The Bengals, Patriots and Eagles are on upset watch in Week 8 of the 2011 NFL season.
I did a better job picking the upsets last week than the week before. I picked the Jets to upset the Chargers in New York and I picked the Texans to beat the Titans in Nashville. Unfortunately I also picked the Arizona Cardinals to beat the Steelers but two out of three ain't bad, right?
Let's see if picking the right teams last week will carry over to Week 8. Here are the three teams I believe should be on upset alert this week.
Where: Seattle, Washington
Spread: Bengals by three
The Bengals are riding a three-game winning streak and they have the second-best defense in the league. They're going up against the second-worst offense in the NFL on Sunday in Seattle so you would think that they have this game in the bad but that's not so.
In the Marvin Lewis era (since '03) the Bengals have been 1-5 on the West Coast (1-7 if you count Denver as a West Coast team). They're also coming out of their bye week and since '03 they are 2-5-1 in games they play the week after their bye. They also haven't won in Seattle since the mid '90s. So, if history repeats itself again on Sunday, the Bengals will be upset by the Seahawks. This looks and feels like a different kind of Bengals team but Sunday will tell us a lot more about them.
Where: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Spread: Patriots by three
Yes the Patriots have the best offense in the NFL and they're going to score some points on the Steelers, but you also have to keep in mind that the Steelers have a top-three defense, as usual, and their offense is going up against the worst defenses in the league.
The Patriots defense has been so bad against the pass that it has drug the team's 12th ranked run defense all the way down to dead last in total defense. Ben Roethlisberger and company should be able to take advantage and the Steelers defense should do enough to hold the Patriots high-powered offense back to give the Steelers a win at home.
Where: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Spread: Eagles by 3.5
At 2-4, the Eagles' chances of making it to the post season are slim to none. It's just too hard to battle back from that kind of early season record to make it to the playoffs because they'd almost have to win out. However, the 3-3 Cowboys still have a shot and Sunday's game is a big one for them. If they lose it, their chances of playing football once the regular season is over drops a decent amount because of the losing record and the fact that they would drop in the division. If they win though, they could put themselves in a position to battle the Giants for the division Championship.
If there are any Eagles players that already believe their season is over and they've given up, the Cowboys could roll right over them. This game could go either way. Tony Romo would need to play mistake free and you can't discount the massive amounts of talent that the Eagles have on offense. This comes right down to who wants it the most and since the Cowboys still have a chance, or at least a better chance than the Eagles, to do something with their season I'm thinking that they win in Philadelphia.