The Biggest NFL Upsets Since 1995
Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images. Pictured: Head coach Adam Gase of the New York Jets
Just when we thought Week 15 couldn’t get any weirder following the Jets’ upset of the Rams, it did.
The Bengals followed up the biggest point spread upset of the last 25 years by posting the fifth-biggest upset in that same time frame.
Behind third-string quarterback Ryan Finley, Cincinnati took a 17-0 lead on Monday Night Football and held off a Pittsburgh comeback to win 27-17.
Biggest NFL Upsets Since 1995
|2020||Jets 23, Rams 20||17.5|
|1995||Redskins 24, Cowboys 17||17.5|
|2018||Dolphins 27, Pats 24||17.5|
|2019||Bills 27, Vikings 6||16.5|
|1999||Browns 16, Steelers 15||14.5|
|2020||Bengals 27, Steelers 17||14.5|
|2017||Giants 23, Broncos 10||14|
|2017||Dolphins 20, Falcons 17||14|
|2010||Vikings 24, Eagles 14||14|
|2009||Buccaneers 20, Saints 17||14|
|2009||Raiders 13, Eagles 9||14|
|2001||Cardinals 21, Eagles 20||14|
|2001||Patriots 20, Rams 17||14|
|1996||Jaguars 30, Broncos 27||14|
|1995||Panthers 13, 49ers 7||14|
|1995||Saints 11, 49ers 7||14|
Washington Redskins (+17.5) over Dallas Cowboys
Week 14, 1995
Late in 1995, the 10-2 Cowboys were hosting a less-than-mediocre Redskins squad that was only 3-9. What was supposed to be a cakewalk for Dallas was anything but, as Washington came in and won 24-17.
For all the Vikings fans and futures bettors out there: Don’t worry. The Cowboys would go on to win the Super Bowl that season, proving that one ugly, ugly loss does not mean the season is a complete failure.
New York Jets (+17.5) over L.A. Rams
Week 15, 2020
The Jets entered Week 15 winless, and were installed as a massive underdog against the NFC West-leading Rams. Rightfully so.
But New York took a big lead early and survived an L.A. comeback to win 23-20. It gave the Jets that elusive victory, but more importantly (for Jaguars fans) made the race for the first overall pick much more interesting.
Buffalo Bills (+16.5) over Minnesota Vikings
Week 3, 2018
Josh Allen and Co. pulled off the NFL’s biggest upset since the Redskins’ win over the Cowboys in 1995. Read more about it here.
Oakland Raiders (+14.5) over Pittsburgh Steelers
Week 13, 2009
The 2009 Raiders were not good. They weren’t awful, but in finishing the season at 5-11 they were certainly not good.
They made their wins count for moneyline bettors, though, as they had three upsets with payouts of +500 or greater. In fact, a bettor would have had a 99% ROI if they took the Raiders on the moneyline every game of the 2009 season.
Cleveland Browns (+14.5) over Pittsburgh Steelers
Week 10, 1999
The Browns! This was their return to Cleveland, and while they didn’t put up any wins in front of their hometown fans — something Browns fans have since gotten used to — they did manage two road victories.
New York Giants (+14) over Denver Broncos
Week 6, 2017
Remember this one?
Essentially every wide receiver on the Giants had just gotten hurt and New York was off to an 0-5 start. Little would it matter, though, as Eli Manning’s 128 passing yards were supplemented by 100+ yards on the ground from Orleans Darkwa and a pick six from Janoris Jenkins.
Miami Dolphins (+14) over Atlanta Falcons
Week 6, 2017
Two in one week!? Yes, who could forget?
“Smokin'” Jay Cutler brought the Dolphins back from a 17-0 halftime deficit to beat the Falcons, 20-17. Clutch gene like the kind you read about. It also wasn’t the first time the Falcons lost a big lead to an AFC East team that calendar year.
Minnesota Vikings (+14) over Philadelphia Eagles
Week 16, 2010
Hey, at least Vikings fans can think back at the fond memories of Week 16 in 2010, when they upset the Eagles on a Tuesday night. Joe Webb III was under center for Minnesota and Michael Vick threw an interception and lost two fumbles for Philly.
Oakland Raiders (+14) over Philadelphia Eagles
Week 6, 2009
I told you about those ’09 Raiders. Upset machine, they were. Their defense won them this game, as JaMarcus Russell shockingly threw two interceptions in the 13-9 win.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+14) over New Orleans Saints
Week 16, 2009
Tampa Bay would score two touchdowns in the fourth quarter and a field goal in overtime to beat the Saints … as if they cared. It wound up being a meaningless upset to New Orleans, as the Saints would march to a Super Bowl victory less than two months later.
New England Patriots (+14) over St. Louis Rams
Super Bowl XXXVI
A young fella named Tom Brady against the Greatest Show On Turf.
What could possibly happen?
Arizona Cardinals (+14) over Philadelphia Eagles
Week 4, 2001
A real nail-biter this one was. Anyone who took the Eagles on the moneyline probably had themselves a bad week, month and year as Arizona won on a 35-yard touchdown pass with nine seconds left in the game.
Jacksonville Jaguars (+14) over Denver Broncos
Divisional Round, 1996 playoffs
The only other playoff upset of this bunch, Tom Coughlin led the Jags to a 30-27 win at Mile High. Coughlin certainly knows his ways around a playoff upset, though, as his Giants actually opened as a 14-point dog to the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII before being bet down to +12.5. (The Giants won that one.)
New Orleans Saints (+14) over San Francisco 49ers
Week 9, 1995
With the 49ers winning the previous Super Bowl, oddsmakers were bullish on San Francisco despite a meh 5-2 start — nearly matching its number of losses from the previous season.
The 49ers were taking on a Saints team that was just 1-6 at the time, but New Orleans was not messing around. The Saints scored a touchdown in the third quarter to go up 9-7 and Jim Mora decided to go for two! He wasn’t going to risk a tie, but it wouldn’t matter, as New Orleans won 11-7.
Carolina Panthers (+14) over San Francisco 49ers
Week 10, 1995
Yikes. Not a good two weeks in San Fran. For a second consecutive week, the 49ers managed just one touchdown, losing 13-7. They would end up losing in the divisional round of the playoffs that season to the Packers.