By Ken Boehlke

Buccaneers at Falcons

Spread – ATL -6.5
Moneyline –  TB +245 ATL -290
Total – 44.5

Side: The Buccaneers may have a new man in charge, but they keep coming up with the same result. Back-to-back losses at home to open the season have the Buccaneers gasping for air with the understanding that one more loss could completely derail the season. Atlanta on the other hand has played a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde role thus far. Excellent in Week 1 followed by a horrific performance against the Bengals in Week 2. All things point to Atlanta in this Thursday night game. Tampa will face its first starting quarterback of the season, are ravaged by injuries, must travel to a tough place on a short week, and quite frankly just aren’t very good. Falcons in a breeze. Pick: Falcons -6.5

Total: The only chance of this game even staying remotely close is if the Atlanta offensive line plays as miserably on the short week as they did on Sunday in Cincinnati. The Buccaneers will be without at least one of their starting defensive lineman and both Gerald McCoy and Michael Johnson will be severely hobbled if they are indeed able to go. Tampa hasn’t been able to get off the field against either Derek Anderson or Austin Davis, so Matt Ryan should have no problems. Plus, expect the Buccaneer offense to open up and throw a little more, the fan base is all over Lovie Smith about the conservative play calling, so he almost has to let loose and prove they can lose like that too. Pick: Over 44.5

Chargers at Bills

Spread – BUF -2
Moneyline –  SD +115 BUF -135
Total – 44

Side: What a great win that was for the Chargers, and they absolutely deserved it. The Bills should also be commended for their impressive 2-0 start. The fact that the Bills are favored in this game is almost mind-boggling at first glance, but when you remember the nasty trend of west coast teams traveling east to play early games it begins to make more sense. Breaking down the game on it’s own, the Chargers are without question the right side, but the numbers speak for themselves, so we have to go with Buffalo…to be 3-0… unbelievable. Pick: Bills -2

Total: The Chargers have made a habit of attempting to control the ball for the most time as they possibly can. They tend to put together unbelievably long drives and really take a lot of air out of a game. The Bills have scored a lot more points than anyone could have expected, but they haven’t played a defense quite as good as the Chargers. Don’t expect the Chargers to light up the scoreboard early, but if the Bills get going, San Diego does have the firepower to score bunches of points. this is a tough one, but with the prediction of the Bills to win, we’ve got to stick with the under. Pick: Under 44

Cowboys at Rams

Spread – DAL -1.5
Moneyline –  DAL -125 STL +105
Total – 45

Side: Both of these two teams won last week. How? I haven’t the slightest idea. However, it turns into an incredibly difficult matchup to consider heading into Week 3. Austin Davis will likely be back in the starter role for the Rams and should have an even easier time this week than he had against Tampa Bay. The Cowboys offense started to look a little more like themselves in Tennessee, but the Rams pose much more problems than do the Titans. It’s going to come down to Tony Romo’s ability to hang on to the football. If the Rams aren’t given short fields to play with, they can’t score on much of anybody. Pick: Cowboys -1.5

Total: The Dallas defense has been surprisingly not terrible through two weeks of football, and there’s no reason to think that will change when they head to St. Louis. The Rams struggled to put points on the board in both their opening games and can’t be counted on to get even into the high-teens in this game. The Cowboys on the other hand are certainly good enough to put points up on anybody, but they still haven’t shown they are fully in sync yet. Pick: Under 45

Redskins at Eagles

Spread – PHI -7
Moneyline –  WAS +240 PHI -280
Total – 51

Side: Philadelphia seems to start playing better once they get down by 14 or more. In each of their first two games the Eagles were able to climb out of big holes to not only win the games but also to cover. This game screams trap game as many will see the Eagles 2-0 record and the Redskins come into the game with a backup quarterback. In reality, the Eagles have stolen both games, are off a short week, and Kirk Cousins might actually be better than RG3. Pick: Redskins +7

Total: It’s one of the largest totals of the week but anything close to 50 is almost an automatic over in a game with the Eagles. That’s the strategy in this one after the Redskins scored 41 a week ago and are facing an even worse defense in Philadelphia. As mentioned above, Washington’s offense might be better with Cousins, so they can be expected to move the ball. This dual RB lineup the Eagles have been using looks incredibly tough to stop and they gave a good defense in Indianapolis all sorts of issues. Expect more of the same from both offenses. Pick: Over 51

Texans at Giants

Spread – HOU -2.5
Moneyline –  HOU -140 NYG +120
Total – 42

Side: Eli Manning looks even more lost this year than he did a year ago, and that’s really saying something. The Texans are back to 2-0, but, sorry to remind you Houston fans, they were 2-0 last year and wound up losing their next 14. Lucky for the Texans, they get a nice and easy trip to New York this week. The Giants don’t look like they can beat just about anybody, and playing in front of their home fans might not be as welcoming as it should be. Surprisingly, Ryan Fitzpatrick has done a fine job running the show for Houston, and there’s no reason to think that will stop in New York. Pick: Texans -2.5

Total: Expect this one to be rather low scoring based on the fact that the better unit on both sides is on defense. Either team getting to the 20’s would actually be a bit shocking. The only real fear in taking the under in this one is the fact that the number is so low and the Giants have made turning the ball over almost as common as punting. A single turnover in the wrong part of the field could take the game from the 30’s to the 40’s and take the total over. But there’s no way to reasonably predict a high scoring game, so the under is the way to go. Pick: Under 42

Vikings at Saints

Spread – NO -10
Moneyline –  MIN +450 NO -600
Total – 44.5

Side: Once again, Adrian Peterson will be out for the Vikings, and once again they are running into a buzz saw. Last week Minnesota had the unfortunate task of taking on a Patriots team trying to avoid their first 0-2 start in more than a decade. This time they draw a New Orleans team who is already 0-2 and have experienced back-to-back devastating losses. This one looks to be the blowout of the week. Drew Brees should be able to navigate the Vikings defense without any problems while the Minnesota offense will continue to struggle without their superstar. Pick: Saints -10

Total: Usually when breaking down totals the best thing to do is to cut the number in half and consider the likelihood that each team can reach that number. In this case, we have to wonder what the probability is of the Saints getting there by themselves. Amazingly, it’s not as improbable as it should be. New Orleans will be playing their first home game of the year in a place they play far better at than on the road. The Vikings were not able to slow down Tom Brady for a majority of their game with the Patriots, so the same can be expected with the Saints. It’s a risky bet because the Saints have to do almost all of the heavily lifting, but it’s not crazy to think New Orleans will cover this on their own, and just the slightest nudge from Minnesota could make this look like an easy one. Pick: Over 44.5

Titans at Bengals

Spread – CIN -7
Moneyline –  TEN +255 CIN -310
Total – 43

Side: Had this game been on the docket a week ago it would have been slightly difficult to predict a winner, but now that each team has played a second time, it’s clear which is the superior side. The Bengals absolutely took apart the Falcons and made a team full of weapons look helpless on offense. Oh and, they did it all without A.J. Green. Tennessee on the other hand looks so great on the road and then stubbed their toe at home. Cincinnati is not nearly as tough a place to play as K.C., but the Bengals are a much better team than the Chiefs. This is a tough draw for the Titans, but Cincinnati is not a team that blows teams out too often, and they very rarely do it in back-to-back weeks. Pick: Titans +7

Total: A.J. Green’s health will play a key part in the style of play in this game. If he’s ready to go, the Bengals are able to open up their offense and the ground game has a lot easier time as there almost has to be a double on Green at all times. Green has a sprained ligament in his foot so it’s more than likely they hold him out for this one. If this is the case, the Titans will be able to load up a little more on the run than they would normally be able to, and more than the Falcons did as they were unable to adjust on the fly. Tennessee is going to struggle to score no matter what, so the best bet is the under, but might want to hold on to this one until closer to kickoff. Pick: Under 43

Ravens at Browns

Spread – BAL -1.5
Moneyline –  BAL -125 CLE +105
Total – 41.5

Side: Imagine if that comeback in the 2nd half of the Browns opener didn’t fall just short. We could be talking about a 2-0 Cleveland team who are playing their third game at home. The Ravens are coming off a solid Thursday night win and will have a few extra days to prepare for a team they had beaten 11 straight times before the previous meeting. Hoyer has found a way to put points on the board despite a serious lack of offensive weapons, but he’s going to have to do a little more with his arm this week than he’s had to in the previous two. Tough spot for Cleveland, and certainly set up for a let down after the massive win against New Orleans. Pick: Ravens -1.5

Total: Ben Tate, Terrance West, and Isaiah Crowell have done a wonderful job thus far but are running into a Baltimore defense that has allowed just 89 yards per game on the ground. That’s more than 60 yards fewer than the production Cleveland has gotten so far. If they struggle on the ground, it could get ugly quick as Hoyer will have to rely on receivers that will be outmatched on the edges. Flacco has a pretty solid game on Thursday, but the running back situation in Baltimore is still a mess. Both teams will have to pass, which will slow down the game, but neither will be very successful when faced with long third downs. Pick: Under 41.5

Packers at Lions

Spread – DET -2
Moneyline –  GB +115 DET -135
Total – 52.5

Side: The big question in this game is how important will Ford Field be in affecting the Packers offense. When Green Bay went up to Seattle, easily the toughest place to play in the NFL right now, they collapsed. When they came back home, the offense seemed to get stronger and stronger and finally appear to click. The Lions front seven should be able to pressure Aaron Rodgers, but the same was thought about the Jets and it didn’t really cause too many problems for the Packers. The Lions will score, but give me Rodgers over Stafford. Road underdogs are not the safest picks, but this one looks like a good one. Pick: Packers +2

Total: The only way this game doesn’t turn into an absolute shootout is if one team or the other is able to get consistent pressure on the opposing quarterback. And while both have the ability to do so, it’s more likely it turns into a race to 35. The Packers slow starts are a bit concerning for the team, but for a bettor that takes the over (as well as fantasy football players), the more Aaron Rodgers is down, the better. Plus, who in the Green Bay secondary is going to stop Calvin Johnson? Pick: Over 52.5

Colts at Jaguars

Spread – IND -7
Moneyline –  IND -300 JAX +250
Total – 46

Side: There was a moment there early in Week 1 where the Jaguars started to make everyone think they weren’t one of the worst teams in the NFL. Then they allowed 65 points in the next six quarters of football and have taken their almost rightful place back in the league’s cellar. Indianapolis comes into this game viewing it as an absolute must-win after their disappointing 0-2 start. Andrew Luck and the offense has been inconsistent so far, and could possibly struggle with the Jags pass rush, but on the other side of the ball the Colts should feast on the terrible Jacksonville D-line. Pick: Colts -7

Total: Jacksonville was expected to have a much improved defense, but after two weeks they look like the same old bad Jaguars. Giving up 41 to Kirk Cousins is bad, one can only imagine how bad it’s gonna get when they are faced with stopping Andrew Luck. The Colts have not been immune to giving up points in bunches either. Looks like another game where the Colts jump out ahead and then let their opponent start moving the ball down the field. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Colts cover the total on their own, and it would be terribly surprising if Jacksonville gets to 20 either. Pick: Over 46

Raiders at Patriots

Spread – NE -14.5
Moneyline –  OAK +850 NE -1450
Total – 47

Side: Two touchdowns is a massive cover in the NFL. The game comes off as something similar to a poor non-conference college football game. But it actually might be a good situational spot for Oakland. The Patriots looked vulnerable in the opener and then took full advantage of an average team without the only player that keeps them from being brutal. Of course, the Raiders might just fall into that brutal category, but they’ve only allowed 24.5 points per game which means they only need 11 to cover the spread. This isn’t the best version of the Patriots, yet, so it might just be a spot for the Raiders to shock them…into a cover. There’s no chance the Raiders win. Pick: Raiders +14.5

Total: It’s hard to put too much faith into the Raiders defense against a Tom Brady led team, but that might be the only way to play this game. New England’s D was downright suffocating in Minnesota and have to be licking their chops with the Raiders coming to town. The number resembles something closer to a normal scoring game which this one almost certainly won’t be. It absolutely will not be a two-teamed shootout, so the only way this game goes over the total is if the Patriots make up 70% of it. It absolutely could happen, but it’s a better play to hope Oakland can slow them down every once in a while. Pick: Under 47

49ers at Cardinals

Spread – SF -3
Moneyline –  SF -150 ARI +130
Total – 42

Side: The spread almost seems backwards. Arizona has been rather impressive in their first two games despite not having Carson Palmer in the second one. The Cardinals let one slip away in the opener but rebounded nicely by knocking off the Giants. The 49ers on the other hand have been fairly unimpressive despite their 1-1 record. They completely blew the game to Chicago and needed the Cowboys to shoot themselves in the foot multiple times to beat them. If Palmer plays, the spread will probably tighten up a little bit, so take the field goal while it lasts. This game should at least be a pick, maybe even have Arizona favored. Pick: Cardinals +3

Total: The Cardinals have quietly become one of the league’s best defensive units. They will make life very difficult on Kaepernick and the 49ers passing game. San Francisco has developed this nasty habit of turning the ball over after sustained drives that should result in points. That’s a great occurrence for an under. Whether it’s Palmer or Drew Stanton, the Cardinals should not be expected to put too many points on the board. Forty-two is a really low number for a San Fran team that can score quickly, but it’s just too high for a home game in Arizona. Pick: Under 42

Broncos at Seahawks

Spread – SEA -4.5
Moneyline –  DEN +200 SEA -240
Total – 49

Side: I’m not sure if you are going to hear many people talk about this during the lead up up to this game, but this is a Super Bowl rematch from last year. It’s incredibly difficult to handicap the emotions in the game after a Super Bowl that played out the way it did. The best way to look at this game is simply by a matchup with major considerations to location. Seattle simply does not lose inside of CenturyLink Field. The Broncos have added some much needed pieces and look to be an even more complete team, but it almost feels foolish to go against the Seahawks in that building, no matter the circumstances. Pick: Seahawks -4.5

Total: Last year’s Super Bowl proved to us that this game has the ability to get over the total even without Peyton doing a majority of the scoring. However, Denver’s additions in the defensive secondary should make life a little more difficult than it was in February. Seattle has done an excellent job adjusting to the “no touching” rules in the pass game and their ability to get after the quarterback hasn’t changed. Last week the Chargers laid out a blueprint on how to get to the Seattle defense. It was to control the time of possession and keep them on the field. Denver should attempt to try the same, which means a short game in terms of total plays. Pick: Under 49

Chiefs at Dolphins

Spread – MIA -4.5
Moneyline –  KC +190 MIA -220
Total – 41

Side: After such an impressive Week 1 domination of the Patriots, the Dolphins took a major step backward when they put forth a miserable effort in Buffalo. On the other hand, the Chiefs have played terribly each of their first two games and are in grave danger of letting the season slip away from them. Jamaal Charles’ availability will make a major difference in this game. Knile Davis is a solid backup (please don’t believe anyone who says the team might be “better off” without Charles), but they need Charles’ playmaking ability if they want to break down Miami’s good front seven. Pick: Chiefs +4.5

Total: Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins will be able to move the ball against the suddenly porous Kansas City defense. But it’s the other side of the ball that will not only determine the winner of the game but also the total. The Chiefs offense can become pretty tough to stop when the run game gets going. The Dolphins have allowed over 100 yards on the ground to Buffalo and will be faced with a tough task, assuming Charles is a go. If Kansas City falls behind early, which they might, they will be forced to get the ball down the field more than they prefer, as well as get their speedy players into space. Miami’s defense can be opened up, it’s just a matter of if Andy Reid let’s Alex Smith try to do it. Pick: Over 41

Steelers at Panthers

Spread – CAR -3.5
Moneyline –  PIT +155 CAR -175
Total – 41

Side: Carolina was incredibly impressive in their Week 2 win over the Detroit Lions. They were successfully able to slow down Calvin Johnson, and they completely took Reggie Bush, Joique Bell, and the Detroit rushing attack out of the game. The problem is that Carolina still cannot figure out how to get their own run game started up. They’ll need to move the ball on the ground against a Pittsburgh defense that can become devastating if their opponent chooses a one dimensional style of offense. Pick: Steelers +3.5

Total: Pittsburgh’s offense is confusing. They have weapons all over the field, including one of the most underrated players in the entire league in Antonio Brown. But they consistently seem to forget how to get each of them going. Le’Veon Bell was stymied by the Ravens and the same is to be expected in Carolina. Ben Roethlisberger has to be a lot better through the air if the Steelers are in fact going to stay in this game. Expect a lot of punting and both teams to try winning the field position battle. Low scoring game where just a single mistake could change the outcome. Pick: Under 41

Bears at Jets

Spread – NYJ -2.5
Moneyline –  CHI +125 NYG -145
Total – 45.5

Side: The Bears appeared to be headed for their second loss of the season and a miserable start to 2014. Then they magically flipped a switch and their offense and defense both came alive simultaneously. The Jets are a much different task than San Francisco however. New York relies on getting pressure on the quarterback, something Jay Cutler struggles with when he’s consistently under duress. The Jets will attempt to get after Cutler and force him into one of his many ill-advised throws. It’s the Jets offense that’s the concern however. Pick: Bears +2.5

Total: Against Green Bay the Jets didn’t look like the inept offensive football team we have come to expect. However, that one may have been a bit of an anomaly as New York almost certainly knew they would have to put up some points to stay in a game against Aaron Rodgers and the well rested Packers. The Bears defense, while maligned, absolutely saved the day in San Francisco as they took the ball away from Colin Kaepernick and Co. over and over again. Geno Smith hasn’t been great in taking care of the ball in his career, so the turnover train should continue. When in doubt, bet the Bears over, it’s the right side again this week. Pick: Over 45.5

Listen to Over and Under with Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier on CBS Sports Radio 1140 every Sunday morning from 8 to 10. Follow the show on Twitter @OAU1140 and on Facebook.

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