Welcome to my Week 9 NFL Picks. Last week, I went 11-4, putting my overall record at 70-49-1 (71-49-1 with Week 9 TNF). We’re a little less than halfway into the season, and we’re starting to see which teams and going to contend and which teams won’t. In this second half of the season, we’ll see middle of the pack teams battle it out for the final playoff slots, and these battles could begin as early as this week. Which teams will pull ahead in the playoff picture this week, and which teams will fall behind? Keep reading to find out what I think.
Lock of the Week
The Jets have underperformed for much of the season, even with QB Sam Darnold back in the lineup. But expect a big game against a depleted Dolphins defense. RB Le’Veon Bell will have the big game we’ve been expecting all year. Darnold will rely on WR Jamison Crowder to lead the receiving game. Overall, the Jets will thrive in this easy match-up. They’ll also hold an anemic Miami offense from scoring a TD.
Upset of the Week
QB Daniel Jones has had success against other below average teams. But on Monday Night, he’ll prove himself capable of more, and expose the Cowboys as overrated in the process. This will definitely be a close game. RB Ezekiel Elliott will be hard to stop, and QB Dak Prescott has more reliable WRs this year than he has in the past. But Jones will rely on his star RB, Saquon Barkley, and should enough receivers healthy to lead the Giants to victory.
The Other Games
|Posted to Twitter on Thursday
||RB Tevin Coleman led the way for the Niners last week. This week, expect QB Jimmy Garoppolo to throw the ball more in a close one. The Cardinals will struggle without RB David Johnson, but QB Kyler Murray will benefit significantly from WR Christian Kirk’s return. He will utilize Kirk as the Cardinals put up a good fight despite falling just short.|
|Posted to Twitter today
||Against a strong Houston secondary, QB Gardner Minshew will need to spread the ball out more, as WRs Dede Westbrook and D.J. Chark could be outmatched by Houston corners. The Texans will put up a decent game, and WR DeAndre Hopkins will just be too much for a Jaguars secondary that’s without CB Jalen Ramsey. But Minshew will find a way to London victory.|
|The Bills offense was exposed last week as they scored just 1 TD against a tough Eagles defense. The underrated Redskins defense will hold them back as well. But Washington will fail to score a TD against an even tougher Bills D. Their QB problems will define them here.|
|The Colts will be without WR T.Y. Hilton here, so QB Jacoby Brissett will be short on capable receivers in Pittsburgh against an underrated Steelers D. This will allow QB Mason Rudolph and WR JuJu Smith-Schuster to lead the Steelers to home victory against an inexperienced Colts secondary.|
|This will be very close. But the Panthers will have to rely heavily on RB Christian McCaffrey in order to make this close, and he can only do so much in one day. QB Ryan Tannehill doesn’t have a clear #1 target, but there’s a lot of capable receivers in Tennessee that will keep the Titans alive and lead them to a road overtime victory.|
|The Chiefs may be without QB Patrick Mahomes for the second straight week. But his backup Matt Moore has enough talent surrounding him to lead the Chiefs to victory, even against a tough Vikings D. QB Kirk Cousins will continue to shine against an inconsistent Kansas City defense though, throwing at least 2 TD and making this very close.|
|This will be another defense-heavy game. Last week, we saw what this Eagles D is capable of. Even the secondary looked alright last week, and they should be fine again against struggling QB Mitch Trubisky and his receivers. But the Bears have one of the best defenses in this league, and they won’t let Philly score much here despite an Eagles victory.|
|Everything I thought Oakland’s offense would be last year, it is now. QB Derek Carr has found a way to put up a good number of points in almost every game. Against a flawed Detroit front seven, things should be even easier than usual. QB Matthew Stafford will have a big game as well. But in Oakland, the Raiders offense will dominate and lead the team to top Detroit.|
|This one will also be very close. But on home turf, I feel that QB Russell Wilson will throw the ball very well and lead his team to victory. QB Jameis Winston will also have a big game, relying heavily on WR Mike Evans and also on WR Chris Godwin. But it won’t be enough for Wilson and his deep WR corps.|
|With QB Joe Flacco on IR, the Broncos will fail to do much of anything against a rising Browns defense. QB Baker Mayfield won’t look much better, but his WR duo of Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry will help the Browns edge out a victory at Mile High.|
|Expect the RB duo of Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler to thrive in this game. They have struggled since Gordon’s return as they battle it out for carries. But I think they will both be used frequently and effectively here. QB Philip Rivers has looked off his game so far this year, but with WRs Keenan Allen and Mike Williams as well as TE Hunter Henry healthy, he has plenty of reliable guys to help him out. QB Aaron Rodgers and the Packers will make this close, boosted by the likely return of WR Davante Adams. But it won’t quite be enough in LA.|
|This Sunday Night game makes for New England’s toughest match-up yet. But Baltimore’s front seven has weakened, and it will open the door for big games from RBs Sony Michel and James White. QB Tom Brady will be held back with his receivers out-matched by a strong Baltimore secondary. But the Ravens will be just as limited by a legendary New England defense, and the Pats should win this game without a problem.|
That’s all for my Week 9 NFL Picks. Stay tuned for more NFL coverage soon.