5 NFL Teams That Will Definitely Lose in Week 9
5 NFL Teams That Are Sure To Lose In Week 9
The stage is set and we are just hours away from the bulk of the action in Week 9 of the 2013 regular season.
With six teams hitting their bye as we cross the halfway point, six games will kick things off at 1 p.m. EST, leaving five late games to complete the action on what is always super Sunday in the NFL.
The week began with somewhat of an upset on Thursday Night Football in the ‘streak vs. streak’ contest between the Miami Dolphins and Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals had won four games in a row and the Dolphins were mired in the complete opposite, losing four in a row heading into the contest. The game culminated rather unconventionally with a safety during overtime and the Dolphins taking the spoils as both teams snapped their respective streaks.
Following this week’s games, every team will have rolled through at least half of their schedule as the league begins to take shape. We’ve got a good idea of where most of the 32 combatants are heading as they enter the home stretch, though there is always room for the unexpected, much like we saw on Thursday night.
Nevertheless, there are still those teams that are blatantly underdogs this week. This section of analysis has become a little more difficult this week as with the Jaguars on their bye, while there are certain games (Chargers at Redskins, Titans at Rams, Ravens at Browns) that could evidently go either way.
Of the 24 teams still to play in Week 9, five of them are only here to make up the numbers. Read on to find out which teams are destined for failure before a ball has been snapped this week.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers find themselves in uncharted territory this season. After contending in the division for as far back as you care to remember, the Steelers are bottom of the once-competitive AFC North with a lowly 2-6 record. The fact that they are currently worse off than the Cleveland Browns really paints a true picture.
The Steelers meet the Patriots this week in a history-laden fixture at Gillette Stadium. For so long, these two teams have flown the flag for the AFC as one of the two has appeared in eight of the last 10 Super Bowls. They also have five titles between them in the past decade alone.
Unfortunately for the visitors, their influence in the NFL is waning as they enter a transition period while their Week 9 hosts continue to find a way of regenerating as competitors year after year.
It won't be pretty, and field goals could be prominent in this one. Both sides are more astute in the passing game, yet they also both possess current top-five passing defenses. The Steelers have the ability on the other side of the ball to continue Tom Brady's recent woes, though they have little to offer in possession.
The Steelers may have won on their last road game against an AFC East foe, but this is a whole other level. At 6-2, the Patriots' season record mirrors that of their Week 9 opponents, and having won four out of four at home this season, the Patriots will keep rolling going into their Week 10 bye.
4. Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons are uncharacteristically 2-5 on the season and head coach Mike Smith is feeling the heat.
His job will not be made any easier by the fact he is missing his top two wide receivers while his leading running back is being eased back from injury.
Having lost on the road in Week 8, the last thing the Falcons need right now is a divisional tie against a Panthers side that is riding high after three wins in a row. The Panthers have found their feet over the last three weeks, elevating themselves from 1-3 and finding success on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Cam Newton has recaptured the form that made him so unpredictably devastating in his rookie season, while the defense is ranked third overall and has conceded the lowest amount of points this season so far.
Atlanta have found no joy away from the confines of the Georgia Dome this season, losing all three of their road games so far. While this streak is extended to four in week 9, so too will be the Panthers' winning run as they push to earn second place in the NFC South.
3. Chicago Bears
Quite staggeringly, the Bears are 0-6 over the last three seasons against their NFC North rivals.
What's more, they have not won at Lambeau Field in five visits since 2007.
Standing in their way in Week 9 is the annual thorn in their side, Aaron Rodgers and his Packers' offense that ranks second overall. Mike McCarthy's men are red-hot on a four-game winning streak and continue to win in comfort even with the loss of some key offensive components.
Adding to the lopsidedness of this contest is the fact that the visitors are once again having to manage without starting quarterback Jay Cutler, one thing they have had little success doing over the years. Cast your minds back to last season when the Bears were 7-1 and in control of the division before losing Cutler to a concussion. They finished up at 10-6 under the guidance of their backup QBs, which, considering they are currently 4-3 in 2013, does not bode well.
2. Minnesota Vikings
The 2013 season has been a horror show for Leslie Frazier and the Minnesota Vikings.
They've won just one game all year and had to travel to London to do so, while they have found little stability under center, having started three different quarterbacks through seven games.
The franchise has a considerable amount of egg on their faces after throwing their weight behind Josh Freeman, only to see him flop so catastrophically, the result of which now sees Christian Ponder reinstated for another shot under center.
The Vikings go on the road to face the Dallas Cowboys in Week 9, who themselves have been far from convincing this season. Just when it looks like 'America's Team' are about to seize control in the NFC East, they endeavor to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory as their inconsistency issues rumble on.
However, this one is arguably the statistical mismatch of the week: the 30th-ranked Minnesota Vikings defense that has given up the second-highest total points on the season so far find themselves up against a top-10 quarterback, the leading receiving touchdown scorer in the league and a returning DeMarco Murray to further pile on the misery.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Oh Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where did it all go wrong?
They are easily the second-worst team in the NFL this season and arguably the most unstable franchise.
As one of only two teams in the league without a win in 2013, the Bucs have been a walking soap opera this season. Whether it's been trading their starting quarterback, battling with an outbreak of MRSA or the misuse of the best cornerback in the game, they've been a mess and you just couldn't make this stuff up.
Many of the Bucs' supporters are embracing the fact that they are in the lowly position of being second only to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the race for the wooden spoon, while they are all united in the knowledge that the 2013 season is a complete write-off.
If their in-house problems weren't enough to contend with, they find themselves on the road in Week 9 against the team with the best record in the NFC and viable Super Bowl contenders. The top will be facing the bottom in the NFC with the Seattle Seahawks positively salivating at the prospect.