Nostrathomas Predicts: Week 3 of the NFL Season!

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Sep 24, 2015

Considering that favorites were dropping all over the NFL in Week 2 Nostrathomas was thrilled to finish the week 9-7 straight-up and 8-8 against the spread. Record for the 2015 season is now 22-10 straight-up and 21-11 against the spread.

Week 3 presents nine teams that will be attempting to stay undefeated, nine that will be attempting to win their first game of 2015 and a few that will try to keep their playoff dreams from dying until the leaves fall.

Remember, as always these predictions are for entertainment purposes only. If you lose money you have only yourself to blame and should have listened to your mother about the evils of gambling. If you win Nostrathomas reminds you that generosity is food for the soul.

Thursday Night

Washington Redskins @ New York Giants -4

The Giants had two wins in the bag going into the final two minutes of both their games this season and lost both. If they get the lead on TouchdownWashington can they finish? Are these the Redskins that stumbled against the Dolphins or are they the team that squashed St. Louis?

The Redskins have done a good job of using Alfred Morris and Matt Jones in the running game to ease the burden on quarterback Kirk Cousins but the Giants will be getting middle linebacker Jon Beason back on the field this week to help counter that advantage.

The Giants’ offensive line has been solid in protecting Eli Manning so far and he’s doing the same in protecting the football, no interceptions against two touchdown passes this season.

The problem with picking Washington to win this game is it bucks some fairly heavy trends. The Giants have won four straight against the Redskins and five of their last six. Even worse, Washington has lost seven of their last eight road games and lost 14 of 16 on the road going back to 2013.

This week the Giants finish with a win and cover.

New York Giants 25 Washington Redskins 18

Sunday – Early Games

Oakland Raiders @ Cleveland Browns -3.5              

The Raiders are the football equivalent of Mr. Hyde and Dr. Jekyll. Their home fans, led by the Black Hole rooting section drove the Hyde-like Raiders to a dramatic, come-from-behind 33-30 victory last week against the Ravens. This week they hit the road where they’ve been much easier to handle the past few years.

Oakland has lost 22 of 24 games on the road going back to the beginning of the 2012 season. Since 2009 they’ve lost 17 of 18 games when playing in the Eastern Time zone.

The Browns were also impressive last week while playing on the road against the Titans. Johnny Manziel began to show signs that he might be a professional quarterback after all. His stats were nowhere near Brady-esque but 110 of the 172-yards he threw for went to wide receiver Travis Benjamin for touchdowns. Manziel finished that game with a 133.9 Passer Rating.

Looking at the previous paragraphs would lead you to believe this was an easy game to pick, right? It was until the Browns announced that Josh McCown has recovered from his concussion and will return to his role as the starter on Sunday.

Mike Pettine is the reason that so many pigskin prognosticators have drinking problems. If Manziel is Cleveland’s quarterback of the future now is the time to find out. He did good things last week and earned the chance to show he can do more. McCown is 36-years old and the entire NFL knows what you get from him at quarterback. Except for a brief surge of competence with Chicago in 2013, he’s been mediocre his entire career.

It would be fun to see the Browns’ coaching staff get taught a lesson this week but as well as the Raiders played against Baltimore, they have to prove they can win when they’re not at O.co Coliseum.

Cleveland Browns 23 Oakland Raiders 19

Atlanta Falcons -2 @ Dallas Cowboys

Tony Romo and Dez Bryant are out for the Cowboys this Sunday and Jason Witten has an injured ankle, though he’s expected to play.

Backup quarterback Brandon Weeden performed well in relief of Romo last week. He completed all seven of his passes for 73-yards and a touchdown in just over a quarter but now has responsibility for the entire offense on his shoulders. That’s one of the reasons why he’s not still in Cleveland.

The Cowboys’ statistical dominance on offense goes away with Romo out but they still have a strong defense but it’s going to take more than that to keep pace in the NFC East.

With Romo the Cowboys win this game. Without him, Matt Ryan and Julio Jones are too much for the Cowboys to cope with. Also, the Falcons have won four of their last five road games.

Atlanta Falcons 26 Dallas Cowboys 20

Indianapolis Colts -3.5 @ Tennessee Titans

The Indianapolis Colts are the biggest mystery in the NFL right now.  This is a team with a young quarterback that was on the rise. They have now lost their first two games of the season and looked incredibly bad while doing it.

The Colts were 6-0 against their AFC South rivals last season and even though the Titans have shown some sparks with Marcus Mariota at quarterback, they’re not ready yet to contend for the division title.

If the Colts do manage to lose this game though it’s look out below from there.

Indianapolis Colts 28 Tennessee Titans 17

Pittsburgh Steelers -2 @ St. Louis Rams

We get to find out a little more about both of these teams this week.Ben Roethlisberger

The Steelers looked bad Week 1 against the Patriots but crushed the 49ers at home last week. The Rams beat the Seahawks in overtime to open the season then were smothered by Washington 24-10 last week.

Le’Veon Bell returns from his two game suspension this week and Mike Tomlin has named him the starter at running back for Sunday.

Nick Foles has played like an above-average quarterback at times but is inconsistent. Ben Roethlisberger is still one of the top quarterbacks in the league which swings this game in favor of Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh Steelers 32 St. Louis Rams 24

San Diego Chargers @ Minnesota Vikings -2.5

Teddy Bridgewater overcame a rough first week to lead Minnesota to a 26-16 win over the Lions last Sunday. Adrian Peterson also broke through against Detroit with 134-yards on 29 attempts. The Chargers gave the Bengals all they could handle last week before losing in Cincinnati 24-19.

The Vikings held the Lions to 38 rushing yards last week but Detroit has a weak ground attack. Melvin Gordon and Danny Woodhead will provide a much tougher challenge.

Philip Rivers is among the top quarterbacks in the league in Completion Percentage, Touchdowns and Passer Rating. He’s also one of the best in the league at stretching the field.

The Vikings are improving but San Diego is better right now.

San Diego Chargers 29 Minnesota Vikings 26

Jacksonville Jaguars @ New England Patriots -14

The Belichick/Brady screw you NFL tour heads back to Foxborough for a game against Jacksonville before getting a bye week to catch their breath.

The question here isn’t whether the Patriots will win this game, they will, even if it were on the road. The question is whether the Jaguars can cover the two touchdown spread.

This is the first of two games this Sunday where the point spread has jumped to two touchdowns. The second is later Sunday afternoon. Of the last 20 times a spread has reached 14 points, only six have covered. The Patriots have been the favorite four of those times, once against Jacksonville, only once did they cover and it wasn’t that game against the Jaguars.

It’s still unknown about how good Blake Bortles will be as an NFL quarterback but this Jaguars team can play some defense and will keep the game respectable.

New England Patriots 30 Jacksonville Jaguars 20

Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Jets - 2.5

The Eagles and Chip Kelly are finding out what most NFL observers have known for years, Sam Bradford is a bad quarterback. Philadelphia’s highSam Bradford octane offense is currently No. 28 in the NFL in points scored. DeMarco Murray, last season’s rushing leader, signed as a free agent with the only team that could hold him to a half-yard per carry.

In the meantime, these Jets can play defense, which helps keep games under control and winnable for quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Parlay this game with the Panthers (next capsule) and let the good times roll.

New York Jets 25 Philadelphia Eagles 13

New Orleans Saints @ Carolina Panthers -3

Carolina hasn’t knocked out powerhouses for their two wins this season, the beat Jacksonville in Week 1 and the Houston Texans last week but the Saints aren’t their usual “pass first and ask questions later” playoff contender.

Cam Newton hasn’t been setting the league on fire with his quarterback play but he is making the most of the limited assets he has available.

On defense though, this Panthers’ team is as dominant as any Ron Rivera has put on the field. The Saints haven’t been able to say that about their defense since they hired Rob Ryan as coordinator.

Carolina giving three at home against a New Orleans team that looks lost right now is as close to a lock as you’re going to get this week.

Carolina Panthers 23 New Orleans Saints 16

Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens -3

This is the first time under head coach John Harbaugh that the Ravens have started a season 0-2 and the Bengals are not the team they want to be facing while in search of their first win. Cincinnati has won four of the last five meetings between the two.

The Ravens may be missing Terrell Suggs more than anyone first thought. Derek Carr felt comfortable enough in the pocket to complete 30 of 46 for 351-yards and three touchdowns last week.

At this point in the season the Ravens need to show their still capable of being a playoff contender. Baltimore needs a win, especially against a divisional rival, to keep themselves relevant in the playoff race. The problem for them is Cincinnati is currently a much better team.

Cincinnati Bengals 34 Baltimore Ravens 26

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Houston Texans -6.5

After the Buccaneers pulled off their upset over New Orleans last week the big postgame question wasn’t about Tampa Bay’s win, it was how bad are the Saints?

Jameis Winston finished last week’s game with an impressive 114.6 Passer Rating but Rob Ryan’s defense has been the cure for most quarterback’s ills for a while now.

Neither of these teams is very good and both need to try and find out what they have with their young quarterbacks. Houston should win but DeAndre Hopkins is questionable with a concussion which will reduce Ryan Mallet’s targets on offense. Take the home team to win but Tampa Bay covers.

Houston Texans 19 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16

Sunday - Late

San Francisco 49ers @ Arizona Cardinals -6.5

The Chicago Bears found out that Bruce Arians holds a grudge about not being hired as the team’s head coach in 2013. The Cardinals were up 42-23 late in the fourth quarter and Carson Palmer was still taking shots downfield. He finished by serving up Larry Fitzgerald’s third touchdown catch of the game to lock down a 48-23 win.

While that took place the 49ers were getting pushed around in Pittsburgh in a 43-18 loss. Colin Kaepernick played well, 33 of 46 for 335-yards and two touchdowns, but couldn’t make much of a difference after San Francisco’s defense surrendered four straight touchdowns to close the first half. You could also say Kaepernick piled up stats in garbage time, in the fourth quarter when the score was already 29-3.

Right now the Cardinals enjoy a statistical dominance on both sides of the ball over most NFL teams but skinning the Bears in Week 2 plays a big part in that. Still, as long as Carson Palmer is healthy the Cardinals are formidable to face.

Arizona Cardinals 29 San Francisco 49ers 20

Buffalo Bill @ Miami Dolphins -2.5

By the time Buffalo’s defense showed up at Ralph Wilson Stadium last week Tom Brady was already making dinner plans. The Dolphins are also coming off a tough loss. Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles had the best passing day of his career in a 23-20 win.

It’s tough to tell where either team is at right now. Buffalo’s impressive Week 1 win over the Colts looks a bit less notable after last week and Miami has struggled against Washington and Jacksonville, two teams who usually spend their time at the bottom of the NFL food chain.

The Bills do a great job turning their total yards into points (Scoreability), No. 2 in the NFL, while the Dolphins give up yards but make it tough for opponents to dent the end zone (Bendability), No. 3 in the league.

Even though they got carved up by Tom Brady last week the Bills are still the better team on defense and have been a little better on offense than the Dolphins so far this season.

Buffalo Bills 20 Miami Dolphins 16

Chicago Bears @ Seattle Seahawks -14.5

The Seahawks are a much better team than their 0-2 record reflects. The Bears’ 0-2 reflects like they're are looking in the mirror.

Once Jay Cutler was forced out of last week's game with a hamstring injury, while trying to prevent a pick-6 by Arizona’s Tony Jefferson, the Bears collapsed both on offense and defense

Cutler is officially questionable for Sunday but Jimmy Clausen will be the starter. Once safety Kam Chancellor heard that news he hopped on the first plane back to Seattle and will play Sunday.

Chicago’s defensive line didn’t lay a hand on Aaron Rodgers in the pocket in Week 1 and could only hit cement-footed Carson Palmer three times last week, without a sack. Russell Wilson’s No. 3 jersey will remain pristine all afternoon.

A two touchdown spread can be scary which is why most betters avoid these games like the plague, but don’t shy away from this one. Don’t even sweat the half-point kicker. Speaking of kickers, the Robbie Gould will be the only player on the Bears who will be able to say he had a productive game.

Seattle Seahawks 42 Chicago Bears 9Touchdown Broncos

Sunday Night

Denver Broncos -3 @ Detroit Lions

The Lions are playing their home opener this week against the Broncos. Detroit was 7-1 at home last season and hope Ford Field has that same effect this season after their 0-2 start.

From looking at the Quality Stats comparisons for this game, Peyton Manning and the Broncos’ offense are every bit as bad as they’ve looked. Manning is ranked No. 27 in Passer Rating, No. 30 in Real Quarterback Rating and dead last with a 4.22 Real Passing yards per Attempt average.

With that production from Manning why are the Broncos 2-0 right now? One, their defense is as good as their offense is bad. They’ve held opposing quarterbacks to a 74.2 Passer Rating, picked-off four passes and registered 6 sacks. Two, they feast on turnovers. They kill opponent’s drives with them and convert them into important points. They forced a normally sure-handed Chiefs team into five turnovers last week.

That ability to convert turnovers should worry Detroit. Matthew Stafford has been forced to throw more often this season because of the team’s inability to run and has already been picked off three times in two games.

It’s tough to pick against the Lions at home this week but Denver’s defense is going to be able to tee off on Stafford. Even with Manning struggling like he’s been the Broncos are the better team.

Denver Broncos 23 Detroit Lions 16

Monday Night

Kansas City Chiefs @ Green Bay Packers -6.5

This week the Chiefs travel to one of the toughest places in the NFL for visiting teams to play for their second straight prime time tilt. The Packers extended their Lambeau Field winning streak to nine games with a 27-17 win over the Seahawks last Sunday night.

The Chiefs can get after the quarterback but Aaron Rodgers is a moving target and can throw on the run as well as anyone in the game, including Russell Wilson. He’s also more willing than Alex Smith to take his shots down the field and has the receivers to make it work.

Last Thursday night the Chiefs had a chance to take control of the AFC West but spit the bit in a 31-24 loss to the Broncos. This week they feel the full impact of that loss as their record drops to 1-2.

Green Bay Packers 25 Kansas City Chiefs 16

Contact Nostrathomas…er, Tom Pollin @tjpollin on Twitter if you have comments or want to talk about this article or other topics in greater depth. I follow back and always enjoy discussions about the Bears and NFL with fans. Also visit and like my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/FootballAtoZ.com.

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