Below are my confidence level straight up picks for Week 3. The picks with a confidence level of 1-5 will be available to all NFL Pickwatch readers. 


The selections with a 6+ confidence level, a group of games that have netted a 157-55-2 since 2020 (including a 6-4-1 mark this year and a 70-24-1 mark last year), will be available exclusively to Pickwatch Pro subscribers. Pickwatch Pro is a great service that allows subscribers to download the best expert data in the industry, see team-by-team winners for every expert, and provides access to Upset Watch, which has been the ultimate cheat code to beat the sportsbooks over the last six years. Combine those elements with the top level of my weekly picks and it makes for a must-subscribe service for anyone serious about betting.


Pittsburgh at Cleveland


The Browns have surprisingly been in two straight shootout games (contests where each team scores 24+ points) but are unsurprisingly 1-1 in those matchups because they generally tend to be 50/50 propositions. Pittsburgh could be 0-2, as the Steelers offense has been one of the worst in the league and already has Pittsburgh’s fans calling for Kenny Pickett to take over for Mitch Trubisky. That makes this a clash of styles between shootout and low scoring and since Pittsburgh just allowed a mediocre New England offense to register 376 offensive yards (due in part to the loss of T.J. Watt to injury), it’s more likely that this contest ends in the shootout category. Add that to it being a short week road trip for the Steelers and Cleveland is the selection here.


KC’s pick: Cleveland


Confidence level: 2


New Orleans at Carolina


On one side of the ball, this is a battle of the resistible force versus the movable object, as Carolina’s defense ranks 30th in scoring drive percentage allowed and the Saints offense is 25th in scoring drive rate. The teams are fairly even in scoring drive rate allowed on the other side of the ball, so this is one of the closest matchups of the week. Odds makers have the Saints as a three-point road favorite in spite of injuries to the Jameis Winston (who is dealing with multiple back fractures) and Alvin Kamara because they have more faith in the New Orleans defense than they do Baker Mayfield, so this pick will concur with that assessment.


KC’s pick: New Orleans


Confidence level: 3


Houston at Chicago


The Bears rush offense came into this season quite underrated, but that perception started to change last week after Chicago ran for 180 yards against a stout Packers defense. The Houston rush defense is anything but stout, as the Texans have allowed the third most ground yards through two weeks. Chicago’s run defense is just as bad, but Houston’s run blocking is nearly as terrible as last year, so the Texans will have a tougher time taking advantage of this weakness. Houston also ranks last in the league in offensive expected points added (EPA, per Pro Football Reference). Add these trends to the game being in Chicago and the Bears are the selection.


KC’s pick: Chicago


Confidence level: 4


Detroit at Minnesota


This is a game that has potential shootout written all over it. Keep that in mind when noting that through two games Detroit has scored 71 points and Minnesota has tallied only 31. To be fair, Minnesota should be able to keep up in any high scoring game, as they have Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook and have what my schedule ranking system grades out as the most favorable rush defense and pass defense schedule in Week 3. The Vikings rush defense is nearly as bad as Detroit’s, but Minnesota’s pass defense is much better, so that should be enough of an edge to win a game that could rack up 50+ points.


KC’s pick: Minnesota


Confidence level: 3


Baltimore at New England


Don’t read too much into last week’s loss to Miami, as it was injuries and communication issues rather than a lack of talent that caused the late game collapse. Baltimore will get those fixed this week and won’t be anywhere near as challenged on that side of the ball against a Patriots offense that ranks 30th in scoring drive percentage this year. Lamar Jackson has accounted for 528 yards and five touchdowns in two career games against New England, so he has a track record of faring well against Bill Belichick. Those two factors should be enough to earn Baltimore a road win over one of its archrivals.


KC’s pick: Baltimore


Confidence level: 2


Cincinnati at New York Jets


I do a weekly fantasy football article series for The Athletic and this week’s edition of that series found an amazing stat: Joe Burrow has posted zero fantasy points on vertical passes in the 2022 campaign. Cincinnati’s offseason offensive line additions haven’t panned out well and that has caused this platoon to play well below its talent level. The Jets have a tremendous set of skill position players and only needed to get solid quarterback play to get that group going and Joe Flacco has provided that. That will lead to some big plays against a Bengals secondary that has been off its game as well. Put that together with the Jets secondary posting some solid coverage metrics and this game being in New York and the Jets are the pick here by a very small margin.


KC’s pick: New York


Confidence level: 1 


Philadelphia at Washington


The key between these teams may have shown up last week when the Eagles played well across the board on the way to a convincing 24-7 win over Minnesota on Monday night. That is only one of the four games these teams have played that hasn’t resulted in a shootout and it shows that Philadelphia has more paths to victory than Washington. The Commanders also have an issue in that its Carson Wentz-led offense already has generated four giveaways this year. That is going to be par for the course in any offense Wentz is directing and it will be an issue against Darius Slay and company, so the Eagles are the preferred option here.


KC’s pick: Philadelphia


Confidence level: 4


Los Angeles Rams at Arizona


Los Angeles got the boat righted last week to some extent following the embarrassing Week 1 loss to the Bills, as a win is a win, but a 31-27 home triumph over a Falcons team that is one of the worst in the league was not exactly a signature victory. The Rams also cannot be happy about giving the ball away three times for the second straight week in a row. Getting seven takeaways in two games is a major plus for L.A., but that trait may have limitations against an Arizona offense that has only one giveaway this year. The Cardinals did get a win last week due to Kyler Murray’s otherworldly late game efforts against the Raiders, but it is a really bad idea to count on that type of performance to save your team from a loss. Arizona also has a terrible track record against Los Angeles, as the Rams have won 10 of the last 11 games these teams have played, so Los Angeles is the choice.


KC’s pick: Los Angeles


Confidence level: 3


Atlanta at Seattle


Pete Carroll would not let Russell Wilson cook very often in Seattle, but he’s already asking Geno Smith to open up the passing game more. The problem there is that Smith’s historical numbers indicate that vertical passing is not his forte and it’s a major reason Seattle ranks 31st in offensive scoring drive rate this year. Atlanta’s offense is in a much better place, as the Falcons rank 11th in scoring drive rate and have done that despite a lack of passing game involvement from Kyle Pitts. Asking an east coast team to win in Seattle is a tough proposition, but the offensive disparity here is a lot to ask the Seahawks to overcome, so the Falcons are the pick by the smallest of margins.


KC’s pick: Atlanta


Confidence level: 1 


Green Bay at Tampa Bay


These teams each have one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history, yet both passing games in this contest are playing at a subpar level. For Tampa Bay, the issues are myriad, as Chris Godwin will almost certainly miss this game due to injury, Julio Jones has a very good chance of not playing because of injury, Mike Evans is out with a suspension, and Russell Gage is also dealing with an injury. For Green Bay, the issue is having the wide receiver corps consist of a combination of so-so veterans and talented but very inexperienced rookies. This is a case where both teams will want to lean on the run game, a factor that should give Tampa Bay just enough of an edge to win given how stout the Buccaneers defense is versus the run.


KC’s pick: Tampa Bay


Confidence level: 2


Dallas at New York Giants


Who could have seen this coming? The Giants were expected to be a doormat again this year, but Brian Daboll and Joe Schoen are sticking with their plan and playing thei best players rather than trying to build a roster around personnel errors made by others. This meritocratic approach has gone over quite well with the Giants squad and has merged effectively with a 2022 version of Saquon Barkley that looks much improved over the 2021 edition. Dallas will aim to counter this with defensive MVP candidate Micah Parsons, Cooper Rush (a backup quarterback who looked like a talented relief pitcher in last week’s win over Cincinnati), CeeDee Lamb, and the 1-2 combination of Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard. This game could easily be considered a toss-up, so the energy of the Giants and home field advantage are enough to claim this pick for New York.


KC’s pick: New York


Confidence level: 1


KC’s 6+ confidence level picks, a group of selections that have gone 157-55-2 since 2020 (including a 6-4-1 mark this year and a 70-24-1 mark last year), are available exclusively to Pickwatch Pro subscribers.

Get 20% off Pickwatch Pro with code WEEK3