NFL Week 3 Best Bets for Chiefs vs. Colts and Raiders vs. Titans

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Derek Carr #4 of the Las Vegas Raiders throws a pass against the Arizona Cardinals. Chris Unger/Getty Images/AFP.

As we look for pivotal games in the AFC to make your NFL picks in Week 3, we have two interesting matchups to highlight:

  • Chiefs vs. Colts
  • Raiders vs. Titans

A few weeks ago, Chiefs vs. Colts looked strong on paper, but Indianapolis has been one of the biggest disappointments so far this season. If the Colts could not get a win over the Texans or Jaguars, what will Patrick Mahomes do to them?

In what is an early elimination game, the 0-2 Raiders take on the 0-2 Titans, both fresh off devastating losses of very different kinds. Who adjusts better to get that first win?

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Kansas City Chiefs vs. Indianapolis Colts

Sunday, September 25, 2022 – 01:00 PM EDT at Lucas Oil Stadium

When the Kansas City Chiefs Have the Ball

Same Old Mahomes

You know the standard is ridiculously high when Patrick Mahomes can throw two incredible touchdown passes in last Thursday’s win over the Chargers, and the consensus is it was one of his weakest games. 

To an extent, there is truth in that. The Chiefs needed a pick-six to take the lead in the fourth quarter, and a couple of interceptions were taken away from the Chargers thanks to penalties and replay. It was not the sharpest performance from Mahomes.

But with a few extra days to prepare for the Colts, Mahomes will have another chance to improve on his incredible road statistics. He is one of the few notable quarterbacks with a significantly better stat line on the road compared to home:

  • Mahomes at home: 64.6% complete, 66 TD, 18 INT, 100.9 PR, 7.72 YPA
  • Mahomes on road: 67.8% complete, 92 TD, 19 INT, 111.4 PR, 8.43 YPA

Going Against a Vulnerable Defense

Mahomes is now 13-2 in September games with 48 touchdowns to 3 interceptions. The Colts have their work cut out for them after only generating one takeaway in two games against lesser offenses.

All-Pro linebacker Shaquille Leonard has yet to make his season debut, and his status is unclear for this game. He is the key part to the defense generating turnovers, so his loss would be bad for this matchup. The Colts do not have the pass rush yet to make up for not getting takeaways like they did a year ago.

At 0-1-1, the Colts should be a desperate unit on Sunday, but the heavily favored Chiefs are dominant in road games like this as a favorite of 6.5 points:

  • As a road favorite of 1-to-5 points, Mahomes is 6-6 ATS.
  • As a road favorite of 5.5-to-7 points, Mahomes is 8-0 ATS.
  • As a road favorite of 7.5-to-14 points, Mahomes is 1-6 ATS.

If you are a fan of the Colts, you probably want to see that line of Chiefs -6.5 go up or down a little. It still might depend on how these injuries shake out.

When the Indianapolis Colts Have the Ball

Too Many Problems

The Colts were beyond the pale bad on Sunday in Jacksonville. In the process of losing 24-0, Matt Ryan threw 3 interceptions and took 5 sacks, and Jonathan Taylor was held to just 54 yards on the ground.

The loss of No. 1 wide receiver Michael Pittman (quad) was a huge deal. He had such a great Week 1 and instant chemistry with Ryan, and without him, the Colts do not have another reliable target yet. Ryan clearly missed him in Jacksonville, but there is some optimism that Pittman could play on Sunday. If he does, he needs to have the impact that Mike Williams had for the Chargers with over 100 yards against the Chiefs last week.

But the Chiefs have been playing solid defense so far in two games, and the Colts have been a no-show in seven out of eight quarters on that side of the ball. This is a scary matchup for Indy to keep up with limited weapons, and things will be even worse if Pittman is out again. 

Colts vs. Chiefs: Pick and Prediction

Colts' coach Frank Reich is 1-5 ATS as a home underdog in his career, the worst record in the league since 2018. But one of the biggest wins of his career was in 2019 in Kansas City when the Colts upset the Chiefs 19-13 behind a ball-control offense.

Mahomes did not have Tyreek Hill that night, and he injured his leg during the game. That game is also the lone loss Mahomes has in games where teams blitz him at least 12 times, a situation where he is 12-1. 

But that 2019 game was such an outlier, and the Colts do not look capable of beating a well-tuned team right now. Getting Leonard and Pittman back would be big boosts, but with the way these teams look so far this year, I would trust the Chiefs to cover for your NFL picks.

NFL Pick: Chiefs -6.5 (-110) at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

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Las Vegas Raiders vs. Tennessee Titans

Sunday, September 25, 2022 – 01:00 PM EDT at Nissan Stadium

When the Las Vegas Raiders Have the Ball

Things Are Not Working Out

The Raiders are a work in progress under new coach Josh McDaniels, but his play-calling has been a big disappointment through two weeks. The team would be 1-1 right now if not for Arizona’s miraculous comeback on Sunday, but the offense also could have helped by doing something after that 20-0 lead at halftime. 

For example, leading 23-7 in the fourth quarter, Derek Carr threw 3 incomplete passes in a row in a drive that burned up 9 seconds. Mix in some runs and burn clock as Arizona needed every second to march down the field on those touchdown drives to force overtime.

In overtime, Hunter Renfrow fumbled on consecutive touches, and the second one was returned for a game-ending touchdown. Renfrow has not looked right this season after being such a key figure last year. You would think with the arrival of McDaniels and Davante Adams, Renfrow would be a natural fit in the slot in a Wes Welker role like McDaniels had in New England. But he is not getting the job done with Carr this year through two games.

As for Adams, the team targeted him 17 times in Week 1 at the expense of getting other receivers involved. In Week 2, Carr seemed to lean too far the other way as Adams had 2 catches for 12 yards, his least productive game in nearly five years.

What They Need

The Raiders need to figure this out fast at 0-2, but they are playing a Tennessee defense that was picked apart by Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs on Monday night.

Whether it is Adams or Renfrow or tight end Darren Waller, Carr needs to find the open receiver and shred this young secondary that is not playing well. The Titans really miss leading pass rusher Harold Landry, who tore his ACL and is out for the year. 

When the Tennessee Titans Have the Ball

Coming Off a Tough Night

The Bills are an incredible defense, but the Titans looked lifeless on Monday night. Derrick Henry was stuffed to the tune of 25 yards on 13 carries. His days of carrying the ground attack week after week may be over after overuse. 

It does not take an NFL expert to see that trading wide receiver A.J. Brown to Philadelphia was bad for business in 2022. Maybe rookie Treylon Burks develops into a No. 1 for the team, but his impact is going to be limited this year.

Ryan Tannehill had a miserable game on Monday, throwing 2 interceptions, including a pick-six before he was benched for rookie Malik Willis. Tannehill only passed for 117 yards and led one scoring drive on the night

Left tackle Taylor Lewan left Monday night’s game on a cart with injury, so his status for Sunday, if not the rest of the season, could be very doubtful. That is just going to make things harder on an offense that is already struggling so much. 

The Bright Side

The Raiders struggled with Justin Herbert’s accuracy in Week 1 and Kyler Murray’s mobility in Week 2. This will be a much easier matchup for the defense to shine

Raiders vs. Titans: Pick and Prediction

Neither team looks good, but at 0-3, the loser might as well forget it this year as the NFL odds of making the playoffs are shot. That could make for a tight game at the end with a justified small spread, but the Raiders have played better football so far than Tennessee.

The Titans are just missing too many of their best players to trust, and Tannehill and Henry no longer look like a connection the team can rely on. I will take the Raiders to cover on the road. 

NFL Pick: Raiders -1.5 (-110) at Bovada

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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.