Six teams on upset alert in NFL Week 2

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL is nothing if not unpredictable, but there are some interesting point spreads that set up potential upset specials in NFL Week 2.

One team we won’t be betting on to be upset is the New England Patriots, who are 19.5-point favorites to beat the lowly Miami Dolphins. So which teams have our attention? Which teams are on upset alert in Week 2?

Indianapolis Colts vs. Tennessee Titans (-3)

It’s impossible to know if what we saw transpire in Cleveland last Sunday was a sign of great things to come for Tennessee, or if it was just an awful game by the Browns. Perhaps it was both. One thing we know for certain is that the Colts won’t be a pushover.

Indy nearly knocked off the high-powered Chargers on the road last weekend. Jacoby Brissett played outstanding football, and running back Marlon Mack had a monster day, rushing for 174 yards and a score.

Should the Colts get an outstanding effort from their defense, and if Marcus Mariota reverts back to the form we saw from him this preseason, Indy has a fantastic chance of winning.

Seattle Seahawks vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5)

It’s easy to take a look at what Cincinnati did in Seattle last Sunday and get excited about what Pittsburgh’s offense may do. After all, Andy Dalton went off for 418 yards, and John Ross Jr. — a guy many had pegged as a first-round bust — was electric with two long touchdowns.

On the other hand, it’s impossible to discount the lack of cohesion Pittsburgh displayed on Sunday night against New England. It wasn’t just Ben Roethlisberger and the offense struggling. The team’s vaunted defense from a year ago was a disheveled mess.

The Seahawks have a lot of firepower at their disposal. Russell Wilson tends to shine in big moments, and his connection with rookie D.K. Metcalf could propel the Seattle offense to another level in 2019. If the Steelers struggle defensively again in Week 2, they could easily fall to 0-2.

New Orleans Saints vs. Los Angeles Rams (-2)

This is one of the biggest games of the week, and even better than the on-paper matchup it’s a revenge game for the Saints after they were robbed of a Super Bowl appearance during the NFC Championship Game last January.

Given that this game is being played in Los Angeles, it’s not surprising that the Rams are favored to win. But based on what the Saints did Monday night it’s clear they are still a championship-caliber team. Offensively, they are still a dynamo. Whether their defense has what it takes to corral the Rams is a question that still needs to be answered.

Jared Goff struggled with accuracy in Week 1 against the Carolina Panthers. If those struggles continue in Week 2, then the Saints will get their revenge.

Chicago Bears (-3) vs. Denver Broncos

Of all the games on the NFL Week 2 schedule, this one has the potential to get ugly. Both offenses struggled last week to open the season, and both teams feature defenses capable of dominating.

The Bears are rightfully favored to win this game. Their defense was a nightmare last Thursday against Green Bay, which features an offense we expect to be more effective than what Denver can offer. However, the Broncos have some big-play potential with Emmanuel Sanders and the big-armed Joe Flacco at the helm.

What it comes down to is whether Denver’s defense can shrug off an awful Week 1 performance and play up to its potential in Week 2. Should Von Miller and Co. do that, then Mitch Trubisky is liable to turn the ball over and give the Broncos the extra chances they need to win at home.

Kansas City Chiefs (-7) vs. Oakland Raiders

Patrick Mahomes will likely continue to have his way in the passing game. He’s a force of nature at this point, and he has a ton of weapons at his disposal even without Tyreek Hill in the lineup.

If Sammy Watkins has another game like he did against Jacksonville, then the Raiders probably have no chance to beat the Chiefs in Week 2. We’re not expecting that to happen, though, because Oakland’s defense is much improved.

What we do expect to happen is for Derek Carr to build off the success he engineered last Monday against Denver. Oakland’s offensive line was magnificent, both in the running game and passing game. The Raiders showed they have plenty of offensive firepower, and Carr showed he’s taking a big step forward in Year 2 under Jon Gruden.

Cleveland Browns (-7) vs. New York Jets

The war of words has already taken off in a big way, with Gregg Williams and Odell Beckham Jr. being at the center of it all ahead of this Monday night matchup. We expect this game to be chippy, if not downright contentious.

New York, of course, won’t have quarterback Sam Darnold. He’s out for the foreseeable future with mononucleosis. The Jets will have Le’Veon Bell in the lineup, however, and he should get a heavy workload, both on the ground and through the air. Trevor Siemian has plenty of experience. If he can just manage to not turn the ball over, then he’ll give the Jets a chance.

What this game will likely come down to is whether Baker Mayfield can bounce back from perhaps his worst game as a pro. He was under siege last weekend as the Titans dominated the line of scrimmage. The Jets have a formidable defensive front as well. So, it’s not hard to imagine that Cleveland will struggle to protect Mayfield, meaning it’s not out of the question that he ends up turning the ball over again.