Kirk Cousins Washington Redskins
Kirk Cousins and the Washington Redskins, pictured at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Sept. 17, 2017 in Los Angeles, are three-point underdogs against the Oakland Raiders in Week 3, according to the latest betting odds. Getty Images

“Sunday Night Football” might feature the most exciting game on the schedule for Week 3 of the 2017 NFL season. The Oakland Raiders visit the Washington Redskins in primetime with the week’s highest over/under of 53.5.

The latest betting odds have Oakland favored by three points on the road, via OddsShark. Here’s a closer look at the Week 3 game, as well as a prediction against the spread:

Why the Raiders can cover the spread

There’s a chance that Oakland is the best team in football or the biggest threat to the Patriots, at the very least. They’ve been as impressive as anyone, winning by double-digits against a tough Tennessee Titans team on the road and dominating the New York Jets by 25 points at home. Now, they visit the Redskins, who have already lost at home and aren’t among the favorites to reach the playoffs.

Washington allowed Carson Wentz to have a big game in the season opener, and Derek Carr has a chance to be even better Sunday night. Carr’s 126.5 passer rating is good for third in the league, having thrown for five touchdowns and no interceptions with a 75 percent completion rate.

Only nine teams have fewer than Washington’s four sacks. Carr has been sacked just twice, playing behind arguably the NFL’s best offensive line. He should have plenty of time to throw the ball with opportunities to hit Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree for big plays.

Kirk Cousins has a chance to make some big plays, as well, but he’s going up against a secondary that might not be getting the credit it deserves. Sure, they took on Josh McCown and the Jets’ lowly offense in Week 2, but slowing down Marcus Mariota and Tennessee in the season opener was no easy task.

Oakland kept the Titans’ vaunted rushing attack below 100 yards, and Cousins could make some key mistakes if he’s forced to throw the ball 40-plus times, just as he did in the season opener.

Why the Redskins can cover the spread

Despite having already played in Tennessee, Oakland’s toughest test of the young season might come Sunday night. Washington has posted a winning record in each of the last two years, going a combined 10-6 at home.

The Raiders’ pass defense struggled a year ago, and it won’t have an easy time stopping Cousins from having a big game in Week 3. People seem to forget that the quarterback nearly threw for 5,000 yards in 2016. Cousins played poorly in Week 1, but he was much more efficient against the Rams last week. Having gotten more time with his new receiving corps, he could be due for a breakout performance in Week 3.

McCown might be a bottom-five starting quarterback. Mariota isn’t asked to do as much as the league’s top passers. Cousins will challenge the Raiders’ secondary with throws down the field.

Marshawn Lynch has helped give Oakland a top-five rushing attack through the first two weeks, but the Raiders still rank behind Washington in yards on the ground. The Redskins ran the ball at will last week against a good L.A. Rams defense in Week 2.

Another game like that by Rob Kelley and Chris Thompson will put Washington at 2-1 on the year.


The Raiders are already one of the darlings of the 2017 season. It’s easy to see why, with such an explosive offense and the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in Khalil Mack.

As a result, Sunday’s betting line isn’t what it should be.

Oakland was a three-point underdog against the Titans in the season opener. Just two weeks later, they are three-point road favorites against the Redskins. Is Tennessee six points better than Washington?

Traveling across the country to play a team that can put up a lot of points at home, the Raiders might be in for their first loss.

Washington over Oakland, 31-27