All those injuries will be factors in this week’s matchups, but in many cases it’s too early to know to what degree, shifting our focus to games in which there isn’t as much uncertainty. Our league-projection formula helps determine how often one team should beat another based on actual and projected win rates. That gives us win probabilities for every game, as well as an implied margin of victory — helpful for picking games against the spread.
Green Bay Packers at New Orleans Saints (-3)
Pick: Green Bay Packers +3
Saints quarterback Drew Brees appears to be a shell of his former self. The 41-year-old is completing fewer than 65 percent of his passes, his lowest mark since 2012, and his on-target rate (67 percent) ranks 26th out of 34 passers with at least as many attempts as he has this year, per Sports Info Solutions.
Green Bay, meanwhile, has the ninth best pass rush and 12th best secondary of 2020, per Pro Football Focus.
Washington Football Team at Cleveland Browns (-7)
Pick: Washington Football Team +7
Defense can win games, and it should at least keep Washington in the mix when it faces Cleveland on Sunday.
Opponents are scoring more than eight fewer points per game than expected against Washington through two games, after accounting for the down, distance and field position of each play against them, per data from TruMedia. By that metric, Washington has had the third-best defensive performance of 2020 thus far.
Tennessee Titans (-2½) at Minnesota Vikings
Pick: Tennessee Titans -2½
Viking quarterback Kirk Cousins is one of the least valuable passers in the NFL, per ESPN’s Total Quarterback Rating, with the numbers suggesting that his performance is only good enough to guide a team to a 5-11 record. Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill, on the other hand, is the sixth most valuable passer this season by that metric.
Season best bets record: 3-3.
The three games above represent our best plays of the week because our analysis shows the point spreads are the most divergent from what we expect to happen once the teams take the field. Below, you will find picks for the other games on this week’s schedule. However, trying to pick every single NFL game is something of a fool’s errand. The house wins so often partly because bettors try to make too many plays when the odds aren’t in their favor. Keep that in mind when evaluating the remaining games from the Week 3 slate.
Miami Dolphins at Jacksonville Jaguars (-3)
Chicago Bears at Atlanta Falcons (-3½)
Pick: Atlanta Falcons -3½
Los Angeles Rams at Buffalo Bills (-2½)
San Francisco 49ers (-4) at New York Giants
Pick: San Francisco 49ers -4
Cincinnati Bengals at Philadelphia Eagles (-6)
Pick: Philadelphia Eagles -6
Houston Texans at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3½)
Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers -3½
Las Vegas Raiders at New England Patriots (-6)
Pick: New England Patriots -6
New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts (-10½)
Pick: Indianapolis Colts -10½
Carolina Panthers at Los Angeles Chargers (-6½)
Pick: Los Angeles Chargers -6½
Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals (-5½)
Pick: Arizona Cardinals -5½
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-6) at Denver Broncos
Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers -6
Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks (-5)
Pick: Seattle Seahawks -5
Kansas City Chiefs at Baltimore Ravens (-3½)
Pick: Baltimore Ravens -3½