TEM’s NFL Football Predictions-Week 9
This weekend starts a great week of NFL action. There are some very competitive games on the docket. Without further adieu, here are my predictions for Week 9 in the NFL.
Tampa Bay vs. Atlanta
The Buccaneers travel to Atlanta fresh off their win in Arizona. Tampa Bay QB Josh Freeman must continue to make smart decisions. The emergence of RB LaGarette Blount has given the Bucs offense some balance. He will be needed to combat a physical Falcon defense. QB Matt Ryan is playing well, but obviously, the key to this team winning is the running game. RB Michael Turner must be effective so that Matt Ryan will have time to hook up with WR Roddy White for big plays. I see the crowd and the experience of the Falcons overwhelming the Bucs.
Prediction: Atlanta 24, Tampa Bay 20
Chicago vs. Buffalo
Chicago travels to Buffalo to take on the winless Bills. QB Jay Cutler has been reckless with the football. The best cure for that is the running game. Offensive Coordinator Mike Martz must feed RB Matt Forte the ball so Cutler will have a favorable down and distance to work with. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick looks to continue his hot streak against a stingy Bears defense. If Fitzpatrick gets help from his running game, then he should be somewhat successful. If he doesn’t, then he could have a long day.
Prediction: Chicago 27, Buffalo 17
New England vs. Cleveland
The Patriots travel to the Dawg Pound to take on a surprising Cleveland Browns squad. QB Tom Brady has been very effective and efficient with his core of wide receivers. He must continue to be efficient against a porous Browns secondary. The Browns defense must get pressure on Brady to help their secondary or they could be in for a long day. QB Colt McCoy gets his 3rd start in a row this week. He must continue to value the football and he must also continue to get help from RB Peyton Hillis. If Hillis is able to run successfully, then the Browns will be able to slow down the game and limit the possessions of the Patriots. In the end, Brady is just too much for the Browns.
Prediction: New England 31, Cleveland 17
New York Jets vs. Cleveland
The Jets go to Motown to face a much improved Detroit Lions team. QB Mark Sanchez proved last week that he needs his running game to be more effective. RBs LaDanlian Tomlinson and Shonn Green must be effective against the Detroit defense. Also, the Jets’ WRs and TEs must be more productive this week when given opportunities. QB Matt Stafford returned with a bang last week. He must continue the momentum from last week and he must also have RB Jahvid Best return to his early season form. TE Tony Scheffler has to play big this game for the Lions to have a chance.
Precdiction: NY Jets 24, Detriot 13
Arizona vs. Minnesota
Arizona travels to Minneapolis to take on a struggling Vikings football team. Arizona has a revolving door at QB and that has affected the production of WR Larry Fitzgerald. Because of the shaky play at QB, the Cardinals must depend more on RBs Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower to carry the load. If Wells and Hightower are effective, the pass rush of the Vikings will slow down and more holes will be created for the passing game. QB Brett Farve has to wake up this week. He has played through injury, but he simply hasn’t lived up to the hype. Farve should get back on track this week against a Cardinals defense that has trouble stopping the run and the pass.
Prediction: Minnesota 27, Arizona 10
New Orleans vs. Carolina
New Orleans travels to Charlotte to take on a terrible Carolina Panther team. QB Drew Brees stepped up last week and carried his team offensively. Look for RB Chris Ivory to be a beast on the ground this week. And when Ivory gets it going on the ground, look for Brees and his talented wide receivers to make some big plays. QB Matt Moore will be starting again for the Panthers and he still hasn’t learned how to value the football. That doesn’t bode well against a ball-hawking defense like the Saints. Moore’s running game must produce in order to keep him out of obvious passing situations. If the Saints defense stops the run, this game could get ugly real fast.
Prediction: New Orleans 34, Carolina 16
Miami vs. Baltimore
Miami travels to see Ray Ray and the boys this weekend in what should be a physical game. I expect the Ravens defense to come out physical and aggressive to start the game. They want to atone for their last game against the Bills. QB Chad Henne must get assistance in the running game if he is to be effective. If not, he will be running for his life because LB Terrell Suggs will be coming after him. If Henne does get some help, he and WR Brandon Marshall should have a good day. QB Joe Flacco must continue to build on his success from last week. He brought his team back on the strength of his arm and I look for him to torch the Dolphin secondary in this game.
Prediction: Baltimore 31, Miami 20
San Diego vs. Houston
San Diego travels to Houston to take on a disappointing Houston Texan team. QB Phillip Rivers must continue attacking defenses down the field with TE Antonio Gates and crew. Because of the respect that defenses have for Gates, RB Ryan Matthews should have some running lanes to gash the Texans defense. QB Matt Schaub has to be better in the passing game this week. He is getting help from RB Arian Foster. Foster was the offense last week in Indianapolis and he needs to get more carries if Schaub cannot get it done this week against the Chargers. Jacoby Jones could be a factor in the return game for the Texans against the Chargers.
Prediction: San Diego 34, Houston 24
New York Giants vs. Seattle
The Giants travel to the Northwest to take on the suddenly struggling Seattle Seahawks. QB Eli Manning should have a pretty good day if he keeps an eye on Seahawks S Earl Thomas. Thomas is a playmaker. other than Thomas, I don’t see any other Seahawk defenders that will cause problems for the Giants high-powered offense. The NFL’s leading rusher, Ahmad Bradshaw, should have his way with the Seattle defense. QB Charlie Whitehurst gets his first start for an injured Matt Hasselbeck. He faces an ferocious pass rush led by DE Justin Tuck. Seattle has injuries up front and they allowed 8 sacks last week to the Raiders. A QB making his first start and the New York Giants pass rush make for a bad combination for the Seahawks. Whitehurst could have a long day.
Prediction: New York Giants 33, Seattle 17
Kansas City vs. Oakland
The Chiefs travel to the Black Hole for a big-time divisional showdown. The Raiders have been running the ball very effectively with RBs Darren McFadden and Michael Bush. If this continues against the Chiefs, look for the QB Jason Campbell to be able to make some big plays in the passing game. The Chiefs are a running football team as well and they must establish the run so QB Matt Cassell can make big plays in the passing game. This game will be a big test for the Chiefs offense because the Raiders defense is playing at a very high level. The first team to stop the run will win this game.
Prediction: Oakland 23, Kansas City 20
Indianapolis vs. Philadelphia
Indianapolis travels to the City Of Brotherly Love for this big showdown. QB Michael Vick returns to the starting lineup for the Eagles this week. He also gets his big play threat back in WR DeSean Jackson. This spells trouble for an injury-depleted Colts defense. QB Peyton Manning must carry the Colts this week. The Eagles have proven to be susceptible to the pass as long as its away from CB Asante Samuel. The lack of a consistent running game should come back to haunt the Colts in the end.
Prediction: Philadelphia 30, Indianapolis 24
Dallas vs. Green Bay
The Cowboys take their traveling mess to Green Bay. QB John Kitna was largely ineffective last week. This week, I expect them to run the football more. RBs Marion Barber and) Felix Jones must be effective or this game could be a long one for the Cowboys offense. TE Jason Witten must also be a factor in this game. QB Aaron Rodgers must shake off an ankle injury to come out and lead this team. The Cowboys have been suspect in pass defense, so I expect that this game will play right into the hands of what the Packers want to do: pass the ball. Quite simply, the Packers will pass it all around the yard on the Cowboys.
Prediction: Green Bay 33, Dallas 14
Pittsburgh vs. Cincinnati
Pittsburgh is still smarting from last week’s loss in the Bayou. The Steelers must get back to running the football with RB Rashard Mendenhall. He hasn’t really been a factor since Big Ben came back from suspension. I expect Mendenhall to control the game on the ground and for Big Ben to make some big plays off the play-action pass to WR Mike Wallace. Cincinnati just can’t play in the clutch. If they are to have any chance to win, QB Carson Palmer must be effective and shake the turnover bug and RB Cedric Benson must be effective running the football. Both of these tasks will be hard against an angry Steelers defense.
Prediction: Pittsburgh 23, Cincinnati 17
These are my predictions for Week 9 in the NFL. Now that you have seen them, step up to the plate and challenge my expertise.