The NFL regular season kicks off this weekend, and each week we will give you three live underdogs that can win outright, providing solid “Money Line” props at nice odds. Let’s kick things off so to speak with our three barking dogs for NFL Week 1.
1. Cincinnati Bengals +185 over New England Patriots – The Bengals are loaded on both sides of the ball, and remember that Cincinnati went 7-2 against the spread as underdogs last season, but more importantly 6-3 straight up in this role. As much respect as we have for the New England organization, their defensive line seems weak right now and therein is the key to this upset.
Cincinnati’s Cedric Benson should be able to run at will, and that would set up Carson Palmer for success through play-action. Not that Palmer needs much help with all the brand new toys he has at his disposal, with free agent Terrell Owens on the outside opposite Chad Ochocinco and top rookies Jordan Shipley and Jermaine Gresham filling the slot and tight end positions respectively.
Sure, the Patriots still have a high powered offense, but the Bengals seem best equipped to slow the Pats down, as they have an outstanding secondary which gives them the luxury of blitzing Tom Brady at any time.
2. Detroit Lions +240 over Chicago Bears – The Bears may be the new Lions of this season, so they have no right being favored by this much over anybody. Mike Martz may be a poor fit as Chicago’s offensive coordinator, as the offensive line is simply not good enough to hold their blocks long enough for Martz’s intricate schemes to develop.
Besides, the Lions will actually win some games this year with rookie running back Jahvid Best taking the pressure off of quarterback Matt Stafford, who completed 71.2 percent of his passes this preseason. Look for them to snag one of those wins in the Windy City on Sunday!
3. Washington Redskins +170 over Dallas Cowboys – Now we realize that the Cowboys are candidates to win the Super Bowl, but we are also looking for an inspired performance from the Skins. This battle marks the official beginning of the Mike Shanahan era, and you now he wants to get his Washington career off on the right foot by upsetting the team’s most hated rivals; especially in front of the home fans at FedEx Field.
Besides, the Dallas offense looked very ordinary in preseason. Yes, it is just preseason, but it did not look like the Cowboys did anything to prepare themselves for the real games. Tony Romo completed just 56.6 percent of his passes and he tossed two interceptions against just one touchdown while getting sacked five times.
Now we are sure the Dallas offense will be fine, but they looked so bad that it may take a regular season game or two to get their proper timing down.
Washington will be improved offensively because they shored up the offensive line with the additions of Jammal Brown, Trent Williams and Artis Hicks. As a result, Donovan McNabb was sacked just once in the preseason, and the Dallas defensive line won’t be able to tee off on the Redskins’ quarterbacks like they did a year ago.
Please let us know your thoughts on our week 1 NFL upset picks along with some picks of your own in the comments section below.