Heading into the third quarter of last week’s game in Atlanta, the Dolphins had not scored an offensive touchdown in 2¹/₂ games. Then they put up 20 points in 30 minutes against the Falcons to turn a 17-0 deficit into a 20-17 victory. So now a team that’s averaging 242 yards per game in offense — last in the league by a wide margin — is 3-2.
That’s one snapshot of how crazy this NFL season has been.
In Week 3, the Jets dominated the Dolphins in a 20-6 rout at MetLife Stadium, Miami’s only points coming on a touchdown pass from Jay Cutler to DeVante Parker on the last play of the game. But often, these rapid divisional rematches yield an opposite result, particularly when the team with the revenge motive is playing at home.
The Jets are young, hungry and unified, and their 3-3 record includes a near-miss against the Patriots last week. But the Dolphins have the better talent here.
The pick: Dolphins, -3.
Seahawks (-4) over GIANTS: One charge that has gone without a rebuttal is that GM Jerry Reese ruined the Giants season by not fixing the offensive line. Well, after seeing D.J. Fluker and the reconfigured unit mutilate the usually tough Denver defensive line, it seems plausible Ben McAdoo and his staff had the right pieces, only in the wrong places. Not sold that the Giants have turned it around in one week. The carnage at wide receiver will matter, eventually. And though the Seahawks don’t typically score a ton on the road, their team is more rugged than the Broncos are in most areas.
Titans (-5¹/₂) over BROWNS: Hue Jackson, 1-21 as Browns coach, desperately turns back to DeShone Kizer. Good luck to them both. Marcus Mariota couldn’t move with his hamstring injury but picked apart the Colts from the pocket on Monday night.
Jaguars (-3) over COLTS: Jags lost to the Rams because of horrendous special teams. Offensively and defensively, they have it all over the Colts, whose spirits may sag on the growing suspicion Andrew Luck may not be coming to the rescue at all this season.
VIKINGS (-6) over Ravens: Interesting trends at play, as the Ravens are in a 1-7-1 tailspin against the spread vs. the NFC, and the Vikings are 10-3 ATS vs. the AFC under Mike Zimmer, according to ncsports.com.
BILLS (-3¹/₂) over Buccaneers: Buffalo has covered its past seven games against the NFC — including 2-0 this season as new coach Sean McDermott, former Panthers defensive coordinator, goes up against the familiar NFC South. Still unclear whether Jameis Winston takes the reins back from Ryan Fitzpatrick.
BEARS (+3) over Panthers: More trends, as the Bears are on a 7-1-1 run against the spread as home underdogs, and the Panthers are 1-7 as road favorites. Mitchell Trubisky will have to do better than 128 and 113 yards passing, but Jordan Howard could have success if Carolina is missing star LB Luke Kuechly.
Saints (-4) over PACKERS: On the injury report, the Saints list two names and the Packers post the team picture. Drew Brees will get his, as he always does, and an opportunistic Saints D that scored three touchdowns vs. the Lions will make things tough on Aaron Rodgers’ replacement, Brett Hundley.
Rams (-3) over Cardinals (in London): The Rams stayed in Florida, where they beat the Jaguars, before heading across the pond. It was a longer trek for the Cardinals. Close call, because Adrian Peterson’s arrival jump-started the Arizona offense. Slight lean to the team with prior England experience.
49ERS (+6) over Cowboys: 49ers are 0-6 — with the past five losses by 3, 3, 3, 3 and 2 points. The last three of those were on the road. Kyle Shanahan seems to have this team in a good frame of mind, and the insertion of C.J. Beathard gives them hope for a first win soon.
CHARGERS (Pick’em) over Broncos: Same theory as Dolphins-Jets, with the rapid-revenge side now playing at home. Bolts had a chance to tie the Broncos in the opener in Denver but lost, 24-21, on a missed field goal.
STEELERS (-5) over Bengals: Steelers have been wildly inconsistent, but their last home game was a disaster (30-9 loss to Jacksonville), and they will be primed to show the Heinz fans a better time.
PATRIOTS (-3) over Falcons: How appropriate the Patriots come into this Super Bowl rematch off a 14-point comeback versus the Jets, while the Falcons were blowing a 17-point lead to the Dolphins. Tom Brady has all his weapons healthy here. The Falcons are looking for revenge, but know better than anyone how incredibly hard it is to finish off the Patriots.
EAGLES (-5) over Redskins: Another rematch, though this time the first-time winner is at home. Eagles are 5-1 despite having played just two home games. Carson Wentz is now the early MVP favorite.
Best bets: Patriots, Jaguars, Eagles
Lock of the week: Patriots (Locks 1-5 in 2017).
Last week: 5-9 overall, 1-2 Best Bets.
Thursday night: Raiders (W).