Week 3 of the confidence pool is a major one! The season is already two weeks in, but some teams have revealed themselves as not serious about winning anything. There are some surprise teams on a positive note, including inside the 2-0 crew, as squads begin to form their identities for the rest of the season. It’s still too early to put any major upsets higher on your confidence list, as the best strategy is dropping them to the bottom. If there’s a heavy favorite that might lose, then best to drop them to the mid-range in the event the upset happens. Here are the NFL Week 3 confidence pool picks.
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NFL Week 3 Confidence Pool Picks
Winners are in bold, upsets are marked with **
This should be everyone’s top play this week. The Chiefs split at 1-1 makes them more dangerous in a month already dominated by Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes. The Bears are in a ton of trouble. Their quarterback can’t throw, the coach can’t coach, and they can’t win games. This would be the biggest regular season upset in the NFL in years. It’s not happening. Chicago may trade or release Justin Fields by the half – or he simply walks out of the stadium in disgust.
The Giants needed a miraculous, historic comeback to save their season against the Arizona Cardinals. Meanwhile, Kyle Shanahan’s only concern is whether he should be playing his backup running back more in blowouts. It’s a short week in this wonky league, so anything can happen, but don’t worry about any outright victory from the G-Men.
Russell Wilson is just 4-11 straight up against the spread in road games played in the first three weeks of the season. Just because they are 0-2 doesn’t mean they have to win anything. Wilson was this poor early on the road with better teams and a more seasoned coach (meaning this is Sean Payton’s first go around with Wilson). What exactly is going to change here against a Miami team that’s rolling? The only injury that would negatively impact this result for Miami would be to their quarterback – and he’s fine.
There will be upsets this week in the National Football League, but not here, not in Baltimore. While the Colts’ win last week looked gutsy, they beat a banged-up rookie quarterback. That changes against Lamar Jackson despite him having some missing pieces around him. Anthony Richardson should take note, as Jackson will show the Colts defense and the rest of the league how to win a game on his own. Indianapolis isn’t blowing out Baltimore on the road, so if they do win, it will be a close game. Which of the two quarterbacks do you trust with the ball in his hands in the final drive of the game? Take the Ravens here.
We are bypassing a few more heavy favorites to throw this play in the mix. While the Buccaneers and Baker Mayfield may have found some early magic, the Eagles have “struggled” their way to a 2-0 record beating up on bad teams. Jalen Hurts and the Eagles offense can run over anyone and should face a tougher matchup than last week’s Vikings front, so expect the passing game to return. Mayfield is going to have to make more plays than Hurts, that’s the only way Tampa Bay will win this game. That’s just not going to happen against an Eagles quarterback looking to still improve on the first two weeks.
11. Cleveland Browns (-170) vs. Tennessee Titans**
This one is easy and a rulebreaker in the process. Not often a dog winning outright would be this high on the list, but this is off. Cleveland is on a short week after watching its best player suffer a gruesome, on-field injury. Nick Chubb may be the only non-quarterback to impact lines and betting like a top-5 quarterback. Deshaun Watson is certainly not that, so the Browns will take a massive hit in their inconsistent offense. The Titans pass defense is blah, but their run defense is better than anything Cleveland has seen. Watson will be turned into a one-dimensional passer early in this game, allowing for the Titans and Mike Vrabel’s defense to tee off at will.
The Jaguars are clearly the better team and have a healthy quarterback. They have a better coach and skilled players on offense. Houston has given some fits to Doug Pederson and his Jaguars, Trevor Lawrence too. The Texans may have lost both games so far, but their production in those games was better than both opponents’. They will provide a fight here and cover anything more than a field goal. As for Lawrence, he’s yet to pay off as a home favorite against the spread, going 0-4. He’s 1-3 straight up in that role, so we just drop the Jaguars here.
9. Detroit Lions (-166) vs. Atlanta Falcons**
Atlanta wants to run, Detroit wants to move move move. This should be a great game with different approaches to offense, but both can still get up and down the field. This is another upset moved up the list because of the matchup. Detroit is just 1-5 straight up against the spread against the NFC South at home. Meanwhile, the 2-0 Falcons find themselves 6-1 against the spread in the first of two straight road games. Arthur Smith carries a team trend (not all him) of 5-1 against the spread in any road game played Week 3 of the season. The Falcons can slow this down and keep their revamped defense aggressive against Jared Goff and the Lions.
If only Bryce Young could figure this thing out. The Panthers truly aren’t as bad as their 0-2 record would indicate, but they are what their record states. It’s a tough hole to climb out of taking on Seattle on a short week. The Seahawks have some inconsistencies, but when that offense is cooking, there won’t be much the Panthers can do to stop them. Geno Smith can move the ball fast and efficiently at times and is just better right now than his counterpart in Young. A couple of injury concerns for the Panthers on defense will prevent this from any upset.
Yes, the Bills are this far down on the list. This week’s opponent is no joke. The Commanders have cleaned up a lot on offense and drama overall. Ron Rivera is focused on defense, and Sam Howell has a smart mind on offense to help. Washington is still not as talented as the Bills, but some injuries for Buffalo can help negate those concerns. Even though Josh Allen is superior to Howell, the latter hasn’t shown signs of major implosions – like Allen. Buffalo has too much self-destruction to fully count on them to knock off a good underdog in the Commanders.
The Patriots get a familiar face this week, and nothing could be better. At 0-2, things are far from over for New England, but they are certainly getting that way. It was over for the Jets once Aaron Rodgers went down, so now Zach Wilson will try to do something he has yet to do in his career: Beat the patriots. That’s truly what this game boils down to — one of the best defensive minds of all time taking on a career backup quarterback. It simply doesn’t matter what you’ve seen from Mac Jones or the Jets defense, neither will be more impactful than the poor play from Wilson.
Finally we found Dallas. If this were against the spread, then Arizona would be much higher on the list. Dak Prescott struggles in this spot – a road game sandwiched between two home games. Prescott is just 5-11 straight up and 5-10-1 against the spread in this role. As expected, he struggles throwing the ball in these games, with a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 20 to 15. That’s enough for Arizona’s defense to cause some turnovers and possibly score some points. Head coach Jonathan Gannon has experience against the Cowboys and Prescott as the defensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles. Coaching and poor quarterback play can bring down any team in this league. Arizona +7 first half is a great bet here, but ultimately Dallas will win.
Mike Tomlin struggles against a few teams throughout his career, and the Raiders are one of them. The quarterback/coach tandem in Vegas isn’t much to write home about, but the Raiders do have potential to move the ball. If they get to 21 points, they will win this game with little issue. The Steelers are still good enough to win games with their defense, as witnessed this past Monday night, but that won’t work every week. At some point Kenny Pickett will have to match throws and points with the opposing arm — that’s when things go downhill fast for the Steelers.
The Saints are in a great position with their head coach and quarterback. Normally Dennis Allen and Derek Carr are automatic fades when laying points – especially on the road. They get a short benefit of being a road dog here despite having one of the league’s best defenses. They continue to suffocate opposing quarterbacks; the latest victim will be Jordan Love. There’s something about the minus versus the plus next to Carr’s teams, but he just plays better as the underdog. Love is going to find out fast the difference between an elite defense like the Saints and some bottom feeder in Chicago.
2. Los Angeles Chargers (-106) at Minnesota Vikings**
The Chargers look to be a smash here because of how bad Minnesota has been. Both teams are in the same spot, however, sitting at 0-2 on the year. Neither is plus money as an underdog, but you lay more with the Chargers. The bet here is to drop this game to the bottom of the list, expecting the Vikings to torch the Chargers defense. That seems to be the biggest issue so far for Los Angeles, with a DVOA that is at the bottom of the league despite having amazing individual talent. One of these teams will drop to 0-3, and the safe choice is the one refusing to play any defense.
Eh … Joe Burrow is still hurt, and betting on any hurt quarterback is a mistake. The Rams aren’t good and come off a weird game in division against the 49ers. Los Angeles may have looked like they were in that game, but that wasn’t the case. One would think the Bengals are good enough with a backup to beat Los Angeles, but the Rams have been fighting on defense. This game is ugly, and with so much uncertainty surrounding Burrow, it’s best to leave this at the bottom and simply flip a coin.