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Each Tuesday morning, we will preview every NFL game of the upcoming week. All of our NFL content, including our most recent power rankings and links to the pre-season preview are located here.
The inputs to the 10,001 simulations of each upcoming game are based on a rigorous analysis of each team that considers strength-of-schedule-adjusted team and player ratings and then makes modifications for injuries and depth at each position. To see other picks like our Upset and Locks of the Week, as well as our season-to-date performance, click here.
Game of the Week: #9 49ers 19 @ #6 Vikings 23
Week 3's only game featuring two undefeated teams includes two top ten teams in our latest NFL power rankings. While we still like Arizona as the best team in the NFC West, San Francisco is a serious playoff contender (that has two division wins already) with a strong, tough defense and impressive running game. The 49ers will travel to Minnesota to face another team with those attributes that is just as hungry to go 3-0. The Vikings will be playing in their home opener, so the Minnesota fans are guaranteed to be rowdy for this marquee NFL game.
In the projected boxscore, Frank Gore and Adrian Peterson are both more likely than not to score touchdowns. Shaun Hill completes 16-of-25 passes for 183 yards, 1.2 TDs and 0.8 interceptions. In a similar effort, Brett Favre completes 16-of-26 pass attempts for 193 yards, 1.2 TDs and 0.9 interceptions. The team stats in this game are almost mirror images of each other. The Vikings only discernible advantages, besides homefield, is that they rush for eight more yards on two less caries to out-gain the 49ers by 0.5 yards-per-carry. Otherwise, this is a very even matchup.
Minnesota wins and stays undefeated 59.1% and by an average score of 23-19. The Vikings are full touchdown favorites though, so they only cover the spread 41.1% of the time. The 49ers win against the spread 55.1% (Vikings win by exactly 7 3.8% of the time). The total line is 40.5, making the Over the better option, yet a very weak play as it is just 52.8% likely.
Last week we correctly predicted all of our featured games including the Upset, Lock and Game of the week. We actually hit all three of our projected upsets (ARI over JAX, OAK over KC and NYJ over NE) and went 67% against the spread. To see other picks like our Upset and Locks of the Week, as well as our season-to-date accuracy, click here.
Click on the Boxscores below to see detailed team and player stat projections for every game.
NFL Week 3
|Matchup||Home Win%||Avg Score|
|Cleveland @ Baltimore||88.4||14-30||Boxscore|
|Carolina @ Dallas||76.1||16-27||Boxscore|
|Jacksonville @ Houston||75.7||17-27||Boxscore|
|Tennessee @ New York Jets||74.1||13-23||Boxscore|
|Kansas City @ Philadelphia||73.0||16-26||Boxscore|
|Miami @ San Diego||67.3||21-28||Boxscore|
|San Francisco @ Minnesota||59.1||19-23||Boxscore|
|Indianapolis @ Arizona||56.7||24-27||Boxscore|
|Atlanta @ New England||56.1||20-24||Boxscore|
|Denver @ Oakland||43.3||22-20||Boxscore|
|Chicago @ Seattle||37.9||17-15||Boxscore|
|Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati||37.9||20-18||Boxscore|
|Washington @ Detroit||29.6||21-15||Boxscore|
|Green Bay @ St. Louis||26.8||25-19||Boxscore|
|New Orleans @ Buffalo||16.7||33-22||Boxscore|
|New York Giants @ Tampa Bay||13.2||27-14||Boxscore|
Paul Bessire is the Product Manager of Content and Quantitative Analysis for WhatIfSports.com, a division of FOX Sports Interactive specializing in fantasy football simulation analysis and football sim games. With any comments, questions or topic suggestions, Paul can be reached at BtB@whatifsports.com. Thanks!