NFL Week 9 Picks: Predictions for Every Game
The Lombardi Trophy isn't won or lost in Week 9. But for a number of desperate teams who have watched their postseason hopes suffer a major hit through the first half of the 2013 NFL season, the stakes can't get much higher this weekend.
But while teams like the Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans have severely disappointed to this point, other contenders are coming on strong and have emerged as legitimate Super Bowl favorites.
Below, I'll pick winners for every Week 9 matchup, highlighting a few contenders poised to keep on rolling.
|Cincinnati Bengals 23, Miami Dolphins 17||See below|
|Dallas Cowboys 34, Minnesota Vikings 24||Minnesota is in dire need of a quarterback. The Vikings rank 29th in the NFL in yards per game and dead last in time of possession.|
|Tennessee Titans 20, St. Louis Rams 16||The Titans have the second-best scoring differential among teams with a losing record.|
|Kansas City Chiefs 20, Buffalo Bills 13||See below|
|New Orleans Saints 27, New York Jets 23||The Jets are tied with the Giants for the worst turnover differential in football at minus-12 through eight weeks.|
|Carolina Panthers 24, Atlanta Falcons 21||The Falcons have forced just six turnovers in seven games. That won't get it done on the road against a surging team.|
|Washington Redskins 38, San Diego Chargers 35||Both offenses rank inside the top seven in yards per game and the defenses are bad, so expect a shootout.|
|Oakland Raiders 26, Philadelphia Eagles 17||The Raiders have won two of their last three overall and three of four games at home this season. The Eagles offense has accounted for just three points over the past two games.|
|Seattle Seahawks 30, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10||Seattle doesn't lose at home and the Bucs don't win in 2013.|
|Baltimore Ravens 20, Cleveland Browns 17||Baltimore has never lost to Cleveland under John Harbaugh. The Ravens are 11-0 vs. the Browns since 2008.|
|New England Patriots 27, Pittsburgh Steelers 21||The Steelers' inability to score points is troubling. They rank 28th in scoring offense and are struggling to muster more than 17 points per game.|
|Indianapolis Colts 21, Houston Texans 18||Only the Jaguars and Giants have been outscored by more than the Texans in 2013.|
|Green Bay Packers 31, Chicago Bears 20||See below|
Week 9 Schedule via NFL.com.
Cincinnati Bengals 23, Miami Dolphins 17
Winners of four straight, the Bengals will hit the road to play the reeling Miami Dolphins on Thursday Night Football this week.
While both of Cincinnati's losses have come on the road, they've won two straight away from Paul Brown Stadium and will be facing off against a Dolphins team that hasn't won since Week 3.
In addition to the two teams' opposite trends, the Bengals boast the league's seventh-best passing attack behind the arm of Andy Dalton and lit up a talented New York Jets defense to the tune of 325 yards and five touchdowns through the air in Week 8.
Even at home, Miami simply doesn't possess the firepower to beat one of the AFC's best. Its offensive line continues to be a glaring issue, and wide receiver Brandon Gibson, who was off to a strong start, is likely out for the year with a knee injury.
Expect the Dolphins' woes to continue against a hot Bengals team in prime time.
Kansas City Chiefs 20, Buffalo Bills 13
The Chiefs don't always win pretty, but it's also no coincidence that they're the last of the NFL's unbeaten this season.
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Kansas City plays mistake-free football on the offensive end (NFL-best plus-12 turnover differential) and gives up very little on the defensive side of the ball, holding teams to an average of 12.3 points per game (best in the NFL).
Neither of those things bode well for the Buffalo Bills in Week 9. Doug Marrone's squad has dropped three of its last four games and has become one-dimensional offensively, ranking 30th in passing offense. Since taking over for the injured EJ Manuel, quarterback Thad Lewis has been unable to stretch opposing defenses downfield, averaging just 6.3 yards per attempt.
While that might be enough to get the job done with Kansas City's defense backing him up, it doesn't work when your defense ranks 25th and 26th in fewest points and yards allowed, respectively.
Buffalo has been more effective running the ball, but with C.J. Spiller still ailing with an ankle injury, the Chiefs could choose to load the box against Fred Jackson and challenge Lewis to throw. Kansas City leads the NFL with 36 sacks.
Green Bay Packers 31, Chicago Bears 20
Another contender in the midst of an impressive winning streak, the Green Bay Packers will return home in Week 9 where they'll host rival Chicago in a matchup that will have mighty implications in the NFC North.
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The Packers are a game up on the Bears and a half game up on the Detroit Lions in the division. But expect Green Bay to take a one-game lead after Week 9.
Green Bay has balance offensively. Even without primary weapons James Jones, Randall Cobb and Jermichael Finley, Aaron Rodgers has been able to move the ball. Rookie running back Eddie Lacy has also been terrific serving as a work-horse back.
The defense is also doing its part, stuffing the run and keeping opponents out of the end zone.
Plus, Chicago is without quarterback Jay Cutler for a few more weeks and Green Bay doesn't lose at home. The Pack have won all three games at Lambeau in 2013 and haven't lost there since Week 1 of last season. With a shorthanded Bears team coming to town this week, watch for them to make it 11 in a row at home on Monday night.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.
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