NFL Week 3 Predictions: Atlanta Falcons vs. San Diego Chargers

Atlanta Falcons at San Diego Chargers
Sunday, 9/23/12, 4:05 PM EST, TV:  FOX
Opening Point Spread:  San Diego -3
Current Betting Line:  San Diego -3
Opening Total:  49
Current Total:  47.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Falcons Panthers NFL Game Preview
It’s unclear if Atlanta Falcons RB Michael Turner will see the field in Week 3 due to an arrest for drunk driving

Atlanta is certainly going to be tested in traveling on a short week after coming away with a 27-21 win over the Denver Broncos as three-point home favorites on Monday Night Football, but there’s a big reason to be optimistic.  The Falcons are a perfect 5-0 when traveling West since 2008, outscoring opponents by a 155-72 margin.  When making your Week 4 pro football predictions, I suggest to take into account the franchise’s 7-1 all-time record in this series.

The Falcons are being led by quarterback Matt Ryan offensively, who ranks as the league’s top-rated passer at 117.6, completing 70.1 percent of his passes for 518 yards and five touchdowns.  Atlanta needs to get the running game going, especially with Michael Turner facing his old team this week, but he was arrested earlier this week for drunk driving.  The franchise is focused on trying to start a season 3-0 for the first time since the 2004 campaign.

San Diego moved its record to 2-0 with a resounding 38-10 win over the Tennessee Titans last week, as the team’s running game got going in finishing with 140 yards.  The Chargers are hopeful that Ryan Mathews will make his first appearance of the 2012 NFL regular season, working his way back from a fractured clavicle.  He may find some running room due to the early success of quarterback Philip Rivers, who ranks second in the league with a 73.8 percent completion percentage.  San Diego is 9-6 ATS as a home favorite the last two-plus seasons, which is important to note when looking over the pro football odds page.

The Chargers have done a great job against the run in the early going, allowing just 41.5 yards per game.  San Diego should be able to out-gain its opponent on the ground, considering Atlanta has surrendered 270 rushing yards and four scores in that situation.  The defensive unit bottled up Tennessee’s Chris Johnson in Week 2, limiting him two 17 yards.

Sports bettors will likely back the Falcons due to their 7-3 ATS mark on the road against winning home teams, while the Chargers are 1-5 ATS at home versus winning road teams.

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