NFL Week 3 O/U best bets: Fade Jets, Texans and their rookie QBs

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We finished Week 1 with a 2-1 record on our NFL total plays after the Packers' high-scoring affair on Monday night, bringing us to 5-3 over the first two weeks.

This week is a bit less clear-cut with so many injuries across the league, but there are still a few numbers we're targeting for Week 3:

Panthers (-7.5, 43) @ Texans
Sept. 23, 8:20 p.m. ET

Is it too early to call this young Panthers defense a dominant unit? It's played like one thus far, allowing the NFL's fewest total yards (380) and total points (21) over the first two weeks.

Carolina was particularly impressive in Week 2, flummoxing a Saints offense that had just scored five touchdowns with ease seven days prior. The Panthers harassed Jameis Winston in that contest, and they should be dominant against Davis Mills, who's slated to make his first NFL start in place of the injured Tyrod Taylor.

The Texans mustered just seven points over Mills' 30 minutes at the helm in Week 2, with the rookie completing only eight of 18 pass attempts with a 58.1 rating while missing open receivers everywhere.

There's some concern for under bettors that the Panthers' offense could blow past this total, making a bet on Houston's team total under a safe alternative. But I'd expect a measured approach in a game Carolina should win easily.

Pick: Under 43

Ravens (-8, 49.5) @ Lions
Sept. 26, 1 p.m.

After allowing an NFL-worst 32.4 points per game in 2020, the Lions' defense has been an abject disaster this season while giving up the second-most points per contest (38). And it doesn't look like the unit will get any better.

Detroit coughed up 41 points over the first 50 minutes in Week 1 against the 49ers, and the team looked aimless as the Packers' offense scored three touchdowns in 20 minutes to seal Monday's loss. Now the Lions need to contend with Lamar Jackson and the Ravens' run-heavy attack, which will shred Detroit's soft front if its play over the first two weeks continues.

Baltimore's defense, meanwhile, has allowed 34 points per matchup, largely because of a banged-up secondary. That gives the Lions' offense some hope in this one. There's no reason this total should be below 50, and I'd be happy playing it a few points higher.

Pick: Over 49.5

Jets @ Broncos (-10.5, 41)
Sept. 26, 4:05 p.m.

It's clear the Broncos' defense can shut down lousy offenses. Denver held the Giants and Jaguars to 13 points apiece while dominating the time of possession in both games behind a balanced offensive attack.

The story should be similar against the Jets, who have scored 20 total points and are still reeling after Zach Wilson's four-interception nightmare in Week 2. New York's defense looks improved under first-year head coach Robert Saleh, though this is ultimately a bet against the Jets' offense, which is facing one of the league's most talented secondaries.

Pick: Under 41

C Jackson Cowart is a sports betting writer at theScore. You can follow him on Twitter (@CJacksonCowart) or email him at

NFL Week 3 O/U best bets: Fade Jets, Texans and their rookie QBs
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