Week 9 in the NFL features some intriguing matchups. It marks the midway point of the NFL season, and the stakes start to get higher as teams begin battling for playoff positioning. The Thursday night game features a heated NFC West rivalry between the 3-4-1 Arizona Cardinals and the 7-0 San Francisco 49ers. Moving into the Sunday matinees, the games to watch include a heavyweight tilt between the 6-2 Minnesota Vikings and the 5-3 Kansas City Chiefs, and a battle between two of the top teams in the AFC with the 8-0 New England Patriots taking on the 5-2 Baltimore Ravens. Week 9 concludes with the Monday nighter, where the 4-3 Dallas Cowboys visit MetLife Stadium to take on Daniel Jones and the 2-6 New York Giants. As we prepare for another week of great football, here are my predictions for Week 9.
San Francisco 49ers @ Arizona Cardinals
Thursday Night Football features the red hot 49ers travelling to State Farm Stadium in Glendale for a matchup with a division rival, the Arizona Cardinals. 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo continues to prove his worth with the club, leading the offence to a 51-13 drubbing of the Panthers last week. The 49ers won’t put up that many points this week, but they will cruise to a relatively easy road win.
Prediction: SAN FRANCISCO
Houston Texans @ Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars are the next team to play a home game away from home, as they take on the Texans in another overseas game at Wembley Stadium in London, England. The Texans traveled to London without their star defensive end J.J. Watt, who announced a season ending injury this past week. I predict the loss of Watt hurts the Texans this game, as they take on stingy running back Leonard Fournette and an up-and-coming young quarterback in Gardner Minshew.
Washington Redskins @ Buffalo Bills
I think this game speaks for itself. It’s been hard for the Redskins to get anything going for them, with their only victory this season coming over the winless Miami Dolphins. Backup QB Case Keenum has looked very mediocre in Alex Smith’s absence, causing the offence to be very inconsistent. The Bills have home field, and Josh Allen and company will be looking to right the ship after a poor showing against Philadelphia last week.
Tennessee Titans @ Carolina Panthers
I find it really hard to predict the outcome of this game. The Titans are a .500 team at 4-4, and the Panthers are 4-3 but are coming off an extremely disappointing trip to San Francisco that saw them lose by nearly 40 points. Perhaps the Panthers still had their flight legs, as they went into San Francisco having just returned from London for an overseas game. They are back in their home stadium now, and I can see running back Christian McCaffrey having another big game. It will be too much for the Titans.
Minnesota Vikings @ Kansas City Chiefs
A game of the week candidate will go down in Kansas City on Sunday. Kirk Cousins leads a Vikings team into Arrowhead Stadium that is feeling good about themselves after a 6-2 start to the year. Kansas City’s offence is definitely hurting with starting quarterback Patrick Mahomes sidelined with an injury, but backup Matt Moore kept the Chiefs in the game last week in a hard-fought loss against Green Bay. This game is also hard to predict, but I have to go with the home team on this one. LeSean McCoy will have a big game on the ground.
Prediction: KANSAS CITY
New York Jets @ Miami Dolphins
A battle of the bottom feeders. The two worst teams in the AFC East have just one win combined, and it’s definitely been a disappointing season for both of them. However, someone has to win this game. The Dolphins acquired cornerback Aqib Talib from the Rams this week, but Talib is on injured reserve and likely won’t see game action this season. The Dolphins flew out of the gate against Pittsburgh last week, going up 14-0 before falling apart and losing 27-14. Jets QB Sam Darnold looks back in game form after missing a few recent weeks suffering from mononucleosis. The Jets will pick up win number 2 against the winless Dolphins.
Prediction: NEW YORK
Indianapolis Colts @ Pittsburgh Steelers
After the surprising retirement of Andrew Luck prior to the season, the 5-2 Colts have been riding high with their new starting quarterback Jacoby Brissett. They grinded out a slim 15-13 win over the Broncos last Sunday and have plenty of room for improvement as they travel to Heinz Field to face the Steelers, who will have to make do with Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges as their quarterback tandem for the rest of the season. Can this duo do enough to lead the Steelers to playoffs? It will be an uphill battle as I see them falling to a 3-5 record as the Colts come away with the victory.
Chicago Bears @ Philadelphia Eagles
This is an intriguing matchup as the 3-4 Bears visit the 4-4 Eagles. The Eagles had a statement win last week in Buffalo and are looking to improve on that impressive showing. The Bears looked good starting the year off 3-1, but couldn’t muster a win in October suffering three consecutive losses. Mitchell Trubisky and company will be looking to put an end to their current losing streak before it gets too out of hand. Does their first win since the end of September come in Pennsylvania on Sunday? I don’t see it. Carson Wentz and the Eagles will escape with the W.
Detroit Lions @ Oakland Raiders
Matthew Stafford and the .500 Lions roll into Oakland for a date with the 3-4 Raiders. The baby blue and white are coming off a victory against the Giants, while the Raiders have suffered back to back defeats. It is worth mentioning Stafford’s excellent showing last week, completing 25 of 32 passes for 342 yards and 3 touchdown passes. Two of those TD passes were to Kenny Golladay, who posted 6 receptions for 123 yards. Even though Derek Carr also looked decent in the Raiders’ 27-24 loss to the Texans, it’s hard not to bet on Stafford and the Lions if they can keep putting up big numbers like that.
Cleveland Browns @ Denver Broncos
The Broncos need a win and they need one fast. With a record of 2-6 and back to back losses on their conscience, playoffs seem pretty grim to a Broncos team that has put up only 125 points on offence, one of the lowest totals in the entire league. The silver lining for the Broncos? The Cleveland Browns come to town who have only scored 8 more points total than them, but have given up 30 more. So maybe there’s a chance for Joe Flacco and the Broncos this week. Their only problem is that when their defence plays lights out and puts them in a position to win the game, the offence doesn’t produce when they need to. They have only scored 19 points over the past two games, which needs to be a lot better if they want to win football games.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Seattle Seahawks
Russell Wilson continues to show dominance and proves game in and game out that he is one of the most elite quarterbacks in the league. With a plethora of offensive weapons such as Tyler Lockett, Will Dissly and Nick Vannett, the 6-2 Seahawks are looking for their 7th win against a Bucs team who is playing their first game after returning from London. We saw what happened to the Panthers this past week, as they played their first game back from London and lost by 38 points. The question in this game is if the Bucs will have still have their flight legs or not. Nonetheless, I think the Seahawks emerge victorious regardless.
Green Bay Packers @ Los Angeles Chargers
Rodgers vs. Rivers. One is 7-1, the other is 3-5. It’s hard not to bet on Rodgers and the Packers in this one, as they have looked nothing short of spectacular so far. Aaron Jones had a game to remember last week against the Chiefs, leading the teams with 2 receiving TDs and 7 receptions for 159 yards. He also had 13 carries for 67 yards. Wait, what?! Yes, you read that right. Jones is primarily a running back, which makes his 159-yard receiving performance that much more unbelievable. The Rodgers and Jones tandem is going to be hard for the Chargers to contain.
Prediction: GREEN BAY
New England Patriots @ Baltimore Ravens
This is easily the game of the week to watch. The sizzling 8-0 Patriots led by legendary QB Tom Brady meet up with rising young star QB Lamar Jackson and the 5-2 Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. The Ravens are coming off a bye week, but handily beat the Seahawks 30-16 two weeks ago in a very impressive showing from young Jackson against experienced veteran Russell Wilson. But the true test for the Ravens awaits, as they are facing by far the league’s beat defence this week. The Patriots defence has only allowed an unbelievable 61 points through 8 games, while putting up 250 on offence to lead the league in both categories. It will be a close game, but in the end the Patriots will be just a little too strong.
Prediction: NEW ENGLAND
Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants
The Cowboys haven’t had the season they wanted so far, posting a 4-3 record through 7 games. Flashing their top three offensive players in Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Amari Cooper, the Cowboys had a week of rest last week on a bye. Two weeks ago, they made a mess out of the Philadelphia Eagles, beating them 37-10 at home in a game that saw Prescott throw for 239 yards, Elliott rush for 111 yards, and Cooper reel in 106 yards on 5 receptions. You can expect those numbers to increase for each player against the 2-6 Giants, who stuck with the Lions last week in a 31-26 loss. The bottom line is that Daniel Jones just does not have the experience yet, and I don’t think he will be able to pull it off this week at home.
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