15 NFL Storylines To Follow in Week 9
15 Storylines To Follow in NFL Week 9
It's week nine of the NFL season, which marks the official halfway point for each team in the league. The week got underway on Thursday night with a solid game between the Miami Dolphins and Cincinnati Bengals. The Dolphins got up early but allowed the Bengals to tie, and even take the lead late in the fourth quarter. To Miami's credit though, they punched back and eventually won the game in overtime on a safety.
Now fans have a solid two day wait until the action kicks off again on Sunday afternoon. It's with that wait that fans think about all the side stories and implications of their teams winning and losing. For many teams across the league, it's put up or shut up time. There's only so many losses a team can withstand before each game becomes a must-win situation. If you're team is already there in week nine, that's not a good sign.
When you look across the board at all the action that's set to unfold on Sunday and Monday, I will argue that the best game is the Chicago Bears traveling to take on the Green Bay Packers on MNF. This game has major implications in the NFC North. The Bears are at a clear disadvantage without Jay Cutler, but Josh McCown looked pretty solid while filling in for him in week seven. Chicago's bye week no doubt came at the best possible time in week eight, which gave them extra time to prepare for this crucial midseason battle.
So with all the games and players to watch, will of course come storylines. You know, the underlying story or larger issue at hand for any given team. Some of these teams have 'good problems' to worry about, such as staying unbeaten. While others are fighting for their playoff lives at the halfway point.
With all that in mind, let's take a look at 15 storylines to follow in week nine:
Can the Kansas City Chiefs Stay Unbeaten?
No one had the Chiefs at 8-0 heading into week nine, but that's the reality as they get set to take on the Bills. If the KC offense steps up its game, there's no way the Chiefs lose their first game of the year.
Does anybody know what time it is? Binford Tools is proud to present... All Home Improvement references aside, it really looks like it's going to be Jeff Tuel at QB for the Bills. But regardless of who's under center, Buffalo needs a big day from its QB to beat Kansas City.
Can the Atlanta Falcons Stay Alive?
The Falcons aren't dead yet at 2-5. If they can pull out a tough road win against Carolina, they'll live to fight another week for the playoffs.
Will the Carolina Panthers Stay Hot?
The Panthers have won three straight games and as a result, Ron Rivera's hot seat has cooled down. Carolina has a solid shot of knocking off Atlanta and getting right into the thick of the NFC Wild Card race.
Will the Minnesota Vikings Finally Get a Solid QB Outing?
Christian Ponder will start at QB for the Vikings against the Cowboys and Minnesota fans are hoping that the passing game finally looks in sync in week nine.
Can the Dallas Cowboys Put Away an Inferior Team?
Even tough they're 4-4 and in good shape in the NFC East, the Cowboys are basically in a must-win game against the Vikings. They flat out need to put a convincing win on the board against an inferior team.
Are the Tennessee Titans a Legitimate Playoff Team?
With Jake Locker back under center and getting close to full health, the time is now for the Titans to get back in the AFC playoff picture. They have a winnable game against the Rams and simply can't afford to drop to 3-5.
Can the San Diego Chargers Win On the East Coast?
After winning two straight heading into their bye week, the Chargers have a tough road game against the Redskins in week nine. Philip Rivers has a good shot at ripping up the Redskins' secondary and if he can, the Chargers will likely fly back west with another win on the board.
Will We See 2012 RG3?
It's been a rocky up-and-down season for RG3. If he can recapture his 2012 form against the Chargers, the Redskins have a good shot at staying alive for the playoffs in 2013.
Will Nick Foles Take Control of the Eagles' QB Situation?
All Philly fans are asking the same question - is someone going to take control at the QB position? One week it's Vick, the next it's Foles. If Foles can have a good game and get the Eagles a win, he'll likely find himself under center for the rest of the season.
The Oakland Raiders Are One Win Away From .500
At the beginning of 2013 many were wondering how bad the Raiders would be. Heading into week nine, it's a question of if they can get to .500 and into Wild Card contention.
Will the Baltimore Ravens Get on Track To Defend Their Crown?
The Ravens' offense has been less than impressive so far this year. If they can get a big game from Ray Rice and Joe Flacco in week nine, they'll get back to .500 and a step closer to defending their crown.
Are the Pittsburgh Steelers Done?
The Steelers have one heck of a challenge awaiting them in Foxborough this weekend. They're a team that's clearly on the ropes, but if they can pull the upset, don't count them out yet.
Can Case Keenum End the Texans' Losing Streak?
The Texans have turned to Case Keenum to save their season. The stage is set for him on Sunday night to knock off the Colts and to give Texans' fans new hope the rest of the way.
Aaron Rodgers Can Make a Case For MVP
Peyton Manning is still the clear favorite to win MVP, but don't sleep on Aaron Rodgers. The Packers' QB is starting to catch fire. If he tears up the Bears on MNF, he'll no doubt belong in the most valuable conversation.