Five teams on upset alert in NFL Week 9

It was just last Monday night that Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears made mincemeat out of the Vikings defense in an upset win. More surprises are bound to take place in NFL Week 9.

An underdog Los Angeles Rams will attempt to thwart the Carolina Panthers, who just managed a much-needed second win last weekend.

We will also be entertained with one of the juiciest divisional matchups on the roster when the Oakland Raiders host the Denver Broncos. Derek Carr and the gang will face their most challenging defense of the season.

Fans of favored teams are bound to be disappointed when the following upsets go down in Week 9.

Odds provided by Odd Sharks

1. Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens (-3)

Both AFC North teams return from a bye looking to improve their middling records in Baltimore.

At this time, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger seems to be on course to play after undergoing a minor knee procedure a couple of weeks ago. He is about as tough as they come when it comes to returning from an injury. So, many, including Ravens veteran linebacker Terrell Suggs, are speculating Big Ben will suit up this game.

Terrell Suggs“You gotta understand, I saw this movie before,” Suggs said at his press conference, per the team’s official website. “He’s gonna act like ‘Aw, I’m not playing, I don’t know, I did individual work a little bit.’ But then he’ll walk his big a** on out there and it’ll be ‘How you doin’ Benjamin.’ And then it’s on.”

If for some reason Roethisberger is held out of Sunday’s game, we are still calling for an upset Pittsburgh win. The Steelers have not been perfect, but the Ravens just look ill this season. Quarterback Joe Flacco is having a terrible start and so far has thrown five touchdowns compared to six interceptions.

Pittsburgh’s defense has allowed just eight passing scores, whereas Baltimore has given up 14 touchdowns. Even a Landry Jones-led offense should find success here.

Baltimore’s four-game losing streak will turn into five once Sunday’s game comes to a close.

2. New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins (-3.5)

Brandon Marshall Ryan Fitzpatrick

Another divisional matchup that could shift the tide in the AFC East is Sunday’s tilt favoring the Dolphins at home over the Jets.

The Jets’ defense is giving up 363.1 yards per game. So, this should be a breeding ground for the Dolphins to tally up some yardage. While the Dolphins find success through the air, running back Jay Ajayi should hit some walls. New York’s rush defense has only yielded 74 yards at a pace of 3.3 yards per carry. The hot running back’s streak will cool down.

On the flip side, Miami’s rush attack is not stopping many these days. Matt Forte should thrive against a defense giving up 135.6 yards per contest.

History might come into play here as well. The Jets have won in Miami four times in their last five trips down south, losing last in January of 2012.

And despite some recent struggles, the “Ryan” that will come out smelling like roses Sunday will be Fitzpatrick, not Tannehill.

3. Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings (-6.5)

The Vikings play at home and still boast the best defense in the league. Surely this is why the scales are tipped in their favor.

But thanks to some abhorrent offense, they have let two questionable losses slip by.

Not many would have thought the Philadelphia Eagles or Chicago Bears would have pulled off upset wins in Weeks 7 and 8. We’re talking about wins by at least 10 points in each game and two touchdowns allowed to Carson Wentz and Jay Cutler.

Heading into Week 9, it should not be too much of a stretch to envision the Detroit Lions handing Minnesota its third seasonal loss.

After all, Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner, just up and bailed from his team on Wednesday. The morale around the locker room has to be a tad sour.

Plus, the Vikings are struggling to put points on the scoreboard with only 20 total points tallied in their last two losses.

They’ll be at home and battling against a hot quarterback in Matthew Stafford. The Lions signal caller has thrown for 16 touchdowns compared to Sam Bradford’s eight.

The Lions are clearly the better team offensively. They should be no match for a Vikings defense suddenly surrounded by too many question marks.

4. Carolina Panthers (-2) vs. Los Angeles Rams

The Rams are never a sure-fire bet to win in any game. But they are sneaky-good at outperforming better, and favored, opponents. So far this season, the Rams scoured up victories over both the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals.

We see the Rams continuing this trend when the Carolina Panthers enter the Colosseum on Sunday. The Panthers are favored in this NFC showdown. But seriously, they have won just twice this season and rest at the bottom of their division.

NFL Week 9, Cam NewtonThe Rams have three wins and should be fresh after their bye. Their defense could force Cam Newton into some serious mistakes. Los Angeles’ defense actually ranks 11th-best against the pass, and Newton has thus far completed only 57 percent of his passes for a grand total of 11 touchdowns and six interceptions.

In the meantime, Rams quarterback Case Keenum is completing passes at rate of 62 percent. The Panthers defense is allowing a 66 percent pass-completion rate and has given up 16 passing touchdowns. The potential is there for a big day for the Rams’ offense.

We would love to project Rams running back Todd Gurley finally having a breakout game. But he faces a defense giving up only 3.3 yards per carry and five rushing scores to date.

Gurley making a winning touchdown reception on the other hand, is more realistic.

5. Denver Broncos (-1) vs. Oakland Raiders 

Seth Roberts

This much-anticipated Sunday Night Football game is perhaps the most exciting one on the schedule. Both 6-2 AFC West teams will square off at the home of the Oakland Raiders.

A particular piece of information to mention is the Raiders have lost two-of-three home games this season. Also, they have not been up against a defense as formidable as that of the Broncos. Opposing quarterbacks are completing a league-low 53.5 percent of their passes against Denver’s defense. Worse yet, the Broncos have yielded only six passing touchdowns.

This all sounds terrible for Oakland, right? We are going to boldly say that Carr defies the odd here. He has absolutely been on fire as of late. As a result, Oakland’s offense ranks No. 3. As a comparison, Denver’s registers in at No. 18.

The Broncos should find ways to score against Oakland. But expecting Trevor Siemian to suddenly develop into the 2013 version of Peyton Manning is not going to happen.

Going out on a limb, we are calling for Oakland to win by more than one touchdown score. The absence of Denver’s top corner Aqib Talib makes this all the more likely.