Week 9 NFL Predictions

The real contenders are finally starting to separate themselves from the pretenders as the NFL season reaches its halfway point.

Week 9 NFL Predictions

NFL week eight was the week of the big game. A.J. Brown, Alvin Kamara, and Christian McCaffrey all scored three touchdowns, and Derrick Henry ran for 219 yards and two scores, just to name a few of the great individual performances. It was a slightly better week predictions wise, as I went 9-6 to bring my record to 70-52 on the season. Here is where I think each team stands now at the halfway point of the season, followed by my week nine predictions.

Each team’s record and rank from last week is listed in parentheses.

The worst of the worst:

#32. Houston Texans (1-5-1, 32)

The scrappy underdogs:

#31. Indianapolis Colts (3-4-1, 28)

#30. Detroit Lions (1-6, 31)

#29. Carolina Panthers (2-6, 30)

#28. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-6, 26)

#27. Chicago Bears (3-5, 29)

#26. Atlanta Falcons (4-4, 27)

#25. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6, 22)

Longshot playoff contenders:

#24. New York Jets (5-3, 19)

#23. Green Bay Packers (3-5, 25)

#22. Washington Commanders (4-4, 23)

#21. Denver Broncos (3-5, 23)

More likely playoff teams:

#20. New York Giants (6-2, 15)

#19. Cleveland Browns (3-5, 21)

#18. New England Patriots (4-4, 18)

#17. Las Vegas Raiders (2-5, 13)

#16. New Orleans Saints (3-5, 20)

#15. Los Angeles Rams (3-4, 12)

#14. Arizona Cardinals (3-5, 16)

More serious contenders:

#13. Los Angeles Chargers (4-3, 14)

#12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5, 10)

#11. Seattle Seahawks (5-3, 17)

#10. Baltimore Ravens (5-3, 11)

#9. Minnesota Vikings (6-1, 7)

#8. Tennessee Titans (5-2, 6)

#7. Cincinnati Bengals (4-4, 5)

#6. Miami Dolphins (5-3, 9)

Super Bowl contenders:

#5. San Francisco 49ers (4-4, 9)

#4. Dallas Cowboys (6-2, 4)

#3. Philadelphia Eagles (7-0, 3)

Super Bowl favorites:

#2. Kansas City Chiefs (5-2, 2)

#1. Buffalo Bills (6-1, 1)

Week nine predictions:

Philadelphia Eagles @ Houston Texans:

The Texans are bad, the Eagles are undefeated, let’s move on.

Prediction: Eagles 30, Texans 13

Los Angeles Chargers @ Atlanta Falcons:

The Falcons pulled off an exciting 37-34 overtime win over the Panthers last week, thanks to two missed game winning kicks by Carolina. Shockingly, the Birds are in first place in the struggling NFC South at 4-4. The Chargers were on bye last week. Wide receiver Mike Williams injured his ankle in their last game, a 37-16 loss to the Seahawks, and he will miss a few weeks. This is a fascinating game. The Chargers are the better team, but they have been struggling as of lately and are dealing with some major injuries. Moreover, West Coast teams historically struggle when they play early games on the East Coast. Atlanta is playing hard and has already pulled off upsets against the 49ers, Seahawks, and Browns this season. I’m going to pick the upset here and hope for the best.

Prediction: Falcons 24, Chargers 23

Miami Dolphins @ Chicago Bears:

Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins offense returned to form last week, putting up 31 points in a win over the Lions. The defense struggled, but they have been decent for most of the season. The Bears offense has also been playing better as of lately, as they have scored a combined 62 points over the last two weeks. Justin Fields has scored six touchdowns and has not turned the ball over once over that time. However, the defense was picked apart by the Cowboys last week to the tune of 49 points, and the trade of star line backer Roquan Smith to the Ravens on Monday won’t help matters. This game has shootout potential given that both of these offenses are clicking on all cylinders and both defenses are struggling. I think the Bears will put up a good fight, but Miami’s more talented offense will probably be too much to overcome.

Prediction: Dolphins 34, Bears 28

Carolina Panthers @ Cincinnati Bengals:

The Panthers are a really fun team right now. They have been a much more competitive team ever since the firing of head coach Matt Rhule. The offense doesn’t seem to be missing Christian McCaffrey, as running back D’Onta Foreman and receiver DJ Moore combined for 280 yards and four touchdowns of offense last week against the Falcons. However, an un-sportsman-like conduct penalty on Moore, following a long touchdown late in the fourth quarter, caused what would have been a game winning extra point to be 15 yards longer, and kicker Eddy Pineiro missed. Pineiro then missed what would have been a game winning 33-yard field goal in overtime, and the Falcons promptly drove down the field and converted a game winning field goal attempt of their own. Carolina’s defense had a bad day, but the offense has been much improved as of lately. The Bengals crumbled on the road against the Browns last week, losing 32-13. Top wide receiver Jamar Chase missed that game with a hip injury, and he is expected to be out a few more weeks. In the mean time, Joe Burrow and the Bengals need to figure out how to manage without him, something they clearly didn’t do against Cleveland. Fortunately, they have a get right matchup against a struggling Carolina defense this week. The Panthers play hard, but Cincinnati should win if they match Carolina’s intensity.

Prediction: Bengals 26, Panthers 21

Green Bay Packers @ Detroit Lions:

The Packers lost 27-17 to the Bills last week in a rather uneventful performance. They simply lack the necessary talent on offense to keep up with a juggernaut like the Bills. The Lions can’t figure out how to win. They played well offensively, but the defense continues to underwhelm. I’ll take the Packers to win a close one because they have Aaron Rodgers, but I wouldn’t be shocked if the Lions pulled off the upset.

Prediction: Packers 27, Lions 24

Indianapolis Colts @ New England Patriots:

As expected, the Colts offense took a step back with Sam Ehlinger at quarterback in a 17-16 loss to the Commanders last week. Although it wasn’t all bad, Ehlinger is inexperienced and Indi lacks explosive playmakers. The Pats cruised to a 22-10 win over the Jets. The offense wasn’t anything special, as they only scored one touchdown and otherwise kicked five field goals, but Zac Wilson and New York’s offense was much worse. The Pats are not very talented and thus can be volatile from week to week, but Bill Belichick usually has his guys well coached and playing physical. I’ll take New England to win, as Belichick will probably work his magic against another inexperienced quarterback.

Prediction: Patriots 20, Colts 14

Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets:

Zach Wilson was pitiful in the loss to the Patriots last week, throwing three brutal interceptions. He wasn’t helped by the running game either, which is not nearly as explosive without Breece Hall, who is out for the season. The Jets have a good defense, but it hardly matters when the offense can’t score. The Bills took care of business with a 27-17 win over the Packers last week, and I expect them to stomp another inferior opponent this week.

Prediction: Bills 31, Jets 15

Minnesota Vikings @ Washington Commanders:

The Vikings won a shootout over the Cardinals last week 34-26. Minnesota’s offense was great all game and the defense came up with clutch sacks on the final two plays of the game to sink Kyler Murray and the Cards. The Commanders picked up their third straight win last week, coming back from a two-score deficit to edge the Colts 17-16. Taylor Heinicke was bad for the first three quarters, but he came up clutch late just like he did in week seven against the Packers. I could see Washington pulling off the upset, but I think the Vikings offense is too consistent for the streaky Commanders offense to keep up with.

Prediction: Vikings 24, Commanders 21

Las Vegas Raiders @ Jacksonville Jaguars:

Both of these teams are coming off with disappointing losses. Trevor Lawrence threw two interceptions, and the Jags lost to the struggling Broncos 21-17 in London last week. The Raiders had an even more depressing loss, as they were shutout 24-0 by the Saints, whose defense had been reeling prior to that matchup. The Jags have lost five games in a row, all incredibly by eight points or less. Both of these offenses are struggling, but the Raiders defense is worse and the Jags are at home. Vegas has surrendered at least 20 points in all seven games this season, and I expect that trend to continue here.

Prediction: Jaguars 26, Raiders 23

Seattle Seahawks @ Arizona Cardinals:

The Seahawks kept on rolling last week, beating the Giants 27-13. Geno Smith is like a modern-day Kurt Warner. He has come out of nowhere and has played like one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL this season. The defense has also settled in, as they have only allowed 38 points in their last three games. The Cardinals are actually playing well right now despite their loss to the Vikings last week. Kyler Murray and the offense has been much more efficient since the return of De’Andre Hopkins, who has caught double digit passes in both games he has played in this year. The Seahawks won the first matchup against the Cardinals a few weeks ago, but I think Arizona will return the favor this time. They are at home and are playing much better than the last time these teams met.

Prediction: Cardinals 28, Seahawks 24

Los Angeles Rams @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

Both these teams are struggling. The Bucs lost to the Ravens 27-22 last week for their third straight defeat. Moreover, star pass rusher Shaquil Barrett tore his Achilles against Baltimore and will miss the rest of the season, a significant blow to Tampa Bay’s defense. The Rams were dominated 31-14 by the 49ers last week in customary fashion. I expect this to be a slop fest. Both of these teams’ biggest weaknesses are on the offensive line. L.A. has the better pass rush, so I think that will give them a slight upper hand in this one.

Prediction: Rams 20, Buccaneers 17

Tennessee Titans @ Kansas City Chiefs:

The Titans pulled out a 17-10 win over the Texans last week thanks to dominant performances from their defense and running back Derrick Henry, who ran for 219 yards and two touchdowns. Henry has remarkably ran for over 200 yards and at least two scores in each of his last four battles with Houston. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill missed last week with an ankle injury, and rookie Malik Willis got the start but did little work, throwing for just 55 yards. Even if Tannehill returns this week, the Chiefs should have no problem winning this one.

Prediction: Chiefs 30, Titans 20

Baltimore Ravens @ New Orleans Saints:

The Saints were one of the biggest surprises of week eight, as their defense awoke and shut out the Raiders. Running back Alvin Kamara led the way offensively with three total touchdowns. The Ravens led for pretty much the entire game against Tampa Bay and would have won by double digits, if not for a late garbage time score by the Bucs. I’m actually going to take the Saints to win in an upset. Baltimore’s star tight end Mark Andrews suffered an ankle injury against Tampa Bay, and his status for this week is up in the air. Even if he does play, he might not be is normal self. Moreover, New Orleans has a great home field advantage and have lots of momentum after last week’s scintillating performance against Las Vegas.

Prediction: Saints 26, Ravens 20