NFL Week 3 Picks - Early Games

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NFL Week 3 Early Games

All times Eastern

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Week 2 Results: Rick: 5-10-1; Coin: 10-5-1
Cumulative: Rick 15-16-1; Coin 16-15-1


Thursday, September 23

Carolina Panthers (-8, 43) at Houston Texans 8:20 pm - Carolina improved to 2-0, taking it to division rival New Orleans last week, 26-7. Sam Darnold looks like a new quarterback coming over from the Jets. Panthers are clicking on all levels and have the lowest points allowed in the league, 21, in two games.

Houston is forced to start rookie Davis Mills at QB after Tyrod Taylor was placed on IR. Taylor delivered in a 37-21 win over Jacksonville in week one, but was injured in Houston's 31-21 loss at Cleveland. Mills is out of Stanford and hit on just 8 of 18 passes in the Cleveland game, throwing one TD and one INT. He's getting to work with the #1 unit in practice, but it's a short week and he'll be up against a very aggressive defense.

Coin Flip: Houston

Prediction: Panthers 30 Texans 13


Sunday, September 26

Washington Football Team at Buffalo Bills (7, 45 1/2) 1:00 pm - The Bills turned things around quickly after their 23-16 home opening loss to the Steelers with a 35-0 performance at Miami, knocking off a key divisional rival. The bills have the best point differential in the league at +28 and their defense is performing at a level to rival their proven offensive prowess.

Washington is 1-1, losing to the Chargers, 20-16, but slipping by the Giants at home, 30-29, last Thursday night. The Redskin defense is unlikely to keep Buffalo in check for long and QB Taylor Heinkicke may be rattled by the loud Buffalo fans in addition to finding few spaces in the Bills' secondary. Washington is also lacking much of a running game. Starting RB Antonio Gibson is listed as questionable.

Coin Flip: Buffalo

Prediction: Bills 38 Football Team 10


Chicago Bears at Cleveland Browns (-7, 45 1/2) 1:00 pm - Cleveland's offense is very banged up after getting to 1-1 with a 31-21 win over Houston. The plus side is they did not have to travel, which will help numerous players listed as questionable, but wideouts Jarvis Landry and Ryan Switzer are both on IR, so QB Baker Mayfield may have to rely on his ample running backs, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, to carry much of the offense. TE Austin Hooper could have a big day.

Bears' fans are getting their wish early, as Andy Dalton is out, leaving the QB spot to rookie Just Fields, who has looked good preseason and in limited action thus far. While injuries plague Cleveland's offense, the Chicago defense has its share of dings, evening things out a bit, but Fields may have a solid showing, especially playing in Ohio (he starred at Ohio State). This could go either way, but, if Chicago's defense plays to their potential, the Bears could get a road win.

Coin Flip: Chicago

Prediction: Browns 26 Bears 23


Baltimore Ravens (-8, 50) at Detroit Lions 1:00 pm - Lamar Jackson did everything, leading the team in both passing and rushing, in Baltimore's 36-35 upset win over Kansas City, and take to the road in a game they are likely to dominate.

0-2 Detroit has allowed the second-most points through two weeks, 76. Only Atlanta, with 80, has given up more. Difficult to see how the Lions stop Jackson or score much against a very good defense.

Coin Flip: Baltimore

Prediction: Ravens 38 Lions 20


Arizona Cardinals (-7 1/2, 52) at Jacksonville Jaguars 1:00 pm - Arizona's 72 points scored is second only to Tampa Bay (79) league wide and the Cardinals will surely add more points to their total hosting 0-2 Jacksonville. Kyler Murray threw for 400 yards in the Cardinals' 34-33 win over Minnesota, but the defense was exposed as the Vikings rolled up 419 yards of offense and lost the game on a missed FG.

The Jaguars are getting #1 draft pick, Trevor Lawrence, ample experience, but this is not the Jaguars' year. There are many holes and shoes to fill up and down the roster on both sides of the ball. Jacksonville will be lucky to keep this close. Could be one of the highest point totals of the week.

Coin Flip: Jacksonville

Prediction: Cardinals 34 Jaguars 24


LA Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs (-6 1/2, 54 1/2) 1:00 pm - Last season, the Chiefs were taken into overtime by the Chargers in week 2, emerging with a 23-20 win. In the season finale, LA won 38-21, but the game was meaningless to KC and they were without Patrick Mahomes and a slew of other starters.

This is a key divisional game for both 1-1 squads, as the Raiders and Broncos are both 2-0. The Chargers have an arguably better defense, though the edge has to go to the Chiefs on offense, making this quite the even match-up. Justin Herbert will keep LA in it until the end. A field goal or late interception is likely to end this one.

Coin Flip: Kansas City

Prediction: Chiefs 34 Chargers 31


New Orleans Saints at New England Patriots (-3, 42) 1:00 pm - This is a very tough spot for the Saints, who were battered at Carolina last week and must remain on the road to face another solid defensive team in the Patriots. New england has allowed just 23 points over two games, tied for second in the league with the Bills and Eagles (Carolina is #1, 21 points allowed).

Jameis Winston reverted to prior form in last week's blowout loss at Carolina, throwing a pair of picks. He was also sacked four times and hurried often.

New England snuffed the Jets, 25-6, and will be on their toes at home. Look for a textbook Bill Belichick defensive win.

Coin Flip: New England

Prediction: Patriots 23 Saints 13



Atlanta Falcons at NY Giants (-3, 47 1/2) 1:00 pm - Pair of 0-2 teams destined for high draft picks next year in a really nothing game. The Giants are pretty awful, but the Falcons are demonstrably horrible, allowing a league-high 80 points while scoring only 31 (third worst).

Nothing good is coming out of Atlanta since the debacle of last November. At least their few remaining fans can see how many points the Falcons actually lose by. It may be time to put Matty Ice on ice lest he gets injured.

Coin Flip: NY Giants

Prediction: Giants 27 Falcons 17


Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3, 43 1/2) 1:00 pm - Key game in the AFC North where all four teams are 1-1. The Bengals are likely to be in most of their games as long as Joe Burrow stays healthy and the defense keeps doing its job. The 44 points they've allowing in a win over Minnesota and last week's 20-17 loss at Chicago is pointing in the right direction.

Pittsburgh rallied to beat the Bills in week one, but were taken apart by the Raiders at home, 26-17. The Steeler remain at Heinz Field for this one, but QB Ben Roethlisberger is banged up and missed practice Wednesday, listed as questionable. It could be past Big Ben's expiration date as well. He's pushing 40 and has thrown just 2 TD passes and one pick with a rating of 33.9 this season.

This is a winnable game for the Bengals and they know it. Expect them to be at the top of their game.

Coin Flip: Cincinnati

Prediction: Bengals 20 Steelers 13


Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans (-5 1/2, 48) 1:00 pm - Following the debacle that was a week one, 38-13, home loss to Arizona, the Titans regrouped and maintained at Seattle for a 33-30 overtime win. Derrick Henry looked like the rushing champion he is, rolling up 182 yards on the ground while Ryan Tannehill threw for 347.

Tennessee's defense still needs improvement, and it may get a boost if Colts' QB Carson Wentz is unable to play. He's nursing sore ankles and Jacob Eason would likely get the start in his absence. At 0-2 and having scored only 40 points, the Colts' offense wasn't scaring anybody anyhow, and they may be further impaired against a division rival that split with them last season, though the Colts had Phillip Rivers behind center then.

Indy knows what they're up against, but doesn't really have a good plan to stop it.

Coin Flip: Indianapolis

Prediction: Titans 31 Colts 16


Click here for late games.


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