2020 NFL Expert Picks: Week 3

2020 NFL Expert Picks: Week 3

by September 23, 2020 0 comments

Three NFL experts from the Prime Time Sports Talk staff came together to share their picks for Week 3.

These three writers will continue to make their picks for the entire season, earning two points for any correct win-loss outcome and an additional three points for correctly predicting the exact score. (Failure to accurately predict a tie will be treated as a loss.) A cumulative points total and record will be listed at the bottom of every article. An archive of all 17 regular-season and four playoff editions can be found here.

Mike FanelliJoe Heller, and Andersen Pickard contributed to this article.

Miami Dolphins vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Mike Fanelli: Jaguars 27, Dolphins 17

The Dolphins have struggled on defense so far this season while the Jaguars’ offense has been surprisingly consistent. At home, the Jaguars get the running game going while the Dolphins struggle to slow down Gardner Minshew.

Joe Heller: Jaguars 27, Dolphins 24

Gardner Minshew and co. will squeak out a Week 3 victory. For the Dolphins, the Tua Tagovailoa watch gets louder and the time gets closer.

Andersen Pickard: Jaguars 26, Dolphins 13

The Jaguars came up just short against the Titans last week, but they should have no issue against Miami. Gardner Minshew will find Laviska Shenault and D.J. Chark for a touchdown while James Robinson rips up the Dolphins for over 100 yards and a score as the Jaguars win handily.

San Francisco 49ers vs. New York Giants

Mike: Giants 23, 49ers 17

How the 49ers can field an entire team is impressive. They were hit worse than anyone else by the injury bug last week. Meanwhile, the Giants have played better than their record would suggest. With so many injuries, the 49ers struggle to be consistent on either side of the ball. Thanks to all the 49ers’ injuries, the Giants get their first win of the season.

Joe: 49ers 17, Giants 13

Both teams have been dealt season-altering injury news this week. The 49ers will stick with a similar game plan that worked last week in the same stadium.

Andersen: Giants 17, 49ers 16

The Giants have a solid team despite their 0-2 record. Losing Saquon Barkley and Sterling Shepard hurts, but the 49ers will be without Richard Sherman, Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman, Deebo Samuel, Nick Bosa, and Solomon Thomas. Jimmy Garoppolo and George Kittle are also unlikely to play this week. New York should secure their first victory of the year.

Washington Football Team vs. Cleveland Browns

Mike: Browns 23, Washington 17

Both teams struggle to find their footing early in the game. However, the Browns will turn to their running game to move the ball and slow down the Washington pass rush. Down at halftime, Washington makes some adjustments and start moving the ball in the second half. However, it is too little too late as the Browns control the clock and walk away with a six-point victory.

Joe: Browns 27, Washington 24

The Browns’ offense impressed and was able to get going last week against the Bengals. That game plan will carry over against Washington, whose defense is coming off a rough outing against the Arizona Cardinals.

Andersen: Browns 24, Washington 14

The Browns will run all over the Washington defense en route to their second victory of the year. Baker Mayfield will have a quiet game but Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt will solidify themselves as the best one-two punch in the NFL. Cleveland should win by two scores against a Washington team that looked weak against the Cardinals.

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Mike: Eagles 31, Bengals 17

The Eagles have looked flat the first two weeks of the season, but this is exactly what the doctor ordered. In a matchup against a weak Bengals defense, the Eagles will find their rhythm on offense and win the game by double-digits.

Joe: Bengals 30, Eagles 17

Joe Burrow gets his first NFL victory in this battle of winless teams. The difference between this week’s win and last week’s loss? This week, the No. 1 overall pick won’t have to pass 60 times. Carson Wentz and the Eagles will drop to 0-3.

Andersen: Eagles 24, Bengals 23

The Eagles and Bengals face off after both losing their first two games of the season. The Bengals will try to run the ball with Joe Mixon more than they did in the past two weeks, but Philadelphia will shut down the rushing attack early, forcing Joe Burrow to pass more than he should. Philadelphia will secure a very close victory in Week 3.

Las Vegas Raiders vs. New England Patriots

Mike: Patriots 27, Raiders 24

Who would have guessed the Raiders would be 2-0 and averaging over 30 points per game? The duo of Josh Jacobs and Darren Waller has been one of the best in the league so far this season. However, the Patriots have been impressive themselves, so look for them to bounce back after a last-second defeat in Seattle.

Joe: Raiders 31, Patriots 24

Cam Newton and the Patriots were one yard short of being 2-0. Meanwhile, Jon Gruden’s team is 2-0 after an impressive win against the New Orleans Saints. Vegas goes to 3-0.

Andersen: Patriots 28, Raiders 27

The Raiders’ incredible start to the year will come to an abrupt halt against New England. Cam Newton will continue to run wild, allowing his receivers to get open and command a hefty target share, too. The difference in this game will be the Patriots’ defensive unit. Derek Carr and Josh Jacobs will each have solid performances but won’t quite do enough to one-up one of the league’s best defenses.

Chicago Bears vs. Atlanta Falcons

Mike: Falcons 34, Bears 27

The Falcons are the best team in the league at shooting themselves in the foot. They have repeatedly made mistakes to hand their opponent the win so far this season. However, the losing stops on Sunday as the Falcons’ offense scores plenty of points on a good Bears defense.

Joe: Bears 24, Falcons 20

Mitch Trubisky and the Bears will move to 3-0 on the season. Meanwhile, the Falcons will fall to 0-3.

Andersen: Falcons 38, Bears 20

The Falcons have been on the losing end of two of the best games this season. They’ll put up yet another incredible offensive showing on Sunday, but this time, the other team won’t be able to catch up. David Montgomery will have a solid game but the Bears’ offense will only be able to muster up two touchdowns in the loss.

Los Angeles Rams vs. Buffalo Bills

Mike: Rams 27, Bills 23

A matchup of semi-surprising 2-0 teams pits the Rams against the Bills. However, the former defeated two solid NFC East squads while the latter beat up on two of the worst teams in the league. In their first real test of the season, the Bills come out flat to start the game, and while Josh Allen does everything he can to keep the score close, the Rams pull out the victory.

Joe: Bills 34, Rams 24

Josh Allen has thrown for over 700 yards through the first two games. He will accomplish a third straight 300-yard passing game despite facing the Rams’ terrifying defense.

Andersen: Bills 27, Rams 20

Josh Allen will slow down at some point, but until he shows signs of faltering, it’d be foolish to pick against him. The Bills will look to mix in the rushing attack more than in past games while their defense pressures Jared Goff, rattling him early and often. This won’t be a blowout, but the Bills should have no trouble emerging victorious.

Houston Texans vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Mike: Steelers 34, Texans 24

The Texans couldn’t have drawn a more difficult start to the season. After facing the two best teams in the league to open the year, they now head to Pittsburgh to face arguably the best defense in football. Deshaun Watson and the offense struggle to be consistent while the Steelers have little trouble with the Texans’ defense. The Texans start the season 0-3 and begin to wonder if the season is already lost.

Joe: Steelers 27, Texans 20

The rebirth of Ben Roethlisberger continues. The Steelers will move to 3-0. Meanwhile, Deshawn Watson and the Texans fall to 0-3 and remain in the basement of the AFC South.

Andersen: Steelers 27, Texans 14

The Texans really struggled against the Ravens on Sunday and should see similar success against the league’s best defense this week. If Pittsburgh’s offense can continue to play at an impressive clip, they will defeat Houston by at least two touchdowns.

Tennessee Titans vs. Minnesota Vikings

Mike: Titans 31, Vikings 14

Through the first two weeks of the season, the Vikings have been one of the most disappointing teams. Now, they take on the 2-0 Titans without several players on defense, including Anthony Barr (pectoral, IR). The Vikings struggle to move the ball at times on offense while Derrick Henry and the Titans score almost at will.

Joe: Titans 34, Vikings 20

The Titans’ passing game has been leading the team so far this season. This should be the week where Derrick Henry eats up major yards on the ground. No longer the NFC North favorites, the Vikings will fall to 0-3.

Andersen: Titans 27, Vikings 14

The Titans looked solid last week, picking up a win against a surprisingly impressive Jaguars team. Minnesota, meanwhile, looks horrendous. Kirk Cousins is playing awful football while the defense is porous and is due for an even worse game after losing Anthony Barr. Don’t be surprised if the Titans win by two or three scores.

Carolina Panthers vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Mike: Panthers 24, Chargers 17

How wild is it that Anthony Lynn will go back to Tyrod Taylor as the starter after the game Justin Herbert just had? Luckily for them, the Panthers just lost the best weapon in football, Christian McCaffrey, for the next few weeks because of a high-ankle sprain. However, Curtis Samuel and D.J. Moore pick up the slack and help the Panthers get their first victory of the Matt Rhule era.

Joe: Chargers 31, Panthers 20

The Panthers haven’t been able to get it done with arguably the best player in the NFL, Christian McCaffrey. Their first game without him will be more of the same. Chargers rookie signal-caller Justin Herbert will get his first NFL victory in just his second start.

Andersen: Chargers 27, Panthers 13

Expect a heavy amount of turnovers in this game. Although the Carolina defense is horrendous, Justin Herbert will lose some magic as he tosses two interceptions. However, Carolina will also turn the ball over three times, essentially taking themselves out of the game.

New York Jets vs. Indianapolis Colts

Mike: Colts 41, Jets 17

After an ugly loss Week 1 against the Jaguars, the Colts bounced back and destroyed the Vikings last week. Now, they get an early Christmas present as they take on the Jets, who pretend to be an NFL team. The Colts have no problem moving the ball while the Jets struggle with all their injuries. Expect a blowout and people to be changing the channel before the fourth quarter starts.

Joe: Colts 24, Jets 10

The reasoning here is simple: the Colts beat the Vikings, who are better than the Jets, so they will handily defeat the Jets, too. The Colts improve to 2-1.

Andersen: Colts 38, Jets 13

The Colts are good. The Jets are really, really bad. Kickoff can’t come soon enough for Colts players, who are surely salivating at the opportunity to face off against the Jets.

Dallas Cowboys vs. Seattle Seahawks

Mike: Seahawks 38, Cowboys 35

No one is playing better than Russell Wilson right now. He has 11 incompletions compared to nine touchdowns this season. Now, he faces a Cowboys defense that has been shredded in the passing game so far this season. The good news for the Cowboys is the Seahawks’ defense isn’t very good. Expect a high-scoring game with the winner being whichever quarterback has the ball last.

Joe: Seahawks 27, Cowboys 24

Russell Wilson and Dak Prescott enter coming off of amazing performances in Week 2. It’s hard to pick against the Seahawks at home, even without fans.

Andersen: Seahawks 34, Cowboys 24

The Cowboys looked really bad in the first half of last week’s game against Atlanta until the Falcons fell apart in the second half and gave them an incredibly easy win. Dallas will fall behind early on in their bout with Seattle, but this time, the opposing defense will hold strong. Don’t expect much out of the Cowboys this week. Seattle by two scores.

Detroit Lions vs. Arizona Cardinals

Mike: Cardinals 30, Lions 20

There isn’t a division in football better than the NFC West right now. The only loss is an inter-division game between the 49ers and the Cardinals in Week 1. While the Seahawks and Rams are getting all the attention, the Cardinals are playing just as good of football. Kyler Murray‘s name belongs in the MVP race, while DeAndre Hopkins looks like the best receiver in football. Meanwhile, the Lions have choked away two potential wins and appear headed for another disappointing season.

Joe: Lions 24, Cardinals 20

The Lions will get the win. The Cardinals are a team that Detroit matches up well with. After this game, the Lions will no longer be the team in last place in the NFC North.

Andersen: Cardinals 21, Lions 17

The Cardinals have been playing solid football as of late. Thought it’s been hard to truly judge the teams they played against, Arizona is 2-0 and looking to improve to 3-0 against the Lions. They should succeed in this mission as their offense prepares to rip apart Detroit’s defense.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Denver Broncos

Mike: Buccaneers 27, Broncos 16

Other than the 49ers, no team has been hit as hard by the injury bug as the Broncos. On Sunday, they lost quarterback Drew Lock for several weeks with a shoulder injury. In addition to Lock, star wide receiver Courtland Sutton tore his ACL and will miss the rest of the season. With Jeff Driskel leading the Broncos’ offense, is there any way he can match score-for-score with Tom Brady? Nope.

Joe: Buccaneers 34, Broncos 17

Tom Brady and his brigade of flashy weapons visit the Broncos, who will be without Drew Lock, Phillip Lindsay, and Courtland Sutton. Look for Rob Gronkowski to put his stamp on this game as the Bucs win handily.

Andersen: Buccaneers 27, Broncos 13

The Broncos have been hit hard by the injury bug and will now rely on Jeff Driskel to get the ball to Jerry Jeudy, K.J. Hamler, and Noah Fant. Driskel showed flashes of promise against a relentless Pittsburgh defense last week and the Broncos should put up a fight this week. However, a late Buccaneers pick-six will seal the deal and give Tampa Bay the two-score win.

Green Bay Packers vs. New Orleans Saints

Mike: Saints 30, Packers 27

Coming off an embarrassing loss to the Raiders, the Saints will be motivated to bounce back against the 2-0 Packers. However, the Packers have one of the best offenses so far this season. Davante Adams is dealing with a hamstring injury, though it’s not believed to be serious. Assuming he plays, the Packers should be the favorites. However, the Saints are better at home (even without fans), so expect them to pull out the victory.

Joe: Packers 38, Saints 20

The two Aarons in Green Bay are both hitting on all cylinders through the first two weeks. Drew Brees and the Saints, who are coming off a loss on Monday night, will fall shy of Rodgers and Jones in this duel.

Andersen: Packers 31, Saints 23

The Packers are firing on all cylinders and looking like one of the best teams in the NFL. Meanwhile, the Saints impressed in Week 1 but struggled without Michael Thomas in Week 2 against the Raiders. The Saints will keep it somewhat close on Sunday night but will never lead.

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Baltimore Ravens

Mike: Ravens 27, Chiefs 24

This should be the best game of the season so far and arguably the best in 2020. These are the two best teams in football, and the game could go either way. However, the Ravens have the better defense, and the Chiefs did struggle to move the ball against the Chargers last week. The Ravens squeeze out a tight victory and take the early lead for the top seed in the AFC playoffs.

Joe: Ravens 41, Chiefs 38

This is the matchup that many thought was inevitable last season in the AFC Championship before the Henry Express singlehandedly detailed that. Lamar Jackson and the Ravens will win this battle of the league’s last two MVPs.

Andersen: Ravens 31, Chiefs 27

Lamar Jackson and the Ravens are playing really good football. The clear No. 1 team in the AFC, Baltimore’s advantage over Kansas City comes on defense. The Ravens’ defensive unit consistently pulls out big stops and forces turnovers while Kansas City hasn’t seen as much success (though rookie L’Jarius Sneed is the only player with multiple interceptions). The Chiefs will keep it close but the Ravens won’t waver on Monday night’s national stage.

Point Totals

Mike: 46
Joe: 40
Andersen: 42

Records

Mike: 23-9
Joe: 20-12
Andersen: 21-11


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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images

Andersen is a teenage sports writer and reporter whose articles have appeared across the Sports Illustrated Kids, Prime Time Sports Talk, and SB Nation platforms. He has also received credit from RotoWorld, CBS Sports, ESPN, Bleacher Report, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, The Athletic, SB Nation, NBC Sports, NY Post, and dozens of other sports sites for his reporting work.

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