As we now enter the third week of the 2021 NFL season, some teams have done a good job of getting a fast start. A few select teams so far have played very impressive football in their first two games. For the winless teams, they will have to win this week to keep their playoff chances alive at all. The key aspects of every game will be discussed below. Let’s take a look at what Week 3 of the 2021 NFL season has in store for the football world.
Carolina Panthers at Houston Texans
The first matchup of this week may not be too close. As mentioned above, a couple of teams have surpassed expectations so far and played great football. The Panthers are one of those teams. Their talented, young defense has been great, led by Brian Burns, Jaycee Horn, and Jeremy Chinn. Offensively, they are led by Christian McCaffrey who has been special so far. Sam Darnold has done a very good job in his first two games. The Texans will not have Tyrod Taylor in this one. Taylor was playing very well in the first two games before getting hurt. The Texans’ defense will likely struggle. The Panthers should win by 10.
Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans
This division game is a pretty crucial one for both teams early on. The Colts have had an underwhelming start and will likely be without Carson Wentz. This makes this a matchup the Titans cannot afford to lose, especially after losing their first home game. The Colts’ defense was expected to be better than they have played so far. Going up against this extremely talented Titans offense will be a challenge. For the Titans defense, who have continued their poor play early on, this is the perfect opportunity to build something good. Ryan Tannehill, Derrick Henry, A.J. Brown, and Julio Jones will ultimately be too much in this one. Expect the Titans to win by 10.
Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants
The Giants have simply got to bounce back and win this one at home. Coming off a long week off, this is the best way to get in the win column for a talented team. Daniel Jones should build on his impressive Week 2 game against a Falcons defense that has had their anticipated struggles. Hopefully, key players like Saquon Barkley and Kenny Golladay can get going consistently in this one. The Falcons offensive line has had some tough times early. The Giants’ defensive front should make some impact plays in this one. Expect the Giants to win by at least a touchdown.
Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs
This is probably the best matchup in the early time slot of games. Both of these teams lost at the wire last week against quality opponents. Despite being on the road, the Chargers have a chance. The Chiefs’ defense has been bad so far. Justin Herbert, Austin Ekeler, Keenan Allen, and Mike Williams have been spectacular. Under Brandon Staley, the Chargers’ defense has done some good things. It will be interesting to see how he game plans for Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes has been himself along with Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce through the first two games. Ultimately, the Chiefs should win a close one.
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers
This AFC North game should be a battle as usual. Both teams had exciting starts and tough losses last week. The Steelers have some core players hurt at the moment including Ben Roethlisberger, Diontae Johnson, T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, and Joe Haden. It gives the Bengals the best chance they can ask for. Joe Burrow has to take better care of the football. If so, the Bengals will have a chance at the end. Still, at home, it is tough to go against the Steelers here. The Steelers likely win by a score.
Chicago Bears at Cleveland Browns
We will finally get to see Justin Fields make his first start. Expect there to be some good and bad against a very good opponent. The Browns have been impressive the first two weeks of the season. Their offense should continue to move the ball and put up points. They have a very balanced attack led by Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb, and arguably the best offensive line. It will be interesting to see if they can improve defensively. At home, the Browns should win by a touchdown.
Baltimore Ravens at Detroit Lions
This game could be surprisingly close. The Lions are winless but have competed and kept games close against two very good teams. The Ravens defense has struggled in a big way early on. They will need core contributors like Odafe Oweh and Marlon Humphrey to keep up their stellar play. Most importantly, the Ravens need Lamar Jackson to continue his play from Sunday night. Jackson was fantastic especially down the stretch leading the comeback victory. For the Lions, Jared Goff has shown some really good things. D’Andre Swift and T.J. Hockenson have provided some excitement. The Lions’ defense has been bad so far. The Ravens win by likely a touchdown.
New Orleans Saints at New England Patriots
One of the more fascinating matchups of the week’s slate. After a dominant opening game, the Saints were terrible a week ago. Under Sean Payton, expect them to play much better. Jameis Winston will have to take care of the football against this talented secondary. Alvin Kamara could be in for a big game. For the Patriots, Mac Jones has done good things to start the year. Going against this defense could be his best challenge yet. In the end, the Saints win a close one.
Arizona Cardinals at Jacksonville Jaguars
Despite traveling to the east coast after an emotional game, still expect the Cardinals to take care of business handily. Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins, and Rondale Moore have been special in both games. Defensively, their dominant front led by J.J. Watt and Chandler Jones should propel them to a good outing. For the Jaguars, hopefully, Trevor Lawrence can have his best performance yet. Their defense could have a long day slowing down Murray. The Cardinals should win by 10 at least.
Washington Football Team at Buffalo Bills
After opening-week losses, both of these teams got much-needed wins. Defensively, Washington has been underwhelming so far and this is a tough opponent to get it going against. It will be exciting to see how Taylor Heinicke plays in this one. Every time he has started, his level of play has been very good. Terry McLaurin is a top-flight receiver in the game coming off an incredible performance. It will be fun to see him compete against Tre’Davious White when they are matched up. For the Bills, they will need Josh Allen to have his best game yet. Expect Stefon Diggs to have a big game. The Bills will win by a score.
New York Jets at Denver Broncos
So far, the Broncos have had a great start to the year. Defensively, they are exceptionally talented and are playing up to a top-tier level led by Von Miller, Patrick Surtain II, and Justin Simmons. Teddy Bridgewater has done a great job in the first two games. It was awesome to see a healthy Courtland Sutton have a big game last week. For the Jets, this is a tough spot. Hopefully, Zach Wilson has a better game. The Jets will have to likely rely on Michael Carter and Ty Johnson a good amount. The Jets’ defense has been good the first two games. This will be a great opportunity for them to prove where they stack up as a unit. The Broncos will win by at least 10.
Miami Dolphins at Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders have been one of the more surprising teams to start as they are 2-0 against good teams. Derek Carr is playing at a tremendous level. In this one, hopefully, Henry Ruggs, Hunter Renfrow, and Darren Waller keep up their reliable play for Carr in the passing game. The Dolphins are coming off a terrible loss at home. This is a tough game for them to bounce back in. Jacoby Brissett will be starting as Tua Tagovailoa recovers from injury. The Dolphins will need their defense to rise to the occasion against one of the best offenses early on. The Raiders will win this one by 10.
Seattle Seahawks at Minnesota Vikings
This matchup is a fairly polarizing one in which both teams need a win. The Vikings have lost two tough road games and could be 2-0. They will need this one at home. The Seahawks let up a big home lead last week in an overtime loss. Expect both of these defenses to struggle in this one. It should be a shoot-out between these two dynamic offenses. For the Seahawks, Russell Wilson and Tyler Lockett have had their special connection as good as ever through the first two weeks. For the Vikings, Kirk Cousins has been great. At home, the Vikings should win this one in close fashion by about a field goal.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Los Angeles Rams
The best matchup of the week between two powerhouses. Both teams have had fantastic starts and are probably the two most likely Super Bowl teams from the NFC right now. On both sides of the football, each of these teams is exceptionally talented. For the Rams, Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp have had a special connection early on. Tom Brady has been himself for the Buccaneers. It will be interesting to see how each of these defenses play. In the end, the Rams win a close one by a field goal.
Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers
This matchup is another great one between two of the better NFC teams. With a healthy Jimmy Garoppolo, the 49ers are winning games. Deebo Samuel has had a great start as he leads the league in receiving yards. The 49ers’ defense is coming off a stellar performance. It will be exciting to see them match up against Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Jones, and Davante Adams. Expect all three to keep up their caliber of play from Monday night. In a close one, expect the Packers to end up winning.
Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys
The week rounds out with a classic NFC East battle. The Cowboys are coming off a huge win that they needed. Dak Prescott is back to his usual self leading this football team. Expect Prescott and this dynamic offense to attain success in the passing game. What will be interesting to see is how their offensive line does against a very good Eagles defensive front. With Brandon Graham unfortunately injured, it is led by Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, and Josh Sweat. They could impact this one in a big way. Offensively for the Eagles, they need a bounce-back performance from Jalen Hurts. Hopefully, they get a few big plays from DeVonta Smith, Quez Watkins, or Dallas Goedert. At home, the Cowboys should win by a touchdown.
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