As longtime readers of MTS will tell you, we like to do things early around here. When it comes to the NFL, each week we preview all the game action about ten days in advance. Why? Because, like any organism, we’re trying to carve out a niche! And yes, we know that this week’s action hasn’t even started yet, but that doesn’t mean we can’t jump start your betting analysis for the following week with some helpful insights and tips. After the intervening week of games, we’ll update our preview and insert the most recent betting lines, just as we’ve done below for Week 3.
Week 3 in the NFL begins with an NFC East clash in New York. In the early window on Sunday, the Saints face the Panthers, Dallas hosts Atlanta, and the Bengals visit Baltimore among several intriguing options. Later on Sunday, the Bills travel to Miami. Monday night features the Packers and Chiefs at Lambeau Field.
Let’s take a closer look at all 16 games.
Week 3 in the NFL begins with an NFC East clash in New York. In the early window on Sunday the Saints face the Panthers, Dallas hosts Atlanta, and the Bengals visit Baltimore among several intriguing options. Later on Sunday, the Bills travel to Miami. Monday night features the Packers and Chiefs at Lambeau Field.
Let’s take a closer look at all 16 games.
Washington (1-1) at New York Giants (0-2) – Spread: Giants -4
After back-to-back home games with mixed results to begin the year, the Redskins are on the road for the first time. Last year, Washington went 1-7 away from home and 3-5 against the spread. This is their first of two straight division games. Following a season opening loss at Dallas, this is the second straight home game for the Giants. New York should be 2-0 but gave away the game to the Cowboys and then made mistakes late on Sunday against the Falcons. New York went 3-5 in front of friendly fans last year and 4-4 ATS. New York has won four straight in the series by an average of just under 16 points per game.
San Diego (1-1) at Minnesota (1-1) – Spread: Vikings -2
The Chargers are on the road for a second straight week and will return to California for home games against the Browns and Steelers in Weeks 4 and 5. On Sunday, the Chargers lost at Cincinnati, 24-19. San Diego finished 4-4 straight up and against the number away from home last year. The Vikings lost to San Francisco on MNF in Week 1, bounced back to dominate the Lions on Sunday, and are now playing a second straight home game. In their temporary outdoor home at the University of Minnesota, the Vikings were 5-3 last year, overall and ATS.
Atlanta (2-0) at Dallas (2-0) – Spread: Falcons -2
The Falcons held on to beat the Eagles at home during the first Monday night game in Week 1 and now are on the road playing their third straight NFC East opponent. The Falcons edged the mistake-prone Giants last week and will return home to host the Texans and Redskins the next two weeks. They don’t play a divisional game until traveling to New Orleans in Week 6. Last year, Atlanta was 3-5 straight up and against the spread on the road.
The Cowboys are back at home where they shocked the Giants in the final minute on the opening Sunday Night Football game of the year, though they didn’t cover the 6.5-point spread. While Dallas beat the Eagles on Sunday, they lost quarterback Tony Romo for at least two months. Last year, the Cowboys went just 4-4 at home and 3-5 ATS.
Indianapolis (0-2) at Tennessee (1-1) – Spread: Colts -3.5
The Colts have won seven straight in this series, but four of the last five games in Nashville have been competitive. Indy dropped their road opener at Buffalo, 27-14, and now are working on a short week after getting upset by the Jets at home, 20-7, on Monday. Last year, the Colts were 5-3 on the road overall and ATS. The Titans are making their 2015 home debut and don’t play another road game until November. After beating Tampa Bay in Week 1, the Titans fell at Cleveland on Sunday. Last year, Tennessee was 1-7 at LP Field and an abysmal 1-6-1 against the spread.
Oakland (1-1) at Cleveland (1-1) – Spread: Browns -3.5
Oakland is on the road for the first time in 2015. This is their third straight game against NFC North competition. Jack Del Rio’s squad lost to the Jets in Week 1 and beat the Ravens on Sunday. The Raiders are at Chicago next week before their first division clash, against Denver, in Week 5 at home. Oakland went 0-8 away from home last year but 4-4 versus the spread. The Browns continue what seemed like a generous early schedule before the year began. This is a second straight home game against a mediocre team from 2014. After getting crushed by the Jets in Week 1, the Browns handled Tennessee on Sunday. Cleveland was 4-4 at home last year and 4-3-1 ATS.
Cincinnati (2-0) at Baltimore (0-2) – Spread: Ravens -2.5
After two straight west coast road games (at Denver and Oakland), which saw the Ravens stay in San Jose in between, Baltimore arrives home for their first of three straight AFC North contests. The Ravens are at Pittsburgh in Week 4 and host the Browns in Week 5. Last year, Baltimore went 6-2 at home and 4-4 against the number. The Bengals got an easy victory at Oakland during their season opener, and followed that up with a 24-19 home triumph against San Diego. The win over the Raiders continued a good run of play on the road for Cincinnati. They were 5-3 outside the Queen City last year and 4-4 against the number. The Bengals have won three straight and four of five in the series.
Jacksonville (1-1) at New England (2-0) – Spread: Patriots -14
After starting the year by falling to Carolina and beating Miami at home, this is the first of three straight on the road for the Jaguars. New England is 9-1 all time against the Jags including 5-0 at home. Jacksonville went 0-8 on the road last year, but 3-4-1 ATS. The Pats opened the year by beating Pittsburgh at home, 28-21, and then won at Buffalo, 40-32. They have a bye next week before road games at Dallas and Indianapolis. New England went 7-1 at home last year and 5-3 ATS.
New Orleans (0-2) at Carolina (2-0) – Spread: Panthers -3.5
In 40 all-time meetings between the Saints and Panthers, New Orleans holds a narrow 21-19 edge. The series is even at ten in games played in the Carolinas. Last year, New Orleans went 4-4 SU and ATS on the road. The Saints lost their road opener at Arizona, 31-19, while the Panthers edged the Jags on the road in Week 1, 20-9.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees was injured in a home loss to Tampa Bay in Week 2 and his status for Week 3 remains unclear at this point. Carolina, meanwhile, outlasted the Texans in Charlotte to go to 2-0. The Panthers are at home for a second straight week and went 4-4 overall and ATS at Bank of America Stadium in 2014.
Philadelphia (0-2) at New York Jets (2-0) – Spread: Jets -2.5
The Eagles opened the year with a road loss at Atlanta, then came home and dropped a 20-10 battle with Dallas. They’re now back on the road for a Week 3 clash with the Jets followed by a Week 4 meeting in Washington. Last year, Chip Kelly’s team went 4-4 outside of Philly SU and ATS. New York dominated Cleveland at home in Week 1 but now are playing on a short week after an upset win in Indianapolis on Monday. Next week, the Jets face the Dolphins in London. New York was 2-6 at home in 2014 and 3-5 ATS.
Tampa Bay (1-1) at Houston (0-2) – Spread: Texans -6.5
After getting crushed at home to start the year against Tennessee, this is the second straight road game for the Buccaneers, who held off New Orleans at the Superdome on Sunday. These squads have met just three times, with Houston winning twice, most recently in 2011.
Both of the Bucs’ wins last year came away from home and they were a surprisingly solid 5-3 for bettors outside of Tampa. The Texans played poorly at home in a 27-20 setback against Kansas City to start the year, and weren’t much better while falling to the Panthers on the road in Week 2. Houston was 5-3 at home last year and 4-4 against the number.
Pittsburgh (1-1) at St. Louis (1-1) – Spread: Steelers -2
During the first six weeks of the season, the Rams play only two home games. They beat Seattle in St. Louis, 34-31 in overtime, to begin the campaign, and now are back to face Pittsburgh after falling at Washington on Sunday. St. Louis was 5-3 straight up and against the number at home in 2013, but regressed to 3-5 in both categories last year. The Steelers started the year with a road loss at New England, but bounced back to dominate the 49ers in Week 2. Pittsburgh was 5-3 outside the Steel City last year and 4-4 against the number.
Buffalo (1-1) at Miami (1-1) – Spread: Dolphins -2.5
This will be the 103rd meeting between these longtime rivals; the Fins are 58-43-1 all-time against the Bills and 33-17-1 at home with three wins in their last four tries. Miami is making their home debut; they are technically the home team again next week against the Jets, but the game is actually in London. The Dolphins were 4-4 at home last year and 3-5 against the number. Miami played poorly in a loss at Washington in Week 2, and weren’t any better falling at Jacksonville on Sunday.
The Bills are on the road for the first time this year. They play just three road games during the first nine weeks of the season. Buffalo went 4-4 outside of Ralph Wilson Stadium last season and 5-3 ATS. The Bills split home games with Indianapolis and New England to kick off the campaign.
San Francisco (1-1) at Arizona (2-0) – Spread: Cardinals -7
The Cardinals beat New Orleans 31-19 at home to open the year and then crushed the Bears at Soldier Field on Sunday. They return to Arizona for their first divisional game of the season in Week 3. Arizona has lost ten of their last 12 meetings with San Francisco, but were 7-1 at home in 2014 and beat the spread six times. This is a second straight road game for the Niners who have the Packers, Giants, Ravens, and Seahawks lined up after this one. San Francisco went 4-4 SU and ATS last season. The Niners were impressive in a home win against Minnesota on the opening Monday of the year, but didn’t show up in Pittsburgh on Sunday to fall to 1-1.
Chicago (0-2) at Seattle (0-2) – Spread: Seahawks -15
The Bears are on the road for the first time this season after dropping games against Green Bay and Arizona at Soldier Field. Quarterback Jay Cutler was injured in the loss to the Cardinals, meaning Jimmy Clausen will get the start. Chicago was 2-6 away from home last year and 4-4 against the number. The Seahawks are playing their first home game of the season after back-to-back road losses at St. Louis and Green Bay to start the year. Seattle has gone 22-2 at home over the last three years and 18-6 against the spread.
Denver (2-0) at Detroit (0-2) – Spread: Broncos -3
The Lions are at home for the first time this year and are playing their first of two straight Prime Time games. Detroit was 7-1 in the Motor City last year and 5-3 against the spread. The Lions lost at Minnesota on Sunday and quarterback Matthew Stafford was injured in the setback. The Broncos are in the midst of playing four road games in a five week span and went 4-4 SU and ATS on the road last year. Denver started the season with a win over Baltimore in Week 1 and a come-from-behind W at Kansas City Week 2.
Kansas City (1-1) at Green Bay (2-0) – Spread: Packers -7
The Chiefs return to the road looking to go 2-0 away from home. Kansas City won at Houston, 27-20, to start the year, but fell to the Broncos in Week 2 when they allowed two touchdowns in the final two minutes. KC was 3-5 on the road last year and 4-4 against the number. Two years ago they went 6-2 on the road and 7-1 for betting purposes. The Packers are hosting a second straight marquee Prime Time matchup after beating Seattle on Sunday. Green Bay went 8-0 at home last year and 6-1-1 versus the spread.
(Photo credit: Alan Kotok (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo may appear cropped.)