NFL Week 9 Predictions and Storylines

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Honolulu transplant from Nashville, Tennessee. Teaching high school English during the day, coaching Track & Field in the afternoon, then drinking enough to do it all over again.

Too competitive for an amateur, too amateur to be competitive.

Before Week 8, I was 18-10 and feeling very good about myself. Last week was rough for everyone, and my can’t-miss parlays were really disappointing. Since starting this column, I’m now sitting at 26-17. That’s just more proof that every game is worth watching, unless you’re a Jets fan. Then you’re only waiting to make sure you draft Trevor Lawrence at #1 overall in April. Nevertheless, here are my Week 9 predictions and storylines to watch.

Packers (5-2) @ 49ers (4-4)
Spread: Packers -6
Prediction: Packers 27-24

The Packers were absolutely crushed by Dalvin Cook and the run game in Week 8. It’ll be interesting to see if the 49ers can follow that recipe for success against the Packers. Shanahan loves the ground game and is a genius with run-blocking schemes. If the Pack don’t figure out how to stop it, they’re going to have a long day. I think they watch the film and get it figured out, though, especially with all the injuries to the 9ers. Even if he wasn’t hurt, Bosa would probably be too sad about the election to play anyways. 

Brad Rempel / USA TODAY Sports

Ravens (5-2) @ Colts (5-2)
Spread: Ravens -3
Prediction: Ravens 24-17

I was surprised the Ravens lost last week, thinking that they would be the ideal team to hand the Steelers their first loss. That wasn’t the case, but I’m looking forward to huge matchup between the Colts defense and the Ravens offense. The Colts are a surprise team that is fun to watch and Rivers has cut down on the boneheaded interceptions. Lamar Jackson is still my favorite player to watch too, so there’s plenty to keep an eye on in this game. I think the Ravens ultimately win this one, clawing back to dominance by pulling away in the 4th quarter.

Giants (1-7) @ Washington (2-5)
Spread: Washington -3
Prediction: Giants 21-17

How about the Giants on Monday Night Football?  I did not expect a close game, but they were one missed pass interference from tying the game at the end of regulation. I think they carry that over to this week and it’ll be fun to see how it plays out. Washing is coming off a bye, however, and may surprise people. Part of me abides by the splitting games in divisions belief, but I also think the Giants are actually the better team and narrowly pull off the upset against the division rivals. I hate this division so much.

Bears (5-3) @ Titans (5-2)
Spread: Titans -5.5
Prediction: Titans 27-21

The Titans were a massive disappointment against the Bengals a week ago and GM Jon Robinson responded by cutting several players. Tennessee also traded for 2018 All Pro CB Desmond King and are getting back starting CB Adoree Jackson. This defense should see an immediate upgrade. The Bears defense is still excellent and looks to continue pressuring the Titans offense which has regressed the past two weeks. I think the Titans defense makes a statement after getting roasted by Joe Burrow, the Nashville media, and the cuts of several players. The first half is close, but Tennessee pulls away in the second half.

Andy Lyons / Getty Images

Broncos (3-4) @ Falcons (2-6)
Spread: Falcons -4
Prediction: Falcons 27-21

Since Raheem Morris has taken over, the Falcons are 2-1 and you can argue they should have won against Detroit. The passing attack is just clicking much better than it was at the beginning of the year. Denver has a solid defense, but their offense has been one of the worst in the league. They’ll look better against the bad Falcons defense, but I expect Atlanta’s offense to put up points more consistently. Denver is too sporadic and won’t be able to keep up, despite Atlanta’s best efforts at choking.

Panthers (3-5) @ Chiefs (7-1)
Spread: Chiefs -10.5
Prediction: Chiefs 32-20

The Panthers are playing well and expect to have CMC back, but this is Kansas City. Fantasy owners everywhere are cheering loudly. But the Chiefs are going to put up ridiculous point totals while their defense is T-1 in turnover totals. The Panthers aren’t prone to giveaways, but when KC is scoring and forces you to play aggressively, the defense has more opportunities to be aggressive themselves. The Chiefs will win and cover.

Texans (1-6) @ Jaguars (1-6)
Spread: Texans -7
Prediction: Texans 27-17

The basement of the AFC South. Gardnew Minshew isn’t expected to play, and that’s the ultimate deciding factor for me. The Texans defense is atrocious, but unless Jake Luton is another once in a lifetime 6th round stud, Deshaun Watson and Houston clean up. The Jaguars would run the ball even if Jesus was playing QB so they’ll score a few points but I don’t think it’s enough to keep up with Watson. On a mildly related note, who would be Jesus’s NFL comp?  

Lions (3-4) @ Vikings (2-5)
Spread: Vikings -4
Prediction: Vikings 24-17

The upset against the Vikings was surprisingly spectacular and the Lions are terrible on run defense. Without Matt Stafford at QB, the Lions will lean heavily on DeAndre Swift. At least, I hope so because it’s way more fun to watch him get my fantasy team points. Justin Jefferson is already playing like one of the best receivers this year and I have my eyes glued to the screen whenever he runs routes. I don’t think they need him much though, and stick to Dalvin Cook and play action looks. 

Seahawks (6-1) @ Bills (6-2)
Spread: Seahawks -3
Prediction: Seahawks 31-24

Is there another team more exciting than the Seahawks? I’m always tempted to fake being a Seahawks fan just to watch and cheer for Russell Wilson every week. Who would have thought letting one of the best QBs in the league throw more would mean winning more games? Amazing. Hopefully Bills fans watch this game and realize that Josh Allen is not Wilson no matter how much they want him to be. The Seahawks acquired Carlos Dunlap who will help with their ugly pass rush and I think the Seahawks take care of business in Buffalo. Besides, who can really stop DK when he plays like this?

Raiders (4-3) @ Chargers (2-5)
Spread:  Chargers -1
Prediction: Chargers 24-23

Justin Herbert is still one of my favorite QBs to watch and I don’t care if his garbage defense means that they lose every week. The Raiders baffle me. Their defense is absolutely terrible and yet held the Browns to 6 points. Conversely, their offense can score 40 against the Chiefs but only put up 16 on the Browns. What? A division game at home might be the remedy for the Chargers looking to get their second Herbert win. Will this be a shootout or will 8 minute drives end in missed field goals again? Who knows!

Dolphins (4-3) @ Cardinals (5-2)
Spread: Cardinals -5
Prediction: Cardinals 22-21

This Dolphins defense played spectacularly last week and I want to see what they do against Kyler Murray and the air raid offense. They played a lot of man coverage, so I wonder if Murray ends up scrambling for a lot of yards again. I don’t think Arizona covers the spread but I do think they get the win. Hopefully they open the playbook a little more for Tua and they will probably have to. I can’t wait to watch this one and see Murray continue to make me look stupid for my 9 completions comment.

Steelers (7-0) @ Cowboys (2-6)
Spread: Steelers -14
Prediction: Steelers 27-14

The Steelers are proving every week they’re one of the best teams in the league. My biggest concern is Roethlisberger. Much like Brees and his noodle arm, they don’t have the strength anymore to sling it the way they used to. Not that Brees was ever a gunslinger, but Big Ben has drastically changed his game this year, ranking bottom 5 in average air yards. It doesn’t matter, he’s playing the Cowboys who should just tank the season already and grab the draft’s best defender in April. 3 weeks in a row of saying: I miss Dak.

Saints (5-2) @ Buccaneers (6-2)
Spread: Buccaneers -5
Prediction: Buccaneers 27-26

The Saints and Drew Brees are another interesting team that I don’t really have a lot of confidence in but also usually expect them to win. They beat Tampa Bay to start the year but I think they split the division series on Sunday. Tom Brady is missing some weapons but also is getting Antionio Brown. If Brown can contribute at all, then that’s a win for this team. Alvin Kamara, meanwhile, has better receiving stats than half of the NFL’s receivers. It’ll be a fun Sunday night game that I think the Bucs end up winning. 

Patriots (2-5) @ Jets (0-8)
Spread: Patriots -7
Prediction: Patriots 17-10

The Jet’s are tanking for Trevor unless Belichick is trying to tank for him. If the Jets win, Belichick’s master plan is working. Or maybe he just screws with them hard and lets them win, just so they *can’t* draft Lawrence. Oh the actual game? I can’t even find something to sound excited about. I can’t believe this is the Monday Night game. Patriots 17-10.

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Episode 62