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Picking the Week 3 NFL Lines and Making Sense of the Beat-Up Patriots

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In between talking the Emmys, Carson Wentz, Adrian Peterson, and Jay Cutler’s love life, Bill Simmons and Cousin Sal guessed the NFL lines on the latest Bill Simmons Podcast. Their picks for Sunday’s early games (and Thursday night’s Texans-Patriots tilt, of course) are below.

For the duo’s full picks and analysis, listen to the episode here. This transcript has been edited and condensed.

Houston at New England

Cousin Sal’s Line: Texans -3
Bill’s Line: Texans -2.5
Vegas Line: Texans -2.5

B.S.: Unfortunately, I saw the line so I have to forfeit this pick. I’m a man of honor — I’m like Tom Brady, I’m an honorable man.

C.S.: I’m going to give it to you.

B.S.: I just want to tell everyone in America one thing: [Bill] Belichick lives for this game. He lives for this. Our starting quarterback, I had never heard of until April. I didn’t even know what college he went to. [Jimmy] Garoppolo can’t lift his arm, this is everything [Belichick’s] ever wanted. Look, I’m not guaranteeing a Patriot win, I would just tread carefully.

The one thing that worries me, [Jacoby Brissett] has hard throws. The reason I was optimistic with Jimmy, [was that] his 11-, 12-yard passes were nice, direct lines, they were always on people’s hands.

C.S.: Well, you know there is a solution: He should take a little air out of the ball.

B.S.: That’s so mean, that’s like me making compressed vertebrae fracture jokes.

C.S.: How dare you.

Baltimore at Jacksonville

Cousin Sal’s Line: Jaguars -3
Bill’s Line: Ravens -3
Vegas Line: Pick ‘em

B.S.: I don’t think the Ravens are very good. That’s a soft 2–0.

C.S.: Decent secondary, but yeah the teams they’ve played weren’t great.

B.S.: [Mike] Wallace is one of those guys, he’s like one of those actors who can only be in one kind of movie and can’t succeed in anything else. It’s like, he can run a straight line, [Joe] Flacco can throw him the ball, he’s good at that, and they’re just kind of perfect for each other. I wish they had been playing together the last five years.

Detroit at Green Bay

Cousin Sal’s Line: Packers -8.5
Bill’s Line: Packers -6.5
Vegas Line: Packers -7.5

B.S.: Detroit is just poorly coached. They just make mistakes, they’re sloppy, they have penalties at the wrong time, they run the wrong play on third down. They just seem sloppy to me.

Minnesota at Carolina

Cousin Sal’s Line: Panthers -5.5
Bill’s Line: Panthers -4.5
Vegas Line: Panthers -7

B.S.: I have a small Carolina quibble. I think their running game is in really bad shape.

C.S.: You don’t like Fozzy [Whittaker]?

B.S.: It’s like 2 yards a pop, now, and I think against Minnesota they won’t be able to run the ball. He’s Fozzy Whittaker, he’s a third-string running back!

C.S.: It’s a great name, you say it like he doesn’t belong in football. That’s an awesome name.

Arizona at Buffalo

Cousin Sal’s Line: Cardinals -4
Bill’s Line: Cardinals -6
Vegas Line: Cardinals -4.5

B.S.: I can already feel the Bills winning this game outright and ruining a million teases and eliminator pools and all that.

Washington at New York Giants

Cousin Sal’s Line: Giants -6
Bill’s Line: Giants -6.5
Vegas Line: Giants -4.5

B.S.: I was watching The Manchurian Candidate with Liev Schreiber, Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep. I think Eli is the Manchurian Candidate. I think he’s out here to destroy all of us.

C.S.: You hate his guts.

B.S.: I don’t understand how he keeps ending up on my fantasy team.

Denver at Cincinnati

Cousin Sal’s Line: Bengals -3.5
Bill’s Line: Bengals -3
Vegas Line: Bengals -3.5

B.S.: I kind of like [Trevor] Siemian. I thought the [Broncos] made a huge mistake getting rid of [Brock] Osweiler, and now I’ve done a 180 on that. I think Siemian is fine, and he can move around, make throws.

Oakland at Tennessee

Cousin Sal’s Line: Raiders -3.5
Bill’s Line: Titans -1
Vegas Line: Titans -2

B.S.: As much as I liked [the Raiders] in Week 1, they still gave up 35 points. They are decimated on the O-line, and their defense can’t seem to stop anyone from throwing the ball.

C.S.: 1,035 yards in two games, [is what] they’ve given up.

Cleveland at Miami

Cousin Sal’s Line: Dolphins -6
Bill’s Line: Dolphins -5.5
Vegas Line: Dolphins -10

C.S.: This has ballooned up to -10, and a lot of it is because of Cody Kessler, third-round pick out of USC. [Josh] McCown is hurt, [Corey] Coleman broke his hand, it’s just an embarrassment of…what’s the opposite of riches? They’re a mess, the Browns.

When was the last time you were comfortable with the Dolphins laying double digits?

B.S.: It’s absurd. I like anyone against the Dolphins getting 10 points.