In our weekly glance at lookahead lines, there’s always a mention of the risk inherent in going by a number that could be significantly altered by a key injury in a team’s next contest. If there was ever a textbook example of such a scenario, it came in Week 2 with some major injuries to top players. Be sure to keep tabs on which banged up players are in and which players are out as you look at the NFL Week 3 odds below.
The Week 3 landscape will naturally be an evolving one throughout the week as the outcome of many of the aforementioned injuries are sorted out. In Sunday’s early window, the Rams vs. Bills and Texans vs. Steelers matchups hold particular intrigue and feature four relatively healthy teams.
The late window of games includes Tom Brady and his Buccaneers heading into Denver to face what will be a Jeff Driskel-led Broncos team, and the Cowboys will try to carry over their Week 2 momentum in a road battle against the Seahawks. Then, the pair of primetime matchups that close out the week – Packers vs. Saints and Chiefs vs. Ravens showdowns on Sunday night and Monday night, respectively – should naturally both hold an abundance of betting interest.
NFL Week 3 odds
Thursday, Sept. 24
Miami Dolphins at Jacksonville Jaguars (-2.5) – 8:20 p.m. ET
This intrastate battle features two teams that have shown little quit during the first two weeks. We’re dealing with a couple of clubs with middle-of-the-pack talent that have little room for error when facing talented squads. When playing each other, however, literally anything can happen, leading to a 3-point spread in favor of home-field Jacksonville.
The Dolphins played their Week 2 home opener in front of approximately 11,000 fans against the Bills and had a 20-17 second-half lead after a lightning delay before succumbing to Josh Allen and his career-high 417 yards passing. There were positives for Miami, however, with Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing for 328 yards and two touchdowns, Myles Gaskin and Matt Breida combining for 83 yards on 14 rushes, and tight end Mike Gesicki exploding for a career-best 130-yard tally and a TD on eight catches.
The Jags, meanwhile, took the division-rival Titans to the limit after entering the fourth quarter 30-17. A Gardner Minshew interception with 51 seconds remaining sealed Jacksonville’s fate, but both the second-year gunslinger (339 yards, three TD) and rookie RB James Robinson (102 rush yards, one TD) continued to make significant strides. That said, the defense did yield four TD passes to Ryan Tannehill.
Sunday, Sept. 27
Los Angeles Rams at Buffalo Bills (-1) – 1 p.m. ET
Both these squads not only sport 2-0 records, but they’ll be two of the few that will come into Week 3 relatively unscathed in terms of key injuries.
Los Angeles followed up its impressive season-opening victory over the Cowboys by going into Philadelphia and toppling a second straight NFC East opponent. Coach Sean McVay’s squad mostly dominated on both sides of the ball as Jared Goff threw for 267 yards and three touchdowns, while the defense notched a pair of picks off Carson Wentz. The fact RB Malcolm Brown suffered a finger injury was merely a blip on the radar. Last year’s mostly forgotten third-round pick Darrell Henderson averaged 6.8 yards per rush on his way to 81 ground yards, adding 40 through the air.
The Bills likely got more of a fight from the Dolphins than they bargained for in their Week 2 clash. Buffalo found a way to navigate a lightning delay and feisty Miami squad to emerge with a 31-28 road win. Josh Allen’s career-high 417 passing yards – which notably were compiled without an interception – were certainly a highlight. A big chunk of that success went through the top receiving trio of Stefon Diggs, John Brown and Cole Beasley. The wideouts accounted for 17 of Allen’s 24 completions, 305 of the quarterback’s 417 yards and two of his four TDs.
There appears to be faith that Los Angeles’ strong start is legit. They opened as less than three-point underdogs for a cross-country road game against a tough opponent and had been bet down to two points by Saturday.
San Francisco 49ers (-3.5) at New York Giants – 1 p.m. ET
The 49ers will experience a bit of déjà vu in this contest, their second straight at MetLife Stadium. Unfortunately, the memories won’t be pleasant. San Fran rolled the Jets as expected in Week 2, but they also lost star DE Nick Bosa to an ACL tear on a turf getting increased scrutiny after three other Niners also suffered lower-leg injuries.
The Giants had one major health development of their own – they lost RB Saquon Barkley for the season with a torn ACL during their Week 2 road loss to the Bears. QB Jimmy Garoppolo and RB Raheem Mostert were two of the other Niners to go down Sunday. Garoppolo’s high ankle sprain and Mostert’s MCL sprain will keep both players out of the game against the Giants. Star TE George Kittle will also miss the game due to a sprained left knee.
The Giants are in deep water themselves without Barkley, although they are hoping newly-signed RB Devonta Freeman can help fill the void. Despite also losing WR Sterling Shepard to turf toe after just 15 snaps against Chicago, Big Blue battled to the very end. QB Daniel Jones will have to shoulder an even bigger load with Barkley and Shepard gone.
Tennessee Titans (-3) at Minnesota Vikings – 1 p.m. ET
The disparity record-wise between the undefeated Titans and 0-2 Vikings is striking. Yet it’s arguable neither squad is as good or bad as their mark. Tennessee had to fight tooth and nail for the second straight game to escape with a win, edging the Jaguars by a 33-30 score. The Vikings frankly looked outclassed on the road by the Colts, dropping a 28-11 decision in which Kirk Cousins threw for just 113 yards and was picked off three times.
Sunday, coach Mike Vrabel had to be pleased to see Tannehill throw four touchdown passes, including two to TE Jonnu Smith. However, it’s worth noting the Titans failed to truly get RB Derrick Henry going again in Week 2. Through two games, Henry is averaging just 3.6 yards per carry and has yet to get into the end zone.
The Vikings will likely look to get their passing game back on track versus a Titans defense that gave up 339 yards and three passing TDs to Gardner Minshew in Week 2. Minnesota would have been expected to take a step back early this season without Stefon Diggs, but Sunday’s performance was appalling under any circumstance. Among other issues, Cousins has now taken a safety in each of his first two games. He also finished Sunday’s contest against Indy with an abysmal 15.9 rating.
The uncertainty regarding the Vikes is such that they’re installed as home underdogs, even with the Titans set to play without A.J. Brown (hamstring).
Washington Football Team at Cleveland Browns (-7.5) – 1 p.m. ET
After a rousing season-opening upset of the Eagles in Week 1, Washington came back down to Earth in a 30-15 Week 2 thrashing at the hands of the Cardinals. For their part, the Browns got in the win column for the first time against the Bengals on Thursday night. Their 35-30 win was actually more convincing than the final score would indicate.
Washington hadn’t excelled in any one area during Week 1 against Philly, but they’d made enough plays to pull off a second-half comeback. Their lack of big-play capability worked against them versus Arizona, which ran 73 total plays to WFT’s 60. WR Terry McLaurin’s 125-yard, one-touchdown effort was certainly a bright spot, while RB Antonio Gibson (13-55-1) saw more work than in the opener and made good use of the opportunity. Washington’s impressive young defensive line once again was disruptive with three sacks and five TFLs overall, but Kyler Murray still amassed 353 total yards and three total TDs.
The story of Cleveland’s aforementioned win over Cincinnati was the star RB duo of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. The pair combined for 210 rushing yards and four scores. QB Baker Mayfield had a solid performance, especially compared to his Week 1 effort against the Ravens. The third-year signal-caller tossed a pair of touchdowns – including a memorable one to Odell Beckham – although Mayfield was guilty of another interception.
Both teams are 1-1, but the Browns are currently heavy favorites, a line that could potentially be bet down.
Chicago Bears at Atlanta Falcons (-3.5) – 1 p.m. ET
This conference clash features a pair of teams with records that are a bit misleading. The 2-0 Bears have won a pair of squeakers in which they’ve looked anything but smooth for long stretches. Meanwhile, the Falcons needed an all-time collapse in the fourth quarter Sunday against the Cowboys to snatch a 40-39 defeat from the jaws of victory.
The Bears got by a Giants team that lost star RB Saquon Barkley in the first half with what was ultimately deemed a season-ending ACL tear. In a manner of speaking, the win was much more a case of “Chicago running out of time to lose” than a convincing victory as the Bears owned a 17-0 halftime lead and never scored another point while allowing the Barkley-less Giants to get within four by game’s end.
As alluded to, Atlanta will inevitably look back on Sunday’s one-point loss to Dallas as the classic “one that got away.” Armed with a 29-10 lead by halftime, the Falcons were promptly outscored by a 30-10 margin in the second half. The Cowboys needed a highly improbable brain lock on the part of Atlanta’s special teams that allowed a successful onside kick recovery to pull off the miracle, but the point is – coach Dan Quinn’s squad is 0-2 and has now given up 78 points so far this season.
As of Sunday morning, the Falcons are 2-point favorites despite Julio Jones now being out for the game with a hamstring injury.
Cincinnati Bengals at Philadelphia Eagles (-5) – 1 p.m. ET
This AFC vs. NFC battle has an interesting backdrop. The visiting Bengals are on extra rest after playing in Week 2’s opening game Thursday night. Meanwhile, the Eagles are increasingly desperate at 0-2 and have issues on both sides of the ball.
Joe Burrow and company have been close on the scoreboard in both games thus far. The Bengals’ 35-30 Week 2 loss to the Browns wasn’t really as tight game-flow-wise as the final score implies. However, Cincinnati kept fighting long enough to notch their final touchdown with under a minute remaining. Burrow had his first breakout effort as well, throwing for 316 yards and three touchdowns. Cincy’s defense, though, struggled to stop Cleveland’s lethal two-headed attack of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.
On the Philly side, there’s concern creeping in for a team that’s fallen woefully short of expectations in its first two games. The blown Week 1 lead against the Washington Football Team was bad enough, but the Eagles looked even worse against a higher caliber of opponent in the visiting Rams on Sunday. The biggest problem areas for coach Doug Pederson’s squad might be Carson Wentz and secondary. The fifth-year QB is averaging a career-low 6.0 yards per attempt and sports an ugly 2:4 TD:INT. Then, Jared Goff found success at will Sunday to the tune of a 74.1% completion rate and three TD passes.
Notably, oddsmakers are still affording the Eagles a fair amount of deference, although the spread has narrowed over the course of the week and Philly will be without rookie Jalen Reagor (thumb) in addition to the still-to-debut Alshon Jeffery (foot).
Houston Texans at Pittsburgh Steelers (-4) – 1 p.m. ET
The 2-0 Steelers appear to still be getting their collective feet under them, yet have been talented enough to notch a pair of season-opening wins against inferior opponents. The Texans have drawn the short straw schedule-wise. They’ve fought valiantly but have unsurprisingly fallen to the Super Bowl champion Chiefs and loaded Ravens in their first pair of contests.
Houston kept it fairly competitive for three quarters Sunday against Baltimore but still suffered a double-digit loss. Offseason trade acquisition David Johnson couldn’t replicate his efficient Week 1 performance and averaged just under 4.0 yards on 13 total touches. However, Deshaun Watson displayed increased chemistry with new passing game weapons Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb – hitting the duo for 10 completions for 154 yards on 14 combined targets.
Pittsburgh arguably had more trouble than expected against a visiting Broncos team that played without RB Phillip Lindsay, lost QB Drew Lock early and WR Courtland Sutton late. The Steelers allowed Lock’s backup Jeff Driskel to keep Denver within range via 256 yards and a pair of TD passes. However, Ben Roethlisberger was able to hit a pair of his emerging receivers in Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool for touchdowns. James Conner also bounced back from his Week 1 ankle issue to notch 106 yards on just 16 carries.
Pittsburgh’s current projected advantage could be one that shrinks thanks to a public that could buy into the Texans being: a) much better than their 0-2 mark; and b) desperate.
Las Vegas Raiders at New England Patriots (-6.5) – 1 p.m. ET
The Patriots will have a rest advantage on Las Vegas for this contest. New England conducted their Week 2 business Sunday night against the Seahawks in Seattle and came up short by a 35-30 margin. New England kept it as competitive as the final score implies, scoring its final TD with 2:16 still remaining. Most encouraging from the Pats perspective was Cam Newton’s 444 total yards (397 passing, 47 rushing) and three total TDs (one passing, two rushing). The fact eight of his completions and 179 of his passing yards went to WR Julian Edelman also speaks volumes to the burgeoning chemistry between the two. Conversely, of concern is the five passing TDs New England allowed to Russell Wilson on a wide variety of routes and depths of target.
Carolina Panthers at Los Angeles Chargers (-6.5) – 4:05 p.m. ET
New Panthers head coach Matt Rhule is now 0-for-2 in his first pair of NFL contests after a 31-17 road loss to the Buccaneers on Sunday. Looming large for this coming week and beyond is the fact Carolina has lost RB Christian McCaffrey for 4-6 weeks with a high-ankle sprain.
The Chargers, meanwhile, once again gave the Chiefs a very difficult time before dropping a 23-20 decision late in overtime The game unexpectedly marked rookie QB Justin Herbert’s pro debut after starter Tyrod Taylor suffered chest pains due to an injection he received pregame for a rib injury.
Teddy Bridgewater’s 636 yards and 72.4% completion rate through two games are outstanding. However, they’ve only led to one touchdown pass thus far. Bridgewater will likely be asked to step up even more in McCaffrey’s absence. The good news is that he’s at least wasted no time in building chemistry with WRs DJ Moore and Robby Anderson – he connected with the duo on a combined 17 occasions for 229 yards in Sunday’s loss.
The Chargers will be turning to Herbert again in this game. All told, the sixth overall pick was a hit with 311 yards, a touchdown and an interception Sunday. The fact the RB duo of Austin Ekeler and Joshua Kelly were once again in fine form with 157 combined rushing yards and another 104 through the air implies the pair could thrive against Carolina’s porous run defense.
New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts (-11.5) – 4:05 p.m. ET
New York came into Week 2 missing multiple key players and then saw starting WR Breshad Perriman exit a 31-13 loss to the 49ers with an ankle sprain that will cause him to miss Week 3. The Colts were able to atone for a heartbreaking Week 1 loss to the Jaguars with an impressive 28-11 dismantling of the Vikings during which they picked off and sacked Kirk Cousins three times apiece (including a safety) while holding him to 113 yards passing.
Perriman was operating as a speed threat and No. 1 receiver before going down. Fellow wideout Chris Hogan suffered a rib injury against San Fran, while Jamison Crowder missed the contest with a hamstring injury. With RB Le’Veon Bell and rookie WR Denzel Mims both on injured reserve, there’s a chance New York is down to fellow Miami Hurricanes alums – albeit 13 years apart – Frank Gore and Braxton Berrios as the top running back and receiver options in Week 3.
Colts rookie RB Jonathan Taylor’s first game as the lead back was a success. He finished with 101 rushing yards and a touchdown against Minnesota. Of concern for Indy are the injuries suffered by second-year wideout Parris Campbell and starting safety Malik Hooker. Both players were placed on IR this week.
Still, the state of the Jets is such that Indy opened the week as the biggest favorite of the slate by far.
Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks (-4.5) – 4:25 p.m. ET
The Cowboys mounted a furious comeback against the Falcons to escape with a miracle 40-39 win that included a memorable onside kick recovery and a game-winning FG by Greg Zuerlein as time expired. The Seahawks were able to get to 2-0 with a second consecutive offensive explosion to start the season. Seattle’s 35-30 home win over the Patriots on Sunday night featured five touchdown passes from Russell Wilson and 429 total yards.
Once past the euphoria of Sunday’s win, the Cowboys likely came to the sobering conclusion they have legitimate issues. Dallas couldn’t consistently protect QB Dak Prescott very well early Sunday, leading to a lot of their first-half problems. The absence of Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith due to a neck injury played a part. His return for Week 3 would be especially valuable in such a difficult matchup. The defense certainly has some concerns as well after suffering multiple injuries over the first two week and surrendering four TD passes to Matt Ryan in Week 2.
The Seahawks have given up plenty of points in their first two games but have managed to outscore their opponents largely with MVP-caliber play from Wilson. Given Ryan’s success against Dallas’ secondary Sunday – and to a lesser extent, Jared Goff’s in Week 1 – Wilson is set up for another stellar day, especially if this turns into the back-and-forth high-scoring affair the oddsmakers are clearly expecting with a mid-50s total that’s the highest on the slate at the start of the week.
Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals (-5) – 4:25 p.m. ET
Two games into 2020, the Lions have already mastered the art of losing by blowing leads both early and late. Following a Week 1 fourth-quarter collapse against the Bears, Detroit got the poor defensive play going earlier in Week 2 against the Pack, getting outscored 39-7 from the second quarter on. Meanwhile, the Cardinals impressively showed no signs of letdown following their Week 1 upset of the 49ers, handling the Redskins as expected, 30-15.
For the first three quarters of their season, the Lions looked like they were dialed in on both sides of the ball despite the absence of WR Kenny Golladay (hamstring). Things then unraveled, with Detroit getting outscored, 63-21, over the next five quarters and managing 14 of those points in the first quarter Week 2. The gross imbalance could certainly be helped by Golladay’s expected Week 3 return, which would be especially timely versus a Cardinals team Detroit will need to score plenty against.
Kyler Murray has been overshadowed by Russell Wilson’s outstanding start on a league-wide scale, but the Cardinals QB has been brilliant. Murray has completed 66.7% of his throws and is averaging 7.5 yards per carry on 21 rushes. What’s more, he’s notched three rushing touchdowns over the first two games after scoring four in his entire rookie campaign. His connection with new No. 1 WR DeAndre Hopkins has been excellent, while both the defense and RB Kenyan Drake have thrived in the early going as well.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-6) at Denver Broncos – 4:25 p.m. ET
The Buccaneers notched their first win in the Tom Brady era Week 2 with a 31-17 victory over the Panthers that RB Leonard Fournette iced with a 46-yard touchdown. The Broncos battled valiantly on the road against the Steelers despite playing without several key offensive players before turning the ball over on downs with 1:51 remaining and trailing by five.
Brady doesn’t yet look fully comfortable in coach Bruce Arians’ system, but he’s getting there. The future Hall of Famer’s Week 2 numbers of 217 passing yards and a TD were nothing to write home about, but RB LeSean McCoy also dropped a perfect long pass in the right corner of the end zone that would have his QB’s numbers much better. There are still concerns – Rob Gronkowski incredibly has just two catches on four targets — but Fournette’s emergence Sunday was a welcome sight. Additionally, Monday brought the news WR Chris Godwin has cleared concussion protocol and will play in this Week 3 contest.
The Broncos will move forward with Jeff Driskel at QB for the next several weeks in the wake of Drew Lock’s Week 2 shoulder injury. Driskel performed admirably enough (256 yards, two TDs) on an emergency basis against the ferocious Steelers defense. However, he’ll have to manage without WR Courtland Sutton moving forward, with Sutton having suffered a torn ACL and MCL in Sunday’s loss.
The uphill battle the Broncos face is evident in their status as home underdogs.
Green Bay Packers at New Orleans Saints (-3) – 8:20 p.m. ET
The Packers have gotten an early jump on their NFC North domination. Through two weeks, they’ve dismantled the Vikings and Lions by a combined score of 85-55. Green Bay’s Week 2 victory over coach Matt Patricia’s squad included a comeback from a 14-3 first-quarter deficit in which the Pack outscored Detroit by a 39-7 margin over the final three quarters.
What has to be as encouraging as anything for head coach Matt LeFleur thus far is that all aspects of his offense have clicked at one point or another in the first two games. In Week 1, QB Aaron Rodgers and the passing game took center stage. Last Sunday, it was RB Aaron Jones popping off for 236 total yards (168 rushing, 68 receiving) and three total TDs.
The Saints will be without star receiver Michael Thomas (ankle) for a second straight week.
Monday, Sept. 28
Kansas City Chiefs at Baltimore Ravens (-3.5) – 8:15 p.m. ET
In a fitting nod to this game’s heavyweight-fight feel, it’s positioned as the true main event of Week 3 as the final one of the slate. The Ravens know they’ll likely have to go through the Chiefs again in January to get to their desired Super Bowl LV destination, adding even more intrigue to this battle of undefeated squads.
Baltimore has some resistance from the Texans in Week 2 but still won going away, 33-16. The confounding factor for any Ravens opponent is their ability to attack with an endless array of players that starts with reigning MVP Lamar Jackson. The three-headed running attack of Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins compiled 176 yards Sunday. WR Marquise Brown hasn’t even gotten going yet, while TE Mark Andrews was quiet Sunday but had two TDs in Week 1.
KC had to fight for nearly five full quarters against surprise starter Justin Herbert and the Chargers before emerging with the win Sunday. QB Patrick Mahomes threw for 302 yards and two scores, but rookie RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (10-38) didn’t come close to following up his sensational Week 1 effort.
Oddsmakers are giving Baltimore the home-field nod with a projected 3.5-point advantage. This is naturally expected to be a game of considerable betting interest in coming days, making it a line to keep an eye on.
NFL Week 3 odds: Opening vs. current lines
Here is a look at current NFL Week 3 odds compared to when they opened last week.
|Matchup||Look-ahead line||Closing line|
|Miami at Jacksonville||Jaguars -1||Jaguars -2.5|
|Chicago at Atlanta||Falcons -3||Falcons -3.5|
|Cincinnati at Philadelphia||Eagles -5.5||Eagles -5.5|
|Houston at Pittsburgh||Steelers -5.5||Steelers -4|
|Las Vegas at New England||Patriots -5.5||Patriots -6.5|
|LA Rams at Buffalo||Bills -3||Bills -1|
|San Francisco at NY Giants||49ers -7||49ers -3.5|
|Tennessee at Minnesota||Vikings -1||Titans -3|
|Washington at Cleveland||Browns -6||Browns -7.5|
|Carolina at LA Chargers||Chargers -6.5||Chargers -6.5|
|NY Jets at Indianapolis||Colts -7||Colts -11.5|
|Dallas at Seattle||Seahawks -3||Seahawks -4.5|
|Detroit at Arizona||Cardinals -3||Cardinals -5.5|
|Tampa Bay at Denver||Buccaneers -3.5||Buccaneers -6|
|Green Bay at New Orleans||Saints -5.5||Saints -3|
|Kansas City at Baltimore||Ravens -2.5||Ravens -3.5|