Week 3 NFL Predictions: Projecting Which Teams Will Pull off Road Upsets

Ryan DavenportContributor ISeptember 17, 2013

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 15:  Alex Smith #11 hands off to Jamaal Charles #25 of the Kansas City Chiefs in an attempt to run down the clock at the end of the game against the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth quarter on September 15, 2013 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images)
Kyle Rivas/Getty Images

In the NFL, there are few things more demoralizing than being handed an unexpected loss, particularly if it takes place on home turf. 

But, as we saw last week when both the Eagles and Colts lost in their own stadiums, it's almost a guarantee that at least one team will suffer an upset of some kind while wearing their home uniforms every weekend. 

So, heading into this weekend's slate of tilts, here's a look at which teams will come away with at least somewhat surprising victories in hostile environments. 

Week 3 Picks

Kansas City at PhiladelphiaChiefs
Green Bay at CincinnatiPackers
St. Louis at DallasRams
San Diego at TennesseeChargers
Cleveland at MinnesotaVikings
Tampa Bay at New EnglandBuccaneers
Arizona at New OrleansSaints
Detroit at WashingtonRedskins
New York Giants at CarolinaGiants
Houston at BaltimoreTexans
Atlanta at MiamiFalcons
Indianapolis at San Francisco49ers
Buffalo at New York JetsBills
Jacksonville at SeattleSeahawks
Chicago at PittsburghBears
Oakland at DenverBroncos

Kansas City at Philadelphia 

Okay, so because Kansas City enters the game against the .500 Eagles at 2-0, it technically won't be an upset for Alex Smith and the Chiefs to emerge triumphant in Philadelphia. 

But with Andy Reid returning to Lincoln Financial Field for the first time, emotions will be running high for both teams, so as a result of home-field advantage, hypothetically, it'd still be surprising to see KC move to 3-0 over Chip Kelly's Eagles. 

Yes, Michael Vick has looked comfortable while running Kelly's up-tempo offense, rushing for two touchdowns and passing for another four with no interceptions, but after Philly's Week 2 performance against San Diego, I think the Chiefs are in a good spot to get Reid this all-important win. 

Smith has arguably looked better than ever before in his career, and that's saying something given how much talent he had to work with during his time with San Francisco. 

Though never considered a mobile quarterback, Smith managed to lead the Chiefs in rushing in Week 2 against Dallas with 57 yards on the ground, and during both of KC's games, he's been very efficient through the air. 

I expect Vick, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson  and the Eagles to come out with more fire than they did against the Chargers, but I'm picking Smith, Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe to emerge with a win on Thursday. 

Prediction: Chiefs 31, Eagles 27

St. Louis at Dallas

Well, just one week after the Cowboys appeared to be headed for big things following their Week 1 win over the Giants, they came up short against Kansas City, so Dallas will be looking for redemption when hosting St. Louis Sunday. 

But Sam Bradford and the Rams have quietly been impressive thus far, as they defeated the Cardinals at home in Week 1, before falling by a touchdown (albeit in garbage time) to the always dangerous Falcons last weekend. 

Furthermore, the Cowboys have struggled mightily when defending the pass thus far, and sit 24th in the league in that regard heading into Sunday's tilt at AT&T Stadium. 

That's good news for Bradford, Jared Cook, Chris Givens and the Rams' fourth-ranked air attack, because regardless of how often Tony Romo finds Dez Bryant and Miles Austin, if they can't stop St. Louis' passing game, they won't be able to keep pace offensively. 

Prediction: Rams 34, Cowboys 28

Tampa Bay at New England

In 2012, it was the Cardinals. In 2011, it was the Bills, and the year before that, the Browns. 

For whatever reason, no matter how good the Patriots seem, every year Tom Brady and company seem to lose at least one regular season game to a far inferior opponent. 

And given how much trouble New England had in putting away a pair of teams lead by rookie quarterbacks in the Bills and Jets during the first two weeks of the 2013 campaign, I'm picking the Buccaneers to come away with a stunning upset in Week 3. 

No, Josh Freeman hasn't looked like a starting quarterback for a while, but given the Pats' struggles in defending on the ground, Doug Martin figures to be a likely suspect to have a big day at Gillette Stadium. 

Until Brady has his full arsenal of receivers back on the field, this isn't the Patriots of old, and they'll get a wakeup call at home on Sunday against the very mediocre Bucs. 

Prediction: Buccaneers 23, Patriots 17


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