Buffalo Bills 20, Cincinnati Bengals 16
1 p.m. ET (CBS) | New Era Field (Orchard Park, N.Y.)
From: NFL Network
Josh Allen might always look like a relief pitcher who has bouts of wildness, but it’s hard to ignore the increasing number of outrageous throws he makes against pressure. After completing the MetLife doubleto open the season, the Bills‘ offense is 11th in points, 13th in yards-per-play and 16th in efficiency. Head coach Sean McDermott would gladly take those totals for the entire season and let his defense do the rest. I anticipate the Bengals will keep this game closer than expected after last week’s embarrassment, but the mismatch between Buffalo’s playmaking defense (with emerging DT Harrison Phillips) and Cincinnati’s injured offensive line is too great to ignore.
Matchup rating: 28.4 | Spread: BUF -6 (44)
What to watch for: The Bengals average the second-most passing yards per game in the NFL this season but are dead last in rushing yards. Meanwhile, the Bills’ defense ranks in the top 10 against both the pass and the run. If Cincy can’t get its run game going, it could be a long Sunday in Buffalo’s home opener. — Marcel Louis-Jacques
Bold prediction: Joe Mixon will get 75 yards from scrimmage. This doesn’t seem like a bold prediction, but as Marcel pointed out, the Bengals do have the worst ground attack in the NFL, and Mixon has been stifled through two games. Look for the running back to get the ball in various ways against the Bills. — Ben Baby
Stat to know: Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen has at least one passing touchdown and one rushing touchdown in three consecutive games dating back to last season. The only player since the 1970 merger to both rush and pass for a score in four consecutive games was Michael Vick with the Eagles in 2010.
What to know for fantasy: Cincinnati’s John Ross is the only player in football with a 50-plus-yard reception in both weeks this season, but opponents have completed just one deep pass (15-plus air yards) against Buffalo this season. See Week 3 rankings.
Betting nugget: Since 2017, 0-2 teams are 12-4 ATS and 11-2 as underdogs. Read more.
Baby’s pick: Bills 24, Bengals 17
Louis-Jacques’ pick: Bills 28, Bengals 13
FPI prediction: BUF, 67.9% (by an average of 6.5 points)
Matchup must-reads: Bills’ D dominating, but you have to look beyond sack totals … What numbers say about Andy Dalton’s uneven start under Zac Taylor… Bills’ odd schedule provides huge opportunity to build momentum
1 p.m. ET (CBS) | Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, Mass.)
From: NFL Network
Despite the presence of Tom Brady, Josh Gordon and Julian Edelman, the Patriots‘ secondary is the strength of this roster. Through two weeks, according to NFL Media Research, the Patriots‘ top four cornerbacks (Stephon Gilmore, Jason McCourty, Jonathan Jones and J.C. Jackson) have given up 25 catches on 54 targets. They’ve broken up 10 of those passes and intercepted another. That’s preposterous, and the figures should only improve with Jets third-stringer Luke Falk coming to town.
While Jets coach Adam Gase has enjoyed success against Bill Belichick defenses, he’s never coached an offense this one-dimensional. The Patriots will sell out to stop revived running back Le’Veon Bell, leaving little hope for Gase to even register one of those moral victories in Foxborough that former Jetscoach Todd Bowles specialized in.
Matchup rating: 51.4 | Spread: NE -22 (43.5)
What to watch for: How do the Patriots configure their offensive line without starting left tackle Isaiah Wynn and starting center David Andrews? One possibility is moving left guard Joe Thuney to left tackle, but that could weaken the line in two spots. This is the Jets’ best chance to make it a game, with their strong defensive line winning the matchup up front. — Mike Reiss
Bold prediction: The Jets, with third-string quarterback Luke Falk making his first NFL start, will fail to score a touchdown for the second consecutive game. Truth be told, the offense wasn’t functioning well with Sam Darnold and Trevor Siemian, so it’s unreasonable to expect a former practice-squad QB to provide the spark. Le’Veon Bell will get 30 touches, but coach Bill Belichick won’t let the run game beat him. — Rich Cimini
Stat to know: Bell has just one touchdown in four career games against the Patriots, including the playoffs. Considering New York’s QB situation, the Patriots could become the first team since the 1937 Bears to allow zero touchdowns in each of the first three games of the season, per Elias Sports Bureau research.
Betting nugget: New England is 0-4 ATS in the Belichick era as a favorite of at least 20 points. The most recent such game happened in 2011. Read more.
Cimini’s pick: Patriots 35, Jets 6
Reiss’ pick: Patriots 30, Jets 9
FPI prediction: NE, 90.2% (by an average of 18.1 points)
Dallas Cowboys 30, Miami Dolphins 10
1 p.m. ET (FOX) | AT&T Stadium (Arlington, Texas)
From: NFL Network
On one hand, Dak Prescott‘s agent couldn’t have created an easier slate of defenses to face in September than the Giants, Redskins and Dolphins. On the other, Dak leads the NFL in completion percentage, touchdowns, yards-per-attempt, QBR and sack percentage. The subtle timing, pre-snap adjustments and quick processing of information Dak has shown off are repeatable skills that can carry over to the meat of Dallas’ schedule. Now 26, Dak is playing like a veteran whose experience and expertise is matching up with his physical gifts, buoyed by a coordinator in Kellen Moore who knows the QB’s strengths best. Even if the Dolphins‘ lone survivor, Xavien Howard, checks Amari Cooper on Sunday, the injury to Cowboys receiver Michael Gallup won’t be enough to slow down this offense. The Dolphins were already starting two cornerbacks (Eric Rowe and Jomal Wiltz) that wouldn’t make most teams, and now they have to replace safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. Dak’s price tag will only go up with every successive tomato can he tosses aside.
Matchup rating: 47.1 | Spread: DAL -22.5 (47.5)
What to watch for: The Cowboys will look to continue their fast start offensively, even without their leading receiver, Michael Gallup. The Dolphins’ defense has allowed 12 touchdowns in two games, while the Cowboys have scored touchdowns on nine of 19 possessions in two games. — Todd Archer
Bold prediction: After scoring just one touchdown through the first two weeks, the Dolphins double up, scoring two to slightly cover the 21.5-point spread. Miami’s offense has been abysmal, but we are getting bold. Even so, Dallas still wins easily. — Cameron Wolfe
Stat to know: Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott is 22-of-24 for 318 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions on play-action passes this season.
Betting nugget: Teams that are underdogs by at least 20 points have covered all five games in the past 15 seasons. Read more.
Wolfe’s pick: Cowboys 38, Dolphins 17
Archer’s pick: Cowboys 33, Dolphins 13
FPI prediction: DAL, 93.7% (by an average of 21.4 points)
Matchup must-reads: How are the Dolphins handling 0-2? ‘Want light at end of tunnel’ … With Robert Quinn’s return, Cowboys’ D-line deeper, stronger… The worst NFL starts ever, and the Dolphins’ chances of going 0-16 … With three first-round draft picks in 2020, pressure is on Dolphins GM