Week 9 of the 2013 NFL regular season has begun, and all eyes are on the Super Bowl contenders. Numerous teams have displayed the look of a postseason force, but many squads are still searching for their identities.
Which postseason sleepers will move one step closer toward pulling off surprising postseason appearances with big wins in Week 9?
|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|
Tennessee Titans (3-4) at St. Louis Rams (3-5)
Date: Sunday, Nov. 3
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
Prediction: 20-12, Titans
The Tennessee Titans are 3-4, the St. Louis Rams are 3-5, and Super Bowl XXXIV was a long time ago. In 2013, the Rams seem to be getting further from contending, with Sam Bradford out for the season, and the Titans are getting closer, with Jake Locker returning from injury.
Those two trends will continue in Week 9.
The Titans have lost three in a row since starting at 3-1, losing by no more than 14 points to the Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers. The offense has faltered, but the Titans defense has remained strong throughout the season.
Coming out of a bye week, look for Locker and Co. to take down St. Louis for a crucial road win.
Chris Johnson is due for a big game, and the Rams happen to boast the No. 23 run defense. The Titans defense, meanwhile, is No. 7 against the pass, and St. Louis has a backup player in to relieve Bradford at the quarterback position.
It'll be an ugly game, but Tennessee will move back to .500.
San Diego Chargers (4-3) at Washington Redskins (2-5)
Date: Sunday, Nov. 3
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
Prediction: 28-24, Chargers
The general consensus about the San Diego Chargers appears to be that they will collapse at one point or another. It happened during every season in which Norv Turner was head coach, as the Chargers would start hot but crash toward the end.
Don't expect the same result under Mike McCoy.
The Chargers are currently 4-3 with an elite quarterback in Philip Rivers and a running back who's finally finding his form in Ryan Mathews. Despite playing with a relatively nameless receiving corps, Rivers has managed to limit turnovers and consistently light up the scoreboard.
In Week 9, San Diego will take its No. 6 passing offense up against the Washington Redskins and their No. 28 pass defense.
Washington has Robert Griffin III and a recently awakened pass rush, but Rivers has been one of the best players in the NFL. Washington's defense is an extreme liability, and with RG3's underreported inaccuracy, San Diego will be in position to win.
Unlike teams of past seasons, look for San Diego to close out.
Philadelphia Eagles (3-5) at Oakland Raiders (3-4)
Date: Sunday, Oct. 3
Time: 4:05 p.m. ET
Prediction: 30-27, Raiders
Readers need not tell me that the Oakland Raiders won't make the playoffs. I won't put up much of a fight about that. Oakland has promising pieces for future seasons, but this team doesn't look like a contender in 2013.
With games against the 3-5 Philadelphia Eagles in Week 9 and the 2-6 New York Giants in Week 10, however, the 3-4 Raiders could be 5-4 entering their final stretch.
Oakland currently has the No. 5 rushing offense and the No. 6 rushing defense in the NFL. The Eagles are just as strong on the ground, but with quarterback questions, the potential is present for yet another letdown in Week 9.
At Oakland, expect that to happen.
The Raiders are 3-1 at home during the 2013 regular season, most recently defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers. Terrelle Pryor has been a dominant dual-threat quarterback, and Darren McFadden is starting to find his groove. That spells trouble for the Eagles.
Philadelphia's downward spiral will continue, and Oakland will move to .500.