With each team having played two games, a clearer picture is beginning to form about who may become contenders in the 2013 NFL season. As a result, Week Three features the two biggest betting lines of the year, with both games having point spreads of more than two touchdowns.
Last week, the underdogs covered in nine of the 16 games. Only four favorites, however, ended up losing their Week Two contest.
Below are picks against the spread for every contest in Week Three:
Kansas City Chiefs (+3) at Philadelphia Eagles
The overreaction to the Eagles Week One victory may have been tempered after their loss at home to the San Diego Chargers. However, they might be catching the 2-0 Chiefs at the right time. Chip Kelly’s offense won’t be easy to prepare for on just three days’ rest, especially with a healthy Michael Vick who’s throwing the ball well.
Prediction ATS: Philadelphia
San Diego Chargers (+3) at Tennessee Titans
The Titans are one overtime loss away from having upset two traditional AFC North powerhouses. That doesn’t change the fact that Jake Locker still may not be good enough to start in the NFL. Philip Rivers and the Chargers offense will be difficult to keep off the board and Tennessee won’t be able to keep up.
Prediction ATS: San Diego
Cleveland Browns (+6.5) at Minnesota Vikings
With Brandon Weeden out because of an injury, Bryan Hoyer is set to get the start for the Browns. The second-year quarterback hasn’t been good, and there’s a reason Hoyer is his backup. There’s a good chance Cleveland won’t get in the end zone the entire game.
Prediction ATS: Minnesota
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+7) at New England Patriots
Through two games, the Patriots have barely been able to secure victories against teams with a rookie quarterback. With Julian Edelman as his best weapon, Tom Brady can only do so much. The Buccaneers held down Drew Brees for much of Week Two, and even though they probably won’t win, Tampa Bay should be able to keep the game close for much of the way.
Prediction ATS: Tampa Bay
Houston Texans (-2.5) at Baltimore Ravens
The Texans have needed last-second field goals to win their first two games against teams that weren’t projected to make the playoffs. The Ravens have been great in Baltimore under John Harbaugh and the betting line may be the result of an overreaction to their blowout loss in the opener.
Prediction ATS: Baltimore
St. Louis Rams (+4) at Dallas Cowboys
Against the Chiefs, the Cowboys settled for field goals too often. That should change once they return home and play against a mediocre defense. Tony Romo could have a big game, helping Dallas easily cover the four-point spread.
Prediction ATS: Dallas
Arizona Cardinals (+7) at New Orleans Saints
The Cardinals are a different team with Carson Palmer at the helm, but that might not help them on Sunday. There’s no tougher offense to stop than the Saints at home. It will likely be a shootout, but New Orleans could win by at least two scores.
Prediction ATS: New Orleans
Detroit Lions (+2) at Washington Redskins
Robert Griffin III has yet to prove that he’s the same quarterback that he was prior to his ACL injury. In addition, Washington’s defense has allowed more yards than any other team. Reggie Bush’s uncertain status makes things more difficult for the Lions, but it’s even harder to trust the Redskins at the point.
Prediction ATS: Detroit
Green Bay Packers (-2.5) at Cincinnati Bengals
Aaron Rodgers showed last week why he might be the best quarterback in the league. His 146.9 passer rating was the highest of any signal caller this season. The Bengals are improved, but the Packers are superior at the most important position, and Cincinnati doesn’t have much of a home-field advantage.
Prediction ATS: Green Bay
New York Giants (+1) at Carolina Panthers
No quarterback has thrown more interceptions than Eli Manning, and the Giants have fewer rushing yards than every other NFL team. With a week of practice under Brandon Jacobs’s belt and Manning’s track record, though, it’s not likely that this trend will continue. Cam Newton could have some success against the Giants, but there’s a good chance New York picks up their first win in this one.
Prediction ATS: New York
Atlanta Falcons (+2.5) at Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins couldn’t be catching the Falcons at a better time. This week, Atlanta learned that they’ll be without defensive end Kroy Biermann and fullback Brady Ewing for the season. Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon has been placed on injured reserve and running back Stephen Jackson won’t play on Sunday. Miami has started off 2013 red hot and that should continue in their first home game.
Prediction ATS: Miami
Indianapolis Colts (+10) at San Francisco 49ers
Ten points may seem like a lot for a team that won 11 games in 2012, but the Colts could be in for a big loss. They benefited from edging opponents in close games in 2012, winning nine of their games by one score or less. Indianapolis had trouble on the road against good teams, and their five losses came by an average of 20 points. The 49ers began the 2013 season as the NFC favorites for a reason, and Colin Kaepernick should return to his Week One form.
Prediction ATS: San Francisco
Jacksonville Jaguars (+19.5) at Seattle Seahawks
It may end up being the largest betting line of the year, but the Jaguars are probably the worst team in the NFL. They have just one touchdown in two games and Chad Henne will have trouble moving the ball against a stingy Seattle defense. The Seahawks have the best home-field advantage in football and a habit of blowing teams out. In 2012, they won three of their last four games by at least 29 points and beat the 49ers by 26 in Week Two.
Prediction ATS: Seattle
Buffalo Bills (+2.5) at New York Jets
The Jets may not be as bad as many projected, with their defense having the ability to keep them in most games. Geno Smith, though, continues to make rookie mistakes, and Bills head coach Doug Marrone had success against him in college. E.J. Manuel looks much more NFL-ready than his counterpart, and could help Buffalo steal a win on the road.
Prediction ATS: Buffalo
Chicago Bears (-2.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers have a lot of problems on offense, but Ben Roethlisberger is too good for this lack of production to continue every week. The Bears have yet to play like the defensive stalwart they’ve been in the past. Look for Pittsburgh to break out of their funk and get into the end zone a few times in front of their home crowd.
Prediction ATS: Pittsburgh
Oakland Raiders (+15) at Denver Broncos
Until their first loss, the Broncos will be rightfully considered the best team in football. Peyton Manning has thrown nine touchdowns and no interceptions, and the defense has done a good job of forcing turnovers. Denver beat the Ravens and Giants by an average of 20 points. There’s no reason to believe they won’t win by at least that much against the worst team in their division.
Prediction ATS: Denver