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Jarrod LeBlanc

Jarrod serves as Casino City's associate editor and helps produce and edit all of our weekly newsletters, as well as the GPWA Times Magazine.

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Casino City's Week 3 NFL Circa Million V 2023 Pro Football Contest Picks

22 Sep 2023

By Jarrod LeBlanc
In the Circa Survivor 2023 contest, there are only 5,924 entries remaining with perfect records. And while the Casino City Team is far from a perfect record, with Week 3 here, we hope to finish with our first positive record for the season after going a subpar 4-5-1 in the first two weeks.



New England -2.5 over New York Jets
After facing two tough opponents in the Eagles and Dolphins, the New England Patriots have already dug themselves a hole to start the season. Week 3 against the Jets is already being considered a must-win game in order to avoid going 0-3 overall and 0-2 in the AFC East.

The Jets, on the other hand, look to improve to 2-1 behind the arm of embattled QB Zach Wilson who took over for Aaron Rodgers after he tore his Achilles just four offensive plays into the season.

The biggest issue has been turning the ball over for the Pats. Protecting the football and keeping QB Mac Jones out of harm’s way is what has prevented this team from the win column.

The New England defense could have a big day against the Jets with pass rushers Matthew Judon, John Uche and rookie Keion White. Rookie cornerback Christian Gonzalez took a big leap last week in his second pro game, matching up against Tyreek Hill on several occasions and even coming away with an impressive interception.

In order for the Pats to ensure control of this game, they will have to win the line of scrimmage, which they have been struggling to do so in the first two weeks but expect improvement from a Bill Belichick squad. Let’s lay the points on the road with the Pats.



Miami -6.5 over Denver
Three-and-oh, twice in a row is what the Dolphins will be aiming for this weekend as they host the Broncos in their home opener. Miami, under second-year head coach Mike McDaniel started last season 3-0 and there’s no reason to believe it won’t do the same again, even if it doesn’t have wide receiver Jaylen Waddle who is currently under the concussion protocol.

Through two games, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has picked up where he left off prior to his own concussion issues last year as he’s thrown for 715 yards and four touchdowns in victories over the Los Angeles Chargers and New England Patriots. Tagovailoa also has the luxury of having two of the fastest players in the league lining up with him in running back Raheem Mostert and wide receiver Tyreek Hill, who both have three touchdowns on the season.

The Broncos, who came into the season with tons of optimism after luring renowned head coach Sean Payton out of retirement, are trending in the wrong direction. Denver is off to an 0-2 start both straight up and against the spread after losing twice at home to the Las Vegas Raiders, 17-16, and the Washington Commanders, 35-33. What makes things worse about these losses is that the Broncos maintained leads in both of these games only to lose in the end.

While quarterback Russell Wilson looks better this season than last year, throwing for 485 yards and five touchdowns, there’s nothing to say that another loss won’t turn up the whispers for backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham, who Denver signed to a two-year $10 million contract in the offseason. After all, Payton has made it clear it’s his team, so he’s clearly not going anywhere.

It’s surprising that the Dolphins aren’t favored by more especially at home, but regardless we’re willing to bet Miami is going to put the Broncos out to pasture.



Seattle -6.5 over Carolina
If you watched Monday night’s game between the Carolina Panthers and the New Orleans Saints, you might have been like us who changed the channel as soon as the second game started because there was little to no offense.

What is even worse for Carolina is that Bryce Young (rookie QB and No. 1 overall pick) and Miles Sanders (RB) are both questionable with injuries so there is a chance we see veteran Andy Dalton under center come Sunday afternoon.

Young has struggled in the first couple of weeks and has turned the ball over three times. Luckily for the Panthers, they get to match up against a defense in Seattle that is giving up over 400 yards a game so far.

Obviously, a point of emphasis for head coach Pete Carroll, the defense needs to clean it up and they are lucky to even be 1-1.

The offense for the Seahawks, led by QB Geno Smith, has shown its capability to score by putting up 37 in an overtime victory against the Lions last week. The Panthers, however, have failed to reach the 20-point mark in a game this season.

Seattle wants a shootout, and the Panthers offense simply just doesn’t have that sort of firepower to keep up in a game like that.



Tampa Bay +5 over Philadelphia
When the final whistle sounds on Monday night in Florida, the Buccaneers will remain one of the remaining undefeated teams in the league. Tampa Bay is coming off a 20-17 road win at Minnesota and a 27-17 home victory last week against the Chicago Bears. Now, while those two teams are nothing to write home about, the victories showed something very important. That is, the Buccaneers are only three years removed from defeating the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl and a lot of who and what got them there still remains in the organization. Sure, they lost The GOAT Tom Brady at quarterback, but through two games a revived Baker Mayfield has thrown for 490 yards and three touchdowns, but more importantly he hasn’t turned the ball over. Add in a long-term contract motivated Mike Evans, who’s totaled 237 yards receiving to go along with two touchdowns, and well you have a recipe for success.

There’s no denying that the Eagles are a talented team, but they’ve been living on the edge to start the season and their luck is going to run out this week. The Super Bowl runner-up started off the season with lackluster wins at New England, 25-20, and at home, 34-28, against the aforementioned Vikings. Signal caller Jalen Hurts is still leading the way for Philly as he’s thrown for 363 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, but he’s already been sacked seven times and this Tampa Bay defense has already recorded eight sacks and three interceptions.

This game is going to serve as a wake-up call. It’s going to show the Eagles that if they want to get back to Super Bowl and win it all then they must clean things up on both sides of the ball, especially against non-powerhouses. And it’s going to show the league that the Bucs are going to be in the thick of things in the NFC South with Atlanta and New Orleans.



Los Angeles Rams +3 over Cincinnati
In the second of two Monday Night Football games, Los Angeles is going to show how it could just as easily be one of the remaining undefeated teams as it’s clearly found its groove again. The Rams opened the season on the road with a 30-13 victory over the Seattle Seahawks, before dropping a heartbreaker in their season opener, 30-23, last week against San Francisco. Its’s clear that the 49ers are legit this year, so that fact that it took two late turnovers to defeat Los Angeles speaks volumes about this year’s team.

Matthew Stafford is off to a great start as he’s thrown for 641 yards and one touchdown, but the surprise of the season is rookie wide receiver Puka Nacua. He’s hauled in 25 receptions for 266 yards and is a welcomed addition with Cooper Kupp on the shelf at the moment. Nacua, himself, is questionable for this game with an oblique issue, but Tuta Atwell is no slouch as he’s tallied 196 yards on 13 receptions. Add in newly-designated running back Kyren Williams, after Los Angeles traded Cam Akers earlier this week, and this offense is clicking.

The biggest story of this game though, and maybe the season thus far, is Bengals’ quarterback Joe Burrow. It appears the calf injury that became an issue in training camp is finally going to get the best of the signal caller and cause him to sit this week. Which all-in-all might not be a bad thing as it’s been clear through the first two weeks that Burrow doesn’t have his normal “it” as Cincinnati opened the season with a 24-3 loss at Cleveland, before taking another loss last week at home to Baltimore, 27-24. If Burrow is unable to go as it appears then the only quarterback left standing is rookie Jake Browning because the Patriots signed third-string signal caller Will Grier off the practice squad earlier this week.

The moral of this game is that teams can only play who’s on their schedule, and well the Rams and defensive star Aaron Donald have a wounded Bengals squad in their sights.



Week 2 Results: 2-2-1
Season Record: 4-5-1
 
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