Best NFL Straight Up Picks Week 3 2021
NFL Schedule Sep 16
Panthers vs. Texans
Both of these teams look completely different compared to last season. The Panthers are the more talented team, but these Texans have been surprising. Carolina has tons more weapons offensively for Sam Darnold to get the ball too, with Robby Anderson, Terrace Marshall, DJ Moore and Christian McCaffrey. Their defense has also been one of the younger groups in the league. As for Houston, they have Tyrod Taylor looking like a franchise quarterback again. However, their defense isn’t nearly as good, and I don’t know how consistent they are really going to be. I would roll with the Panthers here.
Cardinals vs. Jaguars
The way that this season has played out so far, the Cardinals are one of the best teams in the league right now. They have just looked phenomenal on each end of the field. Kyler Murray really seems to be developing nicely and has all the weapons in the world to succeed. Their defense is also just ridiculously talented now that JJ Watt and Chandler Jones are in the starting lineup. Don’t get me wrong though, the Jaguars are on the rise also. But there have been questions regarding Urban Meyer’s ability to coach in the NFL. It seems to me like he is trying to throw the football more than establish a run game, which is putting Trevor Lawrence in a lot of bad positions. They can’t outscore Arizona, they have to dominate time of possession and utilize James Robinson in the ground game. If they don’t even attempt that then Arizona will blow them out.
Falcons vs. Giants
There isn’t much to say about each of these teams. The Falcons have been disappointing but everybody kind of expected that coming into the 2021 season. Kyle Pitts and Calvin Ridley are phenomenal threats in the passing game, but their offensive line hasn’t allowed Matt Ryan time to get it to them. Their defense is also atrocious. However, lucky for them the Giants can’t seem to figure out what to do offensively. Saquon Barkley has been a nice boost for them, same with Kenny Golladay, but there is just something missing on that offense. Well, like an offensive line for example. Their defense is talented but the fact that they are on the field for extended periods of time they can’t ever catch their breath. I would roll with the Giants in this game, I just have a feeling that their offense could get it going against Atlanta.
Ravens vs. Lions
This game shouldn’t be all that close. The Ravens may have lost a number of players due to injury up to this point but with Lamar Jackson at quarterback they remain the better team. Their defense is also leaps and bounds ahead of Detroit’s right now especially after they lost Jeff Okudah for the year. Jared Goff has had some great moments already in a Lions uniform but let’s face it, they aren’t good enough to keep up with Baltimore’s offense. However, I would love to be proven wrong. It just seems too unlikely.
Bears vs. Browns
This is another game that may not need much explanation. The Chicago Bears are an offensive mess. It’s like they just can’t stick to one thing. With Andy Dalton they are not good enough to get the job done it’s as simple as that. Although, if Justin Fields gets the start in this matchup, then this game takes a wildly different turn. Cleveland is just fantastic on both sides of the ball nowadays, with a dynamic running back duo combined with excellent wideouts to stretch the field. Their pass rush also improved drastically with the signing of Jadeveon Clowney now that he is next to Myles Garrett. Cleveland takes this game easily unless Chicago finally understands that Fields needs to be in the game. Although, I see them utilizing him like they are right now and throw him in every couple of snaps. That just won’t be enough to boost their offense in order to keep up with Cleveland. The Browns will dominate time of possession and it will help them win this ball game.
Bengals vs. Steelers
I was pleasantly surprised by both of these teams to start this new season. The Bengals showed that they could be on the right track to competing for a Super Bowl behind Joe Burrow. Ja’Marr Chase also looked like the receiver everybody thought he would be out of college. Pittsburgh looked very sloppy offensively, but they proved that this defense is arguably the best in the league. I was shocked at how well they defended Josh Allen and the Bills on opening day. Division rivalries are wildly unpredictable, but I am going to have to go with Pittsburgh here. As good as I think Burrow and Chase are, they have their work cut out for them with the Steelers defense and they haven’t yet proved they can take them down.
Colts vs. Titans
The Colts and the Titans didn’t perform well at all in their season opener. The Colts defense didn’t look like it was prepared to start the year off and Carson Wentz apparently refuses to throw the football down the field. The Titans offense looked wildly out of sync despite their talent and their defense was pretty much what everybody was expecting following the loss of a couple key starters. I always say, division games are always random. I would have to roll with the Colts on this one. I just think their team has played a little better and could benefit from a strong run game, something that they are built to defend against defensively.
Chargers vs. Chiefs
I think this is going to be one of the most exciting games of the bunch this week. The Chargers look good, like they could be playoff contenders at this rate. Justin Herbert is a phenomenal quarterback, and he has so many incredible weapons surrounding him. Even their defense has been healthy with Derwin James and Joey Bosa causing problems all over the field. The Chiefs as we all know have Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce to create some fireworks offensively also. This game is either going to be super low scoring, or each team will end up going for 30 apiece. I’m going to go for an upset here and say the Chargers find a way to win.
Saints vs. Patriots
It is hard to imagine how wrong a lot of the early predictions were about the Saints. Jameis Winston looks like an absolute stud back there throwing the football and the rest of this roster still looks ready to compete for a Super Bowl. The Patriots on the other hand have always found a way to be competitive in games, especially against good teams. No doubt they are going to be bringing everything they have but I have worries about Mac Jones efficiency against this strong Saints secondary. This is going to be a game that gets decided in the final few minutes, but I have to roll with Winston and the Saints here.
Football Team vs. Bills
I’m not quite sure how to feel about this matchup. On one hand, the Football Team has a pretty unpredictable offense yet a wildly strong defense. On the other, you have a super talented offense with a questionable at times defense. I love Taylor Heinicke and believe he should have been the starter at the beginning of the year, but can he outclass Josh Allen in this game? I just don’t see that happening. Yes, their defense is better, but Buffalo’s group has one of the fastest secondaries in the game. This game will be low scoring on either side but if the game is coming down to the wire, I want Allen on my team.
Dolphins vs. Raiders
Surprisingly, this could be a fantastic game. TuaTagovailoa seems to be more comfortable when dropping back in the pocket and they have a great group of wideouts and running backs to ease some of the pressure. Their defense is also very young according to average age and could fly around the football field. As for the Raiders, well, their offense has weapons, just more talented than the Dolphins. Darren Waller is basically unguardable and it seems that Henry Ruggs is starting to be utilized more. Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake are a stellar running back duo also. The Raiders have been known to be inconsistent and have struggled a lot in recent years but there is something about this game that just seems like Derek Carr will be able to get the job done.
Jets vs. Broncos
Zach Wilson hasn’t had the start that he has been hoping for but a lot of that is to blame on their offensive line. He just doesn’t have enough time to throw the football which is going to be a problem against Von Miller and company. Denver is also one of the best at stopping the run, which puts the Jets in a large hole quickly. Their defense could hold up due to the Broncos offense being average at best, but it won’t hold forever just like the Giants on opening week. Denver has way more talent and despite the fact that they aren’t a flashy team with many new flashy rookies, they should be winning this ball game.
Seahawks vs. Vikings
The Seahawks are currently in the middle of that cycle they go through every season. The first half of the year, Russell Wilson plays like an absolute superstar, and everybody believes that he’s the MVP of the league. However, he falls apart in the second half. Luckily, it’s just Week 3 which means he could still be in MVP form. They have Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf and Chris Carson to stress the Vikings horrible defense out even further. Minnesota does have serious offensive talent, boasting Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen. It is going to be a high scoring affair without a doubt, but one that I think Seattle will win. Their defense is leaps and bounds better than the Vikings even though they are both mediocre at the moment.
Buccaneers vs. Rams
I know I said that other games could be potentially the game of the week but this one is going to be for sure. The reigning Super Bowl champions with Tom Brady, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Rob Gronkowski will be lining up with the current Super Bowl favorites. The Rams look amazing with Matthew Stafford as their starting quarterback, their offense is more fleshed out and head coach Sean McVay can call the plays he has wanted to for years. Defensively, Tampa Bay has a great run defense but questionable passing defense, putting them at an immediate disadvantage. Los Angeles has Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey to cause loads of problems for Brady and company. If Brady wasn’t the quarterback of this team, I would say the Rams have this one easily, but it won’t be that easy at all. Still, I just love how the Rams put together this roster and think that Stafford will put them over the edge.
Packers vs. 49ers
Who even knows what version of these teams we will be getting this weekend? The Packers looked atrocious in their season opener but looked much better in Week 2 against the Detroit Lions. Aaron Rodgers seemingly isn’t invested into this current season at all, though things can change when he plays the team that sent him home in the NFC Championship two years ago. Jimmy Garoppolo is still hanging onto this starting job by a thread, and it is only a matter of time before Trey Lance leapfrogs him for that job. I trust Rodgers a lot more than Garoppolo that’s for sure, although San Francisco apparently just has the Packers numbers lately. This may be the time that Rodgers flips the script, but the 49ers have dominated this matchup the last three years.
Eagles vs. Cowboys
Our Monday night showdown for the week pits two division rivals together. The Eagles look far better than what everybody was expecting heading into the season. Jalen Hurts is a winner, simple as that. With a solid and improving supporting cast. However, their defense is going to be heavily tested against the Cowboys insane offense. Featuring Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper and Ceedee Lamb, this group could be unstoppable through the air. Philadelphia will have to keep up with Dallas offensively, which shouldn’t be hard considering their defense lost Demarcus Lawrence during practice last week. It is going to come down to Hurts and Prescott, a matchup that Dak will end up winning.
Final Pick: Cowboys