NFL Week 9 Predictions

After a very low-key and typical Week 8, let’s hope for some excitement and surprise. The good news from last week is that I finally got double-digit games right! Can I make it two weeks in a row? Let’s predict the games in Week 9.

Raiders (1-6) at 49ers (1-7)

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Battle of the Bay? More like battle for Bosa. That would be edge rusher Nick Bosa, the projected number one pick in next year’s draft. That’s because the 49ers and Raiders are arguably the worst two teams in the league, and may actually gain more from losing this game than winning it for obvious reasons. So who’ll walk away with the actual victory and destroy their dreams of Bosa? That honor will go to the 49ers. Despite being 1-7, coach Kyle Shanahan has the 49ers playing with a type of spirit that the Raiders lack. San Francisco has been in a lot of games, including a close primetime road loss to the Packers in Week 6, while Oakland has made a habit of losing by double digits. Furthermore, the 49ers have the 6th ranked rushing attack, while the Raiders rank dead last in defending it. It’s easy to see a scenario in which Shanahan is able to exploit this, so expect the 49ers to rush for 150+ yards in this game. With the running game working, the 49ers will be able to hold onto the ball long enough to keep Derek Carr off the field, which will be important after his 3 touchdown performance a week ago. (He’s the only Raider still worth noting) Because both teams are so horrible, this game should stay close, but the 49ers will be the ones to destroy their draft position due what will be an amazing performance by their rushing attack. Prediction: Raiders 23 49ers 27

Steelers (4-2-1) at Ravens (4-4)

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In a critical divisional matchup between two long time rivals, the Steelers and Ravens will matchup for the second time this season, this time in Baltimore. In the first matchup, it was Baltimore who came out on top, winning 26-14. This time around, it should be much closer, but the Ravens will be victorious once again. These teams are as evenly matched as it gets, as Baltimore’s top ranked defense should be able to contain Pittsburgh’s offense, while the Ravens don’t have a strong enough offense to put this game away. That means this game will come down to the wire, which would favor the Ravens. The Steelers are a very talented team, but they don’t pay attention to details and lead the league in penalties. That isn’t exactly a formula for winning a close game on the road, especially against a divisional rival with a stellar defense. Baltimore is also the more desperate team, as a loss would drop them to 4-5, so they should be able to be with more urgency than the Steelers. The Ravens save their season, defeating first place Pittsburgh in a game that will likely come down to the final play. Prediction: Steelers 22 Ravens 24

Bears (4-3) at Bills (2-6)

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Guess who’s back? With rookie quarterback Josh Allen and backup quarterback Derek Anderson dealing with injuries, Nathan Peterman will get the start this week against the Bears, who have arguably the league’s best defense. No problem. Chicago also has the third ranked rush defense, which will likely force Peterman to pass the ball frequently. What could go wrong for the Bills? If Peterman’s career 3-9 TD-INT ration wasn’t enough for you, also consider that the Bears have one of the best pass rushes and are matching up against Buffalo’s putrid offensive line. The Bills defense has done a tremendous job this season, but they’re just middle in the pack defending the rush, while Chicago have a top ten rushing attack. The Bears will control this game in every single aspect, and are as good of a lock to win as anyone else this week. Prediction: Bears 26 Bills 14

Buccaneers (3-4) at Panthers (5-2)

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Fitzmagic is back! The Bucs have inserted Ryan Fitzpatrick back under center after he helped Tampa Bay overcome a 18 point deficit on the road against the Bengals last week. The Bucs still lost last week on a last, but inserting Fitzpatrick in for Jameis Winston, who leads the league in interceptions, makes them a better team. Even then, they’re no match for the Panthers. Carolina has been rolling recently, winning four of their last five. They also have been unstoppable at home with a 4-0 record and plus 35 point differential. Their offense has been rejuvenated, with Cam Newton playing even better than his 2015 MVP season with DJ Moore establishing himself as the team’s best receiver and Christian McCaffrey emerging as one of the league’s best dual threat running backs. Luckily for them, Tampa Bay gives up the most points per game and is bottom five in yards allowed. Carolina should be able to absolutely dominate this game on offense and control throughout, which will keep Fitzpatrick and the Bucs’ lethal passing attack on the sidelines. The Panthers are also top ten in takeaways, while Tampa is number one in giveaways. Yes, a lot of those giveaways came via Winston, but Fitzpatrick can also be turnover prone. Carolina looks like a Super Bowl contender, and should continue to roll in this game. Prediction: Buccaneers 17 Panthers 31

Chiefs (7-1) at Browns (2-5-1)

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The last time Patrick Mahomes and Baker Mayfield met up, the two quarterbacks were in college and put up 125 combined points. It was Mayfield who came out on top, but it will Mahomes who will get the victory this time around. The Chiefs are clicking on all cylinders, scoring 36.3 points per game while their defense seems to be finally coming around. It’s unclear if anyone can slow them done, but it sure won’t be the Browns. Cleveland just fired both their head coach Hue Jackson and their offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Despite having a lot of talent on defense, they still rank in the bottom five in passing yards allowed and rushing yards allowed. Kansas City also ranks second is sacks, while the Browns are giving up the most sack in the NFL. Cleveland needs to force turnovers in order to win, but the Chiefs are amongst the league’s best at not committing turnovers. The Chiefs are just simply in another league, and they should come out firing against the chaotic Browns. Prediction: Chiefs 31 Browns 21

Jets (3-5) at Dolphins (4-4)

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On paper this matchup between the Jets and Dolphins may seem like a bland and boring game. However in reality, this is an intriguing divisional matchup in which both teams have to win this game. A loss would drag either team out of playoff contention, so expect both teams to play with fire in this game. These two teams may be the definition of evenly matched, so it makes sense to go with the home team in this matchup. The Dolphins are 3-1 at home this season, winning three close games. Meanwhile, every game the Jets have only played in one close game (a loss at the Browns) this season, as every other game has been by eight points or more. Sam Darnold is going through is ups and downs as a rookie quarterback, with ten interceptions. That may be too much for him to overcome when trying to win a road game against a team that has been solid at home. Prediction: Jets 20 Dolphins 23

Lions (3-4) at Vikings (4-3-1)

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In a very important NFC North matchup, the Lions and Vikings will face in Minnesota in a game that both teams need to win. A loss for Detroit would drop them to 3-5 and out of the playoff picture, while a loss for Minnesota would drop them to 4-4-1 and would potentially put them more than a game back of the Bears. This is yet another game between two division rivals that should be close, but the Vikings should find a way to win this game. Minnesota is a much more talented team, but the Lions match up well against them. Detroit’s strong pass rush should void well against the Vikings’ sub par offensive line and their strong secondary should be able to contain Kirk Cousins and the passing game just enough to give their offense a chance. The problem is, the Lions just traded away receiver Golden Tate and their offense has been inconsistent so far this season. It’s impossible to know how they’ll fair in this game, but they are turnover prone, while the Vikings defense was even able to get Drew Brees to finally throw his first interception. Turnovers will be the key in this one, and the Vikings will use Detroit’s mistakes to squeak out a close victory. Prediction: Lions 21 Vikings 23

Falcons (3-4) at Redskins (5-2)

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Are the Redskins for real? That’s the question many are asking. Despite being predicted by many to finish last in the NFC East, Washington is 5-2 and has a 1.5 game lead in the division. They’ll look to prove that they are indeed for real as they host the Matt Ryan and high-powered Falcons offense. Don’t be fooled though, the Falcons haven’t been the same team on the road so far this season. Atlanta is averaging 32.2 points per game at home, but just 14.5 points per game on the road. Furthermore, Washington’s defense may be the best bet in stopping Atlanta’s offense. Besides one awful outing against the Saints, the Redskins defense has been amazing. They are giving up the 4th fewest yards per game and the 5th fewest points allowed per game. The Falcons defense, on the other hand, is 30th in yards allowed per game and points allowed per game. They haven’t been able to stop anyone, and even allowed Eli Manning to throw for 399 yards against them. Washington’s offense is in the bottom half in yards per game and points per game, but they should be able to do just enough against this lackluster defense to keep Atlanta’s offense off the field. The Redskins have gone as their offense has gone, as they’ve won every game that they’ve scored 20+ points in. That trend should continue this week. Prediction: Falcons 24 Redskins 26

Texans (5-3) at Broncos (3-5)

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In a strange turn of events, receiver Demaryius Thomas will make his Texans debut in Denver, where he had called home for eight seasons. The record may indicate that Houston should have complete control of this game, but these two teams are more evenly matched than you may think. Denver has been victim to a very tough schedule, as they have played the 7-1 Chiefs twice as well as the 8-0 Rams. They’ve managed to play both of them close, while the Texans have barely been able to win against teams like the Bills and the Colts. In fact, all five of their wins have come against teams with losing records. Houston also has one of the league’s worst offensive lines, so the lethal pass rushing duo of star edge rusher Von Miller and rookie Bradley Chubb should wreak havoc. The loss of Thomas won’t affect themselves as much as it may seem, as rookies Cortland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton have a lot of potential and are ready to contribute. At home with their season on the line, I expect the Broncos to find a way to win this game. Prediction: Texans 17 Broncos 23

Chargers (5-2) at Seahawks (4-3)

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In the best game of the week that no one is talking about, the 5-2 Chargers will meet up with the 4-3 Seahawks in Seattle. Both of these teams are hot, as the Chargers have won four straight while the Seahawks have won four of their last five. They are also amongst the league’s best in turnover differential and are quarterbacked by two of the better quarterbacks in the NFL is Phillip Rivers and Russell Wilson. So who will come out victorious? That would be the Seahawks. Seattle has found a new identity as a run first team with a good young defense, and are coming off a dominating win at Detroit against a solid Lions team. They’re top five in rushing, while the Chargers defense is just middle of the pack against the run. That could prove to be the key, as Seattle has a chance to control this game and force Phillip Rivers to make big plays with the limited time they’ll have the ball. That’s how turnovers happen, and the opportunistic Seattle defense will be sure to take advantage. Los Angeles has lost their only two games against teams with a winning record, and that should continue this week as Seattle will come out victorious with a big home win. Prediction: Chargers 24 Seahawks 27

Rams (7-0) at Saints (6-1)

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Can any team actually compete with the Rams? Los Angeles is 7-0 and is stacked on both sides of the ball. This week, the Saints will look to put up a fight at home. Unfortunately for New Orleans, that’s not going to happen. Los Angeles has one of the league’s top passing attack, and they have a chance to put on a clinic against the Saints’ putrid secondary. The passing game will be able to open up holes for Todd Gurley, who should also have a big game this week. On the other side of the ball, the Saints offense is strong, but they have no chance competing in a shootout against a Rams defense that ranks in the top half in every important defensive category. This game shouldn’t be close at all. Prediction: Rams 38 Saints 26

Packers (3-3-1) at Patriots (6-2) SNF

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Here we go! Arguably the two best quarterbacks of all time will meet up this Sunday, as Aaron Rodgers and the Packers will travel to New England to take on Tom Brady and the Patriots. So who will win the battle of the GOATs? Surprisingly, I’m rolling with Rodgers and the Packers in an upset. Once again, the Packers rank top five in passing yards. New England’s defense, on the other hand, ranks just 27th in opposing passing yards per game, so Rodgers should be able to pick apart that secondary. Brady and the Pats also have a lethal passing attack, but the Packers defense is top five in defending the pass, so they’re a better bet to somewhat contain the opposing team’s passing attack. In order to beat the Packers, you need to have a strong pass rush to fluster Rodgers and a strong rushing attack to keep Rodgers off the field. New England has one of the worst pass rushes in the league, and running back Sony Michel is currently dealing with a knee injury. Add in the fact that the Packers are the more desperate team, and this game should definitely be on upset alert. Prediction: Packers 31 Patriots 27

Titans (3-4) at Cowboys (3-4) MNF


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On Monday Night Football, the Titans and Cowboys will meet up in Dallas in a matchup between two 3-4 teams that have to win to keep their playoff hopes alive. This game features two teams with bland offenses and solid defenses. However, while the Titans offense is bad all around, Dallas has the fourth ranked rushing attack. And while the Titans defense is below average against the run, Dallas’ defense is solid around. Therefore, the Cowboys have the clear advanatge in this game. The Cowboys should be able to run the ball effectively, while it’s unclear how the Titans will be able to move the ball at all against Dallas’ stellar defense. The Cowboys are also 3-0 at home, scoring 29 points per game with a 42 point differential. They should continue to defend their ground this week, as they’ll move to 4-4 with a big primetime win against a Titans team that lacks any sort of excitement at all. Prediction: Titans 16 Cowboys 20


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