When it comes to predicting football games, the NESN.com duo of John Beattie and Mike Cole are looking to turn things around after a slow start themselves.
It won’t be easy, though. Week 3 offers a bunch of difficult lines, thanks to a couple of real lopsided matchups. The Seattle Seahawks are coming off of an impressive win over the San Francisco 49ers, and Vegas is taking note. The Hawks are almost a 20-point favorite against arguably the league’s worst team, Jacksonville. Meanwhile, the Denver Broncos are hoping to keep rolling, and they’ll look to do so against Oakland with more than a two-touchdown spread.
See which way Beattie and Cole are leaning on those and all of this week’s picks below.
All lines are from Bovada as of Thursday.
John Beattie: Eagles
Mike Cole: Eagles
Why: One game in, and I’m already annoyed and perplexed. These Vegas guys are good. I’m taking the Eagles here, but I’m not thrilled about it. I think it will be competitive, but I like the Eagles to pull away late. -MC
Why: I’ve been very impressed with Tennessee so far but I’m not impressed enough to be giving points away — not yet at least. The Chargers have had success against the Titans and after a hot start against Houston in Week 1 and a hot finish against Philly last week, it looks like they’re primed to spoil Tennessee’s homecoming. I’ll take Philip Rivers (7 touchdowns!) in this one. -JB
Why: Because they’re playing the Browns.
Why: I’m not too confident giving up an entire touchdown with this offense, but the Patriots (with Gronk or without) should be able to handle this “explosive team” as The Hooded One calls them. These teams have only met twice in the regular season since 2005 and both were Pats blowouts. While that doesn’t mean much in terms of this weekend’s outcome, it will help me sleep better on Saturday night.-JB
Why: The Ravens are in a bad way right now, and the Texans are finding ways to win. No reason to think that won’t continue Sunday.
*Ravens +3 as of Sunday a.m.
Why: The Rams put up a good fight in Atlanta last week, and assuming Romo Romos on Sunday, we can all get really silly playing the “take a shot every time Robert Quinn buries Tony Romo” drinking game. This one screams over (47.5), too, if you’re into that kind of thing. -JB
Saints -7 as of Sunday a.m.
Why: The Cardinals showed something last week in beating the Lions, but then again, it was the Lions. The Saints struggled with a stingy Tampa Bay defense on the road last week, but getting back home should get them right back in line. -MC
Why: With or without Reggie Bush this weekend (no structural damage), the Lions offense will roll. No one can cover Megatron (it’s going to be a long day, DeAngelo Hall) and Skins CB David Amerson is going to get lit up once again. Stafford had 357 passing yards in their Week 1 win but there’s a chance he could break the 400-yard mark this weekend. Sorry Redskins, 0-3 it is. -JB
Redskins +1 as of Sunday a.m.
Why: Relax, Cincy. Just relax. After a good fight against the Bears, the Bengals barely beat up on a terrible Steelers squad. Sure, the Bengals defense is looking far superior than Green Bay’s but Jamie Starks is going to be on a mission in the Green Bay backfield. I like the Packers big here.-JB
Why: No team, not even the Redskins, has allowed more points than the Giants have this season. Cam Newton played better last week after a slow start, and he should feast on this New York team. -MC
Why: Atlanta getting points against … Miami? Sounds like an easy play, right? That’s what they want you to think. Sure, ATL is 4-0-1 ATS in their last five games in South Beach but Miami stomped an awful Browns team (something good teams are supposed to do), surprised the Colts last week and their defense has four picks, two force fumbles and nine freaking sacks. Matty Ice has a banged-up offense and Miami is riding high. I’ll take the Fins in a nail-biter.-JB
Why: The points are kind of a lot, but hell hath no fury like a good team coming off a bad week. San Francisco was throttled last week on national TV, and I reckon they’ll be eager to bounce back. -MC
Why: Jaguars coach Gus Bradley served as Seattle’s defensive coordinator from 2009-2012. He probably misses that gig. That’s a ton of points, guys.-JB
Why: Just because. -MC
Why: The Steelers getting points at home just makes me feel all itchy and nervous. But then I remember which Steeler team this is and I laugh, laugh, laugh.-JB
Why: Denver is 17-5-1 against the spread since Peyton Manning took over, and not even that line will scare me away in the midst of this hot start from the Broncos. -MC