The (Under) Dogs Are Barking: Week 3

Photo Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Well, what do you know, we’re off to a 5-1 start. A special thank you and a nod of appreciation to Sean McVay for kicking a head-scratching field goal in the final seconds to cut a ten-point deficit to seven. I owe you one, Sean.

This week’s puppies aren’t cuddly and adorable, but they’ll get the job done on Sunday.

Texans +8½ at Jaguars

Houston has probably let me down more than any other team in the year-plus that I’ve been writing this blog, but there are too many trends to ignore here. It starts with health: The Texans look like they’ll get stud tackle Laremy Tunsil back to help a beleaguered offensive line. That line should be able to hold up against a Jags pass rush that ranks near the bottom in pressure, allowing impressive rookie C.J. Stroud to cook.

Everyone expects Jacksonville to bounce back from their dud against the Chiefs, but the offense has a new playcaller, and things just don’t seem to be clicking. Would you believe the Texans have won nine of the last ten in this series? Did you know that Trevor Lawrence is 0-4 as a home favorite, with three of those losses coming to the Texans? This line opened at 10 and is falling like a rock for a reason. Stroud and Co. will keep it close.

Broncos +6½ at Dolphins

I know, I know, you hate this pick, but work with me here. Teams that start 0-2 (like the Broncos and Texans) always play with desperation in Week 3, knowing that an 0-3 start pretty much dooms a season. Denver showed some signs of life last week and has a defense that can contain the high-flying Dolphins, especially if they’re without Jaylen Waddle, who’s been in concussion protocol this week. Corner Patrick Surtain vs. Tyreek Hill should be worth the price of admission.

Miami is coming off a big prime-time win against Bill Belichick and is rocketing up everyone’s power rankings, with Tua an early favorite to be the MVP. Next week they head to Buffalo for a huge divisional matchup, so there could be a bit of a letdown with an 0-2 Broncos team sandwiched between two big divisional road tests. And there’s this: teams that play their home openers in Week 3 cover just 36% of the time. I think Russ and the Broncs keep it close.

Buccaneers +5 vs. Eagles

It’s going to be agonizing to have to wait until Monday night to see if I can put together back-to-back 3-0 weeks, but I can’t leave this one out. Everyone saw the Eagles dismantle the Vikings in primetime, and they’ve had extra time to heal and prepare for the Bucs.

But the Eagles won’t get to play the Vikes’ Swiss cheese defense this week, and D’Andre Swift is not going to look like the second coming of Barry Sanders again. Tampa Bay’s defense is for real, and they will make Jalen Hurts and the passing game beat them – and that unit has not looked good in either game so far.

Tampa Bay knows how to beat Philly, having done it the last two seasons and four straight overall. I’m not sure Baker Mayfield and Co. can close the deal a fifth straight time, but they can definitely hang within five points.

Last Week: 3-0

Season: 5-1

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Photo Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

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