NFL Upsets: 5 Underdogs That Will Win in Week 1
Upsets happen every week in the NFL and the term “Any Given Sunday” is devoted to the underdog. The first game of the season is a perfect example of this as the Dallas Cowboys upset the New York Giants in the kickoff game.
This will not be the only upset in the league for Week 1.
There are five other teams, some that may surprise you, that have an excellent chance of pulling off the stunner and getting the outright win.
Arizona (+2) over Seattle
Peter Aiken/Getty Images
The Seattle Seahawks are a media darling in the preseason with the emergence of the feel-good story that is rookie quarterback Russell Wilson.
Wilson outplayed highly-paid free-agent Matt Flynn in the preseason to steal the starting job and will take the field this Sunday in Arizona. Unfortunately that first start will be a loss.
The Cardinals are at home and although they had a similar quarterback controversy, John Skelton is tabbed as the starter.
The locker room applauds this decision and many of the players, including standout wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, are thrilled that Skelton is under center. The Cardinals finished the season on a 7-3 ATS run to end the season and that should carry over to this year.
The Seahawks also have injury concerns at running back as Marshawn Lynch is questionable with back spasms. So how are the Seahawks road favorites?
Beats me, Cardinals win.
Tampa Bay (+1) over Carolina
J. Meric/Getty Images
The Carolina Panthers are getting plenty of hype this year. Cam Newton has single-handedly injected enthusiasm into this fanbase and many fans believe this team has the talent to go to the Super Bowl. Others (like me) believe the Panthers will miss the playoffs completely.
The team is good, but not ready to make the next step and that will be quite clear in this game against Tampa Bay. The Panthers are 2-7 ATS in their last nine games in Week 1 and will get off to a slow start again.
Tampa Bay is better than the team they fielded a year ago. This team was very active in the offseason and added some excellent players to help on offense.
Vincent Jackson provides Josh Freeman with a deep threat that will allow them to stretch the field. Doug Martin is a rookie ready to make an impact and alongside LeGarrette Blount the Bucs now have an impressive 1-2 punch.
This offense has the ability to put points on the board and, more importantly, keep the ball away from Cam Newton.
That’s all I need to back the Buccaneers as home divisional underdogs in Week 1.
Bills (+2.5) over New York Jets
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
This game looked so good I suggested it as a play when the line opened at four points.
The Bills biggest issue a year ago was a soft defense. They have helped to solve that problem by dumping a truckload of money in the offseason to acquire Mario Williams. Williams will provide a huge defensive presence giving the Bills a new look up front that will allow the Bills to pressure Mark Sanchez.
If preseason is any indication, the Jets offense is in trouble. They had trouble scoring touchdowns and withheld the “Wildcat” game plan until the regular season.
This is too much to straighten out and get to work effectively in Week 1.
The Bills are 6-1 against the spread in Week 1 of the NFL season and will upset the Jets.
Raiders (+1) over San Diego
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
For as poor as the Raiders have played they do excel in division games. The Raiders are 10-3 ATS in their last 13 against the AFC West.
The Chargers have some injury issues. Vincent Brown is lost for the season to a broken ankle and running back Ryan Matthews is still struggling with contact.
Carson Palmer will be under center with a full training camp and a healthy Darren McFadden who is ready to go.
The fans in the black hole will be loud and proud for this prime time event and the Raiders will reward them with a big win.
Steelers (+1) over Denver
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Peyton Manning is bringing high expectations to the mile high city as the fanbase believes this team will have a shot at a Super Bowl this year. Due to the hype, the Broncos are slim one-point favorites against the Steelers on Sunday Night Football.
This line is wrong. Manning is talented, but he has not played a regular-season game in quite some time and he will have to adjust to the speed of the game.
What has gone unnoticed is that the Broncos defense has not changed.
The Steelers have revenge after losing to Denver a year ago in the playoffs, and it should be noted that Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers put up over 400 yards against that Broncos defense in that game.
The Broncos defense will be short-handed as linebacker DJ Williams is sitting out due to a team suspension leaving the defense vulnerable in the middle.
The Steelers will be ready for Manning and the Broncos and will pull off the semi-upset on Sunday night.
2012 NFL Pick Record: 0-0