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NFL picks and predictions for Week 3

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

There are some top-tier games in the NFL this week, including the Texans vs. Patriots, Broncos vs. Bengals, Vikings vs. Panthers, and Steelers vs. Eagles. Let's get straight to the Week 3 action. Feel free to weigh in on some of the games in the comments section.

Week 3 Games Explanation Pick
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Note: This pick was posted in our TNF thread on Thursday. I am listing it here for record-keeping purposes.

Thursday Night Football: How can Jacoby Brissett win in the NFL? Because he's a quarterback on the New England Patriots. Rob Gronkowski is also expected to make his debut, and with the weapons Brissett will have to throw to, Bill Belichick will make sure he's not asking too much of his quarterback.

I never wish injury on somebody, but I find it fascinating that the Patriots are going to roll with Julian Edelman as their backup quarterback. Wouldn't it be something to see him have to quarterback this game? The Texans are going to be one of the best teams in the AFC this year, but I'm picking against them because of the environment (Patriots at home) and because it's usually safe to not bet against Belichick to have his team prepared for every loop thrown their way. Patriots 24, Texans 20

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Demolition Time: Things aren't looking too good for the Ryan brothers, who have seen their club have significant woes on both sides of the ball after two games. Firing the offensive coordinator so early is a panic-driven move, and things aren't going to get more cohesive against the Arizona Cardinals. Bruce Arians will make sure his defense takes away the deep threats for the Bills, which will again negate their offense to nothing. Cardinals 27, Bills 17

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The Worst Path to 3-0: I stand by my belief that the Ravens are still a below average team this year, but they've been able to take advantage of a soft schedule to start the year: Buffalo, Cleveland, and now Jacksonville. Things continue to line up well for them over the following week or two, and you never know: they might just do enough to be a wildcard type of team, and once Joe Flacco gets to the playoffs, all bets are off. Ravens 21, Jaguars 15

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Trying to Find a Win: The Dolphins are 0-2, but both of their losses came in arguably the two toughest places to play in the NFL: Seattle and New England. They are going to be eager to play in their home opener against a quarterback like Cody Kessler, who didn’t look anywhere near NFL-ready this preseason. Those factors force me to take the Dolphins by a comfortable margin.

There is a definite blueprint to Cleveland winning, though, and it comes when you stare at the Browns’ solid running game (up to this point) against the Dolphins’ poor run defense, and the fact that Miami can’t run the ball. That’s what I’d bank on if I were taking my overly optimistic approach. The injury hits suffered this week will hurt the continuity the team was trying to build. Dolphins 27, Browns 17

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Trying to Get a Pulse: We know the Broncos are a very good defensive team, and they've been running the ball effectively on offense. The jury is still out on Trevor Siemian, though, who has maintained a high completion rate but failed to be a quarterback who can elevate the offense to the next level. Even though he survived the Panthers in Week 1, I think the Bengals' defense will have a week of redemption after losing to the Steelers last week, and Andy Dalton will out-duel Siemian. Bengals 20, Broncos 14

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A High Bar for Rodgers: Something is up with Aaron Rodgers. I'm not saying the guy has turned into a joke of a quarterback or anything like that, but he's in a stretch dating back to last season in which he's not playing like the superstar we all know he can be. I thought it'd improve this season with the return of Jordy Nelson and the arrival of Jared Cook, but the Packers' offense ranks 30th through two games, and Rodgers was anything but clutch against the Vikings last week. Facing the Lions' defense could be a temporary cure, but this season needs to be about Rodgers finding himself again so the team can be ready for a serious postseason push come January. Packers 35, Lions 17

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Elite Defenses: This is a great match-up of two of the top defensive teams in the NFC going head-to-head. The difference is that on offense, Carolina is led by a significantly more potent attack, while the Vikings are struggling to find points and just lost Adrian Peterson for most of the season. The Vikings showed last week that they can go wire-to-wire in shutting down a top-tier quarterback, but that was in their home opener and when Sam Bradford played a highly efficient game. It'll be much tougher in Carolina. Panthers 20, Vikings 16

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Shootout of the Week: Through two games, the Raiders are allowing an astounding average of over 500 yards per game, good for 32nd in the NFL. On the flip side, they are ranked 1st on offense with around 470 yards of offense. Their 1-1 record makes sense: when you keep playing in shootouts, you'll win some and you'll lose some. The Titans can make this somewhat of a high-scoring game, but if both teams are trading blows, I don't see the Titans being able to match. Raiders 31, Titans 23

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They Are Calling for Colt: The Giants are 2-0 with a new-and-improved front seven, but they are ranked 30th in the NFL in sacks per pass attempt. That's going to change soon, and it could be this week against the Redskins. It's not a good thing when your overacheiving quarterback from a year ago, Kirk Cousins, hasn't fared the best in two games and locker room reports are already clamoring for Colt McCoy. Yes, Colt McCoy. How can I expect Washington to re-group against a Giants team that finally looks stable again? Giants 27, Redskins 20

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No 7-9 Bullshit: The Rams' offense has been as lackluster as you can get over the past two weeks. Just think about this: they are averaging 234 yards of offense per game, which is over 100 yards fewer than Cleveland is averaging. Los Angeles doesn't even have a touchdown this season...and yet they are 1-1. Their defense is holding them together, but this week, I think Jameis Winston rebounds from the worst game I've seen him have in the NFL. Buccaneers 21, Rams 13

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Waiting for the Offense to Awaken: Man, I just complained about the Rams' offense in my previous prediction, but the Seahawks have been just as bad with 15 points through two games. Seattle's defense has remained terrific, but if this game was in San Francisco, I'd be half-tempted to pick the 49ers. Seahawks 14, 49ers 11

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Even Game of the Week: Not factoring home-field advantage in significantly, this is the most even battle of the week in my opinion. Ryan Fitzpatrick is proving the worth of his contract with the Jets, while the Chiefs are trying to find stable ground again after a somewhat lucky Week 1 comeback and then a loss to the Texans in Week 2. The Jets' offense should cool down a little this week, and their secondary concerns will continue to be taken advantage of by Alex Smith. Chiefs 28, Jets 23

vs. Game of the Week: God, pre-draft, I didn't mind too much that we passed on Carson Wentz, but now seeing him through two games, I'm already a big fan of what he's done. I do think he'll face adversity for the first time against the Steelers, as there is no way Philadelphia's defense can contain Ben Roethlisberger. When Wentz gets behind, we'll see if the mistakes start to show. Steelers 35, Eagles 21

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Rinse and Repeat: The AFC South was terrible in 2015, and with how this season has started, the division might not be too much different after the Texans. Indianapolis' defense is too much of a liability, and while Andrew Luck can compete in some shootouts, he can't do it week in and week out with the type of beating he also takes. The Chargers are going to be disadvantaged without Danny Woodhead after already having lost Keenan Allen for the year, so I'll go with the Colts to hang on for once. Colts 24, Chargers 20

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Sunday Night Football: So...we've got the Bears in prime time games in back-to-back weeks. Considering they look like the worst team in the NFL, that doesn't make this an enticing game. It will be moderately interesting to Browns fans because Brian Hoyer will start for Jay Cutler. It'd be pretty funny if he lit it up and won, but Dallas is a much better all-around team and should easily take care of business. Cowboys 27, Bears 17

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Monday Night Football: The Falcons and Saints have been so inconsistent over the past couple of years that I don't know what to make of them in any given week. New Orleans is due for a win after all of these great performances that Drew Brees puts together, so I'll take them to get in to the win column this week. Saints 24, Falcons 17


Survivor: Last week, I correctly picked the Patriots to beat the Dolphins. I am on a two-game winning streak, having used SEA and NE. This week, I'll go with the Cowboys over the Bears.

Week 2 Picks Record: 11-5
2016 NFL Picks Record: 19-13
Browns Picks Record: 1-1