposite of it. Brees looked horrible against the Raiders on Monday and I’m not sure he’s going to look any better against the Packers. The biggest problem for Brees is that there’s a very real chance that Michael Thomas isn’t going to be playing on Sunday night.
Why is that a problem? I’ll let my friends at NFL research answer that question.
I wish I could wait until Friday to turn in my pick for this game, that way I would know whether or not Thomas will be on the field. I’d also know if Davante Adams is going to play, which isn’t a guarantee since he injured his hamstring in Week 2. If either one of those guys is out, that would be a huge enough loss that might be enough to make me change my pick. As for now, I’m going to assume that Adams will be playing and that Thomas probably won’t. Of course, I’m not a doctor, so please do not take that as fact. That being said, I did pull out my own stitches once, so I’m practically halfway to being a doctor.
The pick: Packers 27-24 over Saints
Kansas City (2-0) at Baltimore (2-0)
Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Point spread: Ravens -3
I’m not usually one to tell people what to do with their lives, but if you have a plan in place for Monday night that doesn’t involve watching this game, you should definitely cancel that plan so you can watch this game. And before you start to feel bad about canceling plans with someone, let me just say that the best part about canceling plans during a pandemic is that there’s no guilt associated with it. You can literally make up any excuse you want.
Friend 1: Hey man, I know we were going to meet for a drink on Monday night, but I have to cancel on you.
Friend 2: Oh, that sucks. What happened?
Friend 1: Apparently some guy in my vegetable club was infected with COVID and now we all have to quarantine.
Friend 2: You’re in a vegetable club? I don’t even know what that is.
Friend 1: Ha! You don’t know what it is? It’s a club where we meet and talk about vegetables every week. We get most of our recipes from that cookbook Russell Wilson wrote with Guy Fieri.
Friend 2: Seriously? I think I’ve actually read that, it’s called “Let Russ Cook,” right? I love that book, just made the spinach empanadas last week. Anyway, sad that we won’t be able to hang out on Monday night. Maybe next week.
Friend 1: *Checks next week’s NFL schedule, sees the Falcons are playing on Monday* Yup, next week sounds good.
Now that I’ve convinced everyone that they need to watch this game, let’s talk about the actual game.
I’m actually going to cut straight to the point here, which is mildly surprising, because I never cut straight to the point. I’m going to pick the Chiefs. My problem with the Ravens is that they never seem to win big games. I know that sounds crazy, but I’ll go ahead and point to four instances: They’re 0-2 in playoff games with Lamar Jackson and they’re 0-2 against the Chiefs with Lamar Jackson.
In all four of those losses for Baltimore, the same thing happened: The winning team took a big lead into the second half, which forced the Ravens out of their offensive element. Last year against the Chiefs, the Ravens trailed 23-3 in the third quarter and then had to play catch up the rest of the game. In the playoff loss to the Titans, Baltimore trailed 28-6 in the third quarter and then had to play catch-up the rest of the game.
The Ravens are good at getting a lead and then using their run game to stomp on your throat. They’re not so good at playing from behind, which hasn’t been a problem, because they’re so much better than almost every other team in the NFL that they rarely have to play from behind. As a matter of fact, the Ravens only trailed at the half in three games last year, and yup, they lost all three games (Chiefs, Browns, Titans). On the other hand, the Chiefs have no issues playing from behind. As a matter of fact, they’re actually so good at playing from behind that they’ve won six straight games where they trailed by double digits at some point, which is an NFL record.
Anyway, I think the Chiefs are going to jump out to an early lead and then hold on to dear life for victory.
Also, I would like to note that Patrick Mahomes has never lost a game during the month of September. He is possibly the greatest September QB in history of the NFL and there’s no way I’m picking against the greatest September QB in the history of the NFL.
The pick: Chiefs 37-34 over Ravens
Lock of the Week
Las Vegas (2-0) at New England (1-1)
1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Point spread: Patriots -6
If I was smart, the lock of the week would just be me picking against the Jets every week, but that’s too easy, and I hate easy, which is why I don’t ever read the instructions to anything.
You know who else hates easy? Bill Belichick. At least he seems like someone who would. After watching his defense get diced up by Russell Wilson on Sunday, Belichick is probably celebrating the fact that he gets to play the Raiders this week and that’s mostly because Derek Carr is not Russell Wilson.
Look, there are some quarterbacks who always seem to struggle against Belichick and Carr is one of them. In two career games against the Patriots, not only is Carr 0-2, but his team has never even hit the 10-point mark (They scored eight and nine points in the two losses). The Raiders have had trouble scoring against New England because Carr has been bad against the Patriots, with just one TD pass and two interceptions in those two games. One of the things that Belichick does best is exploit the opposing quarterbacks weaknesses, and let me just say, Carr has a lot of weaknesses to exploit. I think what I’m trying to say here is that I don’t see Carr having any success against New England this week.
This game just feels like it has all the makings of a Raiders disaster: They’re coming off an emotional win on Monday where they opened their new stadium, and now, they have to fly across the country on a short week to play an early game against a Patriots team that’s coming off a loss. On the list I made of things that need to happen for the Raiders to get blown out, that pretty much checks every box.
The pick: Patriots 34-24 over Raiders
Lock of the week record: 3-0 straight-up, 3-0 against the spread
NFL Week 3 picks: All the rest
Jaguars 27-24 over Dolphins
Falcons 26-23 over Bears
Browns 23-20 over Washington
Titans 30-20 over Vikings
49ers 20-17 over Giants
Eagles 30-27 over Bengals
Steelers 27-23 over Texans
Colts 31-20 over Jets
Chargers 34-20 over Panthers
Buccaneers 20-13 over Broncos
Cardinals 33-30 over Lions
Best pick: For the first time ever, my best pick of the week is a pick I got wrong, and no, it doesn’t really make any sense, but I’m doing it anyway. Last week, I went 13-3 with my picks, but I would have gone 14-2 if anyone on the Falcons roster knew how to recover an onside kick and that’s because I picked the Falcons to beat the Cowboys in a shootout.
ALL THEY HAD TO DO WAS RECOVER THE ONSIDE KICK.
I MEAN, THE FOOTBALL IS RIGHT THERE, JUST PICK IT UP.
The joke is on me though, because I literally spent an entire paragraph last week describing how the Falcons would lose, only to completely ignore my own advice. Here’s what I wrote:
“My general rule of thumb when trying to pick the winner in a Falcons game is to always pick against the Falcons, because in every game they play, there’s a 90% chance they’ll shoot themselves in the foot multiple times before finding a fantastic way to lose.”
That couldn’t have been more spot on, which is why this game is listed in the best pick section.
Shoot themselves in the foot? Check
Found a fantastic way to lose? Check.
PICK AGAINST THE FALCONS? NOT CHECKED, BECAUSE I PICKED THEM TO WIN.
Clearly, I’m still bitter about missing this pick. Also, because I want to suffer right along with you Falcons fans, I’m picking your team to win again this week even though I hate them.
Worst pick: I only missed on three picks last week, so I have three choices for my worst pick: Bengals over Browns, Raiders over Saints or Falcons over Cowboys. Well, the thing here is that I AM NEVER SPEAKING of the Falcons-Cowboys game EVER again, so that’s out. It would be blasphemous to speak ill of my favorite city in the world Las Vegas, so that’s out, which means Bengals-Browns wins by default, and that’s kind of fitting for the worst pick section, because it was definitely my worst pick of the week.
Going into last week, the Bengals had lost 13 STRAIGHT games on the road, and yet, for some reason, I still picked them to win. I deserved that loss and I will happily take it. However, I’m probably going to be bitter about the Falcons loss for at least six more months or until I train an actual falcon to recover onside kicks, whichever comes first.
Straight up in Week 2: 13-3
SU overall: 22-10
Against the spread in Week 2: 12-4
ATS overall: 17-14-1
You can find John Breech on Facebook or Twitter and if he’s not doing one of those things, he’s probably in his backyard practicing onside kick recoveries so that he can make a video of it and send it to the Falcons.