Much of what we thought we learned in Week 1 went out the window in Week 2. Marcus Mariota won’t throw for four touchdowns every week. Carlos Hyde – concussion aside – isn’t likely a threat to Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record. Julio Jones isn’t going to…OK, Jones is pretty remarkable.
Jokes aside, Week 3 is huge for many NFL teams. Clubs that opened the season 2-0 will look to continue their momentum, while the 0-2 teams will be pressing to break into the win column. Here are a few matchups that you might be able to exploit for big points this week:
Atlanta Falcons (2-0) at Dallas Cowboys (2-0)
The Pick: Brandon Weeden for at least 250 Passing Yards
The Offer: 2.47
It’s safe to say that the Dallas Cowboys’ offense is a mess, as Tony Romo and Dez Bryant are stuck on IR for the foreseeable future. Brandon Weeden will replace Romo at quarterback and Terrence Williams will continue to fill in for Bryant.
The Cowboys will be out to prove they can still hang in the NFC East without Romo and Bryant. The task is difficult, especially against Atlanta, which looks like one of the better teams in the conference. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones have been unstoppable in the first two weeks as the Falcons have racked up the third-most passing yards in the NFL.
Still, Atlanta’s defense has allowed the sixth-most yards in the league, and Sunday could be an opportunity for Weeden to ease in against a less-than-imposing opponent. Yes, the big quarterback flopped in Cleveland (which quarterbacks don’t?) and yes, he has started just once since Week 12 of 2013, but behind one of the best offensive lines in the league, Weeden has a good chance for success.
Cincinnati Bengals (2-0) at Baltimore Ravens (0-2)
The Pick: Steve Smith has at least 10 receptions
The Offer: 5.00
Divisional matchups in the AFC North are usually intense, and this one is certain to continue the trend. The Ravens lost at Denver in the opener, then came back and lost at Oakland, ceding a game-winning touchdown drive to Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. They’ll be hungry for a win, but Baltimore’s offense is going to have to prove it can keep up with Cincinnati
The Bengals beat Oakland in the opener and followed up with an impressive win against the San Diego Chargers behind the strong play of Andy Dalton. He’s completed 68.3 percent of his passes for five touchdowns with no interceptions.
Still, if we’re putting points on an athlete (and we are), we’re going with Ravens’ WR Steve Smith. Baltimore’s number one wideout caught 10 passes for 150 yards in Week 2, and Smith and the Ravens offense will be pushing for a big game to save the season. Put some points on him getting targeted early and often.
Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) at St. Louis Rams (1-1)
The Pick: Le’Veon Bell has at least 125 yards rushing
The Offer: 9.52
Pittsburgh recovered from a loss at New England in the regular-season opener to pummel San Francisco 43-18. The Steelers offense rolled over the 49ers and they’re only going to pick up speed now that Le’Veon Bell is returning from a two-game suspension. St. Louis, on the other hand, followed a big win against the Seattle Seahawks in the opener with a hardly competitive showing in a loss at Washington.
Week 3 is a big one for both teams—and we’re Picking against the Rams (sorry, St.Louis).
Fresh and healthy (his suspension was for substance abuse), Bell will be facing a Rams’ defense that has surrendered 153 yards rushing per game, the third-highest total in the league. The Steelers’ RB is going assert himself in his first game back, and you can capitalize on it with the right Pick.
Chicago Bears (0-2) at Seattle Seahawks (0-2)
The Pick: Marshawn Lynch Has 25 Carries
The Offer: 4.17
Their records might be the same, but these are two teams going in different directions.
The Bears may be featuring one of the league’s worst defenses after switching to a 3-4 this season, having allowed a league-high 39.5 points per game. Aaron Rodgers completed 78.3 percent of his passes for three touchdowns in the opener, then Chicago allowed Carson Palmer to complete 70.8 percent of his passes for four touchdowns in Week 2. Yikes.
Seattle lost a close Sunday night game in Green Bay and will be plenty motivated back at home against Chicago. Offensively, the Seahawks looked better in the second half against Green Bay when quarterback Russell Wilson started running more. Look for Marshawn Lynch to get going next. The Bears have allowed 248 rushing yards this season, so both athletes will have an opportunity to put up huge numbers.
Between the two, we like Lynch. He had 18 carries for 73 yards in Week 1, and was held to 15 carries for 41 yards by the Packers. Seattle will look to get its All-Pro running back more involved against Chicago and he’ll make the most of his touches for a breakout game. Put your points on him.