Each week in the NFL, it happens. Teams heavily favored to win choke up and lose.
How many thought that the Denver Broncos were a sure win against the San Diego Chargers last week? That game did not go according to plan. The underdog Miami Dolphins also came out fighting and clobbered the Pittsburgh Steelers.
More surprises are surely in store for this week’s set of games. Here are five upsets we are predicting for NFL Week 7.
Odds provided by Bovada.
1. New Orleans Saints vs. Kansas City Chiefs (-6)
In Week 7, the Saints (2-3) hit the road largely favored to lose to the Chiefs (3-2).
This projection likely stems from the fact that the Saints defense is giving up the farm in yards allowed per game. Opposing offenses are gashing New Orleans for an average of 419.4 yards and 33.6 points per outing.
On the other side, Kansas City’s defense is allowing only 20.4 points on average per tilt. So how will New Orleans win?
First of all, Drew Brees is not your average run of the mill quarterback. He is not easily rattled and does not cave to pressure. He is coming off a huge 465-yard, four-touchdown performance versus what we thought was a better Carolina defense.
And forget that the Saints have only two wins. They are scoring an average of 31 points per game (the second-most in the league) compared to Kansas City’s 21.8 average points.
The last time Kansas City faced an offense with as much scoring potential as New Orleans was in Week 4 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Chiefs lost big time, 43-14.
Kansas City will attempt to exploit the Saints’ poor rush defense with its running backs. They will score, but Brees and his receivers will manage a win by at least one touchdown.
2. Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals (-10)
Another lopsided matchup which we are going to predict as an upset is the Bengals falling to the Browns.
Sure, Andy Dalton should find success against the Browns’ lagging pass defense. And the Bengals running backs will make tracks versus Cleveland’s rush defense that has given up five scores.
But overall, the Bengals aren’t exactly dazzling. They’ve managed just two wins and have scored more than 17 points only twice.
The Browns are obviously a work in progress. But after rookie quarterback Cody Kessler busted out big last week with a 336-yard, two-touchdown performance against Tennessee, the team shows promise.
Kessler defied the odds and scored twice against a defense that had given up only four passing touchdowns prior. Now, he will face a Bengals defense that has ceded 14 passing scores.
Taking all of the Bengals’ woes into consideration, their team is anything but a sure bet to win in Week 7.
3. San Diego Chargers vs. Atlanta Falcons (-6.5)
The Falcons are surprisingly leading the NFC South with a 4-2 record. Meanwhile, San Diego has been stuck in neutral and has mustered only two wins.
We are putting the Falcons on upset alert for Week 7. The Chargers aren’t playing as poorly as they look on paper. Unfortunately, they have lost each of their four games by no more than six points.
Plus, San Diego is also coming off of a surprisingly sweet Week 6 victory over the Denver Broncos. If the Chargers can outplay the Broncos, who is to say they cannot outperform Atlanta?
It is going to be tough, but not impossible. The Chargers’ rush defense ranks fifth-best in the league. It allowed only 84 rushing yards last week. And as an overall unit, San Diego’s defense has managed the third-most takeaways in the league with 11. It will look to break up connections between Matt Ryan and Julio Jones.
Meanwhile, Philip Rivers should find success in his passing game. Atlanta has allowed 14 touchdowns through the air.
This game could be quite high-scoring. But, we predict yet another upset victory for San Diego, this time on the road.
4. New York Jets vs. Baltimore Ravens (-1)
This game does not have much of a spread. But after how horribly the Jets played last week, it could be a stretch to imagine them winning.
Perhaps last week’s embarrassing 28-3 loss to the Arizona Cardinals is when the team hit rock bottom. The Jets return home in Week 7 and will have change of command at quarterback with Geno Smith taking the reins.
They’ll face a Ravens squad that is not exactly thrilling its fans.
Baltimore started off hot with three wins, then fizzled out like water on a sparkler barfing up three losses. So, there is not a lot of reason to assume Baltimore suddenly sheds its funk and posts a win.
The Ravens are averaging just slightly less than four points more than the Jets are per game. And, quarterback Joe Flacco (who will be active) is coming from a miserable zero-touchdown performance himself. He missed a wide open receiver in the end zone and is dealing with a tweaked shoulder.
We are not suggesting that Geno Smith will significantly outplay Flacco. But, it it is worth noting that the last time Smith started for the Jets, he performed perfectly.
Geno Smith will make his first start since Week 17, 2014 at MIA when Smith threw for 358 pass yds, 3 TD & had a perfect 158.3 passer rating
— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) October 19, 2016
There is no way the Jets are going to allow the Ravens to steamroll them at home. New York will win by at least a touchdown.
5. San Francisco 49ers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-1)
It is about darn time that the 49ers win their second game of the season. This will happen when the 49ers romp over the Buccaneers in Santa Clara Sunday afternoon.
Forget last week’s disaster against the Buffalo Bills. The 49ers’ defense should exploit the most turnover-prone quarterback in the league, Jameis Winston. Sadly, Winston has turned the ball over a ghastly 10 times in five games.
We boldly predicted that the 49ers defense is going to redeem itself with not only one, but two pick-sixes of Winston. Meanwhile, the Bucs’ ground game will flounder without its two top running backs.
Taking the two teams’ history into account, the 49ers have only lost 5-of-22 games to Tampa Bay. And, only two of the five were lost at home.
Kaepernick should score at least one touchdown through the air and another on foot. It would not be shocking for Winston to rush in a score as well. It will be the two defensive touchdowns scored by San Francisco that determine the outcome of the game.