The trade deadline is in the rear view mirror and the first coaching casualty of the season has been removed from post, it’s fair to say that a week is a long time in football. Hot off a 12-1 record of game predictions last week (You will have to trust me that I picked the Texans on TNF last week) lets see what’s in store for week 9.
Raiders @ 49ers (TNF) – What an awful season if you are a football fan in the Bay area. The niners have gone from a pre-season darling and exciting team to watch to a dogs’ dinner of a franchise since Jimmy G went down. As for the Raiders, the only surprise for me was that nobody else wearing silver and black was traded away this week. Difficult to make a case for either but I’ll give the niners the edge on their home turf. Prediction – 49ers
Steelers @ Ravens – The Steelers woke from a first quarter slump to man handle the Browns as they usually do last week. James Conner continues to provide more than adequate levels of play in the absence of Le’veon Bell. Surely this success is only hurting Bell in his ongoing/upcoming contract negotiations? As for the Ravens, the defense that has been so good had a bad day at the office last week so will be looking to bounce back to winning ways after a 2 game losing streak. I just do not trust that offense enough and despite the addition of Ty Montgomery this week, the backfield has never been the same since the days of Ray Rice. This is a huge game with playoff implications, in what is almost always a grueling rivalry. Prediction – Steelers
Bears @ Bills – Not an inspired performance from the Bears against the Jets last week, but more than enough to get the job done. Khalil Mack missed his first career game last week and the Bears would be smart to not take any chances here against arguably the leagues worst offense, and give him extra time to heal for a potential run down the stretch. The Bills played the Pats hard on MNF, but as predicted, the good work from the defense gets zero help from the offense and I can’t see this week being any different. Prediction – Bears
Bucs @ Panthers – Fitzmagic is back! That alone is something I am looking forward to, as the Bucs have looked so much better with him under centre. I think we may have seen Jameis Winston play his last game for Tampa after another turnover happy day. The Panthers feel like a team nobody is talking about but sit pretty at 5-2 with some speed now in the offense around Cam Newton. Fitz may well sparkle but the Panthers are the better team all round here. Prediction – Panthers
Chiefs @ Browns – If Mahommes/Mayfield part 2 is anywhere near as good as part 1 from their college days, then we are in for a treat. Will the Browns play inspired for new head coach Gregg “come get some” Williams? Hopefully, but even if they do the Chiefs high powered offense will have way too many weapons. Kareem Hunt is a must start in draftkings this week (regardless of his salary) as the Browns continue to be gashed in the run game. Slightly surprised that the Chiefs didn’t acquire secondary help at the deadline this week, but outside of Jarvis Landry the Browns receivers are not likely to pose too many issues this week. Prediction – Chiefs
Jets @ Dolphins – Surely a must win for the dolphins within the division to keep hopes of a wildcard spot alive as the Patriots reign supreme in the East again. Adam Gase must surely be on the hot seat as the Dolphins feel like a team regressing after the initial play off appearance in his first season. As for the Jets this season is now purely about the development of Sam Darnold. Prediction – Dolphins
Lions @ Vikings – Adam Thielen will make history this weekend when he records his 9th consecutive 100 yard receiving game. This could be one of several records he could break by the end of the season and despite a costly fumble last week he should surely be in the running for offensive player of the year honours? Perfect game for the Vikings after a tough loss to the Saints to go up against a middle of the pack Lions squad who appear destined to miss out on the playoffs again. Prediction – Vikings
Falcons @ Redskins – The Falcons are likely looking for help from elsewhere to have a shot at making the playoffs in a division that sees the Saints and Panthers ahead of them. A win over the Panthers helps for tie-break purposes but it looks like wildcard spot at best for Matty Ice and crew. The Redskins are similar to the Panthers in that the quietly have reached an impressive 5-2 record with Alex Smith at the helm. The defense is not gving up big points and added Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix this week to solidify the back end. This has the feeling of a coin-flip type game but I’ll give the Redskins the edge at home with Adrian Peterson performing like a previous version of himself. Prediction – Redskins
Texans @ Broncos – An instant opportunity for Demaryious Thomas to come up against his former team for the red hot Texans. DeShaun Watson is looking better each and every week and it will be interesting to see if Demaryious is on the decline, or whether he has been hampered by poor QB play since Peyton Manning retired. I’ll side with the latter so look for big days from both Thomas and Deandre Hopkins against Vance “dead man walking” Joseph’s Broncos. Prediction – Texans
Chargers @ Seahawks – This has the makings of a classic. I said last week that I like the direction of the Seahawks and this will provide a huge test against a Chargers team coming off a bye and riding a 5 game winning streak. After being the “home” team at London, prior to their bye, this in effect will be the Chargers 3rd game away from Los Angeles in a row, so will the 12th man be able to provide the difference? I can’t pick against the Chargers as Phillip Rivers continues to have an MVP type year. Prediction – Chargers
Rams @ Saints – Is this a preview of the NFC championship game? A huge week 9 match-up sees arguably the best 2 teams in football go at it. The Rams obviously not content with an already star studded defensive line added Dante Fowler jr at the deadline this week, and that front getting to Drew Brees will be key to any success here. The Saints offense can hang with anyone and although this game has shoot-out written all over it I just feel that the Rams D is the better unit so the push towards perfection will continue for at least another week.Prediction – Rams
Packers @ Patriots – Rodgers vs Brady, what else do you need to say to get excited by this game? It really is a crying shame that this is only the second and baring a Superbowl match-up, likely last team these 2 will go head to head. I said last week that Rodgers is required to play superhero for the Packers to win, and thanks to a fumbled kick off return we were deprived of that possibility last week. I think this week he gets his chance and outguns Tom Brady for a huge road win which would go down as an upset. Prediction – Packers
Titans @ Cowboys (MNF) – The low intrigue Monday Night Football tilts continue for another week as 2 sub .500 team meet. The Titans offense is more painful to watch than the Browns currently so I’ll take Dallas to secure the W at home. Prediction – Dallas.
So there is your week 9 goody bag and in Haloween week it is fair to say that plenty of treats have been served up on the schedule. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the week ahead so please comment/critique/criticise, all opinions welcome as ever.
Enjoy week 9 everyone
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