Week 9 Predictions for the 2014 NFL Season
The trade deadline came and went. Big moves weren't made which was pretty surprising despite the reports of maybe a couple of names that might be on the move (ex: Vincent Jackson, Doug Martin). Other than that, there are not that many games this week that will catch a fan's eye (aside from your team's game). We are now headed to the last half of the season and it should be an exciting one with teams within a game or two from each other in their respective division. Divisional games this time around will be uber-important. Good luck to your team this week.
Bye: Falcons, Bills, Bears, Lions, Packers, Titans
Saints @ Panthers: It's going to be the same old story for New Orleans: Win at home and then fall back in the ranks with a loss on the road. The Saints have been consistent on that notion and we'll have to see if there might be a change in direction for them. I'm saying that this game and the one at Pittsburgh, to me, is going to be those 'prove it' games. On the other side, Cam Newton will learn from what happened against Seattle on Sunday and will bounce back and will perform well. Think the team overall will bounce back from last week.
Buccaneers @ Browns: A must-win game for Cleveland if they want to have a shot at the playoffs. Though, I think Tampa might have something else in mind. With the NBA season starting and with Lebron's return taking place on Thursday, the Browns will have the energy and the upper hand to not let these next few days go to waste. What is difficult is that both defenses for these two teams haven't been great. The key is to see which offense commits the fewest mistakes and can develop some sort of run game.
Cardinals @ Cowboys: Tony Romo has to play in this game, right? He gives them a better chance to win though I was kind of 'iffy' when Dallas (or somebody) decided for him to come back into the game. From what we saw on Monday, I expect the Cardinals to do more of sending an extra guy or two to rush the passer. They really could use that defensive performance to give the sack number an increase (only 7 sacks thus far). Now that Larry Fitzgerald had a great performance last week Arizona's receivers will be focused on more, which will give Andre Ellington some room to run the rock. Speaking of running, DeMarco Murray's impressive 8-game stretch of running for at least 100 yards or more will come to an end.
Eagles @ Texans: Both Nick Foles and Ryan Fitzpatrick haven't been great this season. They haven't showed intimidation towards other teams. A slip by Dallas last week gives Philadelphia a chance. Houston will have to earn their wins from here on out for a wild card spot in January and they have a chance, but I think the Eagles will get the win here because Foles won't make any costly turnovers against a Texans teams that allows 271.4 passing yards per game. Also think Philly's defense gets something done here, who are allowing a league low 57.3% completions made to opposing quarterbacks.
Jets @ Chiefs: Justin Houston, LB for Kansas City, currently leads the league in sacks. The defense as a whole allow 60.5% of completed passes which is the fifth fewest in the league. They also allow the fewest yards per game through the air (195.7). Michael Vick will be coming in to start for the Jets and I hope he does well so that there might be something to look at in the next game. But, Kansas City, who are 4-3 and near playoff contention, will give the fans some positive feelings after the Royals loss on Wednesday night.
Jaguars @ Bengals: Jacksonville's defense only has three interceptions in their name. Blake Bortles has thrown for 12 interceptions thus far which, I believe, a league high. After sweeping Baltimore this season, it would be a total letdown for the Bengals to throw away this game.
Chargers @ Dolphins: Last season, the Chargers lost a close one to the Dolphins at Miami. They face each again where both teams will be striving to make run to get to the postseason. After the near shellacking that Denver dealt on San Diego last week, the Chargers will be looking to get a win here before their bye and get ready for a pretty promising schedule in November.
Redskins @ Vikings: The blitzes that Washington threw at Dallas on Monday night will continue against Minnesota. Their secondary will also have a say in this game after showing some promise. The defense for Minnesota, meanwhile, are coming off a crazy win last week on the road and have showed some improvement over the process. They are tied for second in sacks. So ultimately, it will come down to the offense for both teams handling the defensive pressure. Word on the street is that RGIII will make his first start since the second game of this season. I think he will be a bit rusty in this game.
Rams @ 49ers: The 49ers will be fired up for this game because of the now World Series Champion Giants. All the energy will be in the stadium which won't be helpful for the visiting Rams. Everything went into St. Louis' favor that Monday night game against San Francisco a few weeks ago. It will now be different in this one as the 49ers will be looking to get everything going early and often.
Broncos @ Patriots: It is interesting how these two met in the regular season last year at Foxboro. It was Wes Welker's first time against his old team last year and it will be Aqib Talib's first time this year. Much has changed since then; an improved defense for Denver, Rob Gronkowski is healthy, the added offensive weapon in Emmanuel Sanders for Denver, and the absence of the Bronco's two RB's Montee Ball (injury) and Knowshon Moreno (Dolphins). And you must not forget that New England added a pair of difference makers at the corner back position in Revis and Brandon Browner. The Patriots have a shot, but I don't think they will be able to handle the double dose of DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller.
Raiders @ Seahawks:Oakland has had a few chances to win some games earlier but it looks like they will remain winless for the rest of the season (Unless something weird happens, which it almost always does). It is going to be nice for Seattle to play at home after having two consecutive away games along with the Marshawn Lynch situation making way in the media last week. Not sure if things will go back to normal for Lynch regarding touches, but it will for the Seahawks overall as they will try to ride the ship back into place.
Ravens @ Steelers: It's always fitting to see these two teams beat each other up on Sunday Night, although it was the Ravens who beat up the Steelers and held them down the last time they played back in September. This one will go a bit differently, however. The Steelers will in the same dominant fashion Baltimore used in the previous match-up: defense and effective running. The defensive effort by Pittsburgh the last few games won't stop here. We'll have to see what Big Ben does after his incredible performance last week.
Colts @ Giants: Expect the Colts' team as a whole to bounce back after that humiliating loss against 2004 draft pick Ben Roethlisberger. Now, Andrew Luck and the Colts will face another draft pick from that same year in Eli Manning. With Jon Beason's absence from the Giants for the season, the running game for Indianapolis will be a factor. Also Ahmad Bradshaw will probably get a few TD's to stick it to his former team. I shouldn't see anymore int's from Luck in this game. He had a couple of costly ones last week. Good grief.