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This week’s upsets in the NFL were a little more upsetting than usual, and could have major playoff implications in the NFC.

The biggest surprise of the day was Miami’s victory in Chicago, ending any talk of an undefeated season for the Bears. The Dolphins followed through on the blueprint that the Arizona Cardinals drew up a few weeks ago: hit QB Rex Grossman, convert the Bears’ turnovers into points. Unlike the Cardinals, Miami did nothing stupid to lose the game.

The Bears, at 7-1 and playing in the weakest division in football, still look like a lock to make the playoffs. But the loss now gives them just a one-game lead in the NFC over the New York Giants, and the teams square off next Sunday night.

Perhaps not as stunning as Chicago’s loss but equally unexplainable were the upsets playoff contenders Minnesota, Atlanta and Dallas suffered to teams at or near the bottom of their divisions.

Instead of giving themselves some breathing room in the postseason hunt, those teams dropped into a pack of nine teams with 3-5, 4-4 or 5-3 records.

Minnesota was a heavy favorite against the San Francisco 49ers but scored just three points in a 9-3 conference loss that leaves it 4-4 and tied at the moment with four teams for the final playoff slot.

Conference record is the second tiebreaker for the playoffs, so the sloppy loss could easily come back to haunt them.

Another team in that 4-4 gridlock is Dallas, which dropped a fluky 22-19 game to Washington and landed in third in the NFC East by virtue of a 1-3 division record. The Giants have a two-game lead over Dallas and a 3-0 division record, meaning Dallas likely won’t win the East if the teams end up in a tie at the end of the year.

At 5-3, Atlanta is a game up on the conference’s middle pack, but its loss to Detroit was just as disheartening.

Detroit had only won two of its past 12 games coming into Sunday, but scored 30 against the Falcons’ supposedly stout defense. The Lions had three defensive line starters scratched before the game but still managed to hold QB Michael Vick in check.

Plenty of top-tier teams have close calls each week — San Diego was trailing Cleveland late in the third quarter this week, and the Giants were losing to Houston in the fourth, and both won — but the teams that manage to avoid those spoilers will still be playing in January.

Instant replaySee the Baltimore Ravens pick up an important division victory against the Cincinnati Bengals on AFN Sports Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. Central Europe Time. Don’t tune in late: Baltimore picks up two touchdowns in the first five minutes.

Also on Wednesday, AFN Sports will show the Dolphins ruining the Bears’ perfect season at 2 p.m. This is only the second time in the last 25 years that a Chicago football team has made it this late in the season undefeated, and it’s the second time a Miami team has ended that streak.

On Thursday at 2 p.m., watch Dallas give up a safety, miss a two-point conversion and have a field goal blocked en route to losing in Washington 22-19.

Fantasy focusFantasy owners with struggling defenses should consider grabbing Kansas City off the waiver wire.

In the past that statement would be heresy: The last two seasons the Chiefs have been in the bottom half of the league’s defenses and always seemed susceptible to giving up a 40-plus point performance to any offense.

But this season the Chiefs have collected more sacks than Carolina, forced more turnovers than Pittsburgh and allowed fewer points than Atlanta. Statistically they’re comparable to the Giants and Cowboys, both of whom were likely taken well ahead of them on draft day.

Plus, coming up on Kansas City’s schedule are two games against Oakland, a game against Miami and a game in Cleveland. No one should start the Chiefs when they face San Diego in week 15, but they could provide solid stats in the more favorable match-ups.

Looking aheadThe Colts’ victory over the Patriots on Sunday kept them undefeated and has everyone asking the same question: When will Indianapolis choke this year?

The team returns to Indiana this week to take on the 3-5 Bills in a game in which it will likely be favored by double digits. Three of its seven remaining opponents have losing records, and three others — Dallas, Philadelphia and Cincinnati — are stuck at 4-4.

The Colts’ best chance of losing (before the start of the playoffs, where Peyton Manning’s record is 3-6) looks to be at Jacksonville in Week 14.

But last year the Colts were 13-0 before losing to the then-underachieving Chargers in Week 15, and this year’s Bengals have the same disappointing look to their team. They’ll travel to Indianapolis in Week 15 this season, so don’t be surprised if that game ends up spoiling the bid for perfection.


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