Nov. 09, 2017
NFL Week 9 Preview and Predictions
Week 9 Headlines
Zeke Suspension Back On…For Now: Ezekiel Elliott's request for a preliminary injunction was denied Monday night, allowing the six-game suspension the NFL handed the running back for violating the league's personal conduct policy to begin. However, the NFLPA has filed an emergency appeal to delay the suspension once again. Stay tuned.
Andrew Luck Placed On IR: The Colts have placed quarterback Andrew Luck on the injured reserve list, general manager Chris Ballard announced Thursday.
Browns' Gordon Reinstated: Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon has been conditionally reinstated to the NFL, the league announced Wednesday. If all goes well, Gordon could play in the Browns final five games.
Watson Tears ACL: Houston Texans rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson will have season-ending surgery after tearing his ACL during Thursday's practice.
Trades!: Several Trades were made during a very active NFL trade deadline. Click for more.
Fantasy Football Start Em/Sit Em
Starting Quarterbacks: Alex Smith, Matthew Stafford, Tom Savage, Tyrod Taylor
Sitting Quarterbacks: Andy Dalton, Matt Ryan, Josh McCown, Eli Manning
Starting Running Backs: Lamar Miller, Doug Martin, Alvin Kamara, Aaron Jones
Sitting Running Backs: Marshawn Lynch, Frank Gore, Joe Mixon, Alex Collins
Starting Receivers: Dez Bryant, Tyreek Hill, Larry Fitzgerald, Golden Tate
Sitting Receivers: Alshon Jeffery, T.Y. Hilton, Amari Cooper, Pierre Garcon
Starting Tight Ends: Jimmy Graham, Evan Engram, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jack Doyle
Sitting Tight Ends: Martellus Bennett, Coby Fleener, O.J. Howard, Eric Ebron
Starting Defenses: Jaguars, Eagles, Rams, Texans
Sitting Defenses: Giants, Broncos, Cowboys, Jets
Bills vs. Jets: Buffalo continues to shock the NFL world by looking as if they’re destined to end their postseason drought. Against the Jets, they do need to be careful. Both defenses have played well and both teams are well constructed in the trenches. One edge that the Buffalo defense has is that they make it extremely difficult to get points on the board. They’ll bend, but rarely break when it matters. While they’re prone to get beat in the passing game, the Jets don’t have the weapons to take advantage of that. And finally, the Bills offense should be able to score with their running game and the newly acquired Kelvin Benjamin. I’m picking the Bills to win this one.
Buccaneers vs. Saints: A five-game winning streak sees the Saints playing as well as any other team in the league. Now they get to host a Tampa Bay team that has disappointed. The Bucs defense isn’t a good match against the Saints offense on any level. And while Tampa has the weapons on paper to rip defenses apart, their inconsistency keeps them from their potential. In the end, the Saints should win this game.
Falcons vs. Panthers: After nearly losing to Jets last week, the Falcons find themselves up against a good Panthers defense. If this was the Falcons offense of a year ago, it wouldn’t matter much. But the fact is that they’re dangerous on paper, but haven’t executed at a high level this season. The Falcons defense also finds themselves with a good matchup. They’re one of the fastest units in the league and match up well with a Panthers team that lacks big playmakers on offense. In a tough game, I expect the Falcons to win it.
Rams vs. Giants: With both teams coming off of a bye week, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a sluggish start to this game. The NFC’s surprise team of the first half is the Rams. The one thing we know about them is that they find creative ways to get the ball downfield. The Giants, on the other hand, have injuries to blame for their lack of offensive production. And to make matters worse, they can’t exploit the Rams weak run defense. While the Giants defense is capable of causing problems for the Rams, Los Angeles does have the personnel and the system to get just enough points to get the win.
Ravens vs. Titans: It looks like Joe Flacco will be able to play on Sunday. Even so, their offense still ranks 31st in yards per game. The Ravens toughness and physicality on defense is to be respected, but their 30th-ranked run defense will have to find a way to stop a Titans team that can exploit that. And with Marcus Mariota having full mobility back, the Ravens will need to dominate like they did against the Dolphins last week. I don’t see that happening and see the Titans winning a close game.
Bengals vs. Jaguars: This will be one of the most physical games of the year featuring the Bengals fifth-ranked defense and the Jaguars sixth-ranked defense. And to top it off, the Jags have added Marcell Dareus to shore up their worst-ranked run defense. So this game could come down to which offense makes the least amount of mistakes. And in games like this, I expect the running game to be the difference maker. Jacksonville has the advantage there and I expect their defensive front to get into the Bengals backfield early and often. So Jacksonville will finally win consecutive games.
Broncos vs. Eagles: The Denver Broncos have become a one unit team. Problems on offense and special teams have put the breaks on their season. And now Brock Osweiler will make his first start for the Broncos in nearly two years. On the other side of the field, the Eagles have everything rolling their way. They’ll have to find ways to score against the Broncos this week, but their defense could win the game themselves if they can apply pressure onto Osweiler. After all, the Broncos will have trouble running on the Eagles. Look for the Broncos free fall to continue with a loss to the Eagles.
Colts vs. Texans: News of Deshaun Watson's season ending injury comes at a horrible time. The Texans seemed poised to take the AFC South with the rookie under center. With the injuries on defense as well, the Texans may begin to slide unless all hands step up. The Colts have one of the worst defenses in football and the second-worst pass defense. Tom Savage's job won't be too hard and he should be able to lead the Texans to a win over the Colts.
Redskins vs. Seahawks: Even with the return of Josh Norman, the Redskins are still an injury-riddled team right now. And that does them no good on the road in Seattle. While the Seahawks defense isn’t as strong as it was in year’s past, the Redskins don’t have the weapons to exploit the Seahawks 20th-ranked run defense. And even with the weaknesses, the Seahawks defense is still tough to score on. Meanwhile, I expect Washington’s defense to struggle to try to contain Russell Wilson. Especially considering the fact that the Seahawks offense has been pretty good recently. At home, expect a Seattle victory.
Cardinals vs. 49ers: The Niners made some big news off the field by trading for Jimmy Garoppolo. And to make things even better, this may be their best chance to win a game. The Cardinals will be starting Drew Stanton this week. Which means the Cardinals offense can’t really be trusted. Also, the Cardinals barely beat the Niners the last time they played and they’re lost two of their last three on the road. So I’ll pick the upset and go with the Niners.
Chiefs vs. Cowboys: With the Ezekiel Elliot suspension back on, the Cowboys will have to rely on a running back by committee format. Also, that means more responsibilities for Dak Prescott moving forward. Where the suspension of Zeke really hurts is that the Cowboys will have to contain the Chiefs offense while not being able to control the clock with their dominant running game. And finally, I don’t see how they stop the Chiefs offense. The Cowboys defensive line will likely be canceled out by the Chiefs offensive line while they’re secondary struggles to slow down the passing game. I’m picking the Chiefs to win this game.
Raiders vs. Dolphins: This is the last stand for the Oakland Raiders. They have to win this game if they still want to make the playoffs. That means they need Derek Carr to get back to playing like a franchise quarterback again and Beast Mode has to provide the physical punch for the Raiders offense. The Dolphins also need a win if they want to keep pace in the AFC East. Their offense has also been inept and now they don’t have Jay Ajayi anymore. With the desperation at its peak, I expect both teams to take some reckless chances. But in the end, I predict Jay Cutler will make more mistakes and cost the Dolphins a win.
Lions vs. Packers: I’m sure Aaron Rodgers would’ve shredded the Lions secondary en route to a victory, but he isn’t playing anymore this season. So the Lions should be able to pick the bones and get a win.