Seven Upsets in NFL’s Week 1

Pending the outcome of Monday night's Buffalo at New York Jets game, favorites went 8-7 straight up and 6-9 against the spread in Week 1 action in the NFL.

In 2022, favorites were 9-6-1 straight up (an Indianapolis at Houston game ended in a 20-20 tie) and 7-9 against the spread — while in 2021, the favorites' respective records were 8-8 outright and 6-10 point-wise.

So this season was a pretty average opening week for favorites.

What follows is a game-by-game synopsis of each of the upsets:

At a rainy Cleveland Browns Stadium, the Browns defense completely shut down the Bengals offense in a decisive 24-3 victory as 1 1/2-point underdogs, holding Joe Burrow to a 52.2 passer rating on 14-for-31 for 82 yards. Nick Chubb had 18 carries for 106 yards in the Cleveland win.

In the surprise of the day (not counting Detroit's 21-20 upset of defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City at Arrowhead Stadium on Thursday night), in their post-Tom Brady era debut, the Buccaneers went up to U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis and upended the Vikings 20-17 as a sizable 6-point underdog. Three turnovers, all by Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins (2 fumbles and 1 interception) was the difference in this game, as Minnesota out-gained Tampa Bay 369 total yards to 242.

At Chicago, a classic case of an upset that will almost certainly not be regarded as such four months from now, the Packers, getting 1 1/2 points, ran their record to 9-0 against the Bears under Matt LaFleur in a 38-20 rout. Green Bay has now won 22 of the last 25 meetings versus Chicago.

In Denver, Jimmy Garoppolo improved his record to 45-19 as a starter in the Raiders' 17-16 win over the Broncos as four-point underdogs in a game that featured few incomplete passes by either quarterback, as Garoppolo was 20-for-26 for 200 yards, while Russell Wilson completed 27 out of 34 for 177 yards. Garoppolo had the game's lone interception — the only turnover by either team in the game.

At SoFi Stadium, whose retractable roof was open (the roofs — or is it rooves? — at the other two games played at such stadiums, were closed, at Atlanta and Indianapolis), the Dolphins pulled off a 36-34 mini-upset of the Chargers (the line was three points), in which Miami QB Tua Tagovailoa lit it up to the tune of 466 yards and 3 touchdowns, including the game-winner, a 4-yarder to Tyreek Hill with 1:45 remaining.

And in what was arguably the biggest surprise of the day, point spreads notwithstanding, not only did the Rams beat the Seahawks going away (outscoring Seattle 23-0 in the second half), 30-13 at Lumen Field (it is so hard to keep up with all these stadium name changes!) as 4 1/2-point underdogs, but they won the total yardage battle by a lopsided 426 total yards to 180.

Of the seven upset victims, Kansas City's loss could prove to be the most damaging, because only one team that has lost at home in Week 1 has ever won the Super Bowl — the 2002 Buccaneers. And while it is true that the Chiefs were without All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce, their wide receivers are, to put it charitably, a pretty anonymous lot — and it showed against a Detroit pass defense that ranked 30th in the league a year ago.

In a 17-game season — and this will be even truer when, not if, there is an 18-game season — a loss to start a season does not a season make.

But some teams could be in trouble — even after just one game.

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