David Carr and the Raiders need to rebound after an unfavorable start to this season.
By: Elias McMillan
Last Week: 12-1
Big Five Games of the Week
Buffalo @ New York Jets – The Jets are cranking out great efforts week after week. That’s a good sign for head coach Todd Bowles. The Jets will attempt to empty the tank on a short week against a red hot Buffalo Bills team at home. The Bills were thought to be tanking in September but now they are thinking about how they can keep this going and end one of the longer playoff droughts going in the league. New York will play tough at home and their defense will keep them in it. But the Bills seem to have a lot going for them right now. They have the better QB in Tyrod Taylor and they’ll take the extra rest after this win to accumulate newly acquired WR Kelvin Benjamin. Prediction: Bills 27 – Jets 13
Denver @ Philadelphia – Philadelphia’s remaining schedule isn’t very strong. They just have to keep the wins rolling and stay healthy going into the post season at this point. I think Denver’s defense will provide a good test for the Eagles offense. Von Miller and the Broncos defensive line could provide problems for Philly’s offensive line and their top running attack. Even if Denver is able to limit what Philadelphia can do on offense, I do not trust the Denver offense amounting to much especially since they are turning the offense over to Brock Osweiler. Prediction: Eagles 22 – Broncos 10
Atlanta @ Carolina – The Falcons are continuing to under perform this season. Atlanta still has the ability to put up points with that offense, forcing the opposing team to attempt to outscore them. Atlanta can’t afford to sleep walk this week in Carolina. The Panthers offense is in disarray and things won’t be getting better as they just traded away Cam Newton’s number one receiver. Carolina is still playing well defensively but their offense is missing the spark that rookie RB Christian McCaffrey was suppose to provide. This one will be a heated NFC South contest and I don’t see Carolina amounting enough offensively to beat Atlanta. Carolina may waste another good effort from their defense. Prediction: Falcons 24 – Panthers 19
Kansas City @ Dallas – The Ezekiel Elliott suspension has finally gone through and that is bad news for the Cowboys. Zeke has clearly been the Cowboys best player the last two week and now they will go without him for 6 weeks. I think Alfred Morris and a fresh (but old) Darren McFadden could prove to serve the Dallas rushing game well but it shouldn’t be enough to make up what Zeke can do for the offense when he is in the lineup. Kansas City is really good this year so Dallas will have to play their best game at home to beat them. The Cowboys defense is very beatable so, I can see them having a tough time with WR Tyreke Hill, RB Kareem Hunt and TE Travis Kelce. Kansas City’s defense can give up big plays on occasion as well. QB Dak Prescott has to figure a way to attack the Chiefs defense with confidence in this one. Without Zeke to lean on, Prescott will have to make the Chiefs defense respect the passing game and with the weapons he has, I believe that he can. The Chiefs will be strong upfront defensively with Justin Houston and the return of Tamba Hali. I think the first one without Elliott will prove to be a tough one for Dallas. Prediction: Chiefs 35 – Cowboys 29
Oakland @ Miami – The Raiders are in a rut. They were suppose to be a Super Bowl contender but now it is looking like they may miss the playoffs al together if they don’t get things turned around in a hurry. Miami might be a great place for that turn around to begin. The Dolphins have been wildly inconsistent this season and their head coach is fed up. Case in point, they traded away under performing star RB (from last year) Jay Ajayi. For whatever reason, Miami hasn’t been able to get their running game going and that was such a key to their playoff run a season ago. QB Jay Cutler will return for this game but I’m not sure if that’s a good thing. I mean, the Raiders do have a weak secondary but they should be able to get after Cutler with Khalil Mack and their pass rush. Miami’s defensive front seven is tough but they also struggle in the secondary. I think David Carr and the passing game will be able to make some big plays down the field for Oakland. This game could provide the Raiders with some confidence going forward as Miami begins their journey to the bottom of the AFC East. Prediction: Raiders 30 – Dolphins 21
The Rest of Week 9
Ravens over Titans – I know Tennessee is coming off the bye but Baltimore’s defense played really good last week.
Saints over Buccaneers – New Orleans is the sleeper team in the NFC that many thought Tampa would be at the beginning of this season.
Rams over Giants – New York is coming off another week of locker room drama. LA can’t blink as they are chasing a realistic playoff berth.
Jaguars over Bengals – The Jacksonville pass rush will be all over Andy Dalton in this game. Many are excited about the return of the teal jerseys for the Jags. They really just need to go back to having one helmet color.
Texans over Colts – Houston lost last week but they have to be feeling pretty confident about their rookie at QB.
Cardinals over 49ers – This one is truly a toss-up. San Fran is winless and they might have a good chance if they can close out in the 4th quarter.
Seahawks over Washington – It is too bad that the Washington defense and offensive line has suffered so many injuries.
Lions over Packers – Detroit was pathetic at home last week. I don’t think much of the Aaron Rodgers-less Packers but they actually have a great chance of winning with their home field advantage.
Fantasy Football Picks of the Week
QB: Deshaun Watson (Texans) – After ripping the Seahawks secondary, going up against the Colts could be a walk in the park.
RB: Adrian Peterson (Cardinals) – The 49ers can’t stop the run and Arizona will have to lean on the run game with Carson Palmer out for the season.
WR: Mike Evans (Buccaneers) – Tampa will attack the Saints secondary in an attempt to out score Drew Brees and company.
TE: Jason Witten (Cowboys) – With no Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott will turn to one of the most reliable players in the league.
DEF: Jacksonville – Cincinnati doesn’t have an offensive line. Another 10 sack day on the horizon?