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Rick Zamperin’s Week 3 NFL picks: Rams edge Bills, Ravens outduel Chiefs

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) throws against the Houston Texans during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Houston. AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith

After stumbling out of the gate in Week 1 of the NFL season, I made up for it last week, and was spoiled a perfect week by Las Vegas’ upset win over New Orleans on Monday Night Football.

I went 15-1 straight up in Week 2, and 8-8 against the spread. So, I’m feeling pretty good as we head into Week 3 on the schedule.

Read more: Rick Zamperin’s Week 2 NFL picks: Bills squish the fish, Cowboys rebound

Miami Dolphins at Jacksonville Jaguars (-3) Week 3 kicks off Thursday night with the battle of Florida. The Jags (1-1) have been one of the early season surprises so far and could easily be 2-0 on the season. The winless Dolphins on the other hand have been porous on defence, giving up an average of 440 yards per game so far. Miami QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is due to find some of his magic. Miami 24-22

Los Angeles Rams at Buffalo Bills (-2.5) Both the Rams and Bills are 2-0 on the season and QB’s Jared Goff and Josh Allen have played very well so far in 2020. I like L.A.’s offense a little more than Buffalo’s in what should be a very close game. LA Rams 23-20

Washington Football Team at Cleveland Browns (-7) Cleveland has had a few extra days of rest after beating Cincinnati in the Thursday night opener in Week 2 while Washington is playing a second consecutive road game. The Browns continue their winning mojo as quarterback Baker Mayfield has his best game of the year. Cleveland 30-21

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Las Vegas Raiders at New England Patriots (-6) The Raiders are coming off an emotional win over New Orleans on Monday night in their first game at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. New England fell to 1-1 after a hard fought loss in Seattle last weekend. This should be an entertaining game. New England 31-24

Houston Texans at Pittsburgh Steelers (-4) Houston’s season-opening murderer’s row of a schedule continues in Week 3 as the Texans take on the Steelers, in Pittsburgh no less. The Texans have opened the season with losses against Kansas City and Baltimore and now have to deal with Ben Roethlisberger and a rejuvenated Steelers offence. Pittsburgh 30-24

Chicago Bears at Atlanta Falcons (-4) Chicago is 2-0, Atlanta is 0-2. A mismatch, right? Not quite. The Bears have beaten NFC dormats Detroit and the New York Giants while the Falcons have lost to NFC heavyweights Seattle and Dallas. This almost seems like a must-win for head coach Dan Quinn and the dirty birds. Atlanta 31-23

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Cincinnati Bengals at Philadelphia Eagles (-5.5) The Eagles are struggling, and injury riddled. The Bengals have had an extra long week after playing last Thursday night in Cleveland and rookie quarterback Joe Burrow hasn’t looked out of place at all. I’m tempted to go with the upset here, but Philly can’t start 0-3, can they? Philadelphia 23-21

San Francisco 49ers at New York Giants (+4) These two teams are limping into this matchup. The 49ers lost five starters to injury last week, including QB Jimmy Garoppolo and defensive end Nick Bosa, while the Giants are forced to play without their best player after running back Saquon Barkley suffered a season-ending knee injury. Despite their rash of injuries, the Niners should get the job done. San Francisco 20-17

Tennessee Titans at Minnesota Vikings (+2.5) Tennessee is off to a solid 2-0 start while the Vikings have struggled mightily in losses against Green Bay and Indianapolis. My gut tells me that Minnesota is primed for a rebound, but the Titans keep it close. Minnesota 23-20

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Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks (-5) Dallas is fresh off an unbelievable fourth quarter comeback against Atlanta, while the Seahawks improved to 2-0 thanks to a late game, goal line stand against New England. Seattle wins in a shootout. Seattle 34-30

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Denver Broncos (+6) Tom Brady earned his first win as a Buccaneer last week and is well positioned to make it two in a row against a battered Broncos team. Denver will be without QB Drew Lock and a number of other key players. This one could get ugly. Tampa Bay 28-13

New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts (-11) Let’s face it, the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets, are bad, bad bad. The Colts have played great football this season but they have no business losing to New York, especially at home. Indianapolis 33-17

Read more: Rick Zamperin: Is the impact of the coronavirus pandemic to blame for a rash of NFL injuries?

Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals (-5.5) Arizona is primed to impove to 3-0 when they host the winless Lions. Detroit has blown leads in both of their losses this season and will be hard pressed to keep up with Kyler Murray and the Cardinals. Arizona 42-17

Carolina Panthers at Los Angeles Chargers (-6.5) The Panthers enter this game after dropping their second straight game and losing star running back Christian McCaffery to an ankle injury. That’s a huge loss. The Chargers, whether it’s veteran Tyrod Taylor or rookie Justin Herbert at quarterback, should dominate from the opening kickoff. LA Chargers 38-13

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Green Bay Packers at New Orleans Saints (-3) The Sunday nighter pits two future Hall of Fame QB’s in Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees against each other. Both offences can virtually score at will and whichever team has the ball last may end up winning this contest. Green Bay 31-30

Kansas City Chiefs at Baltimore Ravens (-3.5) The NFL saved the best of Week 3 for last as the reigning Super Bowl champion Chiefs visit Baltimore, last year’s top team during the regular season. Both clubs are 2-0 and this tussle could ultimately decide which one earns the top seed in the AFC. Patrick Mahomes vs. Lamar Jackson! Yes please, and thank you. Baltimore 34-31

Overall straight up 23-9

Overall against the spread 14-17-1

Rick Zamperin is the assistant program, news and senior sports director at Global News Radio 900 CHML.

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