NFL Picks Week 9: Postseason Sleepers That Will Earn Wins

Maxwell OgdenCorrespondent IIINovember 1, 2013

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 20:  Jake Locker #10 of the Tennessee Titans runs the ball against the San Francisco 49ers at LP Field on October 20, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee.  The 49ers defeated the Titans 31-17.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

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
DateRoad TeamPredictionHome Team
Thursday, Oct. 31Cincinnati Bengals34-24Miami Dolphins
Sunday, Nov. 3Kansas City Chiefs21-16Buffalo Bills
Sunday, Nov. 3Minnesota Vikings20-33Dallas Cowboys
Sunday, Nov. 3Tennessee Titans20-12St. Louis Rams
Sunday, Nov. 3New Orleans Saints28-17New York Jets
Sunday, Nov. 3San Diego Chargers28-24Washington Redskins
Sunday, Nov. 3Atlanta Falcons16-21Carolina Panthers
Sunday, Nov. 3Philadelphia Eagles27-30Oakland Raiders
Sunday, Nov. 3Tampa Bay Buccaneers14-34Seattle Seahawks
Sunday, Nov. 3Baltimore Ravens34-20Cleveland Browns
Sunday, Nov. 3Pittsburgh Steelers31-35New England Patriots
Sunday, Nov. 3Indianapolis Colts17-21Houston Texans
Monday, Nov. 4Chicago Bears21-35Green Bay Packers
Week 6: 10-3, Season: 70-36

 

Tennessee Titans (3-4) at St. Louis Rams (3-5)

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 20:  Chris Johnson #28 of the Tennessee Titans runs the ball in the first half against the San Francisco 49ers at LP Field on October 20, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Date: Sunday, Nov. 3

Time: 1:00 p.m. ET

TV: CBS

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)

JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 20:  Ryan Mathews #24 of the San Diego Chargers runs for yardage during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on October 20, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Date: Sunday, Nov. 3

Time: 1:00 p.m. ET

TV: CBS

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)

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 27:  Terrelle Pryor #2 of the Oakland Raiders is congratulated by teammates and fans after he ran 93-yards for a touchdown on the first play of their game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at O.co Coliseum on October 27, 2013 in Oaklan
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Date: Sunday, Oct. 3

Time: 4:05 p.m. ET

TV: Fox

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.