Week 3 certainly delivered after a few different high-profile matchups came down the wire on Sunday.
Fans of the NFL know that it is a week-to-week league, and we tend to overreact to what we just saw. That’s why it is important to sleep on it, and then take a fresh look at everything that transpired before assessing what mattered and what didn’t.
I plan to do that every week with a few takeaways from the week that was, and how we can use that when placing bets in the future. Remember to place your bets at Caesars Sportsbook, which is the official odds partner of Bet Chicago Sports.
Parity in this league has never been so prevalent
The Buffalo Bills are the clear frontrunner, but they are dealing with plenty of injuries right now and it led to losing to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. The Chargers have suffered more key injuries than anyone in the league this year, while the Baltimore Ravens and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are not fully healthy either.
It is football, of course, so injuries are a part of the game. But I think a majority of the top contenders dealing with health issues played a part with the early parity in the league. It felt like there were no elite teams last year, and that has continued to be true through the first month of the season.
The betting odds help illustrate that, as a dozen different Week 4 games currently have a spread of 3.5 or lower at Caesars Sportsbook. Few games are considered a layup in this league, and good luck trying to navigate the weekly slate to find a survivor pick. Embrace the chaos that is the NFL, at least for now.
Lamar Jackson should be the MVP frontrunner
It is never too early to talk about the MVP race, but I don’t think there is any question about who should win the award if the season ended today. The Ravens are still getting healthy, their defense is learning a brand-scheme, and yet they are 2-1 to start the year thanks to their talented quarterback.
Lamar Jackson leads the league in passing touchdowns (10), total touchdowns (12) and passer rating (119) through three weeks. He not only leads the league with an average of 9.3 yards per carry, but he is also third with an average of 8.5 yards per attempt. Jackson is putting the team on his back while simultaneously applying pressure on the Ravens to hand him a blank check.
This award is going to end up going to a quarterback on one of the best teams, so Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts and Patrick Mahomes will all be contenders. But it is hard to argue with Jackson being the pick today, making his price of +700 (at Caesars Sportsbook) to win the award rather intriguing.
The Jaguars are more than a feel-good story
The Jaguars have bounced back with back-to-back losses since losing to the Washington Commanders in Week 1. They lead the AFC South with a 2-1 overall record and a +46 point differential after the first month of action.
While the Jaguars were fortunate to face a depleted Chargers team, Doug Pederson’s squad is the real deal. The Jaguars rank seventh in EPA per play, trailing most of the usual suspects that are considered the better teams in the league.
Quarterback Trevor Lawrence has taken a leap in Year 2, ranking top-five in EPA per play while posting a Pro Football Focus grade of 71.7 after finishing with a grade of 59.6 as a rookie. Lawrence has thrown for 772 yards and six scores in three games. The Jaguars face a big test in Week 4 against the Eagles, but there is plenty to like about the way they played in September.