NFL Weekly Predictions: Week 9

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

Green Bay @ San Francisco (+3½)

The Packers lost 28-22 at home to the Vikings as Dalvin Cook piled up 226 yards and 4 touchdowns. Green Bay dropped to 5-2 and has a one-game lead over the Bears in the NFC North.

"Cook verified what we've all feared," Matt LaFleur said. "Our defense sucks. Our defensive unit is going to have a difficult time watching film of that game. But the title of the film should intrigue them. It's titled 'Exploited Holes.' It's subtitled 'Gashed.'

"We lost to the Niners at Levi's Stadium last year in the NFC championship game. That 37-20 loss is etched into our memory. And if anyone on this team has a long memory, it's Aaron Rodgers. Although if you ask when he last won an NFC championship game, that memory gets a little hazy."

Russell Wilson tossed 4 touchdown passes as the Seahawks beat the 49ers 37-27. Jimmy Garoppolo and George Kittle both left in the fourth quarter with injuries, and both are out multiple weeks.

"These never-ending injuries have been extremely frustrating," Kyle Shanahan said. "And the frustration in those injured players is quite evident. They've spouted a bevy of four-letter words, the most popular of which is 'Ouch.'"

Packers win, 27-21.

Denver @ Atlanta (-4)

The Falcons beat the Panthers 25-17 in Charlotte on Thursday night. Matt Ryan passed for 281 yards and rushed for 27 and a score.

"You know you've failed as a defense when Matt Ryan rushes for a touchdown on you," Raheem Morris said. "And, it was even a 13-yard touchdown run. Keep in mind, Matt may be the slowest and whitest quarterback in the league. If he raced Phillip Rivers in a 100-meter dash, there's need to be a commercial break. They call him 'Matty Ice.' In fact, he's the 'Vanilla-est' of Ices."

The Broncos rally from a 24-3 deficit culminated in a 31-30 win over the Chargers. Drew Lock's 1-yard TD pass to K.J. Hamler on the game's final play provided the winning points.

"Not only did Drew toss the game-winning pass," Vic Fangio said, "he also gave an inspired halftime speech. He said, 'Do your job.' And I believe he was talking to everyone, especially me, because that is my job."

Falcons win, 27-20.

Seattle @ Buffalo (+3)

Russell Wilson's 4 touchdown passes powered the Seahawks to a 37-27 win over the visiting 49ers.

"How has Russell never won an MVP award?" Pete Carroll said. "Do voters think he's 'cooking' meth? Who do I need to talk to and/or pay to make sure he wins one? If Reggie Bush's parents could make it happen, I'd pay them again.

"Should we really fear the Bills? Two of their 6 wins have come against the Jets, by an average margin of 9 points. Not impressed. The Jets are the NFC East of AFC East teams."

The Bills forced a late Cam Newton turnover and secured a 24-21 win over the visiting Patriots, snapping a seven-game losing streak to New England.

"What a time to be alive," Josh Allen said. "This calls for a member of the Bills Mafia to drop his ample self through a folding table covered with New England clam chowder. And for the Goo Goo Dolls to put it to music.

"Now, Russell Wilson presents a whole new set of problems than Newton. Wilson could drop a pass in a bucket from 50-yards out. Newton couldn't drop a pass in a bucket, period."

Seahawks win, 30-28.

Chicago @ Tennessee (-5½)

The Bears came up short to the Saints in a 26-23 overtime loss to the Saints at Soldier Field.

"Derrick Henry will be our main focus on defense," Matt Nagy said. "We just have to tackle him. But do we need to avoid the embarrassment of being stiff-armed by him? Not at all. That's just Derrick looking out for his opponents. That stiff-arm keeps you well over six feet away."

The Titans lost 31-20 to the Bengals in Cincinnati, suffering their second-straight defeat and tumbling into a tie with the Colts in the AFC South.

"We moved the ball just fine offensively," Mike Vrabel said. "Defensively, we couldn't get out of our own way, but had no trouble getting out of the Bengals way.

"A two-game losing streak is no need to panic. We can get things right. If there's one team that knows how to 'recover,' it's us."

Titans win, 24-22.

Baltimore @ Indianapolis (+3)

The Ravens lost 28-24 to the undefeated Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium. Lamar Jackson committed 4 turnovers, and the Ravens dropped to 5-2, two games behind the 7-0 Steelers in the AFC North.

"That was a physical contest," Jim Harbaugh said, "and we apparently failed our physical."

The Colts beat the Lions 41-21 at Ford Field, led by Phillip Rivers's 3 touchdown passes, two to Nyheim Hines.

"This is by far Phillip's best game as a Colt," Frank Reich said. "It's what we've been expecting all year from Phillip. And my gosh, how many times has Phillip heard the phrase 'We're expecting.'"

Ravens win, 23-16.

Carolina @ Kansas City (-11)

The Panthers lost their third consecutive game, falling at home 25-17 to the Falcons. Carolina is 3-5, third in the NFC South.

"We may have Christian McCaffrey back to face the Chiefs," Matt Rhule said. "He's not quite a full participant in practices, but he is getting some light work in. We call it 'Christian Mingle.' We're calling his return the 'Second Coming.'"

The Chiefs zipped past the Jets 35-9, led by Patrick Mahomes' 5 touchdown passes to four different receivers. Mahomes ended the day with 416 yards passing and no interceptions.

"Patrick put his full complement of talents on display," Andy Reid said. "He even threw an underhanded pass to Travis Kelce for a TD. I'm sure Adam Gase took notice, and likely will implement it into the offense for the Arena League team he'll be coaching next year.

"Le'Veon Bell didn't have a great game, but he is certainly happy to be here. I don't think he's been this content since he was in a car with Blount, or was it blunt?

"We're gonna get Le'Veon the ball. The last thing we want is for the game to end only to realize we didn't utilize him to the greatest extent. We don't want Le'Veon wasted, but he might."

Chiefs win, 33-21.

Detroit @ Minnesota (-4)

The Vikings stunned the Packers 28-22 at Lambeau Field, powered by a huge game from Dalvin Cook, who rushed for 3 touchdowns and added another on a TD reception.

"Dalvin became the first player in NFL history to score a touchdown on each of his team's first four possessions," Mike Zimmer said. "Dalvin is so good, he not only makes Kirk Cousins better, he makes him obsolete.

"But I'm sure the Lions will gear their defensive scheme towards stopping Dalvin. And that will definitely give Kirk a chance to prove himself. Unfortunately, what he usually ends up proving is that he's overpaid."

The Colts thrashed the Lions 41-21 at Ford Field, snapping Detroit's two-game winning streak.

"We got behind early," Matt Patricia said, "and were unable to establish the run. That's the 'double-whammy.' My coaching acumen makes that a 'triple-whammy.'

"I may be back on the hot seat, but I'm gonna keep coaching like my job depended on it. Until I hear someone say, 'You're fired' or, my letter of recommendation signed by Bill Belichick expires, I'm gonna assume I still have a job."

Vikings win, 30-21.

NY Giants @ Washington (-3½)

Washington had a Week 8 bye, and faces a crucial NFC East division contest against the visiting Giants.

"We're in second place in the NFC East," Ron Rivera said. "That's with a 2-5 record. That means we're the second-best team in the NFC East, or the 30th-worst team in the NFL.

"Things haven't gone as we expected this season. But you have to adapt. Here in D.C., you have to be adept at making adjustments on the 'fly,' especially if you're Rudy Giuliani."

The Giants upset bid came up short in a 25-23 loss to Tom Brady and the Buccaneers at MetLife Stadium on Monday night. New York is 1-7, last in the NFC East.

"Once again," Joe Judge said, "turnovers cost us the game. Daniel Jones is becoming famous for them. It's akin to falling down on the job. He's done that too. Daniel's stumble after an 80-yard run made him even more famous. He is the 'Legend of the Fall.'"

Washington wins, 24-17.

Houston @ Jacksonville (+6½)

The Jaguars Week 8 bye was met with the news that Gardner Minshew has multiple fractures in his right thumb, suffered in Jacksonville's Week 5 game at Houston.

"Gardner kept his injury a secret," Doug Marrone said, "from everyone except D.J. Chark. D.J. is not a doctor, but he knew something was wrong. That's why he gave the 'thumbs down' to Gardner.

"With Gardner sidelined, we're starting rookie Jake Luton. Jake is a rookie fresh out of Oregon State University and he can't wait to get out there. I would call him the 'Eager Beaver,' but that name's been copyrighted by several Duval County strip clubs."

The 1-6 Texans share last place in the AFC South with the Jags.

"When you're 1-6," DeShaun Watson said, "you learn a lot about yourself. What have we learned? Well, we've learned that, apparently, none of this is Bill O'Brien's fault."

Texans win, 31-21.

Las Vegas @ L.A. Chargers (-1½)

The Chargers built a 24-3 lead in Denver, only to see it disappear as the Broncos scored on the final play of the game to steal a 31-30 victory. The Chargers fell to 2-5.

"We've lost five games by a total of 19 points," Anthony Lynn said. "We're having trouble holding on to late leads. It seems lungs aren't the only thing collapsing around here.

"Justin continues to make plays. He's more than validated our decision to let Phillip Rivers walk, and Tyrod Taylor take a breather."

The Raiders beat the Browns 16-6 in Cleveland. Las Vegas held Baker Mayfield to just 122 yards passing.

"When you combine Mayfield's passing with winds gusting to 30 miles per hour," Jon Gruden said, "you get some throws on target."

Chargers win, 24-21.

Pittsburgh @ Dallas (+9½)

The Cowboys lost 23-9 to the Eagles on Sunday night. With Andy Dalton out with a concussion, rookie quarterback Ben DiNucci completed only 21 of 40 passes for 180 yards, and was sacked 4 times.

"Ben may have been overwhelmed by the moment," Mike McCarthy said. "So, like Andy, he was 'seeing stars.'

"And speaking of 'seeing stars,' we'll be lucky to cross the big one at midfield of AT&T Stadium against the Steelers defense."

The Steelers roared back from a 17-7 halftime deficit to beat the Ravens 28-24 in Baltimore. Pittsburgh forced 4 Lamar Jackson turnovers, and Ben Roethlisberger passed for 2 touchdowns.

"We played like garbage in the first half," Mike Tomlin said. "My language at halftime was even filthier. The 'F' word was used. The 'F' grade was also used.

"The Cowboys have issues at quarterback, with their offensive line, and with their defense, just to name a few. In other words, 'America's Teem-ing with problems.'"

Pittsburgh wins, 34-13.

Miami @ Arizona (-4½)

In Tua Tagovailoa's first start, the Dolphins shocked the visiting Rams, 28-17, led by a defense that forced 4 Jared Goff turnovers.

"Most experts predicted there would be one quarterback overwhelmed by the moment," Brian Flores said. "And they were right.

"No one expected us to beat the Rams, and few think we can beat the Cardinals. But don't underestimate my coaching. I'm unpredictable. You just never know what I have up my sleeve. It may be a trick, but it's not 'magic'; that's on the bench."

The Cardinals had a Week 8 bye and at 5-2, trail the 6-1 Seahawks in the NFC West.

"We have to keep improving," Kliff Kingsbury said, "and building on every success. Now is not the time to get complacent. And I've told my team that much in a terse admonishment. Just call me 'Kurt Warner.'"

Arizona wins, 21-14.

New Orleans @ Tampa Bay (-4½)

The Buccaneers edged the surprisingly scrappy Giants 25-23 at MetLife Stadium on Monday night. Tom Brady hit Mike Evans for a short TD pass late, and the Bucs defense foiled a Giants two-point conversion attempt that would have tied the game.

"We weren't at our best," Brady said. "I certainly wasn't. Frankly, I was embarrassed by my play. If I'm gonna call myself the 'GOAT' after that game, I would do so sheepishly.

"Antonio Brown makes his Bucs debut on Sunday. I can't wait. Antonio is a matchup nightmare. Just ask his girlfriends. He brings a lot to the table, like lawyers. When AB faces a defense, he has to remind himself that he's the wide receiver, and not the plaintiff."

The Saints beat the Bears 26-23 at Soldier Field in overtime. Will Lutz's 35-yard field goal late in overtime won it for New Orleans.

"Sunday's game against the Bucs could very well decide the NFC South division," Sean Payton said. "I see the Bucs won their last game with the help of a favorable pass interference call. So, I can say I sympathize with the Giants, because likewise, we've been screwed over ... and over ... and over ... by BS PI calls."

Bucs win, 27-26.

New England @ NY Jets (+7)

The Chiefs waxed the Jets 35-9 at Arrowhead Stadium as New York managed just 221 total yards. The Jets are 0-8.

"We're halfway to the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft," Adam Gase said. "I can see Trevor Lawrence in a Jets uniform as we speak. Mind you, it's a Winnipeg Jets uniform, because I think Lawrence would rather play hockey in Canada than football in New York."

The Patriots lost 24-21 at Buffalo, dropping their fourth consecutive loss. With the Pats deep in Bills territory with a chance to win or tie, Cam Newton fumbled and the Bills beat New England for the first time in their last seven tries.

"This team is broke," Bill Belichick said. "And yes, 'broke' has dual meanings in my context.

"Now maybe I haven't been as focused as I could have been. Being a Subway spokesman is no easy task. The amount of time I had to put in learning my lines is probably equal to the amount of time I devoted to devising a game plan to beat the Jets."

Patriots win, 26-10.

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