Week 3 NFL Upset Report - The Wonders of NFL Parity

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TwinSpires Staff

September 24th, 2018

Week 3 NFL Upset Report

Three weeks in and one thing is abundantly clear - this is going to be an incredibly whacky season. New England looks terrible. Pittsburgh is in rough shape. The Chiefs and Rams are undefeated, but so is Miami. If this is NFL parity, then I want nothing (and everything) to do with it. First, here are the teams that managed to avoid making the Week 3 NFL upset list:

Cleveland -3.0 over NYJ - Bakermania runs wild and our lives are better for it, unless your name is Sam Darnold. LAR -7.0 over LAC - The win came at a cost as Marcus Peters was lost for the season. Seattle -1.0 over Dallas - Remember when Dak Prescott was a thing? Kansas City -6.0 over San Francisco - Get well soon, Jimmy G...we'll miss ya. Miami -3.0 over Oakland - A surefire sign of the NFL apocalypse is Miami being undefeated. Baltimore -5.5 over Denver - Joe Flacco still not elite. Case Keenum definitely not elite either. Carolina -3.0 over Cincinnati - McAffery ran for 184 yards, and Cam only threw for 150.

Buffalo Bills +16.5 over Minnesota Vikings

Raise your hand if you had the Bills winning straight up on the road! Kirk Cousins went from being a guy who matched Aaron Rodgers shot-for-shot, to a quarterback who literally couldn't hold on to the football. The Vikings imploded and the loss of Delvin Cook was surely felt. Even then, the offensive line for the Vikings was shameful as Buffalo harassed Cousins at will. We might forget this down the road if the Vikings rebuild themselves in to the world beaters they're capable of being, but losing to the worst team in the league is going to haunt these guys all week. This isn't just a huge Week 3 NFL upset, it might be the biggest upset we see all year. (BUF 27-6)

Indianapolis Colts +6.5 over Philadelphia Eagles

The Colts lost this game 16-20, but have turned themselves in to an oddity. Andrew Luck threw for just 164 yards, and couldn't even toss the final hail mary attempt (Jacoby Brisett had to sub in to toss that pass). But the Colts are now 2-1 ATS. The easiest thing to do is chalk this game up to rust on the part of the Eagles and Wentz, but the Colts have played veraciously against Washington, Cincinnati and Philly. They're definitely becoming a team that you need to keep your eye on, at least for betting purposes. Their games are virtually unwatchable. (Phi 20-16)

New York Giants +6.0 over Houston Texans

Two questions:
  1. Why do the Texans stink?
  2. How are the Giants this boring?
DeShaun Watson's breakout last year had us all believing that the Texans were the "it" team to make the proverbial leap, but their Week 3 NFL upset has continued an ugly trend of unexciting football. This defense can't stop anyone and the offense struggles to maintain a semblance of rhythm. At no point has Houston ever felt like like they're an actual threat. And this team has no health issues to make excuses for them. Everyone's here, and the team is still rolling out awful results.

As for the Giants, they are trending in an actual, positive direction. Saquon Barkley is still getting his wheels spinning at the NFL level, which isn't an easy challenge at the running back position. He's totaled 100+ yards in every game. And this offense has to figure out the right way to use both him and Odell Beckham Jr., which isn't an easy pair of plates to spin. Here's the thing: the Giants have a -2.4 point differential through three weeks that could get better if the offense finds some sort of groove. The problem? They face the Saints, Eagles, Panthers, Falcons and Redskins in the next five weeks before their bye week. (NYG 27-20)

New Orleans Saints +1.5 over Atlanta Falcons

A slug fest from the start, Drew Brees literally beat the Falcons all by himself. It was the same demons emerging for both teams: New Orleans' shoddy defense put them in a consistent hole, while Matt Ryan and the Falcons couldn't finish a tight game. After watching the Saints blunder their way against Tampa and Cleveland, this was the vintage Brees performance people pay money to see. Atlanta is agonizingly inconsistent this season, which may be associated with the loss of Devonta Freeman. I don't trust either team, and neither should you. The safest bet for either team is the OVER. (NO 43-37)

Tennessee Titans +10.0 over Jacksonville Jaguars

You can't really write positively about a game that had zero touchdowns. Bortles and a returning Mariota combined for a listless 255 yards passing as both defenses clamped down. Nobody could really get anything going, which is astonishing given how good the Jaguars were last weekend while overcoming the ghosts of their playoff pasts when they finally vanquished New England. Is Tennessee good? Their -0.4 point differential definitely says otherwise. Meanwhile, I have no idea what to make of Jacksonville. The absence of Leonard Fournette can't be this impactful, can it? (Ten 9-6)

Washington Redskins +2.5 over Green Bay Packers

Alex Smith threw for 220 yards and 2 touchdowns, while Aaron Rodgers matched him for 265 yards and a pair of scores. The difference? Smith only threw the ball 20 times while Rodgers unleashed 44 pass attempts on the day. Green Bay is such a difficult team to get a read on. A thrilling comeback against Chicago, a pure barn burner against Minnesota...and now this? Washington lost to Indy and didn't score a touchdown! The gap between these two teams is a lot closer than anyone would want to believe, which speaks volumes about the NFL parity we're witnessing this season. Washington shouldn't be anywhere near Green Bay's level...yet, here we are. (WAS 31-17)

Arizona Cardinals +5.5 over Chicago Bears

The weirdest part about this game was not only Josh Rosen coming in after Bradford had soiled himself on the field, but that he laughed about the game losing interception he threw at the end of the game. Aw shucks! Bradford did put the Cardinals in a position to win this game, and allowed brave Cardinals backers to earn a solid Week 3 NFL upset, but he gave the ball back too many times. Even still, Bradford looked miles better than Mitchell Trubisky. The Cardinals are still winless and bad, but they are clearly not as pathetic as their opening two weeks suggested. (Chi 16-14)

Detroit Lions +6.5 over New England Patriots

Turns out, Trent Dilfer was four years too early. The New England Patriots are not good anymore. They got blasted by a Detroit team that has struggled to look respectable, and used New England as a punching bag on Sunday night. Brady threw for just 133 yards. The running game was pathetic. Detroit countered everything that was thrown at them, and killed any talk of Patricia losing the locker room. It's not fair to say that the Lions are contenders right now, but the unfortunate truth is that New England is nowhere close to being the monolith of NFL greatness that they're revered as. Josh Gordon, Julian Edelman and others are coming to help, but it's hard to know if it'll be enough. The Patriots are 26th in scoring, and 29th in yards allowed. That first one will get better undoubtedly, but there are no easy fixes for a defense that has no stars on it. A lot of folks backed the Patriots, and eating a brutal Week 3 NFL upset was a hard way for people to spend their Sunday nights. (Det 26-10)

The Buccaneers host the Steelers on Monday Night Football to end Week 3!