Week 9 in the NFL has a lot to offer! Can the Saints stop the rams? Who will win the AFC-North duel between Baltimore and Pittsburgh – and who will win the Hammer duel between Rodgers and Brady? SPOX takes a quick look at all games of the upcoming matchday – including the forecast by NFL editor Adrian Franke, the Sunday games are as usual in the RedZone conference live on DAZN.
Bye-Week: Bengals, Colts, Giants, Eagles, Cardinals, Jaguars.
The match day starts directly with a game that is difficult to predict – since both teams have obvious weaknesses and both are already looking to 2019 in terms of planning. Derek Carr had his best game of the season against the Colts, especially against Pressure. He should keep within limits against the 49ers anyway, but at the same time San Francisco is well positioned to exploit the enormous weaknesses of the raiders in coverage and run defense. Can C.J. Beathard get rid of the ball any faster? This could also play a central role against the toothless Pass-Rush of the Raiders.
Tip: 49ers vs. Raiders 23:20.
Nathan Peterman’s back! With Derek Anderson’s injury, the Bills have to swap quarterbacks once more; against the Bears’ defense – which Khalil Mack is likely to get back – this could end in another turnover disaster. Conversely, however, it won’t be a self runner for the Bears Open, which still gets shaky appearances from Mitch Trubisky and now has to stand up to a thoroughly dangerous Bills defense. But once again Buffalo is threatened by the well-known scenario that nothing countable comes from his own offense and that a good performance of the defense can’t be enough.
Tip: Bills vs. Bears 6:20.
Everything new in Cleveland: Hue Jackson and Todd Haley are gone, Gregg Williams takes over as interim head coach. So defensively probably not too much will change, the exciting question: Do the browns offensively change anything? Are there fewer ISO routes and more help for Mayfield? Like in the form of 2-TE and 2-RB sets? The Chiefs have a noticeably improved Pass-Rush since a few weeks, that will be a problem for Cleveland. And it is doubtful that the Browns can put sufficient pressure on Mahomes – their own aggressiveness and complexity could rather be the downfall of Cleveland.
Tip: Browns vs. Chiefs 17:30.
A game that feels a bit like a coin toss. The Dolphins have impressively proven the problems with their own pass rush against Houston – if Sam Darnold gets a clean pocket, it could be exciting. Otherwise, both teams are offensively stricken due to injury; Miami will compete again with Brock Osweiler, who was at least not the problem in South Beach over the past weeks. Can the Dolphins win the game at the Line of Scrimmage? Or do the jets win with the better passing open?
Tip: Dolphins vs. Jets 17:20.
Against the Saints Minnesota lost the game due to the two critical turnovers, otherwise there were a lot of positive things to take with them. The Vikings’ offense should cause a lot of problems for Detroit’s definitely fragile pass defense and vice versa the Lions lack a not unimportant weapon with Golden Tate – in the slot Detroit could have attacked Minnesota well. So the Vikings-Defense, then again with Xavier Rhodes and since last week also again with Everson Griffen, should be able to make its mark on the game as well.
Tip: Vikings vs. Lions 27:23.
Few teams are as uncomfortable to play as Washington, unless you manage to force the Redskins into a shootout. Otherwise, Washington manages to control games with its strong defensive line and its own run and short pass game. So the question is: Will Atlanta finally be able to bring the offense so strong in the dome to the field outside a closed roof in the third attempt this year? Then Washington would have problems, but the Redskins should be able to attack Atlantas Underneath-Coverage and Run-Defense.
Tip: Redskins vs. Falcons 23:20.
The victory against Baltimore was absolutely impressive, now the question is: can the Panthers continue their offense constantly? Then there should be no problems against this Bucs-Defense. Conversely, Tampa Bay is once again a complete wonder bag, now again with Ryan Fitzpatrick instead of Jameis Winston. He should be able to deliver one or the other Big Play against a beatable Panthers-Secondary – but the other way round he is always good for turnovers.
Tip: Panthers vs. Buccaneers 27:24.
Even the best defense of the league cannot constantly dominate games – the Ravens did not look good against Carolina. Now a Steelers open is waiting, which is error-prone, but also good for Big Plays at any time. Is Pittsburgh finally going to be able to run against Baltimore? Otherwise the offense might become too one-dimensional again and play the raven into the cards. Meanwhile Joe Flacco has to play better on the side of the hosts, then Big Plays are also possible against this Steelers defence.
Tip: Ravens vs. Steelers 21:23.
Demaryius Thomas is allowed to join the Texans directly against his ex-team after his trade – after the season out of Will Fuller Houston of course had receiver needs, but Thomas is a completely different receiver type; not for nothing the Texans were supposed to have DeSean Jackson first. Houston now lacks a speed element in the offense, while the offensive line, unlike the Dolphins game, could be badly exposed by Denver. Then the question remains: Can Case Keenum and the Broncos Open Society provide sufficient support? Or is there too much mismatch here against the opponent’s pass rush?
Tip: Broncos vs. Texans 17:20.
This game is much tighter than one could have imagined three weeks ago. The Seahawks have found their offensive identity in the run game, so they should be able to cause the Chargers a lot of problems – and that multiplies if Russell Wilson continues to play so absurdly efficiently. L.A., still without Joey Bosa, must score against an improved Seahawks defense. Philip Rivers and Co. are unquestionably able to do that, but if the Big Plays don’t happen, it could be a game that Seattle wins over possessions and ball control.
Tip: Seahawks vs. Chargers 24:23.
Potential preview of the NFC Championship Game: Currently the Saints and the Rams are the two clearly best teams in the conference and a corresponding heavyweight fight awaits the Superdome. The Saints should be able to attack Los Angeles’ linebacker and also the outside-coverage. Both teams have outstanding offensive lines, so it will be difficult for the respective pass rushes. The Rams have strengthened here again with Dante Fowler, at the Saints Rankins and Davenport were noticeably improved recently. Can New Orleans adopt the Packers’ aggressive approach? It would be risky, because the Saints don’t have the same coverage possibilities against the receiver power of the Rams, and even less so if Cooper Kupp actually returns.
Tip: Saints vs. Rams 28:31.
Beside Saints vs. Rams of course THE firecracker of this week – only for the second time Brady and Rodgers cross the blades, and the Packers are already a little bit with the back to the wall after the dramatic bankruptcy with the Rams: The division is still completely balanced and open, but Green Bay must slowly begin to win games. A central question: is the Packers defense as aggressive as it is in Los Angeles? It would be advisable, because Brady had some wobblers against the Blitz this year and at least if Michel fails again, the Patriots are offensively one-dimensional. Then Green Bay has a chance, and the Packers should be able to run the ball. But is that enough in the end? And how will Green Bay react if New England can take out Davante Adams?
Tip: Patriots vs. Packers 34:31.
The Titans remain one of the bigger disappointments this season so far. This is partly because they have no explosiveness in their offense, and against a good cowboy defense this could again be a problem. Dallas, first with newcomer Amari Cooper, had recently shown some positive tendencies on the offensive, but the cowboys still have to be able to raise their run game, otherwise it will be difficult. It’s anything but a runaway against this Titans front.
Tip: Cowboys vs. Titans 20:14.