NFL Week 3: What To Expect

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) and fullback Patrick Ricard (42) reacted after a play during the first half against the Miami Dolphins at M&T Bank Stadium.
Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Through two weeks of NFL action, the Jaguars sit atop the AFC South standings, the Bengals are still winless, and the 49ers have already been forced to turn to old friend Jimmy Garoppolo.

So what can we expect from Week 3? Let’s do our best crystal ball gazing, using data and analysis from the research team at the Elias Sports Bureau to lay out how some of this week’s games might play out.

Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots

Scenario A: Ravens Rebound From Fourth Quarter Collapse

Last week, the Baltimore Ravens led the Miami Dolphins by 21 points early in the fourth quarter. But they could not stop the passing game of the Dolphins down the stretch, giving that lead up in a 42-38 loss at home. Baltimore gave up six touchdown passes to Tua Tagovailoa, and they will need to tighten up their defense if they want to get back into the win column against a familiar foe in the Patriots.

While the defense of the Ravens needs to be better against the Patriots, Baltimore will hope for the same performance they got from Lamar Jackson last week. Jackson accounted for 437 total yards, hurting the Dolphins both through the air and on the ground. He has completed over 70% of his passes in two career games against the Patriots, and his performance will go a long way in determining the outcome of this Week 3 matchup.

Scenario B: Patriots Kick Start Offense, Beat Baltimore

The New England Patriots got their first win of the 2022 NFL season when they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers last week. Bill Belichick’s team gave up just 14 points in that contest, holding Mitch Trubisky to 168 passing yards and Najee Harris to 49 rushing yards. Here, the Patriots will need to lean more on their offense as it will be harder to slow down Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore offense.

So far this season, the Patriots have averaged just 12 points per game, which is tied for the third-worst scoring average in the NFL through two weeks. Against a Ravens team averaging 31 points per game so far this year, the Patriots will need more from Mac Jones and the rest of their offense to avoid flailing back under the .500 mark.

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) hands the ball off to Miami Dolphins running back Raheem Mostert (31) in the first half during the game between the New England Patriots and host Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL, on Sunday, September 11, 2022.
Photo Credit: Andres Leiva/The Palm Beach Post /USA TODAY Network

Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins

Scenario A: Bills Keep Rolling Offensively To Go To 3-0

The Buffalo Bills took center stage on Monday Night Football in Week 2 and looked incredible in doing so. They blew the Tennessee Titans out by a score of 41-7, scoring 24 points in the third quarter to put the game out of reach. Buffalo leads the NFL in scoring at 36 points per game, and will look to continue playing at a high level offensively to pick up a road win against a division rival.

Division games have been a source of success for the Bills since the start of the 2020 NFL season. Buffalo has gone 11-1 in division games over that span, going 7-4-1 against the spread in those games. The Bills have outscored opponents 45-0 in second halves this season, and another big second half could help them continue to dominate their AFC East competition.

Scenario B: Dolphins Sustain Momentum From Huge Comeback

The Miami Dolphins trailed the Baltimore Ravens by 21 points in the fourth quarter of their game last week. Miami then proceeded to enjoy a massive comeback, with Tua Tagovailoa leading his team to 28 fourth quarter points and a 42-38 win. Tagovailoa had his best game as a pro, throwing six touchdown passes, including two to Tyreek Hill. This week, the Dolphins may need to again score in the 40s to keep up with the offense of the Bills.

Dating back to last season, the Dolphins have won 10 of their last 11 games. If the Dolphins win on Sunday, it would be their third win in as many contests under head coach Mike McDaniel. That would make him the first Dolphins coach since Jimmy Johnson to win his first three games as the head man in Miami.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (right) greets Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (left) after a NFL game at Raymond James Stadium.
Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Green Bay Packers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Scenario A: Green Bay Beats Bucs For 2-1 Start

The Green Bay Packers got their first win of the 2022 season on Sunday Night Football last week. They beat the Chicago Bears 27-10, outscoring the Bears 20-3 after the teams traded touchdowns in their opening drives. After being held to just seven points in Week 1, the Packers gained 414 yards of offense compared to 228 yards for Chicago, as Green Bay built some much-needed momentum ahead of their matchup against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers.

For the Packers to improve to 2-1, they will need to buck a disturbing trend during Aaron Rodgers’ career in Green Bay. With Rodgers at quarterback, the Packers are 18-32 straight up as an underdog on the road. Against a Buccaneers team that is extremely capable of moving the ball through the air, the Packers will need to clamp down defensively to avoid falling as a road underdog again.

Scenario B: Brady, Bucs Get Right Offensively Against Packers

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have started this season with a 2-0 record, but have not looked like the same team they were last season. Tampa Bay’s offense has struggled through two games, averaging 19.5 points per game against the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints. This weekend the Buccaneers play in their home opener, where they hope that offense comes easier than it has over the last two weeks.

To win this game against Green Bay, the Buccaneers will need to overcome several potential absences at the wide receiver position. Mike Evans is serving a one-game suspension for his role in the altercation against the Saints last week, while Chris Godwin and Julio Jones are listed as questionable due to injuries. Tampa Bay has signed Cole Beasley for this game, and Tom Brady will need to make the most of his decimated receiving corps in this marquee Week 3 matchup.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Cooper Rush (10) hands off to running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) in the second quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at AT&T Stadium.

Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants

Scenario A: Cooper Rush Leads Cowboys To Second Straight Win

The Dallas Cowboys improved to 1-1 last week when they beat the Cincinnati Bengals at home on a last-second field goal by Brett Maher. That victory was the second in as many seasons where Cooper Rush has stepped in for an injured Dak Prescott and delivered a Dallas win. This week, the Cowboys go on the road for the first time this season, and will look for another win with Rush under center.

Rush connected nicely with CeeDee Lamb last week, as the Cowboys’ top receiver and their backup quarterback linked up for seven completions and 75 yards. But more help from the Cowboys’ running game would be a welcome development. Dallas has averaged 89 rushing yards per game through two weeks, and the ability to mix things up more on offense would be huge with Rush filling in at quarterback.

Scenario B: Giants Slow Down Rush And The Cowboys

One of the biggest surprises through two weeks of the NFL season has been the New York Giants. Under rookie head coach Brian Daboll, the Giants are 2-0 after beating the Tennessee Titans and Carolina Panthers. This week, the Giants are slight favorites at home against Cooper Rush and the Cowboys, and a win would vault them to 3-0 and begin playoff conversations in earnest in East Rutherford.

If the Giants are to prevail on Monday Night Football, they will need quarterback Daniel Jones to reverse an unfortunate trend. Jones is 0-8 straight up in primetime games in his NFL career so far. If he can get into the win column in a night game for the first time as a pro, the Giants would remain at the top of the NFC East standings going into Week 4.

Enjoy as many games as you can this weekend, and make sure to check back here for a preview of Week 4’s action!

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