NFL Week 1 Picks: Underdogs Who Will Pull off Upsets to Start Season
The first week of the NFL season is always full of surprises, which makes it a good time to predict some underdogs to pull off big upsets.
Teams that are coming off of poor years often exceed expectations with strong showings out of the gate, while others simply come out flat, overlooking their opponents.
These squads have a good chance of coming away from the first game with a win, despite not been getting much respect from oddsmakers, per Vegas Insider.
Cincinnati Bengals over Chicago Bears
One thing constantly discussed regarding the Baltimore Ravens' potential repeat as Super Bowl champions is the fact that the team will suffer without the leadership of longtime middle linebacker Ray Lewis. The Chicago Bears will go through a similar struggle this year without Brian Urlacher, who retired from the game after 13 years with the team.
Meanwhile, the offensive line has not improved much and will still give Jay Cutler trouble as he remains under pressure.
On the other hand, the Bengals have improved an already solid team from last season by adding dynamic offensive players in Giovani Bernard and Tyler Eifert. This is Andy Dalton's best chance to succeed with tons of weapons around him.
The Bengals will surprise people by becoming a top contender in the AFC, and they will start by defeating the Bears on the road.
Tennessee Titans over Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh had an awful season in 2012, due mostly to injuries across the board. That has not changed much this time around, as the team will have to play Week 1 with a group of less-than-stellar running backs. This will make the Steelers more one-dimensional and therefore easier to defend.
On the other side of the ball, Tennessee remade its offensive line after the unit was terrible last year. The team will now be able to pound the ball with Chris Johnson and then give Jake Locker more opportunities down the field.
The Titans are a growing young team, while the Steelers are just getting older; that will catch up to them this season and in Week 1.
Green Bay Packers over San Francisco 49ers
As we saw with the Denver Broncos rout over the Ravens, never count out the playoff revenge factor in Week 1.
Like the Broncos, the Packers have spent the offseason thinking about nothing but their previous game, a 45-31 loss at the hands of the 49ers. In that contest, Colin Kaepernick rushed for 181 yards and two touchdowns.
Green Bay has worked on defending the read-option since then and should be better suited to do that with Nick Perry healthy at linebacker. Additionally, Kaepernick has fewer options at receiver with Michael Crabtree sidelined with an injury.
Finally, watch for Aaron Rodgers to target rookie Eric Reid at free safety and go for deep passes early and often. While this should be a close game, the Packers are more than capable of pulling out a victory.
|Away Team||Home Team||Predicted Winner|
|Atlanta Falcons||New Orleans Saints||Saints|
|New England Patriots||Buffalo Bills||Patriots|
|Cincinnati Bengals||Chicago Bears||Bengals|
|Miami Dolphins||Cleveland Browns||Dolphins|
|Minnesota Vikings||Detroit Lions||Lions|
|Tennessee Titans||Pittsburgh Steelers||Titans|
|Oakland Raiders||Indianapolis Colts||Colts|
|Kansas City Chiefs||Jacksonville Jaguars||Chiefs|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||New York Jets||Buccaneers|
|Seattle Seahawks||Carolina Panthers||Seahawks|
|Green Bay Packers||San Francisco 49ers||Packers|
|Arizona Cardinals||St. Louis Rams||Rams|
|New York Giants||Dallas Cowboys||Cowboys|
|Philadelphia Eagles||Washington Redskins||Redskins|
|Houston Texans||San Diego Chargers||Texans|
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