Matchups look predictable at first glance of the NFL’s Week 9 schedule. But as we’ve learned—sometimes painfully—anything can happen from week to week in this league.
There are so many factors that contribute to a football team putting together a full four quarters of winning football that it’s difficult to pick games accurately from week to week. But that’s what makes it so fun.
And that’s what we’ll do below, along with providing you with viewing details for each game and previews for the top matchups.
|Sun., 11/3||KC at BUF||1 p.m.||CBS||KC|
|Sun., 11/3||MIN at DAL||1 p.m.||FOX||DAL|
|Sun., 11/3||TEN at STL||1 p.m.||CBS||TEN|
|Sun., 11/3||NO at NYJ||1 p.m.||FOX||NO|
|Sun., 11/3||SD at WAS||1 p.m.||CBS||SD|
|Sun., 11/3||ATL at CAR||1 p.m.||FOX||CAR|
|Sun., 11/3||PHI at OAK||4:05 p.m.||FOX||OAK|
|Sun., 11/3||TB at SEA||4:05 p.m.||FOX||SEA|
|Sun., 11/3||BAL at CLE||4:25 p.m.||CBS||CLE|
|Sun., 11/3||PIT at NE||4:25 p.m.||CBS||NE|
|Sun., 11/3||IND at HOU||8:30 p.m.||NBC||IND|
|Mon., 11/4||CHI at GB||8:30 p.m.||ESPN||GB|
Schedule via ESPN.com
Baltimore Ravens (3-4) at Cleveland Browns (3-5)
As the Cincinnati Bengals (6-2) begin to pull away in the AFC North, this matchup will effectively end one of these two rivals’ hopes at a division crown. Neither the Baltimore Ravens nor Cleveland Browns are in great position to catch the Bengals, but losing here would all but eliminate either from contention.
Will the Browns win their first game over the Ravens in Harbaugh era?
In Week 2, the last time these two teams faced each other, both were coming off tough losses, but the Ravens were attempting to bounce back from a slaughter by the Denver Broncos. This time, Baltimore had a week off to recover a disappointing loss to the Packers, and the Browns are on quarterback No. 3 since the start of the season—No. 20 since 1999 if you’re keeping score at home.
Jason Campbell’s ability to sense and evade pressure in the pocket should give the Browns a better opportunity to score points than they had with Brandon Weeden—sacked five times in Week 2 loss to Baltimore.
We’ve counted them out before. With their backs against the wall, expect the Browns to fight valiantly to score a huge win against the Ravens this weekend.
SNF: Indianapolis Colts (5-2) at Houston Texans (2-5)
The Andrew Luck-led Indianapolis Colts are on an opposite trajectory compared to their AFC South Division rivals. After throwing a pick-six in four consecutive games, Houston turned to Case Keenum in Week 7 for a spark with Matt Schaub injured. It almost pulled off an upset against the unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs, too.
With Keenum starting over a healthy Schaub in Week 9, Houston will still have to be better offensively and take care of the football. Arian Foster is expected to play after injuring his hamstring and missing most of the team’s matchup against the Chiefs, per Deepi Sidhu of HoustonTexans.com. Another tweak to his hammy, though, and this one could get ugly.
If Keenum is forced to outduel Luck, don’t expect the former college star to come out on top, even at home. Indianapolis has been surprisingly strong against the pass, allowing just 228 yards per game through the air with eight interceptions.
Luck has been magnificent this season, both with his arm and his legs, and will test the top-ranked Texans pass defense. His 60.7 percent completion rate is a big bump from his 54.1 percent mark in his rookie season. He’s also taking better care of the football, surrendering just three interceptions after giving away 18 last year.
MNF: Green Bay Packers (6-2) at Chicago Bears (4-3)
Aaron Rodgers knows a thing or two about beating the Chicago Bears defense. As a starter, Rodgers is 8-2 against the divisional rivals with a 69 percent completion rate. He has a staggering 19-6 touchdown-to-interception ratio and a passer rating of 102.7. And that was against some much better defensive units than what we’re seeing from the Bears this season.
With new head coach Marc Trestman focusing on the team’s offense, the D has suffered. As of Week 8, Chicago ranks 21st in the NFL in total defense, 27th in the pass defense, 24th in rush defense and 29th in scoring defense. Rodgers has to be salivating at the chance to face this version of the slumping Bears D.
Their defense will be hurting even more against the Green Bay Packers without the services of star linebacker Lance Briggs, who is out for at least six weeks, per Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune.
And it doesn’t get better from there for the Bears. According to the team, per Michael C. Wright of ESPN Chicago, quarterback Jay Cutler is expected to miss at least four weeks after tearing a muscle in his groin during the team’s Week 7 loss to the Washington Redskins.
While still at 4-4, assuming they lose on Monday night, it will be nearly impossible for the Bears to survive in the fierce NFC North Division.