Week 3 in the NFL already started out on a exhilarating and surprising note. Thursday night’s game reminded us anything can happen, and there’s plenty more where that came from as the 15 remaining games play out this weekend. There are bound to be some underdogs that sneak up and beat their opponents.
The Atlanta Falcons are on the road to face the current top franchise in the NFC North. We will discuss why the Falcons aren’t exactly a shoo-in to win. Week 3 will also provide the opportunity for a 0-2 NFC South team to get back on track. Look for a winless Hall of Fame quarterback to take advantage of a team nursing a dinged-up quarterback.
Speaking of quarterbacks, will Miami Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler lead his team to a second victory? There are legitimate reasons to think the favored Dolphins might just fall.
Here are six NFL teams that are on upset alert in Week 3.
Odds provided by Bovada
New York Giants upset Philadelphia Eagles (-6)
Perhaps the Giants (0-2) will turn a new leaf when they head to Philadelphia. A huge plus this week is star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. will have had more time to heal from his ankle injury. He plans to “play a lot more this week,” according to Giants beat writer, Ralph Vacchiano. OBJ is major X-factor who, when healthy, is a complete matchup nightmare to cover. As far as quarterback Eli Manning’s “sloppy play,” there have probably been lots of closed-door talks between the team and head coach Ben McAdoo aimed towards improvement.
Defensively, the Giants have given up only one wide receiving touchdown. The defense could get the upper hand against quarterback Carson Wentz, who has thrown two picks, fumbled three times and endured eight sacks. Pressuring the young quarterback will be key for the Giants. In the end, don’t look for the Giants to roll over and walk out of Philly with a 0-3 record.
New Orleans Saints upset Carolina Panthers (-6)
The Saints desperately need to put their first win on the board. That might be possible when the team heads to Charlotte to face the Panthers. The Panthers have allowed only nine points to be scored against them so far. But the San Francisco 49ers and Buffalo Bills cannot compare to what’s coming up next. They’ll host a much more well-oiled offense headlined by quarterback Drew Brees, who has averaged 323.5 passing yards per game this season.
On the other hand, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is hurting and it shows. Newton has been limited in practice all week with ankle and shoulder injuries. Typically, he would be primed to shred a Saints passing defense that is giving up an average of 389 yards and three touchdowns per tilt. But this is the prime opportunity for the Saints to take advantage of a quarterback who is not 100 percent and steal a win.
Detroit Lions upset Atlanta Falcons (-3)
By the end of this game, one of these two unbeaten squads will be handed its first loss. A third win could be on tap for the Lions, who will have home-field advantage. Quarterback Matthew Stafford and his offense have looked quite sharp on all levels. The Lions have finally discovered a run game that the team can actually be proud of — one that could easily swoop in and carve up an Atlanta rush defense that has allowed 5.4 yards per carry this year.
Defensively, the Lions have managed four interceptions, one fumble recovery and one touchdown. The Falcons defense has forced just two total turnovers. The Falcons’ offense is no slouch, but there is enough here to make a case for the underdog Lions to claw their way to win No. 3.
New York Jets upset Miami Dolphins (-6.5)
The Jets so far are successfully tanking their season. But maybe a monkey wrench gets thrown into the plans and they manage their first win Sunday. They will be hosting a Dolphins team that traveled from Los Angeles last week to play its second consecutive road game. The Dolphins have only played one game so far with new quarterback Jay Cutler, who was impressive but passed for only one touchdown. We will also point out that in running back Jay Ajayi’s three-game history against the Jets he has averaged just 3.65 yards per carry and scored one touchdown.
On the Jets’ side, quarterback Josh McCown is holding his own, completing 66.7 percent of his passes. He is developing nice chemistry with new wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, who scored twice in Week 2. McCown might just continue with his success against a Dolphins passing defense that allowed Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers complete 79.5 percent of his passes last week. Don’t completely count the Jets out for an automatic loss in Week 3.
Seattle Seahawks upset Tennessee Titans (-3)
The Seahawks are clearly in bad form. This week the offense, which has scored just one lonely touchdown, is up against the 1-1 Titans. Tennessee, while slightly favored, is no natural to win. The team lost at home to Oakland in Week 1 and then clobbered the Jaguars on the road. Tennessee’s defense has given up four total touchdowns, three of which were passing.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson will look to get back to his old self with hopefully more assistance from his offensive line. He stands to find some relief against a Titans defense that has only tallied two sacks. The Titans also rank 31st in total tackles per game after averaging 57 per tilt. Perhaps, this will be the Seahawks’ lucky week to put multiple scores on the board. As for Marcus Mariota and his offense, it will experience its own headaches facing a stout Seahawks defense that has surrendered just 26 points in two games.
Indianapolis Colts upset Cleveland Browns (-1)
How unfortunate is it that the Colts are the slight underdogs, playing at home against the Cleveland Browns? It is a sad but true reality. Both teams are attempting to notch their first win of the year. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett will square off against rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer, who is having his own array of struggles. Kizer has completed just 57.4 percent of his passes and has thrown four interceptions compared to one touchdown.
Quarterbacks are completing 70 percent of their passes against the Browns. Indianapolis has allowed a 62.1 percent pass-completion rate, which tips the passing game in favor of Brissett. This matchup might not produce high-scoring results, but Colts have the better playmakers on offense to pull off a win.