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NFL: Week 3 Game Previews and Selections


This has been the season of the comeback in the NFL – at least when it comes to on-the-field developments.

Through the first two weeks of the season, seven teams have come back from deficits of 10 points or more to win games, and the Philadelphia Eagles have already done it twice.

Teams that are going to win consistently in the NFL have to find a way to come through in the second half. That’s one of the lessons so far this season.

If you are going to beat the spread – or at least hold your own – look for teams that play well in the second half.

After putting a 2-3 ATS performance on the board in Week Two, we have a 5-5 record through two weeks. We’ll try to come through in Week Three with the following selections.


Bills DE Mario Williams

Bills DE Mario Williams


San Diego at Buffalo (-2.5)


The Chargers appear to be flying high after beating the reigning Super Bowl champions last week, but they face a dubious challenge this week. Philip Rivers has to fly across the country and play against the upstart Bills, who punished the Dolphins in their home opener and appear to be a much better team than the experts thought.

The Chargers are going to be greeted by Buffalo’s loud and enthusiastic fans, and if the San Diego defense is not ready for explosive rookie Sammy Watkins, it could be a very long day. Watkins simply knows how to get open and his ability to make big plays should open up the running game for C.J. Spiller.

The Buffalo defense has the ability to put a ton of pressure on Rivers and make him get rid of the ball quickly. Defensive end Mario Williams should come away with two sacks in this game and the Bills will move to 3-0 as they stop the Chargers by a 24-13 margin.


Tennessee at Cincinnati (-7)


The Titans have had a difficult week after getting torched at home by the Cowboys. The question that cerebral head coach Ken Whisenhunt is asking himself and his staff is how his team is going to stay with the Bengals on the road if they were clueless against the Cowboys at home.

This game has route written all over it. Even if wide receiver A.J. Green’s toe limits him or keeps him out of the game, quarterback Andy Dalton can make key plays by getting the ball to Mohammed Sanu or Brandon Tate. Running back Giovanni Bernard is tough, explosive and capable of breaking open the game.

The Bengals also play hellacious defense at home, and look for defensive end Carlos Dunlap to live in the Tennessee backfield and treat Titans quarterback Jake Locker like his own personal punching bag. Cincinnati will dominate this game on both sides of the line of scrimmage and records a 31-10 victory.



Baltimore at Cleveland (+2)


Through the first two games of the season, the Cleveland Browns have played two competitive games. They nearly beat the Steelers on the road in their opener and then outlasted the high-scoring New Orleans Saints at home in Week Two.

The Browns are not one of the more talented teams in the league, but running back Terrance West (168 yards, 4.8 yards per carry) has been carrying the ball with passion and purpose. He may not be supposed to do much damage against NFL defenses, but West has not gotten that memo.

The Ravens bounced back from a Week One loss to Cincinnati with an impressive win over Pittsburgh last Thursday night. Quarterback Joe Flacco found his rhythm against the Steelers and he appears to have a new go-to receiver in wideout Steve Smith. They are certainly going to come after the Browns’ 29th-rated pass defense.

However, this is going to be a back-and-forth game, and it won’t be decided until the final seconds. We’re saying Billy Cundiff hits the game-winning field goal and gives Cleveland the 27-24 victory.



Patriots QB Tom Brady

Patriots QB Tom Brady

Oakland at New England (-14)


The Patriots may have had a one-sided victory in Week Two at Minnesota, but don’t think for a second that quarterback Tom Brady is happy with the way things are going for the New England offense. The Patriots are having a hard time finding a consistent passing game, and the only success they are having is with short passes.

That’s not how Brady wants to play it. He wants diversity in his offense, and that means adding the deep and intermediate throws to his repertoire. Look for the Patriots to show some improvement in their passing game in the home opener against the hapless Raiders.

The Patriots defense has come a long way from the mess it was a couple of years ago. Darrelle Revis is the best cover man in the game, and he had an interception last week. He should poach at least one off of rookie quarterback Derek Carr. Pass rusher Chandler Jones should have a field day.

This should be an easy victory for the Patriots despite the impost. They will have this one in hand by halftime, and they only thing backers will be worried about is a backdoor cover. That’s not going to happen as the Patriots have an easy time in a 33-7 victory.



Pittsburgh at Carolina (-3)

The theory from this corner is that you can make a lot of money betting against public teams once they start to go sour.

The Steelers are most definitely a public team and have been since the days of Terry Bradshaw and Joe Greene. But the Steelers are no longer contenders because the defense has faded badly. They are simply too slow to keep up with most teams, and the Panthers are one of the fastest teams in the league.

Cam Newton is going to try to pick on veteran safety Troy Polamalu. He is going to survey the field and anticipate Polamalu’s coverage responsibilities and then throw to his area because he knows the former All-Pro can’t keep up any longer.

The Steelers’ offense should be able to hold its own, but the Panthers have a powerful defensive team and they are playing at home. The Steelers will hang around in this game, but they will come up short in the fourth quarter. Carolina moves to 3-0 with a 24-17 victory.

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