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Ben Axelrod's Week 3 NFL picks: Panthers cover vs. Texans, Rams upset Buccaneers

3News' Ben Axelrod makes his picks against the spread for every game in Week 3 of the 2021 NFL season.

CLEVELAND — I didn't make any progress in my Week 2 picks -- but I didn't lose any progress either -- going 8-8 to bring my season total to 15-16-1. After starting the season with a losing week and an even week, let's get our first winning week with my Week 3 picks.

RELATED: More NFL coverage from WKYC

All lines made available via VegasInsider.com

Houston Texans (+8) vs. Carolina Panthers

Pick: Panthers -8

The Texans have looked better than expected through the first two weeks of the season. Home or not, I have a hard time seeing that holding up, especially against a Panthers team that has been one of the league's most pleasant surprises thus far.

Jacksonville Jaguars (+7) vs. Arizona Cardinals

Pick: Cardinals -7

Urban Meyer reportedly said that every week in the NFL is like facing Alabama -- and that was before he faced a quarterback as good as Kyler Murray. Fading Meyer has been kind to me thus far. Why stop now?

Tennessee Titans (-5.5) vs. Indianapolis Colts

Pick: Colts +5.5

Regardless of who's playing quarterback for the Colts, I haven't seen enough from this Titans team to make me think it should be favored by more than three points against a fairly comparable opponent.

Detroit Lions (+8) vs. Baltimore Ravens

Pick: Ravens -8

As the Lions showed last week, they're certainly capable of being blown out by more talented teams. I expect that trend to continue against Lamar Jackson and the Ravens.

Buffalo Bills (-7.5) vs. Washington Football Team

Pick: Football Team +7.5

The Bills' pass-happy attack should provide Chase Young with plenty of opportunities to make plays. And while I don't think the Football Team has enough offensive talent to hang with Buffalo, I do think it can keep it close.

New England Patriots (-3) vs. New Orleans Saints

Pick: Patriots -3

A Bill Belichick defense vs. a Jameis Winston offense is too much of a mismatch to ignore.

Kansas City Chiefs (-6.5) vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Pick: Chargers +6.5

I'm not sure Justin Herbert and the Chargers offense should be getting 6.5 points against anyone -- especially a Chiefs defense that's seemed susceptible through the first two weeks.

New York Giants (-3) vs. Atlanta Falcons

Pick: Falcons +3

I'm not sure the Giants should be 3-point favorites against anyone, even at home. Plus, Atlanta has too much offensive talent to continue playing as poorly as it has.

Cleveland Browns (-7) vs. Chicago Bears

Pick: Browns -7

Starting Justin Fields is a step in the right direction, but the Bears' problems go beyond the quarterback position. After an underwhelming win vs. the Texans, I think Cleveland puts together its most complete performance of the season.

Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Pick: Bengals +3

Ben Roethlisberger looks close to finished and the Steelers' run game is struggling behind one of the league's worst offensive lines. Cincinnati has problems of its own, but I don't think you can count on Joe Burrow throwing three interceptions on three straight passes like he did last week.

Las Vegas Raiders (-4) vs. Miami Dolphins

Pick: Dolphins +4

Are the Raiders for real? We may find out this week. But I think there's value in Miami's offense possibly looking more dynamic with Jacoby Brissett at quarterback than it did with Tua Tagovailoa.

Denver Broncos (-10.5) vs. New York Jets

Pick: Jets +10.5

Look, I'm no believer in the Jets and I think Zach Wilson is going to have his work cut out for himself against Denver's defense. But on principle, I don't think I can take a Teddy Bridgewater offense to cover a double-digit spread.

Los Angeles Rams (+1) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Pick: Rams +1

As impressive as the Bucs have been, it's crazy to me the Rams aren't favored in this game at home. I'll take Los Angeles to win outright as Tampa Bay gets caught looking ahead to Tom Brady's New England homecoming.

Minnesota Vikings (+1.5) vs. Seattle Seahawks

Pick: Vikings +1.5

Seattle's defense struggled to contain Derrick Henry and will have its hands full with Dalvin Cook. This seems like a game where the Vikings should be a slight home favorite.

San Francisco 49ers (-3.5) vs. Green Bay Packers

Pick: Packers +3.5

Aaron Rodgers in primetime against a team that opted to draft a quarterback rather than trade for him? Give me the Packers and the points.

Dallas Cowboys (-4) vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Pick: Cowboys -4

Ultimately, this game comes down to whether or not the Eagles can keep pace with the high-powered Cowboys. I don't think they can.

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