What goes into an NFL upset?
Sometimes, the underdog truly commands an upset. Whether it's an unforeseen offensive performance or a fortuitous defensive stand, underdogs can surprise everyone by showing new levels of preparedness or intensity.
Other times, the favored team just doesn't show up with the same profile that led everyone to think they would win. Bad planning, poor execution or lack of focus can each contribute to an upset. All three can combine for a perfect storm of ineptitude.
Finally, outside influence can directly cause or contribute to an upset—terrible calls, weather, home-field advantage and so much more. These aren't excuses and can be, of course, overcome by the better team. They are, however, certainly part of the equation.
If every game were played on paper, there would never be any upsets or surprises. The game isn't played on paper, though, is it? It is played in an imperfect world by imperfect people. That humanness, that imperfection is what truly contributes to an upset—not randomness but the possibility of variance.
That hope for the unexpected is what people love about sports. The old saying is that "everyone loves an underdog," but maybe we just love that an underdog can exist.
So which underdogs are putting their opponents on upset alert in Week 6?
Right now, the Jets are in a tailspin, and it shouldn't surprise anyone—even Fireman Ed—that they're on this list.
The weird thing is, name recognition aside, the Jets roster (as it's comprised right now) doesn't have markedly better talent than the Colts. Indianapolis has the pass-rushers the Jets don't have and possibly better linebackers, as well. The offensive lines are a wash, and the Colts probably have better players at the skill positions.
Well, if you're asking, you probably won't like the answer.
Other than this being at the Meadowlands and the Jets being "The Jets," there's little reason to truly believe the Colts won't win this one. Anything can happen, but it's clear that the Jets are ripe for an upset.
Yes, somewhat ironically, a game that features the two teams that played the two teams from the previous slide is also filled with upset potential.
The Texans are undefeated, but they allowed the Jets to stay in that Monday night game longer than they should have. If the same effort is put forth by a team more talented than the Jets—not that many aren't—the Texans could get a game stolen from them.
Meanwhile, the Packers are such mental underdogs in this one. They're reeling. How could they possibly beat one of the best teams in the NFL after losing to the Colts?
While the Packers have fallen on hard times, they still have the reigning NFL MVP and a tremendous group of receivers. That makes them constantly dangerous, even when they're not favored.
If the Texans let the Packers hang around like they let the Jets, my money is on Rodgers.
No offense in the league is firing on as many cylinders as the Patriots right now.
No defense has shown up and shut down its opponents as often as the Seahawks.
This is strength vs. strength and, normally, this would be a toss-up if not an easy win for the Seahawks (especially at home in front of a loud Seattle crowd). Yet, the Patriots' real advantage in this one is their improved defense versus the 'Hawks' lackluster offense.
A play from Russell Wilson here, a "beast mode" from Marshawn Lynch there—the tide of this game could turn rather quickly. Add in a few mistakes by the Patriots' mistake-prone secondary and things could get dicey. A missed call (not exactly uncommon in Seattle) could throw this game from toss-up into upset mode in a hurry.
Not all upsets are built the same way, but these three teams have all the correct ingredients to be upset this weekend.
They're officially on alert.
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."