NFL Week 9 Predictions

Week 9 of the NFL is again upon us, and as usual for a Friday its time for picks once again. Last week was another .500 week at 7-7, and for the season I am 30 games over .500 at 71-41. Here is the goods for what should be another exciting weekend of NFL Football.

Atlanta at Detroit – The Falcons seem reborn over the last two weeks with Michael Vick throwing all over the place and it paying off with wins over the Steelers and Bengals. Vick has thrown for 523 yards and 7 TD’s in the last two games, and should be able to continue that trend against a Lions D that has allowed 237 yards per game passing. Detroit at 1-6 is coming off a bye, and have been competitive at home at Ford Field, losing games by 3 and 7, and getting their only win October 15th vs Buffalo 20-17. The Falcons are the better team, and will eek out a win indoors. Atlanta 24 Detroit 20

Tennessee at Jacksonville – While the Jags scored a huge win in Philly last week, the team is undergoing some serious locker room tension with the decision to start David Garrard this week over Byron Leftwich. Coach Jack Del Rio made the decision to go with Garrard despite the fact that Leftwich says his ankle is okay and he’s ready to go. Garrard is 5-1 starting for Leftwich over the last two seasons, and he and the Jags should be able to overcome a feisty Titans team that has won two in a row. Despite that, Tennessee does not play well in J-Ville, falling badly last year 40-13 on New Year’s Eve. This one will be closer, but the Jags have the decided edge. Jacksonville 27 Tennessee 13

New Orleans at Tampa Bay – The Bucs had a tough go last week in the wind and cold in New York vs the Giants, and return home this week to host division rival New Orleans. The Saints at 5-2 are coming off their worst game of the season in a turnover filled loss to the Ravens at home. Tampa Bay is playing much better since an 0-4 start, and could have won in New Orleans if not for a late Reggie Bush punt return for a TD. I think the Bucs defense steps up at home and hands the Saints their second straight loss. The Saints will also have to contend with the temps Sunday in Tampa, which should be about 80 degrees with lots of sun. Tampa Bay 20 New Orleans 17

Miami at Chicago – The best team in the NFL takes on the worst, as the slumping Dolphins head to Soldier Field to get another beating at the hands of the Bears. The Bears have allowed just six TD’s and have forced 22 turnovers, while the Dolphins on offense will be forced to throw from the start as the running game with Ronnie Brown continues to struggle. The Fins defense has hung in as best its can, but they are on the field too much and with the amount of support the offense does not give the defense, the season has been a disaster for the Fins. Rex Grossman rebounded off the nightmare game in Arizona three weeks ago and was 23-for-29 for 252 yards last week vs the 49’ers. Look for similar numbers this week as the Bears improve easily to 8-0. Chicago 31 Miami 10

Kansas City at St.Louis – A very interesting game between two 4-3 teams that each need a win to keep pace in their divisions. The Chiefs have done a nice job rebounding from that 45-7 loss three weeks ago in Pittsburgh, and have won two straight at home and 4 of 5 overall. Damon Huard continues to play well, and has thrown for 1475 yards and 8 TD’s with just one interception. Larry Johnson’s running has also been key in the Chiefs getting over .500, as the last two weeks he has run for 287 total yards. The Rams defense has been suspect over the last two games, allowing 68 points, and need a win here to keep pressure on the banged up Seahawks. Look for Marc Bulger and Stephen Jackson to put pressure on the Chiefs defense at home, and for the Rams to gain a big home win. St.Louis 26 Kansas City 17

Houston at New York Giants – There’s no place like home, and for the 5-2 Giants as they have allowed just 6 points at the Meadowlands in their last two games there. Sunday should be no different, as they take on a Texans team that is 22nd in offense and puts up 17 points a game. The Giants offensive attack of Eli Manning, Plaxico Burress and Tiki Barber also continue to play well, last week building a 14-3 halftime lead and going on for a 17-3 win over Tampa Bay. Look for New York to stuff the Texans running game and harass David Carr into some mistakes that will be the difference. New York 20 Houston 7

Green Bay at Buffalo – The Bills have gone backwords since starting 2-2, and the offense is not very good at 29th in the league and scoring just 30 points in their three game losing streak. Two weeks ago at home they were beaten badly by the Pats 28-6, and showed little signs of life falling behind 14-3 at the end of the first quarter. J.P. Losman has thrown 5 picks in the last three games, and his inability to get the offense going is killing the Bills right now. On the other side, Bret Favre is having a solid season and the Pack at 3-4 is playing better than a lot of people thought they would be. Favre leads the 9th ranked offense in the league with 237 yards per game throwing and 10 TD’s. Ahman Green is healthy, and has run for 224 yards the last two weeks. Green Bay is playing better right now and will score a road win to improve to .500. Green Bay 21 Buffalo 13

Dallas at Washington – A season of promise has turned sour for the Skins, who at 2-5 are desperate for a win. The Redskins defense has gone from a strong point in 2005 to swiss cheese this year, allowing 350 yards per game, 197 though the air. The Cowboys gained a ton of confidence last week with a Sunday night win in Carolina, and know that if they want to keep the pressure on the Giants, they cannot afford a slip up here against their arch-rivals. Tony Romo gives the Cowboys a new look on offense, and he along with Julius Jones and Marion Barber have enough offense to lead the Boys to their second straight win and a 5-3 mark. Dallas 27 Washington 23

Cincinnati at Baltimore – A must win for the Bengals, who at 4-3 cannot afford to fall two games back of the Ravens with 8 to play. Cincy still cannot find that magic of 2005, when the offense was a nightmare for opposing defenses, and their defense was creating turnovers that gave the offense a short field. The Bengals O-line has allowed Carson Palmer to be under way too much pressure, and he has been sacked 21 times, 5th most in the league. Look for the Ravens to be blitz happy, and the Bengals will have to use the run early with Rudi Johnson to set up play action to keep the Ravens on their toes. Baltimore got back on track with a huge road win at New Orleans last week, and Steve McNair showed no signs of a concussion from two weeks before. With Brian Billick calling the plays, look for more of Jamal Lewis and a ball control offense to keep the Bengals D weary and their offense off the field. The Ravens are starting to look like the class of the division. Baltimore 17 Cincinnati 13

Minnesota at San Francisco – The Vikings got hammered Monday night at home vs the Pats, losing 31-7 and having their starting QB pulled after he threw three picks and couldn’t move the offense at all. Coach Brad Childress gave a vote of confidence to QB Brad Johnson this week and stated he would be the starter, and this week vs the 49’ers he and the Vikings should be able to get back on track. San Fran was just demolished last week in Chicago, falling behind 41-0 at the half before scoring the last 10 points in a 41-10 loss to fall to 2-5. Their defense is allowing 367 yards per game, and the Vikings will use a steady dose of Chester Taylor and Johnson’s throwing to exploit that number. The 9’ers will counter with trying to use Frank Gore to eat up yards on the ground, but the Vikings D will have enough to slow he and QB Alex Smith down to gain a road win to improve to 5-3. Minnesota 31 San Francisco 23

Denver at Pittsburgh – An AFC Championship Game rematch from a season ago looks like a mismatch, with the Broncos at 5-2 and the dismal Steelers limping at 2-5. Denver was rolling on defense until last week, when it ran into Peyton Manning and the Colts, who piled up 437 yards and 34 points in a thrilling 34-31 win. Denver is still 10th in defense in the league, and is still giving up just 11 points per game. The Steelers season may already be over, but a loss here and you can put the last shovel of dirt on them for good. The numbers don’t translate, as they are 10th in offense and 6th in defense in the league, but are committing turnovers at an alarming rate, including two picks last week that were returned for TD’s, and four picks overall. Ben Roethlisberger has thrown 11 picks this year, this after throwing 9 all of last season. Big Ben will have to throw on the Broncos in order to win, as the rush defense is still very good. Denver on offense needs to run like last week, as they put up 227 yards vs the Colts. The ground game will not find it easy in Pittsburgh, as the Steelers are still only allowing just 92 yards per game, 54 at home. The Steelers are on life support, but get one here. Pittsburgh 24 Denver 20

Cleveland at San Diego – The Chargers at 5-2 continue to look like one of the more complete teams in the conference, 3rd on offense at 370 yards per game and 2nd on defense at 265 yards a contest. Phillip Rivers has handled the ball well, throwing just three picks this season with 10 TD’s, and LaDainian Tomlinson is putting up 93 yards per game. The Browns don’t hold much of a challenge, despite a win over the Jets a week ago. Cleveland is still 31st in offense, and they have to run more with Ruben Droughns to take the pressure off of QB Charlie Frye. Last week Droughns ran for 125 yards in the win. Even without LB Shawne Merriman, the Chargers have more then enough to walk away with their 6th win of the season. San Diego 34 Cleveland 17

Indianapolis at New England – The marquee game of the week pits Peyton Manning vs Tom Brady in a battle at Foxboro. The Pats were beat up by the Colts last year on a Monday night 40-21, the first time Manning had ever beaten Brady. That simmering thought, along with a more focused Pats defense, will spell the first loss of the season for the undefeated Colts. The Pats will turn to the running game to keep Manning off the field, and between Corey Dillon and Laurence Maroney, look for the two to get at least 35-40 carries against a Colts team allowing 167 yards per game on the ground. The Colts offense was too much for the tough Broncos D last week, but the Pats have something to prove after last year and will get it done at home to improve to 7-1. New Engalnd 27 Indianapolis 23

Oakland at Seattle – The Raiders have won two straight, but may be hard pressed to win two more the rest of the season. Seattle at 4-3 simply cannot afford to play around here, and is desperate to get a win after two straight losses to Minnesota and Kansas City. Hawks backup QB Seneca Wallace, who was starting for injured Matt Hassleback, was not terrible vs the Chiefs, but got no help whatsoever from the running game, as Maurice Morris ran for just 47 yards. The Raiders defense carries them, as even last week in a win vs the Steelers the Raiders gained just 98 net yards on offense. Raiders QB Andrew Walter will make his usual share of mistakes, and it will be enough to squash any chance for Oakland. Both teams are struggling on offense, but the Hawks are still good enough at home. Seattle 20 Oakland 7

 


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One Response to “NFL Week 9 Predictions”

  1. Rockwell says:

    Matt…

    I’m still one game back. You can find some comfort in that.
    This week, I’m calling at least five of these differently.
    Let me just focus on one difference: Steelers vs. Broncos. The Steelers are one of the great disappointments this year. I expect the Super Bowl loser to be this way… but not the Champs.
    I think Denver will put them out of their misery this week. What better way to make sure a dangerous team like this is not around for surprises in the playoffs. If Denver beats them this week the Steelers will not get off the mat. I think you agree about that.
    If Denver can’t beat the Steelers here they will again suffer from the same problem: the inability to put away an opponent when it really counts.
    For all the differences on the picks, please see: “The Office Pool”. Good luck with the picks we agree about!