Week two is in the books, and the injuries are officially starting to pile up.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is out for the year as he undergoes elbow surgery. New Orleans Saints QB is out for at least six weeks with a thumb injury. New York Jets QB Sam Darnold is out three to seven weeks with mononucleosis. Yes, you read that right.
Continuing the list of injuries, the Philadelphia Eagles will be without their top two wide receivers in week three and possibly beyond. Alshon Jeffery has a calf strain and DeSean Jackson is dealing with a quad injury.
Injuries to the Eagles defense are making them thinner up front. Defensive linemen Tim Jernigan has a broken foot and is out four to six weeks. In week one, the Eagles lost Malik Jackson for the entire season.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup requires knee surgery and is now out four to six weeks.
With the most notable injuries out of the way, let us take a look through week three.
Tennessee Titans (-1.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars
Marcus Mariota and the Titans fell to the divisional rival Indianapolis Colts at home last Sunday, 19-17.
Gardner Minshew’s Jaguars came up just short against the Houston Texans. They scored with 30 seconds left in the fourth quarter and decided not to kick an extra point for the tie. Instead, they went for the two-point conversion and failed.
As was on display during the last Thursday night’s game, the quality of play is nowhere near it is on Sundays. Take Jacksonville as home underdogs and hope to witness some Minshew magic.
Cincinnati Bengals at Buffalo Bills (-6)
The Bengals got smacked at home last Sunday, losing 41-17 to the San Francisco 49ers.
Josh Allen and the Bills are 2-0 after taking down both New York squads in the first two weeks, the Jets and the Giants.
Cincinnati has decent talent on offense so it is just a matter of putting it all together. Six points for Buffalo is still too much to be comfortable with, even in their home opener. Stay away from this game.
Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles (-7)
The Lions took care of business at home last Sunday, beating the Chargers 13-10.
Carson Wentz’s comeback drive came up just short on Sunday night football against the Atlanta Falcons. The Eagles lost that game, 24-20.
The loss of Jeffery and Jackson is a huge factor here, it forces Wentz to play with receivers he does not have chemistry with. As a result, you can’t trust the Eagles. Stay away.
New York Jets at New England Patriots (-22.5)
The Jets are a disaster right now. Until Darnold comes back from a wicked case of mono, which reportedly caused him to lose five pounds in a couple of days, this team is a corpse.
The Patriots earned a hardly-fought victory last week, winning 43-0 against Miami’s sad excuse for a pro football team.
Once again, the Patriots carry the biggest point spreads of the week. Betting on a team to cover over three touchdowns is not typically a favourable option. However, considering the state of both teams, take New England at home here.
Oakland Raiders at Minnesota Vikings (-8)
Oakland played well last week against the Kansas City Chiefs up until the second quarter when Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes threw for four touchdowns.
Kirk Cousins gave away the game last week in Green Bay. He tossed an inexcusable interception in the end zone on a first down.
I like the Vikings’ chances of bouncing back this week, but 7.5 points is a lot. Oakland appears to be a better team than they were last season. They might not possess the best talent but they play hard.
Vikings fans absolutely should expect a victory margin large enough to cover the line, but everyone else should stay away from betting on this game.
Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs (-6.5)
This is a must-watch game for every fan. It features two of the leagues’ premier young QBs.
The Ravens and Lamar Jackson earned a 23-17 win last week. Meanwhile, Patrick Mahomes’ Chiefs took care of Oakland.
Mahomes is an out-of-this-world talent, but Baltimore’s defense is among the league’s best.
Take the Ravens on the road and root for Jackson to keep it close.
Atlanta Falcons at Indianapolis Colts (-2.5)
The Falcons took down the Eagles on Sunday Night Football last week, avoiding an 0-2 start.
Jacoby Brissett played well for the Colts last week, throwing for three touchdowns in the win.
This game should be very entertaining. Take the Falcons here to keep it close, but don’t be surprised if Indy squeaks out a one- or two-point win.
Denver Broncos at Green Bay Packers (-7.5)
The Broncos had the game all but won last week against Chicago. They were up one point with under a minute left. The Bears ended up kicking a 53-yard field goal as time expired, thanks to a questionable roughing the passer penalty called on Denver.
The Packers came away with a huge divisional win last week against the Vikings.
Green Bay should beat Denver comfortably in this one, but the line is big enough to make any bettor worry. Take Green Bay and sweat it out.
Miami Dolphins at Dallas Cowboys (-21)
The Dolphins have been outscored 102-10 through two games this season.
Dak Prescott continues to impress for the Cowboys. He’s throwing for 674 yards on an 82.3 per cent completion rate with seven touchdowns and one interception. His team is 2-0 after a 31-21 divisional win on the road in Washington in week two.
As good as the Cowboys have looked so far, covering 21 points is a lot to ask even against a Miami team that has not shown any level of competence. Cowboys fans should bet on this game but it is a stay away for everyone else.
New York Giants at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-6.5)
The Giants look lifeless. They are now 0-2 and have finally named rookie Daniel Jones as their starting QB, so at least there is some hope now.
Tampa Bay picked up a huge divisional win last week, with the odds stacked against them. Travelling to Carolina on a short week, they earned a 20-14 victory. It was the first road win from QB Jameis Winston in his last 13 starts on the road.
This game is tough to call considering it is Jones’ first ever start at QB for the Giants. Let him prove himself before betting on New York.
Even in saying that, betting on the Buccaneers as a near seven point favourite is not something worth exploring. Stay away from this one.
Carolina Panthers (-3) at Arizona Cardinals
It has only been four years since Cam Newton was the most valuable player in the league, yet it seems like an eternity if you have watched him recently.
Newton looked really bad last week, which prompted former NFL QB Michael Vick to predict that this season will be Newton’s last as a Panther.
Despite holding a winless 0-1-1 record to start the season, take the Cardinals here to cover three points at home.
Pittsburgh Steelers at San Francisco 49ers (-6.5)
The Steelers are 0-2 after a 28-26 loss at home to the Seattle Seahawks and their 2018 third round draft pick Mason Rudolph will be taking over QB duties with Roethlisberger sidelined for the season.
Jimmy Garoppolo’s 49ers put up 572 yards in last weeks win at Cincinnati.
Stay away from this one as Rudolph looked pretty good in relief last week throwing for two touchdowns. Anything can happen in this must-win game for Pittsburgh.
Houston Texans at Los Angeles Chargers (-3)
The Texans earned their first win of the season last week against Jacksonville. Meanwhile, the Chargers dropped their first game of the year to the Lions.
Even as an underdog on the road, Houston is a decent bet to make as a Chargers win by at least four points would be an impressive one.
New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks (-4)
Saints QB Drew Brees left the game last week against the Rams with his throwing thumb in a cast, he will not be playing any football for the next six or so weeks.
Seattle is 2-0 after an impressive road win against the Steelers.
Seahawks fans should be comfortable betting on them, but this game could be close depending on the performance of the Saints new starting QB Teddy Bridgewater.
Los Angeles Rams (-4) at Cleveland Browns
The Browns got back on track and beat down the Jets on the road, 23-3.
Head coach Sean McVay had his team looking good last week against the Saints, a rematch of last years’ National Football Conference championship game.
Typically, the home team is given three points on the point spread for home field advantage. This line tells bettors that Vegas believes the Rams are seven points better than the Browns.
Vegas is probably right in saying that, but do not be surprised if the Browns cover and possibly pull off the upset as home underdogs.
Chicago Bears (-4) at Washington Redskins
The Bears are lucky to be 1-1 right now after a questionable penalty extended their game-winning drive last week.
Washington simply could not keep up with Dallas last week, falling to 0-2 on the season.
Until the Bears can show fans that they can be consistently good, do not trust them with your money. Take Washington here as home underdogs.
These point spreads are courtesy of Westgate Las Vegas Superbook, last updated on Tuesday, Sept. 17 at 5 p.m.
Tanner Michalenko/ Sports & Health Editor
Graphic: Shawna Langer/ Graphics Editor