The fun thing about meeting Week 1 of the NFL season and Week 2 of the NFL season in the same room is you finally get to spend some quality time with a bunch of liars.

Week 3 is all about figuring out where the truth sits between -- for a large number of teams -- two wildly disparate performances. What's the median performance for these clubs who varied wildly in the first two weeks of the 2021 season. 

The second week of the season is all about treading carefully and expecting regression. This week is a giant landmine where we learn some actual information about NFL teams. Good luck out there today, let's stay warm. 

All NFL odds are via Caesars Sportsbook

NFL Week 3 Picks

Panthers at Texans

Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET
NFLN | Stream: fuboTV (click here)
Follow: CBS Sports App

Latest Odds: Houston Texans +7.5

The Texans quarterback situation continues to be one of the most perplexing situations in the NFL. The Texans apparently plan on going into this game with a single active rookie quarterback while using almost six percent of their active roster on quarterback spots. Unless Tyrod Taylor (ruled out with a hamstring injury early in the week) goes on the IR, he'll likely join Deshaun Watson (presumably inactive for the third straight week to start the year) as wasted roster spots for a team not exactly loaded with talent. This is an abnormally huge number for a preseason non-contender on the road in Week 3. It suggests the Panthers would be 13.5-point favorites at home. It's probably too much for a Sam Darnold-led team, but going back and watching Carolina's win over the Saints ... the Panthers look legit. The defense is flying all over the place and Phil Snow is cooking up all kinds of problems for quarterbacks by having Jeremy Quinn and Shaq Thompson live at the line of scrimmage to create petrifying formations. Offensively, Darnold isn't the most well-protected QB in the NFL but Joe Brady is giving him good looks and easy reads and he's executing really well. They could roll the Texans up in this one with Davis Mills under center on a short week. 

The pick: Panthers 28, Texans 14

Props, Best Bets: Under 44, Mark Ingram over 40.5 rushing/receiving yards, Brandin Cooks under 70.5 receiving yards

Cardinals at Jaguars

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
FOX | Stream: fuboTV (click here)  

Latest Odds: Jacksonville Jaguars +7.5

Two weeks into the Jaguars season, Urban Meyer has been forced to deny rumors he'd leave for Southern Cal and issue a statement via the team's Twitter account telling fans it's going to get better. The whole thing is quite the mess. But the Jaguars aren't missing their quarterback, who should put up some points against this questionable Cardinals secondary. You basically have to hold your nose and take the Jags with the points here, assuming we can figure out a way to get a backdoor cover worst case. Either way we're getting a bunch of points here, because Jacksonville won't be able to slow down Kyler Murray and the Cardinals offense.

The pick: Cardinals 31, Jaguars 24

Props, Best Bets: Over 52, looking for Rondale Moore receptions over and Kyler Murray touchdown props

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Ravens at Lions

Sunday,1 p.m. ET
CBS | Stream: Paramount+ (click here)  

Latest Odds: Detroit Lions +9

The Lions probably won't be popular this week because of how things ended on Monday night, but they've definitely been a friskier than expected club through the first two weeks of the season. And there's a good chance Detroit can give Baltimore some fits here. We've seen Darren Waller and Travis Kelce as focal points of the offense for Ravens opponents already and now they're getting T.J. Hockensen, who should eat in this spot. Love his over catches, especially if Detroit is trailing. The Ravens will be able to control the ball and run a ton, but they won't go nuclear on offense. And with the Lions at home in a lower scoring game, I expect them to figure out how to get inside the number before the final whistle.

The Pick: Ravens 31, Lions 24

Bets: Hockensen props 

Bengals at Steelers

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
CBS | Stream: Paramount+ (click here)  

Latest Odds: Pittsburgh Steelers -4.5

Pittsburgh's Week 1 win in Buffalo raised eyebrows about mistaken preseason judgments on the Steelers. But last week was a rude re-awakening. T.J. Watt suffered a groin injury, Ben Roethlisberger is maybe/kind of questionable for this week. Diontae Johnson suffered a last-minute injury. Joe Burrow and the Bengals offense expose an iffy secondary. I don't think we'll see much aggression from either team, so I'd bet under and lean Bengals plus a sprinkle on the moneyline.

The Pick: Bengals 21, Steelers 17

Bets: Under 44

Falcons at Giants

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
FOX | Stream: fuboTV (click here)  

Latest Odds: New York Giants -3

The Falcons have looked abysmal so far this season. Arthur Smith's offense is rightfully drawing huge red flags for its run-heavy approach. Through two weeks, Matt Ryan looks cooked. And Kyle Pitts might not live up to the preseason fantasy hype. But the Giants don't look great either! Daniel Jones is coming off such a good game -- maybe the best of his career -- idiots like me are grabbing him for fantasy this week. What could go wrong. These defenses are bad enough we could see some surprising scoring here. If that's the case, give me the points with the team not coordinated by Jason Garrett.

The Pick: Falcons 31, Giants 28

Bets: Falcons +3, Daniel Jones over rush yards 27.5

Colts at Titans

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
CBS | Stream: Paramount+ (click here)  

Latest Odds: Tennessee Titans -5

The suggestion I've seen is this line would be Titans -2 if Carson Wentz was playing -- I would obviously take the free three points, but I wouldn't be afraid to lay five if Wentz was actually playing in this game. He's a couple weeks removed from foot surgery and is dealing with two sprained ankles. Many people don't realize this but two is actually the maximum number of sprained ankles a human can have at any given time. Regardless, I think it's likely we get either a mostly immobile Wentz or Jacob Eason in his first career start. The Titans found something late against Seattle, pounding Derrick Henry until he popped off for three touchdowns and some big runs. Mike Vrabel will want to save him for the stretch run like in seasons past, but this is a massive division game and they're going to uncork the Big Dog, especially if they draw an inexperienced quarterback on the other side. 

The Pick: Titans 28, Colts 17

Bets: Titans -5

Bears at Browns

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
FOX | Stream: fuboTV (click here)  

Latest Odds: Cleveland Browns -7.5

Think this game will get any looks? Bears fans spent all offseason screaming at the franchise to play Justin Fields. Now Andy Dalton is hurt. Only he remains the starter when healthy. Fields is the guy this week. It's a coin flip on how this goes -- Matt Nagy has not been enthusiastic about Fields and the Browns are a bad-ish defense to start against based on the first two weeks of the season. But Nagy should also be motivated to make Fields look great. Do that and soak in the credit of an extension. If he's a good offensive coach he's spending this entire week cooking up an entirely different playbook with a bunch of play-action and read-option stuff. Obviously that's harder to do on the fly, but this day was coming. There needs to be a bunch of Fields-friendly plays with play-action/read-option stuff in the first quarter. If that happens the Bears can win this one outright. I'll take the points and Fields over rushing yards when it's under 30.

The Pick: Browns 21, Bears 17 

Bets: Bears +7.5, Fields over rush yards 

Chargers at Chiefs

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
CBS | Stream: Paramount+ (click here)  

Latest Odds: Kansas City Chiefs -6.5

The Chargers have been very Chargers-y for the first two weeks of the season, but this line is too much. The Chiefs are great. They'll run the ball well here and Patrick Mahomes will throw a bunch of touchdowns. But the Chargers just can't be this low-scoring team forever. They have to pop off. This is the week. Basically it happens because Andy Reid's offense goads Joe Lombardi and Justin Herbert into being more aggressive and we get downfield plays in a huge division matchup. The Chargers are high-key desperate. Love them against the spread and give me overs on Austin Ekeler and Clyde Edwards-Helaire props in this game. Strong potential for the sneaky big-time game of the Week 3 slate here. 

The Pick: Chiefs 37, Chargers 35

Bets: Over 54.5, Chargers +7, Austin Ekeler over 37.5 receiving yards

Football Team at Bills 

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
FOX | Stream: fuboTV (click here)  

Latest Odds: Buffalo Bills -9

Everyone is suggesting it's been a slow start for the Bills, basing the premise on Buffalo not doing what they did the first two weeks last year. This team is fine. But this number is a bit out of whack. Ron Rivera knows Sean McDermott's tendencies. Look at any of these matchups between Andy Reid proteges and you see a theme where the games are close. Rivera will play a defense designed to turn Josh Allen into a more conservative quarterback. Taylor Heinicke and Terry McLaurin will make enough plays to keep Washington close. The wild card for the side and total is the weather. Specifically the wind! Shoutout to my good friends Drew and Andy on the Deep Dive Podcast for pointing this out -- super long story but they're big wind guys and yet still a very informative listen -- but it could be nasty weather in Buffalo. If we get Big Wind, that favors the under and the dog. It would also favor really short overs on Devin Singletary and Antonio Gibson carry numbers for prop purposes.

The Pick: Bills 19, Washington 14

Bets: WFT + anything over 7

Saints at Patriots

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
FOX | Stream: fuboTV (click here)  

Latest Odds: New England Patriots -3

Are the Saints the hardest team to figure out in the NFL? One week after blowtorching the Packers, the Saints could barely move the ball against the Panthers. Carolina threw a bunch of different-looking defenses at Jameis Winston and brought pressure from all different places. The loss of Erik McCoy appeared critical even as the tackles mostly held their own. The real Saints offense is somewhere in between, but Bill Belichick won't offer much of a reprieve. I like the under here a lot too, but at 41.5 it's tough to take, just because a single jailbreak or defensive score could flip this. If the Saints have a clean injury report on defense, I might be willing to bite.  

The Pick: Patriots 21, Saints 17

Bets: Pats -3

Dolphins at Raiders

Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET
CBS | Stream: Paramount+ (click here)  

Latest Odds: Las Vegas Raiders -3.5

Derek Carr up against Jacoby Brissett. Watch out, here come the ratings! This is an interesting heat check situation. The Raiders offense is rolling and the Dolphins don't have their starting quarterback. Naturally the line moved ... half a point. Clearly the initial line baked in the Tua injury. Brissett is a very good NFL backup and I wouldn't be shocked if he could put up some numbers against a pretty porous/but overachieving defense in Las Vegas. The Raiders should win this game and cover easily. But the number is red flagging this for me. Miami might be the one team impervious to the charms of Las Vegas on the road. I'm smelling an upset. 

The Pick: Dolphins 24, Raiders 17

Bets: Dolphins +4 and Dolphins ML sprinkle 

Seahawks at Vikings

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET
FOX | Stream: fuboTV (click here)  

Latest Odds: Minnesota Vikings +1

Fun game here from a script perspective. Neither Mike Zimmer nor Pete Carroll wants to do what's best for their team and unleash the offense. But as soon as one does, the other will. If the Seahawks hit a long pass play early, the Vikings get stopped and Seattle scores again, this is a live over game the whole way. It might not matter honestly -- if the Vikings have a 14-point lead, the Seahawks will start slinging it too. The over is a bet but if you can live bet wait and see how the first five minutes go and get a better number. Clean weather, two bad secondaries, a massive total for two run-heavy teams. This will be an afternoon shootout. Might involve overtime. 

The Pick: Seahawks 35, Vikings 31

Bets: Seahawks -2, Over 55.5, Tyler Lockett anytime TD 

Buccaneers at Rams

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET
FOX | Stream: fuboTV (click here)  

Latest Odds: Los Angeles Rams PK

My goodness! What a set of afternoon games we have here. I'm a big fan of both these teams, and while I'm completely vindicated Matthew Stafford-wise when it comes to the Rams, I may have undersold the Buccaneers. Tom Brady is on the war path. If you want a nerd analogy, he's basically Ultron (maybe stop messing in the lab so much, Bill). Unfortunately all the other NFL teams can't combine forces to fight him so he's just going to pick the entire league up and drop it on itself en route to a fourth Hall of Fame career within a single career. 

Realize now rather than later what the Bucs offense is about to do. Brady is on a warpath and he's going to post huge numbers. Take the Bucs and the over here. Plus whatever Brady props are within reason. If you see a 1.5 touchdown number it's automatic, Chris Godwin overs are good if available. Antonio Brown being in limbo on covid as this is written makes it tough. The over here is so big but this could turn into a 30's shootout easily. I think I want to either wait to bet it live over or under depending on how it starts. 

The Pick: Buccaneers 31, Rams 27

Bets: Bucs, Brady overs

Jets at Broncos

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET
CBS | Stream: Paramount+ (click here)  

Latest Odds: Denver Broncos -10.5

The Broncos are exactly like the Panthers on Thursday night. Do you buy in to what you've seen? If you think it's a mirage, take the points and move on. You can get either eight points at home or 11 points on the road in Week 3 against teams who were at best 2-1 to make the playoffs. But having watched the Panthers and Broncos this week I'm going to lay the points. Carolina I described above. Denver probably has a better defense right now than the Panthers, even with Bradley Chubb undergoing surgery. Vic Fangio is going to WRECK Zach Wilson. If the Jets had a defense I would agree they could mess with the Broncos, but Teddy Bridgewater is playing some great football right now, he's challenging vertically and the Broncos offense isn't playing scared. This is a blowout. 

The Pick: Broncos 31, Jets 10

Bets: Nah

Packers at 49ers

Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET
NBC | Stream: fuboTV (click here)  

Latest Odds: San Francisco 49ers -3.5

The only reason it's difficult to take the Packers is the last, ooooooooh, few games between these teams. Kyle Shanahan flexes his offense on people who used to work for him and has routinely played chess with Matt LaFleur while the Packers coach tried to deal with a connect-the-dots situation at home. I was fully prepared to take the Packers with the points here and watch Aaron Rodgers uncork for a second straight game. The problem is the Packers defense looks horrendous. Green Bay's D was getting shredded by Jared Goff until it started randomly pouring from the heavens like Lombardi demanded it. Man I can't wait to triple down on Trey Sermon in DFS during this game. 

The Pick: 49ers 28, Packers 21

Bets: Nope

Eagles at Cowboys

Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET
ESPN | Stream: fuboTV (click here)  

Latest Odds: Dallas Cowboys -3.5

The Cowboys offense is substantially better than last year at this time. Credit to Mike McCarthy for giving Kellen Moore a way bigger role in the playcalling. Maybe it took a year of working together sans Dak to actually make this work better. At three I would take the Cowboys. At four? I'm gonna bet on Devonta Smith (aka the new DeSean Jackson) to make life tough for Dallas down to the end. Jalen Hurts is a gamer. This over looks tasty if the Cowboys are at full strength on the offensive line and Nick Sirrianni is using the RPO concepts he busted out in Week 1. 

The Pick: Eagles 31, Cowboys 28

Bets: Eagles +4, Over 51.5

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