If Week 1 told us anything about what was to come in the 2023 NFL season, it was to not believe our eyes just yet. While some presumed contenders continued to falter—Bengals, Chargers, and Vikings—others bounced back nicely, including the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills. Kansas City's win in Jacksonville last Sunday may not have been pretty at times, but in the NFL it's rarely easy to notch a road win over a playoff team from the season before. There's a sense that, by the time we get to the end of 2023, that win will look a lot more impressive in hindsight.
Riding momentum into Week 3 is all a team can ask for after a letdown in Week 1. The Chiefs looked like an offense still trying to find its groove, but defensively, they appeared to be miles ahead of where the unit typically starts. Steve Spagnuolo has the defense dialed in this year, notably a linebacking corps and secondary that looks much improved compared to past iterations. Chris Jones made an immediate, massive impact up front in his return, and the defense appears to be giving the offense time to find themselves with their stellar play thus far.
That leads us to a Week 3 matchup against the Chicago Bears who really couldn't be in a much worse spot heading into the matchup. Quarterback Justin Fields generated controversy earlier this week with comments he made surrounding his poor play and the Bears coaching staff, the team is winless, and there are question marks at nearly every position and certainly with the leadership on the defensive side of the ball. Head coach Matt Eberflus certainly has his work cut out for him moving forward in the early part of the 2023 season.
The Chiefs have one job this week: to avoid the dreaded "let down" game against the Bears. It happened last year against the Colts early in the season. Two seasons ago, it happened again versus the Chargers at home and at Tennessee. Three years ago, Jon Gruden and the Raiders took a victory lap around Arrowhead Stadium after a stunning Chiefs loss. Kansas City has been notorious for playing down to their competition at times in the Mahomes era, and have to avoid that this week.
Chicago appears to be in shambles and the Chiefs look like they've found their groove defensively and are finding it on offense after an encouraging second-half performance against a traditionally stiff Jacksonville defense. I like the Chiefs to win this one, but I can't get the early season blues out of my head just yet. Wishfully I want to see a blowout, but realistically I think this one will be closer than any of us expect. Chiefs 23, Bears 20.
After going 11-4 on the weekend slate last week, we're riding a wave here at the Arrowhead Addict picks. Let's see how well we do in Week 3!
NFL picks and predictions: Week 3
Titans at Browns
The Titans surprised most in a shootout with the Chargers last week, winning a game that I thought would almost certainly be the Chargers to lose. With the dreadful play thus far of Deshaun Watson coupled with the gruesome injury and subsequent loss of Nick Chubb to the Browns offense, it's tough to imagine Cleveland bounces back very well in this one on short rest. I like the Titans to move to 2-1 here. Titans 22, Browns 16
Falcons at Lions
The Falcons are 2-0? Bijan Robinson is looking like he was worth the 8th pick in last April's Draft, breaking ankles already and sitting second in the NFL in rushing after 2 weeks. Detroit let one slip away from them last week against the Seahawks, and figure to be a hungry bunch looking to right the ship. Can the Falcons keep it going in the Motor City? I give the home team the edge in a tight one here. Lions 31, Falcons 27
Saints at Packers
Will we get Week 1 Jordan Love, or apparently drunk Jordan Love in this one? To be honest, I'm not sure it matters. The Saints' defense hasn't allowed an opponent to score more than 20 points in 10 consecutive weeks, which in today's NFL is no small feat. I like Demarrio Davis and crew to keep the young Packers offense stymied at home and to find the win column yet again. Saints 20, Packers 17
Broncos at Dolphins
Sure, the Broncos put up 33 points last week against the Commanders. Sure Russell Wilson threw for 3 touchdown passes. Do we really think that A) that's the real Broncos offense, and B) that this team has what it takes to not get their doors blown off by Tyreek Hill and the Dolphins? I'd contest that Sean Payton is no Bill Belichick and that the Broncos are in for a long day on Sunday. Dolphins 29, Broncos 13
Chargers at Vikings
It's tough to say that there are many must-win games in Week 3, but this feels like one for both of these teams. Both came in with not just playoff aspirations, but as teams that many picked to reach their respective Conference Championship games and beyond. Minnesota had a lot of balls bounce their way in 2022, and the opposite has been the case thus far in 2023. With Austin Ekeler out, I think the Vikes have a chance to get on the right track here and put the Chargers even further behind the 8-ball in the AFC playoff picture. Vikings 28, Chargers 24
Patriots at Jets
Zach Wilson against a Belichick defense seems like a mismatch that is very much not in New York's favor. Are the Jets probably a more talented team than the Patriots? I would say yes. But there is a massive advantage on the sidelines here for New England, and Wilson did not stir much hope for the Jets faithful last week in a beatdown against the Cowboys. I like New England here. Patriots 20, Jets 13
Bills at Commanders
Eric Bieniemy has gotten the Commanders' offense on track behind second-year quarterback Sam Howell, but we know Sean McDermott and the Bills have a unique way of counteracting the Reid/Bieniemy system. Buffalo looked pissed off last week in a dominating win over the Raiders, and if Josh Allen can avoid costly turnovers I see them rolling again in Week 3. Bills 31, Commanders 24
Texans at Jaguars
The Jags need a get-right game after Kansas City kept them out of the endzone for four full quarters last week, and the Texans are a prime candidate for them to get back on track. I expect (and need - for fantasy football purposes) a big day from Trevor Lawrence and Calvin Ridley in this one. Jaguars 35, Texans 23
Colts at Ravens
The Colts have been spicy so far this year. But even though they may be sitting towards the front of the economy section, the Ravens are enjoying some extra legroom so far in the AFC's first-class section. Baltimore gets added revenge on the franchise that left them high and dry. Ravens 27, Colts 16
Panthers at Seahawks - With Geno and the Seahawks finding their stride late against the Lions, I think the Panthers are in for a sleepless flight back from Seattle. Seahawks 24, Panthers 10
Cowboys at Cardinals
Let's see, a defense that has taken the ball away from opponets 100 times in two games facing off against Josh Dobbs, what could go wrong for the Cardinals? Cowboys 35, Cardinals 9
Steelers at Raiders
This is a boom or bust matchup. If the Raiders play their best football, and the Steelers offense can get on track, this could be a high-scoring affair. What will likely happen is that the Raiders will struggle against a bruising Steelers defense and Kenny Pickett will do just enough to win it for Pittsburgh. Weird score alert. Steelers 18, Raiders 11
Eagles at Buccaneers
Baker Mayfield and the Bucs have been a nice story so far, but the defending NFC Champs looked like the same team that rumbled through the regular season last year en route to crushing their competition in the NFC playoffs. The run game in Philly is a thing of beauty, and Jalen Hurts looks like he's found his groove with Davonte Smith - imagine what the offense will look like when they get A.J Brown going? Eagles 34, Bucs 23
Rams at Bengals
Puca Nakua is on pace for over 200 receptions this year and is ruining fantasy football leagues everywhere. Meanwhile, Joe Burrow is doing the same for a very different reason. Do the Rams have what it takes to go into Cincinnati and shock the world? Unfortunately, I don't believe this will be the case. I like Cincy to get into the win column in this one. Bengals 23, Rams 21