After a Week 2 that was not so hot, New Jersey based football guru JG is giving you a peek inside his mind on some early Week 3 leans… before the lines start to move!
Cincinnati Bengals @ New York Jets
One of my biggest internal debates this week is whether I should roll with the Bengals or Chargers in my Survivor Pool (it’s not ATS). The Chargers feel like the safest bet, but then I wouldn’t be able to pick them week 4 against the Texans, when I don’t really love any other matchup as of now. Decisions, decisions…
Back to the Bengals and Jets this Sunday, though – I have been a long time believer in the Super Bowl hangover for the NFL’s runner-up, and I believe that has a lot to do with why the Bengals have gotten off to a slow start, along with Burrow’s recovery from an appendectomy during the preseason (not that he would have likely played a single snap anyway). He’s still getting into sync, which has been challenging with Zach Taylor’s apparent desire to get him killed with his play calling. As much as I have a hard time believing the Bengals are going to start the season 0-3 (only 3.2 percent of 0-3 teams have made the NFL playoffs since 1980), I have even less faith in the Jets covering back to back spreads with Joe Flacco under center. Sure, it was one of the feel-good stories of week 2 seeing Flacco go all 2013 playoffs on the Browns, and Garrett Wilson looks like he’s going to be a problem for a long time, but at the end of the day it’s the Jets, and the Bengals are the much, much better team here. I’d grab this spread before it creeps up to -5-5, and throw in some player props on Ja’Marr Chase while you’re at it too, who I’m sure has welcoming Sauce Gardner to the NFL circled on his calendar.
LA Chargers vs Jacksonville Jags
This lean comes with an asterisk, and completely depends on the health of Justin Herbert, but if he’s good, I think this line will creep up to at least -7.5. I’m not trying to diss the Jags here (I’ve taken them to cover both weeks of the season thus far, and am still bitter I’m only 1-1 on it, after Carson Wentz somehow pulled a miracle out of his ass week 1), and believe that they’re going in the right direction under Pederson, but I just don’t get that “wow” factor from Trevor Lawrence. For being a “generational quarterback” and the best prospect at the position to enter the NFL since Andrew Luck (I know, it’s silly to read that, but Mel Kiper is a clown after all) I just haven’t seen him do anything special to this point. I’m not saying I still wouldn’t trade Tua for him in a heartbeat, but he just looks awkward out there compared to guys like Mahomes / Allen / Hebert, and I think he’s in for a long day against a very good Chargers defense, who will be at full health after getting J.C. Jackson back last week. If both Herbert & Keenan Allen play in this game, I have a difficult time seeing the Chargers not covering a touchdown.
Tampa Bay Bucs vs Green Bay Packers
What a surprise, the Packers covered a 10 point spread in week 2 at Lambeau against the Bears… That’s about as shocking as hearing they’re making another Fast & Furious movie. The Packers offense definitely looked much more stable with right tackle Elgton Jenkins back, after missing week 1 against the Vikings, but Pro Bowl left tackle David Bakhtiari is still questionable (although I think he’ll play), and the Bucs defense has looked championship caliber through the first 2 weeks of the season, and will be playing in front of their home crowd for the first time in this one. I’m just not sold on the Packers offense without Davante Adams, and while I think this will be a close game, so they won’t be playing from behind and forced to abandon the run game, which is clearly the strength of their offense, I like the Bucs to cover this number, and think it’s likely to creep up to at least -2.5 by kickoff, even despite Tampa being down their two best receivers after Mike Evans loses the appeal of his suspension on Wednesday. Brady is dealing with some off the field adversity, with reports surfacing that him and his supermodel wife are currently living in separate homes after she yelled at him for not putting the toilet seat down and he decided to unretire, but I’m not sure whether robots can feel emotions.