NFL Viewer's Guide for Week 3: Ranking the Matchups and Predictions

The Dolphins game at Las Vegas in the late-afternoon window will get overshadowed by the Bucs-Rams showdown in Los Angeles
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Each week we'll be counting down the weekend games in terms of viewer appeal and later share our predictions — confidence pool style.

As usual, there are several intriguing matchups on the schedule and we've ranked them (in reverse order) based on the expect quality of the game along with Dolphins-related impact, if applicable.


15. Atlanta (0-2) at N.Y. Giants (0-2), 1 p.m. ET: Even though the Giants really should have defeated Washington in the Week 2 Thursday night game, this remains a matchup of 0-2 teams. Kyle Pitts and Saquon Barkley might be the only reasons to watch this game.

14. N.Y. Jets (0-2) at Denver (2-0), 4:05 p.m. ET: Watching the progress of rookie QB Zach Wilson is the only thing remotely interesting about the Jets, while the Broncos' absurdly easy season-opening schedule (Giants, Jaguars, Jets) continues.

13. Arizona (2-0) at Jacksonville (0-2), 1 p.m. ET: Kyler Murray makes the Cardinals fun to watch every week, but the Jaguars are the worst team in the NFL and the only reason to even peek at their games is Trevor Lawrence.

12. Baltimore (1-1) at Detroit (0-2), 1 p.m. ET: It'll be interesting to see what Lamar Jackson and the Ravens can do for an encore after their Sunday night win against Kansas City, but the Lions are just a bad team right now — as much as we want to see Dan Campbell succeed.

11. Indianapolis (0-2) at Tennessee (1-1), 1 p.m. ET: This looked like a good matchup before the season started, but the Colts are 0-2 and might not have new quarterback Carson Wentz available because of his two sprained ankles.

10. Chicago (1-1) at Cleveland (1-1), 1 p.m. ET: This matchup became interesting when it was announced that Justin Fields would make his first NFL start with Andy Dalton sidelined with a knee injury. The game itself smells like a blowout, though.

9. Washington (1-1) at Buffalo (1-1), 1 p.m. ET: We'll be honest and say this would have been a fun matchup with Ryan Fitzpatrick going against one of his many former teams, but now this will come down to seeing whether the Bills offense can get back to 2020 form.

8. Cincinnati (1-1) at Pittsburgh (1-1), 1 p.m. ET: If the Bengals are going to show they're legit, they have to win this kind of game because the Steelers have injury issues. But the defense still might give Joe Burrow problems.

7. Philadelphia (1-1) at Dallas (1-1), Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET: Was a time when this would have been a marquee Monday night matchup, but even though each team is 1-1, neither team looks ready to challenge for anything beyond winning the awful NFC East.

6. Seattle (1-1) at Minnesota (0-2), 4:25 p.m. ET: Russell Wilson always is fun to watch, while the Vikings are hoping their bad luck finally ends after losing in overtime in Week 1 and on a missed 37-yard field goal attempt in Week 2.

5. Miami (1-1) at Las Vegas (2-0), 4:05 p.m. ET: If these teams can produce a game anywhere near as exciting as what we saw last December, everybody is in for a treat. But the reality is that the Dolphins appear a bit overmatched at this point against a surging Raiders team, even though it's probably not a good idea to ever count out the Dolphins.

4. New Orleans (1-1) at New England (1-1), 1 p.m. ET: This actually is a very intriguing matchup because the Saints went from terrific to terrible from Week 1 to Week 2 and the Patriots still have yet to let Mac Jones air it out very much.

3. L.A. Chargers (1-1) at Kansas City (1-1), 1 p.m. ET: Justin Herbert and the Chargers get a chance to make a bold statement here after a Week 2 loss against Dallas that looked an awful lot like the old Chargers.

2. Green Bay (1-1) at San Francisco (2-0), 8:20 p.m. ET: This is a really, really good Sunday night matchup, with the added sub-plot of the offseason rumors linking Aaron Rodgers to the 49ers. It's also a great spot for Rodgers to continue shutting down his critics because pounding the Lions might not have totally done it.

1. Tampa Bay (2-0) at L.A. Rams (2-0), 4:25 p.m. ET: This is by far the matchup of the week and we get to find out just how legit the Rams are their opening wins against Chicago and Indianapolis. One factor at play here is the look-ahead angle, with Tom Brady's return to Gillette Stadium coming up in Week 4.


In a different way of doing this, here are projected winners, and they are ranked in order of confidence that the projection will be accurate with No. 1 being the most confident. Note that the Dolphins game will not be included in this exercise; the Dolphins prediction will come in a Saturday column.

Week 1 record: 8-7 (Meh)

1 .Denver over N.Y. Jets

2. Tennessee over Indianapolis

3. Baltimore over Detroit

4. Buffalo over Washington

5. Dallas over Philadelphia

6. Arizona over Jacksonville

7. Cleveland over Chicago

8. Pittsburgh over Cincinnati

9. New England over New Orleans

10. Atlanta over N.Y. Giants

11. Kansas City over L.A. Chargers

12. San Francisco over Green Bay

13. L.A. Rams over Tampa Bay

14. Minnesota over Seattle