The hardest thing to be in sports, especially the NFL, is a favorite. All of the pressure gets put on you to perform, and if you don't, the questions start coming in fast and furious.
Players and coaches will hear things about their effort, desire, lack of heart and so on. You name it: if a favorite doesn't win and look good doing it, media scrutiny runs rampant.
In Week 8 of the NFL season, there are a few favorites that look vulnerable. Panic time may not have fully set in yet, but it is coming sooner rather than later.
Here are the underdogs that will bring about all this chaos for the favorites this weekend.
Odds courtesy of Vegas Insider
Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans (-2.5)
The Titans don't exactly fall into the category of teams mentioned in the intro because there were no expectations around them. However, they have managed to put together a 3-4 record despite having the worst point differential (minus-89) in the NFL.
The Colts are also a surprise at 3-3. Andrew Luck has had moments of brilliance, while other moments made you want to cover your eyes. The comeback against the Green Bay Packers was the highlight of the season for this team, but it did follow it up with a bad game against the New York Jets.
This game comes down to whose weakness is a bigger detriment. Is it the Colts' inability to stop the run, or the Titans' inability to contain the passing game?
Chris Johnson has been so hit-and-miss this season that you can't predict what you are going to get on a weekly basis. Matt Hasselbeck had success throwing the ball last week against the Buffalo Bills, but that doesn't tell us much because everyone has lit up the Bills secondary.
This is going to be a close contest between two teams still trying to find their identities. The Colts look more like a team that knows what it is going to be.
Colts 23, Titans 17
San Diego Chargers (-2.5) at Cleveland Browns
Yes, the 1-6 Cleveland Browns are going to get their second win in three games this weekend at home against the San Diego Chargers.
I wish there was some profound reason. I would like to tell you that Brandon Weeden's turnover issues—10 interceptions in seven games—are a thing of the past. I want to believe Trent Richardson will actually have a hole to run through.
However, this prediction is not based on anything as profound as that. It is more a complete and total lack of faith in the Chargers. This is a 3-3 team that no one has any idea what to do with.
Are the Chargers a slow-starting contender ready to break out? Are they the team that held a 24-0 lead over the Denver Broncos, or the team that was outscored 35-0 by that same team in the second half?
As bad as the Browns are, we at least know what this team is. Plus, the Chargers traveling to the Midwest and East Coast doesn't usually end well in the colder months.
Browns 27, Chargers 23
Washington Redskins at Pittsburgh Steelers (-5)
The Redskins are one botched play in the secondary away from being 4-3 and tied for first place in the NFC East. Robert Griffin III continues to exceed all expectations put upon him, regardless of the stage he is on.
The Steelers have had their issues this season, though they do play a lot like the team we all know and love in front of their home fans. They are 2-0 at Heinz Field, but just 1-3 when they take their show on the road.
This will be the second time this month that the Steelers have gone up against a multithreat quarterback. Michael Vick didn't have a huge game against their defense, throwing for just 175 yards on 20 completions, but was able to put up two touchdowns.
Griffin is a better version of Vick right now. He has accuracy and poise in the pocket, but isn't afraid to tuck the ball and run when there is an opening.
Figuring out the Steelers defense will be the biggest test that Griffin has had so far, but he has defied all the odds already this season. Why stop now?
Plus, the Redskins have a very good defensive line that can create all sorts of problems for Ben Roethlisberger and the passing game.
Redskins 24, Steelers 23
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