Week 9 of the 2013 NFL regular season is set to commence at 8:25 p.m. ET on Thursday, Oct. 31. The thriving Cincinnati Bengals will take on the struggling Miami Dolphins in a meeting between two potential postseason squads.
Unfortunately, not every team has been so lucky.
Numerous preseason contenders have underwhelmed, and entering Week 9 the room for error is small. Many teams will be presented with the opportunity to rebound and begin to right the ship, but not every squad will cash in.
Here are the teams that will.
|NFL: Week 9 Predictions|
|Date||Road Team||Prediction||Home Team|
|Thursday, Oct. 31||Cincinnati Bengals||34-24||Miami Dolphins|
|Sunday, Nov. 3||Kansas City Chiefs||21-16||Buffalo Bills|
|Sunday, Nov. 3||Minnesota Vikings||20-33||Dallas Cowboys|
|Sunday, Nov. 3||Tennessee Titans||20-12||St. Louis Rams|
|Sunday, Nov. 3||New Orleans Saints||28-17||New York Jets|
|Sunday, Nov. 3||San Diego Chargers||28-24||Washington Redskins|
|Sunday, Nov. 3||Atlanta Falcons||16-21||Carolina Panthers|
|Sunday, Nov. 3||Philadelphia Eagles||27-30||Oakland Raiders|
|Sunday, Nov. 3||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||14-34||Seattle Seahawks|
|Sunday, Nov. 3||Baltimore Ravens||34-20||Cleveland Browns|
|Sunday, Nov. 3||Pittsburgh Steelers||31-35||New England Patriots|
|Sunday, Nov. 3||Indianapolis Colts||17-21||Houston Texans|
|Monday, Nov. 4||Chicago Bears||21-35||Green Bay Packers|
|Week 6: 10-3, Season: 70-36|
Minnesota Vikings (1-6) at Dallas Cowboys (4-4)
Date: Sunday, Nov. 3
Time: 1 p.m. ET
The Dallas Cowboys were one play away from 5-3, but a fake spike led to a Matthew Stafford touchdown run to seal the deal. Unfortunately, that quirky play has Dallas entering Week 9 at 4-4 with a one-game lead in the NFC East.
Look for Dallas to move to one game above .500 with a win over the Minnesota Vikings.
Dallas boasts the No. 8 passing offense in the NFL while the Vikings rank No. 29 in pass defense. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is No. 3 in the league with 18 passing touchdowns while Minnesota is No. 29 with 16 passing touchdowns allowed.
This all adds up to Dallas moving the ball at will and Minnesota needing to turn to its quarterback to respond.
Thus far, the quarterback trio of Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel and Josh Freeman has combined to help Minnesota rank No. 27 in passing offense. The Vikings have managed to put points on the board, but Adrian Peterson's job is becoming more and more difficult with players under center who struggle to move the ball.
It'll be close early, but Romo will help the Cowboys pull away for the win.
Prediction: Cowboys 33, Vikings 20
Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns
Date: Sunday, Nov. 3
Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
Just one year after winning the Super Bowl, the Baltimore Ravens have started the season at 3-4. The Cleveland Browns shocked the world with a hot start even after trading away Trent Richardson, but have since fallen to 3-5 by losing three consecutive games.
Only one team can move closer to the division title, and it will be Baltimore.
Both squads trail the 6-2 Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC North, but the Ravens can move to .500 in a division that's notorious for season-long title races. Fresh off a bye week, the Ravens will look to move to 4-4 with a win over a Browns team that they defeated 14-6 in Week 2.
Without Brian Hoyer, Cleveland will continue to struggle to score points.
Cleveland has scored 17 or fewer points in three straight games, and the Ravens have one of the better pass rushes in the league. Baltimore already has 25.0 sacks on the year, which ranks No. 5 in the NFL. Terrell Suggs has 8.0 and Elvis Dumervil has 5.5.
Baltimore does have two games remaining against the Bengals, which means this game could be monumental in the AFC North.
Prediction: Ravens 34, Browns 20
Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans
Date: Sunday, Nov. 3
Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
The Indianapolis Colts have been one of the most dominant teams in the NFL en route to a record of 5-2. The Colts already have victories over three of the top preseason Super Bowl contenders in the Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks.
Unfortunately, Indianapolis is about to do something it hasn't done since 2001: play a regular-season game without Reggie Wayne.
Andrew Luck has made tremendous strides, but a receiving corps of T.Y. Hilton, Darrius Heyward-Bey and tight end Coby Fleener is about to go up against the Houston Texans. Say what you will about Houston's midseason failures, but Houston's pass defense cannot be taken lightly.
Houston is No. 1 in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game.
J.J. Watt is still on the roster, Whitney Mercilus has 4.5 sacks and the defensive backfield has been stronger than it's getting credit for.
The major question mark is the quarterback position, but Indianapolis ranks No. 29 in rushing defense and both Arian Foster and Ben Tate are incredibly productive for Houston, though it's worth mentioning that both are banged up and aren't 100 percent sure to play.
It's hard to bet against Indy after what it's done in 2013, but Houston seems to have an edge entering this home game.
Prediction: Texans 21, Colts 17