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Thirty-two games have given us a beat on which teams are good, which ones are bad and which ones you shouldn't watch (Looking at you, Atlanta Falcons.)
The 49ers survived an old-school grind fest vs. the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2, and now they return home to face the salty, reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. Jimmy Garoppolo has said he might ask Rodgers for advice on how to handle his uncertain future in the Bay. Will he and Rodgers be chopping it up with the 49ers at 3-0 and the world falling around the 1-2 Packers, or will Rodgers put on a show in front to stun the Faithful?
Elsewhere, the two best teams in the NFL face-off in Los Angeles, Justin Herbert and Patrick Mahomes lock horns to avoid going 1-2, and the Raiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiders look to move to 3-0 by using The Autumn Wind to blow the Miami Dolphins back out to sea.
Let's get to the winners.
Record: 17-15 ATS (SU 20-12)
Carolina Panthers at Houston Texans
Line: Panthers -8
Tyrod Taylor is out with a hamstring injury, which means that rookie quarterback Davis Mills will make his first career start. This Panthers’ defense is good and I expect it to get a lot of buzz after hounding Mills on Thursday night.
Pick: Panthers 28, Texans 13
Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs
Line: Chiefs -6.5
Sloppy play and a phantom illegal formation call cost the Chargers a win over the Dallas Cowboys and now they have to visit Arrowhead to face a Chiefs team coming off a loss. Herbert will keep it close but Mahomes won’t lose two games in a row in September.
Pick: Chiefs 30, Chargers 28
Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants
Line: Giants -3
Atlanta’s offensive line has MASSIVE issues. This will be the Falcons’ second straight road game which is a tough situation for a struggling team to navigate. Joe Judge gets off the schneid.
Pick: Giants 24, Falcons 20
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers
Line: Steelers -3
Pittsburgh looked bad in a Week 2 loss to the Raiders. Ben Roethlisberger looks washed and now has a pectoral injury. If he can’t go, the Steelers will trot out Dwayne Haskins in relief. Don’t bet on this game, but give me the upset for the picks.
Pick: Bengals 23, Steelers 20
New Orleans Saints at New England Patriots
Line: Patriots -3
Perhaps, *extreme Dennis Green voice* the Saints are who we thought they were. That's not a good thing. After picking off Zach Wilson four times, the Patriots’ defense hounds Jameis Winston into three turnovers and Mac Jones moves to 2-1 ahead of Tom Brady’s Week 4 return.
Pick: Patriots 27, Saints 17
Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans
Line: Titans -5
Carson Wentz has two bum ankles and the right arm hasn’t exactly looked elastic through two weeks. Tennessee’s defense is an afront to mankind, but Derrick Henry can still put the Titans on his back. If Jacob Eason starts things could get ugly for the quickly spiraling Colts. Titans, and not all that close.
Pick: Titans 27, Colts 14
Baltimore Ravens at Detroit Lions
Line: Ravens -8
Detroit is frisky with a side of horrendous defense. The Ravens found their flow in the second half against the Chiefs. Lamar and Co. keep it rolling.
Pick: Ravens 31, Lions 16
Chicago Bears at Cleveland Browns
Line: Browns -7
OK, it is Justin Fields' time in Chicago. At least, this week as Matt Nagy refuses to see what’s clear to everyone else with half of a working eyeball. The Browns’ offense has been viciously efficient through two weeks but the Bears' defense hasn't been the issue early on. Fields will have nice moments and keep it close, but the Browns move to 2-1.
Pick: Browns 28, Bears 24
Washington Football Team at Buffalo Bills
Line: Bills -7.5
Where is this dominant defense I was told Washington has? It didn’t show up in Week 2 as Daniel Jones and the Giants went up and down the field at will. Buffalo struggled with the Steelers in Week 1 but pummeled the Dolphins in a bounce-back effort last Sunday. Chase Young and Co. finally arrive, but Josh Allen does enough to get the win.
Pick: Bills 27, WFT 20
Arizona Cardinals at Jacksonville Jaguars
Line: Cardinals -7.5
Kyler Murray, Rondale Moore and DeAndre Hopkins are playing backyard football at the highest level. But the Cardinals still do dumb things that keep things close, and give backers a weekly heart attack. Trevor Lawrence rebounds, but the Jags’ D can’t get off the field late. Cards in a close one.
Pick: Cardinals 31, Jaguars 26
New York Jets at Denver Broncos
Line: Broncos -10.5
Man, it doesn’t get any easier for Zach Wilson, does it? The Broncos’ defense just picked off Trevor Lawrence twice and they’ll make life miserable for the No. 2 overall pick Sunday. Only pain, will the Jets find at Mile High.
Pick: Broncos 27, Jets 14
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Los Angeles Rams
Line: Bucs -1
The top two teams in the NFL power rankings will battle Sunday at SoFi Stadium in what I expect to be an NFC Championship Game preview. Tom Brady already has thrown nine touchdown passes this season and could easily have his sights set on the single-season record, especially with the extra game on the docket.
An expected track meet turns into a second-half defensive struggle, but Brady hits Mike Evans for a 12-yard touchdown with 27 seconds remaining to leave LA with a W. The GOAT is on to Foxboro.
Pick: Bucs 27, Rams 24
Seattle Seahawks at Minnesota Vikings
Line: Seahawks -2
Here is your track meet of the week. Neither of these teams can stop a nosebleed. They’ll trade blows all day, but I trust Russell Wilson to finish more than Kirk Cousins.
Pick: Seahawks 34, Vikings 33
Miami Dolphins at Las Vegas Raiders
Line: Raiders -4
Tua Tagovailoa is out with a fractured rib, but I’m not sure it would matter if he was playing. Miami has allowed the most pressures through two weeks and the Raiders’ defense has been better than expected. Derek Carr comes back down to Earth a bit, but the Raiders move to 3-0.
Pick: Raiders 27, Dolphins 17
Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys
Line: Cowboys -4
After an impressive Week 1 showing, Jalen Hurts looked shaky against the 49ers in Week 2. Philly’s defense is stout but losing Brandon Graham is an issue. Hurts keeps it close, but Dak Prescott makes the plays to secure the win.
Pick: Cowboys 27, Eagles 26
Green Bay Packers at 49ers
Line: 49ers -3.5
The 49ers’ offense has looked pedestrian outside of two good quarters in Detroit. The Packers have some defense issues that Kyle Shanahan should be able to exploit. Rodgers is on a mission, but the 49ers get the best of him.
Nail-biter at Levi’s.
Pick: 49ers 27, Packers 24