NFL Picks Week 3: Final predictions for every game
By Brian Murphy
Heading into Week 3 of the regular season, here are final predictions for every game being played.
Week 3 of the NFL season is finally here. At this point, some teams are starting to show their true colors already. Some surprises have happened but mostly the teams we thought would be playing in January are all starting to get in a groove.
This week has a few marquee games on the slate including the defending NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons traveling to Detroit to face off against a 2-0 Lions team. The Houston Texans will be in Foxboro to face off against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots coming off a great performance in New Orleans in Week 2.
Below you’ll find my final predictions for every single game played this week. These lines are courtesy of our partner site, Sports Book Review.
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Los Angeles Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers (+2.5): Thursday 9/21 8:30 pm
Sorry everyone, but this won’t be one of the most anticipated matchups of the week. Honestly, this game might set records for the least watched Thursday Night Football game ever. Not much really going on here except Todd Gurley has been a beast so far and as long a Jared is not Goff-ul, the Rams should win this one and cover the 2.5 points.
Pick Los Angeles -2.5
Baltimore Ravens vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (+3.5) Sunday 9/24 9:30 am
This is the first NFL London game of the season. The Ravens put up 24 points last week against the Cleveland Browns. Joe Flacco has looked good so far this season. The Jags had a much larger bandwagon before last week’s game against the Tennessee Titans and then they gave up 37 points. Needless to say, that the bandwagon is a lot emptier now. I am not sold on the Jaguars at all, Blake Bortles is untrustworthy and so is that defense. I don’t think the traveling will have an effect on the Ravens since they play sound football and Joe Cool does not take unnecessary risks. I like the Ravens in this one.
Pick Baltimore -3.5
New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers (-6) Sunday 9/24 1:00 pm
The Saints are coming off a brutal beating at the hands of Brady and the Patriots. Carolina is coming off a very unimpressive win against Buffalo in which star tight end Greg Olsen broke his foot and will miss some time. New Orlean’s defense looked offensively bad on Sunday much like the Carolina offense. I don’t feel confident enough in Cam Newton and that offense to put up points regardless of how good their defense is. I like Drew Brees and the Saints to cover in this one, even though their record on the road in recent years is something to laugh at.
Pick New Orleans +6
Denver Broncos vs. Buffalo Bills (+3) Sunday 9/24 1:00 pm
The Denver Broncos are coming off a very impressive win against the Dallas Cowboys in which they pretty much dominated on both sides of the ball for the entirety of the game. Trevor Siemian threw four touchdown passes and is slowly having the world notice that he can play well and at a mile high level. The Denver defense just as always looks to be a top five in the league. The Bills, on the other hand, had trouble scoring in Carolina last week and only scored three points. Besides LeSean McCoy, I am not really sure this is a team that will put up much of a fight this Sunday regardless if the game is in Buffalo. The Bills are technically 1-1 on the year so far but beat the New York Jets in Week 1 21-12. In my opinion, based on the Jets overall situation, if you don’t bet them by 10 points then I personally don’t consider it a win, so Buffalo you are 0-2 in my book. Take the Broncos in this one.
Pick Denver -3
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Chicago Bears (+7.5) Sunday 9/24 1:00 pm
Last week, the Pittsburgh Steelers scored 26 points against a good defense in the Minnesota Vikings and covered a spread of 8.5. The Chicago Bears are not the Vikings in any way, shape, or form. Look for Ben Roethlisberger to take his shots again down the field to Martavis Bryant and Antonio Brown. The Bears did give the Atlanta Falcons fits in Week 1 but last only put up seven points in Tampa Bay. I can see Pittsburgh putting up big numbers in this one and for all of you that have Le’veon Bell in fantasy, I think this is the game where he breaks out as well. Take the Steel Curtain here.
Pick Pittsburgh 7.5
Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets (+6) Sunday 9/24 1:00 pm
After playing their first game in Week 2, the Miami Dolphins and smokin’ Jay Cutler are 1-0.
After allowing Philip Rivers to march down the field late in the 4th quarter last week to get a shot at the winning field goal, the Dolphins barely escaped with a win.
The Jets did exactly what I thought they would do and that’s get danced on and embarrassed in Oakland. This matchup will be closer than last week against the Raiders for the Jets.
Jermaine Kearse scored twice last week and seems to be the only bright spot for New York thus far. Miami just has more weapons on both sides of the ball and the lack of pressure on the opposing quarterbacks that the Jets have shown leave me no confidence that they can compete. Miami will win and cover in the home opener for Gang Green.
Pick Miami -6
New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles (-6) Sunday 9/24 1:00 pm
The New York Giants are currently in disarray. Between head coach Ben McAdoo saying the quarterback play needs to be cleaned up to the lack of production from the offensive line, this team needs to get it together and quick. On the other hand, the Philadelphia Eagles are coming off a loss in which they were going back and forth with the Kansas City Chiefs who are arguably the best all-around team in the NFL. Carson Wentz looks to be “the guy” and with a good supporting cast, this is a legitimate force in the NFC East. The Giants defense is still something to fear so I like Philadelphia to win Sunday but it will be a close one, take the points here.
Pick New York +6
Atlanta Falcons vs. Detroit Lions (+3) Sunday 1:00 pm
Quarterback Matthew Stafford looks to be an early MVP candidate and has his Detroit Lions at 2-0. Coming off a Monday night win against the Giants, the Lions look like a legit playoff contender in the NFC. The Falcons seem to be firing on all cylinders. Quarterback Matt Ryan is acting like his MVP self and has a high-powered offense that fire as well. The Falcons have just lost stud linebacker Vic Beasley for about a month with a hamstring injury. The only question about the Lions here is do they have enough to match up with the weapons of Atlanta? I personally don’t think they do. I like Atlanta here to win and cover the 3 points.
Pick Atlanta -3
Houston Texans vs. New England Patriots (-13) Sunday 9/24 1:00 pm
Brady had a great bounce-back performance last week against the Saints. He threw for three touchdowns and 447 yards. The Patriots had some injuries to tight end Rob Gronkowski and running back Rex Burkhead. Gronk seems to be a go for next week but you never know with the way head coach Bill Belichick handles the injury reports. The Texans are coming off a win last Thursday against a sub-par Cincinnati Bengals team. Deshaun Watson now the starting quarterback, has not impressed but has played better than Tom Savage. Defensive end J.J. Watt has not recorded a sack yet this year. New England should win this game and cover the spread.
Pick New England -13
Cleveland Browns vs. Indianapolis Colts (+1) Sunday 9/24 1:00 pm
Week 3 is really bringing out the “must see matchups.” This is a game that not many people are going to care about. The Colts almost came away with a win against Arizona last week but faltered in overtime with Jacoby Brissett throwing a costly interception. The Browns, on the other hand, got handled by division rival Baltimore. Since this game is at home for the Colts, I will go with them here.
Pick Indianapolis +1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Minnesota Vikings (No Spread) Sunday 9/24 1:00 pm
There has not been a line released for this game yet, but if I had to guess, I would say it will be Minnesota that is favored at -3. Now, Tampa looked great in its first game of the season on Sunday beating the Bears 29-7. Quarterback Jameis Winston has a bunch of weapons and hooked up with wide receiver Mike Evans for a touchdown as per usual last Sunday. The Vikings were a different team last week due to the absence of quarterback Sam Bradford who in true Bradford fashion, was out last week with an injured knee after having one of if not the best games of his career in Week 1. Case Keenum was at the helm and couldn’t get any going as the Vikings lost to Pittsburgh 26-9. Now this game really all depends on Bradford. See picks below.
If Bradford plays Pick Minnesota
No Bradford Pick Tampa Bay
Seattle Seahawks vs. Tennessee Titans -3 Sunday 9/24 4:05 pm
The Seattle Seahawks won a nail-biter last week at home against the San Francisco 49ers, 12-9. Russell Wilson and this Seattle offense have been inefficient thus far totaling 21 total points. The Tennessee Titans, however, look to establish themselves as a playoff caliber team in the AFC picture. This game will be held in Nashville Sunday and look for this to be another close one. With Seattle’s defense holding Marcus Mariota in check and likewise with Tennessee’s defense doing the same with the Seattle offense, I like the ground game of the Titans. Especially with Mariota, DeMarco Murray, and Derrick Henry to be deciding factor in this one. Take the Titans here.
Pick Tennessee -3
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Los Angles Chargers (+3) Sunday 9/24 4:25 pm
The Chiefs are the best team in the league so far. I don’t think that is arguable. Kareem Hunt seems to be the real deal and Alex Smith simply does not make mistakes. They travel to Los Angles to face the Chargers and the disappointing Philip Rivers. In typical Rivers fashion, he drove the offense down the field last week for the winning field goal attempt and it was missed. The guy just can’t catch a break. Look for Travis Kelce to be the tight end talked about in this one, not Antonio Gates. Kansas City wins big here.
Pick Kansas City -3
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Green Bay Packers (-8.5) Sunday 9/24 4:25 pm
Andy Dalton has regressed drastically this season and looks downright awful out there. This offense will need to put up points to stay in it this week against the high-powered Packers offense, even if Jordy Nelson does not play. The Packers come into this one one week removed from a loss to the Falcons last Sunday night. There are questions marks here for Green Bay and I have not been sold on them yet but I think they could take care of a bottom of the barrel team that the Bengals have become. It’s a shame that in this young season, A.J. Green does not have a quarterback that can get him the ball.
Pick Green Bay -8.5
Oakland Raiders vs. Washington Redskins (+3) Sunday 9/24 8:30 pm
The Redskins won last week 27-20 in Los Angeles against the Rams. Quarterback Kirk Cousins did not turn the ball over and Washington had a solid rushing performance. Running back Chris Thompson has emerged as a great option for Cousins on third down as a dual threat out of the backfield. The Raiders dominated the Jets last week putting up 40+ as expected. Michael Crabtree had three touchdown receptions. The Raiders are doing exactly what was expected of them in the preseason as they are a top tier team and a Super Bowl favorite. Look for Derek Carr to continue to light it up in this Sunday Night matchup.
Pick Oakland -3
Must Read: 5 Jets that lost the game against Raiders in Week 2
Dallas Cowboys vs. Arizona Cardinals (+3) Monday 9/25 8:30 pm
The Cowboys have to be upset after their performance in Denver last Sunday in which they were pretty much shut down on both sides of the ball. Now they travel to the valley of the sun for a Monday night showdown against a Cardinals team that needed overtime to beat the Andrew Luck-less Colts last week. Carson Palmer has no running game with David Johnson out and is forced to throw almost every time. Look for Dallas to bounce back here and get a win in Arizona.