NFL Predictions: 5 Ways to Spot an NFL Upset

James Brown@@chasingballgameSenior Analyst IOctober 6, 2012

NFL Predictions: 5 Ways to Spot an NFL Upset

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    Every week in the NFL there is an upset.

    Sometimes it is a big upset and other times it goes quietly unnoticed, but they are rarely predicted with any regularity.

    In Week 5 of the NFL one upset has already happened, as the St. Louis Rams beat the previously undefeated Arizona Cardinals. There are still plenty of upsets on deck for this busy NFL weekend.

    Here are five tips to spot an NFL upset and five teams that are on upset alert for Week 5 in the NFL.

Kansas City +6.5 Over Baltimore

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    Last week I posted a 3-2 record and will try to continue my winning ways this week.

    The first angle to notice when trying to pick an upset is the win/loss record.

    In the NFL the win/loss record can be deceiving and does not always tell the entire story.

    This is the case with the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs host the Baltimore Ravens this week and they are only 1-3 on the season, but that can be deceiving.

    The Chiefs have actually out-gained their opponent in every game this year, but they are being killed by the turnovers. The Chiefs rank dead last in the NFL in turnover ratio, and if not for that would have a winning record.

    The Ravens have a fearsome defense on paper, but this year they are not getting it done on the field. The Ravens are just 23rd overall in total defense and 23rd in interceptions.

    The Chiefs will be able to take care of the ball and have a realistic chance of winning this game, which makes the Chiefs one of my best NFL picks for Week 5.

    Kansas City +6.5

Washington +3 Over Atlanta

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    When two high-octane offenses collide like those of the Redskins and the Falcons, it is easy to overlook the running game.

    The second angle to remember when trying to identify an NFL upset is to consider the running game.

    The Falcons’ run defense is having big problems this year, averaging 146.2 yards allowed per game (29th in the NFL), and they’ve allowed six rushing touchdowns this year in just four games. The Panthers exploited this hole with 199 yards rushing last week (5.7 yards allowed per rush); and the Chargers posted 116 yards rushing vs. Atlanta two weeks ago (6.8 yards allowed per rush).  

    The Redskins focus on RGIII, but they have a solid stable of running backs that will take advantage of the weak Falcons rushing defense.

    The Redskins are my upset of the week and will win this game.

    Redskins +3

Titans +5.5 Over Minnesota

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    The third angle when looking at NFL games is the overvalued team

    The overvalued team is a team that is getting a lot of attention and inflating the line.

    The Minnesota Vikings are one of the biggest early surprises of the NFL season. They are now at 3-1 and atop the NFC North. They have convincing wins over the San Francisco 49ers and the Detroit Lions, and because of this latest run they are getting plenty of attention.

    The NFL Odds for this game have the Vikings listed as (-5.5) point favorites. That is too much against the Titans.

    The Titans have played great teams to include the Patriots, Chargers, and Titans so it is no surprise that they are struggling to start the season. Chris Johnson has found his running groove again after amassing over 100 yards against the tough Texans defense.

    The Titans are my lock of the week and they should win this game on the field.

    Titans +5.5

Seattle +2.5 over Carolina

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    One of the most overlooked aspects of football is the special teams. The special teams can fuel a team and provide excellent field position.

    So when looking for an upset, the fourth angle to remember is to not overlook special teams.

    Seattle has Leon Washington, one of the most dangerous return men in the league. Washington is the league leader in kick return average at 37.7 yards per return. Washington provides an automatic chance to score and excellent field position for the Seahawks.

    Cam Newton is struggling and his sophomore slump is almost guaranteeing that the Panthers miss the playoffs.

    Take the Seahawks plus the points in this NFL upset.

    Seattle +2.5

Jacksonville +5.5 over Chicago

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    The reason that Vegas and other outlets are rich is because it is hard to pick football games, and often the public is wrong.

    With that in mind, the last angle is to go against the public when picking football games.

    The most popular bet for Week 5 in the NFL is the Chicago Bears. They are much better than the Jacksonville Jaguars, but they are off a Monday Night Football game and a big week by the defense.

    The Bears will have less time to prepare and will not be excited to play the Jaguars. The betting public is backing the Bears at an amazing 87 percent rate, and that is enough to get me on the Jaguars in this game.

    Jaguars +5.5

    2012 NFL Pick Record: 13-7 ATS (13 Underdog Winners)

    James Brown is a B/R featured columnist and can be followed on Twitter. Feel free to contact James at He also is a contributor at Bookie Blitz, a sports picks website.