By Geoff Schwartz
FOX Sports NFL Analyst
Another week is in the book, which means it’s another chance for me to talk about my favorite pastime, the old gridiron.
Now that we are officially in Autumn and the leaves are beginning to fall, that’s the first sign that the NFL season is kicking into gear and the drunk deliriousness of simply having football back no longer suffices. And if you’re champing at the bit to get some wagers in like me, let’s get right into it.
Here are my best bets for Week 3 of the 2022 NFL season, with odds courtesy of FOX Bet.
This is a hold your nose and wager on a trustworthy coach spot because Pittsburgh’s offense is putrid. Check out these ranks: 30th in yards per play, 28th in passing and 19th in red zone scoring. It’s hard to write about anything they do well at the moment. The offensive design is boring, uncreative and predictable.
On top of that, the Steelers are on a short week. I do not expect their offense to get much going.
However, the Browns aren’t trustworthy to cover four points at the moment. Yes, they run the ball well, but they are facing a Steelers defense that can stuff the run.
Granted, the loss of T.J. Watt has hurt the Steelers’ rushing defense, especially the pass rush. The lack of pressure should give Jacoby Brissett time to pass, but do you trust him to pass the ball well against this Steelers defense? I do not.
The only way I feel comfortable in this matchup is by wagering on what I do know.
First, Cleveland struggles in division games.
Second, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin always has his teams ready for this situation. Overall, Tomlin’s Steelers are 67% against the spread as an underdog and 70% against the spread as an underdog off a straight-up loss. His ability to motivate as an underdog is unparalleled.
If you’re still not comfortable with the four points, you can put the Steelers in a teaser with another team this weekend for some extra cushion.
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This total is so high, but I must hammer the over in this contest. The Lions are averaging over 30 points per game, but they allow over 30 points per game on defense. They are basically a Big 12 team.
Just how bad is their defense? Since 2019 they have led the league in points allowed, passing yards allowed and highest opponent passer rating allowed.
There are two Kirk Cousins: The quarterback that plays at 1 p.m. ET and the quarterback who plays on Monday Night football. The quarterback who plays at 1 p.m. ET completes more passes, throws for more yards per attempt and has way less interceptions.
This is the Cousins I expect Sunday against the Lions. This is a get-right game for Cousins after the tough one on Monday night.
But back to the Lion’s offense. They have an extremely powerful and dynamic rushing attack that leads the NFL in explosive offensive plays through the season’s first two weeks.
On the other hand, the Vikings defense is reeling after being gashed by the Eagles on Monday Night Football, and I’m sure the Lions are drawing up a plan to exploit those tired Minnesota defenders’ legs.
I’ll take the over in this game with two offenses that can move the ball against two defenses that are struggling.
The Jaguars are playing excellent football right now even though they are 1-1 after two weeks. Football Outsiders DVOA metric has Jacksonville as the second most efficient team in the NFL heading into Week 3.
Head coach Doug Pederson has second-year quarterback Trevor Lawrence playing at the level people expected of him. He is completing nine percent more passes this season, has more passing yards per attempt and has cut down on risky plays.
The Jaguars offensive line and rushing attack is much improved, and they will need those tackles to play well again this weekend against a Chargers pass rush that can ruin an offensive game plan.
On the other side of the ball, the Jaguars defense has been outstanding so far this season. They rank 5th in opponent passer rating, have forced at least three turnovers in both games and have individual players reaching their potential — including pass rusher Josh Allen with two sacks and rookie linebacker Devin Lloyd with 17 tackles so far.
The Chargers might be without Keenan Allen again this weekend, but more importantly, quarterback Justin Herbert is injured. He is listed as day-to-day with fractured rib cartilage, and while he can play through the pain, it gets tougher once he is hit on Sunday.
How effective can he be through the game? Hard to know.
The Chargers can attempt to lean on their run game for offense, but that has not been good this season so far. They rank 31st in the NFL with 2.7 yards per attempt.
I will gladly take a confident Jaguars team to cover the seven points against a Chargers team that always leaves me wanting for more.
Geoff Schwartz played eight seasons in the NFL for five different teams. He started at right tackle for the University of Oregon for three seasons and was a second-team All-Pac-12 selection his senior year. He is an NFL analyst for FOX Sports. Follow him on Twitter @GeoffSchwartz.
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