NFL Week 3: Sunday 1:00 PM EST
Texans @ Bears (-2.5)
Chicago is favored at home, but I’d favor anything besides watching this game. What channel are those Housewives on? How does a team attempt only 28 passes in two games? Who’s their quarterback, Sid Luckman? Let’s face it, the Bears are lucky to be 1-1, but the Texans may be worse.
Ka’imi Fairbairn kicked for all of Houston’s points last week which is Ka’razy against an average Broncos team. Houston’s Dameon Pierce had 69 yards on 15 carries while Chicago’s David Montgomery turned 15 carries into 122 yards, or 126 more yards than Darnell Mooney (-4).
The Texans beat the spread in their last three games, and Chicago seems ill-equipped to beat this trend.
Fantasy Abacus says: Go Texans.
Saints @ Panthers (+3)
Jameis Winston had quite a line against the Bucs: 6 sacks for a loss of 30 yards, 4 spinal fractures, 3 interceptions, and a partridge in a pear tree. Tom Brady’s tablet fared better in New Orleans last Sunday. Hopefully, Alvin Kamara will be back to carry the ball (and the team).
The Panthers haven’t covered a spread in their last five games. Christian McCaffrey tripled his yards and doubled his average last week, but Baker Mayfield could only manage 145 yards in Week 2. The Saints have won 4 of their last 5 meetings against the Panthers and they’ll heat Matt Rhule’s seat with a win.
Fantasy Abacus says: Take the Saints
Chiefs @ Colts (+7)
Good teams win bad games. In Week 1, Patrick Mahomes operated like a point guard, throwing for 360 yards and 5 TDs. He played well enough to win last week, hitting 9 receivers for 235 yards and 2 TDs, but the defense made like Ben Simmons and failed to show up.
The Colts will show up at Lucas Oil Stadium having opened the season with two road games. Jonathan Taylor (of South Jersey) pulled his own Simmons last week with only 9 carries; three times the amount of Matt Ryan interceptions and nine times the amount of sacks the defense could muster.
The Colts haven’t covered since last season, but they may be more desperate than a Simmons 3-pointer. They fight to save the season and stay close.
Fantasy Abacus says: Go Colts
Bills @ Dolphins (+4)
Quick, name the most dominant mammals on earth. Now stop pointing fingers, it’s not you. It’s the Dolphins. So far Miami has the league’s leading passer and 2 of the top 3 receivers. Tua just tagged the Ravens for six scores as Waddle and the “Cheetah” each flirted with 200 yards receiving. Wait, maybe it’s the Bills. They dropped 41 on the Titans after putting 31 on the Rams. Do you think Tom Brady is glad to be out of the AFC East?
Buffalo is giving 4 points on the road which seems crazy given Miami’s most recent performance, but how can you go against a team that’s outscored opponents 72-17? The Bills have won their last 5 meetings against the Dolphins, often by wide margins. But the abacus thinks a division road game on a short week could be enough to slow the Bills down.
Fantasy abacus says: Take Miami.
Lions @ Vikings (-6.5)
After two games, Detroit leads the NFC in points, yards, and touchdowns. No, really. The Vikings haven’t cracked the top 10 in any of these categories and a 7-point performance against the Eagles on Monday didn’t help with Kirk Cousins still “not ready for prime time”.
Luckily for him, the sun will be out on Sunday. Unfortunately for his defense, Sun-God-St. Brown will be there too, hoping to build on his 2 TD, 184-yard game against Washington. Here’s another divisional game with one team playing on short rest. Minnesota will give the “Skol” chants a rest if they can’t put up more points than they did in Philly. Lions fans should also temper expectations against an above-average Vikings defense. Detroit has been good against the spread lately and upset the Vikings in last year’s meeting.
Also, are we sure Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell wasn’t in college when these teams last met? He looks like he should be playing flip-cup at the Delta House to me. Regardless, the Lions should have enough to keep it close.
Fantasy abacus says: Go with the Lions.
Ravens @ Patriots (+3)
Whatever they pay Lamar Jackson, it’s not enough. He should be paid in cash with his face on the money. Seriously, what’s Andrew Jackson done lately? Sure, Lamar’s team just coughed one up at home against the Dolphins, but don’t shortchange Jackson’s performance; his 437 combined yards and 3 scores were hardly to blame.
The Patriots “nickel and dimed” their way to a win over Pittsburgh last week, but it wasn’t pretty. Jones played well enough to win, but the defense paid dividends with 3 sacks and an interception. The Pats last beat the Ravens two years ago as a 6-point underdog. They’ll need more defense to stay on the positive side of the ledger, but put my money on an angry Ravens team.
Fantasy Abacus says: Ravens win and cover
Bengals @ Jets (+4.5)
You know your team is historically bad when they win an amazing game and are still home underdogs to a winless team. Can we please put some respect on Joe Flacco’s name? My man had 4 TDs, two of them to his new bestie, Garrett Wilson. I haven’t seen anybody so enamored with a Wilson since Tom Hanks was a castaway.
Tee Higgins owners had to love his 71 yards and a score against the Cowboys while shaking off a concussion. Both teams have identical records against the spread in three games, but New York upset the Bengals at home last year. Cincinnati will remember this and they’ll remember how to play winning football. There’s just no way they go 0-3 against Flacco, sorry Joe.
Fantasy Abacus says: Bengals win and cover.
Raiders @ Titans (+2)
Did you know that neither team has won a game since January 9, 2022? I have no idea what that means, and I have no idea what happened to Derrick Henry last week (13 carries for 25 yards). It’s easy to say that Buffalo happened to him (five Bills players tackled him for a loss), but a back like Henry used to be matchup-proof.
Losing Taylor Lewan early sure hurt; maybe as much as the Raiders losing late against the Cardinals? Who thought it was a good idea to let four receivers out-target Davante Adams, that New England guy with the visor? John Gruden wore a visor. Uh-oh. Josh, lose the visor and hang your hat on getting Adams the ball. The Titans can’t cover a spread and they’ll be talking about Willis before this one is over.
Fantasy Abacus Says: Pick the Raiders
Eagles @ Commanders (+7)
On Monday night, Jalen Hurts became the first player in NFL history to pass for over 300 yards with an 80% completion percentage and rush for multiple scores in green socks while chewing gum on an odd-numbered day in September.
The point is, Hurts might be the real deal. We always knew he could run, but now he’s throwing with more accuracy and making better decisions. On the other side, bad decision-making is what got the Commanders’ QB shipped out of Philadelphia. But nobody has thrown more touchdowns than Wentz so far, and he trails only Tagovailoa in yardage.
That doesn’t mean he won’t get booed. Yes, the game is in Washington, but those stands are always full of Eagles fans. Trust me, you’ll hear them. You may have heard this before, but teams playing against division rivals on the road in a short week tend to struggle. To hell with that. Expect Carson to have a meltdown and end this game as poorly as he started last week’s game.
Fantasy Abacus says: Go Birds!
Week 3: Sunday 4:05 PM EST
Jaguars @ Chargers (-7)
After KC barbequed his ribs, Justin Herbert comes home to face a Jaguars team that’s been surprisingly competitive. But cracked ribs won’t be his biggest problem if Austin Ekeler fails to crack 40 yards for a third straight week. Mike Williams stepped up big with 113 yards in Keenan Allen’s absence, but Allen should be good to go after two weeks of rest.
The Jags just beat the Colts 24-0 at home but they’ve failed to beat the spread in their last 3 road games. James Robinson has three scores already and will face a Chargers defense that gave up over 9 yards per carry to Clyde Edwards-Helaire. While home field means nothing for the Bolts, a cross-country trip won’t help the upstart Jags either.
Fantasy Abacus says: Ekeler wakes up and the Chargers cover.
Week 3: Sunday 4:25 PM EST
Rams @ Cardinals (+4)
Forget the homework, if Murray can play as he did at the end of his last game, I’ll grade him on a curve. His performance was a bit tardy against the Raiders with no points in the first half, but he gets high marks for his late-game heroics and tight-window throws.
The Rams were able to rebound from a remedial opening performance and hold off the Falcons last week, although the game should not have been close. New kid Allen Robinson finally showed up with 53 yards and a score which can only help Cooper Kupp moving forward.
The Rams have beaten the Cardinals in 4 of their last 5 games and the Cardinals didn’t cover their last two home games. These two rarely play close games, so give me the better defense in a letdown spot for Arizona.
Fantasy Abacus says: Rams win and cover
Falcons @ Seahawks (-1)
You won’t find more wasted talent than what you’ll see in Seattle this week. Do you think D.K. Metcalf enjoys running routes with Geno Smith under center? Same for Kyle Pitts, although at least his QB went in the 1st round. But seriously, until Arthur Smith gives Pitts more than 2 passes per game, Marcus Aurelius could throw him the ball and I doubt it would matter. I do know this, we are not entertained.
The Falcons may have already won their Super Bowl by staying close with last year’s champions and the Seahawks probably peaked in Week 1 by booing Russell Wilson. On behalf of Philly fans, well done Seattle. You have potential. With a couple of good punt returns, the Falcons could potentially pass the Jets for the top spot in that category. That’s exciting. Who said we won’t be entertained?
Fantasy Abacus says: Cover your eyes and take the Falcons.
Packers @ Buccaneers
How about the league’s two oldest quarterbacks playing in a stadium sponsored by a retirement planning firm? I don’t know what Brady was up to during his mini-vacation, but I hear Raymond James Stadium has smelled like embalming fluid since his return.
The Bucs haven’t looked great, but at 2-0, they ain’t dead yet. But with five wide receivers on the injury report, they’re running low on warm bodies. Remember, Gisele’s husband cannot throw and catch the ball at the same time. The Pack had four receivers miss time this week, but most should be ready to drop passes by Sunday.
Brady has beaten Rodgers in 3 of 4 meetings. The Bucs are undefeated against Tampa in their last two meetings and have a 4-1 record against the spread in their last 5 games. But something just doesn’t feel right with Tampa these days and I expect to see their first loss at home.
Fantasy Abacus says: Go Pack Go.
Week 3: Sunday 8:20 PM EST
49ers @ Broncos (+1.5)
San Francisco blew the season opener in a driving Chicago rain. Then Trey Lance blew a game check making it rain on the internet. There’s a lesson here kids; if you want to spend your nights throwing money on a bunch of strippers, you better count on a broken ankle, a fibula fracture, and ligament disruption by the end of the 1st quarter. At least he didn’t go blind.
I don’t see any rain in the Denver forecast, which is good for the Niners, but I do see a defensive battle brewing. The Niners’ defense ranks first in yards against and 3rd in points allowed, while Denver ranks 3rd and 4th in these categories. Scoring should be low, but the Niners have the better offense and should look better with the training wheels off. And Trey, save your money for a rainy day, those copays add up.
Fantasy Abacus says: Niners win.
Week 3: Monday 8:15 PM EST
Cowboys @ Giants (-1)
Surprised by how well Cooper Rush played in Week 2? No one looked more surprised than Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. Did you see the look on his face? Speaking of raised eyebrows, Jones did Dak Prescott no favors by fanning the flames for a quarterback controversy afterward.
Sunday’s game is essentially a “pick ‘em” and the teams have split their last four meetings. Expect Jones and Rush to do little in primetime. Only three teams have run the ball more than the Giants this year so count on Coach Daboll to stick with what works. With apologies to the Cooper Rush bandwagon, the Cowboys should probably keep the ball out of his hands too, but it should be Pollard, not Elliot leading the way if Dallas wants to keep pace with my Eagles.
Fantasy Abacus says: I’ll take the lesser of two NFC East evils: the Giants.
Enjoy Week 3. Seriously, Trey, if you want to hang out, please let me know @fantasybruce.