NFL Week 3 Picks: More Upsets, Close Games Expected

Welcome to my picks for Week 3 of the NFL season.  Last week I went 8-8, and my total record is now 17-14.  This week is full of great match-ups and those match-ups could make for some close games.  Keep reading for my thoughts on this week’s slate of games.

Note: The teams on the top in the images are the road teams and the teams on the bottom are the home teams.  

Lock Of The Week

The Bears were annihilated by the Bucs last week.  I expect the same thing to happen against the Steelers this week.  Pittsburgh is 2-0 after crushing the Minnesota Vikings and the Cleveland Browns.  The Bears will be the dominant Pittsburgh offense’s next victim.   Chicago doesn’t have the best defense and their offense has been struggling without their top two receivers, Kevin White and Cameron Meredith.

The Steelers have the best running back and the best receiver in the league and Big Ben is at least a Top 10 QB.  I see a blowout, maybe even a shutout in this battle of a Top 5 offense and a Bottom 5 team.  Steelers win this one easily.

Upset Of The Week

Atlanta has done well so far this year but soon enough they might have a rude awakening.  They aren’t going to repeat last season’s Super Bowl appearance as I don’t know how they even were able to get through a very tough set of NFC playoff teams.  The young Lions offense is as good as Atlanta’s offense and they have more depth too.  Kenny Golladay has blossomed into a superstar.

This will be a very high scoring game but in the end I’m calling the upset here.  The Lions will surprise the Falcons for their third win in a row to start the season.  Detroit might not be the best team but they have the tools to get some impressive wins throughout the season, even if they don’t come through every game.

TNF


About 6 months ago, I would’ve called this a snooze-fest that goes to the home team.  But the Rams offense has really improved since acquiring Sammy Watkins and Derek Carrier as well as drafting Cooper Kupp and Gerald Everett.  Todd Gurley is looking as good as he did in his rookie year and Jared Goff has improved a great deal as QB.

The 49ers haven’t caught up to these Rams yet although it may happen soon.  The 49ers still lack the depth they need on offense and their defense doesn’t really match up to LA’s, especially with Aaron Donald back.  I’ve been impressed enough by the Rams that I would say this could be a dominant win.  The way the Rams have been playing, I see them scoring at least 3 times more than the Niners.  

Sunday’s Games

This should be a good match-up.  The Jaguars have been up and down so far getting blown out by the Titans following their big week 1 win in Houston.  The Jags proved that they can compete.  The Ravens have also surprised many so far and maychallenge the Steelers for the AFC North title.  Both the Ravens and Steelers are 2-0.  Baltimore has one of the best defenses in the NFL and that will be tricky for Jacksonville especially without Allen Robinson.

This will be close though.  The Jags defense is improving and you could say the Ravens offense needs work.  But the Ravens have more talent right now offensively and that will be the difference in this game.  I give the edge to the Ravens because the Jags ‘home field advantage’ won’t mean much as this game will be played in London.

The Pats rebounded on Sunday from a tough Week 1 loss to KC.  But the Pats offense took another big hit as Gronkowski hurt his groin in the 3rd quarter of last week’s game.  If he’s truly healthy and “good to go”, the Pats will dominate.  Otherwise, it could come down to the final minutes.  Luckily for the Pats, the Texans don’t have as good an offense as New England’s opponents from the last two weeks so it shouldn’t be as tough for the defense this week.  The Pats young defensive line could have a big day as Houston’s O-line has struggled mightily.  Look for Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia to confuse another rookie QB and force him into making bad decisions.

However, the Texans have one of the league’s top defenses.  Even with Brian Cushing out the Pats could have a tough time producing offensive plays especially without Edelman and a less than 100% Gronk.  Tom Brady will be under a lot of pressureand this front seven knows how to stop the run.  Even though Gronk is expected to play, the Pats could be in some trouble as Marcus Cannon will not play so Brady might not have the time to find his receivers.  Gronk has big financial incentives based on his performance and sure handed Amendola will be back as well so I think Brady and the Pats will find a way to beat the Houston defense especially at home on the newly laid turf.

The Jets will be lucky to win a single game this season and last week the Dolphins proved that they are as good as they were last year with Cutler performing just as well as Tannehill.  Some might even argue that their Defense has improved too.  They should be able to beat the Jets who lack weapons and depth both offensively and defensively.

With the Jets playing at home, I’m expecting a little more out of them than in the last two weeks but the improvement will not be significant enough to beat Jay Cutler and the Miami Dolphins.

The Broncos are coming off a huge home win against the Cowboys and surprised many including me who thought they were nowhere near as good as their Super Bowl team of 2015.  Even on the road the Broncos should be able to beat the Bills.  The Bills may have a strong offense but their defense is not even close to the big D Denver has shown in their first 2 weeks.

I believe the Broncos defense is good enough to hold the Bills offense under 20 points.  Buffalo doesn’t have that kind of D so even if Siemian has an average game, the Broncos should be able to grab the win with the receivers they have.

With Andrew Luck out, it’s clear that the Colts are going to lose at least a few games to begin the season.  Luck has already been ruled out for Week 3.  The Browns are actually a lot better than last year.  RB Isaiah Crowell has been really good and TEDavid Njoku could become a dangerous weapon that teams will have to game plan for.  In addition, the Browns have young rising stars at WR like Rashard Higgins.

Although the Colts have a good offense, it’s not the same without Luck.  Cleveland’s QB Kizer should be back this week butIndy will have to rely upon Brissett under center.  I know it’s hard to imagine the Browns winning on the road but Indy’s key injuries are just too much and I see the Browns winning by a touchdown.

The Lions stunned the Giants in New York on MNF and now the Giants must try and steal a win on the road against a tough division rival to avoid starting the season with 3 straight losses.  On the other hand, the Eagles had a strong Week 1 and nearly upset the Chiefs in Week 2.  The Eagles play the same kind of complementary football that the Lions do and right now I see them as frontrunners in the NFC East for that reason.

The Giants are strong on both sides of the ball as well but this year’s offense has struggled so far this year and the defense hasshown its problems as well.  This will be a hard fought battle but I give Philadelphia the edge at home.

The Buccaneers have looked like the best team in the NFC so far even though they have only played one game.  They have a great all-around team and the Vikings just don’t match up.  Offensively, the Vikings just don’t have the weapons to take on aBucs defense that held the Bears to 7 points.  The Vikings defense is good but they have their toughest match-up yet in the Buccaneers as QB Winston is growing into a legitimate super star.

The Bucs will win this one and continue to look really good in the process.  A 2-0 start should give the Bucs more confidenceto keep improving and become the 12 to 13 win team I project them to be.

Carolina looks like the dominant NFC South team after two weeks.  They did have it easy to start the season but the Saints aren’t going to be that much tougher.  This Saints offense has been pretty good even without Willie Snead but the Carolina D will be too much for them.

Cam Newton could wreak havoc on the Saints D that struggled against another high powered offense last week (the Pats).  The Panthers have a great front seven that should prevent the Saints versatile RB from getting into a rhythm.  Especially at home, the Panthers should win this game but it won’t be easy because these division rivals always find a way to keep their games competitive.  This game could be an shootout based on the fact that both these offenses are stacked.


The Seahawks nearly lost last week to the 49ers.  Leaving the comforts of home for a tough road game in Tennessee may leave the Seahawks at 1-2.

The Titans have a great offense that could challenge the Seattle D, and the Seahawks lack the depth on offense to score much on the Titans mediocre D.  The loss of RB Lynch is proving to be greater than many expected as Seattle’s offense has looked flat and only scored 1 TD so far.  I doubt Seattle will win this game but they could come close as coach Pete Carroll should have his team pumped and ready to avoid starting the season with 3 straight poor performances.

This will be a close game.  But in the end, I have the Chargers winning at home. LA did lose last week to Miami in a close one but I expect them to be ready at home for this tough division rival.  The Chiefs offense has rookie RB Hunt playing better than many expected when Ware went down for the season.  KC is also using return specialist Hill in the offense more and KC has started the season with 2 good win against the Pats and Eagles.  In order the win, the Chargers need their offense to be at full health and in full swing to beat a KC defense that has performed well with a healthy Justin Houston.

The Chargers also need to find a way to stop the Chiefs dangerous deep threat Tyreek Hill.  It won’t be easy but my gut tells me the Chargers find a way to win this big division matchup at home.


Green Bay lost both Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb to injuries last week.  How are they supposed to win this week?  Well, Nelson does have a 50/50 shot of returning this week and Cobb is listed as day to day.  They’ll also be playing a washed-up Cincinnati offense so their defense may not be challenged as much this week.

The Bengals are also deprived defensively after Vontaze Burfict’s suspension.  With or without their top receivers, the Packers will find a way to win this game.  I think Nelson and Cobb could play and if they do it might be a blowout.  Either way, Packers win.

SNF

The Raiders have looked even better than their 2016 team.  The Redskins did beat the Rams last week but they have struggled at times in their first 2 games.  The lost 2 top WRs to free agency this past year in Garcon and Jackson.  Their defense has not performed as well as in recent years and may need more time to come together. 

The Raiders have looked like one of the best offenses in the league with their top 2 WRs playing like all-pros.  On defense their front seven has been dominant led by another great start by Khalil Mack.  The Raiders should win this game with easeeven on the road.

MNF

The Cardinals looked good after beating the Colts last week and Dallas looked lost against a tough Denver D last week.  Yet the Cowboys are favored by 3 on the road because this team has too much talent to put up 2 straight poor performances.  The Cards might be without David Johnson but Chris Johnson is doing a good job in his place.  Larry Fitzgerald is still an elite WR and even though Palmer’s been struggling, I expect him to play better at home.

Dallas can score but their secondary remains a big question mark.  While I see the Cardinals defense trying to replicate what Denver did to keep Dallas off balance.  This will be a very competitive Monday Night game where I see the Cardinals pulling off an upset at home.

That’s all for my picks this week.  Feel free to comment your thoughts on any of the games.

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