NFL Picks Week 9: Bucs-Falcons, Other Must-See Games
The NFL season is halfway over, and the playoffs are steadily approaching.
Teams are starting to set themselves apart from the rest as others are trying to catch up to the other teams.
Week 9 is right around the corner, and I will take a look at the five games that you need to watch if you are a NFL fan.
No matter who your favorite team is, these games have big implications for everyone on the entire league.
Follow Brandon on Twitter: @jeffeb91
Follow Brandon on Tumblr: http://i-w-r-i-t-e.tumblr.com/
5. New York Giants vs. Seattle Seahawks
The New York Giants are not only one of the top teams in the NFC at 5-2, but they are also one of the most well-rounded teams in the NFL.
On offense, the Giants rank eighth in passing yards (averaging 243.3 yards per game) and fourth in rushing yards (averaging 145.4 yards per game).
On defense, the G-men rank second in pass yards allowed (giving up only 177.9 yards per game) and third in rush yards allowed (giving up only 85.4 yards per game).
On Sunday, they take on the NFC West-leading Seattle Seahawks, who are 4-3. The Seahawks have played well under first year head coach Pete Carroll, and are looking to continue their improvement.
However, quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is likely out for the game after suffering a concussion.
This game will either confirm that the Giants are back as one of the league's power teams or show that the NFC is going through a down year this season.
4. Miami Dolphins vs. Baltimore Ravens
The Miami Dolphins are currently third in the AFC East with a 4-3 record, behind the New York Jets and New England Patriots.
The Dolphins have played in close games during six of their seven games (lost 41-14 to the Patriots).
The Baltimore Ravens are 5-2 entering this game and are tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers atop the AFC North standings. The Ravens have been one of the better teams in the NFL this season, and look to continue that on Sunday.
This game will be a tough, hard-fought game between two of the better teams in the AFC.
3. Kansas City Cheifs vs. Oakland Raiders
Stop me if you've heard this in the past five years: The Kansas City Chiefs and the Oakland Raiders are the top two teams in the AFC West.
Yeah, that hasn't happened in awhile, and it comes as a complete shock this season.
The Chiefs are the best team in the AFC West with a 5-2 record. Thanks to a strong running game, propelled by running backs Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles, Kansas City has the No. 1-ranked rushing offense in the NFL, averaging 190.4 yards per game.
The Raiders sit right behind the Chiefs in the AFC West standings with a record of 4-4. Oakland is also right behind Kansas City in rushing offense at No. 2 in the NFL, averaging 168.5 yards per game on the backs of Darren McFadden and Michael Bush.
This game will be a battle that is won on the ground, as both teams' offenses are centered around the rush attack.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Atlanta Falcons
Who would have thought before the season started that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would be tied for first in the NFC South?
Who would have thought that, going into Week 9, the Bucs would be 5-2 and tied for first in the entire NFC conference?
To answer both questions, not many people.
Tampa Bay faces the Atlanta Falcons (also 5-2 and tied with Tampa in the NFC South). These teams meet in the Georgia Dome on Sunday afternoon for supremacy in the NFC South, and maybe even the NFC.
Tampa Bay is 3-0 on the road and the Falcons are 3-0 at home. One of these streaks will come to an end after Sunday.
1. Indianapolis Colts vs. Philadelphia Eagles
The Indianapolis Colts come into this game after their Monday night victory over division-foe Houston Texans and have finally gained sole possession of first place in the AFC South.
The Colts have had to deal with a number of injuries this year—Dallas Clark, Bob Sanders Austin Collie, and Joseph Addai have all missed games—but have found a way to keep winning.
The Philadelphia Eagles are coming off a bye week. The bye gave quarterback Michael Vick a chance to finally heal from a rib and chest injury that kept him out the Eagles last three games.
Vick had been very impressive in his time for the Eagles, and Philly is hoping to see more of the same when he returns to the field Sunday.
The Colts have an impressive streak going in the month of November. They haven't lost any of their past 13 games they played during this month.
The Eagles have a streak of their own. They are 11-0 after bye weeks under head coach Andy Reid.
One of these streaks will come to an end Sunday night.
Brandon Jefferson is a student at High Point University and a Bleacher Report Writing Intern. You can follow him on Twitter @Dotcom_2.