Picks and spreads for each game

The Bears are what we thought they were, and so are the Giants – with the exception of the 2-1 records matching each team takes to their Sunday meeting at MetLife Stadium.

Chicago’s offense is from another century, and maybe not even the 20th. Yes. The Bears’ first game this season was played in a monsoon, but on three outings it’s shocking to see a modern quarterback with a combined stat line of 51.1 percent completions, 297 yards, two touchdowns, and four interceptions , which brings Justin Fields with him to East Rutherford.

Filling in a little further, in Week 2 at Lambeau Field, Fields was fired three times and intercepted once to go 7-for-11 for, brace yourself, 70 yards. Early in the fourth quarter of that game, the Bears let the ball run 99 yards on a single drive and didn’t score.

For the Giants, Daniel Jones’ stats were pretty good: 64.1 percent completions, 560 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions. His problems had more to do with the people around him. They include right-wing tackle Evan Neal, who gave up three sacks against the Cowboys Monday night, and a wide-receiving corps who just lost Sterling Shepard for the season and took a combined five catches from Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney and Wan’Dale Robinson.

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While the Giants are probably the better of the two teams by a narrow margin, I’m not ready to give the full three points in a close and low score matchup. I can get behind a Giants win of one or two points or a minor upset by the Bears before backing Big Blue with four or more.

The choice: Bears +3.

Justin Fields and Daniel Jones
Justin Fields and Daniel Jones
Getty Images; USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH STEELERS (-3.5) over New York Jets

Zach Wilson is making his season debut, and while his presence could spice up the Jets offense, it will also be hard for him to match the 300.3 yards per game that Joe Flacco delivered.

The best news for Wilson: TJ Watt is out for Steelers. Runner-up: Garrett Wilson is already at a higher level than any wide receiver the quarterback has played with on the Jets.

The bad news: The top three offensive tackles in the organization are all out, and the frustrating defense isn’t likely to keep the damage small, even against now-traveler Mitchell Trubisky. Also, with the exception of nine games in the first preseason game against the Eagles, Wilson hasn’t played a moment of fury in more than nine months.

Zach Wilson throws a pass during Jets practice.
Zach Wilson throws a pass during Jets practice.
Bill Kostroun

Minnesota Vikings (-2.5) over New Orleans Saints (in London)

Interesting trend from Action Network’s Brandon Anderson – favorites in these 9:30am ET kickoffs across the pond are 9-0-1 straight up and 7-3 against the spread, the residence of the Jaguars a few years ago not included. The injury report is worse for the Saints, who consider Jameis Winston, Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry to be questionable.

Tennessee Titans (+3.5) over INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

Tennessee hit rock bottom in Monday night’s Week 2 outburst in Buffalo and was now able to thrive while operating a bit under the radar. It’s hard to imagine a Colts team that beats the Chiefs after being knocked out by the Jaguars. Matt Ryan has not yet earned my trust in the horseshoe helmet.

Seattle Seahawks (+4) over DETROIT LIONS

Although the Lions have played under Dan Campbell in 14 out of 20 games, I still prefer to support them as an underdog rather than score more than a field goal. This one is full of uncertainty, as is most of Detroit’s offensive production: D’Andre Swift and Amon-Ra St. Brown were injured in training on Wednesday and Thursday, while TJ Hockenson only returned to training on a limited basis on Thursday.

Jacksonville Jaguars (+6.5) over PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

Tough LA to Philly road back-to-back for the Jags, and I would have preferred the full seven points available earlier in the week. However good the Eagles have been in their 3-0 start, I have to throw in with Doug Pederson in his first game back at the Linc.

ATLANTA FALCONS (+1) over Cleveland Browns

The Falcons paid out west twice, with a cover at the Rams and an outright win in Seattle. This line has shrunk from Browns -3 to this number, and Cleveland could be without star DE Myles Garrett after his car accident.

Myles Garrett
Myles Garrett
AP

DALLAS COWBOYS (-3) over Washington Commanders

Cooper Rush was excellent for the Cowboys, now 3-0 as the starter instead of Dak Prescott. This line feels light, and if it does, it shouldn’t be because of Rush. Like the Giants, the Commanders will have a hard time dealing with Demarcus Lawrence and Micah Parsons.

HOUSTON TEXANS (+5) on Los Angeles Chargers

The bolts were my Super Bowl pick going into the season (ouch!). Injuries have been devastating. Now OT Rashawn Slater and DE Joey Bosa are on IR, and we get some scaled-down versions of Justin Herbert and Keenan Allen. They may find a way to defeat the terrible Texans, but I can’t put that many down.

BALTIMORE RAVENS (+3) over Buffalo Bills

Always happy to pick up some points at home with John Harbaugh’s Ravens, even against a great team like the Bills, who dominated the box score despite a heavy loss in Miami. Buffalo’s defensive injuries should give Lamar Jackson plenty of opportunities here.

John Harbaugh
John Harbaugh
AP

CAROLINA PANTHERS (-2) on Arizona Cardinals

Carolina has gone from +3 to short favorites in a flip mostly fueled by sharp money. While each team has scored 62 points in three games, the Panthers have given up 28 fewer.

LAS VEGAS RAIDERS (-2.5) over Denver Broncos

This selection was made largely because of the records. The Broncos have many flaws, but are still 2-1. The Raiders are winless, losing three games by 13 points in total. Derek Carr and Davante Adams have a lot more to offer.

New England Patriots (+9.5) over GREEN BAY PACKERS

Some more trends from Action Network’s Brandon Anderson: Bill Belichick is 30-12-2 ATS as an underdog, 6-2 ATS gets over +6 and 11-1 ATS as “dog after a loss.” Also Brian Hoyer, starting for Mac Jones, is 8-3 ATS as more than a 5-point underdog. Large spread in low-total play is also a good sign for the ‘dog’.

Kansas City Chiefs (+1) on TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

No quarterback should delay a game on a game-changing 2-point conversion, let alone the GOAT. Patrick Mahomes takes revenge for Super Bowl LIV, while Tom Brady seems to have his head elsewhere. Line knocked over a minor favorite when it was announced the game would remain in Tampa.

Betting on the NFL?

Monday

Los Angeles Rams (+1.5) over SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

Gamblers who thought Kyle Shanahan owned Sean McVay were shaken awake in last year’s NFC Championship game. Missing OT Trent Williams and RB Elijah Mitchell, the 49ers won’t have as much success with their power ground play, and Cooper Kupp loves it under the lights.

Best bets

Raiders, Chiefs, Rams.

Last week

7-8-1 overall, 2-1 best bets.

End of the week

Chiefs (Locks 2-1 in 2022).

Thursday

Dolphins (L).

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