NFL Picks Week 3: Bleacher Report's Expert Consensus Predictions

Michael Schottey@SchotteyNFL National Lead WriterSeptember 17, 2013

NFL Picks Week 3: Bleacher Report's Expert Consensus Predictions

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    Week 2 is in the books, and the NFL is proving that parity is here to stay!

    With a great many games going down to the wire so far, our experts still managed to improve their record from Week 1 and are looking forward to a Week 3 slate with even more enjoyable games on the horizon...even if there looks to be a couple of blowouts as well. 

    This week, Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid faces off against his old Philadelphia Eagles squad on Thursday Night Football, rookie quarterbacks meet as the Buffalo Bills take on the New York Jets, and Pittsburgh looks to right the ship and avoid going 0-3 as they host the Chicago Bears. And that's only the beginning.

    Our experts break down all these games in an exciting Week 3 slate. 


    Michael Schottey: National Lead NFL Writer (Twitter)

    Matt Bowen: National Lead NFL Writer (Twitter)

    Mike Freeman: National Lead NFL Writer (Twitter)

    Ty Schalter: National Lead NFL Writer (Twitter)

    Matt Miller: National Lead NFL Draft Writer (Twitter)

    Erik Frenz: AFC East Lead NFL Writer (Twitter)

    Andrea Hangst: AFC North Lead NFL Writer (Twitter)

    Chris Hansen: AFC West Lead NFL Writer (Twitter)

    Knox Bardeen: NFC South Lead NFL Writer (Twitter)

    Brad Gagnon: NFC East Lead NFL Writer (Twitter)

    Tyson Langland: NFC West Lead NFL Writer (Twitter)

    Zach Kruse: NFC North Lead NFL Writer (Twitter)

Expert Standings

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    Name: Last Week; Overall

    Consensus: 11-1; 22-6

    Matt Miller: 12-4; 26-6

    Matt Bowen: 13-3; 24-8

    Ty Schalter: 13-3; 24-8

    Brad Gagnon: 11-5; 23-9

    Tyson Langland: 13-3; 23-9

    Erik Frenz: 11-5; 22-10

    Andrea Hangst: 12-4; 22-10

    Zach Kruse: 12-4; 22-10

    Chris Hansen: 11-5; 21-11

    Knox Bardeen: 11-5; 20-12

    Michael Schottey: 11-5; 19-13

    Mike Freeman: 10-6; 18-14

    To see how Bleacher Report's experts are faring against the best at other media outlets, check out Pick Watch.

Green Bay Packers at Cincinnati Bengals

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    B/R Consensus Pick: Packers (8-4)

    Schottey: Packers, 27-21

    The Bengals defense isn't going to be as much of a pushover as Washington's, but this is still Aaron Rodgers we're talking about. The Packers will pull out a close win over a tough defense. 

    Bowen: Packers, 24-17

    Can the Packers limit A.J. Green? What about the Bengals tight ends? The Green Bay secondary will do enough to limit the Bengals' vertical passing game, and Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb will put this one away in the fourth quarter.

    Schalter: Packers, 33-27

    If the Packers pass rush can get to Dalton, this could be over quickly. If not, I still like the Packers to outscore the Bengals, if only by just a few points.

    Freeman: Packers, 30-20

    Rodgers is playing the quarterback position better than anyone right now.

    Miller: Bengals, 28-27

    The home team gets the edge in a game that will see A.J. Green take over. Don't discount that Bengals pass rush, either.

    Frenz: Packers, 34-30

    Two high-flying offenses will combine for a fireworks show, but there's no way Andy Dalton outduels Rodgers and the bevy of weapons at Green Bay's disposal.

    Hangst: Bengals, 34-28

    The Packers are a very good team that boasts the NFL's best quarterback. However, the Bengals have the superior defense and running game along with receiving talent that rivals Green Bay's. Cincinnati is a team on the rise, and they'll prove it by finally notching a win against high-level competition.

    Hansen: Packers, 28-21

    The Packers might have a hard time slowing down Green and the Bengals tight ends, but they don’t have quite enough juice. Rodgers and Co. will find cracks in Cincinnati’s secondary and do enough to win in the fourth quarter.

    Bardeen: Packers, 33-30

    In a game with high-flying offenses in a shootout situation, I typically like to go with the better quarterback, and that is surely Green Bay's in this case.

    Gagnon: Bengals, 30-28

    This is my preseason Super Bowl matchup prediction. I think the Bengals have more to prove and will make a big statement at home. This could be a shootout, but Cincy has a much better defense.

    Langland: Bengals 31-28

    As good as Aaron Rodgers is, the Bengals D will keep him in check in front of their home crowd.

    Kruse: Packers 28-27

    The Bengals could really give Green Bay troubles, especially on the perimeter with A.J. Green and along the interior with their defensive line. But with Cincinnati coming off a division game on Monday night, the Packers will sneak by with the slimmest of margins.

St. Louis Rams at Dallas Cowboys

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    B/R Consensus Pick: Cowboys (10-2)

    Schottey: Rams, 20-16

    I don't trust this Cowboys defense quite yet, and I don't trust Romo against a defense that should be able to pressure him. 

    Bowen: Cowboys, 21-17

    The Rams have the ability to pressure Tony Romo out of their defensive sub-packages, but Dez Bryant is too much for St. Louis outside of the numbers.

    Schalter: Rams, 23-21

    As they seemingly do every year, the Cowboys have the talent to play with anybody. Whether they have the coaching and attitude to beat a hungry Rams team is another question.

    Freeman: Cowboys, 21-20

    The overrated Cowboys somehow figure out a way to win.

    Miller: Cowboys, 20-17

    Jeff Fisher's Rams haven't gelled yet, and it's showing on the field. The Cowboys have been up and down, but they have the playmakers on both sides to win this one.

    Frenz:  Cowboys, 21-20

    The Cowboys always seem to find ways to lose in dramatic fashion—as was the case against the Chiefs in Week 2—but they also usually bounce back after a tough loss.

    Hangst: Cowboys, 20-13

    The Cowboys just suffered a rough, one-point road loss to the Chiefs, so returning to the comforts of home should do them good in Week 3. Right now, the Rams are giving up over 300 passing yards per game, which means a big week for Tony Romo and Dez Bryant as they secure a Cowboys win.

    Hansen: Cowboys, 21-20

    The Rams are built a little like the Chiefs. The difference is that the Cowboys will be playing at home, so they should be able to do just enough to beat the scrappy Rams.

    Bardeen: Cowboys, 34-27

    The St. Louis Rams can bring all kinds of pressure on Romo, but if that rush isn't successful, Romo and Bryant will eat up the Rams secondary.

    Gagnon: Cowboys, 27-20

    Dallas has too much talent to lose back-to-back games against teams that finished with losing records last year. Back at AT&T Stadium, they will take care of business.

    Langland: Cowboys, 24-21

    The Rams offense is for real; that was evident in Weeks 1 and 2. However, Dez Bryant will simply be too much against St. Louis' faltering secondary.

    Kruse: Cowboys, 30-28

    These two teams feel like mirror images of each other through two weeks. Neither can run or play defense, but the Cowboys will close it out late, as DeMarco Murray (253 yards vs. Rams in 2011) finally gets on track.

San Diego Chargers at Tennessee Titans

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    B/R Consensus Pick: Titans (10-2)

    Schottey: Titans, 17-14

    This game could go a lot of ways, but I'm picking Chris Johnson to get rolling and that Titans defense to continue to play out of their minds.

    Bowen: Titans, 17-14

    I'm going with Gregg Williams and the Titans defense in this one. Look for Tennessee to dial up some pressure late in the ball game to close this one out.

    Schalter: Titans, 24-23

    These are two talented but inconsistent teams who are getting better quarterback play than I expected. It wouldn't surprise me to see either team win this game, so travel makes the difference here.

    Freeman: Titans, 17-14

    Tennessee will prove that the Chargers' win over the Eagles was a fluke.

    Miller: Chargers, 17-13

    The Titans defense has been stout, but the Chargers passing game is for real. Philip Rivers keeps rolling along.

    Frenz: Titans, 20-12

    The Titans kept it close with the Houston Texans in Week 2, and they handed the Pittsburgh Steelers a loss in Week 1. There's renewed hope in Tennessee, while the Chargers clearly have problems on defense.

    Hangst: Titans, 20-17

    Both the Chargers and Titans have been outperforming expectations in this early part of the season, though neither are without flaws. The sneaky-good Tennessee defense will hold the Chargers to under 20 points and help the Titans to a win.

    Hansen: Titans, 20-17

    The Chargers have issues on defense, but when they protect Philip Rivers, he can still look like an elite quarterback. When these two teams met last year, San Diego had their best game of the season, and the Titans had their worst. But this one is in Tennessee, and the Titans are playing surprisingly sound football.

    Bardeen: Titans, 21-20

    In a matchup between strengths (San Diego's offense vs. Tennessee's defense), I'm going with the defense. Philip Rivers has looked good through two games, but I've seen too much Chargers football in the past to become a believer so quickly.

    Gagnon: Titans, 24-21

    Tennessee could easily be 2-0 right now. So could the Chargers, and back-to-back trips across the country won't be easy. The Titans will win a close one at home.

    Langland: Titans, 20-17

    Prior to this season, the Titans looked dead in the water. However, their improving defense has had them in every game. Tennessee will win on a last-second field goal.

    Kruse: Chargers, 27-20

    Fine, I'll say it: count me as a believer in Philip Rivers. He'll make enough plays to give San Diego its second road win in as many weeks.

Cleveland Browns at Minnesota Vikings

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    B/R Consensus Pick: Vikings (10-2)

    Schottey: Vikings, 23-13

    Two disappointing quarterbacks, two tough running backs and two teams underachieving right now—you have got to take the lesser of two evils and choose the team playing at home. 

    Bowen: Vikings, 24-14

    Christian Ponder is still a liability, but Adrian Peterson is the reason the Vikings will get their first win of the season at home versus the Browns.

    Schalter: Browns, 24-20

    Buster Skrine and the Browns secondary can get back on track against Ponder, who gives out interceptions like candy at a parade.

    Freeman: Vikings, 25-9

    Even Ponder can score against this Browns team.

    Miller: Vikings, 13-10

    This game will come down to which quarterback messes up the least and which running back can do more damage. I'll give the Vikings a slight edge here.

    Frenz: Vikings, 16-6

    These two defensive units collide in what should be the least exciting game of the week. It will likely be a battle of ball control, and give me the better running back in that matchup.

    Hangst: Vikings, 23-10

    The Browns are an abysmal team on the road and feature an offense that can't get anything going. Though Cleveland should hold Adrian Peterson to a reasonable number of yards, their offensive inefficiencies will do them in on Sunday.

    Hansen: Browns, 17-14

    The Browns should be able to slow down the Vikings, but can they score any points? The return of wide receiver Josh Gordon from suspension will float all boats, and the Browns will slip past the Vikings by a field goal.

    Bardeen: Vikings, 24-14

    There's no better sight for a team looking for its first win than to see the Cleveland Browns on the schedule.

    Gagnon: Vikings, 17-13

    I don't have a lot of confidence in either team right now, but I can't see the Vikes starting 0-3 with a home loss to an inferior Cleveland team.

    Langland: Vikings, 21-14

    Josh Gordon's return will be nice, but ultimately, it won't be enough. Adrian Peterson will have a big day on the ground.

    Kruse: Vikings, 28-13

    The comforts of the Metrodome couldn't have come at a better time for the Vikings, who just started 0-2 on the road against two divisional opponents. Minnesota can't afford to fall to 0-3.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New England Patriots

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    B/R Consensus Pick: Patriots (10-2)

    Schottey: Patriots, 27-13

    A pissed-off Patriots team needs to find their groove, and they'll do so against a Dashon Goldson-less Bucs secondary. 

    Bowen: Patriots, 23-20

    The Patriots rookie wideouts can't continue to drop passes, right? Look for Julian Edelman to once again be the top target for Tom Brady.

    Schalter: Buccaneers, 17-14

    Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano is cast from a Belichickian mold; it's no wonder New England signs so many former Rutgers players. Look for Schiano to prepare for this game like his job depends on it.

    Freeman: Patriots, 30-14

    Brady straightens out his offensive issues against a terrible Bucs team.

    Miller: Patriots, 27-17

    The Patriots aren't winning pretty, but they are winning. Meeting the undisciplined Buccaneers is a cure for their early-season woes.

    Frenz: Patriots, 30-12

    The Buccaneers are coming unraveled, with reports of dissension in the locker room and among the two most important players on their roster: Josh Freeman and Darrelle Revis. An undisciplined Buccaneers team gets taken to the woodshed.

    Hangst: Patriots, 23-16

    There are issues on offense with both of these teams, but ultimately, the Pats have a better situation at quarterback and with coaching. Josh Freeman clearly has the better group of receivers, but he's simply not Tom Brady.

    Hansen: Buccaneers, 21-20

    Tom Brady really needs a couple of reliable targets or the Patriots are going to struggle this season. Rob Gronkowski might return to limited duty in Week 3, but that might be the only help Brady gets. Tampa Bay’s defense has been playing well enough to keep this game close, and Doug Martin, Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams have to get going eventually.

    Bardeen: Patriots, 27-23

    The Buccaneers have been penalized 10 times or more for more than 100 yards in both their games, and Josh Freeman has a sub-50 percent completion percentage. There is no way Tampa Bay beats the Patriots.

    Gagnon: Patriots, 31-13

    Eventually, New England has to lose its temper and explode. That could happen at home this week, especially with all of the time they've had to prepare for a Bucs team that has been dealing with some tumult.

    Langland: Patriots, 23-17

    After their home game against the Buccaneers, the Patriots will officially be the worst 3-0 team in the NFL.

    Kruse: Patriots, 30-20

    A trip to Foxborough certainly won't help solve the dysfunction happening in Tampa Bay. And does anyone really expect the young Patriots receivers to play as poorly as they did last Thursday night?

Arizona Cardinals at New Orleans Saints

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    B/R Consensus Pick: Saints (12-0)

    Schottey: Saints, 30-17

    The overall talent of these teams is probably closer than the 12-0 vote would make it seem, but quarterback Drew Brees is just too good to bet against at home in a close matchup. 

    Bowen: Saints, 27-19

    Picking against the Saints in the Superdome is a bad idea from my perspective—especially with the way Rob Ryan's defense is playing.

    Schalter: Saints, 31-17

    The Cardinals will keep surprising teams, but not New Orleans and certainly not in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

    Freeman: Saints, 35-21

    The Cardinals defense is talented, but they're in a brutal spot on the road.

    Miller: Saints, 31-24

    Drew Brees is still elite, and the defense is making enough big plays to win. That's bad news for the Cards.

    Frenz: Saints, 20-14

    The Saints offense often steals the show, but in this game, the defense will have to step up against a Cardinals attack that is finding its stride.

    Hangst: Saints, 33-30

    If this game were in Arizona, I could see it going the other way. But when shootouts take place in the Superdome, New Orleans comes out on top.

    Hansen: Saints, 33-24

    It's very hard to trust Carson Palmer on the road when he will be forced to throw a high volume of passes to keep the score close. Palmer will make a late mistake and/or Drew Brees will make a late play in the fourth quarter.

    Bardeen: Saints, 28-17

    Even though his Week 2 performance was subpar (at least, by his standards), Brees will bounce back and keep plugging along against Arizona.

    Gagnon: Saints, 30-17

    The Saints have learned how to play defense. I'm not picking against them with a mediocre team coming to challenge them at home.

    Langland: Saints, 34-24

    The combination of Sean Payton and Rob Ryan has the New Orleans Saints looking like legitimate playoff contenders once again. Their hot start continues as they roll their way to 3-0.

    Kruse: Saints, 24-17

    What a difference a year has made for the Saints defense. I like that unit to continue playing well, especially in the noisy Superdome.

New York Giants at Carolina Panthers

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    B/R Consensus Pick: Giants (8-4)

    Schottey: Giants, 17-16

    These are two teams that are reeling right now, yes, but Eli Manning has a penchant for late-game heroics, and the Panthers offense is even more stagnant than the Giants' right now. 

    Bowen: Giants, 17-14

    The Giants will pick up their first win of the season after another slow start, and Eli Manning should settle down versus the Panthers.

    Schalter: Panthers, 28-20

    Despite their 0-2 start, the Panthers have played well enough to win two weeks in a row, while the Giants aren't playing particularly well. In Charlotte, look for Newton to rebound against a reeling Giants secondary.

    Freeman: Giants, 24-13

    There is no way the Giants go 0-3.

    Miller: Giants, 24-14

    Eli Manning's turnover streak can't continue...can it? The Giants have more talent and better coaches.

    Frenz: Panthers, 27-17

    After a narrow defeat in Buffalo, the Panthers really need to get on track quickly. A home game against a befuddled Giants team should be the antidote.

    Hangst: Panthers, 17-14

    Eli Manning and the Giants offense keeps turning the ball over, while their defense cannot generate a pass rush. Cam Newton has yet to be unleashed in Carolina, which will give the home team the edge here.

    Hansen: Panthers, 24-14

    The Panthers defense is pretty good, and the offense should get going against the Giants at home. After holding the Seahawks to 12 points in Week 1 and scoring 23 points in Week 2, they Panthers should finally put everything together in Week 3.

    Bardeen: Giants, 24-17

    Both teams are looking for their first wins, and typically, I'd go with the home team here. But the strength of the Giants (Eli Manning and the passing game) can take advantage of the Panthers' major weakness (secondary). Manning and Victor Cruz will roll through Charlotte.

    Gagnon: Giants, 34-17

    Right when you're about to count Tom Coughlin's team out, it goes on the road and hammers a team just like Carolina. The Panthers are improved, but this is a bad spot for them.

    Langland: Giants, 20-14

    The Giants have to win a game sometime, right?

    Kruse: Giants, 31-20

    This feels like a week where everyone will write off the Giants, and then Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning will engineer a big bounce-back performance.

Detroit Lions at Washington Redskins

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    B/R Consensus Pick: Lions (10-2)

    Schottey: Lions, 27-21

    Robert Griffin III is going to get right eventually, but I'm not sure if it's going to come against a tough defensive front like the Lions. Meanwhile, Megatron has the talent to embarrass this Washington secondary. 

    Bowen: Lions, 30-21

    RG3 doesn't look right, and the Redskins secondary has major issues. That spells trouble versus Calvin Johnson.

    Schalter: Lions, 35-21

    The Redskins are going to keep giving up lots of points through the air, and RG3 doesn't look healthy enough to keep pace.

    Freeman: Lions, 30-27

    Washington's defense is putrid. 

    Miller: Lions, 24-20

    Calvin Johnson will be the difference-maker this week against a terrible Washington secondary.

    Frenz: Lions, 38-20

    Can the Redskins secondary stop anyone? If they can, it's probably not Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford and the Lions' high-powered offense.

    Hangst: Lions, 30-20

    Washington hasn't ironed out their offensive hiccups after Robert Griffin III missed the preseason, while Detroit has only been struggling because of their propensity to shoot themselves in the foot. This will be a refreshing road win for the superior team.

    Hansen: Lions, 30-20

    Can anyone trust the team from Washington at this point? The defense looks brutally bad, and the offense isn’t playing well enough to overcome their deficiencies. Washington plays at home versus a much more predictable opponent than they had in Week 1, but I just can’t see the Lions not ripping off enough big plays to get the win.

    Bardeen: Lions, 28-20

    If RG3 looked like he was completely healthy and proper, the Redskins would have a better shot. But he doesn't, and the Lions passing game will be too much for Washington.

    Gagnon: Redskins, 26-17

    I can't see Mike Shanahan's talented young team starting 0-3. The Lions shouldn't be too much of a challenge in their second straight road game.

    Langland: Redskins, 30-17

    After two poor first-half showings, RG3 will get the job done Week 3.

    Kruse: Lions 34-24

    The Lions front-four against a still-hobbled and rusty RG3 isn't a great matchup for Washington. Calvin Johnson will run circles around the Redskins pass defense, too.

Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens

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    B/R Consensus Pick: (6-6)

    Schottey: Ravens, 23-16

    At home, against a Texans team that has played down to their competition this season, the Ravens can win by controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. They will force Matt Schaub into mistakes.

    Bowen: Ravens, 19-16

    No one wants to jump on the Ravens bandwagon after they were lit up by Peyton Manning in Week 1, but that will change after they take care of the Texans.

    Schalter: Texans, 24-14

    I just don't buy this year's edition of the Ravens defense. The Texans will make the plays that the Browns didn't.

    Freeman: Ravens, 20-17

    Possibly no Andre Johnson and Duane Brown hurts the Texans in Baltimore.

    Miller: Texans, 21-17

    This is the toughest game of the week to predict, but the Texans found some rhythm in Week 2. They look like the better team right now.

    Frenz: Texans, 28-20

    The Ravens ran into a tough defense in the Browns, but they'll have an even tougher challenge against the Texans' vaunted defense this week. The difference here is the fact that the Texans have an offense that can move the ball much better than Cleveland.

    Hangst: Ravens, 20-17

    Baltimore's defense will keep Houston's run game in check, allowing them to move the ball in the air but not score many points. Look for Torrey Smith and Marlon Brown to each get a touchdown in a close, tough win.

    Hansen: Ravens, 24-16

    The Ravens got hit with Peyton Manning's pellet gun in Week 1, but they slugged out a win against Cleveland in Week 2. The Ravens are still trying to find their new identity, but their run-defense will do enough to get the win at home.

    Bardeen: Texans, 27-24

    I like Houston's offense better than Baltimore's, and I like their defense better, too. It seems simple, but I like the Texans to win.

    Gagnon: Ravens, 23-20

    I don't trust either of these teams, so I'm going with the home side. Plus, I can still see Baltimore's defense slowing down the Texans running game and forcing Matt Schaub to make mistakes.

    Langland: Texans, 19-16

    The Houston Texans have been the ultimate comeback kids as of late. They won't need a comeback to take care of the Baltimore Ravens on the road.

    Kruse: Texans, 17-10

    Houston hasn't played great this year, but they still find themselves at 2-0. With the Ravens potentially not having Ray Rice (hip), the scales tilt towards the unbeaten Texans.

Atlanta Falcons at Miami Dolphins

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    B/R Consensus Pick: Falcons (8-4)

    Schottey: Falcons, 30-16

    The Falcons offense needs to step up against a good defense. It won't be easy, but in the end, they just have too many weapons for the Dolphins to handle. 

    Bowen: Falcons, 26-17

    There are too many weapons on the offensive side of the ball for the Falcons. Look for Julio Jones to get on top of the Dolphins secondary early.

    Schalter: Falcons, 28-21

    Miami just doesn't have the firepower to keep up with the Falcons, even with Steven Jackson out for the near term.

    Freeman: Dolphins, 21-14

    Young Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill continues to impress.

    Miller: Falcons, 28-21

    The Falcons are banged up, but they're still too good on offense for Miami. The Atlanta offensive line will be tested, though.

    Frenz: Dolphins, 21-16

    The Dolphins look outmatched on paper, but Atlanta's stud receiving duo of Roddy White and Julio Jones are both nursing injuries. What's more, the Miami offense is really starting to hit their stride. Ryan Tannehill takes it to the wire with the Falcons and ekes out a late home win.

    Hangst: Falcons, 30-14

    The Falcons offense is dealing with injuries, but they aren't hobbled enough to fail to put up points against the Dolphins. Matt Ryan's arm will still prevail in Miami.

    Hansen: Dolphins, 28-17

    The Dolphins are a lot better than people think, and a win over the Falcons will validate them as a team to beat in the AFC. The Dolphins also get the Falcons in Miami, which is an ideal situation against a team with a suspect defense and an ailing Roddy White.

    Bardeen: Falcons, 28-20

    The Falcons were decimated by injuries in Week 2. While that will slow down Atlanta, the Falcons still have too many weapons and come out on top.

    Gagnon: Dolphins, 24-23

    The Falcons are the better team, but Miami is in a bit of a groove after taking care of business in back-to-back road games to open the year. In their home opener, the Dolphins will win a tight one.

    Langland: Falcons, 21-20

    Despite losing defensive end Kroy Biermann for the year, defensive coordinator Mike Nolan's unit will do enough to limit Ryan Tannehill and Lamar Miller.

    Kruse: Falcons, 27-24

    Rather quietly, the Dolphins have started this season 2-0. Atlanta will even up each team's record at 2-1 by feeding a wealth of playmakers that Miami can't match up with.

Buffalo Bills at New York Jets

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    B/R Consensus Pick: Bills (7-5)

    Schottey: Bills, 13-9

    The Bills have had a surprising defense the first couple of weeks, and this game will come down to EJ Manuel just being better than Geno Smith right now. 

    Bowen: Bills, 17-9

    This game features two rookie quarterbacks, so who can make the least amount of mistakes? I'm going with Manuel after his impressive start to the season.

    Schalter: Bills, 17-7

    EJ Manuel made plays when he had to against the Panthers. Both defenses are stouter than they're getting credit for, but one offense (Buffalo) actually has playmakers.


    Freeman: Jets, 14-9

    The Jets defense might actually be the best in NFL.

    Miller: Jets, 14-12

    The Rookie Quarterback Bowl favors the Bills playmakers, but the Jets defense should contain Manuel.

    Frenz:  Jets, 16-9

    Rex Ryan never gets enough credit for his defensive expertise. EJ Manuel took a big step against the Panthers with his first win, but he had some major bumps along the way with two turnovers. The Jets defense will be ready to pounce on those kinds of mistakes.

    Hangst: Bills, 20-10

    In a battle of rookie signal-callers and slowly improving defenses, the Bills have the edge over the Jets, even though they play this contest on the road at MetLife. Buffalo will simply have the fewer missteps.

    Hansen: Jets, 17-13

    EJ Manuel is off to an impressive start, but expecting a win in your rookie QB's first road start is asking a lot. The Jets also have a really good defense and can do just enough offensively to win games.

    Bardeen: Bills, 20-10

    Manuel proved last week that he can make things happen at the end of the game. When there are two rookie quarterbacks on the field, I'll take the guy who can close things out, even if the sample size is quite small.

    Gagnon: Bills, 24-20

    The Jets have had some extra time off and have home-field advantage, but the Bills are just better. EJ Manuel appears to be well ahead of Geno Smith, and he has a lot more support.

    Langland: Jets, 14-10

    Rex Ryan will be out to daze and confuse EJ Manuel. The Jets will win a defensive affair while only scoring one offensive touchdown.

    Kruse: Bills, 20-13

    Two rookie quarterbacks hand-picked to lead franchise turnarounds will begin their AFC East rivalry. The Bills simply have more playmakers on offense to help out their first-rounder.

Indianapolis Colts at San Francisco 49ers

13 of 17

    B/R Consensus Pick: 49ers (12-0)

    Schottey: 49ers, 35-20

    In what should be a heavily hyped matchup, the Colts are being led like lambs to a slaughter against a 49ers team that has every reason to embarrass them following the Niners' tough Week 2 loss.

    Bowen: 49ers, 27-13

    Can the Colts protect Andrew Luck? Probably not. Take the 49ers to rebound after the team's Sunday night loss in Seattle.

    Schalter: 49ers, 28-10

    I tried to think of ways Luck could overcome the Niners defense, but I came up empty. Kaepernick and Co. should recover behind an amped home crowd.

    Freeman: 49ers, 24-17

    An angry 49ers team takes one back at home against the Colts.

    Miller: 49ers, 27-14

    The 49ers need a bounce-back game. Jim Harbaugh shutting down his old pupil Andrew Luck is one way to regain some confidence.

    Frenz: 49ers, 28-26

    Andrew Luck is a good quarterback, but let's be real: the 49ers aren't going to lose two games in a row. Their defense will make just enough plays to keep the Colts in check.

    Hangst: 49ers, 35-17

    On the heels of a thorough beating on the road in Seattle, the 49ers will be looking to right the ship against the visiting Colts. This game will be a good measuring stick for Indianapolis, however, as it will give them a test against one of the scariest offenses and defenses in the league.

    Hansen: 49ers, 40-21

    The 49ers aren't going to be very happy after their performance in Week 2, and they are going to take it out on the Colts. Indy has a lot of problems on defense that the 49ers can exploit.

    Bardeen: 49ers, 30-21

    I'm not sure I'd want to face a high-quality, tenacious defense like San Francisco's after a tough loss like the one they just suffered. The 49ers will rebound and look like a Super Bowl contender once more.

    Gagnon: 49ers, 30-20

    Good teams like the 49ers bounce back. They haven't lost twice in a row since 2010, and they are at home. This will be a tough one for the Colts after traveling across the country.

    Langland: 49ers, 28-24

    Yes, the Niners had a bad game against the Seahawks, but Jim Harbaugh hasn't lost back-to-back games since taking over in 2011. San Francisco will be out for vengeance come Sunday.

    Kruse: 49ers, 34-23

    Colin Kaepernick vs. Andrew Luck is a classic young quarterback matchup. But is there any reason to trust the Indy defense? Kaepernick will bounce back.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Seattle Seahawks

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    B/R Consensus Pick: Seahawks (12-0)

    Schottey: Seahawks, 28-3

    The Seahawks at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars could be one of the most lopsided NFL games in recent memory. 

    Bowen: Seahawks, 31-6

    I just don't see how the Jags are going to move the ball or score points against this Seattle defense.

    Schalter: Seahawks, 31-7

    Can the Jaguars score any points against Richard Sherman and Co.? No, so we'll call that a defensive score.

    Freeman: Seahawks, 50-0

    The Jaguars might be the worst team in the past 10 years.

    Miller: Seahawks, 42-0

    This one will get ugly if Pete Carroll decides to keep his starters in.

    Frenz: Seahawks, 45-3

    The Seahawks just laid the smackdown on the 49ers in Week 2. The Jaguars, on the other hand, have scored 11 points through two games (the fewest since the 2009 St. Louis Rams). I think we know where this is going.

    Hangst: Seahawks 35-3

    The Jacksonville Jaguars haven't amassed double-digit points in a game yet, with absolutely nothing working on offense and a defense that can't do everything, every down. Seattle at home is one of the most dangerous teams in the league, and they should win handily, as long as they don't completely overlook the visitors.

    Hansen: Seahawks, 27-3

    I can't imagine a situation where the Jaguars will be able to move the ball against Seattle's defense, but maybe Gus Bradley's intimate knowledge of the personnel, combined with Jacksonville's solid defense, gets them a field goal...maybe.

    Bardeen: Seahawks, 34-7

    Let's follow this train of thought: Seattle just destroyed the 49ers 29-3, and San Francisco is a title contender. Jacksonville is far from a Super Bowl contender, and they will travel to Seattle this week, just like the 49ers did in Week 2. Not good.

    Gagnon: Seahawks, 41-10

    Considering how good the Seahawks are, how cold the Jags are, and where this game is being played, it could be the blowout of the year.

    Langland: Seahawks, 35-0

    Gus Bradley's return to the Pacific Northwest will be hard to watch if you're a Jaguars fan.

    Kruse: Seahawks 38-3

    The Jaguars attempting to get anything going on offense at CenturyLink Field sounds like an epic disaster waiting to happen. This one could get really ugly.

Chicago Bears at Pittsburgh Steelers

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    B/R Consensus Pick: Bears (11-1)

    Schottey: Bears, 28-23

    The Bears are rolling, while the Steelers are looking more and more like a rebuild might be just around the corner. They'll harass Jay Cutler, but the Steelers offense will fall short. 

    Bowen: Bears 20-17

    There is plenty of talk about Jay Cutler after the Bears' comeback win versus the Vikings. But the reason the Bears will move to 3-0 will be because of Matt Forte's production in Marc Trestman's offense.

    Schalter: Bears, 24-20

    Chicago has talent, balance and offense, while the Steelers haven't been able to say the same so far. This will be a tough road game for the Bears, but they've looked good this year.

    Freeman: Steelers, 20-17

    The Steelers will get the win, as the defense picks off Cutler twice.

    Miller: Bears, 21-13

    The Bears are the best team no one is talking about. They'll prove it on a national stage on Sunday night.

    Frenz: Bears, 28-17

    Jay Cutler has been hyped plenty in the past, but I don't recall a time where his hype was as well deserved as it is right now. He won't need a fourth-quarter comeback against the Steelers.

    Hangst: Bears, 27-10

    On both offense and defense, the Bears are the better team than the Steelers. What could have once been a compelling matchup between two bruisers is now akin to a young, undefeated boxer meeting a punch-drunk former champion.

    Hansen: Bears, 24-20

    Cutler looks pretty good with a solid offensive line in front of him, and the Steelers don't really have a pass-rusher that can test them. I expect the Steelers to keep it close, but the Bears should come away with the close road win.

    Bardeen: Bears, 19-17

    Pittsburgh is typically a hostile place to play, and the Bears will have their hands full. But this new and improved Chicago offense should have just enough ammunition to pull off the road win.

    Gagnon: Bears, 20-17

    The Bears are putting things together, and I still don't trust Pittsburgh.

    Langland: Bears, 28-20

    I can't believe I'm about to say this: I trust Jay Cutler. Coach Marc Trestman has Chicago headed in the right direction.

    Kruse: Bears, 21-13

    A matchup between these two teams at Heinz Field just sounds like an ugly, defensive brawl. And call me crazy, but I might trust Jay Cutler more than Big Ben right now.

Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    B/R Consensus Pick: Broncos (12-0)

    Schottey: Broncos, 38-13

    Remember a few slides ago when I said that Jacksonville at Seattle would be lopsided? Well, that game has competition. I am spotting the Raiders a surprising and exciting Terrelle Pryor touchdown, but overall, this game should be a blowout. 

    Bowen: Broncos, 31-17

    The Raiders don't have the depth or talent in the secondary to stop Peyton Manning on Monday night. The Broncos will win big.

    Schalter: Broncos, 35-27

    A divisional rivalry, a confident home team and a dangerous underdog makes this sounds like a trap game for Denver. But I can't see the Broncos losing to anyone right now, even on an offday.

    Freeman: Broncos, 30-9

    There will be no letdown from Denver in Week 3.

    Miller: Broncos, 31-10

    No Ryan Clady? That doesn't matter. The Broncos will roll on Monday night.

    Frenz: Broncos, 42-10

    Peyton Manning is on a tear, and the Raiders sure aren't going to be the first ones to stop him. I give this one 20 minutes before most of America changes the channel.

    Hangst: Broncos, 42-13

    Giving credit where credit is due: the Raiders have looked better than we thought they would. However, the Broncos look just as we thought they would, and they are currently the class of the AFC West, if not the whole AFC. Denver wins big.

    Hansen: Broncos, 31-23

    It doesn't look like any defense can stop Denver, but the Raiders might present Manning with the best secondary he has seen thus far in 2013, even without safety Tyvon Branch. Without Ryan Clady to protect Manning's blind side, Lamarr Houston might also be able to force the Denver quarterback to make a few more hot reads than normal.

    This will also be the first test for Denver's defense against a team with a running quarterback that uses a lot of read-option. The Raiders might keep it closer than expected with all these factors considered, but the Broncos should still get the win.

    Bardeen: Broncos, 34-13

    The Broncos look to be every bit the top AFC team we thought they'd be. Even though Oakland has looked good at times, the Raiders can't handle Peyton Manning and the Broncos offense.

    Gagnon: Broncos, 38-17

    You'd be crazy to pick the Broncos to lose at home at this point. Plus, they hammered Oakland in both meetings last year.

    Langland: Broncos, 45-7

    Another week, another win for the Denver Broncos. They are the hottest team in the NFL right now.

    Kruse: Broncos, 38-17

    The Broncos are averaging 45 points a game to start this season. Terrelle Pryor makes the Oakland offense interesting, but Peyton Manning will shred an overmatched Raiders defense.

Kansas City Chiefs at Philadelphia Eagles

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    B/R Consensus Pick: Chiefs (9-3)

    Update: Chiefs defeated Eagles 26-16

    Schottey: Chiefs, 31-28

    While the Andy Reid narratives get played out, the real storyline is how the Chiefs cope with the Eagles' up-tempo offense. In the end, you have to think they can rattle Vick and Co. just enough to get the win on the road. 

    Bowen: Eagles, 30-20

    Reid returns to Philadelphia with his 2-0 Chiefs, but Chip Kelly's offense puts on another impressive display in front of a national audience to get the win.


    Schalter: Chiefs, 27-24

    The Eagles have a strike-anytime offense, but the Chiefs pass rush and cornerbacks should be able to slow it down just long enough for Kansas City to pull out the win on the road.


    Freeman: Chiefs, 24-20

    Reid figures out how to slow his old team's offense.

    Miller: Chiefs, 24-21

    The short week favors Reid's team and his experience as a head coach. Chip Kelly's crew has to learn how to play for four quarters.


    Frenz: Chiefs, 23-20

    The Chiefs have started hot, proving that Reid still has chops as a head coach. He'll remind the Eagles what they're missing out on by out-coaching his first-year counterpart.

    Hangst: Chiefs, 21-20

    The 2-0 Chiefs have been one of the pleasant surprises of the early 2013 NFL season. Though the Eagles have a fast-paced offense and the advantage of playing at home, Kansas City's defense will be able to hold Philadelphia in check while the offense ekes out a close win.

    Hansen: Chiefs, 24-21

    The Chiefs aren’t turning the ball over, which has helped the defense as much as the offense. The defense isn’t working with horrible field position, either, and they look great. The K.C. offense has looked average, but because Andy Reid left Philadelphia’s defense in shambles, average will be good enough in this game.

    Bardeen: Eagles, 30-20

    Philadelphia is second in the NFL in total offense and will be slowed down but not stopped by Kansas City's tough defense.

    Gagnon: Chiefs, 24-23

    It's never easy going on the road for a Thursday night game, but this young Chiefs team benefits from an early-season turnaround and a lot of momentum. I don't think the Eagles defense can stop Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe, and I think the Chiefs D will provide Kelly with his stiffest test yet.

    Langland: Eagles, 27-20

    In Reid's return to Philly, Kelly will have his team on its A-game. Quarterback Michael Vick will continue to prove he is a different player from last season and lead the Eagles to a tough-fought victory.

    Kruse: Chiefs, 30-27

    Defense is likely going to be a problem for the Eagles for most of 2013. A patient and safe Alex Smith will make Reid's homecoming a happy one.

    Michael Schottey is the NFL National Lead Writer for Bleacher Report and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Find more of his stuff at The Go Route 


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