Nostrathomas had another rough one in Week 2. Straight-up I was 11-4. Against the spread picks took a beating from the fourth quarter comebacks that seemed to define last week, finishing at 6-9.
There is one interesting fact about the remaining 15 games in Week 3. In nine of them the road team is the favorite. Also, there are no double-digit spreads to be had this week. There were five in Week 2.
The NFL is giving us some blockbuster divisional matchups this weekend. Let’s dig in and see what value we can find.
Game of the Week
Buffalo Bills -5.5 vs Miami Dolphins (1PM ET; Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, FL)
The AFC conference favorite Buffalo Bills head to Miami to face a Dolphins team that has showed a lot of offensive firepower so far. Both are off to 2-0 starts and appear to be setting off a two team horse race for the top of the AFC East.
As the entire NFL world knows, Miami was down 35-14 to the Baltimore Ravens last week when Tua Tagovailoa took the team on his shoulders. Tagovailoa rocked Baltimore with four touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, giving him six on the day, in a 42-38 Dolphins victory.
For Buffalo, quarterback Josh Allen and the Bills relentless offense may have grabbed all the attention so far in 2022 but their defense is just as formidable. They are third in the NFL with 25.29 yards per point allowed. That means, on average, opposing offenses have needed 177 yards of offense to put up seven points.
Buffalo’s defense is also third in net passing yards per attempt allowed, first in defensive passer rating and third in rushing yards per attempt allowed.
Tua seems to be thriving under new Miami head coach Mike McDaniel. Having Tyreek Hill joining Jaylen Waddle as receiver targets has also breathed life into the career of the third year quarterback.
What makes this game difficult to pick is that the Bills have declared safety Micah Hyde (neck, out for the season), cornerback Dane Jackson (neck), defensive tackle Jordan Phillips (hamstring) and defensive tackle Ed Oliver (ankle) as out. On the other hand, so far this season Buffalo has showed that no spread is big enough to hold them.
I’ve said for years that you can’t overreact in Week 2 to Week 1 results. You can apply that same thought process this week.
Remember that Miami had only scored 14 points and their offense had looked stagnant in three quarters against the Ravens last week before the fireworks went off.
So far this season, the Bills have looked like no spread can hold them. At least in the early going. Take them to be 3-0 both straight-up and against the spread after this game.
Buffalo Bills 30 Miami Dolphins 20
Kansas City Chiefs -5.5 vs Indianapolis Colts (1PM ET; Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN)
What is the problem with the Indianapolis Colts this season? Has the lack of talent at wide receiver be one of the issues that have led to Matt Ryan’s slow start or is he nearing the end of the line? Is their high-priced offensive line really be as bad as it looks?
The answer, we’ll see. I’ve looked over my 2021 stats and Indianapolis got off to this same miserable start, especially the offensive line, but pulled made major improvements on offense and came within one game of making the playoffs.
Problem is, without that September slump last season the Colts easily make the playoffs and the hangover from their Week 17 and 18 collapse doesn’t dog them into the start of this season.
That season opening hangover isn’t going to be getting any better for Indianapolis this week. The Chiefs are off to a blazing start.
Yes, they fought tooth and nail in Week 2 to beat the Los Angeles Chargers but that was against a rival serious about challenging for bragging rights in the AFC West. Kansas City is in the top five in nearly all my offense metrics. Patrick Mahomes has the best passer rating in the NFL through two games.
Another item to consider, the Chiefs will have had 10 days to prepare for this game. Andy Reid’s team usually feasts when they have extra days between games.
Even is wide receiver Michael Pittman returns from injury this week, I can’t see a scenario for this game that gets Indianapolis within one score. Take Kansas City as the road favorites.
Kansas City Chiefs 29 Indianapolis Colts 17
Baltimore Ravens -2.5 vs New England Patriots (1:00PM ET; Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA)
Lamar Jackson played a great game last week against Miami. He connected on 21 passes in 29 attempts for 318 yards and three touchdowns while also running nine times for 119 yards and a touchdown. Why didn’t anyone walk away from that game and not sing Jackson’s praises. Tua Tagovailoa passed for 469 yards and six touchdowns against his Ravens team.
For the New England Patriots, they’ve been riding their defense through the first two games of this season. They are eighth in the league in points allowed, but 29th in points scored.
Running backs Damein Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson have combined for only 191 yards in 41 carries and wide receiver Jakobi Meyers is the only target that quarterback Mac Jones seems to have faith in.
One positive for Baltimore in this game, don’t be surprised to see running back J.K. Dobbins back after injuries to the ACL, LCL, hamstring and meniscus that he suffered in his left knee in the Ravens final preseason game last year.
Tackle Ronnie Staley is still expected to be out this week because of his ankle but the Ravens did a good job in covering for his absence in Week 2.
Baltimore is 4-0 against the spread in their last four following a non-cover and 7-3 against the spread in games following a straight-up loss. Take the Ravens to have a strong bounce-back game here.
Baltimore Ravens 27 New England Patriots 16
Philadelphia Eagles -6.5 vs Washington Commanders (1PM ET; FedEx Field, Washington, D.C.)
This last offseason, Philadelphia Eagles general manager acquired wide receiver A.J. Brown from the Tennessee Titans. Quarterback Jalen Hurts have made the most of that through two weeks of the season. Brown has caught 15 of 21 targets for 224 yards heading into this important NFC East showdown against the Washington Commanders.
With Brown in midnight green and silver, Philadelphia is second in the league in net passing yards per attempt through two games.
Washington has opened this season by struggling on defense, the same problem that plagued them in 2021. The squad formerly known as The Football Team leads the league in quarterback hits but are 15th in sacks. Hits don’t do anything for a team if they can’t finish.
Washington is also getting gashed on the ground, giving up 7.5 yards per carry. That is a problem when going up against one of the best running quarterbacks in the league.
The Eagles are nearly completely healthy heading into this game, or as healthy as an NFL team can be two games into the season. They have also won four of their last five games playing in Washington. Nostrathomas is taking Philadelphia to win and cover.
Philadelphia Eagles 32 Washington Commanders 20
L.A. Rams -3.5 vs Arizona Cardinals (4:25PM ET; State Farm Stadium, Glendale, AZ)
The Arizona Cardinals finally woke up in the second half last week against the Las Vegas Raiders. Late game Kyler Murray heroics and a fumble recovery touchdown in overtime gave the Cardinals a 29-23 victory.
For the Los Angeles Rams, they were cruising against the Atlanta Falcons last week before hitting a speed bump. Atlanta struck for 17 fourth quarter points before a Jalen Ramsey interception sealed the game.
Los Angeles has struggled with their running game, but Matthew Stafford still has his connection with Cooper Kupp. Some would argue that he gets too focused on Kupp sometimes.
I would say that the home underdog has a good chance of pulling out a win in this game except for one trend. Sean McVay has owned the Cardinals since taking over as head coach in Los Angeles. His Rams have won nine of 10 games against Arizona, and most of those games haven’t been close.
Los Angeles also has the superior defense. The Cardinals don’t have the defensive line power to generate pressure against Stafford.
Take the Rams to continue their winning ways against Arizona.
Los Angeles Rams 29 Arizona Cardinals 24
Detroit Lions +6 vs Minnesota Vikings (1PM ET; U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN
Nostrathomas believes that the Detroit Lions are being taken lightly by NFL handicappers so far this season. Yes, they took too long to get untracked against Philadelphia in Week 1, but they were in complete control through the entire game last week against Washington.
The Lions are second in the NFL on offense in points scored and yards per point average. Quarterback Jared Goff is seventh in passer rating. On defense Detroit is fourth in the league in net passing yards per attempt allowed.
Both teams have problems on their defensive line but a big problem in this game for the Vikings is that safety Harrison Smith and cornerback Andrew Booth have both been declared out this week.
Minnesota beat the Green Bay Packers in Week 1 but Green Bay was still trying to figure out they’re offense. The Vikings got thoroughly beat last week in Philadelphia. Another thing to look at with Minnesota is that they’re coming off a short week.
Detroit is playing tough and worth the nod as road dogs.
Detroit Lions 29 Minnesota Vikings 23
New Orleans Saints -2.5 vs Carolina Panthers (1PM ET; Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC)
If the New Orleans Saints are like any other football team coming off a loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they should bounce back here against dead man walking coach Matt Rhule and the Carolina Panthers.
Until Carolina shows they have some semblance of life it’s foolish to take them to cover any week. The Panthers have also failed to cover in nine straight games.
New Orleans Saints 23 Carolina Panthers 20
Dallas Cowboys +1 vs New York Giants (Monday Night Football, MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ)
The Dallas Cowboys beat the Cincinnati Bengals last week with Cooper Rush at the controls at quarterback. The New York Giants are off to a 2-0 start but both have been skin of their teeth wins.
The trouble with the Giants is they haven’t had pass rush specialists Azeez Ojulari and Kayvon Thibodeaux on the field yet this season. Both are listed as doubtful for this game. Just one of these two could have been difference makers in this game.
Mike McCarthy has a very good record in prime-time games. Take the Dallas Cowboys to win and cover.
Dallas Cowboys 24 New York Giants 17
Best of the Rest
Green Bay Packers vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers -1 (4:25PM ET; Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL)
The Green Bay Packers got some offense rolling last Sunday night against the Chicago Bears but they’re looking at a defensive brick wall this week. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have shut down Dallas and New Orleans in their first two games. They’ve only allowed one touchdown this season, a garbage time score by New Orleans last week.
It’s tough to get a read on the Packers so far this season. They got beat like a punch-drunk boxer in Week 1 but recovered last week against the punchless Bears.
Tampa Bay has problems heading into this game. Tom Brady has not been his usual Hall of Fame self so far this season. In two games, Brady has only completed 36 of 61 passes for 402 yards and only two touchdowns. His passer rating is a lackluster 82.8.
The Buccaneers are also dealing with a lot of injuries to key players on offense. Receiver Chris Godwin is the only one out but running back Leonard Fournette and receivers Russell Gage, Julio Jones and Breshad Perriman are all listed as questionable.
There are some trends to take into account. Green Bay is 2-5 against the spread in their last seven games while the Buccaneers are 4-1 against the spread in their last five. The Packers still have problems at receiver and won’t have Sammy Watkins for this game. They found their running game last week but are running into a brick wall this week.
Take Tampa Bay to win and cover.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 19 Green Bay Packers 16
Las Vegas Raiders -2 vs Tennessee Titans (1PM ET; Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN)
These two 2021 playoff teams are off to 0-2 starts in 2022. The loser of this game is going to have a rocky road to try and climb back into playoff contention.
The Tennessee Titans are on a short week after getting blown out by the Buffalo Bills last Monday Night.
A.J. Brown being moved to Philadelphia has proved to be a big loss for quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Derrick Henry has also looked human so far this season. He’s only managed 107 yards on 34 carries in two games. His heavy workload in 2019 and 2020, 681 carries, could be catching up to him.
For the Las Vegas Raiders, they may be 0-2 but they held leads in both of those games. They were up 20-0 over the Arizona Cardinals at halftime last week. Then, they shut down on offense and Arizona came all the way back in the final second before winning in overtime.
Tennessee is dealing with some key injuries on defense which is only going to make it tougher for them to keep the lid on the Raiders offense. Take the road favorites to win and cover.
Las Vegas Raiders 26 Tennessee Titans 20
Cincinnati Bengals -6 vs New York Jets (1PM ET; MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ)
The one certainty about this game is that Joe Flacco will be slinging the ball. Flacco has 103 pass attempts in his first two starts this season. Apparently, New York head coach Robert Saleh has decided that either Michael Carter can’t run effectively or that his line is incapable of run blocking.
The unfortunate part about that strategy for the Jets is that it plays into the strength of Cincinnati’s defense.
The issue with the Bengals is whether they can get their offense straightened out after losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys to open the season.
New York doesn’t have the defensive front to make a tough game for Joe Burrow and Joe Mixon. Burrow should have time to throw and Mixon has a good chance of making an impact in the ground game.
Corrections are coming for both sidelines this week. Take the defending AFC Champions to finally add a game to the win column.
Cincinnati Bengals 27 New York Jets 20
Jacksonville Jaguars vs L.A. Chargers -3 (4:05PM ET; SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, CA) – No Pick
This game opened with the Los Angeles Chargers favored by -10.5. How much Justin Herbert’s rib injury has contributed to the money being poured into the sports books is unknown.
Herbert is a game-time decision. If he plays, I think he brings the Jaguars back down to Earth for at least one week. If he’s unavailable and Chase Daniel starts this game, then Jacksonville has a chance to win and cover.
Because of that, this game is coming off the Nostrathomas board.
San Francisco 49ers -1.5 vs Denver Broncos (Sunday Night Football, Empower Field at Mile High Stadium, Denver, CO)
The Denver Broncos have been tough on defense but that’s not why this game was slotted into prime time.
Denver quarterback Russell Wilson has enjoyed playing the Mike Shanahan coached 49ers, at least while he was in Seattle. He’s 8-2 against San Francisco and the two losses were tight games. Considering how the Broncos have opened their season on offense, it could be a different story tomorrow.
Denver has driven into the red zone six times this season and have come away with four field goals and two turnovers, both of those being fumbles on the one-yard line. They’ve only scored on eight of their 19 drives so far in 2022.
On defense for the Broncos, the one thing to take into consideration is that they’ve played two of the worst offenses in the league so far in 2022, the Seattle Seahawks and Houston Texans.
For San Francisco, according to my statistical rankings they have the best defensive line in football. In two games, the 49ers have allowed a paltry 2.6 yards per rushing attempt.
On offense, they have Jimmy Garoppolo at the controls and George Kittle will be back at tight end for this game.
This will be a test for Denver. If they play the way they did in Weeks 1 and 2 they have no chance against the 49ers.
San Francisco 49ers 26 Denver Broncos 18
Games of the Weak
Houston Texans +3 vs Chicago Bears; Over/Under 39 (1PM ET, Soldier Field, Chicago, IL)
Two top defenses, but two of the worst offenses in the NFL collide in Week 3 in Chicago.
The Bears have been historically bad on offense in their first two games this season. Yes, that takes into consideration that they played Week 1 in a driving rainstorm.
The one advantage for Chicago is that the Texans are almost as inept on offense with Davis Mills at quarterback as the Bears are.
If you want to bet this game, take the under. Right now, the Bears need to prove they’re willing to run an NFL offense. So far, they’ve only shown that they have no faith in second-year quarterback Justin Fields. Until they do, take road dog Houston to win and cover.
Houston Texans 19 Chicago Bears 13
Atlanta Falcons vs Seattle Seahawks -1 (4:25PM ET; Lumen Field, Seattle, WA)
Again, two anemic offenses collide in the Pacific Northwest. The Falcons have looked close to winning their first two games but that’s only a mirage. Atlanta has played two strong fourth quarters. In the other six they’ve been thoroughly beaten.
The team that gets to 10 first, wins. That should be the home team.
Seattle Seahawks 19 Atlanta Falcons 13