I always hesitate to label wins as upsets early in the season, especially after just one game. Sure, we all have expectations that some teams will be good and others poor, but until we've seen them in action for several weeks, we're just guessing, right?
Thus, my upsets this week are based solely on the point spreads being offered (with the exception of one game where I got a little, shall we say, crazy with my pick). You might not think any of my predicted results would be huge upsets, but the line says I'm picking the underdog and I haven't seen enough yet this season to argue otherwise.
Let's get to the picks!
Note: All point spreads via Bovada.
Carolina Panthers at Buffalo Bills
Spread: Panthers (-3)
Analysis: So let me get this straight—the Bills, at home, are getting points against the Panthers?
Sign me up.
Look, I know the Panthers played the Seattle Seahawks tough last week, while the Bills couldn't beat a Rob Gronkowski-less New England Patriots team that turned the ball over three times. But the Panthers aren't the Patriots, and C.J. Spiller played poorly for the Bills, which shouldn't happen two weeks in a row.
I don't expect a ton of points scored in this contest, but I do expect the Bills to win at home.
Prediction: Bills win, 20-17
Dallas Cowboys at Kansas City Chiefs
Spread: Chiefs (-3)
Analysis: This is a bizarre line. I understand that the Chiefs are tough at home and will be much improved this year with Andy Reid and Alex Smith in town, but I'm not sure the Cowboys should even be considered an underdog despite getting points.
Perhaps people are overrating a Cowboys team that only beat the New York Giants by five points despite forcing six turnovers. Perhaps folks are underrating a Chiefs team that now has a good coach, a stable quarterback and one of the most electrifying running backs in the NFL, Jamaal Charles, because the Chiefs were horrid last year.
But on paper, the Cowboys have much more talent and an offense with enough weapons to give the Chiefs fits. Give me the Cowboys and the points, please.
Prediction: Cowboys win, 27-21
St. Louis Rams at Atlanta Falcons
Spread: Falcons (-7)
Analysis: I feel crazy for making this pick, I really do. The Falcons are at home, coming off of a tough loss and have one of the most dynamic offenses in the NFL. So why do I think they'll lose?
For one, because the Rams are my sleeper pick to reach the playoffs this year. For another, because I think they have a good enough secondary to give the Falcons trouble, especially if Roddy White doesn't play. And I think the Rams have enough weapons (Jared Cook, Tavon Austin, Chris Givens) to put up points against Atlanta.
Oh yeah, and I'm a little crazy, apparently. Just kidding. Or am I?
Prediction: Rams win, 24-21