Bob Leverone/Associated Press
Winner: Tampa Bay Buccaneers over Carolina Panthers (five votes)
If one thing is certain in the National Football League, it's that nothing is for certain.
No matter how lopsided a matchup may appear on paper, there's always a chance for an upset. It keeps teams on their toes and sends fans scrambling for liquor cabinets.
For instance, if the Cleveland Browns knock off the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, as predicted by B/R's Mike Freeman, I can guarantee you that tequila consumption will spike in Western Pennsylvania.
However, there's one game that was far and away the leading pick for "Upset of the Week."
That game features the reigning NFC South champion Carolina Panthers, who travel south to face a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that managed only four wins last year.
However, things change quickly in the NFL, and for many folks a Tampa win would hardly be an upset. largely due to two very different offseasons.
For the Carolina Panthers, the good times from their division title didn't last long. Left tackle Jordan Gross called it a career, and the wide receiver corps was decimated by free agency.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, on the other hand, added several pieces, including a new head coach in Lovie Smith and a new quarterback in Josh McCown. In fact, the Buccaneers kept adding pieces right up until go time, acquiring Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins in a trade with the New England Patriots last week.
As if those opposing offseasons aren't enough concern for the Panthers, they also have a banged-up quarterback.
As The Associated Press reports (via Fox Sports), Cam Newton missed practice Wednesday due to soreness after fracturing ribs in the preseason.
However, head coach Ron Rivera said he expects Newton to be OK for Sunday's game. ''I'm optimistic, and I expect him to be there,'' Rivera said. ''We will see how it all unfolds. We have to look at this day by day.''
Even if Newton does play, his injury could lead to the Panthers using fewer (or none) of the zone-read plays that make Newton so dangerous. Plus, the Tampa pass rush is loaded with talent.
Add in an unsettled Carolina passing attack, and the recipe is there for the Buccaneers to down the defending division champs at home.
With Carolina opening a three-point favorite on the road according to OddsShark, that qualifies it as upset in our book.
Of course, that line has now swung a full six points, so it appears we're far from alone in thinking Tampa gets the win.
Others receiving votes: Tennessee Titans over Kansas City Chiefs (two votes), Cleveland Browns over Pittsburgh Steelers (one vote), Atlanta Falcons over New Orleans Saints (one vote), Oakland Raiders over New York Jets (one vote), Minnesota Vikings over St. Louis Rams (one vote), Green Bay Packers over Seattle Seahawks (one vote), Washington Redskins over Houston Texans (one vote), Indianapolis Colts over Denver Broncos (one vote).