Welcome to the second half of the season. Another 6 teams have their bye week here in week 9: the Giants, Broncos, Cardinals, Jaguars, 49ers and Lions.
A very good week for me in week 8, as I went 11-2. Let’s try to match that this week shall we?
Thursday Night Football
- Cincinnati @ Miami: One team is on a 4-game winning streak, the other, a 4-game losing streak. And while I think the Dolphins are better than what they’ve shown during their skid, I think the Bengals are too hot right now. I give the road team with their stellar defense, and on-fire quarterback the edge in this one. CINCY WINS
1PM Sunday Games
- Atlanta @ Carolina: The Panthers have been really good of late on both sides of the football. The Falcons have been inconsistent to say the least. If the birds want to make a run at a playoff spot, they’ve got to start with this road divisional game. I think it will be close, but I think Matt Ryan limits the turnovers and the defense does just enough to help them get win number 3. ATLANTA WINS
- Minnesota @ Dallas: The Vikings scored a lot on Green Bay’s defense last weekend. This as the Cowboys allowed a lot of scoring on their own defense in a bad last-second loss. And despite not knowing if the Boys will get back their starting running back or not, Tony Romo is a better quarterback than everyone on Minnesota’s roster. So I’m taking the home team. DALLAS WINS
- New Orleans @ New York Jets: The Saints are cruising atop the NFC South, while the Jets sit two back in the AFC East. Geno Smith has yet to lose two, or win two in a row in his rookie campaign. But I think Drew Brees and company will change this, and hand New York their second straight loss to drop them below .500. NEW ORLEANS WINS
- Tennessee @ St Louis: The Rams defense did a very good job of stopping the Seahawks high-powered offense on Monday night. But the offense couldn’t help them out. The Titans are fresh off their bye with getting to .500 on their minds. Jake Locker has been a lot better this year than most people realize, because he tends to get banged up a lot. But I think having had the extra week to get healthy, the Titans are ready to pick up a big road win. TENNESSEE WINS
- Kansas City @ Buffalo: Sure the Chiefs are probably due for a loss, and this being a road game against a pretty good defense, this could be the week. But I haven’t really liked what I’ve seen from Thad Lewis since taking over for the injured EJ Manuel. I think if Alex Smith continues being smart with the football, this will be a fairly easy win for the leagues remaining undefeated team. KANSAS CITY WINS
- San Diego @ Washington: The Chargers have been inconsistent this season, but are on an upward trend coming out of a bye. RGIII is in the midst of a sophomore slump following his Rookie of the Year campaign in 2012. The biggest difference for San Diego right now is their running game, led by Ryan Matthews, is starting to round into form. I think this continues, and the Chargers hand the Redskins their 2nd straight loss. SAN DIEGO WINS
4/4:25PM Sunday Games:
- Philadelphia @ Oakland: The Eagles offense is not what Chip Kelly invisioned when he signed on to be the head coach before the season. A big reason for that is the oft-injured Michael Vick, who left Sundays game against New York after reinjuring his hamstring. That means Nick Foles will be back under center. As for the Raiders, Terrelle Pryor has already matched their win total from a year ago, despite not having stellar numbers throwing the football. His biggest threat has been on the ground, and I think that’s where he, and Darren McFadden get it done again this week. OAKLAND WINS
- Tampa Bay @ Seattle: The Bucs remain winless, and now have to go to a place where Russell Wilson doesn’t lose. And this after Wilson had a bad game in St. Louis. That just doesn’t seem fair, but this is football. SEATTLE WINS
- Baltimore @ Cleveland: Cleveland continues to show improvement, even in losses, but there are no moral victories in Football. As for the Ravens, they’re coming off a bye and looking to right the ship. Ray Rice has had a down year, but always plays well off the bye, and will need to this week in order to get a road win. Also look for Torrey Smith to have a big game. BALTIMORE WINS
- Pittsburgh @ New England: The Steelers are another team having a down year, while the Patriots continue to find new and interesting ways to scrape wins together. I think this will be another close game for the Pats, but they always do well at home, and with Stevan Ridley running the way he is, give me the home team. NEW ENGLAND WINS
Sunday Night Football
- Indianapolis @ Houston: Case Keenum showed something in his first start for the Texans, almost leading them to a win against KC. But their defense hasn’t been what everyone thought pre-season, and the run game is beat up. As for the Colts, they’ve beaten some of the leagues best teams, and Andrew Luck has looked good doing it. I want to say the Texans will make a game of it, but in the end, the Colts get it done. INDY WINS
Monday Night Football
- Chicago @ Green Bay: This is my favorite match-up of the week. Two very good NFC North teams looking to establish themselves as the team to beat in the division. The packers hold the edge right now thanks to already having had their bye week, but a Bears win would go a long way in closing the gap. Their defense got off to such a hot start, but has seen a drop-off since their 3-0 start. Losing Jay Cutler didn’t help the team, and he won’t be back this week. So despite the Packers defense letting Minnesota score a lot last week, give me Aaron Rodgers by 7. GREEN BAY WINS
There you have it. 13 games that are sure to be fun to watch. Enjoy everybody.