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Bettors Guide: Offensive fireworks driving higher over/under totals

If they keep it up, the major passing game records in the National Football League will be rewritten.

Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs will finish with 80 touchdown passes. Ryan Fitzpatrick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will amass 6,500 passing yards and Michael Thomas of the New Orleans Saints will have 224 pass receptions.

The current standards are 55 TD passes, 5,477 yards (both by Peyton Manning with Denver in 2013) and 143 receptions (Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis, 2002).

That probably won't last, of course, but the Week Three NFL schedule should produce more offensive fireworks. Oddsmakers have set the over-and-under line at more than 50 points for the expected offensive duels between the Steelers and Bucs in Tampa, the 49ers and Chiefs in Kansas City, the Saints and Falcons in Atlanta and the Patriots and Lions in Detroit.

As far as I know, the highest over/under line for an NFL game is 59.5, and that was a playoff game.

The running game? The individual rushing leader, with a paltry 184 yards total for two games, is Matt Breida, an undrafted second-year back from Georgia Southern, who is averaging 8.4 per carry for San Francisco.

A capsule look at the Week Three games:

Game of the week

Saints (1-1) at Falcons (1-1)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Falcons -3.

ATS: Saints 0-2, Falcons 1-1.

Over/under: 53.

Times over/under: Saints 0/2, Falcons 1/1.

The scoop: Road win at Carolina after 0-2 start turned around Saints' season last season. ... Over/under was 37 and 36 when these two high-powered teams met last season.

Outlook: Saints lucky to be 1-1 with a loss and squeaker over Browns in two home games so far. Now they get road test against rival Atlanta. Falcons, 30-24.

Top attractions

Chargers (1-1) at Rams (2-0)

Kickoff: 4:05 p.m.

The line: Rams -7.

ATS: Chargers 1-1, Rams 2-0.

Over/under: 48.

Times over/under: Chargers 2/0, Rams 1/1.

The scoop: Rams shut out Cards last week, one reason Arizona, not Buffalo, is last in league in total offense. ... L.A. defense better than last season with addition of Suh, Peters and Talib and limiting opponents to 266 per game. Rams easily 2-0 against spread and have handled Raiders and Cardinals, teams with coaching changes that haven't taken hold yet.

Outlook: Philip Rivers and slick offense looked sharp for a half against Bills and should get inside the number. Rams, 20-17.

•••

49ers (1-1) at Chiefs (2-0)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Chiefs -6.

ATS: 49ers 1-0-1, Chiefs 2-0.

Over/under: 56 1/2.

Times over/under: 49ers 1/1, Chiefs 2/0.

The scoop: Niners held on for three-point home win over Lions last week after rally at Vikings came up short. S.F. can put points on the board with Jimmy Garoppolo. ... Chiefs are last in league in defense with 508 yards per game yield, so Niners should be able to run with them.

Outlook: Chiefs have scored 80 points so far and 49ers have 46, so O/U under looks do-able, though, very high. Chiefs, 38-35.

•••

Steelers (0-1-1) at Buccaneers (2-0).

TV: ESPN, Monday, 8:15 p.m.

The line: Steelers -1.

ATS: Steelers 0-2, Bucs 2-0.

Over/under: 53.

Times over/under: Steelers 1/1, Bucs 2/0.

The scoop: Lots of turmoil in Pittsburgh these days with Le'Veon Bell holdout and Antonio Brown controversy. ... Tampa Bay owns win at Saints and at home against Super Bowl champion Eagles. Can't start much better than that, but can Fitz and Co. keep it going? One stat of note: One more TD reception for 60 yards or more will move DeSean Jackson of the Bucs past Hall of Famer Jerry Rice for most in league history (24).

Outlook: Steelers, who couldn't cover at Browns in opener, were 7-1 on road last season, but five of wins were by five points or less. Hard to keep believing in Bucs and Fitz, but here goes. Buccaneers, 30-27.

Best of the rest

Broncos (2-0) at Ravens (1-1)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Ravens -5.

ATS: Broncos 0-1-1, Ravens 1-1.

Over/under: 43 1/2.

Times over/under: Broncos 1/1, Ravens 2/0.

The scoop: First road game for Broncos, who have won two at home but haven't covered the spread in either game against middling opposition — Seahawks and Raiders. … New Denver QB Case Keenum has three TD passes, four INTs with 73.7 passer rating. Broncos' Von Miller off to fast start with four sacks to lead league. … Ravens handled weak Bills in opener but may have been deceiving. They were handled by Bengals on the road in Week Two.

Outlook: Ravens lead AFC in defense (263 ypg), but one opponent was impotent Bills. So, what's it prove? Broncos won't hit their 427.5 offensive average on road against Baltimore defense. Ravens, 21-16.

•••

Bengals (2-0) at Panthers (1-1)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Panthers -3.

ATS: Bengals 2-0, Panthers 1-1.

Over/under: 43 1/2.

Times over/under: Bengals 2/0, Panthers 1/1.

The scoop: Schedule has Bengals making gradual increase in caliber of opposition each week. First they covered as underdog against Colts, then as favorite at home against Ravens. Now it's Carolina with Cam Newton and a rugged defense. ... Injury to Joe Mixon leaves running chores to Giovani Bernard for Cincy. He ran for career-high 137 yards in tie with Panthers in 2014. … Newton leads Panthers in rushing as well as passing.

Outlook: Carolina has won last six at home. Panthers, 27-19.

•••

Giants (0-2) at Texans (0-2)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Texans -6.

ATS: Giants 0-2, Texans 0-1-1.

Over/under: 41 1/2.

Times over/under: Giants 0/2, Texans 0/1.

The scoop: Giants' offensive line woes getting a lot of attention in NYC and negating talent of Odell Beckham Jr. and Saquon Barkley. … Texans could do no better than a push against backup Blaine Gabbert and Titans on road last week.

Outlook: Two of most sensational WRs (Beckham Jr., and DeAndre Hopkins of Houston) on display in this one, but erratic offenses will have trouble getting to 41 1/2. Texans, 24-13.

•••

Titans (1-1) at Jaguars (2-0)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Jaguars -6 1/2.

ATS: Titans 0-1, Jaguars 2-0.

Over/under: 39 1/2.

Times over/under: Titans 1/0, Jaguars 2/0.

The scoop: Tennessee won both meetings between AFC South rivals last season. … It looks like Gabbert will start again at QB for Titans instead of Marcus Mariota (elbow). … Blake Bortles had four-TD passing game in big win over Patriots last week.

Outlook: Jaguars shut down Rob Gronkowski and held New England WRs to 9.4 yards per reception last week. They can do the same to Tennessee. Jaguars, 28-17.

•••

Raiders (0-2) at Dolphins (2-0)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Dolphins -3.

ATS: Raiders 1-1, Dolphins 2-0.

Over/under: 44.

Times over/under: Raiders 0/2, Dolphins 1/1.

The scoop: Rocky start for Jon Gruden with Raiders. Now they get a hot-weather game against a hot Dolphins team and QB Ryan Tannehill.

Outlook: Miami has covered spread as favorite in two games so far and has played just good enough to win against so-so Titans and Jets. Dolphins, 30-17.

•••

Bills (0-2) at Vikings (1-0-1)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Vikings -17.

ATS: Bills 0-2, Vikings 2-0.

Over/under: 41.

Times over/under: Bills 2/0, Vikings 1/1.

The scoop: Bills were once an 18-point underdog (Dec. 22, 1985, at Miami with Bruce Mathison starting at QB). Next day Bill Polian took over as Bills GM. ... After what the Chargers did to the Bills' secondary last week, it's scary to think of what Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen and Kyle Rudolph will do. … Vikings defense not up to last year's numbers, but opposition has been Niners and Aaron Rodgers' Packers so far. … Minnesota signed veteran kicker Dan Bailey, the ex-Cowboy, after rookie kicker Daniel Carlson missed three FGs in tie at Green Bay.

Outlook: Vikings have covered as favorite against Niners and dogs in last week's tie with Packers, but 17 is a big number, even against the Bills. Vikings, 31-17.

•••

Colts (1-1) at Eagles (1-1)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Eagles -5.

ATS: Colts 1-1, Eagles 1-1.

Over/under: 47 1/2.

Times over/under: Colts 0/2, Eagles 1/1.

The scoop: Carson Wentz returns from knee surgery to start for Philadelphia after last week's loss at Tampa. Super Bowl hero Nick Foles has taken Eagles as far as he can. Colts could easily be 2-0 except for late turnovers and collapse in home opener against Bengals.

Outlook: Eagles are 1-1 as favorite so far. Time for defense to get into gear against Andrew Luck and Co. Eagles, 24-14.

•••

Packers (1-0-1) at Redskins (1-1)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Packers -2 1/2.

ATS: Packers 0-2, Redskins 1-1.

Over/under: 45 1/2.

Times over/under: Packers 2/0, Redskins 1/1.

The scoop: This old rivalry that goes back to leather helmet era when Redskins were located in Boston. Washington won last meeting two years ago, 42-24, ending a string of seven straight wins by the Pack. … Redskins are leading the league in defense (247.0) after two weeks thanks to inept Arizona performance against them in Week One. QB Alex Smith had decent stats in loss to Colts last week, but couldn't get Redskins to end zone.

Outlook: Packers have not covered as favorite in two games. Assuming Aaron Rodgers plays and can stay upright: Packers, 23-17.

•••

Cowboys (1-1) at Seahawks (0-2)

Kickoff: 4:25 p.m.

The line: Seahawks -1.

ATS: Cowboys 1-1, Seahawks 0-1-1.

Over/under: 41 1/2.

Times over/under: Cowboys 0/2, Seahawks 1/1.

The scoop: Dallas had no trouble covering three-point spread at home against woeful Giants, but offense is averaging only 265 ypg. … Playing home opener, Seattle is a slight favorite after a push at Broncos and a loss at Bears against spread.

Outlook: Seahawks were only 4-4 at home last season, second worst season since CenturyLink opened in 2002. Dallas lost opener at Carolina but was a strong road team last season. Dak Prescott didn't have to deal with noise Seattle crowds create. Seahawks, 17-14.

•••

Patriots (1-1) at Lions (0-2)

TV: NBC, 8:20 p.m.

The line: Patriots -6 1/2.

ATS: Patriots 1-1, Lions 0-1-1.

Over/under: 51 1/2.

Times over/under: Patriots 2/0, Lions 1-1.

The scoop: Patriots go against their former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia. Think familiarity with Patricia's schemes won't help Tom Brady? ... Watch for Brady to work new WR Josh Gordon into the offense early.

Outlook: Road doesn't intimidate Patriots, who were 7-1 away from Foxboro last season. Brady finds holes. Patriots, 35-27.

Dog of the day

Bears (1-1) at Cardinals (0-2)

Kickoff: 4:25 p.m.

The line: Bears -6.

ATS: Bears 2-0, Cardinals 0-2.

Over/under: 37 1/2.

Times over/under: Bears 0/1/1, Cardinals 0/2.

The scoop: There was a time when this was a one-sided Windy City, North Side vs. South Side rivalry when both were in Chicago. … Cards have scored just one touchdown and that was during garbage time late in opener versus Redskins. QB Sam Bradford has no TD passes yet so it's getting closer to Josh Rosen time in Arizona.

Outlook: After Rams last week, last thing Cards need to see is Khalil Mack and tough Bears. Still … a 6-point underdog at home? Bears, 17-14.

Last week: Six favorites won, eight lost and there was one tie in weekend games. The two-team point total was over seven times, under seven times. There was no O/A line before Friday on the Texans vs. Titans.

Last week's won-lost record: 9-5-1 outright, 9-5-1 versus spread. There was no line before Friday on Texans vs. Titans but we counted our outright call as a loss.

Season's won-lost record: 17-11-2 outright, 18-10-2 against the spread.#

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