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NFL Week 3 Picks: Predictions for Every Game

LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 09:  Quarterback Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles throws the ball in the second quarter against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on September 9, 2013 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent ISeptember 16, 2013

Week 2 of the NFL season will conclude on Monday night in Cincinnati and give way to a tremendous slate of Week 3 matchups beginning just three days later.

The third week of action will kick off in Philadelphia on Thursday night when the new-look Eagles welcome Andy Reid and his Kansas City Chiefs back to town in one of the more intriguing Thursday night showdowns in 2013.

Philly will be looking to avoid a 1-2 start to the year and, more importantly, an 0-2 start at home. 

But the Eagles aren't the only contenders in need of a win this weekend. Here's a look at every Week 3 matchup ahead and an early prediction for each.

 

*Week 3 schedule courtesy of NFL.com

 

 

New York Giants 27, Carolina Panthers 23

In a matchup of two desperate 0-2 teams in the NFC, the New York Giants will take on the Carolina Panthers, who have lost two straight heartbreakers to begin the year, none more gut-wrenching than Week 2's last-minute defeat at Buffalo.

On the other side, mistakes have done in the Giants, who have now turned the ball over 10 times through two games.

But expect the Giants to take much better care of the football against a Panthers team that has just three takeaways through the first two weeks of the season. Boasting the league's top-ranked passing attack, led by Eli Manning, look for New York to finally get in the win column in Week 3.

While Carolina has been explosive on the ground with DeAngelo Williams and Cam Newton, its passing attack is nowhere to be found, ranking 30th in the league heading into Week 3.

This will be a close game throughout that goes right down to the wire. But given the Panthers' inability to finish and win tight games, I'll take the G-Men this weekend. 

 

Houston Texans 20, Baltimore Ravens 17

The Baltimore Ravens' defense rebounded nicely in Week 2's win over the Cleveland Browns. Unfortunately, the offense was lacking from the defending Super Bowl champions. 

Baltimore averaged just 4.2 yards per play against Cleveland, which doesn't bode well for Week 3's showdown with the undefeated Houston Texans, who boast a top-10 offense and one of the best defensive units in all of football.

Although Houston can't afford to get into a big hole for the third straight week, it's unlikely that the Texans will find themselves trailing in this game considering the Ravens are averaging just four points per quarter over their past six quarters.

With Ray Rice banged up and two reliable targets from a season ago, Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta, missing from Baltimore's aerial assault, expect Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense to struggle again on Sunday. 

In the end, look for Houston's third-ranked rushing attack, led by Arian Foster, to steal the show, eating up clock and wearing down the Baltimore defense.

 

San Francisco 49ers 31, Indianapolis Colts 17

After being embarrassed on prime time by division rival Seattle on Sunday night, San Francisco will return home in Week 3 to host the Indianapolis Colts.

Both the Niners and Colts are coming off losses in Week 2, but Jim Harbaugh's squad is without question the better team from top to bottom. Plus, Indy will be playing its first road game of the year in one of the toughest stadiums to win in. 

Look for a balanced offensive approach and a dominant defensive performance to power San Francisco to a comfortable win at home in this late-afternoon matchup.

The Niners' secondary kept Russell Wilson in check in Week 2, and it's not quite time to overreact to Marshawn Lynch's big game on the ground. After all, Lynch always seems to run hard and fare well against San Francisco, especially at home. Note: The Niners lost by 29 points at Seattle in Week 16 last year before reaching the Super Bowl.

Meanwhile, Colin Kaepernick and the offense should find their rhythm much earlier in this matchup against a suspect Colts defense that ranks 16th against the pass and 29th against the run.

 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

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