Insiders predict: NFL week 3 winners

September 18, 2019
Quinn Harris // Getty Images

Insiders predict: NFL week 3 winners

An exhilarating second week in the NFL was made a bit somber after it was announced two superstar veteran quarterbacks will miss significant time this season. Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints injured the thumb on his throwing hand and is expected to miss six or more weeks, while Ben Roethlisberger will miss the rest of the season for the Pittsburgh Steelers as surgery is required on his right elbow. Another Super Bowl Champion quarterback will grab pine in Week 3, but not due to injury. There’s a changing of the guard in New York as Eli Manning makes way for Giants rookie Daniel Jones who will make his first career start.

Ten teams look to remain unbeaten this week while another 10 search for their first victory of the season. The season is young, but an 0-3 start is essentially a death sentence. Since 1980, only six of the 176 NFL teams to start the season with three consecutive losses have reached the postseason.

Here’s a look at some games in the Week 3 slate to keep an eye on:

Ravens @ Chiefs: Featuring the only matchup between two 2-0 squads, it’s a battle of the young and talented quarterbacks. Patrick Mahomes II did enough to prove himself as an elite passer last season, but can Lamar Jackson do the same?

Steelers @ 49ers: If Pittsburgh wants any viable shot at salvaging their season, it needs to start with a win on the road in San Francisco. Can Mason Rudolph pull off some magic in his first-ever start, or will the Niners keep rolling?

Saints @ Seahawks: Drew Brees may only miss six weeks, but will Teddy Bridgewater be able to keep the Super Bowl hopeful Saints afloat for nearly half of the regular season? The Seahawks will pose a tough test out of the gate.

Rams @ Browns: Time to see what the new-look Browns are really all about. After bouncing back against a weak Jets team who were down to their third-string quarterback, all eyes will be on them Sunday night as they battle the reigning NFC champion Rams.

*Bonus: If you enjoy a good dumpster fire, tune in to see how badly the Patriots and Cowboys beat up on the Jets and Dolphins, respectively.

Insiders predicts are based on the team that is favored to win, which is based on consensus betting odds and spread on Vegas Insider as of Sept. 18, 2019. Team stats were gathered from

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Tennessee Titans (1-1) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2)

- Gametime: Thursday, Sept. 19, 8:20 p.m. EST

Both of these AFC South foes are coming off of losses against another divisional opponent, and there was no shortage of drama in either of those contests. Jacksonville is seeking its first win after a gutsy call to go for a 2-point conversion to win rather than an extra point to force overtime following a late fourth-quarter touchdown against the Texans on Sunday.

Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette was stuffed at the goal line, resulting in a loss that casts a bad light over a solid starting debut for rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew. After being thrust into the starting role following the broken collarbone suffered by Nick Foles, Minshew posted 213 yards through the air on 23 of 33 passing to go along with a touchdown and an additional 56 yards rushing. While he still seeks his first win, it’s looking increasingly like the Jaguars are in capable hands while Foles recovered from his shoulder injury.

Still, Jacksonville is a home underdog, even on a short week. The Titans inspired confidence in their fan base after beating the Browns in Week 1, but a home loss to Jacoby Brissett and the Colts on Sunday quickly put some of that optimism in check. Tennessee fell victim to an eventual game-winning touchdown toss from Brissette with just under five minutes left in the game that completed a Colts comeback. This was all after the pre-game festivities gone awry, which are still grabbing the headlines from this contest.

Minshew, a rookie quarterback entering his second career start on just three days of preparation, means that oddsmakers are willing to negate the usual three-point home field advantage in favor of the Titans on the road.

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Wesley Hitt // Getty Images

Insiders predict: Tennessee Titans

- Favored to win: Tennessee Titans
- Spread: -1.5
- Odds: -125

- Tennessee Titans team stats:
- Offense: 290.5 yards per game (#27 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 167.5 ypg (#27)
--- Rushing offense: 123.0 ypg (#11)
- Defense: 317.0 yards per game (#11 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 182.5 ypg (#2)
--- Rushing defense: 134.5 ypg (#26)

- Jacksonville Jaguars team stats:
- Offense: 354.5 yards per game (#18 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 262.5 ypg (#17)
--- Rushing offense: 92.0 ypg (#21)
- Defense: 377.0 yards per game (#21 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 257.5 ypg (#19)
--- Rushing defense: 119.5 ypg (#17)

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Cincinnati Bengals (0-2) @ Buffalo Bills (2-0)

- Gametime: Sunday, Sept. 22, 1 p.m. EST

Though it’s already Week 3, the Bills home opener will be the third game in a row that the team has played in the state of New York. There’s something to be said about not racking up a lot of travel miles early in the season, and when your two opponents are the floundering Giants and Jets to start the season, that’s even more advantageous.

So, on come the Buffalo Bills with a 2-0 record and a chance to remain unbeaten if they can beat the winless Bengals, who were blown out on their own turf last Sunday by the 49ers.

Cincinnati is dealing with some defensive woes that saw them surrender 572 total yards and 27 first downs to Jimmy Garoppolo and company. Last week’s blowout loss is a far cry from how the Bengals looked in Week 1, where they nearly upset the Seahawks in Seattle behind a 418 yard, two-touchdown performance from Andy Dalton and a solid defensive outing that limited Seattle to just 232 yards of offense.

Which Bengals defense will show up this week? It seems like Vegas is banking on the Week 2 version of Cincinnati showing up in Buffalo, which could mean an 0-3 record after three weeks, and an unbeaten Bills team heading into Week 4 showdown with the Patriots.

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Sarah Stier // Getty Images

Insiders predict: Buffalo Bills

- Favored to win: Buffalo Bills
- Spread: -6
- Odds: -260

- Cincinnati Bengals team stats:
- Offense: 372.5 yards per game (#11 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 343.0 ypg (#2)
--- Rushing offense: 29.5 ypg (#32)
- Defense: 402.0 yards per game (#25 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 236.5 ypg (#16)
--- Rushing defense: 165.5 ypg (#30)

- Buffalo Bills team stats:
- Offense: 379.0 yards per game (#9 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 239.5 ypg (#18)
--- Rushing offense: 139.5 ypg (#9)
- Defense: 296.5 yards per game (#6 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 198 ypg (#6)
--- Rushing defense: 98.5 ypg (#10)

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Miami Dolphins (0-2) @ Dallas Cowboys (2-0)

- Gametime: Sunday, Sept. 22, 1 p.m. EST

With the tank job going on in Miami, we may continue to see some jaw-dropping point spreads for the Dolphins as the season goes on. All the Fins have done in the first two weeks of the season is get outscored 102-10 in two straight home games. Now, that same team takes to the road to face a 2-0 Cowboys team that hung 35 and 31 points on the New York Giants and Washington, respectively.

Dak Prescott was effective with his arm and his legs in Dallas’ 31-21 win over Washington on Sunday, racking up 269 yards and three touchdowns through the air to go along with 69 rushing yards on just five attempts. With his ability as a dual-threat quarterback and the Dolphins’ inability to stop Lamar Jackson in Week 1 (324 yards, five touchdowns), this is as good a week as any to load up on Prescott taring the Miami defense to shreds.

Three touchdowns are what the Cowboys are expected to win by and although that may seem like way too large a spread for any professional team to comfortably cover, the same might have been said about the 19-point spread in the Patriots favor, which they covered by a whopping 24-point margin (43-0). At this point, the Dolphins may be best served to get embarrassed every week and plan for 2020. They’ve essentially begun doing so by accumulating draft assets, including a first-round pick from the Steelers in exchange for defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick.

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Insiders predict: Dallas Cowboys

- Favored to win: Dallas Cowboys
- Spread: -21.5
- Odds: -4000

- Miami Dolphins team stats:
- Offense: 192.0 yards per game (#32 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 160.5 ypg (#30)
--- Rushing offense: 31.5 ypg (#31)
- Defense: 512.0 yards per game (#32 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 316.5 ypg (#28)
--- Rushing defense: 195.5 ypg (#32)

- Dallas Cowboys team stats:
- Offense: 484.0 yards per game (#2 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 333.0 ypg (#3)
--- Rushing offense: 151.0 ypg (#6)
- Defense: 362.5 yards per game (#18 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 263.5 ypg (#21)
--- Rushing defense: 99 ypg (#11)

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Denver Broncos (0-2) @ Green Bay Packers (2-0)

- Gametime: Sunday, Sept. 22, 1 p.m. EST

After narrowly defeating the Chicago Bears in the Opening Night snoozefest (10-3), the Packers faced yet another tough defense in their division rivals, the Minnesota Vikings. This time, Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense showed plenty of signs of life early in the game, jumping out to a 21-0 lead behind two touchdowns from Rodgers and a rushing touchdown from running back Aaron Jones.

After that, the Green Bay offense came to a grinding halt. If it weren’t for their defense coming up with an interception in the end zone late in the fourth quarter for the second straight week, the Packers home opener could have been a massive disappointment.

Green Bay’s defense showing the ability to win them two straight games against division foes, but what Packers fans will want to see most on Sunday is more consistency from the offensive unit.

That may not come all that easy against the Broncos, who are 0-2 despite two competitive contests against the Raiders (24-16) and the Bears (16-14). Denver head coach Vic Fangio has had success against Rodgers and the Packers during his time in Chicago, but one thing that could spell trouble for the Broncos is their inability to get to the quarterback in the first two weeks of the season. They are the only NFL team not to register a sack through the first two weeks of the season, and for a Packers offensive line that has surrendered seven in the first two games, that could mean an opportunity for their two-time MVP quarterback to finally get into a rhythm.

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Insiders predict: Green Bay Packers

- Favored to win: Green Bay Packers
- Spread: -8
- Odds: -380

- Denver Broncos team stats:
- Offense: 358.0 yards per game (#16 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 265.5 ypg (#15)
--- Rushing offense: 92.5 ypg (#20)
- Defense: 315.0 yards per game (#10 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 189.5 ypg (#4)
--- Rushing defense: 125.5 ypg (#23)

- Green Bay Packers team stats:
- Offense: 274.0 yards per game (#29 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 178.5 ypg (#26)
--- Rushing offense: 95.5 ypg (#19)
- Defense: 337.5 yards per game (#13 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 215.5 ypg (#11)
--- Rushing defense: 122 ypg (#19)

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Kevin C. Cox // Getty Images

Atlanta Falcons (1-1) @ Indianapolis Colts (1-1)

- Gametime: Sunday, Sept. 22, 1 p.m. EST

A thrilling finish to Sunday Night Football saw Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan hook up with his top wideout Julio Jones for a 54-yard, game-winning touchdown with 2:10 left in the fourth quarter to beat the Eagles 24-20. That got Atlanta their first win of the season and provides a brighter outlook to their Week 3 road trip to Indianapolis to face Jacoby Brissett and the Colts.

Since Andrew Luck retired, Brissette was thrust into the starting role for the Colts and he has done just fine through the first two weeks. In fact, between the two quarterbacks in this matchup, he has done a better job protecting the ball. Ryan has been able to accumulate nice yardage totals through two weeks (624 yards), but his 5:5 touchdown to interception ratio is something that will surely be a focal point of improvement heading into this week.

Brissett, on the other hand, has a 5:1 touchdown to interception ratio, though you could categorize the Colts’ offensive approach as a bit more reserved given his 55 attempts to Ryan’s 89.

Either way, this meeting of 1-1 teams seems like it could be a game of narrow margins, and if Ryan does continue to gift the opposition with extra possessions then the Colts may just be able to cover the spread and get a victory in their home opener.

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Insiders predict: Indianapolis Colts

- Favored to win: Indianapolis Colts
- Spread: -2
- Odds: -130

- Atlanta Falcons team stats:
- Offense: 356.0 yards per game (#17 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 291.0 ypg (#9)
--- Rushing offense: 65.0 ypg (#28)
- Defense: 277.5 yards per game (#3 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 167 ypg (#1)
--- Rushing defense: 110.5 ypg (#16)

- Indianapolis Colts team stats:
- Offense: 332.0 yards per game (#22 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 147.0 ypg (#32)
--- Rushing offense: 185.0 ypg (#2)
- Defense: 338.5 yards per game (#14 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 214.5 ypg (#10)
--- Rushing defense: 124 ypg (#20)

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Baltimore Ravens (2-0) @ Kansas City Chiefs (2-0)

- Gametime: Sunday, Sept. 22, 1 p.m. EST

The only game on the Week 3 slate that pits a pair of unbeaten teams against each other, this meeting between two dynamic young quarterbacks figures to be must-see TV for any neutral fan of the NFL. For as dominant as the Ravens looked in their 59-10 win over the lowly Dolphins in Week 1, last week’s home opener in Baltimore saw their defense struggle at times to contain rookie quarterback Kyler Murray, who threw for 349 yards.

The Cardinals play a brand of offense that can be compared to the Chiefs, except in Kansas City the reigning NFL MVP—and early favorite to win it again this season—Patrick Mahomes is the trigger man as opposed to the raw, first-overall pick Murray. This could turn into a shootout rather quickly.

Lamar Jackson will provide fireworks for the Ravens on the offensive end, as he followed up his five-touchdown performance from Week 1 with two more touchdowns in their win over Arizona, and 120 rushing yards to go along with his 272 yards through the air. With by far the highest expected point total according to Bovada (55 o/u), there’s no reason to believe that each explosive quarterback can’t hold their own against vulnerable defenses that oppose them. But when it comes to shootouts, it’s hard to bet against anyone outlasting Mahomes and the talent-rich Chiefs. That, coupled with home-field advantage in the game, would lead one to believe that the Chiefs are a must pick to cover in any game where they are only favored by a single score.

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Daniel Shirey // Getty Images

Insiders predict: Kansas City Chiefs

- Favored to win: Kansas City Chiefs
- Spread: -6.5
- Odds: -300

- Baltimore Ravens team stats:
- Offense: 541.5 yards per game (#1 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 318.0 ypg (#4)
--- Rushing offense: 223.5 ypg (#1)
- Defense: 274.5 yards per game (#2 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 254 ypg (#18)
--- Rushing defense: 20.5 ypg (#1)

- Kansas City Chiefs team stats:
- Offense: 477.5 yards per game (#3 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 405.5 ypg (#1)
--- Rushing offense: 72.0 ypg (#26)
- Defense: 367.5 yards per game (#19 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 262.5 ypg (#20)
--- Rushing defense: 105 ypg (#13)

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Oakland Raiders (1-1) @ Minnesota Vikings (1-1)

- Gametime: Sunday, Sept. 22, 1 p.m. EST

The Vikings got off to a disastrous start in Week 2, falling behind the Packers 21-0 by the second quarter in Green Bay. Considering the fact that they committed four turnovers, fell behind by three scores and were on the road in a hostile environment, the fact that they then stopped all the bleeding and fell just short of a potential game-winning touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter and lost 21-16 is pretty impressive.

The biggest positive for Minnesota coming out of that divisional loss was the explosiveness shown by a (finally) healthy Dalvin Cook, who rushed for a career-high 154 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown scamper. While the Raiders rushing defense has been solid through two games thus far (63-yards per game), the Vikings may try to ride the wave with Cook and control the pace of play.

This could be an opportunity for Kirk Cousins to rebound from an otherwise underwhelming performance, with the Raiders pass defense having just been torn to shreds by the Chiefs a week ago. Oakland will surely need to sure up some holes in the secondary if they are to stop the Vikings dynamic wide receiver duo of Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs from finally breaking out. The pair have combined for only 204 yards and one touchdown through the first two weeks of the season, but with the Raiders having allowed 682 yards through the air thus far this season, Diggs and Thielen should get plenty of opportunities to boost those numbers.

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Quinn Harris // Getty Images

Insiders predict: Minnesota Vikings

- Favored to win: Minnesota Vikings
- Spread: -8
- Odds: -400

- Oakland Raiders team stats:
- Offense: 332.0 yards per game (#22 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 218.5 ypg (#22)
--- Rushing offense: 113.5 ypg (#12)
- Defense: 404.0 yards per game (#26 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 341 ypg (#32)
--- Rushing defense: 63 ypg (#5)

- Minnesota Vikings team stats:
- Offense: 345.0 yards per game (#20 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 160.0 ypg (#31)
--- Rushing offense: 185.0 ypg (#2)
- Defense: 340.0 yards per game (#15 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 231.5 ypg (#13)
--- Rushing defense: 108.5 ypg (#15)

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New York Jets (0-2) @ New England Patriots (2-0)

- Gametime: Sunday, Sept. 22, 1 p.m. EST

There’s only so much you can say about the way things are trending for the Jets in the AFC East now. Similar to the dumpster fire that is currently burning in Miami with the 0-2 Dolphins, the Jets will head to Foxborough on Sunday as more than three-touchdown underdogs. Together with Miami, the Jets are creating history in a way that they could never hope to. Week 3 will be the first time since 1987 that two teams have ever been more than 21-point underdogs in the same week.

For the Jets, the odds are stacked that highly against them because they are now down to their third-string quarterback. Starter Sam Darnold is currently out with mononucleosis and his backup Trevor Siemian injured his ankle during their loss to the Browns on Monday night. In steps Kevin Falk—fresh off of being promoted from the practice squad to the active roster—to face a Bill Belichick-coached defense that one can only imagine will give him fits.

The Patriots defense notched four interceptions against the Dolphins in Week 2, two of which were run back for touchdowns, helping them coast to a 43-0 win. The week prior, they held the Steelers to just three points, with a 19-yard Chris Boswell field goal remaining the only points that they have surrendered all season. At this point, there’s a legitimate chance that after three weeks of play, the Patriots can have as many wins as they have points allowed on defense.

It’s not exactly like Tom Brady and the offense haven’t been pulling their weight either. Brady has amassed 605 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions through two games.

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Eric Espada // Getty Images

Insiders predict: New England Patriots

- Favored to win: New England Patriots
- Spread: -22.5
- Odds: -4000

- New York Jets team stats:
- Offense: 242.5 yards per game (#31 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 162.0 ypg (#29)
--- Rushing offense: 80.5 ypg (#25)
- Defense: 372.5 yards per game (#20 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 273.5 ypg (#23)
--- Rushing defense: 99 ypg (#11)

- New England Patriots team stats:
- Offense: 423.0 yards per game (#5 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 310.5 ypg (#5)
--- Rushing offense: 112.5 ypg (#13)
- Defense: 246.0 yards per game (#1 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 209 ypg (#8)
--- Rushing defense: 37 ypg (#2)

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Leon Halip // Getty Images

Detroit Lions (1-0-1) @ Philadelphia Eagles (1-1)

- Gametime: Sunday, Sept. 22, 1 p.m. EST

Despite a Detroit Lions 13-10 victory over the formidable Los Angeles Chargers, the Philadelphia Eagles are sizeable favorites at home this Sunday. The Lions offense has looked more complete through two games under new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell—Detroit is currently #8 in total yards per game and #6 in passing offense. But the defense has surrendered more than 400 yards per game which is welcomed news for an Eagles offense struggling to find its identity.

Philadelphia hasn’t been terrible in 2019, but the team hasn’t been great either. Quarterback Carson Wentz, who missed the tail end of the last two seasons with injuries is healthy and back in the lineup. The fourth-year QB was excellent Week 1 tossing for over 300 yards and three touchdowns, but struggled last week in the Eagles 24-20 loss to the Atlanta Falcons with an injury-plagued offense.

Both teams are in danger of falling into an early hole in their respective divisions, making it an important early-season contest. Eagles should take care of business, but with receivers Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson potentially sidelined with injury, it could be a toss-up. The Lions have proven early in the season they won’t simply rollover.

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Kevin C. Cox // Getty Images

Insiders predict: Philadelphia Eagles

- Favored to win: Philadelphia Eagles
- Spread: -6.5
- Odds: -300

- Detroit Lions team stats:
- Offense: 408.0 yards per game (#8 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 303.0 ypg (#6)
--- Rushing offense: 105.0 ypg (#16)
- Defense: 405.5 yards per game (#27 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 281 ypg (#24)
--- Rushing defense: 124.5 ypg (#21)

- Philadelphia Eagles team stats:
- Offense: 361.0 yards per game (#14 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 275.0 ypg (#12)
--- Rushing offense: 86.0 ypg (#22)
- Defense: 382.5 yards per game (#22 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 340 ypg (#31)
--- Rushing defense: 42.5 ypg (#3)

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Carolina Panthers (0-2) @ Arizona Cardinals (0-1-1)

- Gametime: Sunday, Sept. 22, 4:05 p.m. EST

If for no other reason, this matchup should pique interest simply to watch the continued development of Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray. The Cards looked down-and-out in each of their two games this season, but Murray has shown a special resilience for a rookie. Week 1, trailing by 18 in the fourth quarter to the Detroit Lions, Murray lead an inspired comeback to help push the game into overtime at 24-24...eventually resulting in a 27-27 tie. And while Arizona lost last week to a tough Baltimore Ravens team, Murray brought the Cardinals within three points after trailing by 11 in the fourth.

The Carolina Panthers are fighting to save their season after a disappointing 0-2 start that could easily be 2-0 if a few things broke in their direction. Cam Newton has been erratic this season with a large number of passes being off-target. And dating back to last season, the former NFL MVP’s losing streak as QB1 has now reached eight games.

This is one of the less appealing Week 3 matchups, especially with Newton’s status uncertain after reaggravating a foot injury. The spread could see significant movement as the week progresses depending on his health.

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Streeter Lecka // Getty Images

Insiders predict: Carolina Panthers

- Favored to win: Carolina Panthers
- Spread: -2.5
- Odds: -140

- Carolina Panthers team stats:
- Offense: 347.5 yards per game (#19 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 264.5 ypg (#16)
--- Rushing offense: 83.0 ypg (#24)
- Defense: 319.0 yards per game (#12 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 186 ypg (#3)
--- Rushing defense: 133 ypg (#25)

- Arizona Cardinals team stats:
- Offense: 368.0 yards per game (#12 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 302.0 ypg (#7)
--- Rushing offense: 66.0 ypg (#27)
- Defense: 458.5 yards per game (#31 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 309.5 ypg (#27)
--- Rushing defense: 149 ypg (#29)

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Al Bello // Getty Images

New York Giants (0-2) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1)

- Gametime: Sunday, Sept. 22, 4:05 p.m. EST

It’s a new era in New York. After an 0-2 start, the Giants have decided it’s time for a change at the quarterback position and will start the #6 overall pick in this year’s draft, Daniel Jones, in favor of the now 38-year Eli Manning this week in Tampa Bay. The move, which was announced by the team Tuesday, hopes to breathe new life into the season before it’s too late. Despite Manning playing serviceably to start the season, New York has lost both of their contests by double-digits.

Jones will be tested in his first career start—the Buccaneers went on the road to battle NFC South rival Carolina Panthers and escaped with a 20-14 victory. The Bucs used a goal-line stand at the end of the fourth quarter to preserve a victory and move to .500 on the season. They’ll try to climb above that mark this week and hope their #8 defense in yards surrendered this season can take advantage of the rookie QB.

When these two battled last season, the Giants eked out a 38-35 barn burner in New York. Don’t expect such a high-scoring affair this time around—the over/under moved from 49 to 48 and may drop further before kickoff with bettors wary of Jones in his first start.

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Streeter Lecka // Getty Images

Insiders predict: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

- Favored to win: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Spread: -6.5
- Odds: -300

- New York Giants team stats:
- Offense: 420.0 yards per game (#6 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 280.0 ypg (#11)
--- Rushing offense: 140.0 ypg (#8)
- Defense: 441.0 yards per game (#28 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 321 ypg (#30)
--- Rushing defense: 120 ypg (#18)

- Tampa Bay Buccaneers team stats:
- Offense: 292.0 yards per game (#26 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 181.5 ypg (#25)
--- Rushing offense: 110.5 ypg (#15)
- Defense: 304.0 yards per game (#8 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 235.5 ypg (#15)
--- Rushing defense: 68.5 ypg (#6)

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Tim Warner // Getty Images

Houston Texans (1-1) @ Los Angeles Chargers (1-1)

- Gametime: Sunday, Sept. 22, 4:25 p.m. EST

These AFC teams are uncommon opponents, but when they do face off, the Chargers have had the Texans’ number. In the six times they’ve played since Houston joined the NFL, San Diego (where the Chargers were formerly based) has won five.

Now in Los Angeles, the Chargers are in need of a bounceback after a lackluster second half against the Detroit Lions—with the Bolts leading for most of the afternoon, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford tossed a go-ahead touchdown to Kenny Golladay midway through the fourth quarter. Philip Rivers, who led the Chargers into field goal range late in the fourth quarter, forced a pass into the end zone that was intercepted. L.A. also missed two field goals—a 39-yard attempt in the third quarter and a 41-yard try in the fourth quarter—using punter Ty Long as the placekicker while Mike Badgley rests with a groin injury. The Chargers lost 13-10.

The Houston Texans were on the better side of their close contest, halting a two-point conversion attempt after the Jacksonville Jaguars scored a touchdown with 30 seconds to play in the fourth quarter. Texans quarterback was mostly average in the 13-12, going 16 of 29 for just 159 yards, and will need a more inspired performance as underdogs in Los Angeles. Both of these squads earned their way into the playoffs last season and have even higher aspirations in 2019—neither has looked overly impressive thus far.

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Rey Del Rio // Getty Images

Insiders predict: Los Angeles Chargers

- Favored to win: Los Angeles Chargers
- Spread: -3
- Odds: -175

- Houston Texans team stats:
- Offense: 338.5 yards per game (#21 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 185.5 ypg (#24)
--- Rushing offense: 153.0 ypg (#5)
- Defense: 395.5 yards per game (#23 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 270 ypg (#22)
--- Rushing defense: 125.5 ypg (#23)

- Los Angeles Chargers team stats:
- Offense: 429.5 yards per game (#4 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 298.5 ypg (#8)
--- Rushing offense: 131.0 ypg (#10)
- Defense: 357.5 yards per game (#17 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 209 ypg (#8)
--- Rushing defense: 148.5 ypg (#28)

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Pittsburgh Steelers (0-2) @ San Francisco 49ers (2-0)

- Gametime: Sunday, Sept. 22, 4:25 p.m. EST

Reeling from an 0-2 start to the season, it went from bad to worse for the Pittsburgh Steelers when news broke Monday that two-time Super Bowl champion Ben Roethlisberger will miss the remainder of the 2019 season with an elbow injury. The 37-year-old Pro Bowl quarterback sat out the second half of Sunday’s 28-26 loss to the Seattle Seahawks after battling elbow soreness. The loss is a gut check for a Steelers team that has grown very used to their starting QB under center—Roethlisberger has not missed more than four games in any of his 16 NFL seasons as a starter.

On the other sideline of next week’s matchup, the San Francisco 49ers have benefitted from their healthy starting quarterback after missing most of the 2018 campaign with a torn ACL. Jimmy Garoppolo looked superb in Sunday’s 41-17 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals tossing for almost 300 yards and three touchdowns.

It’s been two different stories for these two teams early into 2019. While the Niners haven’t been tested by top NFL talent, both of their victories have come on the road which is an impressive feat to start the season. Week 3, at home against a depleted Steelers team and a quarterback making his first NFL start (Mason Rudolph), the road to 3-0 looks favorable.

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Michael Hickey // Getty Images

Insiders predict: San Francisco 49ers

- Favored to win: San Francisco 49ers
- Spread: -6.5
- Odds: -280

- Pittsburgh Steelers team stats:
- Offense: 284.5 yards per game (#28 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 228.0 ypg (#20)
--- Rushing offense: 56.5 ypg (#29)
- Defense: 445.0 yards per game (#29 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 320 ypg (#29)
--- Rushing defense: 125 ypg (#22)

- San Francisco 49ers team stats:
- Offense: 414.0 yards per game (#7 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 235.5 ypg (#19)
--- Rushing offense: 178.5 ypg (#4)
- Defense: 305.5 yards per game (#9 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 232.5 ypg (#14)
--- Rushing defense: 73 ypg (#8)

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Sean Gardner // Getty Images

New Orleans Saints (1-1) @ Seattle Seahawks (2-0)

- Gametime: Sunday, Sept. 22, 4:25 p.m. EST

It was a tough Sunday for the New Orleans Saints in Los Angeles. After one of the more egregious no-calls in playoff history that helped earn the Rams a trip to last year’s Super Bowl, revenge was on the collective minds of New Orleans faithful. As fate would have it, the NFC title game rematch contained another missed call which prevented the Saints from scoring an early touchdown and partially set the stage for their 27-9 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. The major and more daunting factor, though, was future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees exiting the game in the first quarter with a thumb injury. He did not return to action and will likely miss six or more weeks due to the injury, tilting power in the NFC and giving the Seattle Seahawks less concern about their Week 3 opponent.

The betting line heavily shifted in favor of Seattle after it was announced that Brees will miss Sunday’s action. The Seahawks capitalized on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger sitting the entire second half of their 28-26 Week 2 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers with an elbow injury. Quarterback Russell Wilson used an expert performance (29 of 35 for 300 yards and three touchdowns) to become the fastest player in NFL history to 200 touchdowns.

To make matters worse for the ailing Saints, Seattle doesn’t lose at home in September under head coach Pete Carroll. Literally, they do not lose—the Seahawks are 15-0 in September since Carroll was hired in 2010.

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Justin K. Aller // Getty Images

Insiders predict: Seattle Seahawks

- Favored to win: Seattle Seahawks
- Spread: -4
- Odds: -220

- New Orleans Saints team stats:
- Offense: 377.0 yards per game (#10 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 274.5 ypg (#13)
--- Rushing offense: 102.5 ypg (#17)
- Defense: 397.0 yards per game (#24 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 249.5 ypg (#17)
--- Rushing defense: 147.5 ypg (#27)

- Seattle Seahawks team stats:
- Offense: 328.5 yards per game (#24 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 217.0 ypg (#23)
--- Rushing offense: 111.5 ypg (#14)
- Defense: 345.0 yards per game (#16 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 287.5 ypg (#26)
--- Rushing defense: 57.5 ypg (#4)

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Dilip Vishwanat // Getty Images

Los Angeles Rams (2-0) @ Cleveland Browns (1-1)

- Gametime: Sunday, Sept. 22, 8:20 p.m. EST

After an offseason packed with blockbuster moves and lofty expectations, the Cleveland Browns needed an impressive showing following a downright beatdown Week 1 at the hands of the Tennessee Titans. And while the New York Jets were without their starting quarterback, and maybe competing to be one of the worst teams in football, the Browns’ 23-3 victory on Monday night was impressive. It was Odell Beckham Jr.’s breakout performance in a Browns uniform, but it came in a familiar surrounding. After being traded by the New York Giants in March, Beckham’s reunion with MetLife Stadium was an impactful one—six catches for 161 yards and a touchdown.

Last year’s NFC champion Los Angeles Rams haven’t looked as crisp they may have hoped to start the season, but they’re 2-0 nonetheless. In the rematch of the 2018 NFC title game, L.A. took advantage of an absent Drew Brees who left Sunday’s matchup in the first quarter with an injured thumb on his throwing hand. The Rams defense looked impressive even when Brees was on the field as the former Super Bowl MVP was just 3 of 5 with an interception before his exit. The Rams kept New Orleans out of the end zone in their 27-9 victory.

Now, with both teams striving to achieve major aspirations, who will find their rhythm? The Rams are road favorites, but this early-season battle might depend on which young QB—Baker Mayfield (Browns) and Jared Goff (Rams)—can get going early.

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Sean M. Haffey // Getty Images

Insiders predict: Los Angeles Rams

- Favored to win: Los Angeles Rams
- Spread: -3
- Odds: -155

- Los Angeles Rams team stats:
- Offense: 364.5 yards per game (#13 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 224.0 ypg (#21)
--- Rushing offense: 140.5 ypg (#7)
- Defense: 293.5 yards per game (#5 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 201.5 ypg (#7)
--- Rushing defense: 92 ypg (#9)

- Cleveland Browns team stats:
- Offense: 360.5 yards per game (#15 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 274.5 ypg (#13)
--- Rushing offense: 86.0 ypg (#22)
- Defense: 300.5 yards per game (#7 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 192.5 ypg (#5)
--- Rushing defense: 108 ypg (#14)

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Joe Robbins // Getty Images

Chicago Bears (1-1) @ Washington Redskins (0-2)

- Gametime: Monday, Sept. 23, 8:15 p.m. EST

The Washington Redskins have dug themselves into an early NFC South hole after losing 31-21 to the Dallas Cowboys following a 32-27 Week 1 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. 0-2 on the season and 0-2 in the division is not the start Washington was hoping for, and things don’t look to any easier Week 3 as they Welcome the Chicago Bears and their vaunted defense.

Kicking was the Achilles heel for a Bears team last season that once saw Cody Parkey miss four kicks in one game, and separately miss a 43-yard chance to advance Chicago to the second round of the playoffs. It goes without saying that the Bears were overly elated when second-year kicker Eddy Pineiro, who the Bears traded for this offseason to battle for the open position, hit three field goals Sunday including a game-winning 53-yard try. Chicago’s 16-14 victory over the Denver Broncos was an important bounce-back for a team with lofty expectations this season.

The Bears are road favorites despite having lost their last seven contests to the Redskins, but these two haven’t squared off since 2016. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky will need to be better than he’s been—the third-year man is yet to throw a touchdown this season. The Skins might be the perfect defense for Trubiksy to find a rhythm, though, having given up six passing touchdowns already this season including three that have gone for 50 or more yards.

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Matthew Stockman // Getty Images

Insiders predict: Chicago Bears

- Favored to win: Chicago Bears
- Spread: -4
- Odds: -200

- Chicago Bears team stats:
- Offense: 263.5 yards per game (#30 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 164.0 ypg (#28)
--- Rushing offense: 99.5 ypg (#18)
- Defense: 292.5 yards per game (#4 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 224 ypg (#12)
--- Rushing defense: 68.5 ypg (#6)

- Washington Redskins team stats:
- Offense: 326.5 yards per game (#25 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 289.0 ypg (#10)
--- Rushing offense: 37.5 ypg (#30)
- Defense: 455.0 yards per game (#30 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 287 ypg (#25)
--- Rushing defense: 168 ypg (#31)

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