Any Given Sunday is the rock upon which the NFL was built – the idea that any team can beat any other team on Any Given Sunday.
It’s only true up to a point. Only five teams that were underdogs by 17 or more have won the game. And the fifth time was Sunday when the Jets upset the Rams for their first victory to probably cost themselves a shot at drafting Trevor Lawrence.
The Jets were even a bigger underdog in Super Bowl III and upset the Colts so they have two of the five victories by teams that were underdogs by 17 or more.
Meanwhile, on Monday night, the Steelers favored by 14, lost to the Bengals, becoming the first team to start 11-0 and then lose three in a row.
The NFL loves results like these to foster the idea that Any Given Sunday is real. Even though big favorites tend to win most of the time.
—The two big upsets overshadowed the game of the week as the Chiefs rallied to beat the Saints, 32-29, in what could be a Super Bowl preview. The Chiefs are now 13-1 after going 12-4 last year and are just the ninth Super Bowl team to improve its record over the previous season. Six had the same record and 39 had a worse record. They are also trying to become the eighth team to repeat. The Steelers did it twice. The Patriots were the last team to do it at the end of the 2003-2004 seasons. If there is any question about the Chiefs, is it that they have won six games in a row by one score. They blew out the Broncos 43-16 and the Jets 35-9 before they started the string of one score victories. But there are no style points in the NFL. A win is a win and the Chiefs are very good at winning.
—What’s wrong with the Steelers? That is the big question after they suffered their third straight loss to Cincinnati following an 11-0 start. Ben Roethlisberger has admitted he’s part of the problem, saying he has to play better.
—The Patriots dynasty is over following the loss to the Dolphins that left them 6-8 and guaranteed their first non-winning season in two decades. The New York Times compared the fall of the Patriots to the fall of Constantinople in 1453. A bit of hyperbole but the Patriots managed to win six Super Bowls over that two-decade span with Tom Brady at quarterback, who took the dynasty with him when he left for Tampa Bay. Bill Belichick never developed a quarterback to replace him and years of shaky personnel moves have eroded the team. It is rebuilding time now.
—If there is an AFC team that can keep the Chiefs out of the Super Bowl, it has to be Buffalo. The Bills boosted their record to 11-3 by thrashing the Denver Broncos. A Chiefs-Bills AFC title game seems likely but the Chiefs beat the Bills 26-17 on Oct. 19. The Bills are probably a better than they were two months ago but the Chiefs still figure to be team to beat in the Super Bowl.