If you’d asked anyone outside of Miami who was going to win the Thursday Night Football matchup between the Ravens and Dolphins, I’d assume about 95 percent of people would have said the Ravens. There was no discernible metric where the Dolphins had the advantage, but you can’t measure heart, I guess.
In Week 9, there were eight games that featured a team getting five or more points. All of them covered the spread, and six of them flat out won their game. Throw in last night’s game, and that makes 9-0 against the spread since Sunday and 7-2 overall for those big underdogs. Had it not been for a few hilariously bad calls by referees in that MNF Bears-Steelers game as well as an incredible comeback by Lamar Jackson against the Vikings, those underdogs would’ve gone undefeated. To put that in perspective, throughout the entirety of this season prior to Week 9 there were only 11 teams listed as at least five-point underdogs to outright win their games. These types of things just do not happen.
Now, normally, I’d expect this kind of crazy stretch to gravitate back to the norm the following week, but this NFL season has just been insane. Between Tim Tebow, Urban Meyer, an insane amount of preseason injuries to promising young running backs , Jon Gruden, Henry Ruggs, Damon Arnette, Aaron Rodgers in the preseason, Aaron Rodgers in the regular season, Odell Beckham Jr., the Kansas City Chiefs’ “dynasty” (if you can call it that) ending so rapidly, the Detroit Lions being winless more than halfway through the season, and a partridge in a pear tree, you’d think the NFL couldn’t get any crazier. I certainly didn’t. Now, look at me. I’ve got egg on my face and my pants around my ankles, because I never would’ve expected these kinds of performances from teams like the Dolphins, Jaguars, and Falcons.
This Sunday, there will be six games with a team favored by five or more points. Only two of them are outright lost in their matchups last week (Dallas and Buffalo). I would imagine that both the Cowboys and Bills will take these matchups more seriously after their embarrassing losses in Week 9. As for the other four teams (Colts, Buccaneers, Steelers, Cardinals), maybe they’ll get caught by surprise this weekend. I mean, the Cardinals will be at home facing a team that had to sign a free agent quarterback because their starter just hit the IR. Plus, the Cardinals will see their MVP-caliber quarterback return to action. Every aspect of their matchup this week is pointing in the Cardinals’ favor. However, that was also the case for the Baltimore Ravens last night and look how that turned out.
It’s always nice to root for an underdog and last week proved that there is still tons of parity in the NFL. The phrase “any given Sunday” hasn’t disappeared, and as much as I or any sports media personality would love to be able to say with absolute certainty whether or not any team will win, we can’t. We just can’t.
Week 9 humbled me, and that makes Week 10 utterly unpredictable.