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Stampede Blue’s NFL Week 3 staff picks

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Fans are hoping Week 3 is the turning point for this NFL season in two major categories — injuries and penalties.

With holding penalties up over 60 percent from the year before and the loss of quarterbacks Nick Foles, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, Cam Newton and Sam Darnold in a two-week span, this Sunday will go a huge way in forecasting the tone of the 2019 season. Injuries are almost inevitable, but hopefully the league notices fans and teams’ displeasure with the insurmountable penalties and tones it down on the holding calls. Both, however, slow down the game and too much of either make for a lesser product.

The early slate of football has a game we hope both quarterbacks make it out unscathed, as Lamar Jackson and the 2-0 Ravens travel to take on the unbelievable offense of Kansas City and Pat Mahomes. Both offenses are on fire so far this season, holding out a daunting task for either defense.

Other enticing one o’clock games include the Falcons taking on the Colts, the Raiders playing against Minnesota and the injury riddled Eagles hosting a 1-1 Lions franchise.

Things pick up later in the afternoon, with the pro debut of quarterback Daniel Jones as his Giants take on Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As long as Winston can throw to his own team, expect huge days from his receivers against possibly the worst secondary in all of football. In Arizona, Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury hope for their first NFL win against a Newton-less Panthers team that’s also searching for their first victory in 2019.

Two other teams that lost their franchise quarterbacks last week — the Steelers and Saints — travel out west to take on the 49ers and Seahawks, respectively, and the Texans and Chargers will both look to go above .500 as they face off in Los Angeles.

Sunday Night Football gives us two of the more intriguing offenses in football, as the 2-0 Los Angeles Rams travel to Cleveland to take on a Baker Mayfield-led Browns team. Cleveland must hold strong up front in order to come out alive, as Aaron Donald and Donte Fowler Jr. stand out as one of the stronger defensive lines in the league.

While there are a few fun games sprinkled throughout Week 3, Monday Night Football between the Redskins and Bears doesn’t seem to be one. Mitch Trubisky and the Chicago offense is still searching for its rhythm, while the Redskins have opened up their season with two division losses.

Greg Rader: 24-7 / Elliot Denton: 23-8 / Brett Mock: 23-8 / Mateo Caliz: 22-9 / Josh Hudgens: 21-9 / Chris Blystone: 21-10 / Matt Danely: 21-11 / Chris Shepherd: 20-11 / Andrew Aziz: 19-12 / Blake Pace: 19-12 / Zach Hicks: 18-13 / Stephen Reed: 18-13

NOTE: Picks for Thursday Night Football were all submitted prior to kickoff

Thursday 8:20 pm ET

Titans @ Jaguars (6) | Contrarians: Matt Danley, Elliot Denton, Zach Hicks, Josh Hudgens, Brett Mock, Chris Shepherd

Sunday 1:00 pm ET

Dolphins @ Cowboys

Bengals @ Bills (10) | Contrarians: Danley, Mock

Lions @ Eagles (10) | Contrarians: Chris Blystone, Greg Rader

Jets @ Patriots

Falcons @ Colts (9) | Contrarians: Hudgens, Blake Pace, Shepherd

Raiders @ Vikings (10) | Contrarians: Pace, Rader

Ravens @ Chiefs (11) | Contrarians: Denton

Broncos @ Packers

Sunday 4:05 pm ET

Panthers @ Cardinals (9) | Contrarians: Blystone, Mock, Shepherd

Giants @ Buccaneers (10) | Contrarians: Mateo Caliz, Denton

Sunday 4:25 pm ET

Saints @ Seahawks

Texans @ Chargers (10) | Contrarians: Denton, Rader

Sunday 8:20 pm ET

Rams @ Browns

Monday 8:15 pm ET

Bears (10) @ Redskins | Contrarians: Andrew Aziz, Danley

Who do you have coming out on top in Week 3?