Week 6 of the NFL season featured six upsets, including the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 12-point win over the Arizona Cardinals and the Carolina Panthers’ come-from-behind victory against the Seattle Seahawks.
Looking ahead, Week 7 figures to provide a similar number of opportunities for underdogs. Based on the listed odds from William Hill’s daily live-betting schedule, here are five potential upsets for this week:
Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars (+4)
The Jaguars are 0-2 all-time in London, but Sunday’s matchup with the injury-riddled Bills may give Jacksonville an opportunity for its first win across the pond. Also of note, the game will be the first NFL game ever live-streamed for free around the world.
Buffalo will be without quarterback Tyrod Taylor, receivers Sammy Watkins and Percy Harvin, running back Karlos Williams, defensive tackle Kyle Williams and offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson. The Bills will now have to start backup quarterback E.J. Manuel, who will be throwing to starting receivers Robert Woods and Chris Hogan.
Buffalo is still favored, likely due to Jacksonville’s 1-5 record in 2015 and the 73-27 scoring margin of the Jaguars’ two losses in London since 2013. Can quarterback Blake Bortles engineer the upset? He threw four touchdown passes against Tampa Bay last week.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs (+2)
Quarterback Landry Jones came off the bench and threw two late touchdown passes for the Steelers against Arizona, helping to secure an upset win last Sunday. Now, he’s expected to go on the road and beat a good defense as the favorite.
It seems like too much to ask. Kansas City has allowed just 17 points per game over the last two weeks, despite facing quarterbacks Jay Cutler and Teddy Bridgewater. And expecting Le’Veon Bell to carry the Steelers might also be difficult, as the Chiefs held Adrian Peterson to 60 yards on 26 carries last Sunday.
The Steelers are the better team in this matchup, by a significant margin. But bad quarterback play can even any contest. Expect Jones to come back down to earth against Justin Houston and a Kansas City defense that is starting to heat up.
Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions (+2)
The Vikings are just 2-8 on the road under second-year head Mike Zimmer, including an 0-3 mark inside the division. Minnesota has been a different team away from home in 2015, with a disappointing 20-3 loss in San Francisco in the season opener and a failed comeback bid in Denver before the bye, offsetting a perfect 3-0 record at home.
Meanwhile, the Lions finally got in the win column in Week 6, beating the Chicago Bears in overtime. Quarterback Matthew Stafford threw four touchdown passes, including one to Calvin Johnson, who broke out with a season-high 166 receiving yards.
The Lions look like they have their talented offense trending in the right direction. The Vikings have been a sloppy team on the road, and last week’s win over the Chiefs was as underwhelming as it gets. Getting over the hump away from home won’t be easy in Detroit.
Oakland Raiders (+3.5) at San Diego Chargers
Philip Rivers threw for 503 yards at Lambeau Field and will now return home to face the league’s second worst pass defense. So what? The Raiders are still a sneaky road pick, and here’s why.
Second-year quarterback Derek Carr threw four touchdowns and averaged 227 yards per game against San Diego last season. He’ll be facing a secondary missing All-Pro safety Eric Weddle, who is out with a groin injury, on Sunday.
The Raiders are also coming off a bye week. Teams are 5-1 the week after a bye in 2015. The Chargers, meanwhile, have played a Monday night game and a road game in Green Bay the last two weeks. San Diego played well in each contest but have nothing more than two losses to show for it.
The Chargers are reeling, while the Raiders are fresh. Throw in the likelihood of a pro-Oakland crowd in San Diego and the upset is entirely possible.
New Orleans Saints (+4) at Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck has never started against an opponent from the NFC South. But here’s a fact to know for Sunday: The Colts are 17-2 with Luck under center against the AFC South, but only 17-16 against all other divisions. Basically, Indianapolis has feasted on its intra-division rivals while playing nothing more than average against everyone else. In fact, Luck has 13 career interceptions in 19 division games and 37 in 33 games outside the AFC South.
Another factor to consider: Drew Brees’ dominance when playing indoors. The Saints quarterback averages 305 passing yards for his career when playing indoors, with 214 touchdowns and a passer rating of 101.4.
The Saints snapped Atlanta’s win streak to start 2015, and playing on Thursday night allows 10 days to prep for a Colts defense ranked 28th against the pass.
Add it all up—Luck’s problems playing teams outside of the AFC South, Brees playing indoors and New Orleans’ mini-bye week—and the Colts look like a home favorite that could be in trouble.