Thanks to a couple of upsets — Lions, Panthers and Bears, oh my — I went 9-6-1 straight up and 9-7 against the spread with my Week 3 NFL picks.
Last week had its fair share of wackiness on the gridiron, including Chicago storming back to stun Atlanta and Detroit, yes Detroit, winning in Arizona.
I’m sure more follies are in store this week, so let’s give it the old college try.
Denver Broncos at New York Jets (pick) The worst game of the week just happens to be the first game of Week 4, and in prime time no less. Both teams are 0-3 and they’re an absolute mess. Hence, the pick ’em. I’m going to put my chips on Jets QB Sam Darnold as opposed to new Broncos quarterback Brett Rypien, even though his father is from Calgary and he is the nephew of former NFL pivot Mark Rypien. New York Jets 20-17
Buffalo Bills at Las Vegas Raiders (+3) The Bills blew a 28-3 lead against the L.A. Rams last week before pulling out the win, and are taking on a Raiders team that had their hats handed to them by New England. Buffalo enters this game after breathing a sigh of relief, while Las Vegas is chomping at the bit to avenge their latest performance. Take the team that wants it more. Las Vegas 31-28
Cleveland Browns at Dallas Cowboys (-4.5) Dallas lost a shootout in Seattle last week in a game in which their defence was exposed by Seahawks QB Russell Wilson. Amazingly, last week’s win by Cleveland pushed the Browns above the .500 mark for the first time in six years. The Cowboys get back on the horse. Dallas 34-20
New Orleans Saints at Detroit Lions (+4) Quarterback Matthew Stafford led the Lions to their first win last week and will try to outscore the high-flying Saints. If New Orleans’ defence continues to struggle it will put more pressure on QB Drew Brees to light up the scoreboard. This will be closer than most people think. New Orleans 30-27
Indianapolis Colts at Chicago Bears (+2.5) Nick Foles will make his first start for Chicago after leading Da’ Bears to an incredible comeback win in Atlanta last week. The Colts defense, however, is the No. 1 unit in the NFL and will get after Foles. Indianapolis 24-23
Pittsburgh Steelers at Tennessee Titans (off) At last check, this game could be played on Monday or Tuesday after four Titans players and five staff members tested positive for COVID-19. Whenever the game is played, it should be a dandy. Both teams are 3-0 but the edge goes to the Steelers based on their menacing defence alone. Pittsburgh 23-20 (Update: The NFL has postponed this game until later in the season after one additional Titans player and personnel member tested positive)
Seattle Seahawks at Miami Dolphins (+6.5) Miami will have a few more days rest after playing last Thursday night, but that’s about the only advantage the Dolphins will have in this game. Seattle is stacked, and that Russell Wilson guy ain’t bad either. Seattle 31-20
Los Angeles Chargers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-7.5) Tom Brady isn’t anywhere near the top of the most important QB statistical categories in his first year with the Bucs, but he doesn’t have to be ‘Tom Terrific’ when facing the Chargers. Los Angeles could easily be 0-3 and is travelling across the country for this outing. Tampa Bay 27-13
Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers (+3.5) The Cardinals are still fuming after losing at home against Detroit last week, a result that left Arizona tied for second place in the highly competitive NFC West. The Cards bounce back in a big way against Carolina, who are at home and feeling good after picking up their first win of the season last Sunday. Arizona 31-24
Jacksonville Jaguars at Cincinnati Bengals (-3) After earning a tie last week in Philadelphia, the Bengals can almost taste their first win of 2020. They will take on a well rested Jaguars team that didn’t show up last Thursday night against Miami. Cinci QB Joe Burrow and the Bengals finally get over the hump. Cincinnati 27-24
Minnesota Vikings at Houston Texans (off) Who would have thought that Houston and Minnesota would both be 0-3 entering Week 4 of the season? The Texans get a bit of a pass because they’ve had to deal with AFC heavyweights Kansas City, Baltimore and Pittsburgh, while the Vikings have lost to Green Bay, Indy and Tennessee. I’ll take the Texans at home. Houston 33-23
Baltimore Ravens at Washington Football Team (+13) This one could get ugly, and in a hurry, after the Ravens were taken to school by the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs on Monday night. Baltimore QB Lamar Jackson will take out his frustrations on Washington, who’ve dropped their last two games by big margins. Baltimore 38-17
New York Giants at Los Angeles Rams (-13) The Rams are back home after two long road trips to Buffalo and Philadelphia, in which they went 1-1. The Giants are 0-3 and look lost. New York now has to make the cross-continent trek. L.A. Rams 38-10
New England Patriots at Kansas City Chiefs (-7) Cam Newton has fit in nicely in New England and leads the Patriots into Arrowhead Stadium against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. No quarterback in the NFL has played as well as Mahomes has this year, and Monday’s beat down of Baltimore proved that the defending champs are primed for a repeat. Kansas City 30-20
Philadelphia Eagles at San Francisco 49ers (-7) The 49ers and Eagles have been hit hard by the injury bug this season. This game looked like a good matchup at the start of the season. Now, not so much. San Fran takes care of business. San Francisco 23-17
Atlanta Falcons at Green Bay Packers (-7.5) We could see another prime time shootout involving the Packers. Last week, they took down New Orleans on Sunday Night Football and this Monday night they will host the winless Atlanta Falcons, who are reeling after major choke jobs in their last two games. Green Bay 34-24
Overall straight up 31-15-1
Overall against the spread 23-24-1
Rick Zamperin is the assistant program, news and senior sports director at Global News Radio 900 CHML.