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Six teams on upset alert in NFL Week 8

NFL Playoffs odds and point spreads: Browns-Steelers
Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Producing upsets every single weekend…

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

We’re one week closer to the holiday season, which means the stakes are heating up in a big way for teams around the league in NFL Week 8.

Nearly at the halfway point of the 2018 season, certain teams have started to separate themselves as true championship contenders. On the other side of the coin, other teams are quite clearly tanking.

Even so, the NFL has a way of producing upsets every single weekend, regardless of trends.

So which favorites are in danger of getting bit by an underdog in NFL Week 8? We have some ideas.


Philadelphia Eagles (-3.5) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

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It’s impossible to predict what will happen in London. There’s an entirely different variable in place when teams travel across the pond and have to deal with a level of jet lag and and altered preparation schedule. Of the two teams playing Sunday, Jacksonville is much better prepared, having plenty of experience with this routine.

From a pure football perspective, it’s easy take a look at how bad Blake Bortles has been recently, and at how Jacksonville’s defense has been a shell of itself, and think Philly is going to run away with the game.

However, the Eagles have no real running game to speak of, and the Jags still have one of the more formidable defenses in the game today. If Calais Campbell and Co. can apply pressure early and force Carson Wentz into a couple mistakes, this game is Jacksonville’s for the taking.


Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (-8)

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Given the way these two teams have been trending in recent weeks, it’s hardly shocking that Pittsburgh is favored to win by more than a touchdown. The Cleveland defense has taken a step backward in recent weeks, and the Steelers have started to click in a huge way on the offensive side of the ball.

The Browns are still creating turnovers at a rapid clip, though. They forced four last weekend against Tampa Bay, bringing their seasonal total up to 20, which leads the entire NFL.

Additionally, Baker Mayfield continues to play extremely well for a rookie, and Cleveland’s running game continues to be an effective tool. Those factors, combined with the simple fact that the Browns nearly beat the Steelers in Week 1, should give Browns fans hope.


New York Jets vs. Chicago Bears (-8)

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The Jets are extremely banged up on offense, and it’s going to take nothing less than a perfect game from rookie Sam Darnold to overcome the losses the team has suffered there. Given how dominant Chicago’s defense has been most of the year, it would seem like that’s an unlikely outcome.

Though, New York’s defense is pretty darn good, too. Featuring one of the league’s best coverage units, the Jets have a shot to hang with any opponent as long as Darnold isn’t turning the ball over.

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And with Khalil Mack still dealing with a hobbling ankle injury, it’s not completely crazy to envision Darnold having some success. If his counterpart, Mitch Trubisky, has a poor outing, then the Jets could pull off a huge upset.


Seattle Seahawks vs. Detroit Lions (-3)

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This is a pivotal game for both the Seahawks and Lions, as both teams are trending in the right direction after very poor starts to their 2018 campaigns.

Seattle has recently discovered a consistent, dominant rushing attack as its offensive line has begun to come together and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has made a concerted effort to pound the rock. That could spell trouble for Detroit, which ranks among the league’s worst at defending the run.

The Seahawks also have rediscovered their defensive edge and enter Week 8 ranked fifth in the league in scoring defense. They’ll be getting some fresh bodies back on the defensive line as well. This could spell trouble for Matthew Stafford, though he’s been red hot of late.


Green Bay Packers vs. Los Angeles Rams (-8.5)

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Will the last undefeated team of the 2018 season finally fall? The Rams sure do seem to have it all. With Todd Gurley on pace to outpace Hall of Famer Ladainian Tomlinson for most touchdowns in a single season, a potent passing attack that can go for six points on any give play and a defense that’s rounding into form, it seems like the Rams are actually getting better every week.

Though, if any one player has the ability to potentially flip this narrative on its head it’s probably Aaron Rodgers. Even though he’s been playing on one leg most of the season, he’s still insanely good. If his defense comes through at all with any semblance of a capable effort, he’ll keep the Packers in Sunday’s game. And if he has a shot at the end to win it, is anyone going to bet against Rodgers?


New Orleans Saints vs. Minnesota Vikings (-2.5)

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A rematch of last year’s famous playoff game that ended with the “Minnesota Miracle,” this Sunday night matchup figures to be a whole lot of fun.

Given the way New Orleans’ defensive secondary has played this year, Kirk Cousins, Adam Theilen and Co. could go hog wild. Nobody’s been able to stop Thielen at all this year, and he stands on the cusp of making some NFL history.

However, despite a porous pass defense, the Saints have ripped off five straight wins. Drew Brees is, somehow, playing the best football of his career. And with Mark Ingram back in action, his offense is more balanced and dangerous than ever before.

Get your popcorn ready.


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