(7-3 against the spread this season)
By Danny Picard
BOSTON — If you’re ever going to buy points, this would be the week to do it. I absolutely hate the slate in Week 3. But that won’t prevent me from digging in and picking some winners.
I went 3-2 against the spread in Week 2. Here’s to three straight weeks above .500. Let’s get back to work:
MINNESOTA VIKINGS (-1.5) over Los Angeles Chargers
-This game scares the life out of me, yet, it’s also so damn tempting to bet on. Full disclosure, I originally liked the Chargers. But the more I looked at their league-worst pass defense, I just had a really hard time with that matchup, especially with the game being played in Minnesota. Kirk Cousins is off to a hot start, leading the NFL with six touchdown passes. There’s only one quarterback with more pass yards per game than Cousins’ 354, and that’s Tua Tagovailoa, who’s averaging 358 pass yards per game through Week 2. Tua torched the Chargers for 466 pass yards and three touchdowns in Week 1 in LA. I don’t see why Cousins can’t do something similar on Sunday afternoon. Both the Chargers and Vikings are 0-2. So something’s got to give for one of these teams in a game that has the highest over-under of the week, at 54.5. Give me Minnesota at home by a field goal.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (-2.5) over New York Jets
-Zach Wilson’s numbers against the Patriots tell the whole story: he's 0-4 with two touchdowns, seven interceptions, and 11 sacks, while averaging just 173 pass yards per game. This season, Wilson has two touchdowns, four interceptions, and five sacks, while averaging 155 pass yards per game. He’s stepping in for the injured Aaron Rodgers, and the Jets’ season is pretty much already over because of it. Bill Belichick is desperate for his first win of the season after losses to the Eagles and Dolphins, both at Gillette Stadium. This game will be at MetLife, and the weather is supposed to be nasty. Even if the sun was shining, I wouldn’t expect a pretty game here. The Patriots’ offense seems to be building something, but I still think the difference in this one will be Belichick cooking something up that makes Wilson see ghosts all game long. I’m taking New England to win and cover.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (-12.5) over Chicago Bears
-What in the world is going on with the Bears? Justin Fields is calling out the coaching staff, their defensive coordinator quit, and they’re 0-2 to start the season. There’s absolutely no way Chicago wins at Arrowhead on Sunday. The only question is the spread. Kansas City should feel disrespected to only be a 12.5-point favorite against this dumpster fire of a Bears team right now. The 1-1 Chiefs are coming off a 17-9 win over the Jaguars. Patrick Mahomes has yet to put up more than 20 points in a game this season. I expect that to change this week against a Bears defense that allowed 27 points to Baker Mayfield and the Buccaneers in Week 1, and 38 points to Jordan Love and the Packers last weekend. Another factor that can’t be overlooked is Chris Jones’ return to Kansas City’s defense, which ranks fourth in the NFL, allowing just 15 points per game. If the Chiefs don’t win this game by three touchdowns, I’ll be shocked.
DALLAS COWBOYS (-12.5) over Arizona Cardinals
-The 2-0 Cowboys are coming off a New York sweep to begin the season, beating the Giants in Week 1, 40-0, and then beating the Jets in Week 2, 30-10. Expect Dallas to be 3-0 after winning in Arizona on Sunday. But I don’t care how much of a mismatch this is, the 12.5 is high for a road team this early in the season. Yet, here I am, taking Dak Prescott and the Cowboys to cover. Arizona will once again go with Joshua Dobbs at quarterback. Dobbs couldn’t beat the Commanders in Week 1, and he couldn’t beat the Giants in Week 2, so he certainly won’t be beating the No. 1 defense in football this weekend. Because of that dominant Cowboys D, Prescott hasn’t really had to do much this season. If needed in Arizona, he should be able to go off on a Cardinals defense that blew a 20-0 halftime lead to the Giants last week. I’m taking Dallas to win big on the road.
LAS VEGAS RAIDERS (-2.5) over Pittsburgh Steelers
-It’s a short week for the 1-1 Steelers, who are coming off a big win over the Browns in Pittsburgh on Monday night. Traveling to the West Coast for their first road game of the season isn’t ideal on that short week. And with the 1-1 Raiders coming off a bad loss to the Bills in Buffalo, this has the makings of a big bounce-back performance for Jimmy Garoppolo. Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett hasn’t really impressed me through the first two weeks. The Raiders’ defense will definitely be an easier matchup for Pickett than his first two opponents, the 49ers and Browns. I just think this is going to be a very close game between two mediocre teams. So I’ll take the home team. Give me the Raiders by a field goal.
Follow Danny on instagram @DannyPicard.