NFL Week 3: Expert picks against the spread

Back on the winning side last week, and sitting at .500 for the year. It’s a long season. Here are five tickets I’m punching for Week 3. As always, shop around and get the best number you can.

Steelers over 20.5 points at Raiders

Pittsburgh’s offense has been a mess for two weeks, but consider the schedule: Niners, Browns. That’s a nightmare draw. Sunday night Pittsburgh gets to impose its will against a Raiders defense that’s at least bottom five, and arguably the worst in the league. And for as much as we don’t trust Pittsburgh OC Matt Canada, at least two good things are happening — Jaylen Warren is picking up snaps, and George Pickens is getting featured. Pittsburgh’s defense is also capable of augmenting this pick, as we saw last week. It’s going to be a long season in Vegas.

Falcons +3 at Lions

I’m going to stop fantasy stressing over the Arthur Smith passing game and just accept and love what the Falcons are. Bijan Robinson looks amazing. Tyler Allgeier is a formidable secondary punch. A running game generally travels well. And the Lions are without their interior pounding back (David Montgomery), and more importantly, playing with an injured Amon-Ra St. Brown — he’s the bass player, the guy who keeps everyone on schedule. Atlanta hangs around and certainly can win; grab the points.

Packers -1 vs. Saints

Remember when the Packers were essentially a pick-em against Chicago in Week 1? Good times. I don’t trust the Saints as much outside their dome environment, and I’m not convinced Derek Carr is going to be the panacea New Orleans imagines. Jordan Love probably gets Christian Watson, his best receiver, back, and Love’s game has been clean for two weeks (no turnovers, just two sacks). The line just asks you to pick the winner, I can only side with Green Bay.

It’s very rare I promote a player prop here, and I grant you it’s not easy to find Fields over this number, though a major site is offering it Friday morning. I suspect one of two things happens with Fields’ running this week — either it’s returned to the primary script, or he says “The heck with it, if I’m going down, I’m going down doing what I do best.” Chicago likely will be chasing the game early at Kansas City, setting up the chaotic flow we love for mobile quarterbacks. Play with your hair on fire, kid.

It’s the “I don’t trust them” bowl, and the loser of the game will probably be the best 0-3 team in football. Here’s hoping the Vikings more or less junk the running game and take dead aim on the Chargers’ pass defense, ranked dead last in DVOA. Kirk Cousins looks like a fantasy winner, set up for a year of indoor carnival life.

Last Week: 3-2

Season: 5-5

Historical record and pick log are accessible here.

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