Steve Believes: Week 9, 2018 NFL Season

  • Oakland Raiders vs. San Francisco 49ers. Week 9 starts off with a dud as opposed to a thud when these two one-win teams face off against each other. The Raiders have a minus-80 point differential and four of their six losses have been by double digits. Plus, they have allowed four players to rush for 100 yards or more this season. As for the 49ers, they have a minus-63 point differential, but they have been in way more winnable games than the Raiders this season. Plus, they have a nice but very overlooked one-two punch at running back with Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert. Look for one or both of those players to run for over 100 yards against the Raiders, and look for the 49ers to finally get a 2 in the win column.
  • Chicago Bears vs. Buffalo Bills. After two heartbreaking losses, the Bears rebounded with a win against the New York Jets. As for the Bills, their offensive ineptitude reared its ugly head against the New England Patriots in primetime. This game is a homecoming for Khalil Mack, as the 2016 Defensive Player Of The Year starred at the University of Buffalo. However, he might miss this game with that nagging ankle injury. Regardless, the Bears should take care of the Bills to get their fifth win of the year.
  • Kansas City Chiefs vs. Cleveland Browns. The Chiefs offense has been kicking it into high gear, as they have scored at least 27 points in each game this season. Plus, their defense has 21 sacks this season and most of that has been without Justin Houston. As for the Browns, they fired both their top offensive minds in head coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley, as the pairing of those two has been nothing but toxic. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams takes over as the interim head coach, thus making him the 10th head coach for the Browns in the past 20 seasons. Williams’ in-season promotion will galvanize the team, but it won’t be enough to slow down the buzzsaw known as the Chiefs. Kansas City to get their eighth win of the season.
  • New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins. After a convincing Week 1 against the Detroit Lions and being at .500 after six games this season, the Jets lost back-to-back games for the second different time this season, as they lost first lost at home against the Minnesota Vikings and then at Soldier Field against the Bears. As for the Dolphins, they have tumbled hard after a 3-0 start this season. They sit at 4-4 and are in danger of falling under .500 for the first time this season. However, I don’t see that happening. Instead, I see them using the extra time off to make adjustments and play inspired football for their fifth win of the year.
  • Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings. The fortress of U.S. Bank Stadium hasn’t fazed Matthew Stafford, as he and the Lions are 2-0 in that stadium. Will it be 3-0? I’d like to say yes, but it’s hard for me to go against the Vikings at home. So with that being said, I like the Vikings to rebound from last week’s loss against the New Orleans Saints with a win this week.
  • Atlanta Falcons vs. Washington Redskins. Prior to their bye week, the Falcons won two games in a row, but by razor-thin margins. The same can be said for the Redskins. However, they are 5-2 and lead the NFC East. Will the surprising Redskins add to and protect that lead?  I’ll say yes. Especially with the Falcons being minus Deion Jones, Ricardo Allen and Keanu Neal.
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina Panthers. Given how narrow that their three victories have been, it’s a surprise that the Buccaneers are 3-4 right now. As for the Panthers, they are coming off back-to-back statement wins against the Philadelphia Eagles and Baltimore Ravens. Bank Of America Stadium has been a house of horrors for the Buccaneers in the Cam Newton era, as they are 1-5 in games against him in that stadium. And after this week, it will be 1-6.
  • Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens. In arguably the third or fourth best game of the week, the two teams in the league’s best rivalry square off in the second of their two meetings. For the Steelers, they have won four in a row following their Week 4 loss against these same Ravens. And as for these same Ravens, they have allowed second half touchdowns in back-to-back weeks against the New Orleans Saints and the Panthers. And on top of that, they lost both of those games. However, a win against their rival will get them a season sweep and put them half a game behind the Cincinnati Bengals for the AFC North lead. M&T Bank Stadium has been somewhat of a house of horrors for Ben Roethlisberger, as he is 3-5 as a starter in that stadium. Make it 3-6.
  •  Houston Texans vs. Denver Broncos. Demaryius Thomas will be playing in Broncos Stadium, but for the opposing team, as the Texans acquired the nine-year veteran to replace Will Fuller V. And speaking of the Texans, they are currently one of the hottest teams in the league, as they have won five in a row. As for the Broncos, they still remain at .500 after a tough loss last week against the Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium. I’m tempted to pick an upset here, but Thomas’ knowledge of the Broncos will be both an advantage and a difference for the Texans. Plus, the Texans’ stellar defense will make life miserable for Case Keenum and the rest of the Denver offense. So with that being said, I like the Texans to make it six in a row.
  • Los Angeles Chargers vs. Seattle Seahawks. After nearly blowing a double-digit lead against the Tennessee Titans in Week 7, the Chargers headed into their bye week at 5-2 and seem poised to get at least a Wild Card spot in the AFC at season’s end. As for the Seahawks, they could very well be undefeated right now. Joey Bosa is still out for the Chargers and they could use him this week against Russell Wilson. So with that being said, I like the Seahawks to pull off the “upset”.
  • Los Angeles Rams vs. New Orleans Saints. In the game of the week, the unbeaten Rams travel to The Big Easy to take on the Saints, who have won six in a row. The Rams would be 7-1 had it not been for Ramik Wilson’s forced fumble and subsequent recovery against the Packers last week. Is this the week that the Rams get their first loss of the season? Well given this game is against the Saints in New Orleans and Drew Brees is still their quarterback, I’m going to say yes.
  • Green Bay Packers vs. New England Patriots. Arguably the second best match-up of the week features two teams with all-time great quarterbacks, with Aaron Rodgers on one side and Tom Brady on the other side. The Packers have been somewhat better on defense under first-year defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, and feature a glut of skill position players for Aaron Rodgers to throw to. The Patriots pass defense has been horrendous this season, and Rodgers will exploit that early and often. Plus, the Patriots won two games that they should have lost, with one against the Chiefs and the other against the Bears. The Packers are too good of a team to go winless on the road and I think they turn that 0 into a 1 in Gillette Stadium this week.
  • Tennessee Titans vs. Dallas Cowboys. After a surprising 3-1 start, the Titans lost a close one against the Bills, along with getting their butts kicked by the Ravens and failing on a potential game-winning two-point conversion against the Chargers. As for the Cowboys, they could very easily be 6-1 right now, as their losses against the Panthers, Texans and Redskins were all by one possession. Dak Prescott has a new weapon in his arsenal, as the Cowboys acquired Amari Cooper from the Raiders prior to their bye week. Look for Cooper to pay immediate dividends for the Cowboys, and look for the Dallas defense to harass Marcus Mariota all night long. Cowboys to get back to .500.