NFL picks, predictions for Week 3: Cowboys cool off Giants; Ravens edge Patriots; Bills escape Dolphins

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

Saquon Barkley is a factor again and New York has picked up two narrow wins in the first two weeks. Now the Giants are in the spotlight of Monday Night Football against rival Dallas Cowboys, who scored their own excitement in Week 2 with backup quarterback Cooper Rush against Cincinnati. These teams are always in prime time – even when they’re bad – but this one is worth watching.

San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo is back after Trey Lance’s devastating season-ending injury. Garoppolo is in 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 episode of Aaron Rodgers vs. Tom Brady, Ravens vs. Patriots, Carson Wentz vs. the Eagles and the surprise Lions going to Minnesota with a chance on that gives NFC north line.

Each week, Sporting News will select all NFL games direct and against dissemination. A look at our track record this season:

Recording: 17-14-1 (9-7 in week 2)

Here are our straight picks for week 3 (rows courtesy of Caesars).

POWER RANKINGS: Dolphins Shoot for Top 10; 49ers, Rams recover; Colts, Browns crash in 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 in two games, so it will be about which team generates a steady charge. Neither team can stop the pass, but the Browns are slightly better against the run. It’s a coin toss, honestly, and it all comes down to the last kick. Anyone remember what happened the last time these two played Thursday night?

Choose: Steelers 23, Brown’s 20

Result: Brown’s 29, Steeler’s 17

  • 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 is averaging 76.5 yards per game with Justin Fields; a desperate sign that they need to cut him loose a little. Houston has shown some struggles in the first two weeks. Ultimately, the Texans fail to generate any stable running play behind Davis Mills and the Bears go 2-1 despite all those offensive issues.

Choose: Bears 24, Texans 18

  • Las Vegas Raiders (-1) at the Tennessee Titans

Sunday, 1 p.m., FOX

The Titans are in desperation mode after a rocky start, and the Raiders suffer a shocking loss to the Cardinals. Derek Carr takes up arms with Darren Waller and Davante Adams. Tennessee plays keep-away long enough to get rid of Derrick Henry. The Raiders have won their last three in Tennessee, but the last meeting was in 2019.

Choose: Titans 28, Hunters 27

  • Kansas City Chiefs (-6.5) at Indianapolis Colts

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS

The Colts’ early-season troubles are one of the more surprising storylines of the NFL season. Indianapolis has a turnover ratio of -4 and this is proof that Matt Ryan is still going strong. Patrick Mahomes II has nothing to prove. Six different Kansas City players have caught TDs this season. The Chiefs keep rolling.

Choose: Chief’s 30, Colt’s 22

  • Buffalo Bills (-4.5) with the Miami Dolphins

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS

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

Choose: Bills 31, dolphins 28

  • Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings (-7)

Sunday, 1 p.m., FOX

The Lions are a feel-good team early in the season, augmented by second-year coach Dan Campbell. They’re averaging 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 shared last year’s meetings, and each game was decided by two points. We’re still not convinced by Detroit’s defense, and Kirk Cousins-Justin Jefferson continues in a fun NFC North matchup.

Choose: Vikings 30, lions 23

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  • Baltimore Ravens (-3) with the New England Patriots

Sunday, 1 p.m., FOX

The Ravens and Patriots each lost to the Dolphins. Lamar Jackson has shared two career starts against New England, but he’s completed more than 70% of his passes in those games. The Ravens need someone other than Jackson to step into the running game because that’s what Bill Belichick will be acting on. It’s hard to decide, but we trust the Ravens on the street.

Choose: 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 that Joe Burrow has taken 13 sacks in two games. However, the Jets had trouble stopping the run and getting to the quarterback. Yes, New York beat the Bengals last season, which accelerated that Super Bowl run. This time around, the Bengals are using a heavy dose of Joe Mixon to get back on track in the AFC North.

Choose: Bengal 27, Jets 19

  • Philadelphia Eagles (-4) at Washington Commanders

Sunday, 1 p.m., FOX

Carson Wentz’s revenge game is here. Wentz has back-to-back 300-yard plays for Washington, but the defense needs Chase Young back and it shows. Philadelphia is working off a short week, but Jalen Hurts and AJ Brown continue to refine their connection. This also opens lanes for the current game. Teams tied the last four in Washington, and all four games were decided by 10 points or fewer.

Choose: Eagles 28, commanders 24

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  • New Orleans Saints (-3) against the Carolina Panthers

Sunday, 1 p.m., FOX

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

Choose: Saints 21, Panthers 18

  • Jacksonville Jaguars at Los Angeles Chargers (-7)

Sunday, 4:05 p.m. CBS

The line is influenced by the status of Justin Herbert (ribs), who is in Day 2 after a nasty shot against the Chiefs in Week 2. We’re assuming Herbert is playing and the Chargers will be able to protect the ball against an improved Jacksonville team with new coach Doug Pederson. We will reevaluate this choice if Herbert cannot go.

Choose: Chargers 30, Jaguars 20

  • Los Angeles Rams (-4) vs. Arizona Cardinals

Sunday, 4:25 p.m., FOX

The Rams are 10-1 to the Cardinals under Sean McVay, and that included last year’s playoff berth. Kyler Murray led a miraculous comeback, and the Rams nearly snapped out a 28-3 lead in Week 2. We still have faith in McVay’s track record here.

Choose: Aries 33, Cardinals 28

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  • 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 could be the last time we see Rogers vs Tom Brady (you never know), but this time it will come down to which team has the better running game. Brady’s passing stats are by no means flashy, but he’s only taken three sacks in two games. Rodgers has now taken seven sacks. The protection has to be there for the packers to have a chance.

Choose: Buccaneer 27, packer 21

  • Atlanta Falcons at Seattle Seahawks (-2)

Sunday, 4:25 p.m., FOX

The Falcons have two losses totaling five points, and five turnovers in those games are the main problem. That’s hard to carry on the street, but Seattle has its own revenue woes. Between Geno Smith and Marcus Mariota, Which Quarterback Protects Football Better? We give the home team a slight advantage.

Choose: Seahawks 24, Falcons 21

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

Sunday, 8:20 p.m., NBC

Garoppolo could boost the 49ers’ offense and passing attack here. The 49ers are more than familiar with Wilson, who is still working through the troubles with his new team and his freshman coach, Nathaniel Hackett. The 49ers’ defense is evil, and that’s the difference between an ugly win.

Choose: 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 3-0, another unexpected development early in the season. However, the Cowboys have won nine of their last 10 meetings in this series, so the Giants need to know it won’t be easy. Daniel Jones completes 70.9% of his passes so far. Can Rush match this level of efficiency on the road? We go with the little surprise, and Micah Parsons makes the difference on the MNF stage.

Choose: Cowboys 25, Giants 20

Dave Gallo

Dave Gallo is a pioneering sports analytics expert, renowned for his revolutionary work in AI-driven sports simulations, projections, and advanced statistical analysis. With a profound passion for sports and technology, he crafts cutting-edge computer models that accurately predict outcomes. Dave's game-changing insights have reshaped strategy, player evaluation, and decision-making across various sports. His dynamic presentations make complex analytics accessible and inspiring, ensuring his legacy as a visionary in sports analytics. Check out Dave's Pick Record.

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