Week 9 NFL Picks: Red-Hot Teams That Will Keep Winning Streaks Alive
In a regular season as short as the NFL's, an extended winning streak is a team's best friend. One strong stretch of play can put a team in great shape in terms of the playoff race and provide a boost of confidence for the stretch run.
The toughest thing is usually maintaining the momentum.
Unlike in the NBA or MLB, teams aren't playing on a consistent basis to keep building off a performance from the day before or two days ago. They must keep playing at a high level for a month just to win four straight.
With that in mind, let's examine a trio of teams riding long winning streaks that will be able to tack another victory on in Week 9. The breakdowns are followed by a complete list of selections for the entire slate.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs still aren't getting the type of respect you'd anticipate for an undefeated team this late in the season.
They head north to face the Buffalo Bills with an 8-0 record, and even though they haven't faced the most difficult schedule, they do have wins over the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles with a healthy Michael Vick.
They aren't doing it with smoke and mirrors, either. They have a clear game plan, which relies heavily on Jamaal Charles and strong defensive play, taking pressure off Alex Smith. By limiting mistakes on offense and forcing plenty of them on defense, Kansas City has put together an ideal start.
They don't have enough healthy playmakers to end the Chiefs' terrific run.
Prediction: Chiefs 27, Bills 21
Thursday night games are always a little trickier to predict because it's tough to know how a team will respond on short rest. However, with the Bengals riding a four-game winning streak and the Dolphins on a four-game losing streak, Cincinnati has the edge.
Which of these red-hot teams is the best?
After a trio of close calls, the Bengals destroyed the New York Jets in every fact of the game last week. The emergence of Marvin Jones as a second receiving option behind A.J. Green has taken the team's underrated offense to a new level.
On the flip side, the Dolphins weren't able to capitalize on a strong start. They are giving up more than 28 points per game during their losing skid.
This is an example of two teams moving in opposite directions and the trend is likely to continue on Thursday.
Prediction: Bengals 31, Dolphins 24
Green Bay Packers
Like the Bengals, the Packers are winners of four straight. It's a streak that's helped propel them to the top of the NFC North.
Now, they prepare to face the rival Chicago Bears, who are just one game back, but will very likely be missing Jay Cutler due to a a groin injury. According to ESPNChicago.com's Jeff Dickerson, Cutler is aiming to return before the injury's original four-week timeline.
Green Bay's offense is one of the league's best, which isn't a surprise. The team's defense, though, has stepped up following its Week 4 bye to help spark the run. The unit was on track to give up fewer than 20 points in four straight before the Minnesota Vikings scored a few garbage-time touchdowns last week.
Still, the signs of progress on defense paired with an explosive offense make the Packers a very dangerous team.
The Bears might be able to keep pace for awhile, but Green Bay should pull away in the second half to push its winning streak to five.
Prediction: Packers 38, Bears 28
Complete Week 9 Picks
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NFL Week 9
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