By: James Tillman
Welcome back to our best picks for Week 3 of the 2020 NFL season. In Week 2, I predicted that the Green Bay Packers would knock off the Detroit Lions in an NFC North divisional showdown. I also predicted that the San Francisco 49ers and the Tennessee Titans would win their games as well.
On the heels of a perfect 3-0 week, my overall record on the season has improved to 4-1. Hopefully, that trend will continue this week. In any case, here’s a look at some of the best bets for Week 3.
Since the upcoming week features a few marquee names at the quarterback position, I’m going to attempt to pick the winner in those two contests before offering my sure bet of the week.
Green Bay Packers vs. New Orleans Saints (-3)
Both teams had pretty good seasons in 2019. Additionally, both teams feature future Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks in Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. The Packers come into this matchup at 2-0, after knocking the Minnesota Vikings 43-34 in the season opener and blowing out the Detroit Lions 42-21 in Week 2.
Meanwhile, the Saints are coming off a somewhat surprising 34-24 loss against the Las Vegas Raiders. Although both quarterbacks can put up 300-yard games in their sleep, with the top wideout targets out on both sides – Davante Adams for Green Bay and Michael Thomas for the Saints — the rushing game could play an integral role in who comes out on top here.
While the Saints are favored by three points, I’m going to go with my gut and pick the Packers. The reason behind this pick is because Green Bay leads the league in total offense (1,010 yards) and they have the most rushing yards of any team in the league (417) and they’re averaging 42.5 points per contest – which is also the best mark in the NFL.
James’ Pick: Packers +3
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Baltimore Ravens (-3)
This is the game of the week, and it isn’t even close. These are the two teams that everyone expected to see in the AFC championship game last season, but it wasn’t in the cards as the Ravens were upended by the Tennessee Titans in the divisional playoff round. Although the stakes aren’t as high compared with that of a postseason contest, there will be plenty of fireworks considering that you have two quarterbacks that bring a lot to the table from both sides.
Patrick Mahomes makes difficult throws look easy and can kill an opponent with big plays or via a methodical approach of short passes, as he did against the Chargers last week. On the other side, you have Lamar Jackson who won the MVP award last season. Need I say more?
Jackson has proven to be one of the most talented quarterbacks in the league through the air and on the ground as well. My concern about the champs is they are playing their second road game in as many weeks and their offense hasn’t exactly been a thing of beauty through the first two weeks. Still, this is the game that the Chiefs’ offense will take center stage in a close win.
James’ Pick: Chiefs +3
Houston Texans vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (-4)
The Houston Texans have had their struggles this season. Not only are they 0-2, but both losses have been by double-digit margins. On the other side of this matchup, you have a Pittsburgh Steelers team that is 2-0, even if they didn’t look overly impressive in a 26-21 win over the Denver Broncos last week.
After missing all but two games last season, Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been playing well, having thrown for 540 yards, five touchdowns (against one interception) and he has a passer rating of 107.1. Given the fact that the Texans haven’t had much success against the run or pass, look for Big Ben to have a field day against Houston’s defense. Not only will the Steelers win the game, but they will also exceed the four-point spread.
James’ Pick: Steelers -4