NFL Game Picks: Week 9
Danny Murray and Zac Kaye make their picks for every NFL game in Week 9:
With the trade deadline passing this Tuesday, NFL rosters are settling in for the second half of the season. Some teams, such as the Rams, have made moves toward a run for the Lombardi. Others, like the Dolphins, have made moves toward a run for the first overall pick. Regardless, there’s still plenty of football to be played before a champion is crowned in February. With that in mind, let’s look ahead at all 14 games in Week 9 and make our picks.
San Francisco 49ers (7-0) at Arizona Cardinals (3-4-1)
Who’s going to stop San Francisco? The Niners have steamrolled almost every team that they’ve played, including a couple of decent Panthers and Rams teams. The defense especially is firing on all cylinders. It’s incredible to think that this team was 1-7 at this point a year ago. San Francisco’s first loss doesn’t seem like it will come this week, as the Cardinals will be without both David Johnson and Chase Edmonds on Thursday. Against one of the NFL’s top defenses, the rookie Kyler Murray runs into trouble, and San Francisco improves to 8-0 on the year.
Prediction: San Francisco 30, Arizona 16
Houston Texans (5-3) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-4)
This game may take place in London, but everyone knows that this is a home game for the Jaguars. Jacksonville has played a game in London every season dating back to 2013 and is 3-1 over the past four years when playing across the Atlantic. The Jaguars will look to continue their success in Britain as well as get an upper hand against the division rival Texans. Every team in the AFC South currently sits at or above .500, so nothing is for certain in this division. With the “home” crowd on their side, the Jaguars knock off the Texans in semi-surprising fashion.
Prediction: Jacksonville 27, Houston 24
Washington Redskins (1-7) at Buffalo Bills (5-2)
This is a good make-or-break game for Buffalo. Entering last week, the Bills were riding high at 5-1 with a chance to prove to the world that they could live up to their record. Then they disappointed in enormous fashion, getting slapped by the Eagles, 31-13, at home. A rebound in Week 9 would keep Buffalo’s playoff hopes alive with a 6-2 record, but dropping a second straight home game, this time to the 1-7 Redskins, would surely spell disaster. With the world watching, the Bills prove that they’re for real with a statement win over Washington.
Prediction: Buffalo 33, Washington 14
Chicago Bears (3-4) at Philadelphia Eagles (4-4)
It’s going downhill fast for Chicago. In what should have been a home win over the Chargers last week, the Bears fell on their face, failing to find the end zone on multiple opportunities before finally breaking through in the third quarter, then mismanaging the clock at the end of the game as Eddy Piniero’s potential game-winning kick sailed wide left. Just a year after winning Coach of the Year, Matt Nagy could be on the hot seat if things don’t turn around quickly. Will they in Philadelphia against a team that ran all over a great Buffalo defense in Week 8? Probably not.
Prediction: Philadelphia 18, Chicago 13
Tennessee Titans (4-4) at Carolina Panthers (4-3)
As we found out last week, Kyle Allen is not indestructible, as the young QB finally faltered, tossing three picks against a stout San Francisco defense. We also found out that Tennessee is still the most unpredictable team in the league, as the Titans barely escaped with a 27-23 victory over Tampa Bay. The Tennessee offense looks improved with Ryan Tannehill under center, but the advantage on the offensive side of the ball remains with Carolina thanks to the play of MVP frontrunner Christian McCaffrey. The Panthers get back on track with a home win.
Prediction: Carolina 24, Tennessee 17
Indianapolis Colts (5-2) at Pittsburgh Steelers (3-4)
Neither of these team’s victories in Week 8 were especially pretty. The Colts needed a 51-yard field goal from Adam Vinatieri to defeat Denver, and the Steelers got off to a sluggish start against the winless Dolphins, falling behind 14-0 before finally gaining their footing to score 27 unanswered. Both teams will need to make adjustments in Week 9. With the AFC North title window starting to close, the Steelers will be especially motivated to come out kicking. In front of the home crowd, Pittsburgh gets right back into the heart of the playoff race with a win.
Prediction: Pittsburgh 26, Indianapolis 24
Minnesota Vikings (6-2) at Kansas City Chiefs (5-3)
Even with Patrick Mahomes’ status still up in the air, the Chiefs have proven that they can work without him. Before a defensive collapse against Green Bay late in last Sunday night’s matchup, Kansas City was rolling on offense, especially late in the second quarter. Minnesota is a step down from Green Bay, though the Vikings certainly still present a challenge, especially on the ground. Kansas City desperately needs to clean up its run defense before Dalvin Cook comes to Arrowhead. Regardless, the Chiefs find a way to win at home and stay atop the AFC West.
Prediction: Kansas City 22, Minnesota 18
New York Jets (1-6) at Miami Dolphins (0-7)
Well, this is it. This is the Dolphins’ best remaining chance at grabbing a win in 2019. The only other remaining game with as good odds for a Miami win is in Week 16 against Cincinnati. But against the NFL’s worst offense in Week 9, the Dolphins’ most likely chance to shine is here. Things were looking up in Pittsburgh last week for one half before it totally fell apart. Can the Fins recapture that magic for one whole game? It’s unlikely, but they should be able to make this one a contest. The Jets get the pick here, but don’t be surprised if the Dolphins finally get a W.
Prediction: NY Jets 14, Miami 10
Detroit Lions (3-3-1) at Oakland Raiders (3-4)
It wasn’t exactly pretty, but last week’s win over New York was the win that Detroit needed to put itself back on the right path. As expected, the Lions relied on the passing attack with Kerryon Johnson now on the injured reserve, and it worked wonders. They should keep using the talents of Matthew Stafford, Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones going forward. The next test is a scrappy Raiders team that has outperformed expectations so far. Oakland will give Detroit a fight, but the Lions leave the Bay Area with a win, inching closer to the NFC North’s top.
Prediction: Detroit 23, Oakland 20
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-5) at Seattle Seahawks (6-2)
Another multi-interception performance from Jameis Winston begs the question: When are the Buccaneers going to try something else? The season is starting to escape from Tampa Bay, and the refusal to look elsewhere at QB is part of the reason why. It’s not going to get any prettier in Week 9, as the Buccaneers head to Seattle, battling both the Seahawks and the raucous CenturyLink Field crowd. As long as the Seahawks don’t underestimate their opponent, they should come away with another victory, keeping pace with the 49ers for the NFC West crown.
Prediction: Seattle 32, Tampa Bay 19
Cleveland Browns (2-5) at Denver Broncos (2-6)
A season filled with promise for both of these squads has quickly come crashing down. Perhaps no team has disappointed more than the Browns, which were favored to win the AFC North coming into the season. Aside from a pair of wins against Los Angeles and Tennessee, the Broncos have also found relatively little success in 2019. So who comes out on top in this battle of disappointing teams? Let’s go with the Broncos at home, but the Browns could very easily win as well. All in all, this is probably the least enticing game of the week for neutral fans.
Prediction: Denver 17, Cleveland 10
Green Bay Packers (7-1) at Los Angeles Chargers (3-5)
You would think that something would give on offense for the Chargers. A roster loaded with scoring talent in names like Hunter Henry, Keenan Allen, Austin Ekeler and Melvin Gordon has been a massive disappointment, culminating in Monday’s firing of offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt. This may be a move in the right direction, but it’s likely not going to be the immediate move that gives the Chargers a chance against the 7-1 Packers. Aaron Rodgers and his squad roll into Los Angeles and leave with their fifth straight win.
Prediction: Green Bay 30, LA Chargers 16
New England Patriots (8-0) at Baltimore Ravens (5-2)
For the first time all season, the defending Super Bowl champs will be tested. Outside of a Week 4 visit to Buffalo, the Patriots haven’t played a single team with a winning record this season. That changes in Week 9, as New England heads to Baltimore to take on the Ravens, which are fresh off the bye week. This could be the biggest challenge of the year for the Patriots defense, which has stolen the crown as the NFL’s best defense from Chicago with another stellar outing in Week 8. New England is given a scare but pulls out a win over the Ravens on Sunday night.
Prediction: New England 24, Baltimore 23
Dallas Cowboys (4-3) at New York Giants (2-6)
The Cowboys may be fairly mediocre against most of the NFL, but inside the NFC East, they’re nearly unstoppable. Since the Dak Prescott era began, the Cowboys have gone 17-4 inside the division. The Giants in particular have struggled against the Cowboys, as they haven’t won a game against Dallas since 2016. The way this one’s looking, those trends should continue. The Giants haven’t had much of a pulse since their Week 4 win over Washington, and the Cowboys will enter this game well-rested after their Week 8 bye. Dallas wins this Monday night matchup.
Prediction: Dallas 30, NY Giants 17
Byes: Atlanta Falcons (1-7), Cincinnati Bengals (0-8), Los Angeles Rams (5-3), New Orleans Saints (7-1)
DJ Bauer is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.