As expected, the second week of the 2016 National Football League season was full of unforeseen upsets. The Atlanta Falcons stunned the Oakland Raiders on the road; the Tennessee Titans came from behind to shock the Detroit Lions; the Los Angeles Rams left the NFL world speechless with their upset win over the Seattle Seahawks; the Minnesota Vikings broke in their new stadium with a surprising win over the Green Bay Packers; and the Philadelphia Eagles went into Chicago and pummeled the Bears. And there will be sure to be more of the same during Week 3.
Here are our predictions on five potential upsets during Week 3 of the 2016 NFL season.
*Note: All upset picks are against the spread (ATS)
1. Denver Broncos (2-0) over Cincinnati Bengals (1-1)
- Point Spread: Bengals favored by 3.5 points
- Over/Under: 41
- Location: Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio
No matter what they do, the Broncos can’t seem to get the respect that they rightfully deserve as defending Super Bowl champions. The national media still doesn’t take them seriously, and for the second time in three weeks, the oddsmakers in Las Vegas have established them as underdogs heading into the weekend. And while we have a great deal of respect for the Bengals, we just don’t see them having an answer to Von Miller, Aqib Talib, Chris Harris Jr., and the rest of the Broncos’ dominant defense. We are expecting the Broncos to go into Cincinnati and come away with a victory in one of the most anticipated games of Week 3.
2. Oakland Raiders (1-1) over Tennessee Titans (1-1)
- Point Spread: Titans favored by 2 points
- Over/Under: 47
- Location: Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee
All signs point towards this game being an offensive shootout between two of the best young quarterbacks in the league. The Titans have been excellent on the defensive side of the ball, allowing just one touchdown to opposing offenses in their first two games of the season. But truth be told, they have yet to play against an offense with the firepower that the Raiders have. On the flip side, Oakland has been flat-out pathetic on defense. At the end of the day, we see Derek Carr and the Raiders outdueling Marcus Mariota and the Titans in a high-scoring affair.
3. New York Jets (1-1) over Kansas City Chiefs (1-1)
- Point Spread: Chiefs favored by 3 points
- Over/Under: 42.5
- Location: Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri
We are fully aware that the Chiefs are extremely difficult to defeat at Arrowhead Stadium, but in this case, we see the Jets as a vastly superior team (if they are at full strength as expected). The Jets do need wide receivers Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall to be on the field, but the bottom line here is that it’s anyone’s guess as to which version of Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith will show up this weekend. Given the strength of the Jets’ defense, we are predicting that Smith will play a subpar game and open the door for New York to come into Kansas City and steal a road win.
4. San Diego Chargers (1-1) over Indianapolis Colts (0-2)
- Point Spread: Colts favored by 3 points
- Over/Under: 51.5
- Location: Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana
This game isn’t getting much attention, but it actually has the potential to be one of the better matchups of Week 3. The Chargers are coming off of an impressive 38-14 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Colts are coming off of a 34-20 drubbing at the hands of the Denver Broncos. Indianapolis will be looking to take advantage of their homefield advantage this week, and while it will help, we just don’t see them being able to overcome their numerous injury issues. Expect to see San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers pick apart the injury-ravaged Indianapolis secondary en route to an upset road win.
5. Atlanta Falcons (1-1) over New Orleans Saints (0-2)
- Point Spread: Saints favored by 3 points
- Over/Under: 54
- Location: Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana
This NFC South rivalry game projects to be a good old-fashioned offensive shootout. Neither team is particularly strong on the defensive side of the ball (they are actually both well below average defensively), but they are among the best offensive teams in the league. When it comes down to it, we believe that the Falcons are more equipped to come up with the necessary defensive stops that will be needed to win this game. And it doesn’t hurt that they will have wide receiver Julio Jones going up against a depleted New Orleans secondary.