Week 2 provided proof that getting cute in Survivor pools early in the season is a way to be eliminated early.  My brother called me a fool for not recommending Carolina over the Bucs. I told him it’s something I wouldn’t consider, as it went against two of the tenets that I use when I pick games. Avoid Thursday night games and divisional games.  The Bucs barely held in the end and it was my brother who ended up being the “fool” joining the approximately 10 percent of people who went with the Panthers on the sidelines for the rest of the season. 

Recapping last week the pick was the Ravens who beat Arizona. The alternate pick was the Patriots, who we decided to save for later in the season.  The secondary picks were the Texans who barely held on to beat Jacksonville, and the Chiefs who handled Oakland. Our against the grain picks gave us a win with the Cowboys and our first loss of the season with the Chargers unable to beat the Lions due to several missed field goals.

Week three is very unusual as we have two teams that are over 20 point favorites at home.  The Patriots over the Jets and the Cowboys over the Dolphins. The Dolphins are the doormat of the league and can be picked against almost every week.  The Patriots are getting a decimated Jets team who lost their backup quarterback for the season and are going to start their third string. The Jets could do very little against the Browns on Monday, but they’ll have a full week of preparation prior to having to face TB12 and the Patriots. Will that help? Probably not against Belicheck.

The Patriots have been favored by 20 or more points four times since 2007.  They won all four but never covered the spread. Three of the games ended within 10 points or less. The Cowboys were favored by 21 points in 1987 against the Eagles and also won but didn’t cover the spread.  Using the Oddsshark database I found only six other games where the point spread was greater than 20 points and only two of them covered the spread but most importantly they all won. 

There are just two other games that check off our important boxes of playing at home and favored by seven or more points, which are Green Bay over Denver and Minnesota over Oakland.  These games offer an alternative if you want to hope for a huge upset of the Patriots or Cowboys. Just missing the cut at 6.5 point home favorites are Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, and San Francisco and can be used as your against the grain picks with the Buccaneers over the Giants as my favorite. The Bucs defense did a great job bottling up CMC and look to do the same against Saquon Barkley

My pick this week is going to be the COWBOYS.  Their schedule does have the Jets, Giants and Redskins later in the season, but we are trying to get to Week 4 and this is the best option.  As I said last week, taking the Patriots is a safe bet also, but I’m saving them for later in the season since we have an option that is just as good.  The Patriots will most likely be the most favored team in each of the next three or four weeks and taking a peek ahead, I’m going to save them as long as I can. You can get cute and pick the Vikings or Green Bay, but if you definitely want to move on to Week 4, take the team they call America’s team.  I can see Jim Bowden and Glenn Colton smiling. How ‘Bout Them Cowboys!

UPDATE: 09.21.19

A few developments over the last few days that may influence your picks this week.  New England released Antonio Brown. Against the Jets this makes no difference and if you were taking the Patriots, you’re probably not changing your mind.  My advice is still to go elsewhere this week and save them until you need to use them once bye weeks start and pickings get slimmer.

The line on the Green Bay/Denver game has stayed in our seven-point home threshold. The Vikings line has moved to 9 from 8.5.  Most who are fading the Cowboys and Patriots are going with the Vikes over the Raiders. If you’re looking to fade Dallas and hope that there is a huge Miami upset that will knock out about 60% of your pool, the Packers are also in the mix for your consideration.

I don’t believe many would be picking the Panthers on the road over the Cardinals, but now with Cam Newton out, that game is a must avoid.  The Eagles line is down to 5.5, another avoid game with two of their starting wide receivers out. Buffalo has moved to six-point favorites over the Bengals. They are a team I just can’t trust. It may be best to save them for a matchup against the Dolphins. Tampa gets rookie Danny Dimes and the Giants at home.  As six-point favorites, they are under consideration for your against-the-grain pick.

I’m still standing by my pick of the COWBOYS.  Their odds of winning do not go over 70% until week 17 leaving this week as the best time to take them. At least I can root against them the rest of the season after they beat the Dolphins! I’ll be at the Eagles/Lions game tomorrow.  Reception there is always spotty but if any questions come through I’ll do my best to answer them!