NFL Week 9 Picks: Underdogs That Will Win Outright

Mike ShiekmanFeatured ColumnistNovember 2, 2012

BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 14: Wide receiver Dez Bryant #88 and quarterback Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys look on from the field during a timeout against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on October 14, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

A bunch of NFL teams are fighting for their playoff lives already in Week 9. Surprisingly, some of those teams were picked to win the NFC East and the AFC West.

That’s why their Week 9 matchups are desperation games; these teams need to pull out a win or kiss their season goodbye. It does not matter who the opponent may be—whether they’re undefeated or a desperate team themselves. These select few will get a victory with their season on the brink.

Dallas Cowboys (at Atlanta)

The Cowboys stink of desperation and match up well with Atlanta, which is one of the luckiest undefeated teams in NFL history through eight weeks.

The Cowboys defense has had to deal with short fields due to Tony Romo’s miscues all year, so its 23 points against is slightly inflated. Keep in mind as well, Rob Ryan’s unit is one of the four teams that give up less than 300 yards per game.

The points won’t be easy for the Falcons on their home field; Jason Garrett and Tony Romo will do enough on the other end to win out.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at Oakland)

The Bucs have shown some signs of life recently, with Josh Freeman and Doug Martin making the attack look sustainable. They head to Oakland where the Raiders have only given up two touchdowns in their last three games, but it’s a bit of a façade as they have played Kansas City in one of their three.

The advantage for Tampa comes on the defensive end, where it will stop the run and force the Raiders to go away from Darren McFadden, their best offensive player.

Overall, the Bucs have a better team, which should win the day in the Bay Area.

Philadelphia Eagles (at New Orleans)

Yes, I’ve heard everything about the Eagles. I’ve watched their offense play stagnant games, ignore running the ball and refuse to throw downfield.

That all should change against the Saints defense, which wins the award for “Worst Defense of the Last Decade.” This unit couldn’t stop a Pop Warner team. What makes their situation even more baffling is that the Saints have all of their defensive coaches back in house, yet still manage to allow 34 points last week to Denver.

The perfect antidote to Michael Vick and Andy Reid’s problems waits for them in New Orleans, and they should triumph in front of a national audience.