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NFL Picks Week 3: Shipping up to Boston

We had an interesting week of action in Week 2, now let’s see what Week 3 of the 2021 NFL season has in store.

New Orleans Saints v New England Patriots Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

After two weeks, the New Orleans Saints find themselves with a 1-1 record which, like the last three years, represents the best start the team has had over the first two weeks since 2013. That’s about where the good news ends. The Saints are still without Michael Thomas, along with any other pass-catching threat, and the team is coming off an embarrassing loss at Carolina. Things certainly won’t get any easier with the team now traveling to Foxboro to face Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots.

A week after being endlessly pummeled by self-inflicted wounds, the Saints need to clean up their act as they are walking directly in the footsteps of their 2019 and 2020 counterparts at this exact point a year ago. Going into Week 3 the last two seasons, the Saints were also 1-1, coming off a crushing loss that brought out all the naysayers going into a showdown with a Super Bowl hopeful that were favorites going into the game. Most say the Saints have little chance due to a massive injuries and an uninspiring passing attack, but we’ll see if they’re up to the challenge.

Look, last Sunday the Saints may have eaten the cheese, so to speak. As is typical for Sean Payton teams, the Saints buy their own hype when faced with a supposedly “inferior” opponent, but they also tend to play up to the level of the competition when they become the underdog. It’s the Payton way. Writing off the Saints after last week would be a foolish proposition, now that they're shipping up to Boston, we’re about to find how resilient they really are.

Last week I went 10-6

I told you so: 49ers over Eagles!

What do I know: Saints over Panthers? (ugh.)

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WEEK 3

Thursday, September 23rd - Thursday Night Football

Panthers(2-0) at Texans(1-1)

Fresh off a dominant performance against New Orleans, Carolina will secure another easy victory against the quarterback-challenged Texans. Carolina wins 23-13.

Pick: Panthers

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Sunday, September 26th - Early Games

Colts(0-2) at Titans(1-1)

Indianapolis just can't seem to get over the hump this season. Once again, they’ll come close but will fall short at Tennessee. Tennessee wins 31-30.

Pick: Titans

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Falcons(0-2) at Giants(0-2)

Both of these teams have been flat-out bad this season, but Atlanta’s offense will flash some signs of life this week. Atlanta wins 22-20.

Pick: Falcons

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Chargers(1-1) at Chiefs(1-1)

This will definitely be one of the best games of the week, and both quarterbacks will make plays, but Patrick Mahomes will make one in the end to secure victory for the home team. Kansas City wins 29-24.

Pick: Chiefs

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Bengals(1-1) at Steelers(1-1)

Both teams are coming off of disappointing outings last week, but Pittsburgh will rebound first here at home. Pittsburgh wins 27-19.

Pick: Steelers

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Bears(1-1) at Browns(1-1)

Cleveland’s rushing attack will be the key to wearing down Chicago’s defense, running away to victory at home, Cleveland wins 29-17.

Pick: Browns

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Ravens(1-1) at Lions(0-2)

Baltimore’s offense will overwhelm the Detroit defense in Motown. Baltimore wins 30-17.

Pick: Ravens

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Cardinals(2-0) at Jaguars(0-2)

The winless Jags are about to walk into the Arizona buzzsaw. This could get ugly. Arizona wins 35-10.

Pick: Cardinals

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Washington FT(1-1) at Bills(1-1)

Buffalo will stifle Washington with stout defense and a punishing ground game. Buffalo wins 26-16.

Pick: Bills

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Saints(1-1) at Patriots(1-1)

The old, well-worn storyline of Drew Brees vs. Tom Brady is now longer the centerpiece of the New Orleans/New England matchup, but the chess match of the former Bill Parcells protégé head coaches remains, between Sean Payton and Bill Belichick. Payton and Belichick have long been considered two of the very best at their craft, and not just for now, but as all-timers. The mutual respect and competitive natures of both men will certainly bring out their best here.

Both with new quarterbacks under center, are finding themselves in not full rebuilds, but certainly reinventions with their longtime teams. The story for the Pats will be the play of rookie first-round pick QB Mac Jones. The Saints, under Payton, have a long and frustrating history against rookie quarterbacks and Belichick will certainly look to exploit that flaw by allowing the young signal caller to put the game in his hands.

The biggest key for the Saints will be a healthier defense, closer to the one that stood out in Week 1 rather than the one that struggled to hold back the tide in Week 2. On the offensive side, expect Alvin Kamara to rebound from his abysmal game in Carolina with a standout performance in this game. The Saints are in a position to get back on track with a critical road victory here. With some players, and a lot of coaches, back on the sidelines, they will do just that. Saints win 28-21.

Pick: Saints

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Sunday, September 26th - Late Games

Jets(0-2) at Broncos(2-0)

The Jets will have a difficult time getting off the ground against the Denver defense. Denver wins 24-10.

Pick: Broncos

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Dolphins(1-1) at Raiders(2-0)

Miami will force turnovers to make things difficult for Vegas, but the Raiders passing attack will be the difference in this one. Las Vegas wins 26-24.

Pick: Raiders

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Seahawks(1-1) at Vikings(0-2)

Defense need not apply in this one. Ultimately, the play of Russell Wilson will be the key to a Seattle victory. Seattle wins 28-21.

Pick: Seahawks

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Buccaneers(2-0) at Rams(2-0) - Game of the Week

This game will be an absolute aerial show, with both quarterbacks torching the opposing defenses. The key to the game will be Tampa’s interior line keeping Aaron Donald away from Tom Brady, which they will. In the end, Brady will find his BFF Rob Gronkowski in the end zone in overtime to win this massive early-season matchup.

Tampa wins 40-34.

Pick: Buccaneers

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Sunday Night Football

Packers(1-1) at 49ers(2-0)

The San Francisco defense will force crucial turnovers to turn the tide in this pivotal early-season showdown. San Francisco wins 30-21.

Pick: 49ers

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Monday, September 27th - Monday Night Football

Eagles(1-1) at Cowboys(1-1)

The Dallas defense will surprisingly make big plays against the Philly passing game, leading the Cowboys to a big home win. Dallas wins 23-20.

Pick: Cowboys

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That’s how I see it, tell us how you see Week 3 playing out. Leave your comments and insight below!