NFL Week 9 Picks: Predictions for Full Slate of Games
The NFL season is already at the halfway point, and with teams starting to separate themselves from the rest of the league, Week 9 will feature some very important games in the playoff race.
Keep in mind that another six teams will be on bye this week, including the Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers, so those teams won't be able to grab a win to move up in their divisional races. However, they can hope for the teams at the top of their divisions to fall and for them to move up that way.
With that being said, let's take a look at the teams that will be playing in Week 9, followed by a breakdown of some of this week's biggest games.
|Cincinnati Bengals||31-21||Miami Dolphins|
|Kansas City Chiefs||24-14||Buffalo Bills|
|Minnesota Vikings||20-28||Dallas Cowboys|
|Tennessee Titans||24-10||St. Louis Rams|
|New Orleans Saints||30-17||New York Jets|
|San Diego Chargers||28-31||Washington Redskins|
|Atlanta Falcons||14-28||Carolina Panthers|
|Philadelphia Eagles||17-21||Oakland Raiders|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneeers||20-30||Seattle Seahawks|
|Baltimore Ravens||14-20||Cleveland Browns|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||21-28||New England Patriots|
|Indianapolis Colts||31-14||Houston Texans|
|Chicago Bears||20-35||Green Bay Packers|
Predictions by Tyler Brooke
Cincinnati Bengals (6-2) at Miami Dolphins (3-4)
Date: Thursday, Oct. 31
Time: 8:25 p.m. ET
TV: NFL Network
Prediction: 31-21, Dolphins
There will be a pretty exciting game to watch on Halloween, but the Miami Dolphins should be scared heading into Thursday Night Football.
The Cincinnati Bengals continue to get better as the season progresses, and Andy Dalton in particular continues to heat up. They had a dominant 49-9 win over the New York Jets, with Dalton throwing for a career-high five touchdowns.
Over the past three games, Dalton has arguably been one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. He's thrown for 1,034 yards, 11 touchdowns and just two interceptions, lighting up opponents and leading the Bengals to wins in every game.
While the Bengals are on fire, the Dolphins are ice cold. They started their season with three straight wins, but they've lost every game since.
Most of those losses have been due to a few bad breaks, and Ryan Tannehill needs to work on limiting mistakes. He's developing nicely as an NFL quarterback, but turnovers are still a concern. He has posted nine turnovers and eight fumbles.
On the other side of the ball, the Dolphins have a lot of talent, including players like Brent Grimes, Cameron Wake and Dion Jordan. However, they're struggling to make stops when the team needs them, allowing 23.9 points per game.
The Bengals look like they can't be stopped right now, and that's bad news for the Dolphins. Expect Dalton to have another big game and for Cincinnati to get its seventh win of the year and continue to stay on top of the AFC North.
New Orleans Saints (6-1) at New York Jets (4-4)
Date: Sunday, Nov. 3
Time: 1 p.m. ET
Prediction: 30-17, Saints
Through the first eight weeks of the 2012 season, the New Orleans Saints were just 2-5. Now, the Saints are 6-1 and looking like one of the top teams in the NFC.
The big reason for that has been the improvements on defense. Rob Ryan has turned things around, and after being the worst defensive team in all of football last year, they are much better now.
Besides the 30-27 loss to the New England Patriots, the Saints haven't given up more than 18 points in any game. In fact, they're the fourth-best team in the league in points allowed, giving up just 17.1 per game.
Meanwhile, Drew Brees is playing like he always does. Based on his current numbers, he's on pace for over 5,200 yards, 43 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Jimmy Graham is having a big season as well with 40 receptions for 630 yards and eight touchdowns.
For the Jets, they've officially become the masters of inconsistency. They're 4-4 without two straight wins or losses, with wins over the Patriots and Atlanta Falcons, but also losses to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans.
Geno Smith has flashes of greatness, but they've just been flashes. He's completing 59.3 percent of his passes with eight touchdowns and 1,882 yards, but he also has 13 interceptions and six fumbles.
The defense looked great before giving up 49 points last week, so that could have just been a fluke game. However, it's certainly concerning given that opposing teams are continuing to make more plays against it.
I think that the Jets finally string two losses together, and Drew Brees highlights some of the holes on their defense, leading to a win for the Saints.
Chicago Bears (4-3) at Green Bay Packers (5-2)
Date: Monday, Nov. 4
Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
Prediction: 35-20, Packers
Coming off of a much-needed bye week, the Chicago Bears are going to need Josh McCown to step up on Monday Night Football in order to stay in the NFC North race with the Green Bay Packers.
Can the Bears keep their playoff hopes alive while Cutler and Briggs are injured?
With Jay Cutler out for the next few weeks, McCown will be starting in this one, and he actually played pretty well against the Washington Redskins in the 45-41 loss. He completed 14 of his 20 passes for 204 yards and a touchdown, but keep in mind that he did this against one of the worst defenses in the league.
Matt Forte is going to have to play a big game to keep the pressure off McCown. He's off to another great year, running for 533 yards and six touchdowns while averaging 4.6 yards per carry.
Defensively, they're going to be without Lance Briggs in this one as well, and that's bad news for a defense that's historically struggled against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. In 10 career regular-season games against the Bears, Rodgers has completed 69 percent of his passes with 19 touchdowns and six interceptions for a 102.7 passer rating.
To make matters worse for Chicago, Green Bay now has a running game thanks to Eddie Lacy. Since coming back from a concussion, Lacy has run for almost 400 yards in four games, making him a serious contender for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
It's going to be hard for the Bears to win without Cutler and Briggs, but we will see how they do with an extra week to prepare. I don't think it'll be enough to win, but I think they can make it relatively competitive.
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