“Any given Sunday” is a rather hackneyed phrase thrown around during football season. It’s misty uttered by fans of teams who have no shot of winning a game as a huge underdog. However, it rang true this week in the NFL. Multiple underdogs pulled off surprising upsets against some top ranked teams. Let’s see where those upsets left the rankings
1. Arizona Cardinals 8-1
Previous ranking- 4
The Cardinals rebounded from their first loss of the season by easily handling the Niners on the road 30-17. However, the most impressive part is they did it without Kyler Murray or DeAndre Hopkins. Colt McCoy started at QB and threw for 249 yards on 22/26 passing with two TDs. James Connor carried the offense with three total TDs and 173 scrimmage yards.
2. Tennessee Titans 7-2
Previous ranking- 9
The Titans rode their defense to a 28-16 win on the road against the Rams to extend their win streak to five. Tennessee picked off Matthew Stafford twice including a 24-yard pick six from Kevin Byard. They also sacked Stafford five times and hit the Rams QB eight times. D’onta Foreman led the titans rushing attack with 29 yards on 5 carries in the first game without Derrick Henry. Newly signed Adrian Peterson led the team with 10 carries but totaled just 21 yards and a TD.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6-2
Previous ranking- 5
Despite being on their bye, the Bucs moved up a few spots because of the upsets. They’ll face Washington on the road this Sunday.
4. Baltimore Ravens 6-2
Previous ranking- 8
The Ravens barely eked out a 34-31 win over the Vikings thanks to Justin Tucker’s 36-yard field goal with 16 seconds left in overtime. It was an up and down game for Lamar Jackson who threw 3 TDs, including two in the second half that tied the game and gave Baltimore the lead, and rushed for 120 yards. But he also threw 2 interceptions including one on the first drive of overtime. Nevertheless, the Ravens defense forced a punt and Jackson led the game winning drive.
5. Los Angeles Rams 7-2
Previous ranking- 1
The Rams couldn’t protect Matthew Stafford, who was under siege all game and threw two picks including a pick six. Stafford entered the game having been sacked just 7 times in 8 games but was brought down five times by the Titans. His turnovers and the team’s 12 penalties nullified the Rams 347-194 total yards advantage.
6. Green Bay Packers 7-2
Previous ranking- 2
The Packers struggled mightily in Jordan Love’s NFL debut at QB in place of Aaron Rodgers who was out due to a positive COVID-19 test. Love finished with 190 yards on 19/34 passing with a touchdown and an interception, both of which came in the fourth quarter of the 13-7 loss. The Green Bay defense played well and held Patrick Mahomes under 200 yards for the first time since the final week of 2019, but it ultimately wasn’t enough in what became a defensive battle.
7. Dallas Cowboys 6-2
Previous ranking- 3
The Cowboys were utterly dominated by the Broncos at home 30-16 in a game they trailed 30-0 heading in the fourth quarter. Dak Prescott and the Dallas offense couldn’t get anything going until late into the fourth quarter when the game was already long decided. In his first game back after missing a week with a strained calf, Prescott finished 19/39 for 232 yards, an interception, and two late touchdowns. Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb were held to a total of 4 catches for 60 yards.
8. Denver Broncos 5-4
Previous ranking- Unranked
As mentioned above, the Denver defense was in full control of the Dallas top ranked offense. They may have only sacked Prescott once, but they were around him all game and disrupted many of his throws. Offensively, the Broncos possessed the ball for over 40 minutes and rushed for a total of 190 yards on 41 carries with two scores.
9. Los Angeles Chargers 5-3
Previous ranking- Unranked
The Chargers survived a nail-biter in Philadelphia thanks to a field goal with two seconds left that gave them a 27-24 win. Justin Herbert shredded the Eagles’ defense to the tune of 32/38 passing for two touchdowns and added a third on a QB sneak. Keenan Allen led the way receiving with 12 grabs for 104 yards. After Philadelphia ford the game at 24 with a TD pass from Jalen Hurts to DeVonta Smith, Herbert and Austin Ekeler led the Chargers on a six minute, 89-yard drive that set up the winning field goal.
10. Buffalo Bills 5-3
Previous ranking- 6
The Bills suffered an embarrassing loss at the hands of the Jaguars by a final score of 9-6. Josh Allen (of the Jaguars) harassed Josh Allen (of the Bills) with a sack, a fumble recovery, and an interception. Buffalo’s Allen threw two total interceptions and was sacked five total times as the Bills could only manage two first quarter field goals.