Predicting the NFL’s full slate of week three games

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 13: The NFL shield is painted in gold and black after a game between the Cleveland Browns and the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on September 13, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The new color scheme is to commemorate this years' Super Bowl witch will be the 50th edition. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 13: The NFL shield is painted in gold and black after a game between the Cleveland Browns and the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on September 13, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The new color scheme is to commemorate this years' Super Bowl witch will be the 50th edition. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images) /
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The NFL will be kicking off week three of the NFL season tonight while the Miami Dolphins have to wait until Sunday to face off against the Raiders.

Each week we try and pick who has the leg up on their opponent and who has the best chance of winning. Here are my picks for week three of the NFL season.

Jets (1-1) at Browns (0-1-1)

Thursday 8:20 pm EST

FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio

(CLE -3.0)

Despite not winning a game yet, the Browns look much improved. The way in which the Browns are losing, or not winning rather, makes it feel like they are cursed and destined to finish winless once again.

However, the Browns did away with kicker Zane Gonzalez whose missed kicks could have cost Cleveland wins in both weeks. The Browns opted to sign former Dolphin and FAU Owl Greg Joseph as their new kicker, who competed with and narrowly lost to Dolphins’ current kicker Jason Sanders.

If Joseph can kick the ball into the uprights when his number is called, the Browns might have a chance at actually winning a game. Something they haven’t done since December of 2016. As for the Jets, well, they have hope.

Sam Darnold is the future in New York and if he can limit turnovers he can be the present and have the Jets in contention for the playoffs. But for right now, the Browns will likely capitalize on Darnold’s mistakes, and use their talented defense and the home crowd to their advantage and win a tight one on Thursday Night Football.

Browns 19 Jets 16

Saints (1-1)  at Falcons (1-1)

Sunday 1:00 pm EST

Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia

(ATL -3.0)

The Saints are coming off one of the more undeserving wins in recent memory, but New Orleans took advantage of the Browns’ mistakes to steal a win from Cleveland. The Saints defense looked absolutely abysmal in week 1, surrendering 48 points and 417 passing yards to Ryan Fitzpatrick. The offense, however, looked good, putting up 40 points and nearly 440 yards through the air.

Of course, in typical NFL inconsistent fashion, the Saints offense sputtered through three-quarters, while their defense looked much improved. The Saints trailed 12 to 3 in the fourth quarter before things switched back to normalcy and the Saints outscored the Browns 18 to 6 in the final quarter.

As aforementioned, the Saints were bailed out on multiple occasions by missed kicks from Zane Gonzalez and had he made all or just half of his kicks, the Saints would be sitting at 0-2. The Falcons played much better and beat a divisional opponent at home last week, something they will try to again this week. The Falcons are much better at home, while the Saints struggle outside of the Superdome.  

With inconsistency on both sides of the ball for New Orleans, and the Falcons offense looking much better on their home turf, this should be a shootout that will go Atlanta’s way.

Falcons 34 Saints 27

Packers (1-0-1) at Redskins (1-1)

Sunday 1:00 pm EST

FedEx Field, Landover, Maryland

(GB -3.0)

Both teams are coming off disappointing results, with the Packers tying the Vikings at home and the Redskins getting handled at home by the Colts. Tying an elite Vikings team is still a much better result than losing by multiple scores to a good but not great Colts team.

The Packers have been a more impressive and better team overall this year than the Redskins. Oh, and they have someone named Aaron Rodgers throwing the football. This game might be closer than one might expect because the Packers are not nearly as effective on the road as they are at Lambeau, yet this is the worst team Green Bay will have faced thus far this season.

Packers 27 Redskins 17

Colts (1-1) at Eagles (1-1)

Sunday 1:00 pm EST

Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

(PHI -6.5)

The Eagles have not looked good this season offensively, but that should change this week. Last year’s leading MVP candidate for much of the season, Carson Wentz, is back. Wentz brought the Eagles to the playoffs as the number 1 seed, and Nick Foles finished it off with a Super Bowl victory. Foles wasn’t nearly as good as he was in the playoffs last year and the Eagles offense struggled mightily because of it. Wentz will likely be a little rusty but is certainly a huge upgrade over the inconsistent Foles.

Speaking of rusty QB’s, Andrew Luck seemed to shake off the rust a bit last week in a win over the Redskins. Luck and the Colts will get a much tougher road draw this week as the Eagles should be much improved on both sides of the ball with Wentz back.

If Wentz is slinging it around, making plays, that should get the crowd amped up, and the defense playing better as well. Wentz first game back should result in a victory for the defending champs, picking up right where he left off last year in Week 14.

Eagles 30 Colts 17

Bills (0-2) at Vikings (1-0-1)

Sunday 1:00 pm EST

US Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota

(MIN -16.5)

Yikes. That’s all to be said about this matchup. The Vikings look like a top three team in the league and the Bills look like far and away the worst team in the league. And the game is in Minneapolis. This has the look of an ugly matchup that really shouldn’t be close.

This is the NFL, anything can happen, but a Bills win here seems impossible. Josh Allen looked better than Nathan Peterman ever has, and the Bills looked pretty good in garbage time. Garbage time may begin in the first half of this game.

For Allen, this is a daunting matchup, having to go on the road in a hostile environment against on of the league’s best defenses. This isn’t Wyoming anymore, Josh. It feels like the Bills would rather sit this one out forfeit instead of leaving their rookie QB for the wolves in Minnesota. The Vikings offense is explosive and for real, Kirk Cousin’s mouth is salivating at this matchup. The Bills will be lucky if they keep this game within three scores.

Vikings 42 Bills 3

Broncos (2-0) at Ravens (1-1)

Sunday 1:00 pm EST

M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland

(BAL -5.5)

The Broncos might be the least impressive of the 7 remaining 2-0 teams. Narrowly beating two winless teams at home. Denver will get a much tougher draw this week in Baltimore team that is very difficult to figure out. Baltimore absolutely obliterated the Bills in week1, 47 to 3, but lost on the road to the Bengals on Thursday.

Case Keenum has looked impressive as the Broncos QB but the Ravens have a better secondary than what the Broncos have faced thus far. If the Ravens can control the ball, run it well, and if Joe Flacco game manages and limits turnovers, Baltimore should grind out the win at home.

Ravens 17 Broncos 10

Bengals (2-0) at Panthers (1-1)

Sunday 1:00 pm EST

Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina

(CAR -3.0)

This has the making of a quietly good game and a big test for the undefeated Bengals who have won both of their games 34 to 23. This will likely be a much tougher matchup than their first two, but if they can win here, they would have the makings of a really good team, who could not only compete but win the AFC North.

But there is something about this game that seems bigger than football. This will be the first game in Charlotte since the deadly Hurricane Florence and it seems like one of those games that means more to the city because of the recent natural disaster. The crowd will be louder, the players playing harder.

Andy Dalton has looked fantastic so far, but the Panthers defense appears to be a different animal at home. This game should be a close one, but the crowd and Cam Newton will be too much for the 2-0 Bengals.

Panthers 24 Bengals 16

Giants (0-2)  at Texans (0-2)

Sunday 1:00 pm EST

NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas

(HOU -6.0)

Both of these teams have had very disappointing starts to the season. The Giants hired an offensive-minded coach and made many changes to the offensive line to help improve offensive success. Last week in Dallas, the Giants surrendered six sacks to six different defenders and failed to score a touchdown until late in the 4th quarter when the game was already lost.

The Texans had high hopes coming into the year, behind the arm of second-year QB and “Michael Jordan in cleats” Deshaun Watson. Watson has been less than spectacular thus far this season. He and the Texans have looked off offensively, and can’t seem to play well consistently.

Still, the Giants issues are far worse than Houston’s and the Giants will likely have plenty of trouble containing Jadeveon Clowney and J.J. Watt coming off the edge. If there were ever a game for Watson to bounce back, this would be it.

Texans 23 Giants 13