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Week 3 NFL picks against the spread: The chain gang

Here are your Week 3 NFL picks against the spread. Fade at your own peril.

Kansas City Chiefs v Denver Broncos Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Drew Magary’s weekly Jamboroo column over at Deadspin talks about an ongoing NFL conspiracy nobody else is talking about, and while it’s mostly tongue in cheek, it couldn’t be more timely to me.

I swear to baseball-playing Tebow that in the middle of the Lions-Titans game there was a first down that the refs gifted to Marcus Mariota and he wasn’t even close to the first-down marker. He clearly went out a good foot or two in front of where he needed to be to make a first down and yet the third-down run was marked a first down instead of being spotted for fourth down.

And nobody on the field even blinked an eye. The announcers mentioned it quickly and cameras flashed to Jim Caldwell, but as you can imagine his permanent facial expression, Caldwell didn’t seem at all bothered by the spot.

It was at that moment I started thinking way too much about this. I couldn’t remember the last time I saw the chain gang trot clumsily onto the field to measure so the ref could then inaccurately tell us inexactly how far the team needed to go to get a first down. Inches or so, maybe. Then I couldn’t understand why they still even exist in the year 2016 when we could be using sharks with frickin’ laser beams. So imagine my delight when I read that article on Deadspin. Of course. It makes perfect sense. Maybe they’re phasing them out. Keeping them standing there in harm’s way to maintain the sanctity of the game. It’s not football without the chain gang there, after all. We need to be able to say, “Get to the sticks!” So while we won’t use them anymore, they have to stand there holding those big clunky orange things because it’s football and Steve there needs a job.

Anyway, makes you think...

Congratulations to 'the football oracle' and 'nightman cometh' on 11-5 in Week 2.

My comeback starts this week... after Thursday night’s game:

TEXANS (+1) over Patriots

UPDATE: With 1:14 left in the 3rd quarter, down 20-0, the Texans took their first snap in the Patriots’ side of the field. Not very good. The Texans turned it over on that possession, like they did on many other possessions, and lost 27-0.

Cardinals (-4.5) over BILLS

The Arizona (or Phoenix) Cardinals have never won in Orchard Park, NY and the Ryan Brothers have never won a regular season game coaching together in Buffalo. Something has to give, and it'll be the Bills defense giving up a lot of points.

BENGALS (-3) over Broncos

The Bengals have lost 10 straight to the Broncos on the road, but this game is not on the road. In fact, it's the Broncos' first road game of the year, which gives me the feeling they're due for a little let down after a quick 2-0 start post-Super Bowl victory. This game should be close either way, but I see the Bengals coming out with a big win in front of their home fans after a tough road loss to the Steelers last week.

Lions (+7.5) over PACKERS

I thought the Lions would be 2-0 and then one of the more talked about 3-0 teams in the NFL after winning their second straight at Lambeau, destroying the Packers on their home turf on the 70th birthday of my Dad, huuuuge long-suffering Lions fan/Packers hater, but then the Lions lost to the Titans in classic Lions fashion—with my Dad in attendance—and then I remember last year's 18-16 win was the first Lions win at Lambeau since 1991. I think the Packers figure out their offense and treat my Dad to a birthday like most others that fell on Sunday in his life, like 1955 for instance, but the Lions should cover the spread. I'm predicting 27-20.

Raiders (+1.5) over TITANS

Oof, the Raiders lost a tough one at home following a ballsy one-point win in New Orleans, so naturally, because the NFL is weird, they'll go into Nashville and take down the team who is coming off a one-point road win themselves.

DOLPHINS (-10) over Browns

I was on the Browns until Corey Coleman broke his hand in practice on Wednesday. The Dolphins are 0-2, but they played both games relatively well considering they had to go on the road to Seattle and then New England. Their home opener against Cleveland will be like Ndamukong Suh tossing Jake Delhomme around like a rag doll.

Redskins (+4.5) over GIANTS

The Giants are 2-0 for the first time since 2011, coincidentally the last time the Redskins beat the Giants in East Rutherford. I'm not saying the Redskins are going to repeat history, but this is one of those games that just screams ugly and decided by a knuckling field goal.

PANTHERS (-7) over Vikings

This will be an interesting game to watch if only because it's possible protests in Charlotte will spill out onto the field and Sam Bradford's eyes may get the widest we've ever seen them. Not sure his shoulder pads will be able to protect him if things turn violent. (Let's seriously hope not. Love wins, people eaters. Black, white, yellow, or purple. Treat others as you would like to be treated is my motto. Be kind, rewind. Don't hate.)

JAGUARS (pk) over Ravens

I hate this game and have nothing kind to say about it.

49ers (+9.5) over SEAHAWKS

The Seahawks have 15 points in two games. This very well may be the game in which they score at least that many points, but if Chip Kelly's offense clicks even a little, the Niners should keep it at niner.

BUCCANEERS (-4.5) over Rams

The Rams have nine points this season and have not scored a touchdown through two games. The Bucs just got throttled by the Cardinals and they're probably feeling pretty low right now, but nothing like the Rams coming to town to turn those frowns upside down. Bucs roll.

COLTS (-2.5) over Chargers

The schedule doesn't get much easier for the Colts, who had to face the 2016 and 2015 Super Bowl champs in the first two weeks (Lions and Broncos, duh). Andrew Luck's shoulder is still ailing and they'll be without one of his favorite targets Donte Moncrief, but I think they'll figure it out a little bit against the Chargers, who are mourning the loss of all their grit and spark, Danny Woodhead.

Jets (+3) over CHIEFS

I'm buying Quincy Enunwa stock and starting to believe these GD Jets aren't so bad. I'm expecting a push here.

Steelers (-3.5) over EAGLES

These Pennsylvania squads are squaring off while undefeated for the first time since the 1960s. My only #narratives worry here is that the Eagles have won eight straight against the Steelers at home, but the last Eagles home game in this series was 2008. The Steelers are better, even without Le'Veon Bell, and I think they'll show it by taking down the Eagles by a touchdown.

COWBOYS (-7) over Bears

The only thing keeping the Bears remotely close to possibly competitive as a team this year is Jay Cutler and he's out this week with a thumb injury. It's complete meltdown time. Love it. Cowboys get those 1997 feels back in this one.

SAINTS (-3) over Falcons

Drew Brees under the bright lights at the Superdome on its 10-year re-opening anniversary is enough to give the Saints an intangible edge. As if it weren't fitting enough that they'll be playing the Falcons, Steve Gleason being in attendance won't even make it fair. The Saints have won four of the last five at home against the Falcons and eight of the last 10 dating back to that historic blocked punt of Gleason's. At 0-2, the Saints need a win and they're going to get it by simply showing up.

Last week: 7-9

Season: 13-20

All-Time: 689-600