There have been eight NFL games this season decided by a game-winning score in the final two minutes of regulation or in overtime, tied for the third-most such games through Week 2 all-time. Only 2013 (10 games) and 1979 (nine) had more. Here’s a look at a few must-bet games in Week 3.
Must Bet NFL Games Week 3
Pittsburgh at Cleveland (-5)
This is the Thursday night game. The Browns had an impossible loss on Sunday, blowing a 13-point home lead to the Jets with under two minutes left in a stunning 31-30 defeat. New York became the first team since the 2001 Chicago Bears to win after trailing by 13 points in the final two minutes.
Cleveland running back Nick Chubb scored on a 12-yard run with 1:55 left but if he had simply fallen down before the end zone, the Browns could have run out the clock. After that TD, there was a missed extra point by Browns rookie kicker Cade York. Then what looked like a blown coverage assignment by Cleveland let the Jets score touchdown on a 66-yard pass from Joe Flacco to Corey Davis.
The Jets recovered the onside kick after that, and moved the ball down the field. The game was essentially ended by former Ohio State star Garrett Wilson. The wide receiver pulled in a 15-yard touchdown from Flacco to tie the score. Kicker Greg Zuerlein put the Jets up 31-30 and Browns quarterback Jacoby Brissett threw an interception to finish it.
The Browns were poised to start the season 2-0 for the first time since 1993. That was so long ago, the quarterback for the Browns was Bernie Kosar and the head coach was Bill Belichick.
Pittsburgh lost 17-14 at home to New England and fans already are calling for Coach Mike Tomlin to bench QB Mitchell Trubisky for rookie Kenny Pickett. Trubisky completed 21 of 33 passes for 168 yards and a touchdown while throwing an interception in the loss. And for the second week, the offense failed to score more than one touchdown.
Tomlin said the team will remain patient as they work through the offensive issues. This includes waiting it out for Trubisky to find a rhythm.
“I’m experienced enough to see the big picture, that we are very much still in development,” Tomlin said. “So, I’m going to exercise appropriate patience and continue to teach and ask the guys to continue to learn in an effort to push this train down the track and continue to get better.” Pick: Cleveland
Green Bay at Tampa Bay (-2)
Sunday game at 4:25 PM ET and could be the final time that future Hall of Fame quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady face off – unless the teams meet in the playoffs – as Brady is fully expected to retire after the season. The two QBs have combined for seven MVP Awards.
Green Bay looked awful Week 1 in a loss at Minnesota but handled the Bears 27-10 on Sunday night. After the Week 1 loss at Minnesota, Green Bay coach Matt LaFleur talked about getting the ball more to running back Aaron Jones, and to backfield mate AJ Dillon as well. The two backs touched the ball a combined 37 times (33 rushes, four receptions) for 237 yards (193 rushing, 44 receiving), with Jones doing the bulk of the damage and scoring two touchdowns. Jones regularly made Chicago tacklers miss en route to 132 rushing yards and a TD on 15 carries, and he added three catches for 38 yards and another score on a flip pass off jet motion.
Rodgers completed 19-of-25 passes for 234 yards and two touchdowns. Rodgers fumbled on a botched handoff to AJ Dillon. A 55-yard strike to Sammy Watkins in the fourth quarter showed off the deep arm, but Rodgers was playing the short game most of the night. No Packers receiver had more than four targets and Green Bay was able to sit on the ball after building a 24-7 halftime lead.
Tampa Bay is 2-0 after winning 20-10 at New Orleans on Sunday. Brady completed 18-of-34 passes for 191 yards and a touchdown. Seven of the Bucs’ 20 points came on a pick-six. Tampa Bay entered the week missing multiple offensive linemen and receivers. Things only got worse during the game with Mike Evans getting ejected and starting left tackle Josh Wells going down.
Evans has been suspended for Week 3 because he punched Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore. Evans will appeal the suspension under the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement. The hearing will be before either Derrick Brooks or James Thrash, who have been jointly appointed by the league and the NFL Players Association to rule on appeals of on-field player discipline. Highly unlikely he wins the appeal. If Evans’ suspension stands, it would further deplete a receiving corps already dealing with multiple injuries. The Buccaneers played Sunday without Chris Godwin and Julio Jones. Pick: Green Bay