Scully’s Week 3 NFL picks: Fading backup QBs, AFC South
The Niners are a viable playoff team behind quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who looked back in form with 297 yards passing and three touchdowns last week. The offense started slowly in San Francisco's opener but has been dynamite over the last six quarters, where it has outscored opponents 66-27. The Niners allowed only 25 yards rushing last week (1.3 yards per carry) and an opportunistic defense (four interceptions) is gaining confidence.
Pick: San Francisco -6.5 (best bet)
New Orleans committed 11 penalties and offensive holding negated several completions last week. The offensive line is certainly trending downward. Guard Andrus Peat left the Rams game with an ankle injury, and the Saints lacked an effective ground game last week (only 59 yards rushing). They must rely on defense, but gave up 180 rushing yards to Houston in Week 1 and lost starting middle linebacker Alex Anzalone to the IR last week. Seattle could gain more than 200 rushing yards Sunday.
#Saints center Erik McCoy is just two games into his rookie season and is already having to adjust to working with new starting QB's following Brees injury.He's not worried about the change at all. His focus...on correcting the penalties the o-line committed against the Rams. pic.twitter.com/Rn8BjwbWQd — Brooke Kirchhofer (@brookechesney) September 19, 2019
Expect Seattle to own an enormous time-of-possession advantage and points will be difficult to come by against its inspired defense.
Scully’s Pick: Seattle -4
We're not buying Indianapolis or any AFC South teams. It is a weak division with the potential for an 8-8 winner. Indianapolis got a late touchdown to exceed 20 points in its opener but scored only 19 in an ugly win over Tennessee last week. The kicking game is a mess, and Jacoby Brissett has a pedestrian 293 net passing yards, as the Colts rely on a run-heavy offense that plays to the strength of an improving Atlanta defense. The Falcons held Philadelphia to only 49 yards rushing (2.3 yards per play), and forced three turnovers and three sacks while they harassed quarterback Carson Wentz throughout.
Give a lot of credit to the #Falcons defense. Their DL was really disruptive on Sunday out of their 4-man rushes, and they also dialed up a couple of good blitzes as well. This is just one example. Well-disguised blitz that #Eagles find a way to pick up, but Deion Jones adds in pic.twitter.com/E4jKrkmDe5— Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) September 18, 2019
Indianapolis will miss outstanding linebacker Darius Leonard, who recorded 10 tackles and a sack before he was knocked out of last week’s game and put in concussion protocol, and top cornerback Pierre Desir is now with an injury. The Colts will face a stiff challenge against Matt Ryan, who has thrown for 592 yards and five TDs in two games against well-regarded defenses, and Atlanta just needs to clean up the interceptions (five).
Pick: Atlanta +1
We love playing against Houston in this spot. The Texans are fortunate to be 1-1 after they nearly coughed up a 13-3 lead late in third quarter and allowed Jacksonville to outgain them 281-263 (total yards) in an ugly offensive display. It’s the same old stirt for a low-rated offensive line, which has allowed 10 sacks this season. Deshaun Watson is in for another long afternoon against pass rushers Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, and Houston will break in a new punter on the road.
The Texans are 1-6 ATS in their last seven road games after a divisional win, and the Chargers will be much better offensively, with Phillip Rivers (597 passing yards) a constant and an effective ground game (262 rushing yards total). There are too many weaknesses for Houston in this matchup.
Pick: Los Angeles Chargers -3
Baltimore is fundamentally sound in every area and no team is a better road dog, as the Ravens have covered four straight away from home. The offense continues to evolve, and Lamar Jackson has developed into an elite quarterback who can beat teams with his arm and legs. The Ravens will move the ball on Kansas City’s defense, and while there's no guarantee they can outscore Patrick Mahomes, expect them to keep it interesting.
Kansas City’s defense is right where it left off last year. It has allowed teams to run and pass for big yardage, and the Chiefs enter on a 1-4 ATS run at home. We’ll cash in playing against the Super Bowl favorites this week.