The 2013 NFL season has been a wild one to say the least as very few things have gone as expected. Because of that, it has been very difficult to make accurate predictions on a week-by-week basis. With that said, the league picture appears to be getting clearer now that half the season is in the rear-view mirror.
There are definitely some lopsided matchups on tap this week, at least on paper, but that doesn't always mean that a blowout is on the horizon. Many of the league's better teams are starting to assert their dominance over the cellar dwellers, though, which means that the NFL's elite should have a chance to flex their muscles in Week 9.
Here are three teams that are not only guaranteed to win outright in Week 9 but are also guaranteed to win by a wide margin.
|Week 9 NFL Picks|
|Away Team||Home Team||Spread||Pick ATS|
|Atlanta Falcons||Carolina Panthers||CAR (-7.5)||ATL|
|Minnesota Vikings||Dallas Cowboys||DAL (-9.5)||DAL|
|New Orleans Saints||New York Jets||NO (-6.5)||NO|
|Tennessee Titans||St. Louis Rams||TEN (-3)||TEN|
|Kansas City Chiefs||Buffalo Bills||KC (-3.5)||BUF|
|San Diego Chargers||Washington Redskins||PK||WAS|
|Philadelphia Eagles||Oakland Raiders||OAK (-2.5)||OAK|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Seattle Seahawks||SEA (-15.5)||SEA|
|Baltimore Ravens||Cleveland Browns||BAL (-1.5)||BAL|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||New England Patriots||NE (-6.5)||NE|
|Indianapolis Colts||Houston Texans||IND (-1.5)||IND|
|Chicago Bears||Green Bay Packers||GB (-10.5)||GB|
|Spreads courtesy of Vegas Insider|
New Orleans Saints
The 2012 season was a major disappointment for the Saints as they failed to reach the playoffs with head coach Sean Payton serving a season-long suspension. This year's team has done a 180-degree turn for the better as it is truly banging on all cylinders. The Saints suffered a tough loss to the New England Patriots a few weeks ago, but they have been perfect aside from that, and all signs point to New Orleans destroying the New York Jets in Week 9.
While New York has performed well beyond its means this season, it received a rude wake-up call in Week 8 when it lost to the Cincinnati Bengals 49-9. Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton tore apart what had been a solid Jets defense, so there is plenty of reason for Jets fans to be concerned heading into Week 9. Saints quarterback Drew Brees has been incredible this season as he leads the league in touchdown passes of 20 or more yards, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
The Jets were beaten deep often last week, and the Saints boast a far superior passing game to the Bengals. Also, New Orleans' defense has experienced a complete turnaround after being the league's worst unit a year ago. New defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has made a real difference, and his defense figures to make life miserable for Jets quarterback Geno Smith as well as the Jets head coach, who happens to be his brother, Rex Ryan.
Green Bay Packers
There was some concern in Packer Land a few weeks into the season as Green Bay started off with a 1-2 record, but the Pack has righted the ship as of late and currently sits all alone in first place in the NFC North. Despite the fact that Green Bay has suffered a number of injuries on the offensive side of the ball as of late, quarterback Aaron Rodgers has really stepped up to the plate and elevated his play. That should continue when the Packers host the rival Chicago Bears on Monday night.
While the Bears have a ton of talent on both sides of the ball, they are in a precarious position. Quarterback Jay Cutler is expected to miss a few weeks with a groin injury, which means backup Josh McCown will step in. McCown was impressive in relief of Cutler against the Washington Redskins a couple weeks ago, but he is far from an ideal option. According to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport, he very nearly had to leave the game for good, but he has nestled into his backup job and is certainly a success story.
With that said, McCown simply isn't a viable NFL starter. He'll have support from offensive weapons such as Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Martellus Bennett, but he is limited in what he can do. Rodgers is never limited, even with the likes of Randall Cobb, James Jones and Jermichael Finley on the shelf. Rodgers still has a great rapport with Jordy Nelson, he has started to connect with Jarrett Boykin, and he has a viable running game thanks to Eddie Lacy and James Starks. All of that points to a big Green Bay win at home.
The Cowboys look like championship contenders heading into the season almost every year, but they constantly prove to be little more than a .500 team. That is the case once again this season as Dallas sits at 4-4. The Cowboys could easily have a much better record than that, but they have dropped narrow decisions to the likes of the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs and, most recently, the Detroit Lions. Although Dallas hasn't yet figured out how to beat the NFL's elite teams, it hasn't had much trouble against the worst teams in the league.
Dallas just so happens to be facing one of those teams this week as the one-win Minnesota Vikings come to town. The Cowboys also happen to be much better at home than on the road, so all the pieces are in place. Dallas' biggest problem this season has been its league-worst pass defense. The Cowboys have allowed an incredible four 400-yard passers already, according to NFL on ESPN, but luckily the Vikes aren't a threat to have that type of success through the air.
Christian Ponder simply isn't a competent NFL start, but he's the best Minnesota has right now. Since he won't be able to hurt the Cowboys, they can focus on stopping Adrian Peterson and the Vikings' running game. Also, the Vikings happen to have one of the league's worst pass defenses, which means Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and wide receiver Dez Bryant should have a field day. You never know what to expect from the schizophrenic Cowboys on a weekly basis, but Week 9 should bring out the team's good qualities.
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