Week 9 NFL Picks: Predictions for Divisional Rivalry Games
At the halfway point of the NFL season, Week 9 will feature a few big divisional rivalry games that could have big playoff implications down the road.
For the second straight week, six NFL teams will be having their bye week, which means there will be 13 total games. Of those 13 games, there will be four between divisional rivals, but I don't think any of them will play out the way people were expecting at the beginning of the year.
Below are predictions for every single game in Week 9, followed by a breakdown of those four games between division rivals.
|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
Atlanta Falcons (2-5) at Carolina Panthers (4-3)
Date: Sunday, Nov. 3
Time: 1 p.m. ET
Prediction: 28-14, Panthers
At the beginning of the year, the Atlanta Falcons were considered a possible Super Bowl contender. Now, with a 2-5 record and a number of injuries, that no longer looks to be the case.
Will the Panthers make the playoffs in 2013?
Julio Jones is done for the year, and Roddy White has been hobbled all season with injuries, taking away from Atlanta's offense two of its biggest weapons. That hasn't kept Matt Ryan from trying to compete, as he's thrown for 2,223 yards, 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions this season.
With injuries and an inexperienced secondary, the Falcons are struggling on defense. They're giving up 363.7 yards and 26.3 points per game, which is not helping a depleted offense.
For the Panthers, they're starting to look like a legitimate team in the NFC. They've won three straight games by a combined score of 96-38. Quarterback Cam Newton has been huge in those wins, putting up eight total touchdowns and zero interceptions.
The bigger story has been the defense, which is giving up just 13.7 points per game, the second-fewest in the league behind the Kansas City Chiefs.
This was not where we were expecting these two teams to be in Week 9, but the Panthers should be able to easily take down the Falcons and start making a run at a wild-card spot in the NFC.
Baltimore Ravens (3-4) at Cleveland Browns (3-5)
Date: Sunday, Nov. 3
Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
Prediction: 20-14, Browns
It looks like the Super Bowl hangover is a real thing when it comes to the Baltimore Ravens, as they're struggling to string together wins.
The Ravens, losers of two straight games, are coming out of their bye week, and they really need to address their problems with the running game. Despite having Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce in the backfield, the Ravens have run for just 74 yards per game and 2.8 yards per carry, the worst mark in the NFL.
The defense is doing a decent job, but it can't keep bailing out an offense that's scoring just 21.4 points per game.
For the Cleveland Browns, they're trying to figure out who their starting quarterback is going to be for the rest of the 2013 season. According to Ian Rapoport from NFL.com, Josh Campbell will get the start for the second straight week.
Campbell actually played a solid game against the Chiefs in Week 8, throwing for 293 yards and two touchdowns and no interceptions, so he could be the go-to guy for the rest of the season if he has another big day.
I think Campbell steps up for the second straight game and comes away with a win this time. The Ravens are struggling right now, and the Browns have shown that they can pull off wins against solid teams.
Indianapolis Colts (5-2) at Houston Texans (2-5)
Date: Sunday, Nov. 3
Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
Prediction: 31-14, Colts
The Indianapolis Colts continue to surprise people. They lost games against the Miami Dolphins and San Diego Chargers, but they've also beaten the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos.
Andrew Luck had his best game of the season before the bye week, throwing for 228 yards and accounting for four total touchdowns against the Broncos. If the Colts decide to let him loose for the rest of the year, they could be unstoppable with an easy remaining schedule.
With the Houston Texans, they're a mess at the quarterback decision. The team announced on Twitter that Case Keenum will be the starter for Week 9.
Keenum made some exciting plays in the 17-16 loss to the Chiefs in his last game. He went 15-for-25 with 271 yards and a touchdown pass, giving him a 110.6 passer rating in his first career game.
J.J Watt continues to lead a dominating defensive attack that's allowing just 145.6 passing yards per game, but the defense can't win games alone. I expect the Colts to blow out Houston on Sunday Night Football and Pep Hamilton to let Luck run wild.
Chicago Bears (4-3) at Green Bay Packers (5-2)
Date: Monday, Nov. 4
Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
Prediction: 35-20, Packers
The Chicago Bears are still in the hunt for the NFC North title, but without Jay Cutler and Lance Briggs for the next few games, there's a good chance that they fall out of the race.
Josh McCown is going to be starting this week against the Green Bay Packers, and that's not good news. Sure, he threw for 204 yards and a touchdown against Washington, but the Redskins have one of the worst defenses in the league.
The Packers should have more success against him on Sunday Night Football.
After giving up 45 points against the Redskins, the Bears defense has a lot of of questions that need answering. Things aren't going to get much better against Aaron Rodgers, who in his career against Chicago has thrown 19 touchdowns to just six interceptions and posted an 8-2 record all time against the Bears.
Eddie Lacy has helped the Packers establish a running game, as he's put up nearly 400 rushing yards in four games since returning from a concussion. As a team, the Packers rank third in the NFL in rushing with 141.4 yards per game.
Even without receivers Randall Cobb and James Jones, the Packers have been just fine, reeling off four straight wins. I expect that streak to continue, as they should easily handle the Bears in Week 9.
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