Week 3 in the NFL brought both clarity and more confusion to the early season outlooks for clubs across the league. For every expected big win (see: Chiefs over Bears, Dolphins over Broncos, and Bills over Commanders) there were some pretty surprising upsets. Did anyone see the Jags sitting at 1-2 after 3 weeks with a blowout loss to the Texans at home? Who had the Vikings at 0-3? Did anyone think Gardner Minshew and Josh Dobbs would outlast Lamar Jackson and Dak Prescott in Week 3?
Every season has wacky weeks like this where multiple upsets hit at the same time. That can be good for bettors who believe that hungry dogs run faster, and bad for bloggers who post their weekly picks for the entire internet to see. After an 8-8 Week 1, I backed into a nice little 11-4 (12-4 with my unpublished Eagles over Vikings pick) Week 2, and followed that up with a 9-6 showing (again, 10-6 with a gimme 49ers over Giants TNF pick) to bring the season record so far to 30-18 record. Not bad following an unpredictable Week 3.
So, one would assume this is where the wheels fall off. That may be true for these picks, but one would have to assume that that should not be the case for the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 4. After getting the offense on track and balanced in a no-sweat 41-10 victory over the hapless Chicago Bears, the Chiefs face a bit of a tougher test in Week 4 against the New York Jets defense, but figure to be in the driver's seat with Zach Wilson leading an offense that has been lifeless since Aaron Rodgers went down on the fourth play of their season.
Expect the young receiving corps to struggle at times with an extremely talented back 7 for the Jets, but I'm bullish on K.C.'s ability to control the line of scrimmage against Quinnen Williams and company up front for the Jets. The Chiefs offensive line, while oft-penalized, has been stellar so far this season. Jawaan Taylor is clearly being singled out by officials at this point, but his performance outside of those inside jobs has been outstanding.
The Chiefs finally found their run game against Chicago last week and can control this game duplicating that recipe in Week 4. I expect a lower-scoring affair, but the same outcome. I like the Chiefs in this one 23-16.
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers
It took a Derek Carr injury and some fourth-quarter Jordan Love magic for Green Bay to escape with a win against the Saints last weekend, but they still failed to impress offensively. Detroit, so far, is the class of the NFC North—which might not be saying much. I expect them to continue that dominance in Green Bay on Sunday. Lions 28, Packers 17
Atlanta Falcons at* Jacksonville Jaguars
The * next to the at sign here denotes the fact that this is a European game. While the NFL is hitting a home run having the Chiefs and Dolphins slated for an overseas affair later this year, this one falls short of much drawing power. Jacksonville has been stunningly sluggish after an impressive surge to close 2022. Do they get back on track on the pitch in London? Who knows, this one is a toss-up to me. Jaguars 21, Falcons 20
Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills
Game of the week by a mile, here. Miami looked like they were playing Madden on rookie mode last week against Denver, but this Bills team is certainly not the Denver Broncos. Buffalo has been quietly slaying opponents in the noon slot since their primetime letdown against the Jets in Week 1, but they have regained their edge and look like one of the teams to beat in the AFC. It won't be snowing yet in Buffalo, but it will be a hostile, playoff-type environment. Buffalo takes this one. Bills 33, Dolphins 31
Denver Broncos at Chicago Bears
All I have to say is "LOL". Broncos 9, Bears 6
Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns
Are the Ravens good or bad? Furthermore, is anyone in the AFC North actually good? TBD, but the Browns' rushing attack should be a little more dialed in with another week for Kareem Hunt to reacclimate. At least my fantasy team hopes so. I actually like Cleveland to take this one. Browns 19, Ravens 16
Cincinnati Bengals at Tennessee Titans
If Titans' trends continue, they should look great this week. They sucked in Week 1, looked good in Week 2, and sucked last week. They're an even week team, and the Bengals are unimpressive so far and on short rest. The Titans front four is talented enough to wreck the Bengals offensive line and put Joe Burrow in jeopardy. Titans 20, Bengals 15
Los Angeles Rams at Indianapolis Colts
I saw someone on Twitter Monday night make the statement that Sean McVay would rather call the same plays he did with an ultra-talented offense and throw his hands up that his current players can't make it work than adjust his play calling to the personnel he has. That looked true all night long against the Bengals. I think the Colts are spunky enough to take this one at home, and the Rams are on their way to another long season. Colts 21, Rams 17
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints
Derek Carr hasn't been ruled out yet, but I've got 4 words that will make the hair on your arms stand up: Jameis Winston revenge game. I don't think Baker and the Bucs have what it takes to put enough points on the Saints defense to win this one. Saints 17, Bucs 13
Washington Commanders at Philadelphia Eagles
Until proven otherwise, the Eagles are the same wagon they were last year. They can kill you in so many ways and they have Deandre Swift cooking. The league's second highest profile Kelce-Swift combination is actually its most deadly on the field. Eagles 32, Commanders 19
Minnesota Vikings at Carolina Panthers
The Vikings have to have something go their way eventually, right? Kirk Cousins is having a fantastic season, but everyone else is still on summer vacation. Kirk's good vibes take over here and Julie Cousins' prayers are answered. Vikings 27, Panthers 17
Pittsburgh Steelers at Houston Texans
Am I crazy to think that C.J. Stroud and Kenny Pickett are two of the "got next" quarterbacks in the NFL right now? This is a low-key exciting matchup between two young offenses that are definitely ahead of schedule. Stroud has looked great so far in Houston, and the Steelers are doing what it takes to win games. I think Pittsburgh's defense is a little too much for Houston's young guns to handle this week. Steelers 20, Texans 17
Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers
The Raiders aren't good, but are just talented enough to be dangerous if you don't put them down early. The Chargers aren't good at closing out games. Together, these two factors will generate an entertaining Sunday matinee. This game is a Chargers home game on paper, but you know old-school Raiders fans will be packing out SoFi on Sunday. I actually like the Raiders here. Raiders 27, Chargers 24
New England Patriots at Dallas Cowboys
If the Cowboys don't bounce back here they could be flirting with being classified as the "f" word. That's right, frauds. Nothing new in Dallas, and what better insult to injury than a Bill Belichick defense coming to town to confuse one of the most confusable QBs in the league? Patriots 19, Cowboys 17
Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers
49ers by a million. 49ers 36, Cardinals 13
Seattle Seahawks at New York Giants
Trying to get fired up about this Monday night matchup is tough. Daniel Jones looked lost against [insert all of the Giants opponents so far this year] and the Seahawks are the most "are they actually good?" team in the league. Seattle has a hell of a scouting department and has built a nice roster, so I have to go with them here against a New York team that looks, well, not great so far. Seahawks 24, Giants 17