NFL picks, predictions for Week 3: Cowboys cool off Giants; Steelers stump Browns; Bills escape Dolphins

7
NFL picks, predictions for Week 3: Cowboys cool off Giants; Steelers stump Browns; Bills escape Dolphins

The New York Giants are the surprise undefeated team in the NFL after two weeks. 

Saquon Barkley is a factor again, and New York has pulled out two close victories in the first two weeks. Now, the Giants get the Monday Night Football spotlight against the rival Dallas Cowboys, who pulled off their own upset against Cincinnati in Week 2 with backup quarterback Cooper Rush. These teams are always in primetime – even when they’re bad – but this one is worth watching. 

San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo is back after the devastating season-ending injury to Trey Lance. Garoppolo gets the Sunday Night Football spotlight against the Denver Broncos and Russell Wilson, who have split two games and are back in a prime-time slot. 

We like the underdog in both games as part of a fun Week 3 that gives us another installment of Aaron Rodgers vs. Tom Brady, Ravens vs. Patriots, Carson Wentz taking on the Eagles and the surprising Lions going to Minnesota with a chance at the NFC North lead. 

Each week, Sporting News will pick all the NFL games straight up and against the spread. A look at our track record this season: 

Record: 17-14-1 (9-7 in Week 2)

Here are our straight-up picks for Week 3 (lines courtesy of Caesars).

POWER RANKINGS: Dolphins rocket into top 10; 49ers, Rams recover; Colts, Browns plummet for Week 3

NFL picks, predictions for Week 3

  • Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns (-3.5) 

Thursday, 8: 15 p.m., Prime Video 

The Steelers are underdogs for the third straight week. Jacoby Brissett and Mitchell Trubisky have nearly identical passing lines through two games, so it’s going to be about which team generates a steady rushing attack. Neither team can stop the pass, but the Browns are a little better against the run. It’s a coin flip honestly, and it will come down to the last kick. Anybody remember what happened the last time these two played on Thursday Night? 

Pick: Steelers 23, Browns 20 

  • Houston Texans at Chicago Bears (-3.5) 

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS 

It’s the Lovie Smith revenge game we didn’t know we needed. Chicago averages 76.5 passing yards per game with Justin Fields; a desperate sign they need to cut him loose a little bit. Houston has shown some fight the first two weeks. Ultimately, the Texans fail to generate a steady running game behind Davis Mills, and the Bears go to 2-1 despite all those offensive issues. 

Pick: Bears 24, Texans 18 

  • Las Vegas Raiders (-1) at Tennessee Titans 

Sunday, 1 p.m., FOX

The Titans are in desperation mode after a rough start, and the Raiders are coming off a shocking loss to the Cardinals. Derek Carr has the weapons around him with Darren Waller and Davante Adams. Tennessee plays keep-away long enough to cut Derrick Henry loose. The Raiders have won the last three at Tennessee, but the last meeting was 2019. 

Pick: Titans 28, Raiders 27 

Patrick-Mahomes-012322
  • Kansas City Chiefs (-6.5) at Indianapolis Colts 

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS 

The Colts’ early-season woes is one of the more surprising storylines of the NFL season. Indianapolis has a -4 turnover ratio, and this is a prove-you-still-got-it game for Matt Ryan. Patrick Mahomes II has nothing to prove. Six different Kansas City players have caught TDs this season. The Chiefs keep rolling. 

Pick: Chiefs 30, Colts 22 

  • Buffalo Bills (-4.5) at Miami Dolphins 

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS 

If the Dolphins can pull off this upset, then Mike McDaniel might as well be crowned NFL Coach of the Year. If Miami proved anything in Week 2, then it’s that McDaniel is willing to air it out with Tua Tagovailoa and star receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. These are “if” statements, however. Josh Allen is the truth, and he is 7-1 with 21 TDs and five interceptions against Miami. He comes through again in what could be the best game of the week. 

Pick: Bills 31, Dolphins 28 

  • Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings (-7) 

Sunday, 1 p.m., FOX 

The Lions are an early-season feel-good team with the additions made with second-year coach Dan Campbell. They’ve scored 35.5 points per game, and Jared Goff is off to a great start with playmakers DeAndre Swift and Amon-Ra St. Brown. These teams split last year’s meetings, and each game was decided by two points. We’re still not sold on Detroit’s defense, and the Kirk Cousins-Justin Jefferson continues in a fun NFC North matchup.

Pick: Vikings 30, Lions 23 

Lamar-Jackson-091822-GETTY-FTR
  • Baltimore Ravens (-3) at New England Patriots 

Sunday, 1 p.m., FOX 

The Ravens and Patriots each lost to the Dolphins. Lamar Jackson has split two career starts against New England, but he completed more than 70% of his passes in those games. The Ravens need somebody other than Jackson to step in the running game, because that’s what Bill Belichick is going to key in on. This is a tough one to pick, but we’ll trust the Ravens on the road. 

Pick: Ravens 27, Patriots 24 

  • Cincinnati Bengals (-4.5) at New York Jets 

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS

It’s not a Super Bowl hangover. It’s the fact Joe Burrow has taken 13 sacks in two games. The Jets, however, have had problems stopping the run and getting to the quarterback. Yes, New York beat the Bengals last season, which precipitated that Super Bowl run. This time, the Bengals use a heavy dose of Joe Mixon to get back on track in the AFC North. 

Pick: Bengals 27, Jets 19 

  • Philadelphia Eagles (-4) at Washington Commanders 

Sunday, 1 p.m., FOX

The Carson Wentz revenge game is here. Wentz has back-to-back 300-yard games for Washington, but the defense needs Chase Young back and it shows. Philadelphia is working off a short week, but Jalen Hurts and A.J. Brown continue to refine their connection. That opens lanes for the running game, too. The teams have split the last four at Washington, and all four games were decided by 10 points or less. 

Pick: Eagles 28, Commanders 24 

winston
  • New Orleans Saints (-3) at Carolina Panthers 

Sunday, 1 p.m., FOX

What should we expect with Jameis Winston and Baker Mayfield? That is typically anybody’s guess. The Saints have a more reliable running game at this point, and this feels like another close game for Carolina. Those haven’t gone Matt Rhule’s way, and the seat is getting warmer. 

Pick: Saints 21, Panthers 18 

  • Jacksonville Jaguars at Los Angeles Chargers (-7) 

Sunday, 4: 05 p.m., CBS 

The line will be impacted on the status of Justin Herbert (ribs), who is day to day after taking a nasty shot against the Chiefs in Week 2. We’ll assume Herbert plays, and the Chargers are able to protect the ball against an improved Jacksonville team with new coach Doug Pederson. We’ll re-evaluate this pick if Herbert cannot go. 

Pick: Chargers 30, Jaguars 20 

  • Los Angeles Rams (-4) at Arizona Cardinals

Sunday, 4: 25 p.m., FOX 

The Rams are 10-1 against the Cardinals under Sean McVay, and that included last year’s playoff blowout. Kyler Murray led a miraculous comeback, and the Rams nearly coughed up a 28-3 lead in Week 2. We still trust McVay’s track record here. 

Pick: Rams 33, Cardinals 28 

Tom-Brady-091322-GETTY-FTR
  • Green Bay Packers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3) 

Sunday, 4: 25 p.m., FOX 

Aaron Rodgers referenced the Packers’ last trip to Tampa Bay on Sunday Night Football, and with good reason. It wasn’t pretty in a 38-10 loss at Raymond James Stadium. This might be the last time we see Rogers vs. Tom Brady (you never know), but this one will come down to which team has the better running game. Brady’s passing stats are not gaudy by any means, but he’s taken just three sacks in two games. Rodgers, meanwhile, has taken seven sacks. The protection has to be there for the Packers to have a chance. 

Pick: Buccaneers 27, Packers 21 

  • Atlanta Falcons at Seattle Seahawks (-2) 

Sunday, 4: 25 p.m., FOX 

The Falcons have two losses by a combined total of five points, and five turnovers in those games is the leading problem. That’s tough to carry on the road, but Seattle has turnover issues of their own. Which quarterback between Geno Smith and Marcus Mariota protects the football better? We’ll give the home team a slight advantage. 

Pick: Seahawks 24, Falcons 21 

  • San Francisco 49ers at Denver Broncos (-1) 

Sunday, 8: 20 p.m., NBC 

Garoppolo might just energize the 49ers’ offense and the passing attack here. The 49ers are more than familiar with Wilson, who is still working out the kinks with his new team and first-year coach Nathaniel Hackett. The 49ers defense is nasty, and that’s the difference in an ugly win. 

Pick: 49ers 22, Broncos 17

  • Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants (-3)  

Monday, 8: 15 p.m., ESPN

First-year coach Brian Daboll has a chance to push New York to 3-0, another unexpected early-season development. The Cowboys have won nine of the last 10 meetings in this series, however, so the Giants have to know this isn’t going to come easy. Daniel Jones is completing 70.9% of his passes so far. Can Rush match that efficiency on the road? We’re going with the small upset, and Micah Parsons makes the difference on the MNF stage. 

Pick: Cowboys 25, Giants 20