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2023 NFL Week 3: Biggest Matchups, Mismatches

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Baker Mayfield

Each week, Sports Info Solutions will generate a matchup comparison for the week’s NFL games based on its proprietary Total Points stat. 

Total Points takes nearly everything that happens on the field and scales it in a way that allows you to compare players, units and teams. It will allow you to pinpoint mismatches, perhaps those you weren’t even aware existed.

To learn more about Total Points, read our piece from last season

Here’s our look at Week 3.

Total Points Per Play ranks are based on 2023 performance to date. Fourth-down decision ranks are based on the head coach’s history over the last two seasons. See a brief description of the ranking methodology in this piece.

Week 3 Matchups

Colts vs. Ravens

Colts vs. Ravens – Sunday, 1 p.m.
Team Pass Rush Rec Block Run D Pass Rush Pass Cov
Colts 14 29 24 23 11 12 16
Ravens 8 15 19 11 8 9 20

Fourth-down decisions: Colts not ranked, Ravens 14th

So far, so good for the Baltimore Ravens under first-year offensive coordinator Todd Monken. After finishing 23rd and 20th in passing Total Points Per Play in 2022 and 2021, respectively, the passing game looks rejuvenated as it ranks eighth through the first two weeks.

The Indianapolis Colts are also probably pretty happy with their passing game so far, although Anthony Richardson is still in concussion protocol, leaving his status for Sunday in doubt.

Titans vs. Browns

Titans vs. Browns – Sunday, 1 p.m.
Team Pass Rush Rec Block Run D Pass Rush Pass Cov
Titans 28 4 5 19 4 22 15
Browns 25 5 27 31 1 2 12

Fourth-down decisions: Titans third, Browns fourth

This should have been a matchup between two of the best running backs in the league, but Nick Chubb suffered a gruesome knee injury and will be out for the rest of the season.

It’s now up to Deshaun Watson to carry the Cleveland Browns’ offense, but he’s played poorly since serving his suspension for sexual misconduct. There’s still star power to be seen here, with two of the biggest physical freaks in the NFL – Derrick Henry and Myles Garrett – taking the field.

Falcons vs. Lions

Falcons vs. Lions – Sunday, 1 p.m.
Team Pass Rush Rec Block Run D Pass Rush Pass Cov
Falcons 22 1 17 25 7 23 2
Lions 10 16 18 18 17 24 24

Fourth-down decisions: Falcons 13th, Lions 17th

Rookie RB Bijan Robinson has gotten off to a hot start, spearheading an Atlanta Falcons rushing attack that is first in Rushing Total Points Per Play through two weeks. Still, their passing game is significantly less exciting.

Meanwhile, the Detroit Lions’ heralded run game has been a bit flat to begin the year, but they’ve done reasonably well through the air when Jared Goff is kept clean, his receivers are open and he can play 7-on-7.

Saints vs. Packers

Saints vs. Packers – Sunday, 1 p.m.
Team Pass Rush Rec Block Run D Pass Rush Pass Cov
Saints 18 27 3 22 21 6 5
Packers 13 20 9 5 29 15 29

Fourth-down decisions: Saints 23rd, Packers second

The Green Bay Packers had a bit of a meltdown last week in Atlanta, but Jordan Love has been playing solid football. That in and of itself is probably cause for optimism going forward. This week will be a good test for him, as the New Orleans Saints rank in the top six in pass rush and pass coverage Total Points Per Play.

It will be interesting to see how well he plays, but the bigger question is which version of Derek Carr we get: the talented one or the one who’s timid.

Texans vs. Jaguars

Texans vs. Jaguars – Sunday, 1 p.m.
Team Pass Rush Rec Block Run D Pass Rush Pass Cov
Texans 9 30 23 32 15 16 26
Jaguars 27 28 32 27 17 21 17

Fourth-down decisions: Texans not ranked, Jaguars 24th

The Jacksonville Jaguars are not playing their best football at the moment. Last Sunday’s game against Kansas City was sloppy, and they rank in the bottom fourth in Total Points Per Play in all four phases of the offense.

On the other hand, the Houston Texans have been playing their best football, although that’s not good enough to consistently win games this year. Still, they should be encouraged by the flashes of rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud, despite some misfires. He ranks fourth-worst in On-Target percentage among qualified quarterbacks (minimum 20 attempts).

Broncos vs. Dolphins

Broncos vs. Dolphins – Sunday, 1 PM
Team Pass Rush Rec Block Run D Pass Rush Pass Cov
Broncos 16 11 15 9 5 20 19
Dolphins 2 9 1 7 32 18 20

Fourth-down decisions: Broncos seventh, Dolphins 21st

Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle and coach Mike McDaniel have picked up where they left off and have started the year hot. They rank top 10 in passing, rushing and blocking Total Points Per Play and are first in Receiving Total Points Per Play. A defense with some exciting pieces and a new defensive coordinator in Vic Fangio has been lackluster, but it hasn’t really mattered.

The Dolphins have scored 60 points through two games by throwing to the second and third levels of the field; their ADOT of 10.5 is the highest in the league. The Denver Broncos have enjoyed offensive success of their own, though – Russell Wilson hasn’t been the absolute dumpster fire he was a year ago. Still, he’s a mediocre quarterback, and the Miami Dolphins probably roll here, especially considering the Broncos’ defense hasn’t been as good as advertised thus far.

Chargers vs. Vikings

Chargers vs. Vikings – Sunday, 1 PM
Team Pass Rush Rec Block Run D Pass Rush Pass Cov
Chargers 17 14 4 3 16 19 31
Vikings 4 31 10 15 30 26 22

Fourth-down decisions: Chargers 16th, Vikings 12th

This is a pivotal game for two 0-2 teams, although the sentiment around them is pretty different. That’s because one has Justin Herbert at quarterback, and the other has Kirk Cousins. Strangely enough, the Minnesota Vikings come into this game with the fourth-ranked passing attack, while the Los Angeles Chargers place 17th. Regression probably comes for both teams; Los Angeles should spike up and Minnesota likely comes back down to earth. 

This game might well be the inflection point for the Chargers – the Vikings rank 26th in pass rush Total Points Per Play and 22nd in pass coverage Total Points Per Play, and they’ll be facing the fourth-ranked receiving corps and the third-best offensive line. The chickens have come home to roost for you, Minnesota.

Patriots vs. Jets

Patriots vs. Jets – Sunday, 1 p.m.
Team Pass Rush Rec Block Run D Pass Rush Pass Cov
Patriots 20 22 31 26 13 28 10
Jets 31 23 6 28 20 27 21

Fourth-down decisions: Patriots 27th, Jets 15th

Aaron Rodgers’ injury was unfortunate, but it’s given Zach Wilson a second chance, and he’s on pace to do something only one other New York Jets quarterback has ever done and has only been done once by any quarterback since 1988: throw 30+ interceptions in a season. He’s currently tracking to hit 34, so we could be in for a very special season. 

His 2021 counterpart, Mac Jones, is not a unique trainwreck like Wilson is, but he’s uninspiring. This is a divisional game between two non-contenders with bad passing offenses who are possibly already looking ahead at the quarterback position. 

Bills vs. Commanders

Bills vs. Commanders – Sunday, 1 p.m.
Team Pass Rush Rec Block Run D Pass Rush Pass Cov
Bills 19 2 16 1 3 11 3
Commanders 24 19 7 19 19 7 13

Fourth-down decisions: Bills 6th, Commanders 20th

The darling Washington Commanders are somehow 2-0, but the Buffalo Bills should be favored in this game, assuming Josh Allen doesn’t go full idiot mode again. Buffalo knows what it signed up for with him, though, and the Bills probably feel pretty good about their trajectory overall, especially because the other elements of their offense have improved and the defense is playing well.

They rank second in rushing Total Points Per Play and first in Blocking Total Points Per Play. The defense ranks 11th or better in all three phases. Former fifth-round pick Sam Howell has pleasantly surprised by being just below average so far, but he could be in for a rude awakening against the Bills.

Panthers vs. Seahawks

Panthers vs. Seahawks – Sunday, 4:05 PM
Team Pass Rush Rec Block Run D Pass Rush Pass Cov
Panthers 30 32 22 8 24 4 25
Seahawks 3 3 11 12 12 32 19

Fourth-down decisions: Panthers fifth, Seahawks 19th

The Seattle Seahawks are coming off a big overtime win in Week 2 and are playing good, balanced offensive football. They rank third in passing and rushing Total Points. Plus, the offensive line held up reasonably well against Detroit despite being short-handed at the tackle position. 

Meanwhile, the Carolina Panthers are feeling pretty low after coming up short against divisional rivals in the first two weeks and are once again a little outmatched this week. Carolina’s pass rush has been a bright spot. With RT Abraham Lucas on injured reserve and LT Charles Cross being a non-participant in practice as of Wednesday, Geno Smith might have a tough time standing tall against Brian Burns and company (assuming Burns plays through his ankle injury).

If the Panthers are going to overcome their disadvantage and get a win, their defensive line will need to dwarf the Seahawks in pass protection on Sunday.

Cowboys vs. Cardinals

Cowboys vs. Cardinals – Sunday, 4:25 p.m.
Team Pass Rush Rec Block Run D Pass Rush Pass Cov
Cowboys 5 26 25 6 2 1 1
Cardinals 21 17 13 14 27 8 4

Fourth-down decisions: Cowboys eighth, Cardinals Not Ranked

Tony Pollard as the feature back has, perhaps unsurprisingly, gotten off to a poor start. Still, Dak Prescott is playing good football at the moment, and the Dallas Cowboys scored 30-plus each game with Mike McCarthy returning to play calling duties.

The defense has performed extremely well, although Daniel Jones and Zach Wilson were easy marks. That said, it has drawn an even worse quarterback for this Week 3 matchup, with Josh Dobbs taking snaps from under center in Kyler Murray’s absence. Dallas should continue rolling this week against a tanking team.

Bears vs. Chiefs

Bears vs Chiefs – Sunday, 4:25 PM
Team Pass Rush Rec Block Run D Pass Rush Pass Cov
Bears 29 10 12 13 14 31 32
Chiefs 7 21 20 21 9 14 9

Fourth-down decisions: Bears 10th, Chiefs 22nd

This is not the kind of start we’ve come to expect from the Kansas City Chiefs. Scoring 37 points through two games is terrible by the standard they’ve set for themselves, but Patrick Mahomes is still Patrick Mahomes, and they should be fine going forward.

Their defense has been playing well. It ranks in the top half of the league in all three Total Points categories through two weeks. The Chicago Bears’ defense, on the other hand, has not been playing well; especially their pass defense, which has been abysmal. This should be a get-right game for the Kansas City offense.

Steelers vs. Raiders

Steelers vs. Raiders – Sunday, 8:20 PM
Team Pass Rush Rec Block Run D Pass Rush Pass Cov
Steelers 32 18 14 30 25 3 14
Raiders 11 25 8 4 31 30 7

Fourth-down decisions: Steelers 29th, Raiders 26th

The Pittsburgh Steelers rank 32nd in Passing Total Points Per Play after facing some pretty tough defenses in the first two weeks, but make no mistake: Kenny Pickett is still one of the worst starting quarterbacks in the league.

The 25-year-old was billed as a pro-ready prospect and has yet to remotely approximate a player who’s well-suited to life in the NFL. This week, he faces a pass defense that ranks 30th in pass rush Total Points Per Play but eighth in Pass Coverage Total Points. This is an opportunity for the Las Vegas Raiders to right the ship and get above .500.

Eagles vs. Buccaneers

Eagles vs. Buccaneers – Monday, 7:15 p.m.
Team Pass Rush Rec Block Run D Pass Rush Pass Cov
Eagles 22 7 28 2 6 10 28
Buccaneers 1 24 26 10 18 5 6

Fourth-down decisions: Eagles first, Buccaneers 29th

It’s doubtful many people thought the Baker Mayfield-led Tampa Bay Buccaneers would have the best passing offense through the first two weeks of the season, but here we are. The former first-overall pick is comfortably leading the field in passing Total Points Per Play (0.37) and on-target rate (87 percent). 

Jalen Hurts ranks second in the latter category (83 percent) while ranking fourth in average depth of target (9.5). However, the results just haven’t been there for them through the air, as the Philadelphia Eagles rank 22nd in passing Total Points. This might not be a good week to break that trend, either. Tampa Bay ranks fifth and seventh in pass rush and pass coverage, respectively.

Rams vs. Bengals

Rams vs. Bengals – Monday, 8:15 p.m.
Team Pass Rush Rec Block Run D Pass Rush Pass Cov
Rams 12 12 21 24 10 13 27
Bengals 15 8 29 29 26 23 23

Fourth-down decisions: Rams 9th, Bengals 18th

It’s pretty clear Joe Burrow isn’t 100 percent right now, and the defense hasn’t been good, either. As a result, the Cincinnati Bengals dropped two divisional games and are 0-2 to start the season.

Meanwhile, Matthew Stafford seems to be healthy again, despite offseason trade rumors. The Rams are a team that appeared destined for a woeful season but is competitive in their division thus far. This feels like a make-or-break game for the Bengals. They started 0-2 last year, as well, but at least Burrow was healthy then. Being 0-3 with a hobbled Burrow would be a tough proposition.

This story was authored by Bryce Rossler.