Week 9 NFL Picks: Underdogs That Will Pull off Upsets
Week 9 of the 2013 NFL season presents perhaps an unprecedented breeding ground for upsets.
Games in this league are unpredictable as it is, but the upcoming schedule features a lot of battles between teams whose stock is high and others that are struggling. Check out this statistic from ESPN's Adam Schefter:
Chicago at Green Bay next Monday night is the only game on the NFL's Week 9 schedule that matches two teams with above-.500 records.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 28, 2013
Since only one matchup is on tap between two clubs with records above .500, it's worth distinguishing which underdogs are indeed capable of pulling off victories against their far more prosperous foes.
Read on to find out which notable upsets will occur, along with a complete list of picks for the upcoming games.
Buffalo Bills over Kansas City Chiefs
The end is nigh for the Chiefs' undefeated streak to start the season under new head coach Andy Reid.
A close call against the Cleveland Browns at home last week exposed some discouraging signs, particularly for the team's sputtering offense.
Alex Smith may be 8-0 as a starter in his new home, but that doesn't mean he's playing great football. Smith has been the epitome of a game manager. His unit almost didn't score a point in the second half of Week 8, allowing a Jason Campbell-led Browns team to nearly rally for a victory.
The Chiefs have gotten so conservative that Jamaal Charles leads the team in both rushing and receiving:
Jamaal Charles leads Chiefs in rushing yds & reeivingc yds. Last to lead team in both for full season: Marshall Faulk - 1998 Colts (ELIAS)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 29, 2013
The Bills have a ferocious front four anchored by Mario Williams that is second only to the Chiefs in sacks, which will make Smith's life difficult on Sunday.
Buffalo is a tough place to play as it is, and running back C.J. Spiller may be able to return from a high ankle sprain, per ESPN.com's Mike Rodak. The defense is also fourth in takeaways, which can compete with the likes of Kansas City.
Led by an unlikely signal-caller in Thad Lewis, the Bills will exploit a lackluster KC run defense and put as much pressure as the Browns were able to apply on Smith in sacking him six times last week.
That will all culminate in the Chiefs' first loss of the 2013 season.
Prediction: Bills 23, Chiefs 13
Cleveland Browns over Baltimore Ravens
Campbell looked like a competent quarterback last week, and he rightly gets the starting nod over deplorable first-round pick Brandon Weeden.
Campbell better than Weeden, at least there's hope vs Ravens— Tony Rizzo (@TheRealTRizzo) October 27, 2013
This Browns defense is no joke—it is every bit good enough to shut down the best offenses in the league. The only problem is that Browns' ineptitude on the other side of the ball often forces Ray Horton's stellar unit to stay on the field too long.
It looked as though Campbell would be his typical Captain Checkdown self until play-caller Norv Turner got tricky and dialed up a flea flicker, which went for a touchdown to Josh Gordon on this beautiful throw:
Sometimes plays like that are a catalyst for an entire team when they're executed. For Cleveland, such was the case; the defense saddled up and shut out the Chiefs until the very end of the second half.
Baltimore does come off of a bye week, but a road trip to Cleveland isn't the best way to cure its problems after a 19-16 loss in the AFC North to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Super Bowl MVP QB Joe Flacco looks like a shell of himself from last year, partly because of shoddy protection and a No. 28-ranked rushing attack.
The Ravens' defense isn't good enough to back up that lack of production.
This should be an old-school, smashmouth football game at FirstEnergy Stadium, but look for the underdog Browns to deliver a victory for the Dawg Pound.
Prediction: Browns 17, Ravens 10
Houston Texans over Indianapolis Colts
So what if the Colts have beaten the 49ers, Broncos and Seahawks this season? That means nothing entering an AFC South clash with the defending division champion Texans.
Houston looked revitalized after Case Keenum made his NFL starting debut under center in a one-point loss to the Chiefs in Week 7.
Which team will finish with the best record?
Sure, the Texans may yield 122.1 yards per game on the ground, but what is Indianapolis going to do about it?
Richardson fumbled late in the Broncos game, which could have cost the Colts dearly, and he's averaged an even three yards per carry with his new club.
This is just a bad matchup for Indianapolis, though, and it will result in the Colts taking a step back at Reliant Stadium. Last year's defensive player of the year, J.J. Watt, will lead a Houston siege on Luck and help grind out a victory to save the Texans' season.
Prediction: Texans 27, Colts 20
|Away Team||Home Team||Winner|
|Cincinnati Bengals||Miami Dolphins||Bengals|
|Kansas City Chiefs||Buffalo Bills||Bills|
|Minnesota Vikings||Dallas Cowboys||Vikings|
|Tennessee Titans||St. Louis Rams||Titans|
|New Orleans Saints||New York Jets||Saints|
|San Diego Chargers||Washington Redskins||Redskins|
|Atlanta Falcons||Carolina Panthers||Panthers|
|Philadelphia Eagles||Oakland Raiders||Raiders|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Seattle Seahawks||Seahawks|
|Baltimore Ravens||Cleveland Browns||Browns|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||New England Patriots||Patriots|
|Indianapolis Colts||Houston Texans||Texans|
|Chicago Bears||Green Bay Packers||Packers|
Source: Picks are strictly opinion
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