2013 NFL Pick ‘Em: Week 9
Picking the NFL's Week 9 Action
In what turned out to be a surprisingly boring week of NFL action, Week 8 of the 2013 campaign is behind us and Week 9 has now arrived. It's another slate of gridiron greatness with which we can pick and predict the winners.
I had an awesome weekend in Week 8, walking away from Monday night's showdown with a 11-2 record. Combining that with the 66-41 season record leading up to Week 8, my overall record now improves to 77-43 on the year. My 11-2 mark was the best of 2013, knocking off my 13-3 showing from Week 2 for the top spot. Moving forward, the picking should continue to get easier as contenders separate themselves from pretenders.
Even with only 13 games on the upcoming weekend, there should be plenty of exciting action to look forward to from Thursday to Monday. We'll see several divisional showdowns between teams looking to gain positioning as the end of the season draws closer. We'll also get a shot to see if a number of middle-of-the-road teams can make the jump and improve their records before Week 9 is over.
No matter what you're looking for, you're sure to see some excellent NFL action at some point – unless of course your team is on bye this week. Even if that's the case, I'm sure you'll still be fine.
With that in mind, here's a look at this weekend's slate of games.
Week 8 Byes: Arizona Cardinals (4-4), Denver Broncos (7-1), Detroit Lions (5-3), Jacksonville Jaguars (0-8), New York Giants (2-6), San Francisco 49ers (6-2)
Cincinnati Bengals (6-2) at Miami Dolphins (3-4)
The Dolphins are caught in a free-fall, and they aren’t going to find any stability this week against a Bengals team that is cruising through the middle of the 2013 campaign. Coming off a 49-9 slaughter of the Jets, the Cincinnati offense is looking like a fine-tuned machine. Barring some sort of miracle, the Dolphins don’t stand a chance of slowing down Andy Dalton and Co.
Atlanta Falcons (2-5) at Carolina Panthers (4-3)
This season is all but over for the Falcons, who simply don’t look like a team that’s capable of competing on a regular basis. Meanwhile, the Panthers have won three straight and are suddenly right in the middle of the race for an NFC Wild Card spot. Cam Newton has finally flipped the switch and shouldn’t have too much trouble giving Carolina their fourth-straight win.
Minnesota Vikings (1-6) at Dallas Cowboys (4-4)
Barring some sort of miracle, the Cowboys shouldn’t have too much trouble walking away from Week 9 with a win. The Vikings were demolished by the Packers on Sunday night, and appear to be one of the worst teams in the league. Don’t be surprised if Tony Romo and Dez Bryant work together to shred the Minnesota secondary for big yards and plenty of points.
New Orleans Saints (6-1) at New York Jets (4-4)
Last weekend, the Jets were embarrassed by a Bengals passing attack that found the endzone on five different occasions. Considering that they now face one of the NFL's elite quarterbacks, there’s plenty of reason to be concerned. The Saints are rolling this season, and will enjoy similar success against an extremely inconsistent Jets squad. Look for Kenny Stills to stay hot against this subpar secondary.
Tennessee Titans (3-4) at St. Louis Rams (3-5)
With a week of rest and recuperation under their belts, the Titans should be able to walk out of St. Louis with a win. The Rams are without their top quarterback, and have little reason to be confident in the position moving forward. Jake Locker should be able to get back on track now that he's healthy and should easily land the Titans in the win column.
Kansas City Chiefs (8-0) at Buffalo Bills (3-5)
As much as people would love to believe the Bills are still a sleeper, there’s little from the past couple of weeks to back up that assertion. Thad Lewis has struggled to light a fire under the Buffalo offense, and the defense isn’t doing enough to keep them in it. The Chiefs defense will shut down the Bills while Alex Smith leads the offense to another resounding victory.
San Diego Chargers (4-3) at Washington Redskins (2-5)
After blowing a 14-point lead over the Broncos and falling to 2-5, the Redskins are inching closer to shutting it down for the season. The only thing keeping them in it is the sad state of the NFC East. The Chargers, however, are going to help them flip the switch to “off.” Watch for Philip Rivers, Danny Woodhead and the San Diego defense to give Washington another notch in the loss column.
Philadelphia Eagles (3-5) at Oakland Raiders (3-4)
One way or another, Terrelle Pryor has managed to keep the Raiders in games all season long. His heroics – and a bit of luck – allowed them to walk away with a win in Week 8, and now they head into a showdown with a disappointing Eagles team. Unless Matt Barkley suddenly becomes the first-round talent he was expected to be, Pryor and Co. should dispose of Philadelphia in Week 9.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-7) at Seattle Seahawks (7-1)
If the Buccaneers think they have any chance of landing a win in this one, they have much bigger problems than what they’ve shown on the gridiron. The Seahawks are cruising through the 2013 campaign, and will enjoy their Week 9 matchup with one of the NFL’s two winless teams. Marshawn Lynch is going to run over, around and through the Tampa Bay defense all day long.
Baltimore Ravens (3-4) at Cleveland Browns (3-5)
At this point in the season, the Ravens are looking like a hollowed shell of the team that won the Super Bowl less than a year ago. They already lost to the Steelers two weeks ago, and are falling apart at the seams. Meanwhile, the Browns look as competitive as they have in years after coming up just short against the undefeated Chiefs. Jason Campbell is playing well, and should help Cleveland drop Baltimore.
Pittsburgh Steelers (2-5) at New England Patriots (6-2)
As lopsided as this matchup looks, it’ll be closer than you’d think. The Steelers have a stout defense, while the Patriots’ passing game has been a major disappointment so far. Whether it’s a high-scoring affair or a defensive showdown, these two teams should come down to the wire. Chandler Jones and the New England defense should do enough to finish on top, though.
Indianapolis Colts (5-2) at Houston Texans (2-5)
Let’s not kid ourselves; the Texans don’t stand a chance in this one. They’ve lost five games in a row, don’t have a reliable option at quarterback, and have a roster riddled with injuries. Meanwhile, the Colts are arguably one of the strongest teams in the league heading into Week 9. While Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis offense will shine, look for Robert Mathis and the defense to be the difference.
Chicago Bears (4-3) at Green Bay Packers (5-2)
The Bears have won only one of their last four games, and continue to fall victim to one serious injury after another. On the other hand, the Packers are enjoying a four-game winning streak and appear ready to run away with the NFC North crown. Especially against a crippled Chicago defensive front, rookie runner Eddie Lacy should enjoy another sensational day on the ground for Green Bay.