With our NFL picks in mind, we’ve got some interesting games here with two NFC matchups and one inter-conference game.
In the NFC East, the Commanders head to Texas to take on the Cowboys who have won two in a row. In the other NFC matchup, we’ve got a battle of two 1-2 teams with the Panthers hosting the Cardinals.
Finally, we’ve got the upstart Jaguars looking to make it three wins in a row when they take on the undefeated Eagles.
Washington Commanders vs. Dallas Cowboys
Sunday, October 02, 2022 – 01:00 PM EDT at AT&T Stadium
Commanders' Offensive Line an Issue
Carson Wentz has been one of the most maligned quarterbacks in the league in the last few seasons. A lot of that criticism is fully deserved. With that in mind, you have to give him some type of protection if you want him to be successful.
Now that's the case for every QB in the league but what we saw from the Commanders' offensive line last week is unacceptable. Wentz was sacked 8 times, hurried 9 times, and took 5 hits.
If your QB is going to be under pressure on 22 of his 55 (40%) passes, you have no chance of being successful. This is not an isolated incident either considering he was under pressure on 40% of his dropbacks the week before against the Lions.
Pick and Prediction
The Commanders come into this game as underdogs with Dallas as -3.5 favorites at the NFL odds. My initial lean was to take the points with the Commanders since they are getting over 3 points against a backup QB in Cooper Rush.
I still don't all the way trust Rush but even more importantly, I don't trust the Commanders' offensive line against the Dallas defense that has been dominant in terms of rushing the passer.
They're 3rd in the league in total sacks (13) and 5th in the league in QB pressures (65). They will get to Wentz, especially if he's going to continue dropping back 50+ times per game. The total for this game is 42.5 and my official play is on the Under in this one.
I think the Commanders run the ball more for no other reason than to protect Wentz. Also, Dallas's run defense has been really bad so that might be the best way to attack them. I see this game ending 20-17 which is why I'm taking the Under 42.5.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Sunday, October 02, 2022 - 01:00 PM EDT at Lincoln Financial Field
Jaguars Are Starting to Figure Things Out
In the last two weeks, the Jacksonville Jaguars have looked really impressive. They shut out the Colts 24-0 and handled the Chargers last week beating them 38-10. While Trevor Lawrence is going to get a lot of the attention, it's actually their defense that's getting it done. When you allow 10 points in two weeks, you should get two wins.
They've been getting great contributions from all levels of their defense and it will be interesting to see if they can keep that up against this Eagles' offensive line which is arguably the best in the league.
As for the quarterbacks, while Trevor Lawrence has definitely shown improvement in the last two games, he had all the time in the world to throw. That will not be the case this week against an Eagles front seven that leads the league in sacks and are second in QB pressures. In Week 1, Lawrence was under a ton of pressure and did not respond well.
Pick and Prediction
The best sportsbooks dictate the line for this game is Eagles -6.5 with the total at 48. After a sloppy Week 1 performance, the Eagles' defense has bounced back allowing 15 points in the last two weeks. Although this is a big spread, I'm actually willing to lay the points here because of the improvement of Jalen Hurts.
We know what he can do with his feet but through 3 weeks, I think he's shown the most improvement of the young quarterbacks in this league. He's been making big-time throws while also cutting down on the silly mistakes.
Add to that a dominant offensive line that gives him all day to throw and I think the Eagles bring the Jaguars down to earth this week and win by double digits in this one.
Arizona Cardinals vs. Carolina Panthers
Sunday, October 02, 2022 - 04:05 PM EDT at Bank of America Stadium
Cardinals Have a Lot of Issues
The issues for the Arizona Cardinals started in the offseason with the strange back and forth between Kyler Murray and upper management. For whatever reason, that relationship seems contentious and there's a possibility that it's affecting his play on the field.
The thing is, while Murray has not played up to par, he can hardly be blamed for their current situation. In fact, if it wasn't for his performance in the overtime win against the Raiders, this team would be winless.
The problem in Arizona is that their defense stinks. They might have the league's worst secondary and their pass rush isn't far behind at the moment.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when capping the NFL is to overreact to what you see in the early season so I'm not willing to write the Cardinals off just yet. Two of the first three teams they played this season were in last year's Super Bowl and the other team was the Raiders who they beat.
Pick and Prediction
If ever there was a get-right spot, it would be playing the current version of the Carolina Panthers. The line for this game is Carolina -1 but actually opened with Arizona -2.5 as road favorites which tells you what Vegas thinks of Carolina.
I hate to go against sharp action but I disagree with this line movement. While I wouldn't take the Cardinals as -2.5 favorites, I am happy to take them as road dogs against an inferior team.
I'm basing my claim for the Cardinals as the superior team based on the QB matchup. Baker Mayfield has been terrible and that includes last week's win. He is not the long-term answer and I think that Kyler Murray wins this QB duel with his ability to pick up first downs consistently, something Mayfield has not been able to figure out for quite some time.
For transparency, Murray has picked up 41 first downs compared to Mayfield's 21. I think Murray keeps this Carolina defense on the field and wears them down enough to get the win here.
NFL Pick: Cardinals +1.5 (-110) at Bovada
*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.