NFL Contenders and Pretenders for Week 3
Entering Week 3 of the 2023 NFL season, nine teams have a record of 2-0: Miami, Baltimore, Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington, Tampa Bay, Atlanta, New Orleans, and San Francisco. But who’s for real and who can you rely on to help you win our $5K Week 3 Pick X Challenge on Splash picking straight up winners in Week 3? Let’s get into it.
Miami (2-0) vs. Denver (0-2)
Dolphins 71.3% Win Probability
The Dolphins look legit. Having put up two road wins in a row against the Chargers and Patriots to start the season, Miami returns home in Week 3 to host the perpetually struggling Denver Broncos -- a team that just seems to find a way to lose each week, having started with home losses to the Raiders (1-1), and the highly suspect Washington Commanders. Denver’s RB1 is out; WR1 is still gimpy, and QB1 Russell Wilson has yet to show he has what it takes to lead this subpar Broncos squad to victory. This is an easy one: Pick the Miami Dolphins.
Baltimore (2-0) vs. Indianapolis (1-1)
Ravens 77.6% Win Probability
The Ravens are banged-up but finding a way to win, having posted Ws against the Texans and Bengals so far this season. That’s not great competition, but it is better than what the Ravens will host in Week 3. The Indianapolis Colts are a rebuilding franchise and that construction is happening around rookie QB Anthony Richardson. Unfortunately, Richardson is in the concussion protocol entering Week 3 and remains questionable for Sunday’s road trip to Baltimore. Even if Richardson does play, it’s not going to be enough to beat Baltimore at home. Pick the Baltimore Ravens.
Dallas (2-0) vs. Arizona (0-2)
Cowboys 87% Win Probability
The Cowboys are the talk of the league after sprinting out of the gates to a 2-0 start with quality wins against the Giants and Jets, scoring 70 points in the process, while only allowing 10 over two games. Right now, the team looks in mid-season form versus the competition and that’s unlikely to change (until the playoffs, when DAL usually reverts to pre-season form). Arizona is coming off a second half implosion in Week 2 versus the Giants, which saw NYG score 31 unanswered points. Arizona does not have the talent to hang with Dallas when they are this hot. Pick the Dallas Cowboys.
Philadelphia (2-0) vs. Tampa Bay (2-0)
Eagles 68.2% Win Probability
The Eagles have done exactly enough over the first two weeks of the season to beat a couple teams that aren’t playoff contenders: New England and Minnesota. The Buccaneers have done exactly enough to beat the same Vikings and another non-playoff contender, the Bears. Who’s too legit to quit and will go 3-0 after Week 3? You tell me -- is it the team that went to the NFC Championship last season, or the team in the league’s worst division relying on Tebowmania week to week? Philadelphia will expose the Bucs for what they are. Pick the Philadelphia Eagles.
Washington (2-0) vs. Buffalo (1-1)
Bills 72.1% Win Probability
The Bills and QB Josh Allen shot themselves in the foot over and over in Week 1 in a road loss to the Jets, but bounced back nicely at home to the Raiders in Week 2. The Commanders have won-out to start the season, but have really just beat two pretty poor teams, scoring 55 in the process, while allowing 49 to lower-tier offensive talent. The question in this game is: Which do you give more weight to -- the Commanders fast start, or the Bills quick bounceback after Week 1? I know where my money will be laid. Pick the Buffalo Bills.
Atlanta (2-0) vs. Detroit (1-1)
Lions 62.4% Win Probability
The Falcons have started out with back-to-back home wins versus the rebuilding Panthers and a banged-up Packers squad, putting up just 39 points over the two contests while allowing 34. The Lions have started 1-1, with a huge Week 1 road win over defending champs, the Chiefs, and a disappointing home loss to a pretty good Seahawks team in Week 2. The Lions hype train has lost something in the last week on the back of that loss and a rash of injuries to key starters and the Falcons match up well against this thin Detroit receiving core. It’s still not enough. Pick the Detroit Lions.
New Orleans (2-0) vs. Green Bay (1-1)
Packers 53.6% Win Probability
New Orleans has managed to edge the Titans (a pretty good team), and Panthers (a pretty bad team) to start the season with a +14 point differential. The Packers, meanwhile, are coming off a good-looking Week 1 victory over a poor Bears team, and a squeaker of a loss to the 2-0 Falcons, for a +17 point differential. As of this writing, Green Bay’s RB1, WR1, LT1 and LG1 are all out or questionable for the tilt against the Saints. Don’t care. The better defense will win this one. Pick the Green Bay Packers.
San Francisco (2-0) vs. New York Giants (1-1)
49ers 83.7% Win Probability
San Francisco has looked good to start the season, easily knocking off the Steelers in Week 1 and hanging on to beat the Rams by a touchdown in Week 2 (if you had played ATS in that game, you pushed; that’s why we pick winners against our friends in Pick X contests, rather than playing points against sportsbook sharps). New York needed a monster comeback in Week 2 just to beat the Cardinals, after losing 40-0 to the Cowboys in Week 1 (total season point differential so far = minus 37). That is not the sign of a defense that can contain SFO RB CMCIII, WR Deebo Samuel and TE George Kittle.The Giants are gonna look a lot more like they did in Week 1 than they did in Week 2. Pick the San Francisco 49ers.
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