Tuesday, 29 October 2013

NFL Week 9 preview

Week 8 had one of the greatest endings in recent NFL history as the Lions overcame the Cowboys at home thanks to a record-setting day by Calvin Johnson, leading to a tantrum by Dez Bryant on the touchline but maybe the Cowboys should look at their defence that gave up 623 total yards in a game they should have won.

Personally, this writer went to Wembley Stadium in London to watch the San Francisco 49ers steamroll the Jacksonville Jaguars 42-10 in a very one-sided victory, but the 49ers look good again as they have returned to basics getting a lot of rushing yardage from Colin Kaepernick who had 2 rushing touchdowns, Frank Gore who got the first one of the day and some good carries for Kendall Hunter also.

Elsewhere, the Broncos overcame a 21-7 deficit at home to Washington to score 38 unanswered points as Robert Griffin III had one of the worst games of his career. Washington were victims of being greedy, after going head thanks to a Manning turnover (third consecutive game with one for Peyton) they continued to throw when they should have used Alfred Morris and Roy Helu on the ground to eat up time and frustrate the Broncos.  Instead RG3 thought he was a Manning aiming downfield to passers unable to catch in double coverage when screens and short passes would be key.

New England overcame a 17-3 half-time deficit to Miami at home and yet came up big in the third quarter as Tom Brady with a swollen hand did enough to get to 6-2 and again be in control of the AFC East following defeats for the Jets (at Bengals) and Bills (at Saints).

Week 9 preview Byes for Denver, Detroit, New York Giants, Arizona, 49ers, Jacksonville

Bengals (6-2) at Dolphins (3-4)
The Dolphins have now lost four games in a row, and they continue to protect their quarterback. Now they go up against a formidable defence who made life a misery for Geno Smith last week. Coupled with Andy Dalton looking solid himself, not turning the ball over, this one looks a foregone conclusion.
Prediction: Bengals by 8

Steelers (2-5) at Patriots (6-2)
The Steelers are a frustrating sort of team, they should beat a team like Oakland and frustrate Terrelle Pryor but Pryor is making plays week in, week out. The Patriots are seemingly trying to build momentum and for them it is all about balance. Avoid Brady in fantasy until his receiving core gets to full health as they are getting good yards and scores from Stevan Ridley and Brandon Bolden currently.
Prediction: Patriots by 6

Chiefs (8-0) at Bills (3-5)
The Chiefs are probably the least convincing undefeated side in recent years owing to a soft schedule but you can only play who is on your sheet.  The Bills have shown flashes but miss CJ Spiller and the Chiefs defence should be able to get to Thad Lewis enough, but the Browns got within a touchdown of the Chiefs owing to Jason Campbell not turning the ball over. Yet Alex Smith protects the ball better than anyone at the moment in the NFL.
Prediction: Chiefs by 7

Vikings (1-6) at Cowboys (4-4)
The Cowboys will be grateful for this match-up as they can get back on the horse so soon after falling off. The Vikings are woeful and they had no answer to Aaron Rodgers and his depleted receivers, the Cowboys have plenty of catching talent and should be dominant as they usually are against teams with losing records.
Prediction: Cowboys by 10

Titans (3-4) at Rams (3-5)
The Rams came so close to rocking the apple cart by getting a signature win over the Seahawks at home, they outgained the Seahawks in yardage and kept them to only 129 total yards yet gave up an 80+ yard TD to Golden Tate.  They are at home but face a Titans team coming off a bye and if Jake Locker is healthy and plays to the level he showed before his hip injury then they should have too much.
Predition: Titans by 4

Saints (6-1) at Jets (4-4)
The Saints are as under the radar as Katrina was in the White House, yes Drew Brees is having another stellar season and Jimmy Graham caught two touchdowns despite not being 100% yet it is the Rob Ryan defence that is making noise and turning sufficient heads.  Geno Smith has had few answers to complicated defensive schemes as Belichick and Mike Zimmer (last week) has showed. Watch out for Kenny Vaccaro their first round draft pick who should be in the Defensive Rookie of the Year discussion
Prediction: Saints by 14

Chargers (4-3) at Washington (2-5)
The Chargers come off a bye and have a great balance currently with running backs Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead making first downs and then Philip Rivers doing the rest.  Washington need to get back to basics, much like the 49ers did after their mini-crisis when 1-2. Start running the ball again RG3
Prediction: Chargers by 7

Falcons (2-5) at Panthers (4-3)
The Panthers were impressive at the Bucs last week and right now Cam Newton is playing excellent football; his stature in the pocket and explosiveness out of it makes the Panthers a viable wild card contender for the playoffs.  They have this divisional match-up and two games versus the Saints to come but I like the Panthers run and gun offence currently, run first and they still have Steve Smith and Greg Olsen as receivers.  Matt Ryan had four interceptions last week, another week to forget for pre-season Super Bowl favourites.
Prediction: Panthers by 7

Eagles (3-5) at Raiders (3-4)
Expect the Raiders to outrush the Eagles who have forgotten how to score an offensive touchdown. Whatever happened to this vaunted Eagles offensive machine that was going to change football?  The Raiders have been impressive, much more than I imagined they would be thanks to Terrelle Pryor. I think I might lose a bet with a friend of mine over the Raiders win total, which may be beaten in the next three games.
Prediction: Raiders by 7

Buccaneers (0-7) at Seahawks (7-1)
How do we still get these blowout sort of games. The Bucs have little run defence so expect Lynch to have a better day than he did on Monday, Percy Harvin's return cannot come soon enough for this Seahawks offence. Bucs will remain winless, but they are not as bad as Jacksonville, with Mike Glennon showing some competency at quarterback
Prediction: Seahawks by 10

Ravens (3-4) at Browns (3-5)
Jason Campbell did some good things last week and did not turn the ball over, whereas Joe Flacco does turn the ball over.  The Browns defence is underrated, maybe this is the surprise of the weekend.
Prediction: Browns by 3

Colts (5-2) at Texans (2-5)
This must have been thought as a high profile divisional match-up but the Colts are right now a good team playing above expectations at offence and defence. Whilst Case Keenum did well and kept it close against the Chiefs, he came up short and if the Colts defence play to a level like they did versus the Broncos this will be one-sided.
Prediction: Colts by 7

Bears (4-3) at Packers (5-2)
The Packers and especially Aaron Rodgers were from another planet (24 of 29 completed passes) as they had seven successive scoring drives on Sunday, on the eighth they kneeled to end the game. The combination of Jordy Nelson (123 yards, 2 TDs) and Eddie Lacy (89 yards of 192 total rushing yards) who is offensive rookie of the year material may be too much for a Bears defence who gave up 48 points to Washington. The defence have to contend with Josh McGown as Jay Cutler is still out with a groin injury.
Prediction: Packers by 10

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