NFL Week 1 Picks: Washington Redskins and Teams on Upset Alert
The NFL season is only a few days away, and the Washington Redskins are one of the teams that are on upset alert in the opening week.
Week 1 is always tough to predict. The experts usually favor the home team unless it's a clear mismatch, so look for some road teams to pull off the upset.
There are several intriguing matchups, including quite a few divisional games.
In order to be considered an upset, the winning team must be at least three-point underdogs. The lines are provided by ESPN.com, so take a look at the teams that need to be on upset alert.
Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions (-4.5)
It's actually surprising that the Detroit Lions are favored by that much against the Minnesota Vikings. It's usually three points for the home team, which means that the Lions would still be favored at a neutral site.
Adrian Peterson carried his team into the playoffs last season and nearly set the record for most rushing yards in a season. He will have a tough time topping 2,000 yards again, but he's going to give it a try.
The Vikings had one of the biggest offseasons. Christian Ponder hasn't had much to work with in the passing game, but that has changed. Greg Jennings and rookie Cordarrelle Patterson will be big playmakers on the outside for the Vikings.
Detroit was one-dimensional last season. Calvin Johnson set multiple records last year, including most receiving yards in a season. Matthew Stafford has a big arm and can lead his team to the playoffs.
Reggie Bush was brought in to add balance to the offense. He can run the ball or come out of the backfield to catch passes. His versatility will help the Lions keep defenses honest.
It should be an exciting game, as both teams have added key pieces on offense. The Vikings relied heavily on the run last season but should have a more balanced attack this season.
Arizona Cardinals at St. Louis Rams (-4.5)
Tavon Austin was a good pick by the Rams, but they lost quite a bit of talent on offense.
St. Louis lost Steven Jackson and Danny Amendola in free agency. Daryl Richardson will be asked to replace Jackson at running back, but that's a big role to fill.
On the other side, Arizona picked up some good pieces in the offseason. Carson Palmer is poised to have a big season, with Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and Andre Roberts at his disposal. Bruce Arians likes to throw the ball deep, so Palmer should have plenty of chances to connect with Fitzgerald.
Rashard Mendenhall is looking to get back to his prime. He has rushed for at least 900 yards in three of his five seasons, so he has the potential to make an impact when healthy.
The Cardinals have talented players in the secondary. Patrick Peterson is turning into one of the best playmakers in the game, and Tyrann Mathieu has the potential to be a good player.
Not many people are high on the Cardinals, but they could sneak up on the league this season. They made big moves to improve their roster, so keep an eye on the Cardinals against the Rams.
Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins (-3)
This matchup is what everyone has been waiting to see.
Everybody wants to know if Robert Griffin III is healthy. With Griffin starting, the Redskins deserve to be favored, after winning the NFC East last year.
However, the Philadelphia Eagles are an intriguing team. Chip Kelly is bringing his uptempo offense to the NFL. He has the perfect quarterback, Michael Vick, for the system.
This is a big year for Vick. He needs to prove that he still has something left in the tank, and he will get a chance to do it against the Redskins. LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson will help Vick in the new offense.
Philadelphia has several game-changers on offense and has the potential to surprise people. If Griffin is unable to play the way he did last season, the Eagles will have a chance to steal this game.
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