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Shapiro's Week 3 NFL picks: Washington will make life miserable for Mayfield

Profile Picture: Scott Shapiro

September 23rd, 2020

Week 2 in the National Football League will unfortunately be remembered for the amount of significant injuries. Giants running back Saquon Barkley and 49ers defensive lineman Nick Bosa both tore their ACL and are lost for the rest of 2020. Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey will be out for four-to-six weeks with a high-ankle sprain, and there were several other key injuries that will not only impact games this week, but throughout the remainder of the season. Hopefully we can get through Week 3 with far less carnage.

The good news is that for the second straight week things went well with my plays against the number on BetAmerica. The Falcons/Cowboys OVER was never in doubt while both Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay came down to fluky plays in the final minutes after blowing significant halftime leads. Let’s keep it going in what should be an entertaining Week 3.

Washington Football Team at Cleveland Browns

Sun, September 27 2020, 5:00 PM

Cleveland Browns

Spread

-7.5

Moneyline

-335

Total

O 44

Washington Football Team

Spread

+7.5

Moneyline

+260

Total

U 44

The Browns bounced back in Week 2 after getting handled by Baltimore in the opener, but I am not convinced they are ready to make a playoff run just yet. Sure, Baker Mayfield made a number of good throws including a touchdown pass to Odell Beckham, Jr.  The two-headed monster of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt combined for 210 yards on the ground as well, but it came against one of the league’s worst defenses. Mayfield was hardly touched during their Thursday night victory against Cincinnati and Chubb and Hunt took advantage of big holes and poor tackling all night long. Cleveland faces a much tougher task this week against one of the NFL’s best defensive fronts.

The Washington Football Team is still several players away from being complete. Their secondary is beatable, they lack playmakers on offense outside of Terry McLaurin, and QB Dwayne Haskins is still a work in progress in his second year in the league, but I like what I see in Ron Rivera’s first year. They play hard for sixty minutes and are loaded on the defensive line with Chase Young added to an already talented group. Look for them to put pressure on Mayfield all night long and keep this one close in First Energy Stadium.  

Take the points.

Pick: Washington +7.5


Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks

Sun, September 27 2020, 8:25 PM

Seattle Seahawks

Spread

-5

Moneyline

-240

Total

O 55.5

Dallas Cowboys

Spread

+5

Moneyline

+190

Total

U 55.5

We are through just two weeks of the 2020 season, but Russell Wilson appears poised to make a serious run for league MVP. The Seattle QB has completed 52-of-63 passes and already has nine touchdown throws. Most importantly, the Seahawks are 2-0 heading into their showdown with the Cowboys.

Pete Carroll’s offense appears nearly impossible to stop, but Seattle's defense is nowhere near the group it was when making back-to-back Super Bowls in 2014 and 2015. The Seahawks have a couple of stars in Jamal Adams and Bobby Wagner, but their non-existent pass rush is a major issue and is likely to be exposed in Week 3 with one of the NFL’s best offenses coming to CenturyLink Field.  

Dallas definitely needs to play better to be competitive in a tough matchup on the road, but they bring a lot of momentum to Seattle after a miraculous 40-39 win in Week 2. Like the Seahawks, their defense has holes, especially with linebacker Leighton Vander Esch out six-to-eight weeks, but they have an offense that can score with just about anyone. Look for Dak Prescott to take advantage of the subpar Seattle defense and go toe-to-toe with Wilson on Sunday afternoon.

The total is high, but not high enough. Expect another shootout in the Pacific Northwest.

Pick: Over 55.5


Los Angeles Rams at Buffalo Bills

Sun, September 27 2020, 5:00 PM

Buffalo Bills

Spread

-2.5

Moneyline

-140

Total

O 47.5

Los Angeles Rams

Spread

+2.5

Moneyline

+115

Total

U 47.5

Josh Allen and the Bills are off to a much better start on offense than many experts anticipated, but their first two games have come against two of the weaker defensive units in the league. Scoring on a Rams’ defense that has played well against the Eagles and the Cowboys is a much stiffer challenge than doing so against the Jets and Dolphins.

The Rams also face a much tougher challenge in Week 3. They have dissected the Eagles and Cowboys' subpar defensive groups with great play-calling by head coach Sean McVay, but I do not anticipate life to be quite as easy against one of the best groups in the NFL on Sunday.

Look for this matchup between a pair of undefeated teams to be a highly contested one where points are a little harder to come by. I expect a game with both squads scoring in the low 20’s.

Pick: Under 47.5


Scott Shapiro’s 2020 NFL record ATS on BetAmerica heading into Week 3: 5-1

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