We finally made it through the grueling 9-weeks without football. After an eventful hiatus filled with shocking transactions and unprecedented roster moves, our favorite time has returned – the NFL season is here. Week 1 brings a bevy of revenge matches, divisional rivalries, and a lot of excitement.
As we all know, Week 1 is never the end-all, be-all; but it’s never full of guarantees, either! My favorite part about sports is how you never know what’s going to happen. Anything can happen! A new season brings new possibilities – chances to prove yourself, a shot to avenge yourself. Despite training camp and preseason, we’ve found that often, teams are still shaking off the rust. Either that, or still trying to find themselves. With that said, this leaves an immense room for upsets. So, here are my picks to keep an eye out for, whether you’re slapping 5 bucks on it, or making picks with friends.
NFL Upset 1: Bears (-7) vs 49ers (+7)
Probably the biggest stretch of an upset here, but hear me out! Justin Fields is out there with something to prove. Trey Lance, on the other hand, coasts in as the clear QB of the future. While the Bears may not walk away with the win, I think it’s more than likely that they beat the touchdown spread and make this a close game. Now, the number 3 overall selection last year looked solid in the preseason, but he also did struggle against the Texans. THE TEXANS. Let’s be honest – when you compare rosters, you’ll think I’m crazy. Maybe I am. Sure, even with a first-year starting QB, they still have Deebo! They still have Bosa! But, San Francisco is starting a new era – and they lost Raheem Mostert – which I think will have more of an impact than not, as their identity was in the run game last year. Plus, Chicago is now free of Matt Nagy, and that is the equivalent to Trevor Lawrence released from Urban Meyer’s clutches. There’s been talk about the Bears WR2 hole – but let’s remember, they have Cole Kmet; who has a high ceiling of potential. And a safety net, at that. I’m aware this is a bold one, but Week 1’s are always filled with a shocker. This might just be it.
49er Run Game- can San Francisco run the ball as effectively without Mostert? Is Eli Mitchell “for real”?
Bears WR Room- who will be the surprise WR2/Target 2 for the Bears?
SF Defense- are they still as dominant as the squad that got them to the Super Bowl?
NFL Upset 2: Patriots (+3) vs Dolphins (-3)
Given how close of a spread this one is, it’s safe to assume that I’m calling a Pats victory against the new-look Dolphins. While their Offense appears stacked, there’s a huge X-factor that is often overlooked. CHEMISTRY. Drawing another Miami reference – think of when even the Heatles of James/Bosh/Wade got together, there were still bumps in the road! Now, I’m not saying Tua/Waddle/Hill are of that status, and that’s more the reason to think they’re vulnerable. There’s also another rule I’d like to point out. Never bet against Bill Belichick. Especially when he’s in a coaching match against someone who’s never done it in the NFL before. Much like Justin Fields and the Bears, the Brady-less Pats are out there with something to prove. Who gives a damn if you don’t have a coordinator. You have the greatest Coach of all time. Not to mention, their Defensive is consistently solid, and Mac Jones led them to the Playoffs last year. Look for Damien Harris and company to run all over the Miami defense, and Tua Tagovailoa to struggle against Mr. Belichick.
Tyreek Hill- is he as dominant without Patrick Mahomes?
Miami Defense- can they keep the score low enough for an Offense who is trying to figure themselves out?
Mac Jones- what does a year-2 Mac Jones look like?
NFL Upset 3: Jaguars (+3) vs Commanders (-3)
Again, it’s a close spread – I’m calling victory for the Jags. Not only is this a statement about a new regime and a surprisingly talented roster – but also, about their counterparts. A lot of pundits have already clamored about Christian Kirk’s high price tag – but, as someone who consistently relied on him in Fantasy, I don’t see what all of the fuss is about. If anything, I think Kirk shows us why he deserved that price (or, a value that high). Clearly, since they dumped Shenault, they must feel pretty good about Kirk & company. The artist formerly known as The Football Team has one of the most inconsistent QB’s in history calling the shots. Their WR2 is a rookie. They had zero confidence in Antonio Gibson until the tragedy that stuck Brian Robinson. At this point, I think not only is Wentz confidence at an all-time low, but not just that – the weapons around him are… ehhh. Either Scary Terry goes for 100+ yards and 2 TD’s, or the Commanders lose. This is somewhat of a shiny dumpster-fire game, but it’s one I’ll be around to watch.
Carson Wentz- is this the year hereturns to near-MVP form?
Trevor Lawrence- will he be the guy we all expected?
Doug Pederson – what does an Urban Meyer-less Jags team look like?
Buckle up, boys and girls, because the season is almost among us. This year looks to be one of the most exciting, surprising, and competitive ones yet. But, as always, please bet responsibly. While I do stand behind my upset alerts, please don’t put your mortgage on it. Betting is supposed to be fun, a way to enhance the experience of the game – not a way to ruin your life.