NFL Predictions Week 3: Five Underdogs with Upset Potential
Week 3’s odds are out and there are several potential upsets on this week’s slate. NFL teams have two games under their belt and the Vegas bookmakers are confidently placing their odds on favorites and underdogs.
Lofty schedules and disastrous injuries have greatly altered the outcome of many games during the first two weeks of the season. The bookmakers typically have the most trouble early in the season as teams have yet to reveal their true identity. After carefully reviewing this week’s point spreads, I fully expect these five underdogs to win outright in Week 3.
5. 49ers +1.5 @ Bengals
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The Bengals will be slight favorites at home following a tight road loss to the Denver Broncos. The 49ers hung with an improving Dallas Cowboys team and showed signs of being a legitimate contender. Cincinnati’s rookie QB, Andy Dalton, has looked decent. However, the 49ers experienced defense will provide their toughest test of the season.
San Francisco lost in overtime in Week 2. I fully expect Jim Harbaugh to get his team motivated for the lowly Bengals this Sunday. It will most likely be an ugly game, but San Francisco will come out on top.
Week 3 Predictions: 49ers 30, Bengals 23
4. Broncos +7 @ Titans
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The Broncos looked terrible against Cincinnati in Week 2, but they were without some key contributors on offense. Wide receiver Brandon Lloyd and Running back Knowshon Moreno each missed the game due to injury, but both could return in Week 3.
The Titans are seven-point favorites as they handled the Baltimore Ravens in Week 2. The reality is, the Titans will remain an inconsistent team all season and will play down to the level of their opponent. The Broncos are coming off an unimpressive victory and will be highly motivated for a better showing in Week 3.
I expect Kyle Orton to lead Denver to victory as his favorite target, Brandon Lloyd, returns to the lineup.
Week 3 Prediction: Broncos 20, Titans 13
3. Dolpins +3 @ Cleveland
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The Cleveland Browns are coming off a win against the lowly Indianapolis Colts and will be favored against the 0-2 Dolphins in week three. Miami has been on the short end of a difficult schedule as they fell to the Patriots and Texans in back to back weeks. Cleveland has some talented weapons in Peyton Hillis and Colt McCoy, but their roster is full of question marks.
The emergence of running back Daniel Thomas gives the Dolphins the balanced offensive attack that they’ll desperately need moving forward. The Dolphins will score their first win.
Week 3 Prediction: Dolphins 24, Browns 20
2. Bears +3.5 vs. Packers
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The Packers are defending Super Bowl champs, so they’ll likely be favored in almost every game this season. However, their secondary has looked shaky at best, and they’ll travel to Chicago to take on their division rivals in week three. The Bears struggled against the Saints in Week 2 on the road.
However, Chicago plays drastically better at home, as they showed in the first contest of 2011. Jay Cutler should have no trouble completing passes into an unstable Green Bay secondary.
If the Bears can keep pressure on Aaron Rogers, they should have no trouble scoring the W at home as underdogs.
Week 3 Prediction: Bears 28, Packers 21
1. Falcons +1.5 @ Tampa Bay
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The Falcons handled the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2 and appear ready to make another playoff run in 2011. The Tampa Bay Bucs are an extremely young team with a lot of upside, and they are coming off a win on the road against the Vikings. The Falcons gained a lot of confidence in Week 2 by defeating the self-proclaimed “Dream Team,” and should take that momentum into Tampa Bay for Week 3.
Matt Ryan and the Falcons’ offense will pick apart an inexperienced Tampa secondary and improve to 2-1.
Week 3 Prediction: Falcons 31, Bucs 21
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