NFL Week 2 Picks: Underdogs Who Will Win Outright

Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistSeptember 15, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 09:  Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets talks with Santonio Holmes #10 of the New York Jets during warmups before a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium on September 9, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Week 1 of the NFL season saw some surprising results as underdogs such as the New York Jets, Washington Redskins and San Francisco 49ers all pulled off upsets that no one saw coming. The presence of upsets every week shows just how unpredictable the NFL has become and gives credibility that any team can win on any given Sunday.

Across the board, lines are pretty even. Given the volatile nature of the first few weeks of the NFL season, it's tough to get a read on teams after just one appearance.

Looking at the full slate of Week 2 games, these are the teams that have the odds stacked against them that will emerge victorious. (All betting lines via Bovada)


New York Jets (+6) over Pittsburgh Steelers

Who knew that the New York Jets offense was playing possum throughout the preseason?

After looking dreadfully awful in the team's four exhibition games, the Jets offense exploded in Week 1 against the Buffalo Bills. Mark Sanchez had one of the best games of this career, throwing for 266 yards and three touchdowns in a 48-28 win.

The Jets probably won't be hanging 48 on the Steelers anytime soon, but the success the Jets found in the air can't be completely discounted. Young receivers Stephen Hill and Jeremy Kerley emerged as threats in the passing game and will look to show that the Bills game wasn't a fluke.

Pittsburgh comes into this game on the heels of a 31-19 loss to the Denver Broncos in which they struggled to keep quarterback Ben Roethlisberger upright (five sacks) and lacked a consistent running game.

The Jets defense struggled against the run last week but intercepted Ryan Fitzpatrick three times. With the Steelers heavily depending on the pass, the Jets defense should be able to force the run and pick up the advantage in this one.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+7) over New York Giants

The Buccaneers come into New York as seven-point underdogs after winning their season opener against the Carolina Panthers 16-10.

It's easy to see why the Giants are favored in this contest. The game is in New York and it's hard to envision the defending Super Bowl champions opening the season 0-2. However, the Buccaneers could force the Giants to do just that.

It's important to remember that the Giants were really an average team during the regular season last year. The Giants rode streaky play to a 9-7 record and there's a good chance they will be a streaky team yet again in 2012.

The Giants put forth a disappointing effort in their season opener against Dallas, allowing far too many yards on the defensive side of the ball and often failing to make plays offensively. The Cowboys were able to gash the Giants defense with the run and the pass while the Giants struggled to do anything of note with the ball.

Tampa Bay certainly doesn't have the offensive weapons of the Cowboys, but rookie running back Doug Martin looked great in the season opener against the Panthers, and Tampa controlled the tempo of the game.

If the Giants have a similar effort on defense, they could be on upset alert.


Cleveland Browns (+7) over Cincinnati Bengals

Insert your best Brandon Weeden joke here.

Yes, Weeden looked awful against the Eagles in his debut, but overall the Browns were impressive. Cleveland's defense put consistent pressure on Michael Vick, which was a primary catalyst for his four interceptions. Outside of a few big runs here and there, the Browns also kept LeSean McCoy bottled up.

All things considered, the Browns forced the Eagles to play an ugly game that they had a legitimate chance of winning. The Bengals, on the other hand, were railroaded by a Baltimore team that put up 44 points.

Don't anticipate the Browns putting up anywhere near 44 points, but the Browns played the Bengals tough last season and it should be a close game once again.

Look at it this way, Weeden can't do much worse than he did in his debut, and had the quarterback play been even marginally better, the Browns would be sitting at 1-0 after Week 1. Look for them to put together a good upset bid against the Bengals.