While there have some unexpected teams starting 2-0 in the NFL (Chiefs, Bucs), last year’s last two undefeated teams (Colts, Saints) look like they might be just as good this season. AccuScore’s Zach Rosenfield and Jonathan Lee make their Week 3 picks including games involving both of last year’s Super Bowl participants.
Cincinnati Bengals –3 at Carolina Panthers
AccuScore simulates this game to be the same 3-point spread that Vegas has. Looking back at last week, the Bengals did win a close game but I focus on the fact they had five scoring opportunities. That volume is much better than average against the stout defense that Ravens employ. Forecasting the Bengals is tough because they are made up of castaways who under performed with their previous teams and it takes awhile to digest that Bengals might actually be a good football team. The Panthers move to Jimmy Clausen should not make anyone nervous and is the key ingredient to me laying these points on the road.
Indianapolis Colts –5.5 at Denver Broncos
AccuScore is 20-13 against the spread in games involving the Colts and Broncos dating back to last season. The computer favors the Colts here which supports my feeling that the Colts handle the Broncos on the road. While the Texans were able to handle the Colts in week one with a strong running game, Denver does not have those needed ingredients to beat the Colts. The Colts has a 56 percent chance of forcing more turnovers than they commit with a positive turnover margin helping them win 84 percent of the time. Extra possessions for Manning translate to points, and catalyst of laying points on the road.
Titans vs. Giants OVER 42.5 Points
AccuScore simulations peg this game to go over in nearly 60 percent of simulations. So far they have gone 3-1 picking totals involving these two teams, and were 20-11-1 combined in 2009. Average simulations call for 46 total points in this game. Neither team is ranked in the top 20 in the NFL in rushing defense thus far, so expect plenty of running room for Chris Johnson and Ahmad Bradshaw. This over pick is also one of AccuScore Advisor’s 4-star plays this week.
New Orleans Saints -4 vs. Atlanta Falcons
The defending Super Bowl champs are coming off a short week, but are winning average simulations by 6.5 points. Being at home helps mitigate the shortened practice time, and playing in the Superdome is a big advantage. The Saints won their first six home games last year by an average of 15.3 points (including against the Falcons by 8 before losing twice late in the year after everything of importance had already been clinched. Simulations have also shown that losing Reggie Bush to injury shouldn’t be much of a negative factor either. AccuScore is thus far 2-2 in games involving these two teams, but was 11-5 with Atlanta last year, and was a positive 10-9 with New Orleans as well. With the opportunistic way the Saints play on defense, any mistake the Falcons make could cost them dearly. A nicked up Michael Turner doesn’t help matters either. New Orleans wins almost 90% of simulations with the turnover advantage. I like those odds.
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