Heading into this week, I didn’t like seeing so many close spreads and indecisive lines, but that was a byproduct of a disastrous, collapse-happy Week 2. While I wouldn’t categorize Week 3 results as “collapses”, because of the nature of the close matchups, there were still a handful of games that turned in the closing minutes and put a damper on my picks.
Once again, I feel fortunate to have walked away from the wreckage with a 9-7 record and avoided losing to my dog for the second week in a row. At one point she was 5-1 through the morning and it looked like she was well on her way to stomping us again, but her love of home teams burned her through the afternoon, finishing 7-9. Christen had a sub-par week at 6-10 but as she has been recovering from Covid, she hasn’t joined me in the booth for the show and hasn’t had the chance to talk anything through. I managed to break even against the spread and go 6-9-1 against the spread, so I only lost one game’s worth of ground against my goal of breaking .500 vs the O/U.
|Christen W||Christen L||Christen T||Rids |
I hit the trifecta on two games this week and narrowly missed it Cowboys’ Monday night road win over the Giants, as they landed exactly on the line at 39 points. It was a razor-thin margin, to begin with, having the Boys favored by 1, on the road, at a divisional rival but, after what I saw vs the Bengals in Week 2, I was confident the Dallas defense would fight every inch of the way to give their offense a chance and that’s exactly what happened.
Dallas struggled to contain the ground game in spots as Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley used their legs to a major advantage at on point, racking up 167 rushing yards as a tea, but the Cowboys were in assault mode against the pass, recording 5 sacks on the evening and forcing an errant throw that would be the deciding interception.
Dallas put it together on the ground themselves as long-time veteran Jason Peters paid massive dividends. Tony Pollard racked up 105 yards while Ezekiel Elliot tacked on 73 and a touchdown which, along with their pass blocking, allowed Cooper Rush to just keep his hand steady on the wheel and guide them to victory on what turned out to be the game-winning drive. Going 21/31 on the night for 215 yards isn’t eye-popping, but he got it done in the clutch and never looked flustered, hitting CeeDee Lamb for gains of 17, 4, 26, and 1 for the goal line TD. It was an important drive for Lamb, who dropped a wide-open would-be TD that allowed the Giants to take the lead, and he made a pair of great plays back-to-back.
After a 2-0 start for the Giants that saw them tied for the NFC East lead, back-to-back wins by the Cowboys including this one have moved DAL into 2nd place and knocked NYG into 3rd in the division. Football is a cruel game but that doesn’t discount a very positive start for the G-Men. It’s hard not to be impressed with the Boys’ resolve at this point though. Make no mistakes, Rush doesn’t have the physical attributes of Dak Prescott but I love how he’s always composed and is never trying to play outside of his game. If the Dallas defense can hold serve, Rush can continue to find success this way.
Even though the score was 6-3 at halftime, I found the DAL/NYG game far more entertaining that the Sunday Night Football game that preceded it between the San Francisco 49ers and the Denver Broncos.
Both the Broncos and the Niners have good defenses so I happily took the under at 44, but I wasn’t expecting that offensive ineptitude I saw on both sides. Denver may have won that game 11-10 but it’s hard to view either team as a winner in that one. These teams barely combined for 500 yards of offense and Denver’s 3.7 yards per play is way worse than the lowest in the league.
Both offensive lines had trouble with the opposing defensive front, surrendering 4 sacks apiece. Jimmy G was clearly hearing footsteps as he stepped out the back of the endzone to give DEN the safety and threw a bad pick when they were down 1 just before the two-minute warning. The D gave them another chance but he also got sacked for a huge loss to start their final drive before Jeff Wilson Jr. fumbled it away after a nice gain.
It was a hideous game and the real losers are the fans that were subjected to that as a Sunday night spotlight game. Mr. Unlimited Russell Wilson continues to look very much limited. He did make a couple of plays that set up the go-ahead TD, but he’s having a rough year. Dating back to his penultimate season in Seattle, I talked on my show about seeing him decline down the stretch and wondering if his best years were behind him. There’s no question about his arm talent but it’s not a pretty offense right now. It’s still early and at 2-1 they have a share of the AFC West lead somehow.
In what should have been a better, more meaningful game, the Packers got a measure of redemption against the Bucs in Tampa Bay. Both teams were dealing with a lot of injuries in this one and it showed in the 14-12 final score. Rookie WR Romeo Doubs led the Pack in receiving while Russell Gage did the honors for Tampa. After Gage’s TD, the Bucs had a shot at the 2-pt conversion but got caught with a false start and were forced into a pass they didn’t convert.
Green Bay jumped out to a 14-0 lead but a big hit that forced a fumble by Aaron Jones swung momentum. Jones has a long history of fumbling vs Tampa but I think, more importantly, the Jones fumble came near the end of the first half. The Bucs couldn’t quite capitalize there after Breshad Perriman fumbled following a big gain.
As seen in the Dolphins’ game earlier in the day, the Florida heat was real and the Packers weren’t able to do anything in the second half. They were just fortunate that Tampa couldn’t do much either. It’s a big win for Rodgers to get one over Brady and for the Pack to get one on the road against a team that’s haunted them, but just kinda meh overall.
The best game of the afternoon went down in Seattle as the Falcons visited the Seahawks. A pair of mediocre defenses usually result in high-scoring games and I don’t know why I took the under on this one.
It was a close game the whole way with 7 lead changes with neither team getting up by more than a TD during those exchanges. Sitting at 27-23 Atlanta, with the ball in Seattle territory, Marcus Mariota fumbled and gave the Hawks a chance. They were putting a solid drive together and Geno Smith had played really well to that point (32/44 325 & 2 TDs), but as was the case in several instances last year, he threw the late interception that ended the game. Both teams are 1-2 now, but this game showed signs of life for fantasy prospects like D.K. Metcalf and Kyle Pitts.
The biggest surprise of the afternoon was probably the Jags whooping up the Chargers in LA, 38-10, but if you read my preview article you know that I rocked with the Jags on this one.
Jacksonville has a ton of young talent and nowhere to go but up and, coming into SoFi as 3-point underdogs, they were playing with house money. The injuries to Justin Herbert and Keenan Allen were going to be an issue for that offense against a fast defense, but it was the Chargers’ defense getting bent over that was surprising even to me.
The Bolts got mauled on the ground quite a bit last season and I thought they made their roster moves to adjust that but the Jags pounded them for 151 yards on the ground and James Robinson looked great. It was also Trevor Lawrence’s coming out party. It was the best game of his professional career, going 28/39 for 262 and 3 TDs. The Jags move to 2-1 off the W and are going to be really fun to watch.
In unsurprising news, one o the easiest game of the Week was taking the Rams to beat the Cardinals. However, I felt it would be close and it was, but the Cards couldn’t cover the 3.5 points. The Rams have beaten Arizona 3 times in 2022 alone, including the playoff W last season.
Baker Mayfield got his first win as a Panther, but it got dicey there for a bit. Mayfield didn’t really do all that much, going 12/25 for 170 and 1 TD, but the Carolina defense was there to lift him up recovering a Kamara fumble for a TD. CMC also put up 108 rushing yards. The Saints didn’t go away and it was the true breakout game for Chris Olave because I kept him on my bench but he put up 9 grabs for 147 yards. Jameis Winston helped them cut it to an 8-point game and they got the ball but he threw a pick on their desperation drive as he was looking for Olave again. With Landry a bit dinged up now, Olave could become an absolute beast.
The easiest layup of the week belonged to the Eagles who improved to 3-0 by dominating Carson Wentz and the Commanders 24-8. Quarterbacks in their “revenge games” this season are winless at 0-3.
The Bengals finally righted the ship in expected fashion against the Jets 27-12. Joey B. only got sacked twice and put 275 and 3 TDs on the NY defense. Joe Flacco continued to launch all game, going 28/52 but he was sacked 4 times and picked twice, setting the stage for the baton to get handed back to Zach Wilson.
There were a bunch of shootouts in the morning frame and Lamar Jackson continued to show the Ravens that they probably won’t be able to afford his services once the season is over, leading Baltimore to a 37-26 win over the Patriots with his 4 passing touchdowns and 107 rushing yards and a TD. Taking the Ravens to cover 2.5 points was easy money, but the Pats did score more than I expected. Mac Jones threw for 321 yards but got picked 3 and sacked 3 times, eventually being carried off the field with an injury.
The collapse of Week 3 goes to the Lions who had the Vikings on the ropes, up by 10 in the 4th quarter, and went on to lose 28-24. Credit to the Vikings because after the score to make it 24-14, they didn’t give up another point. I picked the Lions to win outright and to cover as 6-point underdogs and boy was it looking good. Even when the Vikes cut the lead to 3, Detroit still had to turn the ball over on downs, miss a FG when they should have just gone for it, and throw a pick on their final drive to lose it. The missed FG gave Minny the ball at midfield and Kirk Cousins found K.J. Osborn for the 28-yard game-winner.
The heartbreaker goes to the Bills as they fell, literally and figuratively, to the Dolphins 21-19 in Miami. It was a war of attrition that the Fins won. Buffalo had their chances and left a lot of points on the field, but Miami capitalized to move to 3-0 and take sole possession of the AFC East…for now.
Another big surprise was the Chiefs blowing a 4th-quarter lead on the road in Indianapolis. I was confused to see KC only favored by 5.5 in this game, but the Colts’ season was basically on the line and I guess that’s why. Indy didn’t fold and the Harrison Butker injury reared its ugly head as Matt Amendola missed a short FG for KC. Indy jumped on the chance and Matt Ryan put together the game-winning drive. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs got a gifted 15 yards on their ensuing drive but he threw a pick to end it. Good for the Colts who needed to show a spine.
Someone’s 0 had to go as a battle of 0-2 teams came down to a failed 2-pt conversion. The Raiders fell to Titans 24-22 to move to 0-3 on the season. In previewing this game, I figured the level of expectation would force Vegas to rise to the occasion but I was wrong. The Raiders’ defense gave them life last season, but it’s not been enough. Tennessee isn’t really all that good either, but they gave Henry 20 carries and played defense. Mack Hollins (8/158/1) probably won’t break out like this again but he killed it in daily fantasy.
Last and not entirely least, the Bears (-2.5) bailed me out at the last minute with a game-winning FG. They improve to 2-1 with the 23-20 win over the Texans, but neither of these teams is actually good yet. Justin Field continues his poor passing attack, but the defense and run game that I bet on did their job. David Montgomery got injured and Khalil Herbert hung 157 yards on the Houston defense. If you have a RB playing HOU, load ’em up!
These Power Rankings will still be janky through the first month, but things are starting to get clearer.
|1. Eagles 3-0 (+2)|
|2. Dolphins 3-0 (+3)|
|3. Bills 2-1 (-2)|
|4. Chiefs 2-1 (-2)|
|5. Packers 2-1 (+5)|
|6. Buccaneers 2-1 (-2)|
|7. Ravens 2-1 (=)|
|8. Rams 2-1 (+4)|
|9. Vikings 2-1 (+6)|
|10. Giants 2-1 (-4)|
|11. Browns 2-1 (+14)|
|12. Jaguars 2-1 (+6)|
|13. Cowboys 2-1 (+4)|
|14. Broncos 2-1 (+8)|
|15. Bears 2-1 (+8)|
|16. Chargers 1-2 (-8)|
|17. Lions 1-2 (-3)|
|18. Saints 1-2 (-9)|
|19. Cardinals 1-2 -68)|
|20. 49ers 1-2 (-9)|
|21. Colts 1-1-1 (+6)|
|22. Patriots 1-2 (-3)|
|23. Steelers 1-2 (-7)|
|24. Bengals 1-2 (+5)|
|25. Falcons 1-2 (+5)|
|26. Titans 1-2 (+6)|
|27. Commanders 1-2 (-7)|
|28. Seahawks 1-2 (-7)|
|29. Panthers 1-2 (=)|
|30. Jets 1-2 (-6)|
|31. Texans 0-2-1 (-5)|
|32. Raiders 0-3 (-4)|
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