NFL Week 1 2021: 3 teams on upset alert this Sunday

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CHARLOTTE, NC – AUGUST 27: Sam Darnold #14 of the Carolina Panthers throws a pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first half of an NFL preseason game at Bank of America Stadium on August 27, 2021, in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Chris Keane/Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Chargers and Tennessee Titans are among the NFL teams on upset alert in Week 1.

The regular season is finally here and NFL fans are ready to try and find some value opportunities with their bets. The Week 1 lines (courtesy of WynnBet) are officially out and many of them are tight since the oddsmakers don’t have a ton of information to work off of since NFL teams approached the preseason in very different ways.

With that being said, there are a few lines that raise eyebrows from the Week 1 slate and offer some serious upset potential. Let’s break down three teams that should be on upset alert to begin the regular season, starting with the Carolina Panthers.

3. NFL Teams on Upset Alert in Week 1 – Carolina Panthers

There are plenty of reasons for optimism in Carolina this season, beginning with the healthy return of Christian McCaffrey, who was hobbled by injury throughout the 2020 campaign. The Panthers also made a big change at quarterback, acquiring Sam Darnold from the New York Jets, banking on the fact that a change of scenery will help the former No. 3 overall pick harness his potential.

The NFL clearly has a sense of humor by scheduling the Panthers’ home opener against the Jets, creating a revenge opportunity for Darnold right out of the gate. Carolina is favored by 3.5 points but this game could be trickier than it looks since New York has upgraded its talent base significantly over the course of the offseason, particularly on offense, where rookie Zack Wilson will have far more to work with than Darnold ever did with the Jets.

One big area of concern for the Panthers in this matchup is their interior offensive line, which will be without starting guard John Miller, who tested positive for COVID-19 and will be forced to sit out this game. The other starting guard is Pat Elflein, a below-average player, which is problematic since the Jets boast a dynamic duo of pass-rushing defensive tackles in Quinnen Williams and Sheldon Rankins.

If the Panthers’ offensive line can’t keep Darnold clean he could make some of the key mistakes that led the Jets to move on from him during the offseason. This game will be tight and it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Jets pull an upset to start the season 1-0.

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