Week 3 of the NFL season, previewed by Tom Selwyn (@Tom_Selwyn).
First up, I wanted to look at what should be a close game between the Washington Redskins and the Detroit Lions with both teams hovering around even money.
Since RB Reggie Bush has moved to Detroit he’s become an important part of their offense and with his status in doubt I believe a big part of this game will come down to whether he plays or not. Last week, Detroit let Arizona come from behind to beat them and Reggie Bush going off injured was a big part of that:
* With Bush, they converted 50% on 3rd down. Without him, 0%.
* QB Matthew Stafford was 16-20 passing with him in the game, 8-16 without.
* They scored 14 offensive points with him, 0 without.
* Their total yards with him in the game was 232 and just 90 without.
So with Bush listed as questionable for the game combined with the fact that Detroit has not won in Washington for an astonishing 21 games should lead me towards a Washington win.. but not so!
I saw the Redskins defensive stats and they’ve given up a league-worst 511 yards a game as well as 71 points over the first two games. Arizona are a much better defense than Washington and I don’t think they’ll be able to contain (he still had over 100 yards and 2 TDs…) WR Calvin Johnson in the way Arizona did when Reggie Bush was out.
So if Bush plays I’ll definitely be taking the Detroit Lions here and even if he doesn’t, or is limited, I still think it’s a good bet. Although if he is out, expect Calvin Johnson to see a lot of targets from Matthew Stafford and the over 6.5 catches for him appeals if Bush is sidelined.
My 2nd bet is back unders in the game between the New England Patriots and the Tampa Bay Buccanneers.
Watching the Patriots in week 2’s Thursday night game without the players they had last season and even Amendola in week 1 was not pretty viewing. WR Julian Edelman was the only player making catches as the rookie inexperience of the other players showed with a large amount of dropped passes, causing QB Tom Brady to express frustration in a way people weren’t used to seeing.
With CB Darelle Revis likely to take away Brady’s best option, it could be another frustrating night for him unless either the running game or the rookie WRs step up.
On the other side, its also been a struggle for Tampa QB Josh Freeman, who has been completing less than 50% of his passes.
I see this as a low-scoring defensive struggle that should go under the line, but so long as the Patriots keep winning I’m not too fussed…
Finally, I’ll be taking a punt on the Buffalo Bills going on the road and beating the New York Jets at around 5/4.
Both teams have a similar feel to them this season, both possessing a fairly strong defence, especially along the defensive line, and a rookie QB starting for them.
The play of these rookie QBs is the main reason why I’ll be siding with the Bills in this one; Bills QB EJ Manuel has looked far more composed than Jets counterpart Geno Smith. Manuel has taken good care of the ball and only thrown one interception through 2 games this season allowing his team to stay close in both games they’ve played. Smith on the other hand has thrown 4 interceptions, including 3 last week that really helped New England scrape their win.
Buffalo’s running game is the other reason for taking the Bills here – they rank #4 in the league for rushing with CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson providing a nice compliment to each other and taking the pressure of Manuel. If they can do the same here against a tough Jets DT duo of Muhammed Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson then the Bills should be in a good position to leave New York with a win.
Best of luck!