NFL Week 3 Odds and Predictions: Best Picks Against the Spread

Payton Matthews | Updated Sep 20, 2021

packers vs 49ers

An AFC showdown was the biggest game of Week 2, and it’s a potential NFC Championship preview highlighting Week 3.

Here’s quick look at all Week 3 NFL games, played Sunday unless noted.

Carolina Panthers at Houston Texans, Thursday

Both these teams were terrible last season but have combined for a 3-1 record in the early going. QB Sam Darnold looks reborn with Carolina since his trade from the Jets and the Panthers’ defence is light years better than it was last year. Houston routed the Jaguars in Week 1 but was beaten by 10 in Cleveland on Sunday and starting QB Tyrod Taylor left injured. Not yet known if he can play here; if not, rookie Davis Mills likely would start. Could Deshaun Watson be active as the No. 2?

Point spread: Panthers -7.5

Pick ATS: Houston

Washington Football Team at Buffalo Bills

Washington on extra rest after winning a wild 30-29 affair last Thursday vs. the New York Giants. In his first regular-season start since 2018, Taylor Heinicke threw for 336 yards and two scores. He had a costly late interception but was able to get his team into field goal range at the end to win it. Buffalo dominated the Dolphins in Miami on Sunday, 35-0. The Bills allowed only 216 yards.

Point spread: Bills -9.5

Pick ATS: Washington

Chicago Bears at Cleveland Browns

Two of the NFL’s flagship franchises – it’s a shame they don’t play more often. The Justin Fields Era could be here for Chicago as the rookie QB replaced an injured Andy Dalton in Sunday’s win over Cincinnati. Not yet known how long Dalton would miss, but it probably doesn’t matter at this point. Cleveland beat Houston 31-21 without star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (offseason knee surgery) and then lost another receiver, Jarvis Landry, to a knee injury. Beckham may play this week, but I wouldn’t expect Landry to do so.

Point spread: Browns -7.5

Pick ATS: Cleveland (alternate line of -6.5)

Baltimore Ravens at Detroit Lions

Short week for Detroit as it visited Green Bay on Monday to close Week 1. No. 1 Lions receiver Tyrell Williams missed it in the concussion protocol. The Ravens upset the Chiefs on Sunday night in a spectacular game, 36-35. Lamar Jackson had his fourth career game with at least 200 yards passing and 100 yards rushing – that’s already an NFL record. The 2019 MVP was picked twice.

Point spread: TBA after Monday


Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans

Big early game in the AFC South – the teams split last year, each winning on the road. The Colts have disappointed at 0-2 and may not have starting QB Carson Wentz this week as he left Sunday’s loss to the Rams with an ankle injury. That would presumably mean second-year Jacob Eason would start. He was 2-for-5 for 25 yards and a pick in relief of Wentz. The Titans sure looked like they would be 0-2 down 30-16 in the fourth quarter in Seattle but rallied for a 33-30 OT win. Derrick Henry was a monster with 182 yards rushing and three scores.

Point spread: Titans -5

Pick ATS: Tennessee

Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs

The Chargers had every chance to beat Dallas on Sunday but lost 20-17 at home due to mistake after mistake. It seemed like every time the Chargers would score a touchdown, it was called back because of penalty. They were flagged 12 times and turned it over twice.

Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes had not lost a September game since taking over as Kansas City’s starter or thrown an interception in that month but he did both Sunday night in a 36-35 defeat at Baltimore. The Chiefs were in position to kick the winning field goal late, but Clyde Edwards-Helaire fumbled and Baltimore recovered. Kansas City did lose at home to the Chargers last season, but the Chiefs rested all their key guys as it was meaningless in Week 17.

Point spread: Chiefs -7

Pick ATS: Kansas City (alternate line of -6.5)

New Orleans Saints at New England Patriots

New England had no trouble Sunday in a 25-6 win at the New York Jets in picking off Jets rookie QB Zach Wilson four times. Good thing, too, because the Pats managed only 260 yards of offence under their rookie QB Mac Jones, but he didn’t turn it over. As good as the Saints looked Week 1 in throttling Green Bay was as bad as they looked Sunday in a 26-7 loss at Carolina.

Jameis Winston had five TD throws vs. the Packers but none with just 111 yards and two picks against the Panthers. The Saints were held to 128 yards of total offence, the lowest of the Sean Payton era and the franchise’s worst mark since 1996.

Point spread: Patriots -3

Pick ATS: New England (alternate line of -2.5)

Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants

New York had Washington beaten last Thursday when the Football Team missed a field goal in the final seconds … but the Giants’ Dexter Lawrence was called for jumping offsides. Washington hit the retry for a 30-29 victory. Ruined a fine game by Giants QB Daniel Jones, who threw for 249 yards and a TD and rushed 95 yards for a score while not turning it over. The Falcons look like the NFC’s worst team thus far after getting routed for the second straight game Sunday. Matt Ryan had three picks in the 48-25 loss at Tampa Bay.

Point spread: Giants -3

Pick ATS: New York (alternate line of -2.5)

Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers

Cincinnati second-year QB Joe Burrow managed to throw interceptions on three straight attempts in Sunday’s 20-17 loss in Chicago. Dating to last season, he had thrown 199 consecutive passes without an interception. Pittsburgh stunned the Bills in Buffalo in Week 1 but didn’t look anything like that team Sunday in a 26-17 home loss to Las Vegas. Linebacker Devin Bush and cornerback Joe Haden didn’t play and superstar linebacker TJ Watt left with a groin injury. These AFC North rivals split last year, each winning at home.

Point spread: Steelers -4.5

Pick ATS: Cincinnati

Arizona Cardinals at Jacksonville Jaguars

Matchup of former No. 1 overall picks in Cards QB Kyler Murray and Jags counterpart Trevor Lawrence. Murray accounted for four touchdowns Sunday in a 34-33 win over Minnesota but did have two costly interceptions, one returned for a score. Jacksonville is pretty clearly the NFL’s worst team currently after a 10-point home loss to Denver on Sunday as Lawrence continues to look for his first win. He struggled against a good defence, throwing for 118 yards and two picks.

Point spread: Cardinals -7

Pick ATS: Arizona (alternate line of -6.5)

New York Jets at Denver Broncos

Jets rookie QB Zach Wilson might be a good player eventually, but he’s struggling so far as he was picked off four times in Sunday’s loss to New England – the Jets have totaled just 20 points so far. Wilson was the first player since at least 1991 to throw INTs on each of his first two pass attempts in a game. He was also the first player since at least ’91 to throw three INTs in his first five pass attempts in a game. Denver coach Vic Fangio entered the season on one of the hottest seats in the NFL but is off it now with back-to-back double-digit wins – both on the road.

Point spread: Broncos -11

Pick ATS: NY Jets

Miami Dolphins at Las Vegas Raiders

Will Miami have starting QB Tua Tagovailoa? He left Sunday’s loss to Buffalo with a ribs injury on the second drive of the game and didn’t return. That was one major knock on Tua at Alabama: He was brittle. Jacoby Brissett would start if Tua can’t. Las Vegas is an impressive 2-0 as the Raiders were underdogs in both wins. Derek Carr leads the NFL with 817 yards passing. Top running back Josh Jacobs missed Sunday’s win at Pittsburgh but is likely to return for this one.

Point spread: Raiders -4.5

Pick ATS: Las Vegas

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Los Angeles Rams

Tampa Bay hosted and won the Super Bowl last season – Los Angeles hosts Super Bowl 56 next February and is good enough to win it. The winner here will have a potentially huge playoff tiebreaker. The Rams upset the Bucs in Tampa in Week 11 last year, 27-24. Both clubs are 2-0 in 2021. Tom Brady leads the NFL with nine TD passes after five Sunday in a blowout loss vs. the Falcons. The Rams won at the Colts but may have lost top running back Darrell Henderson with a ribs injury. This could be the only game this season the Bucs are underdogs (a pick’em as of this writing).

Point spread: Pick’em

Pick ATS: LA Rams

Seattle Seahawks at Minnesota Vikings

Seattle blew a 24-9 halftime lead and 30-16 fourth-quarter edge at home to the Titans and lost Sunday 33-30 in overtime. It was the first time Seattle lost when leading by at least 15 at halftime since 2004 and only fourth such occurrence in franchise history. The Hawks had won 12 straight home openers. Minnesota could very easily be 2-0 but is 0-2 after a crushing 34-33 loss in Arizona on Sunday when Greg Joseph missed an easy 37-yard field goal in the final seconds.

Point spread: Seahawks -1.5

Pick ATS: Minnesota

Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers

Sunday night game. Short week for the Packers off hosting Detroit on Monday night to close Week 1 – Pack QB Aaron Rodgers grew up not far from San Francisco and went to Cal-Berkeley in that area. The Niners improved to 2-0 with a 17-11 win at Philadelphia on Sunday but lost three more running backs to injury in rookies Elijah Mitchell and Trey Sermon and second-year JaMycal Hasty.

Point spread: 49ers -4

Pick ATS: San Francisco

Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys, Monday

Dallas was a 20-17 winner at the LA Chargers on Sunday thanks to Greg Zeuerlein’s 56-yard field goal as time expired. The score of the game was 14-11 in favor of the Cowboys at halftime. That’s notable because it the first 14-11 halftime score in NFL history. The Eagles did little offensively Sunday in a 17-11 home loss to San Francisco and lost Pro Bowl guard Brandon Brooks and defensive end Brandon Graham to injury. It appears Graham’s injury is season-ending. These teams split last year, each winning at home.

Point spread: Cowboys -4

Pick ATS: Dallas