Some times, you need to look at the history between teams when looking at totals. The tempo and familiarity between teams can play a factor in the scoring. A prime example of this is the Baltimore-Pittsburgh matchup. The knee-jerk reaction is that this is an automatic under at 34 ½. But over the past two years, the over is 3-1-1 in head-to-head meetings. You wouldn’t think that. This season, the Ravens average 14.7 points, while giving up 13.7. The Ravens average 302 yards total offense, while giving up 244 yards on defense. The Steelers average 24 points and 289 yards total offense, while their defense has given up an average of 11 points a game and 279 total yards. Both teams have gone over only once in three games. With a number so low, just one or two turnovers or a special teams play and it is suddenly an over.
Here is a breakdown at the rest of the NFL slate this week:
Denver at Tennessee (41 ½): The Broncos have gone under the total two of their first three games and the reason primarily is because the offense failed to produce. They average 20.3 points, but their rushing game averages only 69 yards. Their passing game is a healthy 350 yards per game. Defensively, they give up 21.7 points and 334 total yards. The Titans average 26 points and give up 14. They do well rushing the ball at 137 yards per game, but only muster 147 yards passing. They average only 57 plays a game, while the defense averages 60. Those numbers tend to help the under.
Cincinnati at Cleveland (37 ½): The statistics for the Bengals may be skewed a bit. They were torched by the New England Patriots for 38 points. But have rebounded by giving up only a total of 17 points against the Ravens and the Panthers. In the last two games on defense, they have averaged less than 100 yards rushing and 165 yards passing. Against a lowly Browns squad, you can expect the same kind of performance. The Browns are much more consistent, averaging 15 points a game, and giving up 19 points. Offensively, they average 314 yards on 57 plays, while on defense, they give up 322 yards on 61 plays. All numbers are pointing for less scoring.
Detroit at Green Bay (45 ½): For the Lions, you will need to monitor the injury status of running back Jahvid Best. The rookie has a toe injury and without him, the Lions will be more limited. The last two meetings have gone under the total. The Packers, with all of their offensive firepower, have gone under all three of their games. Two of the Lions’ three games have gone under. It may be the underrated Packer defense. Green Bay averages 26 points, while giving up only 15.7 and 261 yards on 50 plays a game. The Lions average 18.7 points and give up 26. Those numbers are skewed because of a 35-32 loss to the Eagles. Without that game, their average score would be 12 points and giving up 21.
Carolina at New Orleans (44 ½): In the previous two seasons, the under is 3-1, and with the struggling Panthers offense, that trend may continue. Carolina, which has quarterback problems, is averaging 10.7 points a game, while giving up 23.7. They average 261 yards on offense. They have averaged 21 points a game, and given up 19.3. But their defense has given up 145 yards rushing a game. That may fall into the strength of the Panthers offense. They may try to shorten the game with their running attack, which tends to limit scoring.
San Francisco at Atlanta (42): The San Francisco defense has done its part to make sure the 49ers get to the overs. The over for the Niners is 2-0-1. San Francisco gives up 29 points a game, while averaging 12.7 points on offense. Get the Falcons away from the Steelers’ defense and they do all right scoring. They scored only nine points against Pittsburgh in the opener. But have rebounded to score 41 and 27 the past two weeks. In those two games, they have had more than 400 yards offense in each game.
Seattle at St. Louis (38): Seattle averages 24 points a game, while giving up 19. The Seahawks defense gives up an average of 383 yards and 70 plays a game. Those are high numbers. St. Louis may be hard pressed to take advantage of those numbers, averaging only 19 points and giving up 16.3 points a game. And running back Steven Jackson is listed as doubtful with a groin injury. If he can’t go, it may limit the Rams offense.
New York Jets at Buffalo (37): The Jets have found their offense the past two games, scoring 29.5 points a game, while giving up 18.5 points in those two games. When looking at the Bills, the question is: are they the team that scored 17 points in their first two games. Or are they the team that scored 30 against the Patriots. I think the poor Patriots defense has something to do with that. The Bills are limited offensively. They are averaging 51 plays a game and 242 yards on offense. In their last four meetings, the under is 3-1.
Indianapolis at Jacksonville (46 ½): In their previous four meetings, the over is 3-1. The Colts have impressive numbers, gaining an average of 413 yards a game and scoring 29.7 points. They are giving up 20.3 points and 377 yards on defense. All numbers point for more scoring. The Jaguars cannot boast such numbers. They average 13.3 points and 278 yards. On defense, they should give up some points as they average giving up 27.7 points and 404 yards.
Houston at Oakland (43 ½): After scoring an average of 32 points in its first two games, Houston is limited to 13 against the Cowboys. Receiver Andre Johnson’s ankle injury needs to be monitored. If he can’t play, that limits the Texans’ ability to stretch a defense. Statistically, the numbers are off the charts for the Texans. They average 407 yards on offense, while their defense gives up 423 yards and 26 points a game. Will the Raiders, who average 17 points a game, be able to cash in on the weak Texans defense? The Raiders’ defense gives up 25.3 points a game, but only 261 yards.
Arizona at San Diego (45 ½): Both teams have gone over the total the past two weeks. And, both squads have questionable defenses. The Cardinals are giving up 25.7 points and 378 yards a game on 74 plays. On offense, they are only scoring 16 points a game and 291 yards on 53 plays. The Chargers are piling up the yardage, averaging 461 yards a game, but scoring 24 points a game. They are giving up 20.3 points and 273 yards a game.
Washington at Philadelphia (43): The last two meetings have gone over the total. The Redskins have one over the past two seeks, both loses. While the over for the Eagles is 1-2. The Redskins are averaging 18.7 points a game, and 340 yards on 53 plays. They are giving up 424 yards on 73 plays and 22.3 points a game. The Eagles are averaging 27.7 points and 368 yards a game and they are giving up 20.7 points and 309 total yards
Chicago at New York Giants (44): The Bears, statistically, do not point to an over. They average 22 points, but only 72 yards rushing and a total of 349 yards offense on 53 plays. They give up 17 points a game and 319 total yards on 62 plays. They Giants have not scored a lot of points, 18.3 a game. But have gained some yardage, 368 per game. But their defense has been ravaged for 28.3 points a game.
New England at Miami (46 ½): Both games last year went under the total. This season, all of the Patriots’ games have gone over, while the Dolphins are 1-2 for the over. The story here is the Patriots defense. They are giving up 27.3 points a game and 379 yards. New England is scoring 30 points a game and gaining 371 yards. Will the Dolphins offense, which averages 17.3 points a game, be able to exploit the Patriots’ defense? The Bills’ anemic offense got healthy against the Patriots, look for the Dolphins to find some same success.
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