Around the NFL: Week 3 Preview

Sep 17, 2023; Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

We are here on a weekly basis to provide you with impartial matchup analysis to navigate each week and make informed, data-driven decisions with the latest information at hand. We rely on our game and player matchup analysis dashboards that provide a concise overview of a team’s strengths and weaknesses at every level of the game and produce advantage insights by identifying key mismatches in the trenches, at the skill positions and in the secondary that will have a significant impact on game results across the league each week.

Mismatches that will Impact Game Results in Week 3:

  • In 4 games against Bill Belichick, Zach Wilson has averaged a 51% completion rate, 173 yards per game. He has thrown for 2 TD’s and 7 INT’s and been sacked 11 times. Rain and 15+ mph winds are in the forecast on Sunday at MetLife with CB Jonathan Jones looking to return to the lineup. Belichick likes to make his opponents play left-handed, which likely means NE will take away Breece Hall and Dalvin Cook and force Zach Wilson to beat them off a week where Zach Wilson finished 11-26 for 103 yards and 3 INT’s when you exclude Garrett Wilson’s catch and run for a TD – Wilson was sacked three times and led the Jets to just 215 yards of total offense, finishing 1-10 on 3rd down and engineering just 1 trip to the RZ.
  • After facing Cincy and Pittsburgh to start the season, Deshaun Watson will have a chance to open things up in the passing game on Sunday against a Titans’ pass defense that ranks 28th in the league, 29th in YPA and 26th in passes of 10+ yards. Tennessee’s secondary is extremely suspect, but their run defense is strong – 4th in rush YPG allowed, 2nd in YPC and 5th in explosive run plays. Without Chubb, Cleveland will likely rely on Watson to open things up through the air against a defense that allowed Derek Carr and Justin Herbert to both throw for 305 yards in Weeks 1 and 2.
  • Dallas ranks 5th in the league in offensive efficiency, 8th in EPA/play on offense, 3rd in 3rd down conversion and 1st in RZ trips. They’ve rank just 21st in RZ TD %, but Dallas playmakers should have plenty of opportunities to score points in the RZ against an Arizona defense that ranks 23rd in defensive efficiency and 31st in RZ trips allowed per game.
  • The Vikings’ passing attack will look to continue its success through the air on Sunday against a Chargers’ secondary that ranks 32nd in passing YPG allowed and YPA and 29th in passes of 10+ yards. Justin Jefferson trails only Puka Nacua in receptions of 10+ yards with 12 through 2 weeks and leads the league in receptions of 20+ yards with 8.
  • KC’s passing attack should finally open things up through the air against a Bears’ defense that ranks 27th in pass YPG allowed, 31st in YPA and lost their defensive coordinator this week. Chicago has generated little to no pass rush with just 2 sacks in 2 weeks and 4 total QB hits. Jordan Love threw for 245 yards and 3 TD’s in Week 1, while Baker Mayfield threw for 317 yards and 1 TD in Week 2. The Chiefs should carve this defense up early and often.
  • Green Bay has allowed 167 rushing YPG through 2 weeks after finishing 2022 ranked 26th in run defense and 27th in YPC allowed. Jamaal Williams looks like he’s going to be out for a few weeks, which means Taysom Hill will shoulder some of the load in the run game. Carr was suspect in Week 2 against Carolina – New Orleans ran the ball 30 times for 138 yards, including 9 rushes for 75 yards from Hill.
  • Jordan Love is going to face a real test against a New Orleans defense that ranks 9th in EPA/play, 3rd in YPP, 1st in passing YPG allowed, 2nd in YPA and 3rd in explosive passing plays allowed. Love finished 0-6 passing and led GB to 11 yards and 0 first downs on his final 3 possessions against Atlanta in Week 2.

Matchups in the Trenches

  • Pat Mahomes will take the Chiefs out to an early lead at half if the Bears cannot apply any pressure to him in the pocket – so far this season, KC ranks 4th in pass protection, while CHI ranks 30th with just 2 sacks.
  • Neither Cincy nor LA have flashed particularly strong pass rushes and have done relatively well protecting their QB’s. If this holds true, Stafford and Burrow (if he plays) will have time to sit in the pocket and push the ball down the field to Chase, Higgins, Atwell and Nacua.
  • The Commanders’ front 7 sacked Josh Dobbs three times in Week 1 and Russell Wilson 7 times in Week 2 – they lead the league in sacks in 2023 and should have an opportunity to apply some pressure to Josh Allen in the pocket against a suspect Bills’ OL that ranks 23rd in sacks allowed in potentially rainy and windy conditions in Washington on Sunday.
  • Miami’s front 7 applied pressure on Mac Jones in Week 2, sacking him 4 times and holding Jones to just 4.3 YPA. Denver’s OL was a question mark going into the season and allowed 7 sacks against Washington in Week 2. Wilson throws for an average of 235 YPG and a 65% completion rate in his career; those numbers have slumped to 58% completion and 187 passing YPG against Vic Fangio coached defenses, per @JamesPalmerTV.

Teaser of the Week

Two-team, 6-point teaser:

BAL -8 to -2 vs. IND

MIA -6.5 to -0.5 vs. DEN

Matchup Analysis Dashboard: BAL vs IND
  • Baltimore ranks 7th in the league in YPP differential through two weeks and looks balanced on both sides of the ball, ranking 9th in offensive efficiency, 4th in EPA/play, 5th in series conversion rate, 1st in 3rd down conversion rate, 6th in rushing YPG, 3rd in RZ trips per game and 7th in RZ TD conversion.
  • On the defensive side, Baltimore ranks 9th in EPA/play, 4th in YPP allowed, 2nd in early down success rate, 6th in YPA and rushing YPG, 3rd in explosive runs allowed, 9th in RZ trips per game and 4th in RZ TD %. Baltimore will have an opportunity to make life difficult for Gardner Minshew, who will be starting in place of Anthony Richardson.
  • Indy has a young secondary that can be exploited by a Ravens offense that’s looking to pass the ball more in 2023 – CJ Stroud threw for 384 yards and 2 TD’s on 30-47 passing , while Nico Collins caught 7 balls for 146 yards and 1 TD.
  • Baltimore outgained Cincy by a margin of 415-282 and held Cincy without a first down until the 10-minute mark of the 2nd quarter in Week 2. Burrow struggled early but was able to start moving the ball in the 2nd half, but that’s going to be a much more difficult task for Gardner Minshew against a defense that’s capable of taking away the run and putting pressure on the QB.
  • Ravens are simply the better roster all around in this matchup and should be able to dominate this game physically to win by a field goal or more at home.
Matchup Analysis Dashboard: MIA vs DEN
  • Miami’s high-powered offense that ranks 1st in offensive efficiency, YPP and passing YPG, 2nd in EPA/play, series conversion rate and passes of 10+ yards and 8th in runs of 10+ yards should be able to move the ball against a Denver defense that ranks 30th in EPA/play, 26th in YPP, 27th in YPA and 24th in RZ TD %.
  • Denver’s issues in pass protection continue to rear their head in 2023, and Miami’s 8th ranked pass rush in sacks that got to Mac Jones 4 times in Week 2 will have an opportunity to put pressure on Russ, who was sacked 7 times in Week 2 against the Commanders behind an OL that ranks 27th in sacks allowed and 29th in QB hits per game off a 2022 season where they allowed the most sacks and QB hits in the league.
  • If Denver can’t protect Russ in the pocket, and they’ve shown time and again that they have trouble doing that, the Broncos are going to have a difficult time keeping pace with this Miami offense that has demonstrated its ability to exploit any defense it faces. Fangio has demonstrated an ability to stifle Russ in 8 games where he’s coached against him.
  • While Tua threw for 466 yards through the air in Week 1, McDaniels and the Dolphins demonstrated an ability to play smart, balanced ball against a good NE defense last week, racking up 389 yards of total offense, including 145 yards on the ground. Miami has the juice and scheme to roll on offense and Fangio on defense to slow down Denver’s inconsistent offense.

Additional Teaser Candidates:

  • Saints +1.5 to +7.5: New Orleans has an excellent defense that held Carolina to just 164 yards of offense on 45 snaps (3.64 YPP) excluding the garbage time 75-yard TD drive that Carolina put together to end the game. Carr has been a little suspect in his short tenure with the Saints, particularly on Thursday night, but the Saints should look to exploit a Green Bay defense that ranks 29th in rushing YPG allowed and 31st in runs of 10+ yards through 2 weeks. Green Bay is dealing with injuries to both Aaron Jones (LP on Thursday) and Christian Watson (DNP on Thursday) – this looks like it’ll be a tightly contested game settled by a touchdown or less at Lambeau.
  • Falcons +3 to +9: Atlanta knows exactly who they are, which is an offense that loves to run the football and impose their will on opposing defenses. Detroit’s run defense looks good on paper through 2 weeks, ranking 9th in rushing YPG and 7th in YPC allowed, but if you consider they played a pass-heavy Chiefs offense in Week 1 and a high-scoring shootout against the Seahawks in Week 2, the jury is still out on a defense that ranked 29th in rushing yards allowed in 2022 and 31st in YPC. The Lions are not a team that wins by double digits when they do, and the Falcons are a surging contender with young, talented playmakers on offense with a coach who plays to the strengths of his personnel.

Head over to our Dashboard section of the site to comb through game matchup dashboards for every game on the board in Week 3, and browse our Player Matchup Analysis dashboards to optimize your DFS / FF lineups and target the player prop markets.

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