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Justin Herbert of the Los Angeles Chargers throws the ball during the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Justin Herbert of the Los Angeles Chargers throws the ball during the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs. Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images via AFP.

After a cushy Week 2 schedule featured six of the seven largest favorites winning, the NFL docket is significantly more challenging in Week 3.

There isn’t a single double-digit favorite, and there are also a number of home underdogs. Add in seven divisional matchups, and advancing to Week 4 in survivor pools won’t be a cakewalk. 

Here’s a peek at the odds list and a breakdown of the best teams to target and fade in survivor pools this week.

Week 3 Survivor Pool Picks Rankings

TeamSpreadMoneylineImplied Win Probabilty

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook on Wednesday, Sept. 21, at 11 a.m. ET.

Top Picks

5. Browns (vs. Steelers)

The Cleveland Browns completely collapsed in Week 2. Cleveland had a 99.9% win probability with 2:09 remaining in the game when running back Kareem Hunt went out of bounds on a second consecutive rush and stopped the clock. On the next play, running back Nick Chubb rushed in a 12-yard touchdown. If either Hunt or Chubb had gone down in bounds, the Browns could have run out the clock with the New York Jets out of timeouts.

Fast forward to a home game against the division-rival Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday Night Football, and the Browns have climbed from opening -3 favorites to as high as -5.5. The line is now -4.5.

Pittsburgh’s pass rush didn’t pack the same punch in Week 2 with edge rusher T.J. Watt (pectoral) on the sidelines. The Steelers turned 26 pressures into six sacks and 16 hurries in Week 1, but those numbers dropped to just 14 pressures and 11 hurries against the New England Patriots last week.

Additionally, as expected, the Cleveland run game has been incredible with the second-highest grade per PFF and fourth-highest rushing EPA. However, quarterback Jacoby Brissett has also been surprisingly solid with an eighth-ranked EPA per dropback and 51.3% success rate.

4. Chargers (vs. Jaguars)

Going with the Los Angeles Chargers in survivor pools this week is entirely dependent on quarterback Justin Herbert’s health. The third-year signal caller sustained fractured rib cartilage during the Week 2 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, so keeping tabs on his practice participation and status for Week 3 will be paramount.

However, the uncertainty surrounding Herbert should also keep the Chargers’ popularity in check in what projects as a difficult road spot for the Jacksonville Jaguars. After all, even with a tough Week 2 opponent in the Chiefs, the Bolts still rank 11th in EPA allowed per play. 

Additionally, the Chargers have pressured opposing quarterbacks 21 times this season, and Jags quarterback Trevor Lawrence sports an underwhelming 36.4 completion percentage with just 4.0 yards per attempt when pressured through two games. 

Los Angeles is also the largest favorite on the docket.

3. Bengals (at Jets)

It’s bounce-back time for the Cincinnati Bengals, and the New York Jets are the perfect opponent. The Jets have allowed the second-most EPA per play, including second-most per dropback this season. New York also sports the sixth-worst defense and fourth-worst coverage grades per PFF.

Plus, the Jets had a 99.9% loss probably and no timeouts with 2:09 remaining in the fourth quarter of their Week 2 win. New York should be 0-2, which would probably have led to the Bengals being an even larger favorite than 4.5 points.

Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is also eyeing statistical correction after completing just 64% of his passes for 6.0 yards per attempt through the first two weeks of the season. He paced the NFL in both statistics last year with 70.4 and 8.9 marks, respectively, after all.

Cincinnati has been solid defensively, too. The Bengals have allowed the eighth-lowest EPA per play and third-lowest success rate while also ranking 11th in defense grade, according to PFF.

 Check out the latest comprehensive and most trusted Sportsbook Reviews by SBR.  

2. Eagles (at Commanders)

This spread has been on the move since opening. The Philadelphia Eagles started as -3 road favorites and are now trading at -6.5. Obviously, their statement 24-7 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football can take plenty of credit for the shift.

Add the Eagles soaring on offense with the fourth-highest EPA per play and top grades in both offense and passing, per PFF, and there’s oodles to like from the Philly attack. 

The defense also generated pressure 23 times against the Vikings in Week 2, and held quarterback Kirk Cousins to a dismal 4.8 yards per attempt and the third-lowest adjusted EPA per play of the week. 

With everything clicking for the Eagles, they project to be a popular pick for bettors and poolies this week. A road game against a divisional opponent isn’t a traditional target in survivor pools, though.

1. Chiefs (at Colts)

The Indianapolis Colts finished with the lowest EPA per play and the worst offensive success rate in Week 2. Additionally, Colts quarterback Matt Ryan threw for just 6.5 yards per attempt and finished with the second lowest success rate among quarterbacks. 

Meanwhile, the Kansas City Chiefs will be well-rested following a 27–24 Week 2 win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday Night Football, and head coach Andy Reid will have extra time to game plan for the Colts.

It’s unlikely Indy will be able to keep pace with the Chiefs, with Kansas City ranking first in both EPA per play and success rate and second in offense grade, according to PFF.

Just note, you’re backing the Chiefs on the road against a desperate opponent. Additionally, just two weeks ago, this game would have been viewed as a tape-measuring matchup between AFC contenders. The opening spread was Chiefs -3.

Favorites to Fade

Vikings (vs. Lions)

A division game against a high-scoring opponent might not be the best survivor spot for the Minnesota Vikings. Especially considering the Detroit Lions' rushing attack has been among the best in the league to start the year, and the Vikings were pummeled in Week 2 by the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Lions rank second in rushing EPA and fifth in rushing grade per PFF, and they’ve scampered for an impressive 7.6 yards per tote through the first two games of the year when excluding quarterback Jared Goff’s four carries.

Furthermore, this might also be a tricky schedule spot for the Vikings. Minnesota opened the season with an NFC North matchup against the Green Bay Packers, faced the Eagles on Monday Night Football in Week 2, and a Week 4 date with the New Orleans Saints in London awaits. 

There could be off-the-field distractions in what is already a short week ahead of a divisional game.

Bills (at Dolphins)

This is a short week for the Buffalo Bills following their dominant 41-7 win over the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football, and this could prove to be a tough road spot. Add that it’s a divisional game, and there’s a little more risk, even if Buffalo is trading as a healthy 5.5-point favorite against the Miami Dolphins.

It projects to be hot and humid in South Florida, which could intensify the impact of Buffalo being on a short week. Additionally, the Dolphins have shown the aerial attack – fourth-highest EPA per dropback – to potentially hang with the Bills’ explosive offense.

Week 3 doesn’t have any double-digit spreads, and there are a lot of road favorites and divisional matchups, so there aren’t as many traditional survivor options available. Furthermore, while planning too far ahead is ill-advised, having the consensus Super Bowl favorite available for future weeks could prove to be a welcomed luxury.

Where to Bet on the NFL

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