NFL Week 3 Predictions: Can Bengals, Chargers, and Patriots Avoid a Dreaded 0-3 Start?

NFL Week 3 predictions from our five selectors are officially in. Can the Bengals, Chargers, and Patriots avoid 0-3 records?

Every NFL season, there are a few weeks that, on paper, look like duds. However, those weeks can sometimes provide us with quality entertainment, whether it be in the form of upsets or bad football chaos. The Monday Night Football doubleheader in Week 2 was pure, awful chaos. What do the NFL Week 3 predictions have to offer us?

Pro Football Network’s Week 3 NFL Predictions

First, let’s settle down from the first two weeks of the NFL season among the game selectors.

Year to Date

  • Adam Beasley: 19-13
  • David Bearman: 21-11
  • Dalton Miller: 21-11
  • Jay Morrison: 15-17
  • Dallas Robinson: 19-13

It is far too early to toot one’s own horn. We started strong a season ago before falling to the wayside and allowing Dallas Robinson to take home the crown in the regular season. They say you can’t drink all day if you don’t start in the morning. Likewise, it’s tough to win with a sluggish start to the season.

These predictions are simply deciding between winners and losers. There are no point spreads here. For that, head over to our Week 3 betting predictions.

New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers

  • Beasley: 49ers
  • Bearman: 49ers
  • Miller: 49ers
  • Morrison: 49ers
  • Robinson: 49ers

A short week after a hard-fought battle against — checks notes — the Arizona Cardinals does not bode well for the New York Giants. Add in an ankle injury for Saquon Barkley, and there are some incredibly difficult questions to answer for the Giants heading into Levi’s Stadium.

MORE: Ranking the NFL’s 2-0 Teams

The San Francisco 49ers haven’t skipped a beat on defense after losing DeMeco Ryans to a head coaching gig, and the offense looks as efficient as it was late last season so far. A Brandon Aiyuk injury could be something to monitor — but having Deebo Samuel, Christian McCaffrey, and George Kittle makes it feel like everything will be okay for the 49ers offense.

Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens

  • Beasley: Ravens
  • Bearman: Ravens
  • Miller: Ravens
  • Morrison: Ravens
  • Robinson: Ravens

Anthony Richardson was electric early in his second professional start, and he showed intelligence and maturity after his second rushing touchdown. After playing two more drives and six more snaps, he reported concussion-like symptoms to the training staff, and he did not return to the game afterward.

It’s a shame we likely won’t see Richardson and Lamar Jackson face off. Richardson’s legs would have been an outstanding weapon against a fierce Baltimore Ravens defense.

Meanwhile, the Indianapolis Colts have their hands full with the Ravens offense. Jackson is passing the ball incredibly well so far in 2023. He’s still a worrying product when pressured, but he’s been an assassin when kept clean. The Ravens are the better team, and losing the dynamism of Richardson, it will be tough for the Colts to keep up.

Tennessee Titans at Cleveland Browns

  • Beasley: Browns
  • Bearman: Browns
  • Miller: Browns
  • Morrison: Titans
  • Robinson: Browns

This was one of the more difficult matchups of the weekend to decide on. Ryan Tannehill and the Tennessee Titans’ passing attack was awful in Week 1. But the Titans’ defense is incredibly talented, and Deshaun Watson looks like a shell of his former self so far as a Cleveland Brown.

The Cleveland defense is also legitimately talented, and now they’re well-coached. If they can keep the lid on Derrick Henry and Tyjae Spears, they’ll force Tennessee to sustain drives and work from behind the sticks. If they get behind schedule and are forced to drop back with Tannehill, that Cleveland pass rush and secondary will pounce on any mistake he makes.

But Watson’s play so far, and the unfortunate loss of Nick Chubb, makes the Browns’ entire season outlook cloudy.

Atlanta Falcons at Detroit Lions

  • Beasley: Lions
  • Bearman: Lions
  • Miller: Lions
  • Morrison: Lions
  • Robinson: Lions

If the Atlanta Falcons do somehow come into Detroit and escape with a win, it could say a lot about the direction of both teams for 2023. The Detroit Lions’ offense has been rocking so far through two weeks, particularly through the air. However, Ryan Nielsen’s defense is built well to stop the middle-of-field attack that Detroit will bring.

But do we trust the Atlanta Falcons’ offense to put enough points on the board? Desmond Ridder flashes quality quarterback play, but those flashes are often interrupted by an awful decision or a wild misfire.

New Orleans Saints at Green Bay Packers

  • Beasley: Packers
  • Bearman: Saints
  • Miller: Saints
  • Morrison: Packers
  • Robinson: Packers

The transitive property would suggest that because the Falcons beat the Green Bay Packers, and the New Orleans Saints should be the cream of the NFC South crop, then they should win this football game. But we know that’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.

Jordan Love has been really impressive so far through two weeks of play. However, the New Orleans Saints are a test unlike the Packers have faced to date.

The Saints offense has moved the ball decently to start the season, but it’s turned into a pumpkin as it crosses the opponent’s 20-yard line. Michael Thomas looks to be about back, and his size and physicality should be a utilized weapon in that area of the field.

Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Beasley: Jaguars
  • Bearman: Jaguars
  • Miller: Jaguars
  • Morrison: Jaguars
  • Robinson: Jaguars

The Jacksonville Jaguars have done just about everything within their power to shoot themselves in the foot over the first two weeks of the season. Trevor Lawrence and this offense need to get back into a groove after an ugly Week 2 performance against the Kansas City Chiefs, but that’s easier said than done behind a bad offensive line.

And with Will Anderson coming off the edge on the other side, there’s no way that Trevor Lawrence can feel comfortable when he drops back to pass. Doug Pederson needs to get the ball out of his hands very quickly and into the hands of his playmakers around the line of scrimmage.

On the other side of the ball, C.J. Stroud has played surprisingly well for the Houston Texans since a disastrous first outing in the preseason.

Denver Broncos at Miami Dolphins

  • Beasley: Dolphins
  • Bearman: Dolphins
  • Miller: Dolphins
  • Morrison: Dolphins
  • Robinson: Dolphins

This game sets up to be incredibly one-sided, even if the Miami Dolphins have only won their first two games by a combined nine points. The Denver Broncos (0-2) have lost to the Washington Commanders and Las Vegas Raiders. The Dolphins have beaten the Los Angeles Chargers and New England Patriots. Denver has a tough matchup here.

Christian Wilkins (94) celebrate the win against the New England Patriots with guard Austin Jackson (73) in the last seconds of play at Gillette Stadium.
Sep 17, 2023; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Christian Wilkins (94) celebrate the win against the New England Patriots with guard Austin Jackson (73) in the last seconds of play at Gillette Stadium.

Denver’s defense has more leaks than the Iraqi Navy right now, and the Dolphins are the last offensive unit a struggling defense wants to see right now. Not only are they physically dominant, but they also scheme defenses out of their shoes.

Additionally, Vic Fangio’s defense, theoretically, should be the worst possible matchup for Russell Wilson, who is now living solely off his ability to create or chuck it accurately downfield. Taking the downfield element away and forcing him to sustain drives would be bad news for Sean Payton.

Los Angeles Chargers at Minnesota Vikings

  • Beasley: Vikings
  • Bearman: Vikings
  • Miller: Chargers
  • Morrison: Vikings
  • Robinson: Chargers

The Chargers and Minnesota Vikings are both on the ropes. They each have potent offenses being anchored down by defenses that are struggling to maintain a semblance of sufficiency. But they’re also in different stages as organizations.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has come in and turned the Vikings roster on its head, snipping away at veteran contracts left and right. Mensah is building for long-term success instead of instant success. Last year was a fluke; they know that, and they acted accordingly.

Meanwhile, the Chargers are a team that has continuously added to the roster and coaching staff in order to fix their team’s woes. But Brandon Staley’s defense continues to be downright dreadful despite adding pieces left and right to avoid that very outcome.

The Chargers simply need it more.

New England Patriots at New York Jets

  • Beasley: Jets
  • Bearman: Patriots
  • Miller: Patriots
  • Morrison: Jets
  • Robinson: Patriots

A battle to avoid 0-3 brews in New Jersey on Sunday as the Patriots and New York Jets face off in an intradivisional defensive slugfest.

Mac Jones has looked surprisingly springy so far in 2023. He’s back in an offense that plays off of his strengths as a passer, and he’s been somewhat effective despite lacking a legitimate No. 1 option on the outside. In fact, the Patriots might not even have a legitimate No. 2 target on the roster.

MORE: Ranking the NFL’s 0-2 Teams

But their defense is good. The Dolphins are simply so fast that most defenses will look grossly outmatched by them. Zach Wilson will have a difficult time getting much going through the air against New England, especially with a bad matchup against Matthew Judon on the outside.

Buffalo Bills at Washington Commanders

  • Beasley: Bills
  • Bearman: Bills
  • Miller: Bills
  • Morrison: Bills
  • Robinson: Bills

The Commanders have struggled to come away with wins against the Cardinals and Broncos. Buffalo came out sloppy against the Jets in Week 1, but Josh Allen seemed like he’d sobered up for the drive against Las Vegas in Week 2 as the Buffalo Bills thoroughly dismantled the Raiders.

Sam Howell has been impressive so far as a first-year starter, but there is still a ways to go in his development. He often tries to do a little bit too much, something that could have catastrophic consequences against a defensive front as talented as the Bills possess.

Meanwhile, the Washington secondary struggled to keep WRs in front of them against Denver. Allen and the Bills’ offensive staff will undoubtedly try to push the ball downfield a few times in this one.

Carolina Panthers at Seattle Seahawks

  • Beasley: Seahawks
  • Bearman: Seahawks
  • Miller: Seahawks
  • Morrison: Seahawks
  • Robinson: Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks offense got back on its early ’22 grind last week against the Lions. Despite losing both offensive tackles for the game, Geno Smith played an incredibly efficient game, leading Seattle to a 37-31 win in hostile territory.

Meanwhile, the Carolina Panthers’ offense leaves a lot to be desired. Their QB is nursing an ankle injury, and they’re down their best cornerback for a few more weeks. Although an Andy Dalton-led attack could actually be more formidable at this point in Young’s development, it likely wouldn’t be enough to outduel the Seahawks.

Dallas Cowboys at Arizona Cardinals

  • Beasley: Cowboys
  • Bearman: Cowboys
  • Miller: Cowboys
  • Morrison: Cowboys
  • Robinson: Cowboys

This one doesn’t need a whole lot of discussion. The Dallas Cowboys are the top team in the PFN Consensus Power Rankings, and the Cardinals are dead last.

Chicago Bears at Kansas City Chiefs

  • Beasley: Chiefs
  • Bearman: Chiefs
  • Miller: Chiefs
  • Morrison: Chiefs
  • Robinson: Chiefs

The Chicago Bears are an abject disaster. Their last win came against the Patriots on Oct. 24, 2022. Since that time, Kansas City has won 13 games, including a Super Bowl.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Las Vegas Raiders

  • Beasley: Steelers
  • Bearman: Raiders
  • Miller: Steelers
  • Morrison: Raiders
  • Robinson: Steelers

What happens when a stoppable force meets a moveable object? Well, we’ll find out when the Pittsburgh Steelers offense travels to battle the Raiders defense on Sunday Night Football. Nobody asked for this football game to be on prime time, but it looks like we’ll have a Sunday night slop fest on our hands.

The Steelers’ defense is strong but flawed. If there’s one matchup to keep a keen eye on, it’s the Steelers pass rush against the Raiders offensive line. Pittsburgh needs to get pressure defensively to succeed. Their secondary is undermanned outside of Minkah Fitzpatrick. Meanwhile, the Raiders OL has been brilliant so far.

That is the matchup that likely decides this contest.

Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Beasley: Eagles
  • Bearman: Eagles
  • Miller: Eagles
  • Morrison: Eagles
  • Robinson: Eagles

Another peculiar scheduling decision by the committee, but this time it worked out for them. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been surprisingly good so far in 2023. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Eagles are off to a slow start through the air, and the spine of their defense is an absolute tragedy at the moment.

Baker Mayfield looks better than he has since his shoulder injury in Week 2 of the 2021 NFL season, and having weapons like Chris Godwin and Mike Evans certainly helps. They will face a battered Eagles secondary, making for a surprisingly even battle on that side of the ball. But it’s only even if the Eagles’ defensive front can pressure Mayfield.

On the other side of the ball, The Buccaneers are built precisely to stop the run in their primarily single-high defense. However, Jamel Dean must unplug his power cord and plug it back in to reset his play to the 2022 level he showed. Avoiding the Eagles’ downfield bombs could be the key to an upset.

Los Angeles Rams at Cincinnati Bengals

  • Beasley: Bengals
  • Bearman: Bengals
  • Miller: Bengals
  • Morrison: Bengals
  • Robinson: Bengals

The Los Angeles Rams sat at 31 on the PFN Consensus Power Rankings done by yours truly heading into the season. They now sit much higher than that. In fact, their loss against the 49ers may have proven their legitimacy more than their win against the Seahawks. Seattle is a good team, but the 49ers are a Tier 1 team, and the Rams played them tough.

MORE: 2023 NFL QB Rankings

It shouldn’t surprise anyone to see them test the Cincinnati Bengals from whistle to whistle on Monday night. However, it’s also incredibly difficult to imagine a scenario where the Bengals fall to 0-3.

It’s early in the week, and Joe Burrow’s calf could throw a wrench in this entire prediction. However, it appears Burrow’s calf is in better shape after two days of rest than many were anticipating, which is a good sign for his status on Monday. Soft-tissue injuries are tricky to navigate, though.

Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast!

Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review!

Related Articles