I would like to start things off here by noting that I learned a very important lesson in Week 2 and that lesson is that you should NEVER turn off an NFL game early. I don't care if your house is burning down, find a way to leave the game on, because if you turn it off, there's a 100% chance that you'll miss some sort of crazy comeback.
Case in point: With the Giants trailing the Cardinals 28-7 in the second half, I almost turned off the game so I could clip my finger nails (which was way more exciting than anything the Giants were doing at that point), but thankfully, I didn't, because the Giants ended up winning 31-28.
I also almost turned off the Commanders game when they were trailing 21-3 to Denver, but then I remembered that they were playing the Broncos and no one knows how to blow a lead better than the Broncos. I will never be turning off a game early ever again. Well, unless it's the Bears. It hurts my head to watch them play.
One thing that doesn't hurt my head is making picks, so let's get to those.
Actually, before we get to the picks, here's a quick reminder that you can check out the weekly picks from every CBSSports.com NFL expert by clicking here. The reason you should click over and check out the other experts this week is to see how badly Jamey Eisenberg embarrassed everyone. Jamey is a senior fantasy writer here at CBSSports.com, but apparently, we need to make him our senior gambling writer, because he's been crushing it against the spread this year with a record of 19-12-1 through two weeks.
I might have to start copying his picks. Just kidding. I have the second-best record, I don't need to copy anyone. If anything, they should copy me. OK, let's get to the picks for real this time.
NFL Week 3 picks
N.Y. Giants (1-1) at San Francisco (2-0)
Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET (Amazon Prime)
I only have one rule when it comes to making NFL picks and that rule is that I have to pick against Daniel Jones whenever he's playing in prime time. For the better part of a decade, Andy Dalton was the laughingstock of prime-time football, but I'm pretty sure that honor now belongs to Jones, who is probably going to eventually ask the NFL to stop putting him in prime-time games.
Over the course of his career, Jones has a record of 1-10 in prime time, which includes a 40-0 loss to the Cowboys in Week 1. In those 11 games, Jones had thrown more interceptions (15) than touchdowns (12) and the Giants 10 losses have come by an average of 12.4 points.
Unfortunately for Jones, things aren't going to be getting any better this week because the Giants are facing a matchup nightmare on Thursday night. If you're the Giants, the easiest way to take pressure off of Jones is to get your run game going, but that option is likely going to be off the table since Saquon Barkley won't be playing after suffering an ankle injury in Week 2.
This means that the Giants offense is going to single-handedly revolve around Jones, which seems like a disaster waiting to happen. Jones has already been sacked 10 times this year, which is the second most in the NFL, and that total might double on Thursday night with a banged up Giants offensive line facing a 49ers defense that includes the reigning defensive player of the year (Nick Bosa). Asking the Giants offensive line to stop Bosa is like asking me to stop a bus on the interstate with my bare hands. It's just not going to end well.
As you can probably already tell, I don't think this game is going to end well for the Giants.
The pick: 49ers 31-17 over Giants. (49ers won 30-12)
Tennessee (1-1) at Cleveland (1-1)
1 p.m. ET (CBS)
If there's one team in the NFL that has perplexed me more than any other, it's definitely the Titans. When it comes to picking their games, I'm 2-0 against the spread, but I'm 0-2 straight-up. When I think they're going to zig, they zig, but when I think they're going to zag, they eat Fruit Loops. I've got them 50% figured out, which means 50% of the time, I have no idea what's going on with this team.
I haven't been this confused since the first time I watched "Tenet."
The Browns played on Monday night in Week 2, which means they'll be heading into the Tennessee game on a short week and let me just say that Derrick Henry is the last guy I want to be trying to tackle if I'm coming off a short week.
The Browns have one of the best pass-rushes in football, but that doesn't really do you any good when the other team isn't throwing it and I don't think we'll see them throw too many passes on Sunday (Ryan Tannehill only threw 24 passes in Week 2). The Titans are at their best when they're able to shorten the game, which is basically their game plan every week. They run the ball and run the ball and run the ball to keep the clock running, and then before you know it, it's the fourth quarter and you're down three and you have no idea what's going on any more. And that's when their defense punches you in the mouth. That's Mike Vrabel football in a nutshell.
The Titans have a good defense, and through two weeks, I have not seen a single thing from Deshaun Watson that makes me think he can move the ball against a good defense. Also, the loss of Nick Chubb feels like a gut punch to this team and they might need more than a week to recover from that.
The Browns have to play on a short week after an emotional loss, which seems like the perfect spot for the Titans to go into Cleveland and steal a win.
The pick: Titans 19-16 over Browns
Since I'm 0-2 picking Titans' game this season, I won't blame you if you want to check out someone else's pick for this game, and if you do that, I'd definitely click here to check out the SportsLine Model, which is leaning Under on the total, and it also says one side of the spread hits in over 50% of simulations! You definitely need to see it before locking in your own picks.
L.A. Chargers (0-2) at Minnesota (0-2)
1 p.m. ET (Fox)
I have no idea how it happened, but a game featuring two winless teams might be the best game on the schedule this week. Well, it might not be the best, but it should certainly be the most entertaining. For one, you have the Chargers, who find a new way to lose every week. Let's see what that new way was in Week 2:
-Justin Herbert threw for over 300 yards for 2 TDs, 0 INTs— Jarrett Bailey (@JBaileyNFL) September 17, 2023
-The defense sacked Ryan Tannehill 5 times
-Derrick Henry didn’t break 100 yards rushing
And the Chargers still lose.
That is very creative, Chargers. For a second, I didn't think it was possible for them to come up with a new way to lose, but then they did.
As for the Vikings, they're almost as entertaining as the Chargers and that's because every game they play in is decided by one score. Last year, that was a good thing, because the Vikings won all their one-score games, going 11-0. This year, the law of averages finally caught up to them and they're now 0-2 in one-score games. The law of averages always gets you. I learned that in college.
Through two weeks, the Chargers have given up more passing yards than any team in the NFL, and now, they have to face the team that has arguably the best wide receiver in the league in Justin Jefferson. I'm not sure what the NFL record is for receiving yards in a game, but Jefferson might get it in one quarter against the Chargers. OK, so I looked up the record and it's 336 yards. I don't think Jefferson will get that in one quarter, but he might get it in one half.
This game feels like a shootout waiting to happen with the Vikings only winning after the Chargers invent another impossible way to lose. If the Chargers do lose this game and drop to 0-3, Brandon Staley's hot seat is going to be the same temperature as the surface of the sun.
The pick: Vikings 34-31 over Chargers
New Orleans (2-0) at Green Bay (1-1)
1 p.m. ET (Fox)
Out of all the games in Week 3, this one intrigues me the most and that's mostly because I still have no idea what to make of either team. The thing about the Packers is that I'm still not exactly sure how good they are this year. They probably should be 2-0, but they're not, because their defense had a total meltdown in the fourth quarter against the Falcons in Week 2 (Green Bay was leading 24-12 in the fourth before losing 25-24).
I want to believe in Jordan Love, but I'm not sure if I can. Yes, he has the highest QB rating in the league and yes, he's tied for the NFL lead in touchdown passes through two weeks, but he also totally melted down in the fourth quarter against the Falcons, going 0-for-6 in crunch time. If you're reading this right now, you completed as many fourth quarter passes as Love did in Week 2 and when random people on the internet are completing as many passes as you in the fourth quarter of a game, that's definitely not a good thing.
Also, I'm not sure I can trust Jordan Love because he attempted to run what might go down as the worst QB sneak of all-time.
If you can't run a QB sneak, I can't trust you to run anything. Although Love has looked good through two weeks, the Saints will be the best defense that he's faced this season and I could see him struggling. The Saints defense has only given up one touchdown all year and that came in garbage time, so I'm not even sure it counts.
After spending the first two games of the season on the road, this will be the Packer's home opener and I hate picking against them in their home opener, so I'm not going to do it. Surprise! I'm taking Green Bay. I think these teams are pretty even, but I give the slight edge to the Packers because the Saints got dealt a brutal hand by the NFL schedule-maker: They have to play on the road on a short week.
They had to play a road Monday game in Week 2, and now, they have to turn around and play on the road again in Week 3. They're the only team in the NFL this year that has to play on the road following a road Monday game, so I think what I'm saying is that the schedule-maker clearly hates the Saints.
The pick: Packers 23-20 over Saints.
L.A. Rams (1-1) at Cincinnati (0-2)
Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET (ESPN)
The Bengals have only played two games and their entire season is already starting to fall apart. If you read these picks regularly, you know that I'm a Bengals homer and let me just say that my panic level is at DEFCON 3, which I think is the middle DEFCON, but I can't say for sure, because I can't ever remember how the DEFCON number system works and I'm too lazy to Google it.
The point here is that I'm feeling simultaneously optimistic and pessimistic about the rest of their season.
On one hand, I'm not concerned at all, because the Bengals have made it a habit of falling on their face to start the season. This is Joe Burrow's fourth year in the NFL and his career record during the first two weeks of the season is 1-7. That means the Bengals almost always lose their first two games, and then they almost always recover. As a matter of fact, they started 0-2 last year before making it all the way to the AFC title game.
That being said, this year feels slightly different. The 0-2 start this year is worse because the Bengals lost two divisional games. Also, Burrow has been bad: According to our research team, he's 0 for 12 on passes of 15 or more air yards this season. Basically, he can't hit the big play, which is a huge part of the Bengals offense.
Oh, and let's not forget that Burrow aggravated his calf injury, which means if he's on the field this week, he's not going to be 100%. Not only is Burrow have to deal with his calf injury on Monday night, but he's going to be facing Aaron Donald, who is pretty much the last person that any quarterback wants to face, especially when they're hobbled.
This feels like a make-or-break game for the Bengals season. Although Burrow tends to struggle in the first two weeks, he always seems to figure things out by Week 3 and this is Week 3, so I'm going to say he figures things out just enough to beat the Rams. If for some reason Burrow doesn't play due to his calf injury, I will 100% be changing this pick to the Rams, but for now, I'm taking the Bengals.
The pick: Bengals 23-20 over Rams.
NFL Week 3 picks: All the rest
Lions 24-17 over Falcons
Dolphins 27-20 over Broncos
Patriots 20-17 over Jets
Bills 30-23 over Commanders
Jaguars 27-17 over Texans
Ravens 31-20 over Colts
Seahawks 30-20 over Panthers
Chiefs 34-23 over Bears
Cowboys 30-16 over Cardinals
Steelers 19-16 over Raiders
Eagles 27-24 over Buccaneers
Best pick: Last week, IFalcons would beat the Packers in a thriller and guess what happened? The Falcons beat the Packers in a thriller. Now, did I know that Freddie the Falcon was going to dump cheese all over a Packers fan? Of course, I did. The first thing they teach you in mascot school is that you always need to have a bucket of cheese ready in case you need to pour it on a Packers fan.
Clearly, Freddie the Falcon paid very close attention during his time at mascot school.
Worst pick: I'm not sure what I was drinking last week, but it must have been something strong, because I somehow convinced myself that the Texans were going to beat the Colts. Going into the season, the general consensus was that Houston was going to be one of the worst teams in the NFL this year, but I chose to ignore the general consensus and pick the Texans to beat the Colts. In my defense, when I found out that the general consensus doesn't like pineapple on pizza, I stopped trusting it. Pineapple is one of the three best toppings that you can put on a pizza and I will not be convinced otherwise. If the Texans had played as good as pineapple tastes on pizza, they would have won by seven touchdowns, but they didn't. If the Texans were a pizza topping, they'd be anchovies.
Straight up in Week 2: 11-5
SU overall: 19-13
Against the spread in Week 2: 9-6-1
ATS overall: 18-13-1