NFL Picks Week 1: Underdogs That Will Start Season with Wins
Upsets occur every week in the NFL. Figuring out which games will produce them is the tough part. The high level of parity throughout the league means the margin of error, even for the top teams, is small from week to week.
With that in mind, let's take a look at a trio of teams the oddsmakers have decided to label as underdogs in Week 1 that will end up starting the new season with a victory. Getting off to a quick start will raise the level of optimism in all three fanbases.
It's no secret the Bills currently sport the longest playoff drought in the league. Buffalo hasn't tasted postseason football since 1999 and have only had one winning record during that time period. However, it appears things are finally changing.
The team went out and spent a lot of money to sign Mario Williams and Mark Anderson to improve a pass rush that has been punch-less for far too long. It should have a positive impact on the entire defense, giving the Bills more staying power.
Both the Bills and New York Jets had some offensive problems during the preseason, but Buffalo has more playmakers capable of turning a game around quickly. That should be enough to squeak out a low-scoring victory on the road.
Which underdog has the best chance to win?
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
If you're looking for a team with good sleeper potential in 2012, the Buccaneers are a good choice. They are only two years removed from a 10-6 season and still have most of the young pieces in place which made that season possible.
Josh Freeman should bounce back after a disappointing third season and the addition of running back Doug Martin will take some pressure of the quarterback's shoulders. The pieces for a potent offensive attack are certainly on the roster.
Tampa Bay opens up against the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers still lack talent around Cam Newton, who can't win games on his own, even though he was terrific as a rookie. The Buccaneers will begin their road to redemption with a convincing home win.
The Cardinals are good at home. Even though the team only went 8-8 last season, only two of those losses were on home turf. The defeats were against the New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers. Home victories included wins over the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys.
Although the quarterback situation is hardly settled, Arizona still has two running backs capable of handling the load and a wide receiver in Larry Fitzgerald who can make any QB look good. The defense should also be improved.
It's surprising to see the Cardinals as a home underdog against the Seattle Seahawks, a team with a rookie QB. While it won't be the most thrilling game to watch from the perspective of the fans, the Cardinals have what it takes to come out on top.
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