NFL Week 9 Predictions: Picking Winners for Schedule's Biggest Games
The biggest game of the Week 9 schedule is the Monday night tilt from Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisc. The league's biggest and fiercest rivalry will renew, but one team will be without its starting quarterback.
The Chicago Bears' Jay Cutler is expected to miss at least three more weeks with a torn muscle in his groin, per Larry Mayer of ChicagoBears.com. The Bears offense didn't miss a beat after Cutler went down in Week 7 against the Washington Redskins. Despite losing the game, the Bears still managed to score 41 points.
Cutler's replacement, Josh McCown threw for 201 yards and a score. Matt Forte had two touchdown runs as the ground game gave the offense great balance. It may be more difficult for Forte to find running lanes against the Packers, though.
Green Bay has the fourth-best run defense in the NFL.
Even more troubling for the Bears is the play of their defense. The team ranks 25th against the run and 27th against the pass this season. Heading into a game against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, that spells trouble.
The Bears will be without linebackers Lance Briggs and D.J. Williams as well. Briggs is expected miss four to six weeks with a shoulder injury, per Marc Sessler of NFL.com, and Williams is lost for the season with a torn pectoral, per Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com.
Julius Peppers is having the worst statistical season of his career. He's on pace for two sacks this season as he's amassed just one in the first seven games.
A struggling defense will continue to break rather than bend on Monday night. The Packers will defeat the Bears 32-17.
Kansas City Will Remain Undefeated
At 8-0, the Kansas City Chiefs are the lone undefeated team in the NFL. They will hold on to that distinction after defeating the Buffalo Bills on the road on Sunday. The Bills are without rookie starting quarterback EJ Manuel, per Chris Brown of the Buffalo Bills official website.
Thad Lewis hasn't been horrible in his stead, but against an opportunistic defense like the Chiefs, we should expect some miscues.
The Bills have lost three of their last four games. In that span, the team has turned the ball over six times. That includes three giveaways in Week 8 against the New Orleans Saints.
Kansas City thrives on its opponent's mistakes. No team has been as good at taking advantage of turnovers this season. Per Sporting Charts, the Chiefs have scored 63 points off their opponent's miscues in 2013.
Look for this aspect of the game to be a major factor on Sunday. The Chiefs will roll to a 21-6 win on the road.
Baltimore Ravens Will Keep Hopes of Winning Division Alive
The Denver Broncos and Chiefs are playing so well this season, it seems as though both those teams are locks for the playoffs. One will win the division, the other will be the top wild-card team. There's a while to go in the season, but the two AFC West powers have been dominant in the standings.
If the season ended today, another AFC West team would be the other wild-card. If that scenario holds true, the only way a non-AFC West team would be able to make the playoffs is by winning the division.
That said, a team like the Ravens needs to start winning soon if it hopes to catch the team atop its division. Heading into Week 9, the Ravens are 2.5 games behind the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC North. On Sunday, the Ravens travel to Cleveland to take on the Cleveland Browns.
Baltimore has struggled to score points this season. Joe Flacco and Co. have only produced 21 points per game, but the Browns have been even worse. Their myriad of starting quarterbacks has only produced 18 points per game.
Jason Campbell didn't look bad in Week 8 against the Chiefs. He threw for 293 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, but the Browns still only scored 17 points in a loss to K.C. Nonetheless, head coach Rob Chudzinski says Campbell will start again against the Ravens in Week 9, per Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun.
Winning football has been about running the ball well for the Ravens this season. In their three wins, the team has averaged 102.3 yards on the ground. In their four losses, the team has averaged just 52.75.
The Ravens ran for 99 yards a 14-6 win over the Browns in Week 2. Expect to see another ugly game with a similar result in Week 9. The Ravens will prevail 17-9 to get back to .500 and stay in striking distance of the Bengals.
Here are predictions for the rest of the games on the Week 9 schedule.
|Thursday, Oct. 31||Time (ET)||TV||Location||Prediction|
|Cincinnati at Miami||8:25 PM||NFL||Sun Life Stadium||Cincinnati|
|Sunday, Nov. 3||Time (ET)||TV||Location|
|Kansas City at Buffalo||1 PM||CBS||Ralph Wilson Stadium||Kansas City|
|Minnesota at Dallas||1 PM||FOX||AT&T Stadium||Dallas|
|Tennessee at St. Louis||1 PM||CBS||Edward Jones Dome||Tennessee|
|New Orleans at NY Jets||1 PM||FOX||MetLife Stadium||New Orleans|
|San Diego at Washington||1 PM||CBS||FedEx Field||San Diego|
|Atlanta at Carolina||1 PM||FOX||Bank of America Stadium||Carolina|
|Philadelphia at Oakland||4:05 PM||FOX||O.co Coliseum||Oakland|
|Tampa Bay at Seattle||4:05 PM||FOX||CenturyLink Field||Seattle|
|Baltimore at Cleveland||4:25 PM||CBS||FirstEnergy Stadium||Baltimore|
|Pittsburgh at New England||4:25 PM||CBS||Gillette Stadium||New England|
|Indianapolis at Houston||8:30 PM||NBC||Reliant Stadium||Indianapolis|
|Monday, Nov. 4||Time (ET)||TV||Location|
|Chicago at Green Bay||8:30 PM||ESPN and Watch ESPN||Lambeau Field||Green Bay|
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