Part of what makes the National Football League so wildly popular and entertaining is the fact there is no such thing as a sure thing. We are constantly being reminded that the talent gap between the league’s best teams and the league’s worst teams is extremely small. There was no greater example of this than last week’s slate of games. We saw three shocking upsets go down when the Oakland Raiders knocked off the Baltimore Ravens, when the Jacksonville Jaguars beat the Miami Dolphins, and when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers stunned the New Orleans Saints. On top of that, we witnessed several less-surprising upsets such as the Denver Broncos beating the Kansas City Chiefs, the Atlanta Falcons beating the New York Giants, the Washington Redskins beating the St. Louis Rams, and the New York Jets beating the Indianapolis Colts.
While it is unlikely that we see such a high number of upsets this weekend, there will surely be at least two or three teams that pull out improbable victories. With that being said, here is a look at three potential upsets in Week 3 of the 2015 NFL regular season.
** Note: All upset picks are against the spread (ATS) picks
1. Cincinnati Bengals over Baltimore Ravens
Point spread: Ravens favored by 2.5 points
This is a matchup of two teams trending in polar opposite directions. Fortunately for the Ravens they will be returning home to M&T Bank Stadium, but we still don’t think their home field advantage will be enough for them to notch their first win of the season. Defensively, Baltimore is simply not the same team without All-Pro Terrell Suggs in the lineup, which will make shutting down Cincinnati’s balanced offensive attack extremely difficult. Likewise, the Ravens have left a lot to be desired offensively in 2015, and will be facing a Bengals defense that is one of the better defensive units in the league. Anything can happen in this type of division rivalry, and we are predicting that the underdog Bengals will come away with the win here.
2. Oakland Raiders over Cleveland Browns
Point spread: Browns favored by 3.5 points
The Raiders are riding high after their upset win over the Baltimore Ravens in Week 2, while the Browns have a full-fledged quarterback controversy on their hands. While both teams looked vastly improved in Week 2, we are picking the Raiders to go into Cleveland and beat the Browns in Week 3 for one major reason; teams facing quarterback controversies tend to struggle. In a somewhat surprising move, the Browns are reportedly going to start Josh McCown at quarterback for this game despite the fact that 2014 first round pick Johnny Manziel led them to a 28-14 win over the Tennessee Titans last week. The Raiders, behind quarterback Derek Carr, looked really good in Week 2, and while we still firmly believe that both of these teams are destined to be picking in the top 10 when the 2016 NFL Draft rolls around, on this day we see the Raiders walking away with the win.
3. Buffalo Bills over Miami Dolphins
Point spread: Dolphins favored by 2.5 points
Simply put, for all of the money the Dolphins spent this offseason, they have been a disappointment on the field. We still aren’t sold on Ryan Tannehill as a franchise quarterback, and the fact that their defense allowed the Jacksonville Jaguars to put up close to 400 yards of total offense is extremely alarming. The Bills, on the other hand, have looked like a team that is fully capable of making a run to the AFC Playoffs in 2015. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor has been one of the biggest surprises of the season, and you can safely count on their defense to be one of the NFL’s best, despite their performance against the New England Patriots in Week 2. Don’t be surprised if the Bills go down to Miami and win this game by a touchdown.