As the 2019 season inches closer and closer and we are only a few days away from the Bears and Packers kicking off the 100th NFL Season. Before we get into the new season, we wanted to take one last opportunity to look through the 2018 campaign and find some of the biggest upsets from a season ago. We used the Money Line to find the longest odds and largest payouts from the underdog victories. Here is our top ten list:
#10 – Carolina Panthers @ New Orleans Saints
This late season matchup may not seem like a huge upset, seeing that it featured two backup quarterbacks squaring off in a game that had no major impact on the postseason. However, Sports Books still listed the Saints as an 8 point favorite heading into this one. Carolina, led by backup quarterback Kyle Allen, started off strong and fast and never looked back. Carolina led at halftime 23-0, and New Orleans didn’t score their first points until the 4th quarter.
#9 – Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers
Another game on this list that featured 2 teams with nothing to play for except pride. Detroit historically struggles to beat the Packers in Green Bay, so it makes sense that the spread was in favor of Green Bay. The Packers were desperate to not get swept by the Lions for the second consecutive year. Detroit came into the game looking to break some historically bad streaks. The Lions dominated this game from start to finish, and left the Packer faithful with a bad taste in their mouth as the 2018 season came to a close. Detroit was able to shut out the Packers on the road for the first time in 48 years, as well as securing their first 4 game win streak against the Pack since the early 1980’s.
#8 – Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles
This Week 10 Sunday Night Football game featured two teams that would eventually find themselves in the playoffs at the end of they year. However, at this point in the season, Dallas was struggling and was sitting at a 3-5 record. Philadelphia was not sitting much better at 4-4, however the defending champs were given the benefit of the doubt, coupled with home-field advantage, and granted a 7.5 point favorite status. The Dallas defense stifled Philly early on and held the Eagles to only 3 points in the first half. Philadelphia made a late surge in the 2nd half, but were stopped just short on their last drive of the game to seal the upset for the Cowboys.
#7 – Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots
Entering Week 14 of the season, the Patriots had a 9-3 record and were in control of the AFC East. Miami was sitting at a reasonable 6-6 record, but were still listed as 9.5 point underdogs at home. The game was back and forth throughout it’s entirety. With 7 seconds remaining in the game, Miami trailed New England by 5 points, had the ball on their own 31 yard line, and needed a miracle. That is when the “Miracle in Miami” was born. Miami completed a 17-yard pass, then lateraled the ball twice to keep the play alive, leading to a walk-off touchdown by Kenyan Drake. The play completely stunned the Patriots and ended up being voted Play of the Year during the NFL Awards banquet.
#6 – Oakland Raiders vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh entered this game against the Raiders with a 7-4-1 record, while the Raiders had only 2 wins the entire year. Despite playing on their home field, the Raiders were more than a 10 point underdog. The game was a back and forth contest throughout. Every time Pittsburgh got a break, the Raiders seemed to answer. In the fourth quarter, Oakland outscored Pittsburgh 14-7. The Steelers had one last chance to tie the game up on their last possession, but kicker Chris Boswell slipped and missed the field goal.
#5 – Tennessee Titans @ Jacksonville Jaguars
As the 2018 season progressed, we all found out that the Jacksonville Jaguars were not nearly as strong as they showed int 2017. However, in Week 3 the majority of the league was still expecting great things from this Jaguar team. This game was a defensive battle from start to finish. Neither team found the endzone in a game that featured 5 field goals. With 4:06 remaining in the game, Tennessee kicker Ryan Succop hit a 28-yard field goal to put the Titans up for good. This game highlighted the offensive struggles that Jacksonville would face the rest of the year, and led to drastic offensive changes in this year’s offseason.
#4 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints
Rolling into Week 1 of the season, expectations for New Orleans were very high, and they were quite low for Tampa Bay. Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston would be serving a 3-game suspension to start the year, so Bucs fans were curbing their enthusiasm for the first couple games. Then the phenomenon known as Fitz-Magic began. Backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick ended up throwing for 417 yards and 4 touchdowns en route to a 48-40 shootout victory against the Saints. New Orleans would go on to finish 13-3 and the Buccaneers ended up dropping 11 of the remaining 15 games.
#3 – Philadelphia Eagles @ Los Angeles Rams
Philadelphia crawled into this West Coast matchup against the hottest team in the league, LA Rams. Philly just lost their quarterback, Carson Wentz to injury and they once again had to turn to Nick Foles to rally the offense for a big matchup. Philly came out hot and kept the Rams down early. The Eagles led the Rams by 17 points heading into the final quarter. Los Angeles was able to rally back within 7, but were then shut down with a final drive opportunity to tie the game.
#2 – Arizona Cardinals @ Green Bay Packers
Arizona visited Green Bay with low expectations. It was a snowy afternoon, Arizona had the worst record in the league, and the Cardinals franchise had not beaten Green Bay on the road since 1949 when they were still located in Chicago. The game remained close throughout it’s entirety, but the Cardinals were able to outscore the Packers 13-7 in the 2nd half to finalize the upset. After this game, long-time Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy would be fired and be replaced by Mike Philbin for the remainder of the season.
#1 – Buffalo Bills @ Minnesota Vikings
Buffalo entered this Week 3 matchup with an 0-2 record. They were giving Josh Allen his 2nd career start, and they were facing a Minnesota team that just made a trip to the Conference Finals the previous season. Buffalo had no reason to contend in this game, but the Bills proved that the Vikings were overhyped and overmatched in this competition. The Bills jumped out early and never looked back. They scored 17 points in the first quarter and led 27-0 at halftime. Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota offense could not do anything against the Bills. The Vikings scored their lone touchdown late in the fourth quarter when the game was pretty much in hand. This upset currently sits as the largest underdog victory in the past decade.