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Against the Odds - Week 3

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Vinnie goes 3-for-4 in Week 2 and looks to continue with some winners in Week 3.

This week’s lines are from usatoday.com (as of Thursday night).

San Francisco @ Minnesota (+6.5)

The 49ers started the season with an impressive road win against the Green Bay Packers and then followed it up by beating the Detroit Lions at home.
Their defense looks to be among the best and will be feasting on inexperienced Viking's QB Christian Ponder. The 49ers have one of the best run games and Alex Smith does a good job of managing games and has plenty of options to throw to.

The Vikings are one of the worst teams in the league. They only have two offensive threats in RB Adrian Peterson who's coming off an ACL tear and WR Percy Harvin. Look for the 49ers tough run defense to shutdown Peterson and force Ponder's hand. Last week, the Vikings lost to the Indianapolis Colts, who are also in rebuilding mode. Maybe this is a trap, but I don't see the Vikings staying in this game. This one could be over by halftime.

The 49ers are 2-0 ATS to start the season while the Vikings are 0-2.

Gimme the 49ers minus the points.


 
Detroit Lions @ Tennessee Titans (+4)

Lions QB Matthew Stafford hasn't exactly lit the world on fire like he did last year. He threw three interceptions against the St. Louis Rams in the season opener and another one in their loss to the 49ers last week. The Titans defense is one of the worst in the league and will be the perfect remedy for Stafford to bounceback. In their first two games of the season, the Titans have given up an average of 36 points per game and 403 yards to opposing teams. The Lions should be able to score at will against the Titans. Look for WR Calvin Johnson to have a big day and their running game to get a little boost with RB Mikel Leshoure making his NFL debut after tearing his Achilles tendon in 2011.

The Titans offense has scored a total of 23 points in their first two games.
RB Chris Johnson has looked terrible, averaging 1.1 yards per carry.
Johnson hasn't done anything since getting his big contract from the Titans after holding out to begin the 2011 season. On the bright side, QB Jake Locker has his best wide receiver, Kenny Britt, back from a 2011 season ending ACL tear and one game suspension. Britt played in 19 plays last week as he was on a limited snap count. Look for him to be a bigger part of the offense this week.

However, it won't be enough against the Lions this week. I expect the Lions to shut down the run game and keep pressure on Locker all day.

Gimme the Lions minus the points.



Cincinnati @ Washington (O/U 49)

Both the Bengals and Redskins have given up a ton of points to start the season. The Bengals have given up an average of 35.5 points per game and 434.5 yards per game. On the other side, you have the Redskins giving up 31.5 PPG and 405 YPG. Throwing fuel on the fire, the Redskins lost defensive players Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker for the season.

Now lets take a look at their offenses.

The Bengals are averaging 23.5 PPG. QB Andy Dalton has one of the best young top wide receivers in A.J. Green. RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis has upgraded their running game and has averaged a respectable 4.3 yards per carry. 

The Redskins are averaging 34 PPG, tops in the league. Rookie QB Robert Griffin III looks to be the real deal. He has completed 71% of his passes and thrown for three TDs while rushing for two more. Coach Mike Shanahan looks to have found his new running back in Alfred Morris who's averaging 22 carries per game and 92.5 YPG.

I expect this to be a high scoring game with the Redskins eventually coming out on top.
 
Both teams have gone over the total in both their games this season.

Gimme the over.



Pittsburgh @ Oakland (O/U 45.5)

The Raiders have looked sluggish to begin the season. Their best player, RB Darren McFadden, has had little room to run. He's averaging 2.1 yards per carry and his longest run of the season has been 8 yards. QB Carson Palmer looks to be out of sync with his WRs. In fact, the player he's targeted the most thus far is McFadden with 25. This will have to change if the Raiders plan on winning some games this year.

The Steelers have one of the worst run games in the league, averaging only 70.5 yards per game (30th in the NFL).  RB Rashard Mendenhall is expected back by Week 5 at the earliest, so the Raiders will again have to go with a combination of Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer to run the ball. They may have a little more success in running the ball as the Raiders are giving
up an average of 147 yards per game (29th in the NFL). However, the Raiders do boast a pretty decent passing defense, only giving up 207.5 yards per game, 8th in the NFL.

The Raiders are averaging a paltry 13.5 PPG while the Steelers are averaging 23 PPG. Both teams have issues on offense and I don't see this being a high scoring affair.

Gimme the Under.

SEASON RECAP

4 Stars: 2-0
3 Stars: 2-3
2 Stars: 0-2

Total Record: 4-5