We are two weeks in and only seven teams remain undefeated. Knowing this, we have provided our NFL picks for the five best contests on Week 3’s schedule!
Our NFL picks help answer that question and provide you with our best bets from five of Week 3’s games.
Indianapolis Colts @ Tennessee Titans – 1PM ET
The two best teams in the AFC South, the Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts, enter Week 3 placed 2nd and 3rd in the division respectively and will be looking at this game as a litmus test for how they are really going. The Colts are still searching for their first win while the Titans return home after winning an overtime thriller in Seattle last week.
This is a very intriguing clash and I am going with the Colts to cover as road dogs. The sides split the two meetings last season but interestingly enough, the road team won each time. That bodes well for the Colts, who are desperately trying to capture their first win this season and are coming off an impressive performance against the Rams last week where they only lost by two points. The worry for Indianapolis is that Carson Wentz leads the league in giveaways since the start of last season, but their defense should be able to support him in this clash. The Colts have forced two fumbles so far this season whilst the Titans have lost three fumbles and rank 30th for turnover differential.
What also worries me is the fact that Tennessee has had 90 more yards of offense through the first two weeks and a lot of that is thanks to Derrick Henry, who just had the 10th game of his career rushing for 150+ yards and scoring 2+ touchdowns. One of the other nine games was against the Colts last year, when Henry went off for 178 yards and three touchdowns in a game Tennessee won 45-26, but in the Colts’ win, they kept Henry to just 103 yards and no scores. I am expecting their defense to bring their A-game for this clash and think the Titans may come in underprepared after a tough, late, overtime win on the other side of the country. While Indianapolis may be 0-2, they have faced two very good playoff teams from the NFC West and held their own, meaning they should be ready for this clash.
Tim’s NFL Pick: Indianapolis Colts +5.5 (-115)
DERRICK HENRY. KING.
His third TD ties the game with 29 seconds left!
— NFL (@NFL) September 19, 2021
The Colts lost a close game to the Rams and are currently 0-2 on the season. To make matters worse, Colts quarterback Carson Wentz apparently sprained both his ankles near the end of last week’s game. The injury prone Wentz will likely be held up by his sprained ankles, especially as he likes to scramble to make plays. With Wentz uncertain to play, the Colts will have to rely on Jacob Eason, which isn’t a good sign. On the other side, the Titans are coming off an exhilarating overtime win over the Seahawks, which saw their run game click back into action after a poor performance in week 1.
Granted, the Titans will be facing a fearsome Colts front 7 that includes the gigantic DeForest Buckner and All-Pro Dairus Leonard. However, Derrick Henry had no problems running against the Colts’ front 7 last year with 281 rushing yards in 2 games. With the addition of Julio Jones, the Colts will likely struggle to contain this multi-pronged attack. I think the Titans win this with ease behind a strong offensive performance, and a weakened Colts offense.
Mike’s NFL Pick: Tennessee Titans -5.5 (-105)
Los Angeles Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs – 1PM ET
We have another divisional showdown as the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers face off at Arrowhead Stadium. Both sides are coming off heart-breaking losses and will want to prove a point in this matchup, with many thinking that these two teams are the best in the AFC West. Could Herbert and the Chargers pull off the upset over Mahomes and the Chiefs?
The sky is falling for the Chiefs, who lost in Week 2 after trailing by double digits in Week 1 and just scraping through for the win. They now face a dynamic, exciting divisional opponent with a quarterback that many have said could be one of the next great QBs in the league. Because of all of this, the Chiefs are laying less than a touchdown in this matchup and I am snapping that up happily. In their last 22 regular season games that Mahomes has played, the Chiefs are 21-1. They have also only lost back to back games twice over the last three seasons and return home, where they have won 75% of their regular season games since the start of the 2018 season.
The Chiefs have an average margin of victory of 15.25 in the eight games they have won following a loss over that time and while I don’t expect a margin of that magnitude, I expect them to win by at least a touchdown, to cover the spread. The only weakness that Kansas City has shown through the first two games is their run-defense and they should catch a break this week, given LA ranks just 23rd for yards per game on the ground, compared to 1st and 3rd, where their previous two opponents rank. Adding to that, the Chargers have given away the most penalty yards across the league so far this season, including a massive 12 penalties against the Cowboys, with two of those resulting in touchdowns being called back. You can’t make those sorts of errors against Mahomes and the Chiefs, who will come out with a point to prove after their disappointing loss on Sunday night.
The Chiefs are looking to bounce back from a loss to the Ravens, which saw them allow Lamar Jackson to deliver one of the marquee performances of his career. The Chiefs have been one of the best teams in the NFL under Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid, and they rarely lose 2 games in a row. I think Mahomes will look to take revenge by demolishing the Chargers. The Chiefs and Mahomes will face a tough challenge against a Chargers team, which beat them last year in their last game of the regular season.
The Chargers lost their last game to the Cowboys 20-17, mostly due to 2 interceptions by Herbert, and they will also be looking to avenge an easy loss. This Chargers team was able to hold the Cowboys to 20 after they put up 29 against one of the best defenses in the league a game prior. This Chargers defense has shown in the past they can somewhat contain Mahomes, but they will need their offense to put up big points in order to pull out a win. I don’t think this will happen as the Chiefs, as a whole, are just the superior team led by a quarterback who can put up 50 points if he really tried. Kansas City wins this by at least a touchdown.
Mike’s NFL Pick: Kansas City Chiefs -6.5 (-110)
New Orleans Saints @ New England Patriots – 1PM ET
Two teams on opposing sides of 19 point margins in Week 2 sees the New England Patriots host the New Orleans Saints in a battle of 1-1 teams. Both sides faced divisional opponents last week, with the Patriots getting a big win over the Jets while the Saints couldn’t slow down the Panthers.
There is no denying how bad the Saints were last week. They only managed 128 total yards of offense and were held under 10 points for just the sixth time with Sean Payton as head coach. Alvin Kamara had eight carries for just five yards on the ground and was targeted six times in the air, finishing with four receptions for 25 yards. They now face a New England defense that just forced rookie QB Zach Wilson to have the worst game of his career, including high school and college. Their defense saw five drives in the first half but were only on the field for 22 total plays, forcing three interceptions and a three-and-out in there.
While Jameis Winston should be much better than a rookie QB, last week’s performance in Carolina was disastrous and they now have to play their third straight road game, in Gillette Stadium, which is notoriously hard to play in. Especially considering the Patriots are second in the league for turnover differential and are one of just seven teams yet to throw an interception this season. New Orleans seemed to take a backwards step in the offseason while the Patriots spent big and it has shown so far this season and I expect it to play that way this weekend as well.
Tim’s NFL Pick: New England Patriots -3 (+100)
The Patriots move to 1-1 on the season with a huge 25-6 victory over the New York Jets.
Mac Jones has earned his first career NFL regular season victory. pic.twitter.com/7x2RU1s3SR
— Pats Buzz (@PatsBuzz) September 19, 2021
The Patriots come off a 25-6 win against the lowly Jets and now set their sights on the Saints. The Patriots have shown they are a hard-nosed defense and run first team. The Saints on the other hand have shown 2 completely different sides with a huge win against the contending Packers and a blowout loss against the bottom tier Panthers. The Saints look like they’ll be an extremely inconsistent team and will be hit or miss if Jameis Winston is forced to win them the game. Although he had 5 touchdowns in his first game of the year, when looking beneath the surface Winston and the Saints relied heavily on the run to create opportunities and open windows for Winston in the passing game.
Without a strong running game, Winston will likely struggle. Thus, look for mastermind Bill Belichick to force Winston into a mistake with the Patriots’ top 5 defensive unit, which has one of the league’s best and most dangerous secondaries and a run-stopping front 7. With the Saints unlikely to put many points on the board and the Patriots offense facing a Saints defense that is extremely good as well, I think this will be a low scoring game.
Mike’s NFL Pick: Under 41.5 points (-105)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Los Angeles Rams – 4.25PM ET
The Los Angeles Rams host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a matchup between, arguably, the two best teams in the NFC. The Rams and Bucs have the best odds of winning Super Bowl LVI out of all NFC teams and will put their unbeaten records on the line in this clash.
Despite the Rams being at home, the Bucs go into this clash as marginal favorites for this clash. I’m going to take a soft play and buy some points with the Rams as underdogs, taking +3.5 with -170 odds.
Los Angeles have now started the season 2-0 for the fourth straight year and are 2-1 in Week 3 in those years. They are also 10-1 when scoring a touchdown on one of their first two drives, since the start of last season, and the Bucs have given up an early touchdown in one of their first two games. Tampa Bay have also given up a massive 703 passing yards through only two games, which has them ranked 31st in that category. Given that Matt Stafford ranks seventh for passing yards and third for yards per attempt so far this season as well as already showing great chemistry with both Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods, I think that the Rams can expose the weak Tampa Bay secondary in this clash.
They will also be the first good defense that Tampa has faced this season. The Rams rank 11th for passing yards allowed and have given up just 38 points through the first two games. Given the Bucs have been leaning on Tom Brady and their offense so far, that may be an issue. Their offensive line is extremely talented, but their backfield pairing of Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette leaves a lot to be desired, especially against the #1 ranking total defense from last season. Betting against Brady and the Bucs worries me, especially considering they have won 10 straight games, but LA was one of just four teams to beat them last season and that was in Tampa. Given this one is in SoFi, where the Rams are 7-2 overall, I am happy to buy the points to give myself the cushion of a field goal.
Two of the best teams in the NFC faceoff. Both teams are 2-0 and possess top 5 defenses and offenses. Last time these teams played, the Rams won 27-24. Now, the Rams defense, which was the best in the league last year, faces a Tom Brady-led offense, which can beat you in a multitude of ways. The Buccaneers defense, which was a top 5 unit, will be playing a dynamic Rams offense that now has Matt Stafford at the helm.
Stafford has been good in his first two games with the Rams and has made their offense a lot more explosive. Stafford is definitely a difference maker and will create problems for a Buccaneers team that has had troubles stopping the passing game of opposing teams. However, the Rams did have problems stopping the Colts in their last game despite an erratic Carson Wentz being at the helm. This Buccaneers team will be an entirely different challenge and the Rams will have to play perfectly to pull off a win here. I think I have to go with Brady and the Buccaneers here.
Mike’s NFL Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-118)
Green Bay Packers @ San Francisco 49ers – 8.20PM ET
Sunday Night Football sees a rematch of the 2019-20 NFC Championship Game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers got their season back on track on Monday Night Football in Week 2 but the 49ers are yet to drop a game and will be the toughest opponent Green Bay has faced through the early stages of the season.
I really like the 49ers in this matchup. While they have only won by eight and six points through the first two weeks, they have been on the road for both and held 14+ point leads in the fourth quarter before taking their foot off the gas against poor teams. They now face a very good side, the Packers, and will have their foot down the whole time, meaning this is the best San Francisco side that we have seen to date.
Despite battling injuries in their backfield, the offensive line has been superb for the 49ers. They have only allowed one sack through the first two games and now face a Packers side that is missing Za’Darius Smith, their’ best edge rusher, and is yet to register a sack this season. That means that Jimmy Garapolo, who is completing 70.9% of his passes, has 503 total passing yards and two touchdowns with no picks, will have all of the time in the world to find the read that he wants and keep the chains moving.
The weak point I see in the 49ers for this matchup is their run defense. San Francisco ranks just 27th for yards allowed on the ground and Green Bay have Aaron Jones coming off a four-touchdown game against the Lions on Monday night. That means that the 49ers defense will have to step it up a notch against Rodgers, Jones and the Packers, but I think they are up to the task, especially back at home in front of their fans. I don’t feel comfortable with the hook currently attached to the 3.5 point spread but I would be more than happy to bet big on the Niners winning straight up.
Tim’s NFL Pick: San Francisco 49ers (-184)
No. 19 has been a PROBLEM.
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) September 21, 2021
The Packers bounced back from their week 1 embarrassment by beating the Lions in comfortable fashion. However, the Lions actually played well in the first half against the Packers, with Jared Goff picking apart the Packers defense. This poor defensive showing in the first half by the Packer is a worrying sign as they may struggle against the high octane attack of the 49ers. Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy Garoppolo may make life hard for a Packers defense, which couldn’t hold back the lowly Lions in the first half of last game and a Jameis Winston-led offense in week 1.
On offense, the Packers are looking significantly better this week. Aaron Jones had a phenomenal showing with 4 touchdowns against the Lions, however, this likely won’t happen again as the 49ers defense has several talented pieces in their front seven that can stop Jones. Where the Packers may succeed is through the air with Davanta Adams. The 49ers don’t have a marquee corner to slow down Adams, and I am expecting Aaron Rodgers to lean heavily on his safety net. With the 49ers having a weakened running game, I expect both teams to lean on the air attack in this game resulting in a high scoring affair.
Mike’s NFL Pick: Over 49.5 (-115)
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.