Where is the NFL season going? Week 9 is already upon us, and there's quite a few interesting games on the docket. Some surprise games with playoff ramifications, such as the Jets/Bills and Bengals/Titans, and a few games for Cowboys fans to keep their eyes on with the Giants/Patriots and Bears/Eagles.
Without further ado, here's how the staff at SB Nation Dallas sees Week 9 playing out.
Jets (4-3) at Bills (5-2) - Who knew that the Bills would be favored in this game coming into the year? It's a game that the Jets need to win, not only to draw even with the Bills in the standings, but from an ego standpoint as well.
- Charley Code: Bills
- Maurice London: Jets - I don't like the Jets but this seems like a game Chan Gailey loses.
- Liam Ponting: Jets - Still can't buy into the Bills and it's a short trip for the Jets.
- Christopher Fittz: Bills - I have to start rooting for the Bills now that I've been told the Rangers are the new Bills.
- K.D. Drummond: Jets - I need the Jets to be better so the Cowboys loss was to a good team.
- Robbie Griffin: Bills - Going back and forth on this one. I'm going to say the Bills can burn the Jets deep often enough.
- JP Starkey: Jets - Don't see Buffalo sustaining success.
Seahawks (2-5) at Cowboys (3-4) - If the Cowboys want to make the playoffs, they must win this game. Being .400 isn't sexy, but it's a hell of a lot better than being 3-5. With this year's NFC East, being .500 after eight games isn't so bad.
- Code: Cowboys
- London: Cowboys - More Bruce Carter. Absolutely no Keith Brooking.
- Ponting: Cowboys - As much as I'd like anything but to see this team wallowing in mediocrity, they'll be back at .500 after this game.
- Fittz: Cowboys - I have absolutely no idea what this Cowboys team is capable of any given week.
- Drummond: Cowboys - McBriar is out, meaning Romo will hold snaps for kicks against Seattle. What's the worst that could happen?
- Griffin: Cowboys - The last time I was this confident about a Cowboys game, it was a blowout. More like that, please.
- Starkey: Cowboys - Seattle just isn't a good team.
- Code: Falcons
- London: Falcons - It's going to be hilarious when the Colts get their first win against the Texans.
- Ponting: Falcons - The Colts are just so, so bad.
- Fittz: Falcons - I assume the Colts will be taking a plunge in those popularity rankings.
- Drummond: Falcons - The Colts are still in the league? Who knew.
- Griffin: Colts - Upset special. I am still very down on the Falcons, and the Colts LT tandem can handle John Abraham enough to get Indy a close home win.
- Starkey: Falcons - Even the crappy Falcons can beat the crappier Colts.
Dolphins (0-7) at Chiefs (4-3) - Credit Todd Haley and the Chiefs: they've managed to bounce back after looking like one of the worst NFL teams during the month of December. After Monday night's win over the Chargers, the Chiefs find themselves leading the AFC West, by virtue of tiebreaker. They get a layup on Sunday against the winless Dolphins.
- Code: Chiefs
- London: Dolphins - Upset special.
- Ponting: Chiefs - So are the Dolphins.
- Fittz: Chiefs - The NFL needs pricks like Todd Haley.
- Drummond: Dolphins - Sparano has hurt Miami week in, week out. Now, he'll crush their Luck chances.
- Griffin: Chiefs - I was going to pick the Chiefs even when I though they were terrible. I have second thoughts on their talent now, but the Dolphins are bad.
- Starkey: Chiefs - Do not doubt Scott Pioli.
Buccaneers (4-3) at Saints (5-3) - Pretty key battle here in the NFC South. Like the Falcons, both the Bucs and the Saints have underwhelmed so far this year, but both teams still are fairly dangerous -- especially the Saints at home.
- Code: Saints
- London: Saints - What the hell was that, Saints?
- Ponting: Saints - The only team that's more of an enigma than the Saints is the Bucs. NO should take this at home.
- Fittz: Saints - Last week was yet another reminder that this isn't the NFL you grew up with where the good teams won EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK.
- Drummond: Bucs - All that gold in the Saints uniforms is just too inviting for the pirates.
- Griffin: Saints - The Bucs got a huge win at home, but the road is a different story. I'm expecting blowout.
- Starkey: Saints - The Saints are coming.
49ers (6-1) at Redskins (3-4) - Remember when the Redskins were good for all of five minutes this year? Then they remembered that their quarterbacks were John Beck and Rex Grossman. Having a crappy quarterback hasn't mattered for San Francisco, though, as they look to move to 7-1 on the year.
- Code: 49ers
- London: 49ers - Did not see the Skins collapse coming with Beck and Grossman at the helm.
- Ponting: 49ers - That defense is going to slaughter the Redskins.
- Fittz: Redskins - BECAUSE I SAID SO!
- Drummond: 49ers - The talk in Washington has already turned to the draft.
- Griffin: 49ers - The 49ers will have a field day with the Redskins o-line.
- Starkey: 49ers - I actually think Washington keeps this close, but finds a way to lose.
Browns (3-4) at Texans (5-3) - Colt McCoy gets to play in the state of Texas once again! The Browns, though, will be without Peyton Hillis as they attempt to force the Texans back closer to the .500 that they're used to seeing.
- Code: Texans
- London: Texans - The Browns will make this close.
- Ponting: Texans - They won't even need Andre Johnson for this one.
- Fittz: Texans - 8-8! 8-8! 8-8!
- Drummond: Texans - I'm tired of Houston making me look bad. Just gonna roll with them through their collapse.
- Griffin: Texans - The round of expansion before this saw both teams in conference championships their second year. This most recent round has seen one playoff appearance and no wins.
- Starkey: Texans - I can't believe the Texans might finally be a playoff team.
Bengals (5-2) at Titans (4-3) - What a bust Chris Johnson has been this year. Still, the Titans can move to 5-3 with a win over the Bengals, who are playing some pretty good football. It's looking like it was a blessing in disguise that Carson Palmer wanted out so badly -- and of course that the Raiders wanted to overpay.
- Code: Bengals
- London: Bengals - Andy Dalton needs some love. He's good.
- Ponting: Bengals - Chris Johnson's eventually going to return to form, but until he does, the Titans just lack explosiveness post-Britt.
- Fittz: Titans - I can't believe this game is relevant.
- Drummond: Bengals - There are only two AFC teams with a better net point differential than Cincy.
- Griffin: Titans - Weird thing: AccuScore favors the Bengals (barely). I'm not sure what I'm missing.
- Starkey: Titans - There's just no way the Bengals are going to be 6-2.
Broncos (2-5) at Raiders (4-3) - Step right up if you want to see some inept quarterbacking. This could be Tim Tebow's last start in the NFL as a quarterback, and Carson Palmer certainly can't play any worse than he did two weeks ago against the Chiefs... or can he?
- Code: Raiders
- London: Raiders - Tebow vs Palmer! Over/Under 10 INTs?
- Ponting: Raiders - Oh my God, Tebow's going to get killed by that crowd.
- Fittz: Raiders - Maybe Palmer knows at least 20% of the playbook by now.
- Drummond: Raiders - I plan on Tebowing as soon as the Modern Warfare 3 hits the shelves on Tuesday.
- Griffin: Raiders - Tebowing!
- Starkey: Raiders - Taking Oakland, though I really won't be surprised if the Broncos keep it close, just because of how bad I expect Carson Palmer to be.
Giants (5-2) at Patriots (5-2) - I would say Super Bowl rematch, but I don't actually recall if these two teams ever played in a Super Bowl. The Patriots actually sort of need to win this game, as they could end up being one and a half games behind the Bills if they lose -- thanks to the Bills beating them earlier this year. On the other hand, the Giants want to keep separating themselves from the NFC East.
- Code: Patriots
- London: Patriots - The Giants' skid begins.
- Ponting: Patriots - The tough part of the Giants' schedule begins, and with it a fall back to the rest of the division.
- Fittz: Patriots - Where is your David Tyree now?
- Drummond: Patriots - OK Tom. You yanked out our hearts, now go get that SB revenge.
- Griffin: Patriots - If the Giants do not have a chance to win at the end of the game, they are clearly inferior to Dallas, right?
- Starkey: Patriots - Repeat after me: the Patriots do not lose back-to-back games. Or games at home to NFC opponents.
Rams (1-6) at Cardinals (1-6) - Yikes. Is anybody outside of either Phoenix or St. Louis going to actively watch this game? Scratch that, is anybody in either Phoenix or St. Louis going to actively watch this game?
- Code: Cardinals
- London: Rams - With Kevin Kolb's suck removed the Cardinals still lose.
- Ponting: Cardinals - Regardless of who wins, America loses.
- Fittz: Cardinals - I can believe that this game isn't relevant.
- Drummond: Cardinals- DirecTV finally gave into Fox, and televising this game on Sunday Ticket was part of the concession.
- Griffin: Cardinals - Warner Bowl.
- Starkey: Rams - Why not?
Packers (7-0) at Chargers (4-3) - San Diego's descent toward .500 continues. After fumbling away the game against the Chiefs, Philip Rivers has to rebound against the defending Super Bowl champs, who look nearly invincible at the moment.
- Code: Packers
- London: Packers - Tempted to pick the upset but can't with the Packers coming off a bye.
- Ponting: Packers - Chargers have looked less than convincing. Rodgers should put up his customary 300/3TD performance with no problems.
- Fittz: Packers - It's possible that the Packers' fairly terrible pass defense could bite them but they're still so good at everything else that they'll likely just continue to win everything.
- Drummond: Chargers - The Pack finally lose a game as the Chargers start their late season run.
- Griffin: Packers - Best team in football beats most under-achieving team in football.
- Starkey: Chargers - Upset of the week that has everybody believing in Philip Rivers and the Chargers, only for them to finish the season 9-7 and on the outside looking in come January.
Ravens (5-2) at Steelers (6-2) - Hey, a primetime game that probably won't suck. This game will likely end up having some pretty big ramifications come playoff time -- especially with the Bengals playing over their heads so far this year.
- Code: Steelers
- London: Steelers - Joe Flacco isn't that bad but he's not winning in Pittsburgh.
- Ponting: Steelers - The Steelers will be looking for payback after that miserable first matchup. They should eek this one out at home.
- Fittz: Steelers - I've grown tired of this rivalry. We get it. You're both mean.
- Drummond: Steelers - Seriously, what the hell happened to Joe Flacco's potential?
- Griffin: Steelers - As much as I'd love a repeat of their first game, these teams are going in different directions. Joe Flacco has seemingly regressed from the talented rookie who I thought had a bright future.
- Starkey: Ravens - I'm bitter.
Bears (4-3) at Eagles (3-4) - Well, it looks like somebody woke the Eagles up. Still, the Bears present a tough challenge for Michael Vick and company. Stopping Matt Forte isn't easy to do, so Chicago has a good chance to keep Philadelphia's offense off the field.
- Code: Bears
- London: Eagles - Finally a MNF game I'm semi-interested in.
- Ponting: Eagles - Jason Peters vs. Julius Peppers will decide this one.
- Fittz: Bears - I do not want to watch this game.
- Drummond: Bears - Pure, unadulterated, anti-Eagles bias.
- Griffin: Eagles - Meh.
- Starkey: Eagles - If it were in Chicago, I'd roll with the Bears.