NFL Weekly Predictions: Week 9

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

Tennessee @ Pittsburgh (-3)

The Titans beat the visiting Falcons in Arthur Smith's return to Tennessee. Will Levis threw 4 touchdown passes, 3 to DeAndre Hopkins.

"Will looked great throwing the deep ball," Mike Vrabel said. "And chicks really dig the deep ball. And so does DeAndre. He loves the deep ball. And he loves a quarterback that can actually throw it.

"Is Will going to start if Ryan Tannehill isn't ready to go? I'm not a doctor, but I'm gonna play one on Thursday, when I declare Ryan a vegetable."

The Steelers lost 20-10 to the visiting Jaguars, who were the more physical team in a slugfest at Acrisure Stadium. Kenny Pickett was knocked out of the game in the second quarter with a rib injury.

"For a team already struggling offensively," Mike Tomlin said, "an injured starting quarterback is the last thing you need to see. Especially when Mitch Trubisky is your backup.

"I hear talk all the time about Derrick Henry's stiff arm. Well you know what? We can give to King Henry just as well, or better, than he can give us. I think what I'm trying to say is, 'I've got a stiffie for Derrick Henry.'"

Steelers win, 23-17.

Miami @ Kansas City (-2½)

With Patrick Mahomes fighting the flu, the Chiefs were out of synch offensively and succumbed to the Broncos 24-9 in Denver. Mahomes had 3 turnovers and failed to throw a touchdown pass.

"I think I caught a stomach bug from my family," Mahomes said. "And I totally S'd the bed, literally and figuratively. Combine flu-like symptoms with the thin air of Denver, and I was sucking wind and blowing chunks.

"We're meeting the Dolphins in Frankfurt, Germany. I hear Germany is famous for its bratwurst. Most people in this organization can't think of a 'worst brat' than my brother Jackson."

The Dolphins whipped the Patriots 31-17 at Hard Rock Stadium. Tua Tagovailoa tossed 3 touchdown passes, one to Tyreek Hill, who had 8 catches for 112 yards. Hill became the first player to top 1,000 yards receiving through eight games.

"Tyreek is unstoppable," Mike McDaniel said. "That's not hyperbole. That's not to be confused with the 'Hyper Bowl,' which is what a bowl would be called if it were named after me. Anyway, Tyreek looks at any defense and says, 'Who's your daddy?' Unfortunately, just like Tyreek's children, the defense has to answer 'You are.'

"This could very well be a preview of the AFC championship. That is, assuming we make it there, and Patrick Mahomes doesn't have the flu for the next two months. I'm pretty sure the Chiefs will have home-field clinched by Week 13, or three weeks after they clinch the AFC West."

Chiefs win 27-24.

Minnesota @ Atlanta (-4½)

The Falcons lost 28-23 to the Titans at Nissan Stadium. Atlanta surrendered 4 touchdown passes to rookie Will Levis, who started in place of the injured Ryan Tannehill.

"I applaud Mike Vrabel for having confidence in his quarterback," Arthur Smith said. "That's something I'm trying to emulate. Currently, there's no way I'd let my quarterback throw four passes, much less four touchdown passes.

"I'd love to have a quarterback that could really air it out. Even if I had one, would I actually allow him to cut loose? I mean, just take a look at me. It's obvious I design plays on a 'pasty white' board."

The Vikings beat the Packers 24-10 at Lambeau Field. But it was a costly win, as Kirk Cousins suffered a torn Achilles tendon and is out for the season.

"Our quarterback situation is up in the air," Kevin O'Connell said, "as is the coin that will decide who our starter will be.

"Luckily, we traded for Arizona's Joshua Dobbs on Tuesday. So, I'm going to do something Arthur Smith can't, and that's name a starting quarterback sooner than Wednesday.

"If you look at our depth chart, it lists Jaren Hall as our backup quarterback. That's news to me. From what I understand, Jaren is a Mormon. That's good, because with Kirk out for the year, we're going to need Jaren to start for the remainder of the year. That's at least nine games. In the Book of Mormon, I believe that's called 'poly-game-y.'"

Falcons win, 25-17.

Arizona @ Cleveland (-7½)

The Cardinals lost 31-24 to the visiting Ravens, who dominated on the ground in sending Arizona to its fifth straight loss. The Cards are 1-7, last in the NFC West.

"I'm not quite ready to name Kyler Murray the starter," Jonathan Gannon said. "But he'll be out there soon. I think he'll soon be ready physically and mentally. His recovery and preparation have been impressive. Heck, he's got the playbook memorized. Now granted, for Kyler, memorizing the playbook means he can say 'the playbook' on command.

"I've decided to give rookie Clayton Tune the start. 'Clayton Tune' sounds like a country music star who would do a duet with Lil Nas X. Clayton Tune sounds like a country music star who drinks hard seltzer and not whiskey. Anyway, Clayton deserves the start. Now, I don't know if he deserves to have his first start come against the NFL's No. 1 defense. Myles Garrett must be salivating right now."

Offensive limitations doomed the Browns in a 24-20 loss to the Seahawks at Lumen Field. Cleveland leaned on its run game, but their passing attack struggled, as P.J. Brown turned the ball over three times.

"This organization has a long history of quarterbacks," Kevin Stefanski said. "And this organization has a long history of quarterbacks who are history.

"That being said, we're confident in the few things our offense can do well, like putting the game in the hands of our defense, or making our punter earn his money, or making sure the other team wins the time of possession battle."

Cleveland wins, 26-12.

L.A. Rams @ Green Bay (-3)

The Cowboys demolished the Rams 43-20 at AT&T Stadium. Dallas opened up a 33-3 lead in the first half and never looked back. Matthew Stafford, who grew up in Dallas, struggled before leaving the game with a thumb injury in the third quarter.

"Well," Sean McVay said, "if they did look back, they wouldn't have been able to see us anyway.

"This game was over early. And you could really tell by the differing vibes on each sideline. Our sideline? We were dejected. The Cowboys sideline? Well, to hear my wife Kelly tell it, the Cowboys had strippers in thongs twerking on the sidelines. I just think the sentence 'My wife is feuding with a rapper named Blueface' is just fun to say. Now, just imagine Curly Lambeau saying the same thing."

The Packers dropped their fourth straight game, a one-sided 24-10 loss to the Vikings at Lambeau Field. Jordan Love continued to struggle, completing only 24-of-41 passes for 229 yards, 1 TD, and 1 interception.

"Keep in mind," Matt LeFleur said, "this is Jordan's first year as a full-time starter. And it shows. But let's be real — Jordan just needs maturity. And that comes with playing time. So, Jordan needs what we call 'seasoning.' Or better yet, to put it in musical terms, what J. Love needs is some 'special sauce.'

"It can be very frustrating coaching Jordan, but he is always willing to learn. It's a love/hate relationship, in that Love is our quarterback, and I hate that."

Rams win, 24-21.

Washington @ New England (-3)

The Commanders lost 38-31 to the Eagles at FedEx Field. Sam Howell had 4 touchdowns to keep Washington close, and almost as importantly, was only sacked once.

"We made it a point to fix those issues," Ron Rivera said. "I think the key to our success is protecting Sam. To be clear, who we're protecting him from is his own offensive line.

"We just hired Eugene Shen as our Senior VP of Football Strategy. We've tasked him with expanding our analytics department. Daniel Snyder actually had an analytics department, and there was a 100% probability that he sexually harassed someone in it."

The Patriots lost 31-17 to the Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. New England dropped to 2-6 and are last in the AFC East.

"This season has been one I'd like to forget," Bill Belichick said. "But I have no intention of retiring. Sure, it would be great to ride off into the sunset with another Super Bowl championship, but I, much like Robert Kraft, know that life isn't all about happy endings. And trust me, there's a lot of video I'd like to have destroyed.

"Halloween just passed, and I'm pretty lazy when it comes to celebrating. So I'm going to continue masquerading as a Hall of Fame coach."

Patriots win, 24-14.

Chicago @ New Orleans (-7)

The Saints beat the Colts 38-27 at Lucas Oil Stadium to run their record to 4-4. New Orleans piled up over 500 yards of total offense as the Saints improved to 4-4.

"It takes a really crappy defense to give up 500 yards of offense to us," Carr said. "It takes an equally crappy defense to give up 371 yards of offense to the Colts.

"We finally got our downfield passing game going. As you know, I've never met a pass I couldn't throw behind the line of scrimmage."

The Bears were totally outclassed in a 30-13 loss to the Chargers at SoFi Stadium. In his second start, Tyson Bagent struggled, throwing 2 interceptions.

"Win or lose," Bagent said, "it was quite an experience in Los Angeles. SoFi Stadium is an amazing stadium. It reminds me of Rams Stadium at my alma mater, Division II Shepherd University, because it sounds like 5,000 fans are in it.

"As you've probably heard way too much in the last two weeks, my father Travis is a 28-time arm wrestling world champion. That should tell you three things: 1) My dad is strong, 2) My dad is dedicated, and 3) There are way too many arm wrestling world championships."

Saints win, 31-17.

Seattle @ Baltimore (-6)

The Ravens held off the Cardinal 31-24 at State Farm Stadium. With the Arizona defense geared to slow Lamar Jackson, Gus Edwards took over on offense, with 19 carries for 80 yards and 3 touchdowns.

"Hey," John Harbaugh said, "you've got to take what the defense gives you. If you're my brother Jim, your 'defense' should be an admission of guilt, a heartfelt apology, and a graceful acceptance of your year-long suspension.

"There was a time in which Jim would have welcomed the University of Michigan football program being called the 'New England Patriots of College Football.' Not now. Jim's now responsible for the '2' in 'Spygate 2.'"

The Seahawks beat the visiting Browns 24-20 at Lumen Field and improved to 5-2. First in the NFC West. Geno Smith's nine-yard TD pass to Jackson Smith-Njigba with 38 seconds left won it for Seattle.

"That's right," Pete Carroll said. "We lead the NFC West. In case you didn't hear me the first time, Marshawn Lynch would like me to 'run' that by you again: we lead the NFC West."

Ravens win, 25-16.

Tampa Bay @ Houston (-3)

The Bucs hung tough at Buffalo before losing 24-18 to the Bulls. Baker Mayfield's Hail Mary bomb as time expired fell untouched into the end zone, handing Tampa its third straight loss.

"And that was the only thing that was untouched on that play," Mayfield said. "Our tight end Cade Otton was basically mugged on that play, by two different defenders. NFL officials often turn a blind eye to obvious fouls. Sometimes, officials even turn two blind eyes, because, let's face it, that's all they have.

"But we can't complain about the calls the officials make, even though I just spent a paragraph doing just that. After all, they're just part-time employees in this billion-dollar industry. The typical NFL solution to the situation would be to make the officials full-time and just keep their pay the same."

Bucs wins, 22-20.

Indianapolis @ Carolina (+2)

Bryce Young won the battle of rookie quarterbacks over CJ Stroud as the Panthers beat the Texans 15-13 at Bank of America Stadium. Young threw 1 TD pass, and engineered the drive that culminated in Eddy Pineiro's game-winning 23-yard field goal as time expired.

"This was my first game without play-calling duties," Frank Reich said. "For once, it appears, I made the right call.

"I know some people may not think Bryce is developing fast enough. But let me tell you, there's the Reich way and the wrong way. Some people say those are the very same thing."

The Colts lost a 38-27 shootout to the visiting Saints. Indy gave up over 500 yards of total offense to the Saints, and their offense could not keep up.

"It will be good to see Frank Reich in Carolina," Gardner Minshew said. "And I think pretty much everyone in Indianapolis feels that way.

"We're like the 'America's Team' of the AFC, because like the Cowboys, we have an owner that just can't shut his big mouth. Jim Irsay looks like the kind of man who has, more than once, told a female, 'If things get too uncomfortable, just say the safe word.' Jim has probably heard more safe words than anyone in history."

Panthers win, 26-23.

NY Giants @ Las Vegas (-4)

The Raiders sputtered to a 26-14 loss to the fired up Lions on Monday night at Ford Field. Jimmy Garappolo found little success through the air, and completed only four passes to wide receivers. The situation came to a head on Tuesday, when head coach Josh McDaniels, general manager Dave Ziegler, and offensive coordinator Mick Lombardi.

"Look," Mark Davis said, "before this offense can roll, heads have to. I can understand Davante Adams' frustration. Why? Because Jimmy G. is my quarterback too. Jimmy is to good quarterbacking as my head is to a good haircut.

"With our offense struggling, we'll need our defense to step up. And Maxx Crosby is the man for the job. Maxx was born 40 years too late. He should have been playing in the Raiders heyday of the 1980s, when Raiders players not only played like criminals, they were criminals."

The Giants lost 13-10 to the Jets at MetLife Stadium in a battle of New Jersey ineptitude that would put the New Jersey Transit to shame. The game featured 24 punts, and the Giants passed for only 7 yards.

"The first forward pass was thrown in 1906," Brian Daboll said. "So, we took 117 years of progress and tossed it away. Backwards, I might add.

"Daniel Jones will be back after missing the last two games with a neck injury. Team doctors have assured me that Daniel has his head on straight."

Raiders win, 24-17.

Dallas @ Philadelphia (-3½)

The Eagles beat the Commanders, 38-31, in a shootout at FedEx Field. Jalen Hurts threw 4 touchdown passes, and A.J. Brown had 8 catches for 130 yards and 2 touchdowns.

"A.J. has been amazing," Nick Sirianni said. "We thank the good Lord every day that the Titans were willing to trade him. Who really wants to play in Tennessee? Heck, who really wants to live in Tennessee.

"I expect our defense to impose their will on the Cowboys. If they can make an impact early, like maybe putting a safety on the board, I can guarantee we won't blow a 2-0 lead. Go Phillies."

The Cowboys creamed the visiting Rams 43-20 at AT&T Stadium. Dallas scored early and often, on offense and defense, and took a 33-9 lead into the half.

"You might as well call them the 'Ram,'" Prescott said, "because we slapped the 'S' out of them.

"We know that the Lincoln Financial Field crowd is going to be raucous. This game kicks off at 4:25. That means Philly fans can enjoy the 8 AM to 4 PM tailgate, which many of them refer to as 'brunch.'"

Eagles win, 27-24.

Buffalo @ Cincinnati (-2½)

Josh Allen had 3 total touchdowns, as the Bills held off the resilient Buccaneers 24-18 on Thursday night at Highmark Stadium.

"Josh had somewhat of an injury scare in the first half," Sean McDermott said. "He went into the blue injury tent briefly in the second quarter for an apparent shoulder injury. When he returned, it was like he had entered a phone booth instead of a blue tent.

"Josh has never had to worry about calf management. That is, since college at Wyoming, where 'Calf Management' is a prerequisite to graduating."

The well-rested Bengals overwhelmed the 49ers at Levi's Stadium, winning 31-17. Joe Burrow passed for 3 touchdowns, as Cincy improved to 4-3, in a three-way tie for second in the AFC North behind the 6-2 Ravens.

"We forced our will on the 49ers," Joe Burrow said. "And also forced them into trading for defensive help.

"We knocked the Bills out of the playoffs last year. That has to sting a little bit for them, but not as bad as it does when an NFC team says it."

Bengals win, 31-27.

L.A. Chargers @ NY Jets (-1)

The Chargers whipped the Bears and Tyson Bagent 30-13 on Sunday night at SoFi Stadium. Justin Herbert passed for 3 touchdowns, as L.A. improved to 3-4.

"I'm proud to say I outsmarted a Division 2 college quarterback," Brandon Staley said. "Trust me, it took all I had."

The Jets beat the Giants 13-10 in a sloppy game at MetLife Stadium. The Jets overcame 2 Zach Wilson fumbles, and Greg Zuerlein kicked 2 field goals, one to send the game into overtime, and the second to win it in the extra period.

"Greg shared the game ball with punter Thomas Morstead," Robert Saleh said. "Greg and Thomas, in turn, gave the game ball to our offense, for making it all possible.

"Aaron Rodgers was on the field throwing passes before the game. He still contends he's going to return at some point this season. I pray Aaron's right. If he's not, I plan to doggedly question until the end of time the science and the doctor behind Aaron's surgery."

Jets win, 20-18.

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