Week 9 NFL Predictions: Breaking Down Sunday's Marquee Matchups

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistOctober 30, 2013

SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 14:  Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts enters the game against the San Diego Chargers on October 14, 2013 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Week 9 of the NFL regular season is already upon us, and it’s time to pick which teams will win Sunday’s marquee matchups.

Each of the following teams will steal the show this week and walk away from the most exciting games with a hard-fought victory.

All stats via NFL.com.

 

Full Week 9 NFL Picks
Away TeamHome TeamSpreadPredicted Winner
Cincinnati BengalsMiami DolphinsBengals -2.5Bengals
Atlanta FalconsCarolina PanthersPanthers -7.5Panthers
Minnesota VikingsDallas CowboysCowboys -10.5Cowboys
New Orleans SaintsNew York JetsSaints -5.5Saints
Tennessee TitansSt. Louis RamsTitans -4Titans
Kansas City ChiefsBuffalo BillsChiefs -3.5Chiefs
San Diego ChargersWashington RedskinsPick 'emChargers
Philadelphia EaglesOakland RaidersEagles -1.5Eagles
Tampa Bay BuccaneersSeattle SeahawksSeahawks -17Seahawks
Baltimore RavensCleveland BrownsRavens -3Ravens
Pittsburgh SteelersNew England PatriotsPatriots -7Patriots
Indianapolis ColtsHouston TexansColts -2.5Colts
Chicago BearsGreen Bay PackersPackers -11Packers

*Spreads via FootballLocks.com.

 

/Getty Images

Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans

Both the Indianapolis Colts and the Houston Texans are coming off of a Week 8 bye, and it is imperative that each franchise walks out of this Sunday Night Football matchup with the victory.

The Colts have lost wide receiver Reggie Wayne for the season with a knee injury, but with the improved rushing attack led by newly acquired back Trent Richardson and Andrew Luck under center, the future is still very bright this season.

On the other hand, the wheels are coming off in Houston. With Matt Schaub benched this week in favor of Case Keenum, per Deepi Sidhu of HoustonTexans.com, the Texans will be looking for their third win of the season. That’s not good for a team many considered legitimate Super Bowl contenders.

While Houston’s No. 1 ranked pass defense led by end J.J. Watt will give Luck a tough time all day (allowing just 145.6 yards per game), the Colts ninth-ranked rushing attack will destroy the Texans 28th-ranked run defense (allowing 122.1 yards per game).

Predicted Final Score: Indianapolis 27, Houston 21

 

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Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots

The New England Patriots were able to squeeze out a win over the Miami Dolphins this week, but the team has been a shell of the perennial Super Bowl contenders they have been over the last five seasons.

With a pass offense ranked 23rd in the NFL (only amassing 209.4 yards per game), Tom Brady and the Patriots offense have been playing poorly all season. The hope is that the return of tight end Rob Gronkowski to elite status continues this week, and the team has the weapon it needs to be viable contenders.

Pittsburgh is another team not living up to the franchise’s high expectations. After winning only two games all season, the Steelers are coming off of a heartbreaking loss to the lowly Oakland Raiders.

If New England can get the rushing attack moving consistently—led by the trio of Stevan Ridley, LeGarrette Blount, Brandon Bolden—the Patriots will be able to gouge Pittsburgh’s 27th-ranked run defense (allowing 121.9 yards per game).

Predicted Final Score: New England 31, Pittsburgh 20

 

Oct 20, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews (24) celebrates a touchdown run with tackle D.J. Fluker (76) and center Rich Ohrnberger (74) during the second half of the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank

San Diego Chargers at Washington Redskins

The San Diego Chargers and the Washington Redskins aren’t typical rivals with a long history, but as two of the best offensive units in the league, Sunday's matchup has the potential to be a high-scoring shootout.

San Diego is coming off of a bye week, and the team looks as healthy as it has been all season. Led by Philip Rivers and the Chargers sixth-ranked pass attack, the away team will look to exploit the putrid Washington defense.

The Redskins are 28th against the pass (allowing 273.7 yards per game) and 30th against the run (allowing 123.4 yards per game).

Washington’s star quarterback Robert Griffin III has once again reemerged as the dual-threat star that could single-handily change the fortune of the team, but whether he will be able to keep up with the scoring pace of San Diego will be the ultimate test.

Predicted Final Score: San Diego 33, Washington 30