Nov. 08, 2018
NFL Week 9 Preview and Predictions
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our NFL Midseason Report.
Week 9 Headlines
All NFL Trade Deadline Transactions Can Be Found Here
Browns Fire Coaches: The Cleveland Browns have decided to fire Head Coach Hue Jackson and Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley. Jackson’s tenure with the Browns ends with a 3-36-1 record.
Return of Fitzmagic: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have decided to bench Jameis Winston after a four-interception performance. This means that Ryan Fitzpatrick will be starting for the Bucs once more.
Fantasy Football Start Em/Sit Em
Starting Quarterbacks: Cam Newton, Jared Goff, Russell Wilson, Alex Smith, and Baker Mayfield.
Sitting Quarterbacks: Dak Prescott, Marcus Mariota, Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers, and Case Keenum.
Starting Running Backs: Latavius Murray, Nick Chubb, Lamar Miller, Adrian Peterson, and Tarik Cohen.
Sitting Running Backs: LeSean McCoy, Alex Collins, Austin Ekeler, Derrick Henry, and Tevin Coleman.
Starting Wide Receivers: Brandin Cooks, Julian Edelman, John Brown, Sammy Watkins, and D.J. Moore.
Sitting Wide Receivers: Doug Baldwin, Amari Cooper, Mohamed Sanu, Randall Cobb, and Tyrell Williams.
Starting Tight Ends: Greg Olsen, Jimmy Graham, George Kittle, O.J. Howard, and Jared Cook.
Sitting Tight Ends: Austin Hooper, Charles Clay, Antonio Gates, Jordan Thomas, and Trey Burton.
Starting Defense/Special Teams: Bears, Cowboys, Raiders, Chiefs, and Dolphins.
Sitting Defense/Special Teams: Rams, Patriots, Saints, Vikings, and Seahawks.
Game Picks (Season Record 75-49-2)
49ers vs. Raiders: With the Raiders moving to Las Vegas in a few years, this game will mark the final Battle of the Bay. Unfortunately, both teams are far from the glory and prestige of the old days. No, both teams are in full tank mode. Say what you want about the Raiders, but they still have more talent than the injured 49ers. Even if all of their talents is old and inconsistent, they still should have enough to win. After all, they did show a few positives against the Colts a few weeks ago. Also, there’s a chance that the Niners may be down to their third-string quarterback in this game. Even the Raiders defense should be able to get some positive momentum going in this game.
Prediction: Raiders win 27-17
Redskins vs. Falcons: Washington is quietly one of the best teams in the NFC. Alex Smith’s careful play in the pocket isn’t flashy, but it’s enough most weeks. Adrian Peterson seems to have found the fountain of youth in Washington. He’s been running as if he’s 10 years younger. The defense is one of the top-five best units in the entire league. And now, that defense has added Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to play alongside D.J. Swearinger. For the most part, they’re a balanced team with few obvious points to exploit. The Falcons have been injury riddled all season. This has impacted their run defense along with their ability to get off the field on third down. The Falcons offense can move the ball on anyone, but they’ll meet a lot of resistance from the Washington defense. And with the injuries accrued on defense, I’m sure the Redskins will take the opportunity to control the clock and keep the Falcons offense off the field.
Prediction: Redskins win 27-24
Vikings vs. Lions: Turnovers doomed the Vikings against the Saints last week. As they look to rebound against Detroit, this must be the emphasis in game prep. When they aren’t turning the ball over, the Vikings have great offensive potential. Kirk Cousins can connect downfield with his receiving options. What really needs to happen for the Vikings is that their defense needs to return to form. The Lions finally have a reliable running game with Kerryon Johnson’s big play ability. Matthew Stafford will always find a way to put up solid numbers passing the ball as well. The difference maker for the Lions is their pass rush. They have the top sack rate in the league, and Cousins tends to struggle when pressure is applied to him. If Detroit can force enough mistakes, they can steal a game on the road.
Prediction: Lions win 28-27
Ravens vs. Steelers: Baltimore easily defeated the Ravens the last time these two teams met, but the Steelers haven’t lost since. The inconsistent nature of the Ravens defense has begun to rear its ugly head far too often at this point. With the Steelers ability to apply pressure on opposing quarterbacks, you can expect a few Flacco mistakes. And while the Ravens defense has still been playing well, they have failed to come up with many turnovers lately. If the Steelers can limit their miscues, the Ravens will find themselves in a bit of trouble. I believe the typical Ravens outcome will remain consistent in this game. Their defense will play well, and then it will begin to break as their offense fails to help them.
Prediction: Steelers win 23-20
Browns vs. Chiefs: Cleveland’s locker room has to be in a bit of turmoil after the firing of their head coach and offensive coordinator. Terrible timing with the Chiefs coming to town. This one shouldn’t be close.
Prediction: Chiefs win 35-17
Dolphins vs. Jets: The Jets have been in a gradual decline for a while now. With their inability to get anything going on the ground, they have put a lot of pressure on Sam Darnold to get them home. This game will probably be a repeat of the first matchup between these teams. The Jets will struggle to score significant points while the Dolphins take advantage and win the game.
Prediction: Dolphins win 21-15
Bills vs. Bears: Nathan Peterman is starting for the Bills. Nothing more need be said.
Prediction: Bears win 30-6
Panthers vs. Buccaneers: It’s act two for ‘Fitzmagic’ in Tampa Bay. With Fitzpatrick under center, the Buccaneers offense can play to their fullest potential. So long as he doesn’t turn the ball over, they should be in good shape. The problem is, their defense can’t stop anyone. Cam Newton is playing some of the best football of his career right now. He should have no trouble shredding the Buccaneers defense en route to a victory.
Prediction: Panthers win: 34-30
Seahawks vs. Chargers: Admittedly, the Seahawks haven’t been receiving the respect they deserve this season. Despite lacking the Legion of Boom, the Seahawks have managed to return to their roots. That means smart quarterback play, bruising runs, and disciplined defense. They’re also one of the most resilient teams in the league. They don’t quit and they don’t go away. They should be the perfect opponent for a Chargers team that hasn’t been tested in weeks. The Chargers four-game winning streak has come against the Niners, Raiders, Browns, and Titans. Their other win came against the Bills. So while they’re being treated like one of the best teams in the league, they have yet to be tested. The Chargers are clearly the more talented team and should be able to control every aspect of the game, but I’m going with Seattle. Russell Wilson will give the Chargers trouble with his legs. Also, a bruising Seattle running game will keep the Chargers offense on the sideline and the clock moving.
Prediction: Seahawks win 26-23
Broncos vs. Texans: Both of these teams are headed in different directions. Houston is one of the hottest teams in the league with a five-game winning streak. The Broncos, have slipped and fallen after a 2-0 start to the season. Their claim to fame this season is playing the Chiefs tough in two games. Plus, they just traded Demaryius Thomas to the team that they’re playing. Denver struggles to stop the run, so expect big things from Lamar Miller. Also, expect mistakes from the Denver offensive per usual.
Prediction: Texans win 28-17
Saints vs. Rams: There will be a lot riding on this game between the NFC’s two best teams. This could very easily decide home field advantage through the NFC playoffs. The Saints have been battle tested by beating the Ravens and Vikings on the road. Since losing their first game of the season, they have been rolling on offense. Meanwhile, the Rams have been close to defeat for weeks now. Their offense can never be counted out with Coach McVay always making the right adjustments and pushing the right buttons. The vulnerable Saints defense could be in trouble. Knowing this, I believe the Saints offense will flow through their running backs. Ingram and Kamara will attack on the ground and in the short passing game. I believe this will be enough to keep the Rams offense off the field just long enough to get the Saints a big win.
Prediction: Saints win 34-31
Patriots vs. Packers: This game won’t determine the superior quarterback, but everyone will react that way after the game is over. The Patriots haven’t been playing at an expected level recently. Against the Bills, they had some struggles. But since the Bills are the Bills, they were able to avoid the upset. Against Aaron Rodgers, those same struggles will get them beat. Rodgers should have no trouble scoring on the Patriots defense. The Patriots will find some success as well. I expect a repeat of their strategy from the Chiefs game. They controlled the tempo when they could. That will keep the game close, but I believe Rodgers will get his shot on the last drive and win the game for the Packers.
Prediction: Packers win 35-34
Cowboys vs. Titans: Dallas is actually a competent team when playing at home. The Cowboys are averaging 28.7 points per game at home this season, where they've won all three of their games. The Titans offense cannot be trusted, but they have a tendency to hang around and keep games close. They specialize and making teams play down to their level. So while I expect a close game, I expect the Cowboys to narrowly win the game.
Prediction: Cowboys win 20-17