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NFL Week 3 Predictions: Picks for Bengals-Rams, Eagles-Buccaneers & More

After a thrilling Week 2 slate, we’ve got a so-so card for Week 3 that features several games the market believes will be blowouts. However, there are plenty of good spots for bettors to exploit, so let’s dive right into this week’s action. I’ve got picks for several high-profile games and have identified a few other sharp spots. Let’s dive into my NFL Week 3 predictions so that we can talk about the best NFL picks for Broncos-Dolphins, Patriots-Jets, Steelers-Raiders and more Week 3 action.

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NFL Week 3 Predictions: Picks for Patriots-Jets, Broncos-Dolphins, Steelers-Raiders & More

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Eagles-Buccaneers NFL Week 3 Prediction

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Eagles: -230 | Buccaneers: +190
Eagles -5.5: -105 | Buccaneers +5.5: -115
Over 46: -110 | Under 46: -110

For updated Eagles-Buccaneers odds and picks, click here!

The Philadelphia Eagles will visit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this weekend in a battle between undefeated teams. It’s easy to forget that the Eagles are undefeated and 1-0-1 ATS given the defeatist narratives swirling around Philadelphia, but the Eagles really aren’t that bad. In fact, they’re actually pretty good. Philadelphia ranks 18th in EPA per play and 14th in EPA allowed per play. That’s not bad for a team that has played in the rain and on a short week. However, the Buccaneers rank 11th and seventh in those metrics, respectively.

The problem for Monday night’s game is that the Buccaneers cannot block. Their offensive line ranks 26th in pass-block win rate (26%) and 28th in run-block win rate (66%). That will prove to be a problem against Philadelphia’s defensive front, which ranks 15th in pass-rush win rate (46%) and third in run-stop win rate (37%). Stud linemen like Fletcher Cox and Jalen Carter, who are complemented by above-average guys like Brandon Graham and Jordan Davis, will make life hell for Tampa Bay’s thin offensive line.

The Buccaneers have succeeded despite the offensive line’s mediocre play because of Baker Mayfield‘s quick processing speed and matchups against low-quality defensive lines. Tampa Bay’s two opponents to this point, the Vikings and Bears, have lines that rank 19th/26th and 16th/14th in pass-rush and run-stop win rates, respectively. Monday’s matchup will be their first true test. Meanwhile, Mayfield is spending only 2.4 seconds in the pocket per dropback, which is in line with his final year in Cleveland but is much faster than what he recorded in Carolina (2.5) and L.A. (2.6).

Sitting at a fat 46, the total for Monday’s Eagles-Buccaneers game is simply too high. These defenses both rank above the league average in EPA allowed per play, and they’re also operating at below-average clips. Tampa Bay ranks 22nd in seconds per play (29.4) while Philadelphia ranks 30th (31). While both squads are playing much slower than the 25.6 and 28.2 they averaged last year, their offenses seem to have genuinely slowed down — the Eagles are running the ball 4% more often while the Buccaneers are running it 17.2% more.

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Eagles-Buccaneers NFL Week 3 Pick: Under 46 -110 at BetMGM

Rams-Bengals NFL Week 3 Prediction

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Rams: +114 | Bengals: -134
Rams +2.5: -110 | Bengals -2.5: -110
Over 43.5: -112 | Under 43.5: -108

For updated Rams-Bengals odds and picks, click here!

Will the Cincinnati Bengals have Joe Burrow available for Week 3’s Monday Night Football game against the Los Angeles Rams? The market appears uncertain — the Bengals were trading as a 6.5-point home favorite on the lookahead markets, but they’re down to a 2-point favorite in most spots as of Tuesday evening. The Bengals have been unexpectedly bad while the Rams have been unexpectedly good, which may explain some of the line movement, but the current line likely still assumes a chance Burrow plays.

If Burrow can’t go, the Bengals will likely turn to backup Jake Browning, who has appeared in a single NFL game and made a single pass attempt. With Burrow struggling behind this offensive line, which ranks a dreadful 30th in pass block win rate (39%), Browning is almost certain to fail. Cincinnati’s offense ranks 26th in EPA per play and 30th in success rate (36%) through two weeks, and it seems increasingly likely that the coaching staff had been relying upon Burrow, Tee Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase playing so far above replacement level as to counteract a bad scheme.

The Rams will be road favorites if Burrow gets ruled out, so pounce on them as dogs while you can. But even if Burrow suits up, the Rams have a solid chance of covering against a hobbled Burrow. Sean McVay’s offense ranks 10th in EPA per play and sixth in success rate (47.5%), far better than what Zac Taylor, once considered one of his proteges, has cooked up with far more talented players. Matthew Stafford may rank only 18th in Ben Baldwin’s EPA/CPOE composite score, but that’s far better than 29th-ranked Burrow at this point in the year.

The Rams and Bengals have played roughly the same on defense, but the Rams have taken on far better opponents. L.A. clocks in 24th in EPA allowed per play and 27th in success rate allowed (47.7%). Cincinnati leads in the first metric at 22nd but trails in the second at 29th (49%). The Bengals are only 8-12-1 ATS since their ill-fated Super Bowl appearance against the Rams, which, while better than the Rams’ 7-12 record, didn’t come with their star quarterback sidelined. Buying the Rams as up to a 1.5-point favorite is one of my favorite Week 3 NFL picks.

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Rams-Bengals NFL Week 3 Pick: Los Angeles +2.5 -110 at FanDuel

Giants-49ers NFL Week 3 Prediction

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Giants: +410 | 49ers: -550
Giants +10: -105 | 49ers -10: -115
Over 44: -115 | Under 44: -105

The San Francisco 49ers will host the New York Giants on Thursday Night Football. They are 10-point favorites for this one in what projects to be an ugly game. The Giants are a bad 1-1 with a blowout loss to the Cowboys and a near-loss to the Cardinals. The 49ers are an impressive 2-0 with a double-digit win over the Steelers and what should’ve been a double-digit win over the Rams. The advanced stats back up how good San Francisco is relative to New York — the 49ers are a strong third in my weighted expected points added (EPA) rankings, clocking in almost 1.5 standard deviations above the league average, while the Giants are a bad 30th and are almost 1.5 standard deviations below it.

New York’s loss to Dallas was somewhat excusable, but the near-loss to Arizona was not. The Cowboys may have the NFL’s best defense this year, but the Cardinals have a thoroughly below-average one. They rank 17th in EPA per play allowed through two games despite playing against mediocre quarterback-offense combinations in Sam Howell-Washington and Daniel Jones-New York. With Saquon Barkley now sidelined for multiple weeks, the Giants are cooked — Barkley has accounted for 25.4% of the team’s yards from scrimmage and 50% of their touchdowns.

Meanwhile, the 49ers come in off a big win over the Rams that saw them give up an early lead before scoring 17 straight points. Their defense coughed up more yards than I expected to Matthew Stafford and the shorthanded Rams, but the unit still ranks third in EPA allowed per play. They rank worse against the run than the pass in the metric, but they’ve faced a very small sample of rushing attempts, so I’m not putting too much stock into that. Opposing teams have thrown the ball against them 76.9% of the time. With the Giants likely starting Matt Breida, expect another heavy dose of passing attempts from New York.

I don’t want to play the under for a few reasons, but I’m willing to tease the spread down to pair with the under on New York’s team total. Sure, playing on Thursday Night Football after a short week is rough for any defense, but San Francisco coughed up just 13 points to the Seahawks on Thursday last year. They’ll face one of the league’s worst offenses and a quarterback who is an atrocious 1-10 in primetime games. Jones is averaging 4.7 net yards per attempt (NY/A) with five interceptions for every four touchdowns in primetime. The 49ers should win by at least four, and the Giants won’t put up more than 18 points. New York has averaged 18.2 points per game with Jones but without Barkley since 2020.

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Giants-49ers NFL Week 3 Pick: San Francisco -3.5/New York Under 18.5 -115 at DraftKings

Broncos-Dolphins NFL Week 3 Prediction

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Broncos: +240 | Dolphins: -295
Broncos +6.5: -110 | Dolphins -6.5: -110
Over 47.5: -115 | Under 47.5: -105

For updated Broncos-Dolphins odds and picks, click here!

The Miami Dolphins will host the Denver Broncos on Sunday, and boy, well, I expect a lot of points from Miami in this one. Their offense is performing at an unsustainably high level, but the time for the wheels to come off isn’t against a struggling Broncos defense. Denver coughed up 17 points to a Raiders team that looked awful in Week 2 and 35 points to a Commanders team that looked awful in Week 1. The Broncos are at about the league average in EPA allowed per rush attempt but are fourth worst by EPA allowed per pass attempt, and they’ll have to face the league leaders in EPA per pass attempt this weekend.

The Broncos have taken a major step back defensively this season. Star cornerback Pat Surtain II and star safety Justin Simmons are still in town, and while Surtain is as good as ever, Simmons owns a 47.6 PFF grade through two games, coughing up an 80% completion percentage and a 118.7 QBR. Surtain’s fellow boundary cornerback, Damarri Mathis, has surrendered a 100% completion percentage on nine targets and a 149.3 QBR. Mix that with a defensive front that ranks a dismal 27th in pass-rush win rate (32%) and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. The Broncos have some good defensive pieces, but they won’t be enough to stop Miami.

Again, the Dolphins are performing unsustainably well on offense, but let’s break down just how well they’re doing. Miami leads the NFL in EPA per play by nearly 0.1 more than the next-best Green Bay Packers, which is a wider gap than the one the Packers have over the 11th-ranked Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Miami’s offensive success rate of 52.4% trails only the Buffalo Bills and would’ve led the NFL last year by 1.7%. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa ranks second to only Patrick Mahomes in Ben Baldwin’s EPA+CPOE composite score over the last two seasons, and he currently leads all quarterbacks in the metric this season.

Sunday’s Broncos-Dolphins game raises the question of what happens when an unstoppable force meets a movable object. Denver’s defense was supposed to benefit from a slow-paced, run-heavy offense, but the Broncos are only the 12th-slowest team in seconds per play (29.2) this year, and whatever run-heavy scheme Payton was supposed to employ hasn’t materialized — Denver is 25th in rushing play percentage (37.5%). That’s left their undermanned defense vulnerable, and a bad pair of opposing offenses have capitalized for the eighth-most yards per play (5.4) and the 17th-most yards per game (324.5).

Broncos-Dolphins NFL Week 3 Pick: Miami Team Total Over 27.5 -102 at FanDuel

Patriots-Jets NFL Week 3 Prediction

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Patriots: -148 | Jets:+126
Patriots -2.5: -115 | Jets +2.5: -105
Over 37: -105 | Under 37: -105

For updated Patriots-Jets odds and picks, click here!

We don’t need any more tape to know that Zach Wilson is not a good NFL quarterback. The New York Jets are a 2.5-point home underdog to the New England Patriots this weekend, and it’s always a good idea to fade the Jets when Bill Belichick is on the opposite sideline. Although New England is off to a disappointing 0-2 start, the Patriots have shown a lot more life on offense with Bill O’Brien at the helm this year — just not along the offensive line. The Patriots rank an atrocious 31st in pass-block win rate (37%) and 27th in run-block win rate (67%). I’m backing the Pats to win this game at any number better than -150 (60%).

The Patriots swept the season series against the Jets last year. They held off a late-game comeback in the Meadowlands and scored an overtime win over a punt return by Marcus Jones in Foxborough. The wins weren’t as dominant as they were in the Tom Brady era, but they were still wins. Terrible offensive line play by New York ensured that Wilson made plenty of mistakes, and the situation is no better this year — New York is the only team to trail New England in pass block win rate at 32nd (33%). Both teams’ conservative offenses and bad offensive lines have led Vegas to set the total for this one at a laughable 36.5.

Despite the 0-2 start, New England has looked better on both sides of the ball than New York. The Patriots rank a bad 24th in offensive EPA, but they’re at least eighth in success rate (47%). New York is 30th in EPA and 24th in success rate (39.4%). These teams are neck-and-neck defensively, with New England ranked 21st in EPA allowed per play, slightly behind 20th-ranked New York, but New England is 19th in success rate allowed (44.4%) while New York is 22nd (45.3%). However, the Patriots have pressured opposing quarterbacks 22.9% of the time, far better than the Jets, who have done so only 16.7% of the time.

Mac Jones and his receivers have a slightly easier job ahead of them than Zach Wilson and his. The Patriots have done a better job getting to opposing quarterbacks than the Jets, and that pressure will have serious consequences for a turnover-prone quarterback like Wilson. Since 2022, Jones ranks 31st among 38 quarterbacks in adjusted EPA per play. Wilson ranks 38th. Jones also ranks 22nd in completion percentage over expected (CPOE) at -0.1% while Wilson ranks a dreadful 38th at -6%. As long as the Jets intend to trot out Wilson, the Patriots have a better than 60% chance of winning.

Patriots-Jets NFL Week 3 Pick: New England Moneyline -135 at DraftKings

Bears-Chiefs NFL Week 3 Prediction

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Bears: +540 | Chiefs: -770
Bears +12.5: -110 | Chiefs -12.5: -110
Over 47.5: -115 | Under 47.5: -105

For updated Bears-Chiefs odds and picks, click here!

At this point, two things have become clear about the Chicago Bears. First, their terrible play last year wasn’t intentional — their offensive coordinator, Luke Getsy, appears to be genuinely terrible. Second, quarterback Justin Fields, whether as a function of Getsy’s incompetent play design or not, holds onto the ball for far too long. Fields leads the NFL in pocket time (2.8 seconds) after leading last year (2.7). The 55 sacks he took last year and the 10 he has taken this year should be read against his offensive line ranking second in pass-block win rate in 2022 (68%) and 11th this year (61%).

Week 3’s road game against the Kansas City Chiefs won’t be pretty. Fields will line up against a defensive line that got star tackle Chris Jones back last week. Jones owns a PFF grade of 92.8 so far this season and recorded a 92 last year. He led all defensive tackles in pass rush win rate at 21%, beating the next-best players by four percentage points. Jones demonstrated that he hadn’t missed a step in his return to action last week, and he’ll menace the interior of Chicago’s offensive line next week. Unless Getsy can scheme around him or Fields learns to spend less time in the pocket, Chicago’s passing attack won’t get much done.

But Kansas City’s defense aside, the Chiefs simply have a massive advantage over the Bears. Through two games this year, the Chiefs rank 17th in EPA per play, while the Bears rank a dismal 27th. Patrick Mahomes ranks a not-so-great 14th in Ben Baldwin’s EPA-CPOE composite score, but Fields ranks 31st of 32 eligible quarterbacks in the metric. Although Fields has elite mobility, exciting receivers and a solid offensive line, he lacks the processing speed and the coaching necessary to outscore an efficient Kansas City attack. The books know this, which is why they’re listing the Chiefs as massive 12.5-point home favorites for Sunday’s game.

I don’t love backing Kansas City to cover a spread that Chicago could easily backdoor with some late-game shenanigans. Variance is a hell of a thing. Kansas City is only 27-33-1 against the spread (ATS) since 2020 as well, which, while better than Chicago’s miserable 19-33-1 ATS record, still isn’t good. The Chiefs own the second-best margin of victory through that span (+6.5), but the books just aren’t creating that much value for us to exploit, especially at this number. The Chiefs are a great team to add as an NFL Week 3 teaser pick if you’re getting under the key number of seven, but I’m not betting them straight.

Bears-Chiefs NFL Week 3 Pick: Kansas City -6.5 (Teaser Pick)

Cowboys-Cardinals NFL Week 3 Prediction

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Cowboys: -820 | Cardinals: +570
Cowboys -12.5: -110 | Cardinals +12.5: -110
Over 43: -115 | Under 43: -105

For updated Cowboys-Cardinals odds and picks, click here!

The Dallas Cowboys are off to an electric start this season. After rolling both New York teams, they’ll get another layup matchup against the Arizona Cardinals, who are 12-point home underdogs this weekend. The Cardinals have been surprisingly plucky this year, keeping things close against the Commanders and Giants, but they lack the talent necessary to actually, you know, win. That’s not a slight to quarterback Josh Dobbs, who has far exceeded expectations, but an indict to a front office that seemed to have sincerely believed Kyler Murray could just carry a bad roster.

Through two weeks, the Cowboys are a clear offensive threat, while the Cardinals are mid at best. Dallas ranks seventh in EPA per play, but they rank third in the all-important EPA per dropback. Quarterback Dak Prescott has an elite alpha receiver in CeeDee Lamb to work with, and while his offensive line has been somewhat disappointing thus far, ranking only 25th in pass-block win rate (49%), they’ll face a Cardinals defensive front that ranks 29th in pass-rush win rate (32%). Meanwhile, Arizona ranks 21st in EPA per play and 18th in EPA per dropback. That’s a credit to Dobbs, but it’s also not sustainable against this defense.

The Cowboys may have the NFL’s best defense this year. They lead the NFL in EPA allowed per play by a healthy margin, and they have absolutely stifled opposing quarterbacks. Opposing offenses have a dismal 33.3% success rate on passing plays against the Cowboys. It helps that the Cowboys have the league’s best pass rush in pass-rush win rate (60%). That production is unsustainable — the league’s best team by pass-rush win rate scored only 52% last year — but it’s sustainable against a Cardinals defensive line that ranks 24th in the metric (49%).

I don’t want to buy Dallas to cover the 12. They should — they beat the Giants by 40 and the Jets by 30 — but we’ve seen the Cardinals pull enough magic out of their helmets so far this season that I’m just going to keep this to a six-point teaser pick that gets us under the key number of seven. Arizona’s offense has been able to depress scoring by keeping their opponents off the field, helping them go 2-0 ATS so far. Dallas has gone an impressive 31-24 ATS since 2020, including an NFL-best 10-4 as a road favorite, but they’ve won those games by an average of +5.1 and +11.5, respectively — not quite enough to cover this spread.

Cowboys-Cardinals NFL Week 3 Pick: Dallas -6 (Teaser Pick)

Steelers-Raiders NFL Week 3 Prediction

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Steelers: +112 | Raiders: -132
Steelers +2.5: -110 | Raiders -2.5: -110
Over 43: -110 | Under 43: -110

For updated Steelers-Raiders odds and picks, click here!

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Las Vegas Raiders will square off in primetime on Sunday, and, well, I don’t expect as many points out of the Steelers as we saw on Monday Night Football. Pittsburgh hung 26 on Cleveland, but a whopping 14 of those points came from defensive touchdowns: a pick-six and a scoop-and-score. The Steelers are averaging the second-fewest yards (247) and the fewest offensive touchdowns (1) per game. The Raiders aren’t much better and are averaging the third-fewest yards (250.5) and the sixth-fewest offensive touchdowns (1.5).

The advanced stats bear out just how bad both of these offenses have looked, and they’re at least a little encouraging for Pittsburgh’s defense. Pittsburgh ranks last in EPA per play by a sizeable margin. Las Vegas ranks a solid 13th. The Steelers also rank 31st in success rate (35.7%) while the Raiders rank 23rd (41.1%). The Steelers rank 12th in EPA allowed per play and ninth in success rate allowed (40%). That’s far better than Vegas’ defense, which ranks 31st and 31st (54%), but as we’ve seen, it doesn’t take much to cause problems for Kenny Pickett.

Both offenses have also suffered injuries to key personnel, and their run blocking has been awful. The Steelers lost wide receiver Diontae Johnson to the injured reserve, so we already know he’ll be out for Sunday night’s game. Likewise, the Raiders are waiting on slot receiver Jakobi Meyers to clear the concussion protocol. Pittsburgh’s offensive line ranks an acceptable 13th in pass-block win rate (59%) but a putrid 32nd in run-block win rate (58%), while Vegas’ offensive line ranks second (74%) and 24th (68%), respectively. With key receivers absent and inefficient rushing attacks, these teams will often find themselves in bad down-and-distances.

The total of 43-to-43.5 is just too high for what we’ve seen out of these teams this year. They combined for just 23 points on Christmas Eve last season and exactly 43 points in 2021, back when the Steelers still had Ben Roethlisberger under center. The Raiders have also played quite slowly and are averaging 30.5 seconds per play, not far off from the 29.9 they averaged last year. The Steelers have played faster than usual, averaging 24.8 seconds per play, but they’ll likely regress to the 29 they averaged last year against a bad opponent. Lock in the under 43.5.

Steelers-Raiders NFL Week 3 Pick: Under 43.5 -115 at DraftKings

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