Week 3 NFC North predictions: Vikings earn first win, Bears’ woes continue


The NFC North went winless in Week 2, but only a few will find a way to bounce back in Week 3. 

Atlanta Falcons (2-0) at Detroit Lions (1-1): The Lions are looking to rebound after a sloppy, frustrating overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks, a week after their exhilarating win over the defending Super Bowl champs. Meanwhile, still undefeated, the Falcons are on the rise after earning wins over the Carolina Panthers and Green Bay Packers. 

Among the keys to victory for the Lions will be slowing down electric running back Bijan Robinson, who enters the week ranked second in the NFL in rushing yards (180) while boasting the most catches (10) and third-most receiving yards (75) among running backs. However, the Lions counter with a potent offense of their own, heading into Week 3 as the only team in the NFC averaging 250-plus yards through the air and more than 100 yards rushing per game.

The Falcons earned back-to-back wins over young quarterbacks Bryce Young and Jordan Love, but their luck will run out against Jared Goff and a motivated Lions team. 

PREDICTION: Lions 31, Falcons 26

New Orleans Saints (2-0) at Green Bay Packers (1-1):  The Packers let their foot off the gas in Week 2, dropping a heartbreaker, 25-24, to the Atlanta Falcons after giving up 13 unanswered points in the fourth quarter. On Sunday, they’ll face an even taller task in the undefeated Saints, who aim to give quarterback Jordan Love his toughest test to date. 

The Packers couldn’t ask for much more from Love. Despite ranking 26th in total offense, behind Love, the Packers are second only to the Dallas Cowboys (35.0) in points-per-game (31.0). Meanwhile, Love has passed for six touchdowns and zero interceptions. However, with the status of tackle David Bakhtiari, running back Aaron Jones and wide receiver Christian Watson up in the air, the Saints will feast on the young quarterback. Through two weeks, the Saints have tallied 48 pressures and seven sacks. 

The Saints will increase their streak of holding opponents under 20 points to 11 games, while QB Derek Carr and company will do enough to leave the Lambeau faithful disappointed. 

PREDICTION: Saints 27, Packers 17

Los Angeles Chargers (0-2) at Minnesota Vikings (0-2): Something will have to give on Sunday when the Vikings host the Chargers in a matchup of winless teams, both of whom lost their first two games by one score or less. However, the Vikings will have a slim advantage against a Chargers defense ripe for the picking. 

The Vikings haven’t exactly stonewalled opponents, tied for the seventh-most points against per game (27.0) in the NFL. Still, the Vikings defense hasn’t played as poorly as the Chargers, who’ve allowed the most yards per game (438.5) and third-most points against (31.5). Furthermore, only the Las Vegas Raiders (8) have tallied fewer quarterback pressures than the Chargers (10), which will open the door for a big day from QB Kirk Cousins, helping the Vikings earn their first win in a shootout. 

PREDICTION: Vikings 42, Chargers 35 

Chicago Bears (0-2) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-1): To say the season has been a disaster for the Bears would be an understatement. Not only are they winless heading into a matchup with the defending Super Bowl champions, but the team is in flux, with DC Alan Williams resigning and QB Justin Fields blaming coaching for his and the team’s struggles. Even though the Chiefs have yet to look like the Chiefs, defeating them on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium will be too tall an order for the Bears.  

Offensively, the Bears rank 25th (18.0) in points per game and are one of only two NFC teams (Packers) to average fewer than 200 yards passing and less than 100 yards rushing a contest entering Week 3. On the other side of the ball, only the New York Giants (34.0) have allowed more points through two weeks than the Bears (32.5). According to OddsChecker, the Chiefs are 12.5-point favorites at home, but it might not be that close in what amounts to a get-right game for the underperforming Chiefs. 

PREDICTION: Chiefs 31, Bears 13

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