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PFT’s NFL Week Three 2021 picks

Chris Simms and Mike Florio pick out the Week 3 matchups around the NFL that they're most excited for.

Two weeks down, sixteen weeks to go, and it’s still as wide open as it could be.

After scoring a 9-7 to 7-9 in in Week One, I blew Week Two to MDS, 11-5 to 10-6.

For the season, I’ve got a one-game lead, 19-13 to 18-14.

Our Week Three picks appear below. I’ll still lead by one game a week from now, because we agree on all 16 games.

For the selections, scroll away.

Panthers (-8) at Texans

MDS’s take: This would be a close game with Tyrod Taylor at quarterback for the Texans. Not with Davis Mills.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 30, Texans 20.

Florio’s take: Short week. Backup quarterback. Undefeated team with a great defense. Long night for the Texans.

Florio’s pick: Panthers 24, Texans 14.

Cardinals (-7.5) at Jaguars

MDS’s take: I still think Trevor Lawrence has a bright future ahead of him, but he’s been way too inaccurate so far. Kyler Murray, meanwhile, is one of the most exciting playmakers in football.

MDS’s pick: Cardinals 27, Jaguars 17.

Florio’s take: The Cardinals have plenty of things that they need to clean up. It won’t take much to clean things up to win easily against the overmatched Jaguars.

Florio’s pick: Cardinals 31, Jaguars 17.

Colts (+5) at Titans

MDS’s take: The Titans’ defense can give up points to anyone, but the Titans’ offense can score on anyone.

MDS’s pick: Titans 27, Colts 24.

Florio’s take: With a healthy Carson Wentz, the Colts would be in a tough spot. Without a healthy Carson Wentz, the Colts have a huge problem.

Florio’s pick: Titans 30, Colts 21.

Ravens (-7.5) at Lions

MDS’s take: This game will be closer than people are expecting, but in the end the Ravens will grind out a win in the fourth quarter.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 27, Lions 24.

Florio’s take: The Ravens got a signature win on Sunday night against the Chiefs. The worst thing they could do is to fall flat on their faces the following week.

Florio’s pick: Ravens 34, Lions 14.

Washington (+8.5) at Bills

MDS’s take: It’s hard to know what to think of either of these teams given the way they’ve played in their first two games, but I see Buffalo winning a close one.

MDS’s pick: Bills 20, Washington 17.

Florio’s take: The Bills are back on track. But that point spread seems a little bit too large for this one, especially with Washington having extra rest.

Florio’s pick: Bills 28, Washington 22.

Saints (+3) at Patriots

MDS’s take: Are we going to see the Week One Jameis Winston or the Week Two Jameis Winston? I think Bill Belichick will have a good game plan for him.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 14, Saints 13.

Florio’s take: Stop the run, and it’s easier to short circuit Jameis Winston. Bill Belichick will draw it up and make if work.

Florio’s pick: Patriots 22, Saints 16.

Chargers (+6.5) at Chiefs

MDS’s take: Patrick Mahomes will lead the Chiefs to a victory, but a suspect Kansas City defense will give up plenty of passing yards to Justin Herbert.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 31, Chargers 28.

Florio’s take: A huge early-season AFC West game. The loser lands in last place. Kansas City should win, but the Chargers should keep it interesting.

Florio’s pick: Chiefs 34, Chargers 28.

Falcons (+3) at Giants

MDS’s take: Both of these teams have looked pretty terrible this year, but I see the Giants as slightly closer to turning it around.

MDS’s pick: Giants 21, Falcons 20.

Florio’s take: The Giants finally get on track.

Florio’s pick: Giants 24, Falcons 17.

Bears (+7) at Browns

MDS’s take: Justin Fields appears likely to start in place of the injured Andy Dalton. He may turn out to be a great quarterback, but I’m not convinced he’s ready just yet.

MDS’s pick: Browns 27, Bears 17.

Florio’s take: The Browns have underachieved. They should be good enough to finagle a win, even if it’s not pretty.

Florio’s pick: Browns 23, Bears 20.

Bengals (+4) at Steelers

MDS’s take: Ben Roethlisberger is struggling mightily and appears to be well past his prime, but the Steelers’ defense will shut Joe Burrow down.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 17, Bengals 10.

Florio’s take: The Steelers are vulnerable, but the Bengal aren’t ready to take advantage of it.

Florio’s pick: Steelers 20, Bengals 14.

Dolphins (+4.5) at Raiders

MDS’s take: The Raiders keep winning close ones, and I think that’s going to continue.

MDS’s pick: Raiders 24, Dolphins 20.

Florio’s take: Without Tua, the Dolphins don’t have much of a chance. (With him, they wouldn’t have had much of a chance, either.) Just win. Baby.

Florio’s pick: Raiders 27, Dolphins 17.

Jets (+10.5) at Broncos

MDS’s take: Teddy Bridgewater has been one of the most pleasant surprises of this NFL season, while Zach Wilson has a lot of work to do.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 28, Jets 20.

Florio’s take: The Broncos half-assed their way through the Week Two win over the Jaguars. For their home opener, the Broncos finally hit their groove — and move to a surprising 3-0.

Florio’s pick: Broncos 27, Jets 13.

Buccaneers (+1) at Rams

MDS’s take: In one of the marquee games of this young season, the Buccaneers will remind everyone who the top team in the NFC is.

MDS’s pick: Buccaneers 24, Rams 21.

Florio’s take: The Bucs could lose focus on this one, with New England showdown looming. With Tom Brady on the team, it likely won’t.

Florio’s pick: Buccaneers 27, Rams 23.

Seahawks (-2) at Vikings

MDS’s take: Two teams coming off heartbreaking losses will play one down to the wire, with the Vikings getting the close win this time.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 21, Seahawks 20.

Florio’s take: Minnesota needs this one, badly. They finally get a home crowd. That will give the defense the boost it needs.

Florio’s pick: Vikings 27, Seahawks 24.

Packers (+3.5) at 49ers

MDS’s take: Aaron Rodgers doesn’t get to play the Lions every week.

MDS’s pick: 49ers 21, Packers 14.

Florio’s take: The Packers beat the 49ers last year, but the 49ers had too many injuries. This year, the Packers have too many holes — especially on defense.

Florio’s pick: 49ers 27, Packers 20.

Eagles (+4) at Cowboys

MDS’s take: Dak Prescott makes one more big play than Jalen Hurts in what should be an exciting NFC East rivalry game.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 31, Eagles 28.

Florio’s take: Dallas is hitting an early-season groove. The Eagles will be hitting an early-season wall.

Florio’s pick: Cowboys 28, Eagles 20.