NFL Week 3 Picks for AFC Matchups: Bills vs. Dolphins, Ravens vs. Patriots and Bengals vs. Jets

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When it comes to your NFL picks in Week 3, we have some strong matchups in the AFC:

  • Bills vs. Dolphins
  • Ravens vs. Patriots
  • Bengals vs. Jets

The Bills have been the NFL’s best team with the best Super Bowl odds through two games, but they will get an interesting test from the Dolphins in Miami, fresh off that miraculous comeback in Baltimore. This could be the game of the week.

The Ravens are going to have to bounce back from that disappointment in New England, which is coming off a low-scoring win over the Steelers to avoid starting 0-2 for the first time since 2001.

Can the Jets upset the Bengals for the second year in a row and drop them to 0-3? The Jets have not had a winning record after Week 2 since they were 3-2 in the 2017 season.

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Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins

Sunday, September 25, 2022 – 01:00 PM EDT at Hard Rock Stadium

When the Buffalo Bills Have the Ball

On Fire

The Bills have been on a tear dating back to last season. Buffalo is the 13th team in NFL history to score at least 27 points in nine consecutive games. The Bills are the first team in NFL history to have four games with zero punts in a six-game span.

They have only punted once with Josh Allen in the game this season, and they just toyed with the Titans on Monday night as Stefon Diggs caught 3 touchdown passes.

Josh Allen Knows This Defense

After losing his first game to the Dolphins, Allen has won the last seven meetings and has thrown multiple touchdown passes in every game. He has 21 touchdowns to 5 interceptions against Miami with a stellar 106.8 passer rating. Miami has only been able to sack 8 eight times or an average of once a game. Allen also has 430 rushing yards and four scores on the ground against Miami.

Basically, his 16-game pace for Miami is 4,000 yards passing, 850 yards rushing, and 50 total touchdowns. These stats are relevant since the Dolphins have kept the same defensive coordinator, Josh Boyer, on staff for Mike McDaniel after he replaced Brian Flores.

The players are largely the same too with corner Xavien Howard not being a detriment to prevent Stefon Diggs from scoring touchdowns in this matchup. Diggs just may not break 120 yards again like he has the first two weeks.

Miami’s defense is allowing a league-high 6.9 yards per play through Week 2. Meanwhile, the Bills (3.6) are the only defense allowing under 4.0 yards per play this season. 

When the Miami Dolphins Have the Ball

Your Turn, Tua

Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is coming off the game of his career with 469 yards and 6 touchdown passes in orchestrating the 21-point comeback in the fourth quarter in Baltimore. But one has to question why the team was stuck on 14 points through three quarters. Five of Miami’s seven big gains of more than 15 yards came in that fourth quarter as the defense held Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle mostly in check until that eruption.

The Bills are dominating on defense right now with Von Miller being an incredible addition to the pass rush. Tua has played poorly against the Bills in the past with 5.73 yards per attempt in three starts. While usually accurate, he has completed 56.4% of his passes against Buffalo.

The addition of Hill and McDaniel’s system will certainly help, but the Bills are a tough defense to beat for big plays. Hill has done it to them in the playoffs the last two years with at least 150 yards in both games, but that was also with Patrick Mahomes throwing the ball. Tua is going to have to show he can do it in what is really the biggest Bills-Dolphins game since the 1990s with both teams at 2-0. 

Don't Let Week 2 Fool You

Before you point to last week against Baltimore as proof that he’s ready, keep in mind that the Ravens have allowed five 400-yard passing games since 2021. No other team has allowed more than one. Baltimore is also allowing them to Derek Carr, Carson Wentz, and Joe Burrow (twice). Not exactly a list of Hall of Famers.

Some point to Buffalo flopping in Jacksonville’s heat last season. It will be humid in Miami on Sunday, but there could be scattered thunderstorms during the game. I would not count on the Bills imploding there like the Patriots tend to in Miami. 

Bills vs. Dolphins: Pick and Prediction

Miami had the incredible comeback last week, but I think we see why the team was down so big in the first place. The defense is going to struggle with Allen like it usually does, and in his 7-1 record against the Dolphins, all but one win has been by double digits. That is just what Buffalo does.

Buffalo’s last 20 regular-season wins have all been by at least 10 points, tying the 1941-42 Bears for the NFL record. Maybe that streak ends on Sunday, but I still like the Bills to win by at least a touchdown to cover the NFL odds and improve to 3-0.

NFL Pick: Bills -6 (-110) at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

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Baltimore Ravens vs. New England Patriots

Sunday, September 25, 2022 – 01:00 PM EDT at Gillette Stadium

When the Baltimore Ravens Have the Ball

Lamar Jackson Against the World

It is still hard to believe the Ravens spoiled Lamar Jackson’s special day on Sunday against Miami by blowing a 35-14 lead. He threw for 318 yards and rushed for 119 yards with 4 total touchdowns, becoming the first player in NFL history to have multiple games with 300 yards passing and 100 yards rushing.

Mark Andrews is an elite tight end and wide receiver Rashod Bateman has stepped up as a great replacement for Marquise Brown, who was traded to Arizona. Jackson is on fire right now with 6 touchdown passes while only taking 2 sacks.

But if there is a concern with the offense, it would be the running game when you take out Jackson’s contributions. That usually has been strong in the past, but it was nothing special against the Jets, and on Sunday, it was even worse against Miami. Baltimore’s backs combined for just 33 rushing yards.

This offense is on Jackson’s shoulders more than ever before. In two career meetings with Bill Belichick’s defense, he has fared well with 71.9% completions, 3 touchdowns, and one interception. But it should be more of a grind this week than the first two against the Jets and Dolphins. 

When the New England Patriots Have the Ball

Do Not Expect Dominating Performances

The Patriots are averaging 12 points per game this season with assistant coaches Joe Judge and Matt Patricia running the offense in place of Josh McDaniels. Things have not been pretty, but on Sunday in Pittsburgh, Mac Jones took zero sacks and got the ball to his two wideouts. Nelson Agholor caught a beautiful 44-yard touchdown, a rare highlight for this now bland offense. 

Jones is serviceable, but he is not going to throw for 450 yards like Tua Tagovailoa did with those Miami receivers last week. The Patriots just don’t have that personnel anymore. It has to be more of a back-and-forth ground game that they can steal late

Baltimore’s recent weakness has been defending deep balls. The Jets and Joe Flacco could not expose this in Week 1, but the Dolphins sure did in that comeback win. This is not a strength of the New England offense, but if Jones can give his receivers a chance like he did in Pittsburgh, they may be able to pull out another 23-20 type of win here. The Patriots beat the Ravens 23-17 back in 2020 during a rainy game in prime time. 

Ravens vs. Patriots: Pick and Prediction

Baltimore coach John Harbaugh has not blown a lead quite like that one last week, but he is experienced and should be able to rally the troops after a devastating loss.

With Jackson giving them a big edge at quarterback, I like the Ravens to get the job done and cover on the road. The Patriots do not have the right offensive pieces to exploit the Ravens on defense.

NFL Pick: Ravens -3 (-110) at Bovada

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Cincinnati Bengals vs. New York Jets

Sunday, September 25, 2022 – 01:00 PM EDT at MetLife Stadium

When the Cincinnati Bengals Have the Ball

O-Line Issues Continue

Remember when the Bengals thought they fixed their offensive line this offseason? Joe Burrow is the 11th quarterback since the merger to take at least 6 sacks in the first two games of the season. The Bengals avoided turnovers in Dallas, but the sacks still stalled too many drives

When the Jets shocked the Bengals in an upset last year, they sacked Burrow three times and made a key interception in the fourth quarter. They also held Ja’Marr Chase to 32 yards on nine targets, one of the least effective games of his young career. That is unlikely to repeat itself, but the Bengals are having serious sack problems again. Some of that is the line, but a lot of it is the quarterback too.

Burrow Is Struggling a Lot

Defenses are not allowing the shot plays to develop for the Bengals, and it is frustrating the third-year quarterback. After averaging 12.6 yards per completion last season, Burrow is only averaging 9.4 yards per completion in 2022. His yards per attempt has dropped from a league-best 8.9 last year to a below-average 6.0 in two games this year.

The good news for the Bengals this week? The Jets do not have a dominant pass rusher like T.J. Watt or Micah Parsons. Quincy Williams is the only player with a full sack so far this year. 

When the New York Jets Have the Ball

Not That Bad, but Not That Good

Joe Flacco is 37 years old and is leading the NFL in pass attempts (103) and completions (63). It has been a strange start to the season, but the Jets are not afraid to let Flacco air it out each week. The running game has not been that bad, but the Jets are usually trailing in these games. 

The young receivers look good at least with Garrett Wilson catching 2 touchdowns in Cleveland, including the game-winner in the final seconds. It was the rookie’s first 100-yard game. 

But Flacco’s 4-touchdown performance largely hinged on a blown coverage late in the game and getting the ball back after a miraculous onside kick recovery. The Jets were better on offense in Week 2 compared to Week 1, but it is still not a unit we should trust

Facing a Backup QB Doesn't Mean Success

The Bengals have played Mitch Trubisky and Cooper Rush so far this season, and Flacco is technically another backup starting in place of injured starter Zach Wilson.

But last year it was the unknown Mike White who shocked the Bengals with a 400-yard passing game and another wild comeback for the Jets. Can Flacco do that too? Maybe, and that’s what makes this game more interesting than it would have been three weeks ago.

Bengals. vs. Jets: Pick and Prediction

Can the Bengals play a game that is not super close at the end? Including last year’s Super Bowl run, the 2021-22 Bengals are the first team in NFL history to play in five straight games decided by exactly 3 points. They won the first two but lost the last three.

Only two other teams in NFL history have had streaks of six games or more that were all decided by 1-to-3 points, so the Bengals are teetering with history here. But with the Jets’ lack of a strong pass rusher, look for Burrow to play his best game of the season and for the Bengals to get the cover.  

NFL Pick: Bengals -4.5 (-115) at Bovada

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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.