Week 3 NFL Picks: Favorites in for a Rude Awakening
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
The oddsmakers have set their favorites, and there are definitely some upsets on the table for Week 3.
Teams are starting to show their true colors after just two games this season. Miami and Kansas City have surprised teams with 2-0 starts, while the Steelers and Vikings still haven't found the win column.
Aside from a few expected one-sided affairs, Week 3 is full of games sure to excite any football fan. Here are four games where the favorite must be wary of the upset.
Kansas City Chiefs at Philadelphia Eagles (-3)
Philadelphia has run the ball at will and is second in the league at 181.5 yards per game on the ground. Kansas City's run defense is No. 2 in the league at stopping the run, allowing only 54 yards per game.
Something will have to give Thursday night. My best guess is that it will be somewhere in the middle, but that won't be enough for Chip Kelly's offense.
It's the other side of the ball that will make the difference in the game. The Chiefs' run game is no slouch itself, averaging 117.5 yards per game behind Jamaal Charles. Alex Smith has also gotten off to a nice start with his new team, throwing four touchdowns and no interceptions so far in 2013.
In Andy Reid's return to Philadelphia, he comes out with a win.
Prediction: Chiefs win, 24-20
San Diego Chargers at Tennessee Titans (-3)
What both of these teams have in common is that they were in position to beat the Houston Texans already this season, but failed to finish the job.
The difference this week is that San Diego is coming off an emotional 33-30 victory at Philadelphia, and Tennessee floundered down the stretch to lose in Houston.
In Week 3, look for Philip Rivers and his high-powered Chargers offense to jump on top early and expose some of the flaws in Tennessee's defense, which ranked 27th in 2012.
The Titans' defense has looked better so far this year, but those stats are padded by Week 1's matchup against the hapless Steelers offense. Rivers will come close to duplicating the 297 yards and three touchdowns Matt Schaub put up last week.
San Diego has never lost to the Titans in Tennessee, and that won't change this week.
Prediction: Chargers win, 27-21
St. Louis Rams at Dallas Cowboys (-4)
Carlos Mendez of the Star-Telegram breaks down that the Rams had consecutive drives of 74, 75 and 67 yards to open the second half last week. That is the kind of quick-strike offense that will keep St. Louis in every game this season.
Dallas' offense had a tough time getting much going in Kansas City last week, but the Rams' defense won't be able to hold them down like that.
I look for this game to be a high-scoring affair, and like most Cowboys games, for it to be close. Dallas is on upset alert, but finds a way to win it in the fourth quarter in Week 3.
Prediction: Cowboys win, 34-27
Atlanta Falcons at Miami Dolphins (-2.5)
Miami already has two road wins out of the gate, and the Falcons haven't looked quite like the team that played in the NFC Championship a year ago.
That seems to look like trouble for Atlanta in Week 3, but I just can't see the Falcons losing this one. Atlanta has too many weapons on offense with Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez in the red zone.
Ryan Tannehill has impressed in his sophomore season in Miami, but Atlanta's secondary isn't as bad as it has looked through two weeks this year. In the end, expect the Falcons to steal a win from the Dolphins in Miami.
Prediction: Falcons win, 28-17
Every week is important in the NFL, but Week 3 could especially be a turning point for these favorites.
The Eagles and Cowboys have a chance to get ahead early in a struggling division, while the Titans can't afford to fall much further behind the Texans. Meanwhile, Miami has a chance to move to 3-0 and put pressure on the Patriots to keep up.
At the same time, the underdogs face much of the same challenges and have a chance to steal a game on the road.
These teams aren't separated by much, and every game is another chance to position themselves for the playoffs.
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