Week 9 is full of poor games that will not excite the NFL fans. Although the games are not interesting, a few teams desperately need a win if they are going to contend for a playoff spot this season.
Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills:
The Bills and Chiefs are both coming off close wins in their week 8 match-ups. The Chiefs have surprised many teams this season. However, the Chiefs success is not a flash in the pan. Although the Chiefs possessed the worst record in the league, 2-14, last season, they had a lot of talent, 5 pro bowlers, and greatly underachieved because they did not have a quality coach or quarterback. However, this offseason, the Chiefs acquired the best quarterback and coach that were available in free agency. The Chiefs have not lost this season because their defense is great and forces turnovers. The Chiefs’ defense has allowed the least amount of points in the NFL. The Chiefs have experienced a lot of success this season because of their ability to rush the passer. The combination of Tamba Hali and Justin Houston has brought terror and pressure to opposing quarterbacks. On offense, the Chiefs have been efficient at controlling the time of possession battle and not turning over the football. Jamaal Charles is one of the best running backs in the league and Alex Smith is one of the smartest quarterbacks in the league and know how to play with a great defense. In Buffalo, the Bills have overachieved since the loss of EJ Manuel. Although Thad Lewis does not have the talent like other quarterbacks, he has led the Bills to a win over the revival Dolphins and almost beat the AFC North leading Bengals. However, Lewis has experienced success because he has relied on his running game. The combination of Jackson and Spiller has provided the Bills with some offensive weapons, although they do not have much talent at the wide receiver position. In this game, I am predicting the Chiefs to win. The game will probably be close since all of the Chiefs’ games are close, but their defense has propelled them to victories. The Bills will have trouble scoring since Spiller is still returning from injury and Lewis does not have the talent to beat the Chiefs’ defense.
Prediction: Chiefs win 20-10
Minnesota Vikings vs Dallas Cowboys:
After a devastating loss to the Lions on a last second rushing touchdown by Mathew Stafford, the Cowboys will try to get over the 500 mark and extend their lead in the NFC East Division. As usual, the Cowboys have been extremely inconsistent this season, but it has not been to the fault of Tony Romo. This season, the Cowboys’ defense has been the downfall of the team. While the Dallas offense is ranked 4th in points per game this season, the Dallas defense is only 16th in the league in points against. The downfall of Dallas’ defense has been their loss of DeMarcus Ware. Ware is one of the best and most valuable players in the league because he is a great pass rusher. He is able to single handily disrupt an offense because he can apply pressure on the quarterback. On offense, the Dallas pass offense has become one of the best in the league. Dallas’ improvement can be attributed to Romo’s ability to stop committing turnovers and Dez Bryants’ improvement. Dez is one of the best wide receivers in the game because he has all the physical talent. However, his mental maturity is the reason why he has become the second best wide receiver in the game. Bryant has given the Boys a deep threat to stretch the defense. While the Cowboys’ passing game is one of the best in the league, the Vikings have been worse than a nightmare. The Vikings have started three different quarterbacks, but every one of them has been horrible. The Vikings’ quarterbacks have been so bad that even Adrian Peterson cannot find room to run. Peterson is the best running back in the league, but he cannot run in front of one of the worst offensive lines in the league and against 8 men in the box. The Vikings did look better in last week’s game, but they will not win on the road at Dallas. In this game, I am favoring Dallas. Dallas will be returning DeMarco Murray and possibly DeMarcus Ware.
Prediction: Cowboys win 27-13
Tennessee Titans at St.Louis Rams:
Although the Rams almost came away with an upset against the Seahawks last week, the Rams are in a bad position. Two weeks ago, the Rams lost their starting quarterback, Sam Bradford, for the season with a torn ACL. The loss of Sam Bradford signified the loss of the Rams’ season. Bradford’s replacement, Kellen Clemens is the worst quarterback in the league and does not have the ability to lead a team to a victory. Combined with the loss of their starting running back, Daryl Richardson, the Rams have no ability to score unless they score on defense. While the Rams’ season looks lost, the Titans are trying to rebound and make a playoff push. Before the loss of Jake Locker, the Titans looked like a team primed to make a playoff run and surprise the NFL “experts”. However, Locker has returned from injury and hopes to guide the Titans back into the win column. The Titans should be able to win this week because they are playing a team with a vastly lower talent level. Also, the Titans have had two weeks to prepare for the Rams and their horrible offensive attack. The Titans are extremely talented on defense and will lock the Rams to under ten points in the game. Derrick Morgan and the rest of the defense has been dominant and has forced a numerous amount of turnovers. In this game, Verner will be licking his chops and looking to pick off the worst starting quarterback in the league. In the game, the score should be relatively low scoring as both offenses have not been dynamic or threatening this year. While Jake Locker looked like a franchise quarterback at the start of the season, he will need some time to recover from his knee injury. Also Chris Johnson has been horrible this season and does not pose a threat to defenses, like a few years ago.
Prediction: Titans win 17-6
San Diego Chargers at Washington Redskins:
During the first half of last week’s game, the Redskins look like they were ready to turn around their season and make a run to the playoffs. However, their performance in the second half showed a different team. The Broncos absolutely destroyed the Redskins are reeled off 31 straight points and won the game. After making the postseason last season, the Redskins have been horrible and have massively underachieved. Unlike Wilson and Luck, Griffin has not been able to lead his team to wins, although he has solid weapons such as Alfred Morris and Pierre Garcon. The Redskins need start winning games, if they are going to win the division for the second straight season. The major problem with the Redskins have been their defense. The Redskins currently rank second to last in points against and fourth to last in yards per game. If the Redskins are going to change their fortunes, the Redskins’ stars on defense are going to have to play like stars and force turnovers. While the Redskins have underachieved, the Chargers have exceeded expectations. Phillip Rivers is finally receiving protection, which has enabled him to play like an MVP candidate. Along with Rivers, Ryan Mathews has started playing like a first round pick over the last couple of games. Currently the Chargers are in the playoffs as the last Wild Card team. Although they will not win the division because they have two of the top teams in the league, the Chargers have a good chance of making the playoffs, if they can win the games they are suppose to win. This is a game that the Chargers must win. Fortunately, they should win the game because they are playing better football and have been preparing for this game for the last two weeks. Also, they did not have to travel across country because they have been on the east coast for the last three weeks.
Prediction: Chargers win 31-27
Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers:
At the beginning of the season, the Falcons were suppose to be the favorites in this game. However, both teams are going in opposite directions. The Panthers have played like one of the best teams in football after starting poorly, while the Falcons have been decimated by injuries and are unlikely to make it back to 500. The Falcons are hoping that they hit rock bottom last week against the Cardinals. The Cardinals are one of the worst teams in the league and the Falcons still managed to lose 27-13 at home. Although the Falcons passing game has been hurt by their injuries to their star wide receivers, Atlanta’s running game has been absolutely anemic. Last week, the Falcons accumulate 27 yards of running offense on 1.9 yards per carry. Compared to the Falcons, the Panthers are polar opposite because of their ability to run the ball effectively. The Panthers are currently the 8th ranked running team in the league. The Panthers have been able to turn around their season because of Cam Newton. Over the last few seasons, Cam has played great because he is throwing and running the ball effectively. However, the Panthers have greatly improved from last season and may make the postseason because of their defense. The defense has been able to improve because their young players have succeed. Carolina’s last two first round picks Luke Kuechly and Star Lotulelei have been playing like pro bowlers and has made their defense the number two scoring defense against in the league. Currently, opponents are only averaging 13.7 points per game. The Panthers should win the game and show they are for real and have a good chance of making the playoffs.
Prediction: Carolina wins 27-17
New Orleans Saints at New York Jets:
After playing a great game against the New England Patriots, the Jets laid an egg against the Bengals on the road. The Jets have been like Jeckel and Hyde. They have lost on all the even weeks while they have won on all the odd weeks. While Geno Smith has been surprisingly good this season, he has been inconsistent because he is a rookie and should not be starting in the NFL. However, the Jets have achieved such success this season because their defense has been great. In particular, the Jets defensive line is one of the best in the league. The Jets line is extremely young, but effective and is led by Muhammed Wilkerson, one of the top three defensive linemen in the league. Besides for the struggles of Geno, the Jets have lost because their secondary has not met expectations this season. Dee Milliner has not played like a top ten pick and Antonio Cromartie has not played like the Pro-Bowler from last season. However, these two players have an incredible amount of talent and Rex is one of the best secondary coaches in the league. Also, in this game, Antonio Allen will be extremely important to the success of the defense. Two weeks ago, Allen played great and shut down Rob Gronkowski and this week he must shut down the great tight end Jimmy Graham. If the Jets want to win this game, they must take the game plan from the Patriots and apply it to the Saints. The Jets need to run the ball frequently and play great defense so Geno does not have to do too much this week. On the Saints side, they cannot over look this match up, if they want to contend for home field advantage in the NFC. When the Saints went to New England, the weather severely hurts Brees’ throwing ability. Currently the Saints are a game behind Seattle in the NFC. If New Orleans has to travel to Seattle in mid January, it could greatly inhibit their ability to score the ball and maintain their offense. If the weather plays a major factor in this game, it will be beneficial for the Jets. However, the Saints have too many weapons on offense for the Jets poor secondary to stop. The Jets’ success is stopping the big plays because of their pass rush. However, the Saints like to throw underneath routes and the Jets do not have the skill to stop all their weapons and Drew Brees, one of the top five quarterbacks in the league.
Prediction: Jets win 27-23
Oakland over Philadelphia: 23-16
Seattle over Tampa Bay: 31-6
Baltimore over Cleveland: 20-17
New England over Pittsburgh: 27-23
Indianapolis over Houston: 31-17
Green Bay over Chicago: 38-20
stats from ESPN.com