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Week 3 NFL Picks: Can Cowboys get back on track; season over for Giants?

Our writers pick every game in Week 3 of the 2017 NFL schedule.

NFL: New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys
Stop, Eli. Your season ends here.
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Week 3 is an interesting week in the NFL because it is the first week after which the first teams are basically eliminated from playoff contention. Only three times since 1990 ('92 Chargers, '95 Lions, '98 Bills) has a team made the playoffs after starting 0-3. More importantly though, not once has that feat been achieved since realignment in 2002. Since 2002, 73 teams started 0-3 and not a single one of them made the playoffs, which means the 0-2 teams (the Giants, along with eight other teams we don't really care about) face must-win games this weekend.

Week 3 is also interesting for the three other NFC East teams. The Cowboys, Eagles, and Redskins all sit at 1-1, and while advancing to 2-1 will keep them on track for a playoff berth, dropping to 1-2 record decreases those odds significantly, as the table below illustrates.

Playoff odds based on Week 3 W/L records, since 2002
Record after Week 3 3-0 2-1 1-2 0-3
Total Teams
77 161 169 73
Playoff Teams 53 85 42 0
Percentage 69% 53% 25% 0%

All of which shouldn't really be a huge surprise. If you start the season 3-0, odds are you are a good team, and good teams make the playoffs more often than not. If you start 0-3, odds are your team just plain sucks.

All 12 front-pagers are picking the Cowboys to win this weekend, a sentiment they share with most of the experts and algorithms aggregated at NFLPickWatch.com, where 81% of the picks currently favor the Cowboys over the Cardinals.

Have a look at the picks below. Agree, disagree? Let us know in the comments section below.

Game Cole Dave Danny Dawn Joseph Manik Michael OCC RJ Strawn Tom VaFan BTB Consensus
Season Wins 22-10 23-9 20-12 18-14 23-9 21-11 24-8 20-12 20-12 19-13 22-10 19-13 21-11
LAR (-2.5) @ SF LAR LAR LAR LAR LAR LAR LAR LAR LAR LAR LAR LAR LAR
BAL (-3.5) @ JAC BAL BAL BAL BAL JAC BAL BAL JAC BAL BAL BAL BAL BAL
CLE (-1) @ IND CLE IND CLE CLE IND CLE CLE CLE CLE CLE CLE CLE CLE
PIT (-7.5) @ CHI PIT PIT PIT PIT PIT PIT PIT PIT PIT PIT PIT PIT PIT
MIA (-6) @ NYJ MIA MIA MIA MIA MIA MIA MIA MIA MIA MIA MIA MIA MIA
DEN (-3) @ BUF DEN DEN DEN DEN DEN DEN DEN DEN DEN DEN DEN DEN DEN
HOU @ NE (-13.5) NE NE NE NE NE NE NE NE NE NE NE NE NE
NO @ CAR (-6) CAR CAR CAR CAR CAR NO CAR CAR NO CAR CAR CAR CAR
TB @ MIN (-1) TB TB TB MIN MIN TB TB TB TB TB TB TB TB
ATL (-3) @ DET DET ATL ATL DET ATL ATL ATL ATL DET ATL ATL ATL ATL
NYG @ PHI (-6) PHI PHI PHI NYG PHI PHI PHI PHI NYG PHI PHI PHI PHI
SEA @ TEN (-2.5) TEN TEN SEA TEN TEN SEA SEA TEN TEN TEN TEN TEN TEN
KC (-3) @ LAC KC KC KC KC KC KC KC KC KC KC KC KC KC
CIN @ GB (-9) GB GB GB GB GB GB GB GB GB GB GB GB GB
OAK (-3) @ WAS OAK OAK OAK OAK OAK OAK OAK OAK OAK OAK OAK OAK OAK
DAL (-3) @ ARI DAL DAL DAL DAL DAL DAL DAL DAL DAL DAL DAL DAL DAL