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So after the Browns finally get a win our attention turns to the rest of the week three slate, and I can begin to panic that we’re nearly at the quarter pole of the season already! First the minor matter of the trivia question, which this week is:

Tell me, which is the newest of the NFL Stadiums (in the Lower-48) and when did it open?’

I believe this is the Mercedes-Benz stadium of the Atlanta Falcons that was opened last year and as seems traditional is hosting the Super Bowl this year.

I’ll be taking my first point of the year this week – the answer is the Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, which opened in 2017!’

Saints @ Falcons (-3.5)

I am really interested in this game as two teams who haven’t looked fully together take each other on. The Atlanta Falcons recovered from their opening week loss to get a solid win against the Carolina Panthers but both their offence and defence are ranked twenty-third in the league by DVOA and another of their starters was put on IR for the season when their best offensive guard Andy Levitre tore a tricep. This week they host a Saints team whose offence is characteristically top ten but whose defence has taking a big step back from last year’s iteration that made a big jump. A team’s defence is often more volatile than their offence from year to year and those units who make a big jump often take a step back the following year. Still, given how the Falcons have played and the fact that the clear best unit in the game is the Saints offence I’m backing them to at least cover this line.

Gee’s Pick:      Saints
Dan’s Pick:      Saints

Bills @ Vikings (-16.5)

So this is an easy game to predict but a slightly trickier one to call. The Buffalo Bills have got off to a horrid start to this season and look to be in a competition with the Arizona Cardinals for the worst team in the league. Following the logic from last week that I failed to remember, it is more likely for a team to go 2-1 or 1-2 than lose or win all their games but this week the Bills are travelling to Minnesota to face the Vikings in their newish stadium that has given them a distinct home advantage since it opened in 2016. The question is can the Vikings repeat the kind of win the Ravens had over the Bills in week one and given the chasm between the teams and where this game is being played I’m going to nervously back the Vikings to cover.

Gee’s Pick:      Vikings
Dan’s Pick:      Vikings

Bengals @ Panthers (-2.5)

Of course I am nervous about this game as the Cincinnati Bengals head back out on the road for the second of the three road games they have to start the season. This week they travel to face a Carolina Panthers team where Cam Newton seems to have taken to Norv Turner as his coordinator but the defence is an uncharacteristic twenty-fourth rank by DVOA. The worry for everyone I’ve heard talking about this game is that second year running back Joe Mixon is out having had a scope on his knee but I am starting to have faith in the rebuilt offensive line and what Bill Lazor is doing on offence. I think that the Bengals can keep this close but I’d feel a lot happier if the line was -3 rather than -2.5 yet I’m still going to grab the points.

Gee’s Pick:      Bengals
Dan’s Pick:      Bengals

Broncos @ Ravens (-4.5)

The Denver Broncos head out on the road for the first time this season and have the added difficulty of traveling to Baltimore to face a rested Ravens teams. The Broncos offence has been helped by the addition of Case Keenum and rookie running backs Royce Freeman and Phillip Freemand whilst their defence has done a job even if it is currently ranked sixteenth by DVOA. However, they have had the advantage of opening the season at highest stadium in the league whilst most teams get their legs under them after pre-season so this will be a real test of how far this team has come. The Raven’s defence is top five by DVOA and their offence looks to have more options amongst the skills players although I’m not sure the packages that have been put in for Lamar Jackson are really helping. The Broncos have eeked out two wins at home and could keep this one close but I’m not sure they will on the road but can the Ravens win by five. I’m once again going to grab the points as I don’t feel that strongly about these teams yet.

Gee’s Pick:      Broncos
Dan’s Pick:      Broncos

Packers @ Washington (+2.5)

The Green Bay Packers travel to Washington this week and frankly if I had the option to stay away I would as so much rides on the injured knee of Aaron Rodgers. He played well enough to win last week and the Packers offence looks good with him but the drop off if DeShone Kizer has to play is pretty startling. Their defence rank of twentieth by DVOA actually matches where they finished last season but we know that the big driver for the Packers is Rodgers. Washington fell back to earth with a bump last week as the Colts beat them in their home opener. I don’t trust Washington and I can’t hang my hat on the Packers given the injury to Rodgers.. This game feels like it could get ugly quickly, but having lost to the Colts I can’t quite bring myself to back Washington in this game although that would change if Rodgers can’t go.

Gee’s Pick:      Packers
Dan’s Pick:      Packers

Titans @ Jaguars (-7.5)

The Tennessee Titans managed to get a win last week with Blain Gabbert at quarterback but facing a Texans team with a rocky start is a very different prospect to going on the road to face the Jacksonville Jaguars and their fearsome defence. It looks like Gabbert will likely start again this week and this probably doesn’t bode well. I liked the aggressiveness the Jaguars’ offence played with last week and I would hope they keep that when Leonard Fournette returns from his hamstring injury and that they don’t automatically return to grinding out yards on the ground. I think this is a tough spot for the Titans even with some key Jaguar players being listed as questionable and that’s enough for me to lay this number of points.

Gee’s Pick:      Jaguars
Dan’s Pick:      Titans

Colts @ Eagles (-6.5)

So this is a really awkward game for me to pick as the Indianapolis Colts have looked pretty good so far this season with new head coach seeming to do well with Andrew Luck and a couple of promising break outs on the defence. They travel to Philadelphia to face an Eagles team who have a number of injuries but are getting Carson Wentz back from injury and he looked like the league MVP last year before he was lost. The Eagles defence is top ten by DVOA but the offence has struggled and the big question for me is will the skills players and the injuries at running back allow Wentz to look his best. The worry for me with this pick is the points and frankly there are too many unknowns with the Eagles for me to back them to win by seven even if I could regret this as I do think the Eagles are more likely to win this game.

Gee’s Pick:      Colts
Dan’s Pick:      Colts

49ers @ Chiefs (-6.5)

One of the most impressive things about the Chiefs 2-0 start is that they have managed to get themselves ranked the top offence by DVOA playing on the road and this week’s home opener sees them welcome a San Francisco 49ers team who haven’t quite lived up to the promise many expected in the pre-season. The Chiefs have been a lot of fun to watch given that they’ve paired the top rated offence in the league with the worst ranked defence. The offence hasn’t gelled for the 49ers yet this season whilst the defence has improved. This is quite a lot of points for a team to cover who has the worst defence in the league by DVOA but the Chiefs have a good home advantage and the crowd is likely to hugely excited given the play of the offence and so I’m going to back the Chiefs to cover.

Gee’s Pick:      Chiefs
Dan’s Pick:      Chiefs

Raiders @ Dolphins (-3.5)

The Oakland Raiders have got off to a tough start under Jon Gruden and despite improving last week are still yet to have a win and face a second road game as they travel to face an unbeaten Miami Dolphins team. I’m still not convinced by the Raiders as whilst the offence looked better last week, the defence is still struggling, is currently ranked twenty-seventh and frankly I’m not that convinced by Gruden as a coach. The Dolphins are a tricky team to gauge at home but I think Adam Gase is a good coach and it looks like he has more of the team he wants this season while Tannehill is currently managing the offence well. The extra half point should tempt me into making the opposite play here but the seventeen places between them by overall DVOA with Gruden on the road means I’ll be joining Dan in his Dolphins optimism this week.

Gee’s Pick:      Dolphins
Dan’s Pick:      Dolphins

Giants @ Texans (-5.5)

One of these 0-2 teams have to win and the line would indicate that one of these teams is a much more likely candidate. The DVOA rankings would agree with the Houston Texans ranked sixteen places higher and having a top ten defence but they also have problems at offensive tackles and a young quarterback. That said they have also been on the road for their first two games and welcome a Giants team whose offence hasn’t recovered despite getting Odell Beckham back from injury and adding the talented Saquon Barkley at running back as well as Nate Solder at left tackle. I think the Giants made a mistake by not drafting a quarterback as Eli Manning has not looked better so far and has been in decline for several seasons now. The line is what worries me though as this feels like too many points but I do not trust the Giants either and in the end that’s how I’m going to go.

Gee’s Pick:      Texans
Dan’s Pick:      Texans

Chargers @ Rams (-6.5)

The battle of LA see the Chargers travel to the Coliseum to face a Rams team who have yet to let a team get closer than twenty points to them. The Chargers should manage that but having got back to winning ways last week against the Bills last week can they make this game competitive? They would stand a better chance if they had Joey Bosa but his foot injury looks to have him out for a little while yet and whilst their offence is ranked third by DVOA their defence is ranked seventeenth and the Rams are one of those teams who never let up on offence. I’d like to think this will be competitive and later in the season I think it would be but with where these teams are at right this second I think they Rams continue their strong start.

Gee’s Pick:      Rams
Dan’s Pick:      Chargers

Bears @ Cardinals (+4.5)

The Chicago Bears got their first win last week as Khalil Mack continues to be a one man wrecking crew and Matt Nagy coaxes offensive production out of a talented group of skills players but a young quarterback in Mitchel Trubisky who seems to look good early with the scripted plays but whose instinct too often is to tuck the ball and run. This week however they travel to face a Cardinals team who have offered very little so far this season. They have struggled to move the ball on offence and their defence has not been much better, leaving them ranked thirty-first overall by DVOA. It seems strange to be laying this number of points on the road, but there still aren’t enough for me to back the Cardinals in this one.

Gee’s Pick:      Bears
Dan’s Pick:      Cardinals

Cowboys @ Seahawks (-2.5)

The Seattle Seahawks are 0-2 for what I would have said was the first time in a number of years, but they actually started the 2015 season also losing two road games. I’m not sure they’ll be able to finish 10-6 like they did then but they might be more competitive at CenturyLink Field than they have been on the road. The problem is that the offence has not looked good under new coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and this has led Russell Wilson to a ranking of thirtieth in passing by DVOA. This week they host a Dallas Cowboys team who got their first win of the season last week but whose offence is not exactly looking great despite their ranking of eleventh by DVOA but that combined with a defensive ranking of thirteenth means they shouldn’t be overlooked. However, I find it hard to see them travelling well as Seattle is a notoriously difficult place to play and the Seahawks will be desperate to get back to winning ways. I have a lot more faith in Pete Carroll and so I’m backing the Seahawks to get back to winning ways rather than fall to 0-3.

Gee’s Pick:      Seahawks
Dan’s Pick:      Seahawks

Patriots @ Lions (+6.5)

It’s not exactly unusual for the New England Patriots to have a loss or two early in the season as Bill Belichick very much aims to have his team peaking at the end of the season and there is no shame in losing to the Jaguars these days. That said there must be some concern with the offence given that they have traded a fifth round pick to the Browns for Josh Gordon, who is expected to play in a limited fashion this week. The Patriots travel to Detroit to face a winless Lions team and their old defensive coordinator and new head coach Matt Patricia. The Lions looked better last week but still lost to the 49ers and so it’s hard to see a rookie head coach get his first win against Belichick, particularly as Belichick’s coaching tree has not exactly had a great track record outside of New England. This feels like a lot of points but I haven’t seen enough of the Lions to get the way they played in pre-season and week one out of my head so whilst I could regret this, I’m backing the Patriots to get back to winning ways as they seldom lose two games in a row (I didn’t find a time since 2013).

Gee’s Pick:      Patriots
Dan’s Pick:      Patriots

Steelers @ Bucaneers (+1.5)

The Monday night game sees a winless Pittsburgh Steelers team travel to Tampa Bay to face a Buccaneers team whose offence is rolling at second in the league by DVOA but whose defence is thirty-first so they are basically the Chiefs mark two. I absolutely did not see this coming but one of the big difference this year is that Todd Monken is calling plays rather than head coach Dirk Koetter and Ryan Fitzpatrick has been outstanding in deputising for the suspended Jameis Winston. I don’t know if they can keep this rolling but this looks to be a great game as the Steelers desperately need to get their season back on track. There is no sign of Le’Veon Bell ending his holdout and having disciplined Antonio Brown for not reporting on Monday the Steelers will hope that they can get their first win of the season. The question is whether they can heal the locker room and more importantly improve a defence that is currently ranked twenty-fifth by DVOA. I’m not sure that this is the game to turn it round, but equally I find it hard to believe the Steelers will go into week four without a win and I can’t quite bring myself to pick it even if it definitely could happen.

Gee’s Pick:      Steelers
Dan’s Pick:      Buccaneers