The parity of the National Football League is one of the biggest reasons why it is by far the most popular professional sports league in the country and is the No. 1 reason why we see at least one significant upset take place every weekend. In Week 6, the most shocking upset of the week occurred when the Carolina Panthers went into Seattle as 7-point underdogs and upset the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. Other notable upsets included the New Orleans Saints over the Atlanta Falcons, the Pittsburgh Steelers over the Arizona Cardinals, the Houston Texans over the Jacksonville Jaguars, the San Francisco 49ers over the Baltimore Ravens, and the Miami Dolphins over the Tennessee Titans.
Who will be responsible this week’s most surprising upset? Only time will tell, but here is our take on three potential upsets in Week 7 of the 2015 NFL season.
Note: All upset picks are against the spread (ATS) picks.
1. Detroit Lions (1-5) over Minnesota Vikings (3-2)
Point spread: Vikings favored by 2.5 points
When it comes to the NFL, it’s not often that home teams are underdogs in Las Vegas. The Vikings are one of the fastest rising teams in the league, and the Lions appear to heading towards a rebuilding project. That said, when things are clicking for the Lions they are still one of the most talented teams in the NFC – especially on the offensive side of the ball. While we do believe that Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson is in line for a big game against a Lions’ defense that ranks 26th in the league in rushing yards allowed, we also believe that the Lions will win this game outright. Quarterback Matt Stafford and All-Pro wide receiver Calvin Johnson played like they finally found their groove in Week 6, and when those two are on the same page, they are nearly unstoppable. The Stafford/Johnson pairing and the fact that they have home field advantage are the main reasons we see the Lions coming away with a win in this NFC North matchup.
2. Houston Texans (2-4) over Miami Dolphins (2-3)
Point spread: Dolphins favored by 4 points
This game has the potential to be one of the better matchups in the league this week. Both teams are talented, but have wildly underachieved in 2015. The Dolphins played like a team with a renewed sense of urgency in their first game under interim head coach Dan Campbell, but we still believe that the Texans will, at the very least, cover the 4-point spread in this game. Houston wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins has been unstoppable, quarterback Brian Hoyer has played extremely well in two-straight games, running back Arian Foster is probable, and last but not least, on the other side of the ball they still have the best overall player in the league in defensive end J.J. Watt. All said, we see Hoyer outplaying Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill, leading to this game ultimately being decided by a field goal or less.
3. Dallas Cowboys (2-3) over New York Giants (3-3)
Point spread: Giants favored be 3.5 points
As crazy as this may sound, this is pretty much a must-win game for both teams. While the Giants have at times looked like a playoff-caliber team this season, their performance against the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football in Week 6 left a lot to be desired. They were thoroughly dominated on both sides of the ball, but no position group struggled quite like their offensive line did against the Eagles’ defensive line. With that being the case, we believe the Cowboys’ combination of Randy Gregory and Greg Hardy rushing the passer with Sean Lee and Rolando McClain behind them at linebacker, will be overwhelming for the New York offensive line. The Cowboys may struggle offensively with Matt Cassell at quarterback, but we believe their defense will be the deciding factor. This is another game that we see being decided by a field goal or less.