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NFL

NFL: Week 3 Picks Against The Spread

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NFL Lines for Week 3

NFL
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Although we have not hit mid-season form, the nine wins from Week 2 look much better than Week 1. Now that the surprise week and the overreaction week are out of the way, certain teams are now starting to emerge as either contender, pretender, or playing for the Jadeveon Clowney sweepstakes.

This week has some interesting matchups. Preseason favorites like the Washington Redskins and the San Francisco 49ers have huge question marks after big Week 2 losses. The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks look like the cream of the NFL crop. There is something to say about every single NFL team after a busy first two weeks of the season.

The NFL seems to be as competitive as ever. 12 games in Week 1 were decided by one score, and 11 in Week 2 were decided by one score. Compared to last year, that is five more games that came down to the last possession. That is five more games that make fans remember every single big play or big mistake, depending on which side their team landed. This kind of NFL is good for everyone.

The spread is a funky thing, and there seems to be crazy ones every week. As readers go through this column, they may see one or two that make them do a double take. All that can be said is that Las Vegas always knows what it is doing. Remember that when you take these into account.

Last Week: 9-6-1

2013 Season: 15-15-2

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Kansas City @ Philadelphia (-3.5)

Eagles
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Week 3 starts off with a bang, as the Philadelphia Eagles host their old coach Andy Reid. The Eagles showed last week that they have trouble stopping even the most incompetent of quarterbacks when Philip Rivers was able to throw all over them. Alex Smith is going to have a good game, but how will the Kansas City Chiefs do against the Eagles' high-powered offense? It is a Thursday game, which will make it unpredictable. As always, when unsure about the elements, take the points. Chiefs 31 -- Eagles 30

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Green Bay (-1.5) @ Cincinnati

Packers
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers have been the tale of two weeks. In Week 1, they were throttled by Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers. In Week 2, they took it to Robert Griffin III and the Redskins. They now go to a Cincinnati Bengals team that is also trying to find its identity. The Packers offense seems like it is impossible to stop. If the Bengals have any shot, they will need to go score for score with them. This team leans on its defense too much to pull this one out. Packers 37 -- Bengals 31

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St. Louis @ Dallas (-4.5)

Cowboys
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

I still am just not a believer in this St. Louis Rams team. It seems they have had some lucky breaks in the first two weeks. The game against the Atlanta Falcons would not have been as close if they could have run the ball with Steven Jackson, who was hurt earlier in the game. The Arizona Cardinals made serious mistakes in trying to put the Rams away. This week, the bounces will finally go the other way. It is just a law of averages. The Dallas Cowboys return to AT&T Stadium after a dismal outing in Kansas City. That being said, the Cowboys return home. They have Dez Bryant suiting up. Go with the Cowboys. Rams 16 -- Cowboys 27

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San Diego @ Tennessee (-3.5)

Titans
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Prior to this season, the Tennessee Titans looked like one of the NFL's worst teams. After beating the Pittsburgh Steelers and coming within an overtime of beating the Houston Texans, people are starting to jump onto the bandwagon. They take on a San Diego Chargers team that comes off a comeback win that broke Philadelphia fans' dreams of an undefeated season. Both these teams are rated too high now, and most likely too low prior to the season. The Chargers' offense may be able to barely beat the Titans' front seven. Take the points and the Chargers. Chargers 20 -- Titans 19

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Cleveland @ Minnesota (-4.5)

Vikings
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns made one of the biggest midseason trades in NFL history on Wednesday. They seem like they lost the trade. They sent last year's third overall pick Trent Richardson for merely a first-round pick of the Indianapolis Colts. The Minnesota Vikings have had a rough start to the season, and the Browns will be a perfect antidote to those woes. They are starting a quarterback that is worse than Brandon Weeden, which is apparently possible. They are possibly looking to start Bobby Rainey, who has exactly zero carries in his career. This one is going to be all Vikings, all the time. Browns 3 -- Vikings 22

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Tampa Bay @ New England (-7.5)

Patriots
Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Controversy has taken over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. First, there was the rumor that quarterback Josh Freeman had asked for a trade from the team (all sources have denied it). Then, there was a rumor that their prized cornerback Darrelle Revis did not want to be there anymore. They are not in the best place as a football team. That being said, the New England Patriots come in after a terrible Thursday win against the New York Jets. They have receivers that don't catch, tight ends that don't play, and running backs that bobble the ball. Whether Rob Gronkowski comes back is a huge story, and the Patriots defense has played extremely well. Expect a lot of pain and pressure towards Freeman, but Tom Brady and company can't beat the spread. Buccaneers 17 -- Patriots 24

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Arizona @ New Orleans (-7.5)

Saints
Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints offense is expected to be perfect every season. They have been everything but this season. The Buccaneers did everything in their power to give that game away on Sunday. The Saints finally took advantage, but it seemed like they should have blown them out. The Cardinals had a very good game to come back and beat the Detroit Lions. This seems like it will be a high-scoring contest, and it will be the second big test for the Cardinal's Patrick Peterson. The line is way too high -- take the Cardinals. Cardinals 31 -- Saints 35

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Detroit @ Washington (-1.5)

Redskins
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Redskins are in serious trouble to go 0-3. They take on a Lions team that blew the lead against the Cardinals the week before, so they will no doubt be motivated against a banged-up Redskins team. Mike Shanahan needs to figure out what he is doing about his struggling quarterback. The Lions are dealing with an injured running back in Reggie Bush. The defenses will be the difference, and Detroit's is just head-and-shoulder better than the Redskins'. Look for Calvin Johnson to have a field day against this secondary. Lions 34 -- Redskins 30

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New York (NFC) @ Carolina (-1.5)

Panthers
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants have looked absolutely inept on offense so far this season. Eli Manning has been a turnover machine. David Wilson has lost the trust of his coach already. Jason Pierre-Paul is having issues with his health. With that, this team matches up perfectly with the Carolina Panthers. They can go after a secondary that lost two players last week. The Panthers don't cause a ton of turnovers. The Giants start their turnaround on Sunday. How far can they go? Giants 31 -- Panthers 17

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Houston (-2.5) @ Baltimore

Ravens
Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

The Texans might be the most unimpressive 2-0 team in the NFL. They held on to an overtime win against a team they should trounce. They needed a crazy fourth-quarter comeback to beat the Chargers. The Baltimore Ravens have been equally unimpressive. This battle will come down to who makes the least mistakes. Arian Foster needs to run more. Joe Flacco needs to gain chemistry with a receiver. One of these teams will start the turnaround on Sunday. It is rare (if it ever happened) that a home team that is the defending champion will get points. Go with the black and purple. Texans 17 -- Ravens 22

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Atlanta @ Miami (-1.5)

Dolphins
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins have surprised many in NFL circles when they won their first two games, both being on the road. They take on an Atlanta Falcons team that may still be one of the best in the NFL. This will be the main test for the Dolphins to see if they are for real. Even with a hobbled Roddy White and no Jackson, the Falcons are still the better team here. The home crowd in Miami is nothing to be afraid of. Look for the Falcons to overcome their injuries and squeak past a streaking Dolphins team. Falcons 26 -- Dolphins 22

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Indianapolis @ San Francisco (-10.5)

49ers
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Prior to the huge trade that landed the Colts Trent Richardson, this was still a no-brainer to pick the 49ers. The trade throws a monkey wrench into the situation. Changing your expectation of your team can motivate everyone in a locker room. The Colts will be very motivated to show that last season was not a fluke. Andrew Luck will look to outshine fellow young gun Kaepernick. The spread is skewed to the Colts sans Richardson. If you could get the odds as they are, then bet on the Colts in this game. Colts 20 -- 49ers 23

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Buffalo @ New York (AFC) (-2.5)

Jets
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

This is one of those games in which you don't know the true identity of a team. Is E.J. Manuel going to be good? Is Geno Smith going to be bad? Do either of these teams have any shot at what seems to be a weak AFC East? Both these teams will want to show they are the future of this division. Smith and Manuel will have their own internal rivalry. The home crowd will help the Jets, but the luck seems to be in the Buffalo Bills' corner. Bills 26 -- Jets 23

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Jacksonville @ Seattle (-19.5)

Seahawks
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

There isn't much to say about this game. It consists of the best team in the league going up against the worst team in the league. They couldn't make this line high enough. Jaguars 12 -- Seahawks 45

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Chicago (-2.5) @ Pittsburgh

Steelers
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers had a poor showing on Monday. In fact, they have shown nothing over the first two games. They take on Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears. Cutler seems to have turned it around a bit and has driven his team to a 2-0 record over two playoff teams from last season. With a great defense and a bad Steelers team, that equals a road win for the Bears. Bears 20 -- Steelers 10

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Oakland @ Denver (-14.5)

Broncos
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN must be upset that they get stuck with Peyton Manning against the lowly Oakland Raiders. This is another game in which the spread could not be high enough. Expect Manning to put on a throwing clinic that Terrelle Pryor will learn nothing from. The Broncos take a huge lead early and coast to the end of the game. Raiders 16 -- Broncos 47