Atlanta Falcons

NFL Week 9 Preview + Picks

We’re officially at the halfway point of the season and the games are getting more and more crucial for the playoffs.  Matt Ryan and the Falcons cruised over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday Night Football to improve to 6-3 and increase their lead in the NFC South to start week nine.  There are several other games within the division that could pay dividends for the remainder of the season.

The New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles face off in a Sunday matinee in the Meadowlands for sole possession of second place in the NFC East.  With the play of the Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys, it seems as if everyone else in the division is fighting in the for a wild card spot.  Both teams are coming into the game at 4-3 but are coming off of very different results in recent weeks.  The Giants have won two straight and have been firing on all cylinders offensively, while the Eagles are looking to bounce back from an overtime loss in Dallas last Monday night.  Look for a very low scoring affair because of the fact that both defenses matchup very well with their opponents offense.  The Giants are a pass heavy team with Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shephard at wide receiver and the Eagles have a great pass defense.  The Eagles on the other hand have a great running game with Darren Sproles and Ryan Matthews which matches up well with the strength of the Giants front seven and overall run defense.

Baltimore and Pittsburgh face off at M&T Bank Stadium in a divisional clash that could land either team the lead in the AFC North.  The Steelers are 4-3 and coming off of their bye week but will most likely get Ben Roethlisberger back after a knee injury sidelined him for their week 7 matchup against New England.  He is currently listed as questionable but they are optimistic about his health for kickoff.  The Ravens have won each of the last three matchups between the two teams and if they have any hopes of making the playoffs they will need to win a fourth.  After a 3-0 start, the Ravens have lost four straight and need to get back on track to keep up with the Bengals and Steelers for the AFC North crown.  Despite Pittsburgh leading Baltimore in every major category leading up to kickoff, John Harbaugh and his squad are always competitive with the Steelers, especially on their home turf.

Sunday Night Football features the most intriguing matchup of the week.  The Denver Broncos travel to Oakland to take on the AFC West leading Raiders.  Denver features the third ranked defense in the NFL and Derek Carr has the Raiders offense clicking on all cylinders.  The Broncos will be without Aqib Talib on defense but Amari Cooper’s health is also in question for the week after he was limited in practice with a back injury.  He is essential to Oakland’s fifth ranked offense and although he is listed as questionable, he would be a huge loss if he is not effective in the game.  Latavius Murray and DeAndre Washington have been very impressive in the running game but Denver’s front seven will certainly give them problems.  That means that Michael Crabtree will most likely be Derek Carr’s top target on the outside and the Raiders will need him to stretch the field to open up lanes for the two headed monster at running back.

Pat’s Picks

DET @ MIN         Minnesota Vikings

PHI @ NYG          New York Giants

NYJ @ MIA          Miami Dolphins

JAX @ KC             Kansas City Chiefs

DAL @ CLE           Dallas Cowboys

PIT @ BAL            Pittsburgh Steelers

NO @ SF              New Orleans Saints

CAR @ LA            Carolina Panthers

IND @ GB            Green Bay Packers

TEN @ SD            San Diego Chargers

DEN @ OAK        Oakland Raiders

BUF @ SEA          Seattle Seahawks

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