Scott Shapiro's Week 3 NFL 4-Pack
After splitting the 4 games in my Week 2 4-Pack, but losing both of my 2-unit plays with Pittsburgh and the Giants, I'm back with my Week 3 NFL picks. I will roll with a slight home favorite, a total that looks too low to me and two desperate teams from the NFC West this week in hopes I can tack onto my 7-2-1 start to the 2019 campaign.
Denver at Baltimore (Total 44 points)
When people think of the Broncos and the Ravens they think defense, but 44 points seems too low to me in this one.
The Ravens are without two key defensive players in cornerback Jimmy Smith and linebacker C.J. Mosley and struggled to defend the Bengals wide receivers last Thursday in Cincinnati. I expect John Harbaugh’s squad to come up with much more energy than they did last week, but Case Keenum should still be able to move the ball through the air to the strong trio of Emmanuel Sanders, Demaryius Thomas and rookie Cortland Sutton. Additionally, Keenum’s aggressive approach gives the Ravens defense a chance to create turnovers and take one to the house, especially if they jump out to an early lead.
On the other side of the ball, the Ravens are improved this year on offense. Joe Flacco is not an All-Pro by any stretch but with John Brown, Michael Crabtree and Willie Snead running routes he has shown the ability to put the ball in the end zone through two weeks. Couple that with a Denver defense that has been vulnerable on the outside with Aqib Talib now in Los Angeles and the fact that Denver travels East for their first road game after two emotional wins in Mile High Stadium and you have a Ravens team that should have no problem putting up points on Sunday.
My top play of the week.
Week 3 NFL Pick - OVER 2 units
Carolina Panthers (-3) vs Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals came from behind in Week 1 after trailing the Colts by double-digits and then jumped out to a big lead early on last Thursday to beat divisional rivals Ravens and head to Charlotte a perfect 2-0. There is no doubt that Andy Dalton has been playing well, but he will have his hands full on Sunday against a Panthers defense that is likely to bounce back after a somewhat lackluster effort in Atlanta a week ago.
The Bengals are not only without starting running back Joe Mixon who has looked great to start 2018, but also first round pick Billy Price who has helped bolster an offensive line that struggled big time last year. Look for the Panthers to control the line of scrimmage on defense and get the best of the undefeated Bengals.
Cam and McCaffrey make enough plays and get it done.
Week 3 NFL Pick - CAROLINA 1 unit
Seattle Seahawks (-2) vs Dallas Cowboys
I am not very high on the this year. In fact, I played against them in Week 1 and under their season win total, but this is a great spot for a desperate football team that has been a much better team at home over the years.
It is easy to point to the poor play of their offensive line through 2 games, but this unit should be much better at home after competing in two tough environments to start the year (Denver and Chicago.)
With linebacker Bobby Wagner likely to return and a Dallas team that lacks weapons on the outside, I expect the Seahawks defense to hold the Cowboys under 20 and find a way to win their first game of the year.
The 12th man makes a huge difference.
Week 3 NFL Pick - SEATTLE 1 unit
Arizona Cardinals (+5) vs Chicago Bears
Most folks may think I am crazy (and I may be) but I think this is an extremely tough spot for the 1-1 Bears.
Chicago travels to Arizona off of two emotional primetime games. First, the “Monsters of the Midway” lost an extremely tough game in Lambeau Field and then jumped out to an early lead and got the best of Seattle in their home opener. It will be awfully tough for them to be up for this game against one of the league’s worst teams to start the year.
Arizona’s offense has been miserable through 2 games and they meet a strong defense led by Khalil Mack, but I expect them to be much more aggressive in Week 3 after two pitiful performances to begin the year. Look for the Cardinals to get the ball to David Johnson through the air more on Sunday and hang in there for 4 quarters.
I cannot lay 5 on the road with Mitchell Trubisky at this point. Hold your nose and take the points.
Week 3 NFL Pick - ARIZONA 1 unit
Scott Shapiro's 2018 NFL Record: (7-2-1, +4 units)