The continuing trend of surprising NFL upsets continued in Week 7 with a handful of underdogs pulling off improbable wins. The Kansas City Chiefs went into San Diego and beat the Chargers, the Miami Dolphins traveled to Chicago and crushed the Bears, and who could forget that the St. Louis Rams shocked the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. Who will be the surprise of Week 8? Only time will tell, but here’s a look at three games with upset potential in Week 8.
All statistics are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.
Philadelphia Eagles (5-1) over Arizona Cardinals (5-1)
Point spread: Cardinals favored by 2.5 points
This is one of the more intriguing and highly anticipated match-ups of Week 8. The Eagles and Cardinals come into the game with different team strengths and weaknesses. The Eagles are an offensive juggernaut; the Cardinals boast one of the best defenses in the NFL. The difference in this clash could come down to special teams, an area of the game that has been outstanding for the Eagles in 2014. Aside from having strong kicking specialists, the Eagles have been great with both punt and kick returns, have blocked multiple kicks, and have been great in kick and punt coverage all year. Throw in the fact that the Eagles should be healthy and rested coming off of their Week 7 bye, and this game has the makings of a road upset win for Philadelphia.
Minnesota Vikings (2-5) over Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-5)
Point spread: Buccaneers favored by 2.5 points
Given the way they’ve played up to this point in 2014, it is shocking, to say the least, to see the Buccaneers as favorites in Week 8. The Vikings are in no way near the upper echelon of NFL teams, but they have been better than Tampa Bay in 2014. Tampa Bay ranks near the bottom of the league in all major offensive and defensive statistics, whereas Minnesota has one of the better rushing attacks in the league and a well above-average defense. Vikings rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has been up and down as a starter in the NFL, and his play will likely be one of the deciding factors in this game. This game may be a bit of a snoozer compared to others this week, but it definitely has the potential to end in a Vikings upset win.
Green Bay Packers (5-2) over New Orleans Saints (2-4)
Point spread: Saints favored by 1.5 points
The Packers are playing better than any other team, with the exception of the Dallas Cowboys, in the NFC, and the Saints are coming off a game where they uncharacteristically collapsed late in the fourth quarter. The Saints play well at home, but that may not be enough for them to slow down Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense. New Orleans has one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL and has struggled mightily against top-flight quarterbacks in 2014. This game has the makings of a shootout, as both teams are top 10 in the league in average points scored per game. Green Bay comes in with the better defense, which could give the Packers an edge in this game and make the Saints a prime suspect to be upset in Week 8.