Given the wild nature of Week 1, last Sunday’s slate of NFL action saw the league settle back into a state of normalcy. Favorites prevailed over weaker foes, fewer upsets rocked the boat, and several teams fell into their typical midseason form.
Looking ahead to this Sunday’s action, the betting board posted by online sportsbook Bovada includes several highly anticipated contests – highlighted by Week 3’s lone matchup of undefeated teams.
The Atlanta Falcons (2-0) haven’t suffered from the dreaded Super Bowl hangover as of yet, cruising to a 34-10 lead before finishing the Green Bay Packers (1-1) off 34-23 last Sunday night. They’ll take that momentum to Motown for a date with the Detroit Lions (2-0), who just downed the New York Giants (0-2) in a 24-10 snoozer on Monday Night Football.
Both teams have showed flashes of brilliance on both sides of the ball thus far – along with inconsistent play – but the bookmakers give the lean to last year’s Super Bowl losers. The Falcons are favored as 3-point road favorites, and given Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford’s penchant for fourth-quarter comebacks, that spread could be spot on when the score goes final.
If you’re an early riser, the first edition of the NFL’s annual pilgrimage to Wembley Stadium in London pits the Baltimore Ravens (2-0) against the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1).
Kickoff is set for 9:30 a.m. eastern standard time, with the Ravens and their stout defense (only 10 points allowed all year) rated as 4-point favorites.
Week 3 has plenty to offer for fans of heated divisional rivalries, beginning with the Miami Dolphins (1-0) continuing their Hurricane Irma-prompted month-long road trip against the New York Jets (0-2).
The ‘Phins season-opener was scheduled for Miami, but the hurricane changed those plans, sending the team to face the Los Angeles Chargers (0-2) last Sunday instead. And after departing New York, the team heads to London to face the New Orleans Saints (0-2), before finally playing at home for the first time in Week 5.
As for “Gang Green,” the Jets cut every meaningful player from their roster during the offseason, setting up for a year-long experiment in NBA-style tanking. Accordingly, they’ll be big 6-point home underdogs when Miami arrives.
The Philadelphia Eagles (1-1) host the aforementioned Giants, a team which has scored only one touchdown and a pair of field goals on the year.
The return of wideout Odell Beckham Jr. on Monday Night Football didn’t do a thing to change the Giants’ offensive struggles. Meanwhile, head coach Ben McAdoo’s curious choice to throw star quarterback Eli Manning under the bus in his post-game presser may be the sign of a team imploding from within.
The Eagles are experiencing no such concerns, having earned a divisional win in Week 1 over the Washington Redskins (0-2), before playing the Kansas City Chiefs (2-0) competitively last Sunday.
The linemakers like hot teams, and home teams, and Philly qualifies in both regards – making them 6-point favorites in this NFC East tilt.
When the Saints visit the Carolina Panthers (2-0), the game will pit two teams moving in opposite directions. Saints head coach Sean Payton doesn’t seem to have the same fire he once had, which makes sense given his uncertain contract status and a decade in charge. And with quarterback Drew Brees lacking the offensive weaponry he once possessed, New Orleans has looked decidedly lackluster in two losing efforts thus far.
Cam Newton and the Panthers haven’t looked much better, but quality teams are capable of winning even when at their worst – which is exactly what Carolina has done.
That trend is expected to continue, as Carolina enters Week 3 as 6-point home favorites over their former NFC South nemesis.