It’s probably not news anymore, but the Cleveland Browns are still winless after week 8 of the NFL season. There were a few close encounter last weekend and for the second week in a row there was a tie game as the Redskins and Bengals drew 27-27. Week 9 is upon us this Thursday, November 3rd and there are some classic rivalries on the weekend including Pittsburgh vs Baltimore and Philadelphia vs the New York Giants. Check out our weekly predictions below to see how each team will fare in week 9.
Thursday, November 3rd
Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Falcons edged Green Bay 33-32 at home last weekend and still lead the NFC South with a 5-3 record. Quarterback Matt Ryan, who should get some consideration for MVP award this season if he keeps it up, led the way to the last minute victory. On the other hand, Tampa quarterback Jameis Winston wasn’t as fortunate as his club was beaten 30-24 in overtime at home by the Oakland Raiders. Winston had a pair of touchdown passes though and wasn’t picked off. These two teams met in their season openers with Tampa winning the NFC South battle 31-24 in Atlanta. Ryan and Winston combined for six touchdowns and 615 yards in that contest. Tampa enters the weekend at 3-4, tied for second in the division with New Orleans. Atlanta has some fine players in Ryan, Mohammed Sanu, Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman to lead the offence while Winston doesn’t have as much help, especially if Jacquizz Rodgers misses the game with injury.
Prediction: Atlanta gets some revenge and wins by five points, 31-26
Sunday, November 6th
Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings
Detroit has struggled on the road this season as they dropped their third straight game away from home with a 20-13 loss at the hands of the Houston Texans on Sunday. This loss snapped their three-game winning streak and the team is now 4-4 on the year and in third place in the NFC North. Eric Ebron and Theo Riddick had good games as Riddick gamed 56 yards on 11 carries along with 77 yards on eight receptions with a touchdown. Ebron chipped in with 79 yards on seven catches and these two should be key players against Minnesota along with receivers Marvin Jones and Golden Tate. The Vikings lost their second straight game on Monday when they were doubled 20-10 by Chicago, but still top the NFC North at 5-2. Quarterback Sam Bradford has been hit 26 times and sacked 11 times over the past two weeks while the defense has conceded an average of 129.5 yards against on the ground in those games and has recorded just one sack. Prediction: Minnesota wins by seven points, 24-17.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Kansas City Chiefs
Jacksonville’s playoffs hopes have faded with their 2-6 record after another big loss last weekend. The Jaguars were downed 36-22 in Tennessee by the Titans last Thursday. They’re now entrenched in the basement of the NFC South. Quarterback Blake Bortles is ranked 27th in the league with just a 60 per cent passing completion rate among starting quarterbacks. He’s also 26th when it comes to interceptions at 3.1 percent. Receivers Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson are also struggling slightly when compared to last year. Kansas is 5-2 on the season and sits third in the strong AFC West Division. They took care of the Indianapolis Colts 30-14 on the road last week. However, starting quarterback Alex Smith is likely to miss the next couple of weeks with a concussion. Nick Foles will probably take over if Smith sits. Foles gained 223-yards against the Colts with a pair of touchdowns. Both Kansas and Jacksonville have decent defences, the Kansas is better as they allowed 350.7 yards against per week, which is 10th lowest in the league, and they lead the NFL in pickoffs with 11.
Prediction: Kansas wins by five points, 21-16.
New York Jets at Miami Dolphins
The New York Jets have won two in a row and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick hasn’t been picked off in those contests, so the Jets are on a roll. The defence has been the main reason for the wins though as they beat Cleveland 31-28 on the road last week. They conceded just 68 rushing yards against the Browns while giving up only 11 yards the previous contest. The Jets are now 3-5 on the season, but still in last place in the AFC East. Miami sits one position ahead of them at 3-4 and took last week off with a bye after wins over the Steelers and Bills. Running back Jay Ajayi has a pair of touchdowns and 418 yards in his past two outings, for an average of 7.7 yards each carry. The Jets’ front seven has recorded 1.7 sacks per outing while Miami’s offensive line has allowed 46.5 sacks on average each season since the 2012 campaign.
Prediction: Miami wins by three points, 24-21.
Dallas Cowboys at Cleveland Browns
This matchup features the hottest team in the league against the coldest. Dallas has won six in a row after downing Philadelphia 29-23 in overtime at home. They’re now 6-1 and lead the NFC East. Rookie quarterback Dak Prescott and rookie running back Ezekiel Elliot have been leading the way. Prescott has thrown nine touchdown passes this year and racked up 1,773 yards in the air with just two interceptions. However, Elliott is facing a possible suspension regarding alleged domestic abuse. Cleveland remains winless at 0-8 and sit in the cellar of the AFC North after losing 31-28 to the Jets at home. Running back Isiah Crowell and Terrelle Pryor are exciting players, but they’re hurting at quarterback as they’ve used half a dozen different players at the helm this season. The Cowboys offence and defence is both ranked seventh in the league while Cleveland’s are both ranked last.
Prediction: Dallas wins by 14 points, 31-17.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens
There’s a big AFC North showdown as arch-rivals Pittsburgh and Baltimore Ravens will do battle on Sunday. Pittsburgh took last week off with a bye and it came at the perfect time as they’ve lost two in a row to Miami and New England. In addition, Ben Roethlisberger was sidelined with an injury. The Steelers are 4-3 on the year and still lead the AFC North though. It looks like Landry Jones will fill in at quarterback again. His last outing saw him go 29 for 47 in passing with 281 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He’ll be up against a seventh-ranked defence in rushing, passing and points against per game. The Ravens are tied with Cincinnati for second in the division at 3-4 and also had a bye in week 8. Veteran quarterback Joe Flacco has been inconsistent this season along with the rushing game. Baltimore has run for 100 yards or more just twice this season.
Prediction: Pittsburgh wins by six points, 20-14.
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants
There’s also a huge NFC East clash as the Eagles meet the Giants in the Big Apple with both teams at 4-3 on the season. The Redskins are also right behind them at 4-3-1 with Dallas topping the division at 6-1.The Eagles were beaten 29-23 in overtime in Dallas last week and hope to bounce back. Philly’s rookie quarterback Carson Wentz will need to be wary of the New York defence since it’s recorded half a dozen pickoffs in the past two outings. The defense is also limiting opposing quarterbacks to a 57.4 pass-completion rate. The Giants had a bye last week with quarterback Eli Manning finally warming up and recording two straight victories. The Giants’ offence racked up 435 yards against Baltimore in week 6 with Odell Beckham earning 222 of them. In week 7, the defence led the way with four interceptions against the Rams.
Prediction: Philadelphia wins by five points, 26-21.
New Orleans Saints at San Francisco 49ers
New Orleans beat Seattle 25-20 at home last weekend as they got to Seattle’s legendary defence. On the other hand, San Francisco sat on the sidelines with a bye. The Saints are 3-4 and tied with Tampa for second in the NFC South while the 49ers are just 1-6 on the year and own last place in the NFC West. Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees is at peak form right now by completing 74.2 percent of his passes in the last three contests by making 98 of his 132 attempts with seven touchdowns. Running back Mark Ingram could also be a key player since San Francisco is last in the league in rushing defense with 1,296 yards allowed so far. New Orleans is 22nd in the league in passing defence and has the second fewest sacks, but San Francisco quarterbacks Kaepernick and Gabbert have gone just 54.5 per cent in passing. It looks like Colin Kaepernick will start this game he’s 29-for-63 on the season with just 110 yards an outing.
Prediction: New Orleans wins by 10 points, 31-21.
Carolina Panthers at Los Angeles Rams
Carolina’s losing skid came to an end last week with their 30-20 win over Arizona at home. Quarterback Cam Newton still isn’t at his best though as he went 14 for 27 in passing for 212 yards without a touchdown. Running back Jonathan Stewart led the way with two touchdowns and 95 yards while the defence sacked Carson Palmer eight times and hit him another seven. Newton is averaging 251.3 yards in the air this year though, which is the second-best of his career. However, he’s at career low points in passer rating at 81.2 and completions at 57.4-per cent. The Rams pass defence is average as it’s ranked 13th in aerial touchdowns conceded and 16th for passing yards given up. Los Angeles quarterback Case Keenum has been inconsistent and his team is third in the NFC West at 3-4 after last week’s bye. The Panthers are now 2-5, but still at the bottom of the NFC South.
Prediction: Carolina wins by 11 points, 24-13.
Indianapolis Colts at Green Bay Packers
Indianapolis came out on the wrong end of a 30-14 decision at home to Kansas City last weekend and are now in third place in the AFC South at 3-5. Quarterback Andrew Luck was below par, but still tossed for a pair of touchdowns. Luck led the team on the ground though with 60 rushing yards, but couldn’t get his team going. The Green Bay defence will be tough as they concede just 74.4 yards on the ground each game and 242.7 yards in the air. Green Bay lost 33-32 in Atlanta last week and is second in the NFC North at 4-3. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers will be facing a defence which gives up 402.5 yards per outing and allows opposing quarterbacks to complete 66.7 per cent of their passes.
Prediction: Green bay wins by seven points, 32-25.
Tennessee Titans at San Diego Chargers
The Tennessee offense is being led by the combination of Marcus Mariota and DeMarco Murray as Mariota is completing 69 per cent of his passes with one interception and 10 touchdowns in his past four games. Murray has rushed for 756 yards and averages 94.5 yards per game. They’ll be facing a san Diego squad which allows 361.1 yards per contest. The Titans are 4-4 on the season and second in the AFC South following their 36-22 home win over Jacksonville last Thursday night. The Chargers dropped a 29-17 decision in Denver and are last in the AFC West at 3-5. The Chargers prefer a run and gun attack with quarterback Philip Rivers passing for 288 yards per game with 15 touchdowns and should reach 4,000 yards again this year.
Prediction: San Diego wins by seven points, 28-21.
Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders
This should be an offence vs defence type of game as the top two teams in the AFC West face off. Denver’s D will be up against a hot Raiders’ offence, which is being led by quarterback Derek Carr. Oakland and Denver are both 6-2 on the season and tied for the lead in the division. Oakland beat Tampa 30-24 in overtime on the road last week while Denver downed San Diego 27-19 at home. Carr racked up 513 yards against Tampa and had four touchdown passes. Denver quarterback Trevor Siemian is still playing good enough to win, but it’s usually the defence that leads the way. The Broncos’ secondary will have its hands full against Raiders’ receivers, Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper.
Prediction: Oakland wins by three points 24-17.
Monday, November 7th
Buffalo Bills at Seattle Seahawks
The Bills are now 4-4 on the season and in second place in the AFC East after losing two to start the campaign, then winning four and then dropping the last pair. Buffalo was taken down 41-25 at home by New England on Sunday while Seattle was beaten 25-20 in New Orleans by the Saints. They’re now winless in two after tying Arizona 6-6 the week before. Buffalo quarterback Tyrod Taylor and his Seattle counterpart Russell Wilson are both mobile and are adept at throwing deep. Wilson is probably a bit better at this stage of their careers though due to his experience and his Super Bowl ring. Seattle’s defence is also stronger, but Michael Bennett will likely miss the game due to knee surgery.
Prediction: Seattle wins by six points, 20-14.