Six teams on upset alert in NFL Week 1

There are all kinds of variables that could shift this road game in favor of the underdog Ravens. Don’t count out quarterback Joe Flacco, who is returning after injuring his back before training camp. He has a couple of new weapons in wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and running back Danny Woodhead, both of whom are very capable of making game-changing plays. Wideout Mike Wallace has been known to leave his defenders in the dust. He is not exactly A.J. Green, but he can torch a secondary in optimal conditions. Also, cornerback Adam Jones and linebacker Vontaze Burfict are both suspended.

The Ravens boast a run defense that allowed just 3.7 yards per carry last season and added some talent this offseason. We wish the Bengals’ trio of running backs good luck there. If worst comes to worst, kicker Justin Tucker could just make a game-winning field goal.

San Francisco 49ers upset Carolina Panthers (-6)

The 49ers would give fans some much-needed hope should they be able to pull a fast one on quarterback Cam Newton and Co. at home. While a 49ers win seems a long shot, keep in mind the Panthers are coming off of a poor six-win campaign themselves. They might be overly confident and easily forced into mistakes. Plus, is Newton completely healthy?

On the opposite side of the coin, head coach Kyle Shanahan coordinated last year’s top-scoring Atlanta Falcons offense. He knows a thing or two about running a well-oiled machine. The offense, run by quarterback Brian Hoyer, might just look legit. Wideout Pierre Garcon, extremely underrated, produced a 69 percent catch rate last year. Also ready to strike while the iron is hot is running back Carlos Hyde. He can chew up yardage like the best of the running backs when healthy. Defensively, rookie linebacker Reuben Foster already looks to be a natural game-changer. Things could play out closer here than 49ers’ skeptics think.

Jacksonville Jaguars upset Houston Texans (-6)

The Jags are not a crew one should bet on to win after managing only 11 total victories in the Blake Bortles era. Yuck. They’ll also be up on the road against some scary Houston Texans defenders that produced the second-best passing defense in the league last year. Pass rusher J.J. Watt should be salivating at this matchup.

Thankfully, the Jags drafted “win now” rookie running back Leonard Fournette. He will be a tremendous asset to help keep Bortles from making mistakes. On the other side, the Jaguars are no joke defensively. They allowed only 215 passing yards on average per game in 2016. We could see some turnovers on tap when the Jags intimidate quarterback Tom Savage, who has only 56 completed career passes on record.

Seattle Seahawks upset Green Bay Packers (-3)

Yardbarker: NFL

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