I was going to start things off here by making fun of the Browns for their huge choke job against the Jets on Sunday, but then I remembered I had an equally big choke job in Week 2: I went 5-11 against the spread. No, I didn't blow a 30-17 lead with 90 seconds left to play like the Browns did, but going 5-11 is essentially the same thing.
I blame that dumb elf that the Browns put at midfield for their game. That thing has cursed the team and my picks. If you've ever seen "The Ring," the same thing happens when you look at Brownie the elf, except you don't die, you just get your picks wrong.
The good news for me is that I don't believe in elves or curses or the color brown, so I should be just fine making my picks this week. Although I went 5-11 ATS, I went 9-7 straight-up, so the week wasn't a total loss. Speaking of the picks, let's get to them.
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. I get 2.3 cents every time someone clicks through on that link, so make sure to click early and often. Actually, that's not true, I think the money actually just goes to the budget CBS has allotted for Will Brinson's hair care.
Speaking of Brinson, he's the host of the Pick Six Podcast, and just in case I haven't made it clear over the past two weeks, I'll be joining him three days per week on the podcast -- Monday, Wednesday and Friday -- for the rest of the NFL season. Even though I'm only on three days per week, there's a new episode every single day from Monday through Friday and you should try to listen as often as possible (You can listen to Tuesday's episode below and click here to check it out and subscribe).
Alright, let's get to the picks.
NFL Week 3 picks
Pittsburgh (1-1) at Cleveland (1-1)
8:15 p.m. ET (Amazon Prime)
If I've noticed one thing about the Steelers this season, it's that they basically show up every week with no offensive game plan and then make it up as they go along. Not surprisingly, this hasn't been working out well for them so far and I think people are starting to notice. I mean, we've barely played two weeks and players are already starting to complain about the play-calling of offensive coordinator Matt Canada.
I haven't read reviews that bad since "The Emoji Movie" came out. At the rate he's going, Matt Canada might be coaching in Canada by the end of the season. You know things are going badly when a store is using your name to try and get fans drunk.
I'll have a six-pack of the Dragon's Milk please.
The one thing about this game is that I have no idea which team is going to bounce back better following their loss in Week 2. The Steelers lost by three to the Patriots thanks in large part to the fact that their offense couldn't move the ball and the Browns blew a 30-17 lead over the final 90 seconds, which I guess shouldn't actually have shocked me at all since no NFL team is better than the Browns at finding improbable ways to lose.
The Browns had the kind of emotional loss that can lead to a letdown the following week and I think we might see that in this game. That being said, even if the Browns have a letdown, the Steelers offense isn't good enough to take advantage of it. Through two weeks, the Browns and Steelers have each played two games and all four of those game have been decided by three points or less, so obviously, I will not be predicting a blowout, but I will be predicting an upset.
The pick: Steelers 16-13 over Browns.
Buffalo (2-0) at Miami (2-0)
1 p.m. ET (CBS)
I have no idea how it happened, but this game is somehow the only one on the schedule this week that will feature two undefeated teams playing against each other. I'm not usually one to tell people what to do with their lives, but if you have plans with someone at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, you should definitely cancel those plans so you can watch this game. Well, unless you're performing open heart surgery on a cat or picking up your toddler at a birthday party or taking your grandma to play BINGO.
If those are your plans, please don't cancel those. I would feel horrible if grandma missed BINGO because you listened to some guy who went 5-11 ATS with his picks last week. To be honest, I probably could have made more money playing BINGO in Week 2 than picking games.
Anyway, I've been watching the Dolphins play for two weeks now and I still have no idea what to make of them. I do think that they're definitely good, but I'm just not sure how good. Sure, they've scored eight touchdowns in just two games, but half of those came in just one quarter. They scored four touchdowns against Baltimore in the fourth quarter on Sunday, but they've only scored a total of four in their seven other quarters.
They beat a Ravens team that had a bad defense and a Patriots team that had a bad offense, so what's going to happen when they play a Bills team that's not bad at either of those things? It's probably not going to end well for the Dolphins.
The other problem for the Dolphin is that they always seem to struggle against Josh Allen. The Bills have won seven straight games in this rivalry and those seven wins have come by an average of 19.3 points per game. Josh Allen has thrown multiple touchdown passes in every game he's ever played against the Dolphins, which definitely isn't good news for the Dolphins. Some quarterbacks just excel against certain teams. We've seen Aaron Rodgers dominate the Bears, Ben Roethlisberger dominate the Browns and Tom Brady dominate the Bills, now we're seeing Josh Allen dominate the Dolphins and I think that domination continues on Sunday.
The pick: Bills 37-27 over Dolphins.
Green Bay (1-1) at Tampa Bay (2-0)
4:25 p.m. ET (Fox)
Aaron Rodgers spent part of his offseason in South America, which I'm only mentioning, because getting this game moved to South America is probably Rodgers' best chance at winning this week. If he can't pull that off, that means he's going to have to play in Florida and if there's one thing I know about Aaron Rodgers, it's that he hates playing in the state of Florida.
Rodgers has played a total of eight games in his career in Florida and he's gone 3-5 in those games. Even worse, since the start of the 2020 season, Rodgers is 0-2 in Florida and he's thrown four interceptions in those two games, which is insane when you consider that he's only thrown six interception in the 30 games he's played outside of Florida. For those of you who hate math, that's two interceptions per game in Florida and 0.2 when playing outside of Florida. He is literally throwing interceptions at a 10 times higher rate in Florida than he does at any other time. It makes no sense, which I guess kind of makes sense, because nothing in Florida makes sense. I mean, we're talking about a state where a guy is trying to break the world record for largest collection of "Titanic" movies.
And no, that tweet is not referring to me. I only have 19 VHS copies of "Titanic," which is definitely not the world record.
Anyway, if you've ever been to Florida in September, you may have noticed that the air is so thick that you feel like you're breathing out of a straw filled with maple syrup. You also sweat more than... You know what, I'll just let Gronk explain how much you sweat.
Gronk on the weather in FL: “I would say it is different because of the humidity...I would definitely say I am adapting. Your sweating, your gloves are sweaty, your shoes, it feels like you just jumped into a pool...you just laugh about it when you are out there on the field”— Gabby Shirley (@Gabby_Shirley_) August 20, 2020
Also, let's not forget about Tom Brady's first training camp in Tampa Bay.
Aaron Rodgers went from playing college football in California to playing professional football in Wisconsin, so he's never really had to deal with Florida weather and I'm starting to think he might actually hate it, which would explain why he's 3-5 in the Sunshine State. On the other hand, the Buccaneers practice in that weather every day, so I'm guessing they're used to it at this point.
Between now and Sunday, all you're going to hear about is how this game is giving us Aaron Rodgers vs. Tom Brady, but the bigger matchup is Aaron Rodgers vs. high humidity and I'm taking high humidity. Rodgers is 1-3 all-time against Brady and I think he might have an even worse record against high humidity.
I should also note that this is the first time Rodgers and Brady have faced each other since the NFC title game in January 2021. If you don't remember that game, it's the one where Matt LaFleur inexplicably decided to kick a field goal with two minutes left in a game where the Packers were down eight.
It's been nearly two years since that happened and I still can't figure out why he attempted that field goal. The only thing that makes sense for me here is to take Buccaneers by a field goal.
The pick: Buccaneers 20-17 over Packers
San Francisco (1-1) at Denver (1-1)
8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)
I know we're only two games into the season, but I've already seen enough of the Broncos offense this year to know that Russell Wilson throwing the ball doesn't really seem to be working. Whenever Wilson drops back to pass, I've noticed that one of three things seems to happen: He gets sacked, he throws an incomplete pass or the play is blown dead because the Broncos get called for a delay of game.
As you probably noticed, all of those things are bad. If someone told me I was going to be hit by a bus, shot in the arm or stung by a hive of deadly bees every time I left my house, I would NEVER leave my house. If you're wondering what my weird scenario has to do with anything, I think what I'm saying is that the Broncos can avoid having three bad options by NOT throwing the ball all the time. That is their version of not leaving the house.
In Denver's win over the Texans on Sunday, Javonte Williams averaged FIVE YARDS PER CARRY, but that didn't matter because he only got 15 carries in the game. Instead of feeding Javonte, they decided to let Wilson keep throwing the ball, which is not ideal when your QB is only completing 45.2% of his passes like Wilson did against the Texans.
The irony in all of this is that it's starting to look like Pete Carroll might have been right about everything. He put a strong running game and great defense around Wilson so that he didn't have to carry the team and it might be time for the Broncos to steal that idea. Instead of going with the "Let Russ Cook" philosophy, the Broncos might want to start embracing the "Let Russ help in the kitchen, but don't let him cook by himself" philosophy. Basically, the Broncos should start running the ball more and let that open up the pass.
Although Wilson hasn't looked good at all this season, if there's one team he can turn things around against, it's the 49ers. Wilson faced them 21 times while he was with the Seahawks and in those 21 games, he went 17-4.
If Nathaniel Hackett is smart, he'll go back and watch those 17 wins to understand how the Seahawks were able to win with Wilson: 1. They ran the ball. 2. They played good defense. 3. They Let Russ Cook.
Please note that letting Russ cook is listed last.
As for the 49ers, they might be better with Jimmy Garoppolo under center, but I'm not sure that applies when they're playing AFC teams. In Garoppolo's last 10 starts against AFC teams, the 49ers are just 5-5.
The pick: Broncos 22-19 over 49ers
Dallas (1-1) at N.Y. Giants (2-0)
8:15 p.m. ET, Monday (ESPN)
I don't want to say that this might go down as the greatest Monday night game of all-time, but I'm starting to think it might be possible. It's the showdown of all showdowns: We have a quarterback who has never lost a start in his career (Cooper Rush) going up against a Giants team that's undefeated on the season.
This game is the immovable force against the immovable force and I"m saying that because I don't think either offense is really going to move the ball very much on Monday night. The Cowboys have one of the best defenses in the NFL and they've shown that over the past two weeks by holding both the Buccaneers and Bengals to under 20 points. The Cowboys offense can't score, but they don't need to, because their defense is so good.
As for the Giants, although they're 2-0, they haven't exactly been lighting up the scoreboard in their wins. The Giants are averaging just 20 points per game through two weeks and it's hard to envision them topping that number since this will likely be the best defense that they've faced yet.
I feel like this game is going to come down to Saquon Barkley. In Week 1, a big reason the Cowboys lost is because they forgot how to tackle anytime Leonard Fournette touched the ball. The Buccaneers running back averaged 6.05 yards per carry against the Cowboys and if Barkley can get anywhere near that number, it's going to be a long night for Dallas.
Something has to give on Monday night: Either Cooper Rush is going to lose his first career game (he's 2-0) or the Giants are going to lose their first game of the season, and I can't believe I'm going to do this, but I'm taking the Giants even though they've lost six straight Monday night games and nine of their past 10 to the Cowboys.
The pick: Giants 16-13 over Cowboys
NFL Week 3 picks: All the rest
Texans 19-16 over Bears
Raiders 24-17 over Titans
Chiefs 31-20 over Colts
Eagles 30-16 over Commanders
Vikings 27-24 over Lions
Ravens 27-17 over Patriots
Bengals 34-24 over Jets
Rams 27-20 over Cardinals
Saints 20-16 over Panthers
Seahawks 23-20 over Falcons
Chargers 30-20 over Jaguars
IF JUSTIN HERBERT DOESN'T PLAY: Jaguars 23-20 over Chargers
Best pick: Last week, I predicted that Tom Brady would finally beat the Saints and guess what happened? Tom Brady finally beat the Saints in a regular season game for the first time as a member of the Buccaneers. Now, did I know that Jameis Winston was going to completely melt down by throwing three interceptions in the fourth quarter? Of course I did. Anytime Winston plays, there's a 70% chance he's going to melt down at some point and there's a 50% chance that meltdown is going to come in the fourth quarter.
Brady also had a meltdown, but it didn't happen on the field, it happened on the sideline and the only victim was an innocent tablet.
Brady has now broken a tablet in two straight games where Tampa Bay was playing the Saints, which I believe is the NFL record for most consecutive games smashing a tablet against one team.
Worst pick: For some reason, I picked the Vikings to beat the Eagles and I must have forgotten that the game was being played on a Monday night because no sane person would ever pick Kirk Cousins to win a game on Monday night. Going into Week 2, Cousins had the worst winning percentage in NFL history of any quarterback who has started at least 10 Monday night games. He was 2-9, and after throwing three interceptions against the Eagles, he's now 2-10. Picking Cousins to win in a Monday night game is like picking a vegetarian to win a meat loaf eating contest. It makes no sense, so don't do it, but I still did it.
Straight up in Week 2: 9-7
Against the spread in Week 2: 5-11
ATS overall: 14-18