We're at the midway point of the season, and Week 9 is already shaping up to be a fun week of football. Thursday's game between Miami and Cincinnati was a thriller, and we'll see a few similar games this weekend.
Most teams, remarkably, are still in postseason contention. Even the 2-6 New York Giants are just two games behind the NFC East leader. That means every week is incredibly important.
Due to this parity, there's going to be a number of upsets this week. First, we'll take a quick look at every game on the schedule with predicted winners, before diving into some of the biggest upsets of the season.
|Kansas City Chiefs||Buffalo Bills||Chiefs|
|Minnesota Vikings||Dallas Cowboys||Vikings|
|Tennessee Titans||St. Louis Rams||Titans|
|New Orleans Saints||New York Jets||Jets|
|San Diego Chargers||Washington Redskins||Chargers|
|Atlanta Falcons||Carolina Panthers||Panthers|
|Philadelphia Eagles||Oakland Raiders||Raiders|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Seattle Seahawks||Seahawks|
|Baltimore Ravens||Cleveland Browns||Ravens|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||New England Patriots||Patriots|
|Indianapolis Colts||Houston Texans||Colts|
|Chicago Bears||Green Bay Packers||Bears|
Minnesota over Dallas
The Vikings aren't a particularly great team, but the Cowboys are in a bit of disarray. After Dez Bryant's tirade on the sidelines, tensions are running high in Big D. They are coming off a heartbreaking loss to Detroit, as well.
Beyond that, they may not be that good. The defense is awful. They have the worst pass defense in the league, giving up 315.4 yards per game. Their run defense isn't that much better, as they give up 107.1 yards on the ground.
I expect Adrian Peterson to have a big game. He hasn't been great this year, and he certainly hasn't played the way he did last year. But he does average 4.5 yards per carry and the Cowboys struggle against the run.
For the Cowboys, they appear to be on the verge of an implosion. The NFC East is weak, and they could easily run away with the division if they wanted to. But they haven't been able to, and they've lost to every good team they've played. No, Minnesota isn't that good, but the combination of an awful defense and the ticking time bomb of tension will be their undoing.
I like the Vikes to win this one by a score of 17-14.
New York Jets over New Orleans
But I think that was a fluke. On the season, the Jets' defense has been fantastic. They have the best run defense in the league, and if you take out last week's game, they give up only a respectable 23 points per game.
Yes, the Saints have a terrific offense, which averages 28 points per game. Their one loss was a heartbreaker against New England. They are one of the best teams in the league.
But the Jets have not lost at home, and I think Muhammad Wilkerson and the defensive line will put enough pressure on Brees to force him into a few mistakes.
The Jets will hang on and pull off the upset, winning by a score of 24-20.
Chicago Bears over Green Bay Packers
The injury to Jay Cutler is damaging, and it puts a big damper on their playoff dreams.
But not all is lost for the Bears. Josh McCown was fantastic in relief after Cutler's injury, throwing for 204 yards and a touchdown, while completing 70 percent of his passes.
No, he's not a star, but he's competent and he's facing a Green Bay defense that, quite frankly, is not that good. The Packers give up an average of 247.6 yards per game through the air, which is 20th in the league.
The Packers don't have the secondary to stop Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. It doesn't really matter who is at quarterback for Chicago, at this point. Marshall and Jeffery might be the best 1-2 punch at receiver in the league. The duo has combined for 1,101 receiving yards.
I think this will be a close game. But the combination of Marshall and Jeffery will be too much for the Packers, and the Bears will win this 24-21.