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2023 NFL Week 3: Expert Picks, Predictions For Every Game

Every Thursday, we’ll provide analysis and score predictions for every game on that week’s slate. Now that every team has two games in the books, we can start getting a better idea of who each team is. 

There are several two-score home favorites on the Week 3 slate. Will any of those teams lose?

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Thursday Night Football

Giants at 49ers

Spread: 49ers -10

Total: 44.5

The San Francisco 49ers have several advantages over the New York Giants. The biggest is that San Francisco’s pass rush can derail this game even if LT Andrew Thomas plays. 

Daniel Jones is ineffective under consistent duress, as we saw on opening night against Dallas. The 49ers also have an elite run defense, and New York will be without Saquon Barkley. Altogether, the Giants’ offense has a narrow path to success in San Francisco.

The Giants’ best chance to keep this game close is if their dormant pass rush steps up in prime time. New York has the raw materials to do that, but it’s harder to count on its secondary.

Even if Brandon Aiyuk misses this contest, the 49ers have plenty of weapons to exploit the Giants in both phases. On top of those talent deficits, New York will play on the West Coast on a short week. Ultimately, beating the 49ers will be a tall task for Big Blue.

Score Prediction: 49ers 30, Giants 13

Sunday Afternoon Slate

Broncos at Dolphins

Spread: Dolphins -6.5

Total: 48

The Miami Dolphins are among the few teams in the league with an elite passing attack, an effective run game and a quality defense. Most teams that play deep into January check all those boxes. 

Russell Wilson has been much better this season, but the Denver Broncos have lost close games to the Raiders and Commanders. The 0-2 Broncos are desperate for a win, but the Dolphins are their toughest test to date by a wide margin.

Score Prediction: Dolphins 26, Broncos 20

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen

Bills at Commanders

Spread: Commanders +6.5

Total: 44.5

After a tough opening night loss to the Jets, the Buffalo Bills dismantled the Raiders in Week 2. The Bills have been a playoff team since 2019, and Josh Allen is a perennial MVP contender. Buffalo has a reliable defense, and Allen has more weapons on offense this season. 

The Washington Commanders had seven sacks last week, and their front four is the team’s strength. If the Commanders steal a win here, chances are their elite front plays a leading role in that effort. 

Last week, Sam Howell and the offense exploded in the second half against Denver. Before that surge, the Commanders’ offense was largely underwhelming against the Broncos and Cardinals. The Commanders are 2-0, but their opponents have yet to win a game this season. The Bills are in a different class than Denver or Arizona.

Score Prediction: Bills 24, Commanders 16

Texans at Jaguars

Spread: Jaguars -9.5

Total: 43.5

The Jacksonville Jaguars only scored nine points against the Chiefs last week. That’s a disappointing score against anyone but especially against the defending champs, given Jacksonville’s championship aspirations. 

This week, Trevor Lawrence and the offense are in a potential correction spot against an injury-ravaged Houston Texans team. C.J. Stroud has thrown for 626 yards with no interceptions this season, but much of that production has come while the Texans were behind two or more scores. 

This season, the Jaguars have allowed 21 points to the Colts and 17 to the Chiefs. Jacksonville now faces a Texans offensive line mired by injuries. Houston is scrappy, but Jacksonville is well-positioned to bounce back against its division rivals.

Score Prediction: Jaguars 28, Texans 17

Colts at Ravens

Spread: Ravens -7.5

Total: 44.5

Lamar Jackson has been efficient through two games, but the Baltimore Ravens’ offense still hasn’t reached its ceiling. The Indianapolis Colts have been exploited by perimeter receivers in their first two games. 

Odell Beckham Jr. has an ankle injury but plays nearly all of his snaps outside. Colts QB Anthony Richardson could miss this contest due to a concussion he suffered last week. 

If Richardson can’t go, Gardner Minshew will take his place. Minshew is one of the better backups in the league, but a trip to Baltimore is a tall task for anyone.

Score Prediction: Ravens 24, Colts 16

Falcons at Lions

Spread: Lions -3

Total: 46.5

After Detroit Lions’ opening night upset in Kansas City, they lost to the Seahawks in overtime last week. The Atlanta Falcons have gotten off to a 2-0 start behind solid defense and a run-centric offense. 

Ultimately, these are two teams with top-10 offensive lines, quality skill groups and improved defenses. The big difference is that Jared Goff is a far more reliable quarterback than Desmond Ridder. Goff can conceivably win this game, while Ridder is primarily tasked with not losing games.

Score Prediction: Lions 24, Falcons 20

New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh

Patriots at Jets

Spread: Jets +3

Total: 36.5

Both these teams have high-quality defenses, making a low-scoring affair likely. Mac Jones has played well in his first two games under new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien. 

Last week in Dallas, the New York Jets had a nonfunctioning offense in Zach Wilson’s first start of 2023. It’s difficult to see that changing against Bill Belichick’s defense. 

Expect both offenses to be conservative, but the New England Patriots have the coaching and quarterback advantage. The Patriots are also searching for their first win after giving the Eagles and Dolphins close games.

Score Prediction: Patriots 16, Jets 10

Titans at Browns

Spread: Browns -3

Total: 39.5

The Cleveland Browns will be without Nick Chubb, but they still have a high-quality offensive line to drive their running game. They’ll face a Tennessee Titans run defense that has given up the fewest yards per carry to running backs this year. 

Tennessee’s secondary, however, has been torched for the fifth-most passing yards this season. Unfortunately for Cleveland, Deshaun Watson has been one of the worst passers in the league through two games. If Watson continues to struggle, Cleveland’s defense will have to carry another game. The Browns’ pass rush has a trench advantage in this contest.

Score Prediction: Browns 20, Titans 17

Chargers at Vikings

Spread: Vikings +1

Total: 54.5

Two of the league’s most talented offenses square off with two of the NFL’s least consistent defenses. The Los Angeles Chargers have allowed the most passing yards, while Kirk Cousins has thrown for the second most. 

The Minnesota Vikings have given up the second-most rushing yards to running backs this season. Minnesota played a lot of soft defensive fronts against the Eagles last week, which resulted in Philadelphia leaning on its run game more than usual. 

If Minnesota takes a similar approach this week, Chargers running backs could have a big day. Both teams have highly talented offenses with plus matchups in both phases. The question is: Which team can get their first win of the 2023 season?

Score Prediction: Chargers 28, Vikings 24

Saints at Packers

Spread: Packers -2

Total: 43

The New Orleans Saints’ defense played well in its first two games. New Orleans’ offense isn’t where it wants to be, but you can already tell the group is more dangerous with Derek Carr. The Saints are a week away from getting Alvin Kamara back. Running backs Jamaal Williams and Kendre Miller are both on the injury report. 

The Green Bay Packers have struggled against the run in recent years, but the Saints could be down to Tony Jones at running back. Jordan Love has played solid through two games, but he gets his biggest test to date this week. These are two similar teams with solid defenses and talented but volatile offenses.

Score Prediction: Packers 17, Saints 16

Panthers at Seahawks

Spread: Seahawks -6

Total: 42

After a blowout loss to the Rams on opening day, the Seattle Seahawks charged back with an overtime win in Detroit last week. In Week 3, they face a Carolina Panthers team with a nearly nonfunctional offense. 

If Seattle plays well, it could blow the doors off Carolina. The Panthers have a different coaching staff and new personnel, but they beat Seattle 30-24 late last season. Carolina ran for 223 yards in that contest, while Geno Smith struggled early.

Score Prediction: Seahawks 27, Panthers 13

Cowboys at Cardinals

Spread: Cardinals +12

Total: 43.5

The Dallas Cowboys won their first two games by a cumulative score of 70-10. They are positioned for another dominant win in Arizona from a pure talent perspective. The Cowboys’ pass rush has a massive advantage against the Arizona Cardinals’ offensive line. 

Dallas’ secondary will be the best Arizona has faced this season. There hasn’t been much pressure on the Cowboys’ offense this year, but that is a well-rounded, high-performing group. Ultimately, the Cardinals need an outlier outcome to keep this game close.

Score Prediction: Cowboys 27, Cardinals 13

Bears at Chiefs

Spread: Chiefs -12.5

Total: 47.5

The Chicago Bears’ pass defense has been torn up by Love and Baker Mayfield. Enter the great Patrick Mahomes, whose offense has uncharacteristically underwhelmed through the first two games. This is a classic get-well spot for the Kansas City Chiefs’ offense. 

Kansas City’s defense has only allowed 23 total points against the Lions and Jaguars. That’s not good news for Justin Fields and the Bears’ struggling offense. Not much has gone right for Chicago this year. 

This game could get ugly if the offense struggles for the third consecutive week. Given the Bears’ offensive line injuries, that could be the direction this contest is heading.

Score Prediction: Chiefs 34, Bears 20

Sunday Night Football

Steelers at Raiders

Spread: Raiders -2.5

Total: 43.5

We know the Pittsburgh Steelers have a difference-making defense; that’s been the case for most of this franchise’s existence. The Steelers’ offense has underwhelmed, but they’ve faced two premium defenses to open the year. 

There is a realistic path to Kenny Pickett and the offense taking a significant step forward in Las Vegas on Sunday night. 

The Las Vegas Raiders are coming off a 38-10 loss in Buffalo, and Jimmy Garoppolo has been little more than a game manager to this point. The Steelers have allowed the most rushing yards to running backs this season, so it wouldn’t be surprising if the Raiders leaned on Josh Jacobs early in this contest.

Score Prediction: Steelers 24, Raiders 17

Monday Night Football

Eagles at Buccaneers

Spread: Buccaneers +5

Total: 45.5

Mayfield has played well against two of the league’s worst defenses, the Vikings and Bears. He now has to deal with the Philadelphia Eagles’ pass rush, which has a trench advantage in this contest. 

Philadelphia’s interior, led by Jalen Carter and Jordan Davis, could wreak havoc in this matchup. We still doubt the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offense, but their defense has been excellent. 

Jalen Hurts and the Eagles’ offense can win in multiple ways, but they haven’t had a strong game through the air. That could change Monday night.

Score Prediction: Eagles 24, Buccaneers 16

Rams at Bengals

Spread: Bengals -1.5

Total: 43.5

The 0-2 Cincinnati Bengals are in desperate need of a win, and this game revolves around Joe Burrow’s availability. Burrow and the offense have struggled, but they’ve also played two division rivals with high-performing defenses. 

The Los Angeles Rams’ defense isn’t in the same tier as the Browns or Ravens. But Matthew Stafford has been exceptional through two games, and his Rams can push this score into shootout territory. 

If Burrow doesn’t play, as of this writing, Jake Browning is the only other quarterback on the Bengals’ active roster. Browning is 27 years old and threw his first and only NFL pass last week. If Burrow does miss this game, Will Grier could be called up from the practice squad. Greier is far from reliable but has a higher ceiling than Browning.

Regardless of who the Bengals march out at quarterback, Aaron Donald has a plus matchup against Cincinnati’s shaky interior.

Score Prediction with Burrow: Bengals 27, Rams 24

Score Prediction without Burrow: Rams 24, Bengals 13

Ryan Reynolds is the associate director of fantasy and betting at The 33rd Team. He has watched every snap of every NFL game since 2014 and has been covering NFL betting markets for five years. Follow Ryan @RyanReynoldsNFL on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.