NFL Week Three LWOSports Staff Picks

TAMPA, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 20: Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hands the ball off to Leonard Fournette #28 during the first half against the Carolina Panthers at Raymond James Stadium on September 20, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

The NFL is back and in full swing. It’s time for the LWOSports writers and editors to put their money where their mouth is and start to predict each of the NFL week three matchups.

The 2020 season is shaping up to be a great one! Multiple undefeated teams, some surprise MVP candidates, excellent rookies, and a litany of season-ending injuries. Strap in because we have the picks for each of the NFL week three games.

NFL Week Three LWOSports Staff Picks

Miami Dolphins at Jacksonville Jaguars (TNF)

Jordan: One of the most unanticipated week three games comes at us on Thursday night. The struggling Miami Dolphins meet the .500 Jacksonville Jaguars.

Both teams are coming off narrow losses to their respective opponents in week two. The Dolphins came very close in their attempt to mount a comeback against the Buffalo Bills, while the Jaguars came up short against the Tennessee Titans. Both teams are nowhere near playoff contention for this season, but the young cores on both sides have shown their grit and competitive nature so far.

For the Dolphins, Devante Parker has continued to blossom into the receiver many thought he would once become. Mike Gesicki has now become a top target for Ryan Fitzpatrick, helping the Dolphins on their air attack. Miami continues to struggle with their run game however, with a mix of Myles Gaskin, Jordan Howard, and Matt Breida carrying the weekly load. Their defense has been below average to start the year, but both of their opponents (Patriots and Bills) have some high powered offenses.

For the Jags, Gardner Minshew continues to give this city hope, starting the year with six touchdowns through two games. Their run game has also been quite the welcoming surprise, as James Robinson has bolstered his way to the top of the depth chart. Minshew and co. were able to direct a fairly good Titans defense last week, so it’ll be interesting to see how they handle Miami’s Thursday night.

It certainly isn’t a game that you’ll mark on your calendar, but it should certainly be a competitive game. The key for the Dolphins will be to slow James Robinson down, as their run defense has looked pretty atrocious over these first two games. For the Jags, pressuring Fitzpatrick and not letting him get those deep route throws off will contain that offense very well. At the end of the day, the Jaguars simply have more talent all over the field. Minshew has multiple pass-catchers to go to and James Robinson has become the workhorse back in that backfield. I’ve got the Jags in a close one.

Jaguars def. Dolphins 23-16

Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Luca

Cincinnati Bengals at Philadelphia Eagles

Drew: This battle of 0-2 teams features a pair of truly struggling teams. Outside of number-one-overall pick Joe Burrow, the Bengals have struggled. Joe Mixon has shown that when he has space, he can work and make that contract extension seem worth it. Unfortunately for him, the offensive line is so bad that defenders are in the backfield at the snap. When Burrow has time, receivers haven’t been able to find space. A.J. Green hasn’t been looking like himself, it takes forever for Tyler Boyd to get going, and Burrow’s favorite target, tight end C.J. Uzomah, is out for the year. The defense is not any better. In each of their first two games, the defense struggled to do much of anything.

The Eagles are struggling as well. Carson Wentz has two touchdowns and four interceptions off of only 512 passing yards. The leading rusher on this team is Miles Sanders…with 95 yards. Defensively, Philly is experiencing the same issues. They’ve only forced one turnover. Realistically, something has to give. Hopefully for anyone watching, this game isn’t a glorified pillow fight. I’ll be taking my Bengals to get their first win of the year and the first of (hopefully) many for Joe Burrow.

Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Luca

Chicago Bears at Atlanta Falcons

Jordan: If you had told me before week one that the Bears would be 2-0, I would’ve called you crazy. If you would’ve told me the Falcons were going to blow a 20-point lead to the Dallas Cowboys in week two, I would’ve believed it. To sum it up, these two teams are in very different places right now.

The Chicago Bears surprised the league starting off 2-0 and looking pretty good doing it. Mitchell Trubisky has been the hive for criticism among NFL fans, but he has been able to get the job done these past two weeks and if he can correct his few mistakes, the Bears could become a sneaky playoff darkhorse. The talent on the offensive side of the ball for the Bears has certainly improved immensely, highlighted by David Montgomerys great start to the year. Trubisky has a multitude of weapons on the offensive side of the ball, but Allen Robinson certainly needs to find his grove sooner rather than later.

The Falcons most notably collapsed against the Dallas Cowboys last week, covering up elite performances from both Calvin Ridley and Matt Ryan. The Falcons offense has looked elite in these past two games, but their defense remains the big question mark. The Falcons have now allowed an average of 476 total yards per game to start the season, something you certainly don’t want to hear if you are Dan Quinn. But, double the offense is a great defense, right? In this case, I think that may be true.

This game has the makings to truly go either way. The Bears’ defense has looked solid enough that they should be able to keep Matt Ryan from exploding for a third week. But on the other hand, the Falcons offense has so many weapons both on the ground and in the air, and the Bears haven’t faced this type of an explosive passing game yet. I think ultimately Allen Robinson finally shows up for Chicago, but the defense can’t keep Ryan and company in check for long enough. I’m taking the Falcons pretty handily.

Falcons def. Bears 27-17

Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Luca

Los Angeles Rams at Buffalo Bills

Derek: The Los Angeles Rams travel to Buffalo for a week three matchup with the Bills. Jared Goff and Josh Allen are both off to great starts. However, both teams have had trouble with their running game. These two teams are very similar and could provide a close game in week three. The individual battle between Stefon Diggs and Jalen Ramsey could decide this matchup as well as Tre’Davious White versus Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods. Also, Aaron Donald could cause problems for Buffalo’s offensive line.

Buffalo will hope that their starting linebackers Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano can return for this game or the Rams’ offense will be able to take advantage of Buffalo’s inexperienced linebacking group. Overall, Buffalo has a lot of momentum riding into the game with Josh Allen’s 700 yards, six touchdowns, and zero interceptions through two weeks and should get the win. If Buffalo enters the game at full strength, this matchup could truly go either way.

Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Luca

Washington Football Team at Cleveland Browns

Jordan: Two of the biggest question marks meet in week three. On one hand, the Washington Football team have impressed many with their .500 start, grabbing an impressive win against the Eagles in week one. However, they were quickly brought back down to earth by the Arizona Cardinals last week, adding to the mystery of this team. Dwayne Haskins has looked underwhelming in his first two starts this year, but the assets around him have kept them afloat. Wide receiver Terry McLaurin and running back Antonio Gibson both had very good games this past week and will certainly have to show up against the Browns if Washington stands a chance. However, Haskins has really struggled with starting games off strong and I think Cleveland could certainly jump on them early and never looked back.

Speaking of Cleveland, they come off of a statement victory against the Bengals last week, highlighted by their backfield’s performance. Both Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt shined totaling over 200 scrimmage yards and four touchdowns, propelling the Browns to a much-needed win. Not to mention, the relationship between Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham Jr. looks to be improving as well and is certainly a storyline to watch this week. Nonetheless, Cleveland has now shown what type of play this roster is capable of, it’s just a matter of execution now.

The Browns are simply just the better team at this point. Their run game looks unstoppable, Mayfield and OBJ may have finally gotten on the same page, and their defense has been serviceable to start the year. On the other hand, Haskins is still finding his way in this league and that offense is simply not talented enough to compete with the Browns. Cleveland continues to impress this week.

Browns def. Football Team 23-16

Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Luca

Tennessee Titans at Minnesota Vikings

Drew: Derrick Henry is still really good at football. The running back who is the size of a defensive end has 200 yards off of 56 attempts but has yet to find paydirt. This is probably due to the fact that Ryan Tannehill is playing lights out. He has six touchdowns off of 47 completions and zero interceptions. This offense playing so well is a scary thought considering their coach is defensive-minded. Like their first two matchups, this game is set to be a closer affair. Look for this game to be decided by three points or less.

A popular pick to win the division, the Minnesota Vikings are in a hole and this could be considered a must-win in order to keep pace with the leaders. Kirk Cousins had a strong opener, but could not get anything going in week two. Dalvin Cook is still a top running back, but even his three scores and 113 yards can’t make up for four interceptions by Cousins. The defense has been especially weak as they have allowed 876 yards and 71 points. The Vikings are going to need to figure it out soon because if they fall and the Packers win, a three-game deficit may be insurmountable.

Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Luca

Las Vegas Raiders at New England Patriots

Nick: This game has the potential to be one of the best games of the week. The Las Vegas Raiders have scored 34 points in both their wins to start the 2020 season. Derek Carr has shined thus far with passer ratings north of 100, and a 73 percent completion percentage in both games. The Raiders look like they’ve grown more comfortable in year three under Jon Gruden. Bu this game will be a true test to see how much of a threat the Raiders will be the rest of the year. The Patriots are still a tough out with a rejuvenated Cam Newton leading them to a respectable 2-0 start. The lack of a home-field advantage will help the young up and coming Raiders who’re looking to beat the Patriots for the first time since 2002.

My pick: Raiders win 24-21
Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Luca

San Francisco 49ers at New York Giants

Drew: The injury bug has hit the NFL hard this year. Unfortunately for both of these teams, they were not immune. The 49ers lost Jimmy Garoppolo, Nick Bosa, Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman, and Solomon Thomas all in one game. Bosa is out for the year, but the rest should return this year. Will they be available for this game? That’s to be determined, but they really need to figure out their next man up. As of Wednesday, Garoppolo, George Kittle, and Dre Greenlaw are listed as “Probable.” Dee Ford, Mostert, and Coleman are all “Doubtful.”

The Giants have lost rookie Xavier McKinney, David Mayo, Sterling Shepard, and top running back Saquon Barkley. Daniel Jones is also struggling to generate some rhythm this year. It’s pretty telling, however, that the young quarterback is the team’s leading rusher with only 43 yards. Not ideal. Dion Lewis and the newly-signed Devonta Freeman will likely share time in the backfield. Let’s just hope for a good game with minimal injuries. Both of these teams need a strong showing. The 49ers have to be able to show they can win without their stars, the Giants need to avoid an 0-3 start.

Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Luca

Houston Texans at Pittsburgh Steelers

Luca: In week three of the NFL season, I am taking the Pittsburgh Steelers over the Houston Texans. I believe the Steelers’ defense continues to play as stout as they have. The pass rush will blow down the Texans’ offensive line and get to Deshaun Watson multiple times. The Steelers’ offense will continue to ride on the arm of Big Ben Roethlisberger. James Conner will build off of last week against the Denver Broncos.

Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Luca

New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts

Drew: The first two weeks of the Jets’ season were not great. They were effectively shut down by the divisional favorite and the super bowl runner up. The silver lining is the fact each of these teams are pretty good. However, the Jets got smashed despite piling injuries to the 49ers. Sam Darnold needs help. When he has an opportunity to play, he looks great. But only one receiver has eclipsed 100 yards and their leading running back, Frank Gore, is not making plays. Despite the fact that it is only his second year at the helm, there are some that are calling for Adam Gase‘s job. It’s only natural considering the decision-making issues and playcalling woes.

The Colts have Philip Rivers at quarterback this season and he is struggling. Even though he is completing 77.5% of his throws and have 577 yards, he can’t escape interceptions. The running back situation is suddenly a little clearer with Marlon Mack out for the year. Rookie Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines are a good 1-2 punch. Taylor can punish and Hines is a great receiving threat. The Colts defense rebounded in week two and effectively shut down the Vikings attack. Look for Darius Leonard to continue to dominate. Would not be surprised if this game is closer early, but Indianapolis should pull away.

Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Luca

Carolina Panthers at Los Angeles Chargers

Shiree: “According to the latest odds at BetMGM, they have opened as seven-point underdogs for this week’s road matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers,” said Tim Weaver of the Panthers Wire. It isn’t looking good for the Panthers either since they have now lost Christian McCaffrey, the best player on their offense, to a high ankle sprain. With him being out four to six weeks, the Panthers are going to have to feed their offense through the receivers and other running backs.

Through their first two games, Teddy Bridgewater threw for 636 yards, just one touchdown, along with two interceptions. A rocky start for the veteran quarterback. They should use this game against the Chargers, with the possibility of a rookie starting at quarterback, as an opportunity to get some target practice on both offense and defense.  The Panthers will find out how much strength they have this week going up against a Chargers team that took the Kansas City Chiefs to overtime before losing on a field goal. 

The Chargers beat the Bengals week one with Tyrod Taylor under center. Not sure if he’ll be the starter this week because of a punctured lung he sustained at the hands of the team doctor right before the game. If Justin Herbert does get the start, this could create significant trouble for the Panthers on defense. Not having enough film on Herbert gives them the advantage over an already very holey defense. He only threw for 311 yards in his first-ever start in the NFL and was sacked twice but the amount of heart and love of the game he showed Chargers fans on Sunday, sets him up to be the leader of that team for years to come. Keenan Allen was immaculate at getting open for Herbert to get the ball to him. Also a problem for the Panthers. Look for Allen to make a ton of plays against that Panthers defense.

This will be a close game that the Chargers will win by a touchdown.

Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Luca

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Denver Broncos

Jordan: Tom Brady finally returns to Denver, but this time not in a Patriots uniform. The Bucs would certainly have liked to start the season off a bit better than they did, but it certainly doesn’t compare to the mess in Denver right now. The Broncos have now lost Von Miller and Courtland Sutton for the season, not to mention Drew Lock and Phillip Lindsay are also out for the foreseeable future.

The Buccaneers were able to bounce back last week after a tough opening loss against the Saints. Leonard Fournette channeled his 2017 self and grabbed 100 yards and two touchdowns to finish the day. The elite offense of the Bucs was certainly on display last week, even without WR Chris Godwin. They should have a fully healthy lineup this week, so it’ll be interesting to see what kind of damage they cause to this beat-up Denver squad. I think Tom Brady needs to have a statement game and remind everyone that he’s still an elite level quarterback.

Jeff Driskel looks to be slated as the starter for the Broncos in place for Drew Lock. Driskel was able to hold his own last week against a tough Steelers defense, but ultimately the inexperience lost them that game. It’s certainly not the way many Broncos fans would’ve wanted the season to start. Sutton is done for the year with a knee injury and Lindsay is listed as doubtful, still dealing with turf toe. There’s not much else that could go wrong for Denver at this point.

Tampa Bay will be at full health and will be looking to continue their winning ways. On the other hand, Denver is simply looking to bunker down and weather the storm until Drew Lock comes back. That’ll be exactly what happens Sunday, and it’ll be quite the storm. I’m taking Tampa Bay in a blowout.

Buccaneers def. Broncos 31-10

Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Luca

Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals

Danny: Detroit has struggled out the gate losing their first two games this year. Their defense has been horrible and it doesnt get any easier with Kyler Murray and company coming to town. Murray is off to a hot start, and the Cardinals are a team in the rise with weapons everywhere. Look for them to exploit Detroit’s lackluster defense and win this one easily. Cardinals 38, Lions 20.

Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Luca

Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks

Filip: This game is a game of two NFC playoff hopefuls and is one of the most exciting showdowns of the week. In the past couple of years, the Seahawks have had the number of the Cowboys, as they have won three out of the past five matchups. The (2-0) Seattle Seahawks enter with loads of confidence after beating the Cam Newton-led Patriots in a Sunday Night Football thriller. Like in week one, Russell Wilson played like an MVP as he threw five touchdowns along with 288 passing yards. This gives him a season total so far of nine touchdowns and 610 passing yards. Besides Wilson, D.K. Metcalf and Chris Carson were also great performers in that game as they combined for 200 scrimmage yards.

The biggest concern with the Seahawks is their defense. Although Jamal Adams has been playing phenomenally, this Seahawks defense allowed the Patriots to score 30 points, while Julian Edelman had a career-high 179 receiving yards against them. The Cowboys, with their explosive offense, will put up points against this inconsistent defense. Speaking of the Cowboys, they had one of the greatest comebacks in sports history against the Atlanta Falcons. Led by Dak Prescott who had 450 passing yards and three rushing touchdowns, the Cowboys won after being down 29-10 at half time and trailing 39-24 with five minutes left in the game. Although it’s a great comeback win it is very hard not to look over the four turnovers in the first quarter by the Cowboys, which led the Falcons to have this big margin. This inconsistency won’t work against the Seattle Seahawks. The Cowboys will be able to put up points, but the Seahawks defense will be able to stop them at crucial points in the game.

Besides the Cowboys offense, there is nothing else going for them. Their defense is very shaky and it will be lit up by Russell Wilson who is playing on a whole other level. The key factor is the Cowboys don’t have Russell Wilson, while the Seahawks do. With two scary offenses and two mediocre defenses, this game should be a shootout with the Seahawks ultimately getting the win.

Prediction: 34-38 Seahawks Win

Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Luca

Green Bay Packers at New Orleans Saints (SNF)

Shane C: The Saints were just embarrassed by the Las Vegas Raiders this past Monday night and now they get primetime, hosting the Green Bay Packers Sunday night. The injury to Michael Thomas is just too much for the Saints to overcome. And, at this point, the Packers’ own talented wide receiver Davante Adams is questionable. Although it’s been reported that it isn’t serious and the Packers didn’t need him, as the game against the Lions was going their way. Aaron Rodgers is a man on a mission and has the Packers offense humming on all cylinders. Although Alvin Kamara will do his thing, the Packers have too much talent on both sides of the ball for the Saints to keep up. There will be tears on the pillow in New Orleans as the Pack edge the Saints in a very good Sunday night tilt. 

The over/under is 51 ½  with the Saints minus three. The Packers easily cover and win outright.

Packers 31 Saints 27

Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Luca

Kansas City Chiefs at Baltimore Ravens (MNF)

Will: Saving arguably the best game of the week for last, we have the Baltimore Ravens hosting the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night Football. What is there not to love about this matchup? MVP quarterbacks in Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes are on either team along with their Super Bowl-winning head coaches in John Harbaugh and Andy Reid. We are finally getting the AFC Title game we all wanted but it just happens to not mean nearly as much. Both teams come into this game 2-0 looking to keep the undefeated season alive early in the season and build a lead in their respective divisions.

My prediction for this game is 38-28 and the Chiefs stay undefeated.
Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Luca

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