The NFL’s Week 3 schedule does not look filled with classics by any means, but we want to see if certain teams can hold serve as heavy favorites this early in the year. The most exciting game could end up being a battle of 0-2 teams in Chargers vs. Vikings.
- Jaguars -9.5 (-108) at BetRivers
- Patriots-Jets Under 38 Points (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook
- Chiefs -12.5 (-109) at BetRivers (check our BetRivers Review)
Patrick Mahomes Cranks Up the Offense This Time
The Chiefs won a surprisingly low-scoring 17-9 game in Jacksonville to get back to .500 after getting Travis Kelce and Chris Jones back. The Bears lost their 12th game in a row, falling 27-17 to the Buccaneers to start 0-2.
The Chiefs are a 12.5-point home favorite with a total of 49 points.
Sunday, September 24, 2023 – 04:25 PM EDT at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium
Is Kansas City Fine?
It is strange to see the Chiefs playing games with final scores like 21-20 and 17-9. This is only the second time in the Patrick Mahomes era that the Chiefs have been under 21 points in consecutive games.
But with Kelce back, the offense should get on track. Mahomes played very well in Jacksonville, but a series of turnovers and 12 penalties for 94 yards put the offense in many bad situations like third-and-14 and third-and-20. They are figuring things out with the new receivers, and Kelce should be better at home with more practice time and getting a full game in.
The defense looks legitimately good for the Chiefs, and they get an even weaker offensive opponent in the Bears, who are a mess in the passing game, and even the running game is not dominating like it did at times in 2022. It is hard to see the Bears hanging a big point total in Kansas City unless the Chiefs continue to drop passes and fumble the ball like in these first 2 games.
Is Chicago Regretting Trading the No. 1 Pick?
It’s not that Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, or Anthony Richardson have blown the doors off the NFL yet. But Justin Fields is making the Bears look like they will have to find a new quarterback for 2024. His 23.0 QBR is the lowest in the league through Sunday’s Week 2 action.
Fields has thrown a pick-6 in both games this year, and the Bears have lost 12 games in a row in large part because he does not deliver in crunch time. Fields only needed a field goal to tie on Sunday and threw a pick-6 on a screen pass to his running back. His processing time also looks extremely slow and broken, making him an easy target for sacks.
The Bears do not have the support of the defense, which was shredded by Baker Mayfield and Jordan Love in back-to-back weeks, to make up for this problem at quarterback.
This should be a mismatch. The Bears have already lost by 18 points to the Packers and 10 points to the Buccaneers. The Chiefs are better than both. Kansas City has the pass pressure to sack Fields multiple times and force him into turnovers that can give instant points or short fields to Mahomes.
You also cannot discount the chip Mahomes has on his shoulder for the Bears passing him up in the 2017 draft in favor of Mitch Trubisky with the No. 2 pick.
During a 2019 meeting with Chicago, Mahomes held up his fingers to make the number 10, the number he was drafted at that year. The Chiefs beat the Bears 26-3 that day. It may not be that bad this time, but the Chiefs should cover and win by a pair of touchdowns for your NFL ATS bets.
Score Prediction: Chiefs 36 – Bears 21
NFL Pick: Chiefs -12.5 (-109) at BetRivers
Bounce Back for Jacksonville
Despite hoping to exact some revenge for a playoff loss, the Jaguars lost 17-9 in a very disappointing effort against Kansas City. The Texans fell to 0-2 after a 31-20 loss at home to the Colts, their AFC South rival. The game was never really in doubt for Indianapolis, despite losing starting quarterback Anthony Richardson to a concussion.
The Jaguars are a 9.5-point home favorite with a total of 45.5 points.
Sunday, September 24, 2023 – 01:00 PM EDT at EverBank Stadium
Jaguars Must Flex Divisional Muscles
The Jaguars were 0-3 against Houston in the Trevor Lawrence era, but they finally broke through late last season for a 31-3 win to end that run. This game presents another opportunity for Lawrence and coach Doug Pederson to show that their experience matters as Houston is led by a rookie coach (DeMeco Ryans) and rookie quarterback (C.J. Stroud).
Jacksonville already met a similar team in Week 1 when it went to Indianapolis and won 31-21 against the Colts. The Jaguars were only able to muster 9 points against the Chiefs. However, Kansas City is playing very good defense for now.
The Texans do not have a dominant defensive player at any level, and they were shredded by Gardner Minshew off the bench Sunday. Lawrence should find it much easier to find his talented receivers, including Calvin Ridley, in this game. The computer likes a big scoring number for the Jaguars at home this week.
Texans Are Injured
It did not help the Texans in Week 2 that most of the offensive line was out with injury. It remains to be seen how much that situation will improve by Sunday. However, C.J. Stroud was sacked 6 times behind a very makeshift line in mid-September.
The Jaguars have the pass rushers to exploit that, and they forced the Chiefs to turn the ball over 3 times on Sunday. They also held Patrick Mahomes under 20 points for only the second time in his last 22 games.
With the offensive line issues, the Texans have not been able to get the running game going behind 2nd-year back Dameon Pierce. The Texans had just 19 points in their first 7 quarters this season.
With an unproven roster going through growing pains like the Jaguars once did, it is hard to trust Houston to keep a game close. Especially, after failing to stay within 11 points in either contest so far. The team should get better as the season goes on, but this is a good spot to trust the Jaguars at home to have a strong showing to make up for the Kansas City dud.
Score Prediction: Jaguars 31 – Texans 16
NFL Pick: Jaguars -9.5 (-108) at BetRivers
Bill Belichick vs. Zach Wilson Is Unfair
The Patriots again lost at home to a very good team by a 1-score margin after coming up inches short on the final drive. This has happened against Philadelphia (Week 1) and Miami (Week 2) now for Bill Belichick’s squad. But he has to like seeing the Jets on the schedule. New England has won 14 in a row against New York.
The Patriots are a 2-point road favorite with a total of 38 points.
Sunday, September 24, 2023 – 01:00 PM EDT at MetLife Stadium
Belichick’s Arch Nemesis to the Rescue
This was supposed to be the year the Patriots sunk to the bottom of the AFC East thanks to the Jets landing Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers tore his Achilles 4 snaps into his season and is out for months. Now the Patriots get to face Zach Wilson, who was not good at all in Dallas. That was his first start of the year.
Wilson is 0-4 against Belichick with 2 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, and a 50.6 passer rating – just awful numbers. Last season, the Jets lost 10-3 to the Patriots in the most recent meeting between the teams. Wilson only passed for 77 yards in that game.
The Jets just lost 30-10 in Dallas with the offense basically producing one great play on a long touchdown to Garrett Wilson that was mostly YAC. Belichick just held Tyreek Hill to 40 yards and he will have a field day with Wilson instead of having to face Aaron Rodgers.
Jets Can Shut Down Mac Jones Too
Again, the last Jets-Patriots game ended 10-3, and that only ended with a touchdown scored on an 84-yard punt return by Marcus Jones with 5 seconds left. Strangely, Mac Jones was 23-of-27 for 246 yards in that game, but he also took 6 sacks. The Patriots missed a pair of field goals.
This should be higher scoring than 10-3, but the Patriots have their own offensive shortcomings. The Jets had problems with Stefon Diggs (Bills) and CeeDee Lamb (Cowboys) in these opening games. Still, the Patriots do not have a receiver anything like that to deal with.
Even if the Patriots scored 20 points, it is hard to see the Jets doing better than 16 points in this one. That’s how many the Jets had in regulation with Wilson against Buffalo. Sure, that was before the punt return touchdown won it in overtime.
Belichick’s mastery of the Jets could always come to an end this year. However, the under 38 is the best value pick in this matchup. Do not expect much scoring from this game.
Score Prediction: Patriots 16 – Jets 16
NFL Pick: Under 38 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook