Underdogs capable of taking down their opponents.
There are only eight weekends of football remaining before the playoffs begin. NFL Week 10 marks the start of the second half, and from here things really are going to get crazy.
The contenders and pretenders have begun to establish themselves, but the NFL is still a league of extraordinary parity. This means that pretenders oftentimes come up with methods to upend the contenders.
We’re taking a look at six games on the NFL Week 10 schedule that feature underdogs capable of taking down their opponents.These are the six teams on upset alert.
Detroit Lions vs. Chicago Bears (-7)
The Lions are limping into Week 10 after having suffered two straight losses. And this coming game won’t be easy by any means. Chicago is getting Khalil Mack back, and that typically spells doom for opposing quarterbacks — especially ones that were sacked 10 times the week before.
So, why would anyone possibly think Detroit has a chance to shock Chicago in the Windy City? There are two reasons. First, the Lions have a shot to fix things on offense by simply getting rookie Kerrryon Johnson more involved again. When he is the main weapon in this offense, things just go much smoother.
Secondly, as amazing as Chicago’s offense has been at times this year, second-year quarterback Mitch Trubisky is still a liability. A well-timed, ill-conceived throw by him could easily tilt the balance of the scales in Detroit’s favor.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Indianapolis Colts (-3)
These two teams enter Week 10 tied up at the bottom of the AFC South with 3-5 records. One of these teams is here as expected, while the other has disappointed in a major way through the first half of 2018.
The Jaguars are getting Leonard Fournette back, however, and are coming off a much-needed bye. Their pass defense is still the NFL’s best in terms of yardage allowed, and one has to imagine that pride is on the line in a big way as the likes of Jalen Ramsey and Calais Campbell attempt to re-establish their defense as the league’s best.
If Blake Bortles has one of his better games, then this matchup might not even be close. When he’s on, the Jaguars are very tough to beat. On the other hand, if the Colts can run roughshod over Jacksonville’s defense and find some turnovers at Bortles’ expense, the Jags will lose their fifth straight game.
Buffalo Bills vs. New York Jets (-7)
It’s going to be fascinating to see what kind of influence Josh McCown will have on New York’s offense. He’s coming in pretty much ice cold after sitting out most of the preseason and all of this year while rookie Sam Darnold was thrown into the deep end of the pool. And now he’ll face a Buffalo defense that’s been darn impressive lately, despite what the scoreboard might tell you.
On the other side, Buffalo might be getting Josh Allen back. He’s been throwing this week and is officially listed as questionable for Sunday’s game. As rough as he’s been at times this season, the rookie remarkably does give his team the best chance to win. And if LeSean McCoy can somehow find a way to bust out of his slump, then all the more reason to like the Bills in this game.
Seattle Seahawks vs. Los Angeles Rams (-9.5)
This seems far fetched. And maybe it really is a stretch. But then you realize that Seattle was oh, so close to beating this potent Rams team just a few weeks ago. The Seahawks forced Jared Goff into a couple of interceptions, held Todd Gurley to just 77 yards on the ground and discovered a running game of their own in that narrow loss.
Since then, Seattle has stomped the likes of Detroit and Oakland, and if not for a rookie-level pick-six by Russell Wilson last Sunday they had a shot at taking down the dangerous Los Angeles Chargers. So, while the Seahawks are 4-4 right now, this team has shown sparks of life.
Of course, they’ll have to find a way to slow down the Rams, who are putting up jaw-dropping offensive stats this year. But make no mistake about it; the Seahawks can pull off the upset.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles (-7.5)
The Cowboys are in danger of suffering through a lost season. They come into Week 10 having dropped two straight and three of their last four, and Monday night’s loss to Tennessee was embarrassing. Cornered, it’s time to fight for their playoff lives.
Getting Ezekiel Elliott heavily involved remains the best way for Dallas’ offense to thrive. For some reason, that task has been much more difficult than it should be for offensive coordinator Scott Linehan. But if he feeds Zeke, the Cowboys have a shot to win any game.
On the other side, Dallas’ secondary is outstanding, and its front seven is going up against a Philadelphia offensive line that’s been problematic at times. As good as Carson Wentz is, he’ll succumb to pressure like any other quarterback. If the ‘Boys can bring the heat on defense and find a way to resuscitate the offense, they have a shot to win their first road game of the season.
New York Giants vs. San Francisco 49ers (-3)
If ever there was a prime opportunity for Eli Manning to rediscover his youth and have a big game passing the ball, Monday night is it. The 49ers come into Week 10 having allowed 18 passing touchdowns — a number that only five other teams have eclipsed this season.
New York has plenty of talent on offense, and a well-designed game plan should allow the G-Men to put points on the board against these Niners.
On the other side, San Francisco is once again rolling with second-year quarterback Nick Mullens. As incredible debut against Oakland may have sparked unrealistic expectations. While New York’s defense isn’t elite, it certainly is a far stretch better than what the Raiders have been able to conjure this year. Don’t be surprised if Mullens has a rough go of it in his second career game.