NFL Picks Week 9: Road Teams That May Shock the World and Pull off an Upset
Going into Week 8, the New Orleans Saints were coming off a very lopsided 62-7 victory over the lowly Indianapolis Colts. Their next opponent was the equally pathetic—and winless—St. Louis Rams.
The Rams were coming into the game after getting blown out by the Dallas Cowboys 34-7 in Cowboys Stadium and without their starting quarterback, Sam Bradford.
But a funny thing happened on Sunday.
Rams running back Steven Jackson turned back the clock and ran all over the Saints' defense for 159 yards and two touchdowns.
The Rams' defense also sacked rarely-touched Drew Brees six times and intercepted him twice, one was returned for a touchdown. At the end of the game, the scoreboard read 31-21 in favor of the Rams.
The Rams were the home team in this game, but the Arizona Cardinals weren't in theirs. The 1-6 Cardinals were almost able to beat the Ravens in Baltimore, but couldn't finish it out even after going up 24-3.
The 0-6 Miami Dolphins, on the road, almost came away with their first victory against the New York Giants also, had it not been for a late fourth-quarter Giants touchdown.
Here are five road teams that may shock the world and pull off an upset in Week 9.
Miami Dolphins over Kansas City Chiefs
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Although the Miami Dolphins are 0-7, they are playing better. In Week 7, the Dolphins should have, could have, would have—but got Tebowed late in the fourth quarter and in overtime against the Broncos.
The Dolphins then nearly got their first win against the New York Giants in Week 8, but lost by three.
They have to win sometime, right? The Kansas City Chiefs will be on a short week, having played on Monday night against division rival San Diego.
For Miami to win, they're going to need another big day from Reggie Bush while playing a turnover-free game.
Why the Dolphins Won't Win
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The Dolphins won't win because they are the Dolphins—a winless team going into one of the best home-field advantages in the league in Arrowhead Stadium.
Although the Chiefs' defense has been hit hard by injuries, they are still an opportunistic one. We saw this in Week 7 against the Oakland Raiders when they returned two interceptions for TDs.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers over New Orleans Saints
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The Tampa Bay Bucs are 4-3, and they have beaten the Saints already in Week 6, but would anybody not be at least a little shocked if they go into New Orleans and beat the Saints for the second time this season?
Especially since the Saints are coming off a 31-21 loss to the Rams.
The Bucs have had a week off after their trip to London and will be getting their best running back, LeGarrette Blount, back.
The Saints have not been too good at stopping RBs this season. In the last game they played against the Bucs, New Orleans allowed Earnest Graham to rush for 109 yards. Just last Sunday, Steven Jackson gashed them for 159 yards and two TDs.
If Blount is healthy and has a productive game, the Saints may be looking at a two-game losing streak.
Why the Bucs Won't Win
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The Bucs won't win because this is almost a must-win game for the Saints.
With the Atlanta Falcons coming on strong at 4-3 and Tampa Bay just a game back for first place in the division, the Saints need a little breathing room.
If the Bucs win, they take over first place in the division with a 3-0 division record. The Saints will fall to 1-2 in the NFC South, making the rest of the season an uphill battle for them.
The Saints are 3-0 at home.
New York Jets over Buffalo Bills
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If the New York Jets beat the Bills in Buffalo, it might not be a "shock the world" win to a lot of people, but it should be.
If the Jets are able to win this game and the New England Patriots lose to the New York Giants later in the day, it will cause a three-way first-place tie for the AFC East with the Jets, Bills and Pats all at 5-3.
That's a far cry from where the Jets were after their Week 5 loss to New England that left them at 2-3.
The Jets have to play like they did against the San Diego Chargers when Shonn Greene rushed for 112 yards and Mark Sanchez limited his turnovers. Their defense must find a way to at least slow down the league's leading rusher, Fred Jackson.
Why the Jets Won't Win
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If the Buffalo Bills continue their strong play at home—they're 4-0 at home—and Fred Jackson gets going quickly, the Jets will lose.
Though the Jets are not strong against the run, ranking 25th in the league in rushing defense, they have tightened up as of late. New York has not allowed a 100-yard rusher in their past two games against the Dolphins and Chargers.
But Fred Jackson is in a different class than Reggie Bush or Ryan Mathews at this moment.
New York Giants over New England Patriots
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The New York Giants did not look like a very good team against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, but they did get the win. At 5-2, they are starting to come around, and the offense and defense that were hampered with injury at the beginning of the season are getting healthier.
Eli Manning is playing well and is leading the league's fourth-best passing offense. The Patriots are vulnerable against the pass, they rank last in the league in opponents' passing yards and were just torched by Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger for 365 yards and two TDs. I expect just about the same from Manning.
Defensive end Osi Umenyiora—who has a sack in each game he has played in this season—along with the rest of the Giants' defensive line will be going hard after Tom Brady.
The Giants' defense racked up five sacks against the Dolphins and rank first in the league in sacks with a total of 26 this season.
Why the Giants Won't Win
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There's no way the Giants are going to beat the Patriots in Foxborough, especially with New England coming off a loss.
The Pats hardly ever lose back-to-back games in the Belichick era—the last time it happened was in 2009.
In Foxborough, the Pats are 3-0 this season.
While Eli Manning leads the fourth overall passing offense, Brady leads the second overall passing offense.
The Giants are weak, ranking 28th overall in the league at stopping run. If New England can get BenJarvus Green-Ellis involved, it may be a long day for New York.
Denver Broncos over Oakland Raiders
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Tim Tebow and his Broncos just got rocked by the Detroit Lions to the tune of 45-10. Tebow looked bad, and the defense looked even worse.
Denver is getting the Raiders at the right time, though. New Raiders QB Carson Palmer is still learning the playbook and is limited, having just showed up about two weeks ago from his couch.
Their best RB, Darren McFadden, is also questionable for the game, dealing with a foot injury.
Tebow must rally the troops for this one and have a bounce-back performance.
Oakland ranks right in the middle of the league at 16th against the run, so if the Broncos are going to pull this one out, I would expect a big rushing day from Tebow.
Why the Broncos Won't Win
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The Broncos won't win this game if Richard Seymour and the rest of the Raiders' defensive line are able to get to Tebow like the Lions did.
If Darren McFadden or Michael Bush have a big day, this game might end quickly.