3 Potential NFL Upsets in Week 10

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For those who haven’t noticed, the 2014 NFL season has been littered with countless and improbable upsets. In Week 9 alone there were three significant upsets, and they all ended up being blowouts. The New England Patriots crushed the Denver Broncos, the Arizona Cardinals pounded the Dallas Cowboys, and the Pittsburgh Steelers dominated the Baltimore Ravens. As usual, there are several candidates to be upset in Week 10. Here is a look at three games with upset potential in Week 10.

All statistics are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.

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Buffalo Bills (5-3) over Kansas City Chiefs (5-3)

Point spread: Kansas City favored by 2 points

Both teams have been playing well as of late and have been particularly strong on the defensive side of the ball in 2014. Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith and Bills quarterback Kyle Orton would both be classified as game manager types, and the two have been near mirror images of each other in 2014. The Chiefs have one of the most explosive playmakers in the league in Jamaal Charles, but the Bills are equipped to slow him down and force the game into Smith’s hands.

For the Bills, there is nobody in the backfield who is close to being as dynamic as Charles, but they do have explosive playmakers on the outside in Robert Woods and Sammy Watkins. There is a chance that the Bills could be without Watkins, but the rookie remains optimistic that he will play on Sunday. Expect to see a low-scoring defensive battle in this game, with the Bills’ home-field advantage potentially being the deciding factor in this nearly even matchup.

Bills key offensive statistics:

  • 326.9 total yards per game (24th)
  • 228.0 passing yards per game (19th)
  • 98.9 rushing yards per game (23rd)
  • 22.3 points per game (19th)

Bills key defensive statistics:

  • 326.0 total yards allowed per game (8th)
  • 233.8 net passing yards allowed per game (14th)
  • 92.3 rushing yards allowed per game (8th)
  • 20.6 points allowed per game (7th)

Chiefs key offensive statistics:

  • 338.0 total yards per game (21st)
  • 201.1 passing yards per game (29th)
  • 136.9 rushing yards per game (6th)
  • 25.0 points per game (12th)

Chiefs key defensive statistics:

  • 315.5 total yards allowed per game (5th)
  • 199.4 net passing yards allowed per game (1st)
  • 116.1 rushing yards allowed per game (19th)
  • 17.3 points allowed per game (2nd)

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Miami Dolphins (5-3) over Detroit Lions (6-2)

Point spread: Detroit favored by 2.5 points

The Lions have to be feeling good about themselves after going 3-0 without All-Pro wide receiver Calvin Johnson in the lineup. Johnson will be back this week, but he still may not be at full strength. Either way, he will be a headache for the Dolphins secondary. The good news for the Dolphins is that the Lions are the second-worst rushing team in the league, which should allow them to focus more on stopping the Lions’ air attack.

Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill is coming off what may have been his best game as a pro in Week 9, and running back Lamar Miller has quietly had a god season in 2014. Both teams are among the league’s best defensive units in terms of both yards and points allowed per game. The Dolphins have been playing really well as of late, while the Lions have limped to three straight wins by a combined 16 points. If Miami can keep its hot streak going, the Dolphins have the ability to go into Detroit and upset the Lions.

Lions key offensive statistics:

  • 338.8 total yards per game (20th)
  • 251.9 passing yards per game (9th)
  • 79.6 rushing yards per game (31st)
  • 20.3 points per game (24th)

Lions key defensive statistics:

  • 290.4 total yards allowed per game (1st)
  • 216.4 net passing yards allowed per game (5th)
  • 74.0 rushing yards allowed per game (2nd)
  • 15.8 points allowed per game (1st)

Dolphins key offensive statistics:

  • 365.8 total yards per game (11th)
  • 228.5 passing yards per game (18th)
  • 137.3 rushing yards per game (4th)
  • 26.4 points per game (9th)

Dolphins key defensive statistics:

  • 304.6 total yards allowed per game (3rd)
  • 201.1 net passing yards allowed per game (2nd)
  • 103.5 rushing yards allowed per game (12th)
  • 18.9 points allowed per game (3rd)

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San Francisco 49ers (4-4) over New Orleans Saints (4-4)

Point spread: New Orleans favored by 5.5 points

This game is a flat-out must-win for the 49ers. A loss would put the 49ers almost completely out of contention in the NFC West, and without a playoff bid in 2014, San Francisco head coach Jim Harbaugh will likely face the chopping block. The Saints have been particularly tough at home this season, going 3-0 in games at the Superdome. The 49ers, however, match up quite well against this Saints team. They possess one of the premier defenses in the league and an offense that is loaded with gifted athletes who can explode at any moment. If the San Francisco defense can slow down Drew Brees and the Saints offense, there is a very good chance they can go into the Superdome and give the Saints their first home loss of 2014. 

Saints key offensive statistics:

  • 436.5 total yards per game (2nd)
  • 307.0 passing yards per game (3rd)
  • 129.5 rushing yards per game (7th)
  • 28.4 points per game (5th)

Saints key defensive statistics:

  • 370.5 total yards allowed per game (21st)
  • 268.4 net passing yards allowed per game (27th)
  • 102.1 rushing yards allowed per game (10th)
  • 24.8 points allowed per game (21st)

49ers key offensive statistics:

  • 355.0 total yards per game (13th)
  • 226.1 passing yards per game (21st)
  • 138.0 rushing yards per game (6th)
  • 24.9 points per game (12th)

49ers key defensive statistics:

  • 291.9 total yards allowed per game (2nd)
  • 206.3 net passing yards allowed per game (3rd)
  • 119.5 rushing yards allowed per game (10th)
  • 21.0 points allowed per game (23rd)