NFL Teams on Upset Alert for Week 5
It's like clockwork.
Every week, teams are put on upset alert here and elsewhere on the web. Every week, fans come out in droves and let it be known how incompetent those writers are how little chance there is that their team is going to lose on that given Sunday.
Every week, just like clockwork, those teams lose despite the best efforts of their fans the week before.
This is the NFL. Parity reigns like never before as teams continue to find ways to level the playing field at both the personnel and coaching levels. Revenue sharing, free agency and the draft continue to lessen the gap between the haves and the have-nots in the league. There is not mind-blowing "Appalachian State" win, because even the biggest blowout is just a speed bump before the next week's stories take over.
Any team can win on any Sunday, so who's on upset alert this week?
New Orleans Saints
It was surprising when the Bleacher Report crew overwhelmingly picked the Saints to win, but it was even more so when Vegas set its line and the Saints were the favorites.
Sure, this is a home game for the Saints and the Superdome is always sure to be rocking, but the Chargers have looked legit this season, while the Saints have seemingly quit.
So, to reward the Saints for being favorites, I'm putting them on upset alert.
Being the favorites doesn't mean a thing though, and the Saints can't go into this weekend as they went into the last four. Each week, the Saints look like they should win on paper, and each week they get beaten from one end of the field to another. They look like a rudderless ship without a captain.
The Chargers are no slouch. They're doing their darnedest to break their slow-starter image and are doing so with Ryan Mathews first on the mend and now in the doghouse. Each week, the Chargers continue to get healthy and continue to get better.
This will not be an easy home win for the Saints, who have made nothing easy for themselves this season. They will need every ounce of effort if they hope to send the Chargers home with an "L."
New England Patriots
The Patriots loved facing off with the Broncos last season.
In two matchups (one regular season, one postseason), the combined score was 86-33 with two Patriots victories and one sad Tebow. The Patriots had the blueprint to avoid "Tebow Time," and it was a full-throttle, high-octane offense that forced the fullback to be a quarterback.
This year, the Broncos offense looks a little different.
Denver enters the game with Peyton Manning guiding the league's eighth-ranked passing attack. The Patriots, ranked sixth, aren't going to have the aerial dominance they had over the Broncos last season.
This game, like any game featuring the two best quarterbacks of our era, is essentially a coin toss regardless of what Vegas or any expert says.
Right now, the Ravens look like one of the best teams in the NFL, and frankly, the Kansas City Chiefs look like one of the worst.
Yet for the past few years, the Ravens have lost in situations like this early in the season. Jacksonville beat them last year, Cincinnati the year before—two games the Ravens had no business losing, just like this week.
Make no mistake about it, the Ravens are eminently beatable. Joe Flacco, even operating in his new high-tempo offense, makes mistakes. Cam Cameron occasionally forgets he has Ray Rice. The offensive line still lacks elite talent at multiple positions.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs are not as bad as their record would indicate. Yes, Matt Cassel has been horrible this season. Sure, Scott Pioli and Romeo Crennel should be on the hottest seats in the NFL. None of that changes the fact that the roster is filled with talented athletes who will be looking to change the narrative in Week 5.
If Baltimore wants to continue to look like one of the AFC's elite, it can't look past any opponent, even the Chiefs.
Michael Schottey is the NFL national lead writer for Bleacher Report and an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Find more of his stuff alongside other great writers at "The Go Route."