NFL Weekly Predictions: Week 3

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

NY Giants @ San Francisco (-10½)

The 49ers beat the pesky Rams 30-23 at SoFi Stadium to move to 2-0. San Fran dominated on the ground, with Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, and Brock Purdy all contributing a rushing score.

"So Brock didn't have his best game as a passer," Kyle Shanahan said. "So maybe he's not the greatest thing since sliced bread. But just look at him; he is sliced bread. The only thing whiter than Brock Purdy is Daniel Jones. Daniel is the equivalent of a marshmallow sandwich on white bread, with vanilla frosting.

"And speaking of 'bread,' Nick Bosa recently signed a contract extension worth $170 million. I don't know if he's being weighed down by expectations, or a fat wallet, but Nick has exactly zero sacks this season."

The Giants stormed back from a 20-0 deficit to the Cardinals to take a 31-28 win and avoid an 0-2 start. It was a costly win; Saquon Barkley suffered an ankle sprain and will likely miss at least three weeks.

"It was downright embarrassing losing to the Cowboys 40-0,'" Brian Daboll said. "Also embarrassing? Falling behind 20-0 in the second quarter to the Cardinals."

San Fran wins, 29-14.

Tennessee @ Cleveland (-3½)

The Browns lost 26-22 to the Steelers, as the Pittsburgh defense forced 3 Deshaun Watson turnovers, scoring return touchdowns on two of those. Cleveland also lost Nick Chubb for the season due to a knee injury.

"This may be a crazy take," Kevin Stefanski said, "but I feel like Deshaun is making progress. Why? Because the Steelers defense 'exposed' him, as opposed to Deshaun exposing himself.

"But in the wake of Chubb's injury, we're not asking Deshaun to do too much. And more importantly, he's not asking us to do too much, because I'm really not comfortable doing some of the things he asks."

The Titans beat the Chargers 27-24 in overtime, winning on Nick Folk's 41-yard field goal with 5:02 left in overtime. Derrick Henry rushed for 2 scores and Ryan Tannehill had 1, as Tennessee rushed for 141 yards as a team.

"Look," Mike Vrabel said, "we just took what the defense gave us. And the Chargers defense under Brandon Staley really does give. I mean, if you count the number of holes in their defense, I'm pretty sure you'd get 11.

"Ryan bounced back in a big way from his three interception game against the Saints. He completed 20-of-24 passes. That's over 83%, which is also the likelihood that Brandon Staley is not the Chargers coach next year."

Titans win, 23-20.

Atlanta @ Detroit (-3½)

The Falcons beat the Packers 25-24 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, winning on Younghoe Koo's 25-yard field goal with 57 seconds left. Atlanta rushed for 211 yards and held the ball for over 36 minutes.

"Our goal is to run the ball," Arthur Smith. "And we're gonna dare you to stop it. If you do, good for you, and we're F'd."

The Lions fell in overtime 37-31 to the visiting Seahawks in an evenly-matched game that was ultimately decided by turnovers. Seattle won the turnover battle 3-0.

"I know a lot of people were jumping on the Detroit bandwagon," Dan Campbell said. "And if you want to bail after just one loss, then bail. Heck, I'll even help you get off this bandwagon, and smile while doing it. Ask anyone I know, and they'll tell you, 'Dan Campbell likes to get people off.'"

Lions win, 28-24.

New Orleans @ Green Bay (-2)

The Packers blew a 24-12 fourth quarter lead in an eventual 25-24 loss to the Falcons. Jordan Love passed for 151 yards and 3 touchdowns in his second consecutive stellar outing.

"Jordan's playing great," Matt LaFleur said. "But I think fans need to think twice before they anoint him the next big thing. Look, he's not gonna be a Hall of Fame quarterback overnight. First, you learn, improve, and hopefully, greatness will follow. Then, you can maybe have a street named after you in Green Bay, or be considered a legend, or have the political pull to orchestrate a welfare scheme to fund an unneeded volleyball court."

Saints win, 22-17.

Denver @ Miami (-6½)

The Dolphins overcame the Patriots 24-17 at Gillette Stadium and sit alone atop the AFC East with a 2-0 record. Raheem Mostert rushed for 121 yards and 2 touchdowns.

"We can beat you multiple ways," Mike McDaniel said. "Through the air, on the ground, or I can just plain out coach you, like I've done in consecutive weeks against Brandon Staley and Bill Belichick. By the way, I have more personality in my right pinkie than those two put together.

"The altitude in Denver is a mile high. The attitude in Miami is 'Somebody's always a 'mile-high.'' Plus, Miami is unofficially the 'Side Boob Capital of the World.' Or so I'm told. Why is that important? Because knowing that has to make Russell Wilson so uncomfortable. Even more uncomfortable than playing for Sean Payton."

The Broncos dropped to 0-2 after a 35-33 loss to the visiting Commanders, who erased an early 21-3 deficit to come back for the win.

"Sure," Sean Payton said, "we're 0-2. But we're learning a lot about ourselves. For example, I've learned that I shouldn't bad mouth the head coach I've replaced. I'd like to issue a formal apology to Nathaniel Hackett. Heck, we're not that much different. We're both cursed with quarterbacks named 'Wilson.'

"I think my team trusts my coaching ability. I've been in coaching for 35 years, and in that time, I've accumulated a wealth of knowledge. Some may even call it a 'bounty.' Not me, though. I've been forbidden to say that word by the NFL."

Miami wins, 31-21.

L.A. Chargers @ Minnesota (even)

Kirk Cousins passed for 364 yards and 4 touchdowns, but 4 fumbles doomed the Vikings in a 34-28 loss to the Eagles in Philly on Thursday night.

"Do we really want to lose Kirk Cousins when he becomes a free agent at the end of this season," Kevin O'Connell said. "If there's a reason Kirk would walk, it's probably because this offense can't run."

The Chargers lost 27-24 in overtime to the Titans in Nashville and fell to 0-2. Justin Herbert passed for 305 yards and 2 touchdowns, but L.A.'s rush attack never got on track in the absence of Austin Ekeler.

"Here's a stat for you," Brandon Staley said. "Since 1990, only 31 of 270 teams that started 0-2 made the playoffs. That's 11.5%. That, my friends, is analytics, and for once in my life, I choose to ignore them."

Chargers win, 31-28.

New England @ NY Jets (+3)

The Cowboys hammered the lifeless Jets, 30-10, at AT&T Stadium. The Dallas defense forced 4 turnovers, including 3 Zach Wilson interceptions.

"I'm gonna say it again," Robert Saleh said. "Zach Wilson is our starting quarterback. And I'm gonna keep saying it as many times as it takes for the sad reality to totally sink in.

"But I'm not dwelling on the past. Aaron Rodgers' injury is the past. I'm more concerned with the future. And by that, I mean 2024."

The Patriots limited Miami's passing attack, but could not contain Raheem Mostert, who blitzed New England for 121 yards and 2 TDs in a 24-17 loss to the Dolphins.

"We did a decent job of neutralizing Tyreek Hill," Bill Belichick said. "We thought if we took away their best player, we'd be successful. It worked for the Buccaneers back in 2020."

Patriots win, 18-16.

Buffalo @ Washington (+6½)

The Bills bounced back from their Week 1 loss to the Jets with a 38-10 win over the visiting Raiders. Josh Allen passed for 274 yards and 3 touchdowns.

"I thought I did well making the right throws," Allen said. "I completed passes to nine different receivers, and more importantly, none to defensive players."

The Commanders dominated in the second half and held on for a 35-33 win over the Broncos at Empower Field At Mile High. Sam Howell passed for 299 yards and 2 scores to lead Washington.

"I think offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy has been a huge help to Sam," Ron Rivera said. "I really don't understand why Eric has never had a head coaching opportunity. The reasons are not really clear. In this case, though, the issues actually are black and white."

Bills win, 31-26.

Houston @ Jacksonville (-9½)

The Texans lost 31-20 at home to the Colts as Houston remained winless this season. Quarterback C.J. Stroud impressed in a losing effort, with 384 yards passing and 2 touchdowns.

"C.J. could very well be the latest in a long line of mediocre Texans quarterbacks/deviant perverts," Demeco Ryans said. "Or, he could be the first Texans quarterback to achieve superstar status who's not acquainted with a disturbing and unusual number of masseuses."

The Jaguars fell 17-9 at home to the Chiefs, as Jacksonville's three trips into the red zone resulted in only 3 field goals.

"Of course we're disappointed," Doug Pederson said. "How do I handle disappointment after a big loss? For me, it's back to the grind. To be clear, that 'grind' is not from a young lady half my age in a local bar. That's the Urban Meyer way."

Jaguars win, 27-20.

Indianapolis @ Baltimore (-7½)

The Colts beat the Texans 31-20 in Houston but lost quarterback Anthony Richardson to a concussion early in the game.

"Anthony might miss the Ravens game," Shane Steichen said. "But if need be, we'll be in good hands with Gardner Minshew. He's the working man's quarterback. Whereas Jim Irsay lights cigars with $100 bills, Gardner lights farts with $1 bills."

Ravens win, 26-20.

Carolina @ Seattle (-4½)

The Seahawks shook off their opening week dud against the Rams with a 37-31 overtime win over the Lions in Detroit. Geno Smith had 2 TD passes, including the game winner to Tyler Lockett with 5:41 left in overtime.

"Nobody likes losing," Pete Carroll said. "Personally, I'd like to just forget about all my losses. Maybe the NCAA could help me. They darn sure know how to make wins disappear."

Seattle wins, 24-21.

Chicago @ Kansas City (-13)

The Chiefs beat the Jaguars 17-9 in Jacksonville. While K.C.'s offense somewhat struggled, Chris Jones led a defensive effort that held the Jaguars to just three field goals.

"Chris was a 'game wrecker,'" Andy Reid said. "It is way better for us when he plays that role for us and Kadarius Toney doesn't."

The Bears' offensive struggles continued in a 27-17 loss to the Bucs in Tampa. Justin Fields threw 2 interceptions and was sacked 6 times. Fields has been sacked 10 times this season.

"Speaking of 'sacks,'" Matt Eberflus said, "Bears fans might start wearing them.

"But I've got to be better about putting Justin in better situations. In front of our offensive line is not one of them."

Chiefs win, 34-17.

Dallas @ Arizona (+12½)

The Cowboys walloped Zach Wilson and the Jets 30-10 in Dallas. The Cowboys defense was fearsome for the second straight week, with 4 turnovers and three sacks.

"A lot of people are saying," Mike McCarthy said, "that this defense will go down in history as the greatest defense in NFL history ... not to win a Super Bowl.

"Of course, Jerry Jones can't stop talking about this defense. In fact, Jerry Jones can't stop talking period. There are, however, instances when Jerry could speak a little more, like before he negotiates a trade for a backup quarterback that I knew nothing about."

The Cardinals blew a 20-0 lead and lost 31-28 to the visiting Giants at State Farm Stadium. Arizona scored points on five of their first six possessions, but faltered down the stretch.

"I think Joshua Dobbs is doing a fine job," Jonathan Gannon said. "He's a student of the game. Our playbook is literally glued to his hands. I think the team tried that last year with Kyler Murray, by actually literally trying to glue the playbook to Kyler's hands."

Dallas wins, 27-12.

Pittsburgh @ Las Vegas (even)

The Steelers scored 2 defensive touchdowns to spur a 26-22 win over the visiting Browns.

"As they say," Mike Tomlin said, "'The best offense is a good defense.' 'They' is our offense.

"Our current defense reminds many of the great 'Steele Curtain' defenses of the 1970's. Our offense would have trouble penetrating a shower curtain. We may be the only team that is better off losing the time of possession battle.

"With a Raiders-Steelers matchup upcoming, I think we have to mention Antonio Brown. It's sad what's happened to Antonio. He was the best player in the NFL for a few years with the Steelers. He was the worst person in the NFL for the Raiders for six months. He threw his career away, as well as a lot of furniture out of an apartment."

The Raiders scored on their first possession in Buffalo, but did next to nothing afterwards and lost 38-10 to the Bills at Highmark Stadium. Jimmy Garappolo threw 2 interceptions in the loss.

"Jimmy may make all the ladies swoon," Josh McDaniels said, "but opposing defensive coordinators definitely don't feel the same way.

"That being said, we've got to give Jimmie some support from our running game. Josh Jacobs is averaging just 1.6 yards per carry this season. To put that into perspective, he would need to carry the ball about 1,033 times to equal his 2022 output of 1,653 yards. Under his current contract, he would be paid $10,000 for each of those carries. So, I think I just talked myself out of trying to run the ball."

Raiders win, 24-21.

Philadelphia @ Tampa Bay (+5½)

The Eagles rushed for 259 yards, with 3 touchdowns on the ground, and forced 4 fumbles in a 34-28 over the Vikings on Thursday night at Lincoln Financial Field.

"Two of those TDs came on the play we call the 'Tush Push,'" Nick Sirianni said. "It could also be known as the 'Butt Slam,' or the 'Crack Back,' or the 'Rump Pump,' or the 'Caboose Vamoose.'

"A.J. Brown was not happy with just having four catches for 29 yards. I told him to 'get over it.' What I mean is 'get over' four catches for 29 yards next time."

Baker Mayfield passed for 317 yards and 1 touchdown as the Bucs went to 2-0 with a 27-17 win over the visiting Bears.

"Baker continues to prove everyone wrong," Todd Bowles said. "Just like he did in Cleveland, when he proved their draft evaluation department wrong."

Philadelphia wins, 28-24.

L.A. Rams @ Cincinnati (-2)

The Rams hung tough against the 49ers before eventually falling 30-23 to last year's NFC West champions. Rookie Puka Nacua had 15 catches for 147 yards, and set the NFL record for most catches in a player's first two games with 25.

"Puka was practically unknown before the season started," Sean McVay said. "Not any more. Now all of the defenses know who he is. So, now he's got a target on his back, as well as his front."

The Bengals couldn't stop the Ravens offense in a 27-24 home loss that left the Bengals 0-2 and at the bottom of the AFC North. To compound issues, Joe Burrow tweaked his already gimpy right calf.

"The good news," Zac Taylor said, "is that Joe didn't feel a pop. But a lot of other people heard one. That was probably the bubble bursting on our season.

"If Joe can't go, Jake Browning is a more than capable backup. Actually, there are a lot of capable backups in the NFL. Some of them are starters."

Bengals win, 27-24.

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