NFL Picks Week 3: Which Teams Do Experts Love?

Andrea HangstFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 22, 2011

FOXBORO, MA -  SEPTEMBER 18:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots celebrates a touchdown with  Chad Ochocinco #85 of the New England Patriots during a game with the San Diego Chargers at Gillette Stadium on September 18, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

While four of the eight NFL experts at ESPN have yet to weigh in with their picks for Week 3, clear patterns are already emerging.

Of the 16 games scheduled for this Sunday and Monday night, nine have unanimous decisions regarding the winners of their respective contests.

All four experts have chosen the New England Patriots to beat the Buffalo Bills, and it's hard to disagree even considering how well the Bills have been playing through two weeks.

The difference, however, between the two teams is who they have defeated along the way to their respective 2-0 starts.

The Patriots took on the division rival Miami Dolphins in Week 1 in a shot-for-shot battle of quarterbacks that saw Tom Brady get the best of Chad Henne's Dolphins and put up a career-high 517 passing yards. Then they outscored the daunting San Diego Chargers, 35-21, proving that the Patriots clearly are the team to beat in the AFC.

The Bills were certainly impressive in their defeats over the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders, but they haven't beaten the Patriots since 2003, and this year it doesn't look like things will get any easier for the team, though I see this contest being close.

Also unanimously chosen as Week 3 winners are the Detroit Lions, who travel to Minnesota to take on the Vikings.

To say the Vikings are struggling would be an understatement. Aside from running back Adrian Peterson, their offense has stalled, as they have yet to jell around quarterback Donovan McNabb.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 18: Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings avoids a tackle by Cody Grimm #35 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the second quarter on September 18, 2011 at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Peterson scor
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Of the total 585 yards of offense and four touchdowns put up by Minnesota through Week 2, 245 of the yards and two touchdowns are attributed to Peterson.

All the Lions have to do to notch a win is to stop Peterson, while continuing to put up big numbers with their own surging offense. For once, something is just as easily said as it is done for the Lions.

Two surprising unanimous picks by the experts are the New Orleans Saints winning over the Houston Texans and the Philadelphia Eagles defeating the New York Giants. While I don't entirely disagree with these choices, I don't see either win being a foregone conclusion.

The Texans have had much success so far this season with their run game, even without starting running back Arian Foster in the mix.

While they have struggled to pass the ball, which could become an issue on Sunday should they find themselves in a hole against the Saints, they have an excellent chance of pulling out a win should they hold New Orleans to a close contest.

The choice of the Eagles over the Giants, even with a question mark looming over Philadelphia quarterback Michael Vick's health and playing status, shows that even without Vick, the Eagles are a superior team to the Giants.

I don't disagree; I just thought one of the four ESPN experts would have the Eagles struggling against New York should Vick not play.