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2015 NFL WEEK 3

Steelers (1-1) @ Rams (1-1)— Pitt gets RB Bell back from 2-game suspension just in time to face St Louis defense that allowed 182 rushing yards in terrible loss at Washington last week. Rams are 2-6 last two years in games where spread was 3 or less points- they lost three of last four vs Steelers, with all four games decided by 10+ points. Since ’07, Pitt is 15-24 vs spread in non-divisional road tilts- they’re 13-6 since ’13 in games with spread of 3 or less. Steelers are 13-25 on third down so far, with seven plays of 20+ yards on 3rd down. Under is 10-7 in Steeler road games since ’13. Rams badly need a RB (Mason/Gurley) to become a playmaker.

Chargers (1-1) @ Vikings (1-1)— Minnesota got Peterson untracked (134 rushing yards, 58 receiving) in win last week; Vikings are 12-6 since ’12 in games where spread was 3 or less. San Diego heads east for 2nd week in row; Bolts are 2-4 at Minnesota, with last win in ’93- they are 12-7-1 as road underdogs since ’12, 8-13-1 in games where spread was 3 or less points. Chargers trailed first two games by 11-8 points at half, but won opener after rallying back from 21-3 deficit. Last 4+ years, over is 20-13 in Viking home games. Former Charger coach Turner is now OC in Minnesota. San Diego turned ball over three times in both games thus far.

Buccaneers (1-1) @ Texans (0-2)— In two losses, Houston dropped back to pass 111 times, ran ball only 44, not a good ratio; they’re 8-33 on third down, have been outscored 37-12 in 1st half of games. Mallett was better last week than Hoyer was in opener, but still completed less than half his passes. Texans are 6-4-1 as home faves since 2011. Tampa Bay is 6-3 as road dog under Smith after upset win last week in Superdome; since ’08, Bucs are 16-11-1 as non-divisional road underdogs. Bucs are just 8-28 on 3rd down; they lost TE Seferien-Jenkins, which will hamper passing game. Texans had very high expectations; this is a must win for them.

Eagles (0-2) @ Jets (2-0)— Gang Green is first team since ’92 Steelers to force ten turnovers (+8) in first two games; Philly opened -2.5 but lined moved five points after Monday nite game. Eagles won last nine series games, with six of last eight wins by 7+ points. Jets are 1-6 since ’11 in game following an upset win. Philly is 20-10 as a road dog, since ’07, but Murray has 11 yards on 21 carries so far– Sam Bradford is now 18-32-1 as an NFL QB, Eagles are 5-23 on 3rd down. Eagles have not scored first half TD yet (outscored 26-3 in 1st half); they have five turnovers, only three TDs. AFC East teams are 4-1-1 vs spread outside division, NFC East teams are 1-3.

Saints (0-2) @ Panthers (2-0)— Brees has bruised rotator cuff, McCown will start here; he has 2-7 record in 9+ seasons, with last start in 2011. NO defense allowed 9.6/8.1 ypa in first two games, losing at home to rookie QB last week. Carolina won four of last six series games, winning last three here by 8-4-31 points. Six of last eight series totals were 44+. Divisional home favorites are 1-5 vs spread so far in NFL this season. Since ’09, Saints are 4-10-1 as dogs on road. Carolina is 8-2-2 in last dozen games as home favorite, 9-2 in last 11 division games as HF. Panthers held first two foes to 50% (49-98) passing, 8-31 on third down. Saints lost field position battle in first two games, by 8 yards in each game.

Jaguars (1-1) @ Patriots (2-0)— Since 2012, Pats are 1-8 as double digit fave; they are 26-19 as favorite since ’09, and won six in row vs Jaguars, with last series loss in ’98 playoffs. Jax lost last six visits here, with five losses by 11+ points– they’re 4-7-1 as double digit dogs under Bradley. Patriots scored eight TDs on 21 drives to start season; they’ve also allowed 813 yards, seven TDs in two games- hard to cover huge spread with porous defense. Jags are just 8-26 on 3rd down, scored a lone FG in second half of two games, but they outgained first two opponents, so thats good sign. New England covered four of its last five games before its bye.

Bengals (2-0) @ Ravens (0-2)— Cincy won four of last five series games, but lost four of last five visits here, winning 23-16 in LY’s opener. Bengals gained 7.9/8.0 ypa in two meetings LY; since ’07, they’re 18-4-1 as underdog of 3 or less points. Cincy is +3 in turnovers (5-2), +6 in sacks (6-0), scoring seven TDs in 21 drives to start season. Ravens were 6-24 on third down in opening losses by 6-4 points; they’re 9-1 in last 10 home openers (7-3 vs spread), 8-3 as faves in home openers- they had three TDs, one FG in seven red zone drives vs Cincy LY, getting swept by 7-3 points. Since 2007, Ravens are 7-13-1 as home faves in divisional games.

Raiders (1-1) @ Browns (1-1)— McCown was cleared to practice, will start here for Cleveland; they’ve won six of last eight games vs Oakland, winning last three at home by 6-3-10 points. Raiders lost four of last five road openers, losing last two by total of nine points- they’re 5-2 as underdog in road openers. NFL-wide, non-divisional home favorites are 8-4-1 vs spread so far this season. Oakland defense allowed seven TDs, six FG tries on 22 drives this season; last two years, Oakland is 7-3 as non-divisional road underdog. Since 2008, Browns are 7-15-2 as a home favorite; since ’10, they’re 9-14-2 vs spread as non-divisional home favorites.

Colts (0-2) @ Titans (1-1)— This is home opener for QB Mariota; Titans covered seven of last eight as underdog in home openers, but are just 3-10-1 as home dog overall the last three years. Tennessee has six TDs on its seven red zone drives, a good sign; they faced neophyte QB in each of first two games, step up in class here vs Luck, but Colts turned ball over eight times, have only three TDs in first two games- they’re 0-2 for 3rd time in last five years, but 12-1 in last 13 games vs Titans, winning last seven, four by 8+ points. Indy won last three visits here by 6-3-7 points; since ’08, Colts are 19-9-2 as road favorites. Indy traveling on short week, are -7 in turnovers already.

Falcons (2-0) @ Cowboys (2-0)— New Dallas QB Weeden is 5-16 as NFL starter; 20 of 21 games were with Cleveland. Fully expect Cowboys to run ball, as Bryant, Witten both hurt; since ’10, Pokes are 13-27 vs spread at home, with dogs 30-10. Atlanta trailed in 4th quarter of both but won first two games anyway; Falcons lost four of last five visits to Dallas (won n ’03); their last visit was in ’09. Last 2+ years, Dallas is 10-5 in games with spread of 3 or less points- Atlanta is 5-10 in its games like that. Romo hadn’t been practicing on Wednesdays; Weeden has had more reps with first team offense than most backup QBs would’ve in his situation. Under is 7-2 in last nine Atlanta road games.

49ers (1-1) @ Cardinals (2-0)— Arizona is 14-3 SU at home under Arians, 8-2-1 as a home favorite; they scored 79 points in first two games, with 10 TDs on 19 drives, and thats with an even turnover ratio- they’re 10-19 on third down, outscored foes 37-12 in second half. Cardinals are 2-9 in last 11 games vs 49ers, going 2-4 in last six played here- they had only one TD in five red zone drives vs SF LY. Last week, Redbirds ran opening kick back for TD, later scored defensive TD. Niners are 2-5-1 in last eight games as road underdog; favorites are 12-4-1 vs spread in their last 17 road games. Since ’10, 49ers are 6-9 vs spread in division road games.

Bears (0-2) @ Seahawks (0-2)— Clausen (1-10 as NFL starter) gets start here, just his second start since 2010. Bears allowed 79 points in first two games;foes have 10 TDs on 16 drives- they also allowed defensive TD/KR score. Since ’11, Bears are 8-14-1 as road underdogs, Seattle is 0-3 since last home game; they held lead in 4th quarter in all three games. Chancellor ended holdout, will bolster Seattle’s D that allowed 11 pass plays of 20+ yards in first two games, 2nd-most in NFL. Seahawks won/covered last six home openers; under is 11-2-1 in last 14. Seattle is 6-5 as HF last three seasons. Over is 18-6 in Chicago road games last three years.

Bills (1-1) @ Dolphins (1-1)— Both teams off disappointing losses after promising wins in opener. Home side won six of last eight series games; Bills won three of last four series games, but lost three of last four visits here. Miami is 7-12 in last 19 tries as favorite of 3 or less points; they won last three home openers– since 2007, Miami is 10-24 vs spread as home favorite (5-7 last 12 in division). Bills are 3-8 in last 11 road openers (Ryan lost his last four with Jets); since ’11, Buffalo is 10-17-1 as a road dog, 5-7 in AFC East games. Dolphins trailed both games at the half so far; they’ve run ball only 34 times for 116 yards, while dropping back to pass 83 times, not a good ratio.

Broncos (2-0) @ Lions (0-2)— Detroit is 0-2, Stafford is already banged-up and the Packers are already two games ahead in NFC North. Detroit won 45-10/44-7 in last two games with Denver, after losing six of first nine series games. Broncos are 3-2 in Motor City. Lions scored 36 ppg in winning last four home openers; they are 16-7-1 vs spread in last 24 home openers, 8-1-1 in last ten as favorite- over is 5-0 in their last five home openers. Broncos scored a defensive TD and allowed one in both games so far; they averaged 3.4/5.0 ypa, not good, but seven takeaways (+5) erased all that. Lions ran ball 32 times in first two games, dropped back 85; with a banged-up QB, they need to run ball better.

Monday
Chiefs (1-1) @ Packers (2-0)
— Green Bay scored 29 ppg in winning first two tilts; they’re 10-21 on third down, and scored 10+ points in all four halves. Packers are 7-1-1 vs spread in last nine games as home favorite, 15-8-1 last 23 non-divisional home games. Chiefs had three extra days to prep after giving up two TDs in last 0:45 of bitter home loss to Denver. KC is 7-3 as road dog under Reid, a former Packer assistant; Chiefs won last three visits to Lambeau- they’re 7-3-1 overall in series. Under is 23-16-1 in KC’ last 40 road games. Lacy hurt foot last week; Pack still ran for 127 yards- they won first two games despite trailing both in 2nd half.