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NFL Week 3 schedule and game-by-game predictions

NFL Week 3 is going to boast some of the best games of the entire 2020 season. It concludes with the Baltimore Ravens hosting the Kansas City Chiefs in a potential AFC Championship Game preview.

Meanwhile, over in the NFC, the New Orleans Saints will host Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in another potential playoff preview.

Here’s a look at the NFL Week 3 schedule with game-by-game predictions.

Miami Dolphins at Jacksonville Jaguars (Thursday Night Football)

Time/station: 8:20 PM EST, NBC

Dolphins-Jaguars point spread: Pick em

This all-Florida matchup will consist of young stud Gardner Minshew going up against grizzled veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, the latter of whom might be on his last legs as a starter in South Beach. Fitzpatrick was not good in the Dolphins’ Week 1 loss to the New England Patriots. 

That’s the major backstory heading into this “Thursday Night Football” tilt. Will Miami decide it’s time to give a certain first-round pick an opportunity under center? 

As for the Jaguars, Minshew is coming off a brilliant 19-of-20 passing performance in an upset win over the Indianapolis Colts to open the season. He’ll have his hands full against a good Fins’ defense. With that said, expect Jacksonville to continue its surprising start to the season.

NFL Week 3 prediction: Jaguars 24, Dolphins 16

Las Vegas Raiders at New England Patriots

Time/station: 1:00 PM EST, CBS

Raiders-Patriots point spread: Patriots -6.5

Jon Gruden and Co. put up a heck of a Week 1 performance in a 34-30 win over the Carolina Panthers. Running back Josh Jacobs looks like a true star. Meanwhile, Derek Carr seems to be a vastly improved quarterback in his third season under Gruden. 

Related: NFL defensive rankings

As for the Patriots, it does not seem like they missed a beat replacing Tom Brady with fellow former MVP Cam Newton. He excelled in a Week 1 win over the Miami Dolphins. The difference here will be New England’s defense. The Raiders have not faced a unit this good and will struggle to score.

NFL Week 3 prediction: Patriots 27, Raiders 13

Los Angeles Rams at Buffalo Bills

Time/station: 1:00 PM EST, Fox

Rams-Bills point spread: Bills -3

Fresh off extending Tre’Davious White, the Bills’ defense is a top-three unit by our calculations. Head coach Sean McDermott has done a hell of a job rebranding this team on the fly, as evidenced by Buffalo’s surprising playoff appearance last season. It doesn’t hurt that Josh Allen has turned into a complete quarterback under center. 

Related: NFL power rankings

Despite their season-opening win over Dallas, there’s some issues for these Rams on both sides of the ball. Where are they going to get a pass rush behind Aaron Donald? Does Jared Goff have enough help at the skill positions? These questions will lead to a Week 3 loss in Western New York.

NFL Week 3 prediction: Bills 27, Rams 17

Houston Texans at Pittsburgh Steelers

Time/station: 1:00 PM ET, CBS

Texans-Steelers point spread

Oh boy. Recently-extended quarterback Deshaun Watson could not ask for a more difficult Week 3 matchup with his offensive line playing so poorly. It’s a shocker given that head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien made left tackle Laremy Tunsil the highest-paid player at his position during the spring. 

Pittsburgh’s defensive front is absolutely loaded, including Defensive Player of the Year candidate T.J. Watt. Even if Houston is able to contain Ben Roethlisberger and Pittsburgh’s offense, it’s not going to be enough to come away with a Week 3 road win.

NFL Week 3 prediction: Steelers 24, Texans 13

San Francisco 49ers at New York Giants

Time/station: 1:00 PM ET, CBS

49ers-Giants point spread: 49ers -6.5

Daniel Jones continues to make the mistakes that caused some concern as a rookie last season. This time, it’s about the interceptions not putting the ball on the turf. Either way, that’s going to be a major problem against one of the NFL’s best defensive lines. It’s also a major concern for the Giants as they look to improve off a disastrous start to the season on offense. 

Related: 49ers injury report

In San Francisco, injuries continue to plague the defending NFC champions. Richard Sherman being placed on injured reserve with a calf issue adds to this. That should help Darius Slayton continue his rise as the Giants’ top wide receiver. 

Even then, the expectation here is that San Francisco’s talent will win out. It has rookie first-round pick Brandon Aiyuk back in the mix and one of the game’s most-explosive running backs in that of Raheem Mostert. That should make the difference in San Francisco’s second consecutive game in Jersey.

NFL Week 3 prediction: 49ers 28, Giants 17

Tennessee Titans at Minnesota Vikings

Time/station: 1:00 PM ET, CBS

Titans-Vikings point spread: Pick em

Minnesota’s young secondary was absolutely torn to shreds Week 1 against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. That’s somewhat of a surprise given that head coach Mike Zimmer wanted to get younger on the defensive side of the ball. Apparently, the youngsters are not yet ready to step up.

Tennessee came away with a narrow season-opening win over the Broncos. The game saw Derrick Henry continue to get a ton of touches (34). Given that Minnesota still boasts an incredibly good defensive line, this will force Ryan Tannehill to test that Vikings secondary. A lack of balance will also lead to a Vikings win

NFL Week 3 prediction: Vikings 23, Titans 17

Washington Football Team at Cleveland Browns

Time/station: 1:00 PM ET, Fox

Washington-Browns point spread: Browns -5.5

Washington’s Week 1 win over the Philadelphia Eagles is among the biggest surprises of the young 2020 NFL season. Chase Young and the team’s young defense came to play big time, forcing multiple Carson Wentz interceptions. That could very well be the difference with Baker Mayfield already struggling with turnovers himself. 

Related: Washington Football team injury report

The Browns need to have success on the ground in this game with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt running the ball. If that doesn’t happen, a lack of balance will end up getting to Mayfield en route to another Browns loss.

NFL Week 3 prediction: Washington 20, Browns 17

Cincinnati Bengals at Philadelphia Eagles

Time/station: 1:00 PM ET, CBS

Bengals-Eagles point spread: Eagles -5.5

We might want to give the Eagles a mulligan for their Week 1 outing against Washington due to their injury issues. However, we simply can’t do that. Blowing a 17-0 lead against a talent-stricken Washington team just doesn’t sit well. It also has the defending NFC East champs on edge. 

On the other hand, Joe Burrow played darn well in his NFL debut and almost led Cincinnati to an upset win over the Los Angeles Chargers. The biggest key for Cincinnati moving forward will be to get the recently-extended Joe Mixon going on the ground. Expect that to be a problem against a pretty good Eagles squad, making the biggest difference in this Week 3 game.

NFL Week 3 prediction: Eagles 27, Bengals 20 

Chicago Bears at Atlanta Falcons

Time/station: 1:00 PM EST, Fox

Bears-Falcons point spread: Falcons -3.5

I am highly intrigued to see how Mitchell Trubisky performs after a solid start to a make-or-break season in Chicago. That three-touchdown fourth quarter performance in a comeback win over Detroit could help turn around a previously fledgling career. 

As it relates to Atlanta, Dan Quinn’s defense is a shell of its former self. While they struggled in recent seasons, the departures of edge pass rusher Vic Beasley and former Pro Bowl corner Desmond Trufant can’t be lost in this. It’s one of the primary reasons Atlanta boasts one of the worst defenses in the NFL, and it will play a role here.

NFL Week 3 prediction: Bears 28, Falcons 24

New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts

Time/station: 4:05 PM EST, CBS

Jets-Colts point spread: Colts -7

Philip Rivers’ two-interception performance in Week 1 has to be seen as a major concern for the Colts after they added him to be an upgrade at quarterback. The season-ending injury to running back Marlon Mack adds another layer to this. The expectation now is that rookie second-round pick Jonathan Taylor will be given an opportunity to shine. Given he boasts more upside than Taylor, that’s not a bad thing.

Related: Le’Veon Bell’s contract is now a disaster

Speaking of bad things, the Jets placed free-agent bust Le’Veon Bell on injured reserve after their Week 1 loss. Sam Darnold already lacks skill-position talent and a capable offensive line. That’s going to lead to yet another terrible performance from Adam Gase’s squad.

NFL Week 3 prediction: Colts 31, Jets 17

Carolina Panthers at Los Angeles Chargers

Time/station: 4:05 PM EST, Fox

Panthers-Chargers point spread: Chargers -6.5

Carolina’s struggles against the pass in Week 1’s loss to the Las Vegas Raiders could be the start of a troubling trend. The team just doesn’t have experienced guys in the defensive secondary, and it’s going to continue haunting rookie head coach Matt Rhule.

Related: NFL TV ratings down

Even after struggling to an extent in his debut as the Chargers’ starter, Tyrod Taylor should be able to take advantage of this. Recently-extended wide receiver Keenan Allen will eat big time in a Chargers win.

Week 3 NFL prediction: Chargers 31, Panthers 23

Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals

Time/station: 4:25 PM EST, Fox

Lions-Cardinals point spread: Cardinals -3.5

Imagine this. Mitchell Trubisky drops three touchdowns in the fourth quarter against a Lions team led by defensive-minded head coach Matt Patricia. It’s not fake news. It actually happened Week 1 and was a horrible look for Detroit.

Now, imagine this. Kyler Murray and his Cardinals hosting this very same Lions squad after putting up a brilliant performance against one of the best defenses in the NFL. This is going to be a blowout. No question about it.

Week 3 NFL prediction: Cardinals 35, Lions 20

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Denver Broncos

Time/station: 4:25 PM EST, Fox

Buccaneers-Broncos point spread: Buccaneers -3.5

Tom Brady’s struggles in Week 1 are by now well known. He joined a handful of lesser quarterbacks, one Matt Schaub included, in throwing a pick-six in three consecutive games. Given the talent this six-time Super Bowl champion boasts on offense, that’s just not acceptable.

Related: Bruce Arians calls out Tom Brady

On the other hand, Denver has been hit by the injury bug big time. Courtland Sutton missed the opener. Fellow Pro Bowler, running back Phillip Lindsay, is dealing with turf toe. Meanwhile, former Super Bowl MVP Von Miller could be lost for the season. This will be a battle of attrition.

Week 3 NFL prediction: Buccaneers 24, Broncos 19

Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks

Time/station: 4:25 PM EST, Fox

Cowboys-Seahawks point spread: Seahawks -3.5

Jamal Adams. That’s it. That’s the story. The Dallas Cowboys were not interested in acquiring the All-Pro safety from the New York Jets before he was dealt to Seattle. In turn, Dallas’ safety issues have come out in a big way thus far this season.

As for the Seahawks, they are coming off a blowout win over the Atlanta Falcons. Adams played a huge role in this, making play after play. In reality, he could very well be the difference here.

Week 3 NFL prediction: Seahawks 28, Cowboys 24

Green Bay Packers at New Orleans Saints (Sunday Night Football)

Time/station: 8:20 PM EST, NBC

Packers-Saints point spread: Saints -6.5

Fresh off a brilliant performance against Tampa Bay, Drew Brees and his Saints will take on another all-time great quarterback in that of Aaron Rodgers. As for Rodgers, he torched the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1.

Related: NFL points spreads and one liners

This could very well be a preview of the NFC Championship Game should the 49ers’ struggles continue. With that said, it’s hard to go against the Saints at home even if Michael Thomas is sideliend and there’s no fans in attendance.

Week 3 NFL prediction: Saints 28, Packers 21

Kansas City Chiefs at Baltimore Ravens (Monday Night Football)

Time/station: 8:15 PM EST, ESPN

Chiefs-Ravens point spread: Ravens -2.5

Many figured that this would matchup was going to be last season’s AFC Championship Game. Baltimore’s shocking loss to the Tennessee Titans in the divisional playoffs put an end to that.

Related: Top 100 NFL players of 2020

What we do know is that these two look like the NFL’s best. The last two MVP winners, both dominating from the quarterback position. Lamar Jackson with more weapons on offense. Patrick Mahomes continuing the historical start to his career. In what will be the best game on the Week 3 slate, we’re predicting the home team to come out on top.

Week 3 NFL prediction: Ravens 37, Chiefs 34

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