NFL Game Picks: Week 9
Host Logan Bourandas and analysts Eric Fenstermaker, Drew Prokop and Jon Draeger look ahead at some of the best matchups for Week 9 of the NFL season and make their picks for the biggest games.
Week 9 is shaping up to be one of the most influential weeks yet. There are multiple games in which the teams facing off are evenly matched. The week is also flooded with divisional matchups that could have playoff implications.
Green Bay Packers (5-2) vs. San Francisco 49ers (4-4)
Both teams are coming off losses. The 49ers lost to the Seattle Seahawks 37-27, and the Packers lost to the Minnesota Vikings 28-22.
The 49ers lost more than just the game, as they are now without superstar tight end George Kittle due to a broken foot. He is expected to miss significant time. 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will also miss multiple weeks with an ankle injury.
San Francisco also traded away linebacker Kwon Alexander to the Saints. Considering how competitive the NFC West is, the 49ers might be starting to give up on this season and look toward next year.
Prediction: Packers 34, 49ers 13
Denver Broncos (3-4) vs. Atlanta Falcons (2-6)
The Broncos and Falcons won their previous games, as the Broncos edged out the Chargers on a last-second touchdown that gave them the win 31-30, while the Falcons beat the Panthers 25-17 last Thursday night.
Both defenses are not that good, so the game should be high-scoring. Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones is looking like himself again and will be too much for the Denver defense.
Prediction: Falcons 31, Broncos 25
Seattle Seahawks (6-1) vs. Buffalo Bills (6-2)
The Bills are barely sneaking out wins this season with their last win against the Patriots coming on a Cam Newton fumble. The Seahawks, meanwhile, are leading a competitive division in the NFC West and dominating their opponents on offense.
The Seahawks have MVP favorite quarterback Russell Wilson under center and deep threat DK Metcalf out wide. The Bills defense is not looking like the defense that we saw in the first couple of weeks of the season. Buffalo will not be able to stop the Seahawks.
Prediction: Seahawks 27, Bills 24
Chicago Bears (5-3) vs. Tennessee Titans (5-2)
The Bears have suffered back-to-back losses to the Rams and the Saints. The Titans have also suffered back-to-back losses to the Steelers and the Bengals.
The Titans defense has been a problem for them in the previous two games. They hope by adding cornerback Desmond King to the secondary that it will improve the situation. King comes just in time to deal with Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson, who is having a monster year.
Prediction: Titans 19, Bears 15
Baltimore Ravens (5-2) vs. Indianapolis Colts (5-2)
The Ravens almost ruined the perfect season of the Steelers but came up short, thanks in part to quarterback Lamar Jackson struggling.
The Colts have one of the best defenses in the league right behind the Steelers. The Colts also put up a monster game last week, beating the Lions 41-21.
The Indianapolis defense will be too much for Jackson again and will hand the Ravens their first road loss of the season.
Prediction: Colts 26, Ravens 23
Carolina Panthers (3-5) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (7-1)
The Chiefs are looking like one of the top teams in the AFC once again. They played the bad New York Jets in Week 8 and won handily.
The Panthers struggled offensively against a bad Falcons defense. Carolina cannot struggle offensively against a Kansas City team that is firing on all cylinders. Even if Teddy Bridgewater and company show up, the Panthers simply cannot hang with the explosive Chiefs offense.
Prediction: Chiefs 34, Panthers 19
Detroit Lions (3-4) vs. Minnesota Vikings (2-5)
The Vikings topped the division rival Packers in Week 8 28-22. Running back Dalvin Cook had four touchdowns and 226 all-purpose yards against Green Bay.
The Lions, meanwhile, were torched by the Colts’ running backs catching passes out of the backfield.
This game will be even more difficult for the Lions due to Cook and the Vikings’ rushing attack.
Prediction: Vikings 28, Lions 18
New York Giants (1-7) vs. Washington Football Team (2-5)
The NFC East is the worst division in the NFL by a landslide. The Eagles lead the division at 3-4-1, so that means that it’s anyone’s race. Washington is the team with the least amount of injuries in the division, so perhaps they will be the biggest opposition to Philadelphia’s crown.
The Giants put up a good fight against the Buccaneers last week and lost by just a failed 2-point conversion. If the Giants play like they did against the Buccaneers, then they should have no problem beating Washington in a close game.
However, Giants quarterback Daniel Jones needs to limit turnovers if he wants his team to edge out Washington.
Prediction: Giants 17, Washington 15
Houston Texans (1-6) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6)
Two teams at the bottom of the AFC South division will fight for third place on Sunday.
The Texans have had a rough season after sending DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals in the offseason. Brandin Cooks, Randall Cobb and Will Fuller have all stepped up in previous games to fill that hole.
The Jaguars will start rookie Jake Luton against the Texans to replace the injured Gardner Minshew. The Texans have the more experienced quarterback in Deshaun Watson, and he’ll be the one to lead his team to victory.
Prediction: Texans 27, Jaguars 13
Las Vegas Raiders (4-3) vs. Los Angeles Chargers (2-5)
The Raiders have had an up-and-down season, beating good teams like the Chiefs and losing to bad teams like the Patriots.
Las Vegas struggled offensively against the Browns. That’ll have to be fixed this week. The Raiders should have an easier time throwing the ball, since the Chargers traded away corner Desmond King to the Saints.
The Raiders get to take on rookie quarterback Justin Herbert for the first time this season. The defense will have to step up to stop the rookie from having another career game.
Prediction: Raiders 26, Chargers 23
Pittsburgh Steelers (7-0) vs. Dallas Cowboys (2-6)
Pittsburgh’s offense had a hard time getting going in the first half against Baltimore, relying on the defense to score points. But the offense should shine against the Dallas Cowboys.
The Cowboys look like one of the worst teams in the league. Quarterback Ben DiNucci, in place of the injured Dak Prescott and Andy Dalton, did not look great in a loss to the injured Eagles.
Dallas’ season looks downhill from here with an awful offensive line and a third-string quarterback running the show. The defense is also one of the worst in the league, and running back Ezekiel Elliott continues to fumble.
Prediction Steelers 31, Cowboys 13
Miami Dolphins (4-3) vs. Arizona Cardinals (5-2)
Tua Tagovailoa did not look too bad in his first start against a solid Rams defense. Tagovailoa will have an easier time passing the ball against the Cardinals.
The Dolphins offense will not be able to keep up with the Cardinals offense, though. Quarterback Kyler Murray has enjoyed having receiver DeAndre Hopkins to throw to, connecting with him for three touchdowns and 704 yards this season. The Cardinals should out-pace the Dolphins easily.
Prediction: Cardinals 34, Dolphins 17
New Orleans Saints (5-2) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-2)
The battle for first place in the NFC South is on Sunday Night Football.
The Saints added a solid linebacker in Kwon Alexander to take on the Buccaneers this week. New Orleans should also get back wide receiver Michael Thomas. Thomas will be welcomed by quarterback Drew Brees, who has had nobody to throw to for weeks.
The Buccaneers are getting back one of the best receivers of the last decade in Antonio Brown. Brown has been on suspension and was recently signed by Tampa Bay.
Antonio Brown, Chris Godwin, Mike Evans and Rob Gronkowski make for one of the deadliest offenses in the league.
If Godwin is ready to play, then the Buccaneers should have no problem in this game. If Thomas comes back and Godwin does not play, then the game could be close.
Prediction: Buccaneers 27, Saints 24
New England Patriots (2-5) vs. New York Jets (0-8)
Head coach Bill Belichick is off to the worst start he has had coaching the Patriots.
Quarterback Cam Newton continues to turn the ball over. Newton has not looked like himself after returning from COVID-19.
The Patriots are lucky that they get to make a short trip to New York to play the Jets. The Jets are the worst team in the NFL. Since the end of last season, New York has shipped away their best players in Le’Veon Bell and Jamal Adams. At 0-8, the season is all but over for the Jets.
Every week, people wonder whether it could be the last time they see Adam Gase coaching the Jets. This could be the week.
Prediction: Patriots 23, Jets 13
Spencer Ripchik is a freshman majoring in journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.