Josh Frey’s Week 3 NFL Picks: Can the Vikings Avoid an 0-3 Start?
Two weeks into the regular season, and much like the Minnesota Vikings, I’ve dug myself quite a hole in this picks column.
However, we still have 16 weeks to go, and maybe this is the week that turns everything around for both the picks and the Vikings. Another full 16-game slate gives plenty of chances for wins. Per usual, the spreads and point totals are found via ESPN.
Before we get into the Week 3 NFL picks, here is a reminder of how Week 2 went:
- Vikings +7 (W)
- Packers -1 (L)
- Bills -9.5 (W)
- Bengals -3.5 (L)
- Lions -5 (L)
- Chargers -3 (L)
- Bears +2.5 (L)
- Chiefs -3.5 (W)
- Colts -1 (W)
- 49ers -8 (L)
- Giants -5.5 (L)
- Jets +9 (L)
- Broncos -3.5 (L)
- Dolphins -3 (W)
- Panthers +3 (T)
- Browns +2.5 (L)
Season Record: 10-21-1
New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers
- Spread: 49ers -10.5
- O/U: 44 points
Frey’s Pick: 49ers -10.5
We’re going against the grain here. Underdogs are 2-0 on Thursday night football to begin the year. Going back to last season, we’ve seen 14 of the last 21 Thursday games decided by 10 or fewer points. The Giants seemed to figure some things out in the second half against Arizona, but that first half was as ugly as it gets. With this being San Francisco’s home opener, and the Giants likely going into the game without Saquon Barkley, I’m taking the 49ers to win big.
Chicago Bears at Kansas City Chiefs
- Spread: Chiefs -12.5
- O/U: 47 points
Frey’s Pick: Chiefs -12.5
The Bears are a disaster right now. Defensive coordinator Alan Williams resigned from his position on Wednesday, and Justin Fields has put blame on coaching for Chicago’s offensive struggles to begin the year. The Chiefs defense looks like one of the best groups in the league right now, and they should be able to dominate on both sides in this game.
Tennessee Titans at Cleveland Browns
- Spread: Browns -3.5
- O/U: 39.5 points
Frey’s Pick: Titans +3.5
The Browns lost Nick Chubb for the rest of the season with a devastating knee injury that looked eerily similar to the one he suffered while attending Georgia. Jerome Ford and recently-signed Kareem Hunt should be a fine tandem in the backfield, but Mike Vrabel’s defense has caused fits for opposing offenses throughout the early portion of the season. I’m riding with Tennessee to cover this game.
Atlanta Falcons at Detroit Lions
- Spread: Lions -3
- O/U: 46 points
Frey’s Pick: Falcons +3
The NFC South is 3-0 against the NFC North to begin the year, and that winning streak continues this week. Arthur Smith has proven to be able to push the right buttons at the perfect time with this offense, and Bijan Robinson continues to look like a budding superstar. With Detroit having plenty of injuries (6 DNPs in Wednesday’s practice), the safe pick is Atlanta.
New Orleans Saints at Green Bay Packers
- Spread: Packers -2
- O/U: 42.5 points
Frey’s Pick: Saints +2
Another NFC South/NFC North matchup results in another win for the guys down in the Bayou. The Saints defense has caused huge problems for opponents over the first two weeks, and Marshon Lattimore arguably has been the best cornerback in the NFL so far this season. It’s always tough to play in Lambeau, but I’ll take the veteran Derek Carr to make more plays than Jordan Love down the stretch.
Denver Broncos at Miami Dolphins
- Spread: Dolphins -6.5
- O/U: 48.5 points
Frey’s Picks: Dolphins -6.5
If you read my power rankings over on PurplePTSD.com, you’ll already know how I feel about Denver going into Week 3. This team has been a joke ever since Russell Wilson got there, and it hasn’t changed under Sean Payton. I was fooled through two weeks, but no more. I would ride with the Dolphins here even if the spread was -20.
Los Angeles Chargers at Minnesota Vikings
- Spread: Vikings -1
- O/U: 54 points
Frey’s Pick: Vikings -1
Both the Chargers and Vikings are in desperation mode after 0-2 starts to the season. However, this week, there seems to be more ways for the Vikings to get their first win than the Chargers. Minnesota’s pass coverage has been much-improved under Brian Flores, and their own passing offense has been clipping along at a historic pace. With Austin Ekeler likely missing this game, and LA’s struggles in the secondary, Minnesota gets off the snide this week.
New England Patriots at New York Jets
- Spread: Patriots -2.5
- O/U: 36.5 points
Frey’s Pick: Patriots -2.5
This should be a very low-scoring game as indicated by the total being just 36.5 points going into the weekend. In the end, though, New England will force Zach Wilson into some poor decisions, and the Patriots snag their first victory of the season.
Buffalo Bills at Washington Commanders
- Spread: Bills -6.5
- O/U: 43.5 points
Frey’s Pick: Bills -6.5
The Commanders have been one of the big surprises through two weeks, starting the season 2-0. However, their wins have come against the Arizona Cardinals and Denver Broncos. Arizona is trying to get a couple top-five picks next spring, and you already know my thoughts on Denver. This may still be a solid team, but if we get the Week 2 version of Josh Allen again, the Bills should cruise to a win here.
Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars
- Spread: Jaguars -9
- O/U: 44 points
Frey’s Pick: Jaguars -9
If you read other pick columns this week, you’ll probably see this statistic a lot: the Texans are 3-1 against Trevor Lawrence in his career. However, two of those wins came during the Urban Meyer debacle in 2021, and the other was early in the 2022 season when Jacksonville was still figuring out how to win games. When the two teams met in Week 17 last season, the Jaguars cruised to a 31-3 win. Coming off a disappointing loss against Kansas City, the Jaguars will make a statement this weekend against an inferior team.
Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens
- Spread: Ravens -7.5
- O/U: 45 points
Frey’s Pick: Ravens -7.5
Lamar Jackson has looked like an MVP candidate again through two weeks, and even without Marlon Humphries in Week 2, this defense has been incredible. Anthony Richardson may be out as he recovers from his concussion, but even if he plays, the Ravens look like a bonafide Super Bowl contender and are too much for this Colts team to wrangle.
Carolina Panthers at Seattle Seahawks
- Spread: Seahawks -6
- O/U: 42 points
Frey’s Pick: Seahawks -6
Carolina’s offense has struggled to generate anything through two weeks. They rank among the bottom of the league in total yards (28th) and points scored (T-30th). Seattle’s cornerbacks should have a field day against this wide receiver group, and Geno Smith continues to lead a high-octane offense for the Seahawks.
Dallas Cowboys at Arizona Cardinals
- Spread: Cowboys -12
- O/U: 43 points
Frey’s Pick: Cowboys -12
This is a lot of picks in favor of double-digit favorites, which makes me a bit nervous. That being said, I present you with the “don’t think, just shoot” pick of the week. If you forced me to pick one team to win the Super Bowl right now, it’d be Dallas. They have the best defense in the league, and their offense hasn’t skipped a beat without OC Kellen Moore. Arizona has played two close games, but they haven’t met an opponent on the same level as Dallas yet.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Las Vegas Raiders
- Spread: Raiders -2.5
- O/U: 43 points
Frey’s Pick: Steelers +2.5
Pittsburgh’s offense has been muddy to begin the year, but this defense is legit. That group won them their Week 2 game against the Browns. On Sunday night, expect them to shine under the lights once again against this Raiders offense.
Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Spread: Eagles -5
- O/U: 46 points
Frey’s Pick: Buccaneers +5
The Eagles will probably serve Tampa Bay their first loss of the season, but I think the Buccaneers keep this game close. Philadelphia has allowed both New England and Minnesota to get back into games after trailing by double-digits early, so I am banking on this happening again.
Los Angeles Rams at Cincinnati Bengals
- Spread: Bengals -3
- O/U: 44 points
Frey’s Picks: Bengals -3, U44 points
Until I know whether or not Joe Burrow plays, it’s impossible to pick this game. The Bengals QB re-aggravated his calf injury last weekend, and his status is up in the air prior to Monday night. If Burrow plays, I’ll ride with the Bengals, but without him, I cannot see Cincinnati pulling off a win here. We’ll be re-visiting this pick later in the week, but to make it up to everyone who made it this far, I’ll make an extra pick and take the under for 44 points.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.