The NFL giveth, the NFL taketh away… It was a tough week 2, with the Cardinals’ Lazarus-like comeback the only bright spot.
Still, we keep going, with five more picks in week 3…
2022 Predictions W-L-D: 4-6 (40%)
All odds courtesy of Paddy Power
Bills (-5.5) @ Dolphins – 18:00
Buffalo look ominous for the rest of the league, there’s no doubt about that. But I think 5.5 is a big number when you consider that they have to go on the road, off a short week, and play in the Florida sun against a fellow 2-0 team.
Miami have shown the last two weeks that they can win in a shootout, as well as win attritionally. The Bills have Micah Hyde banged up, Matt Milano banged up. Thankfully Dane Jackson doesn’t look like he is seriously injured after that scary situation Monday night, but he’ll miss game time.
It’s a divisional match up and it’s hard to bet against Buffalo but I have them winning by a field goal. The speed of the Dolphins’ offense should be enough to have success against the Bills’ secondary and although Josh Allen has more than enough in his locker to make a mockery of the spread, don’t forget that two of the top five receiving yardage leaders this season are currently wearing aqua. Fins to cover.
Prediction: Bills 32 Dolphins 30 (Dolphins +5.5)
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Lions @ Vikings (-5.5) – 18:00
I said last week that I find it hard to trust the Lions as a favourite, then they went and showed me why I should. It was everything you hoped the Dan Campbell Motor City show would look like and they will have zero fears going into Minneapolis on Sunday.
Like the previous game, it’s a short week for the Vikings who will need to do some soul searching after getting waxed on prime time. Kirk Cousins held back the offense against the Eagles; if you’re holding a 78.9 passer rating after a 1-1 start then you’re certainly not playing great, let alone elite.
Detroit are back in familiar surroundings, being a fairly hefty underdog on the spread. They went 11-5 in covering last year, while the Vikings were batting at 50% as both favourites and a home team. It could well be a Vikings bounce back win, but five and a half points in a divisional game is just too much rope. Minnesota win a close one.
Prediction: Lions 24 Vikings 27 (Lions +6)
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Saints (-3) @ Panthers – 18:00
It gives this Tampa-supporting author no pleasure in saying, but the Saints are greater than the sum of their parts, and are comfortably the second best team in the NFC South. They gave the Bucs an almighty scare on Sunday, before Jameis Winston turned into the QB we saw so often in Tampa. If Dennis Allen can reign him back in to playing like he did in week 1, then there’s potential for wins all across the season.
Carolina are looking like a hot mess. Matt Rhule has the longest active loss streak in the league (eight games) and he can’t seem to get a tune out of this offense. Baker Mayfield Is allowing Sam Darnold to be talked about as a starter again, while Christian McCaffrey has just 25 attempts across the opening two games, with a single one-yard TD to show for it.
New Orleans has won five of the last six against Carolina. I see history repeating itself again, with a comfortable road win.
Prediction: Saints 28 Panthers 20 (Saints -3)
Jaguars @ Chargers (-7) – 21:05
Am I ready to be burned by the Jags again? You’re damn right I am. It’s not likely that they’ll do what they did to the Colts and hold the Chargers to zero points (You have to hope there’s some dark magic at play if you’re an Indy fan) but this Jacksonville defense has shown over two weeks that they could be seriously frisky this season.
Top ten in sacks, top ten in opposition QB rating, top ten in rushing yards allowed; they are compiling an impressive resume, spearheaded by number one overall draft pick Travon Walker. It gets much harder when you face Justin Herbert, but reports indicate that he is not fully fit after the beating he was given by the Chiefs in the fourth quarter.
If there is a likelihood that he’ll miss this game, the line will plummet. As it is, give me the seven points with Trevor Lawrence coming off his best game as a pro (122 passer rating) and Christian Kirk showing why the Jags spent $72 million on bringing him to Duval. Chargers win, Jaguars cover and everyone feels relatively good about themselves.
Prediction: Jaguars 21 Chargers 27 (Jaguars +7)
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Rams (-3.5) @ Cardinals – 21:25
Talk about a rollercoaster… You have to give credit to Arizona for digging themselves out of the giant hole they were in… Before asking how they managed to get themselves there in the first place. You feel that the Rams won’t let them off if a similar thing happens.
It was heavy weather for LA but they closed (eventually) against the Falcons and there were enough flashes on both sides of the ball to indicate that we’ll soon see why they won the Super Bowl in February. You know that Matt Stafford will be fancying a good performance against one of just two teams that have allowed more than 300 yards a game on average so far this season.
Kyler Murray saved the Cardinals single handed on Sunday, but he’s 1-5 in his career against the Rams. You only have to cast your mind back to the playoffs at the start of the year to see the gulf between these two teams. That 34-11 scoreline weighs in the mind and as it is, I see the Rams winning by at least a score.
Prediction: Rams 33 Cardinals 24 (Rams -3.5)
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