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Week 9 Thoughts

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Thursday Night Football is usually frowned on by players, coaches, and many fans, especially if their respective team is in action.  Last night’s game was another example.  Two one-win teams collided in the Battle for the Bay in Santa Clara and the score wasn’t even close.  Unheralded Nick Mullens, the 49ers starting quarterback last night, shredded the Raiders defense as he and George Kittle combined on numerous occasions.  Meanwhile, Jon Gruden may have finally seen enough from his offense as he pulled he plug on Derek Carr.  The 34-3 scoreline, suprisingly, doesn’t tell the story.  An uninspiring display by Oakland, as they practically gave up midway through the first half.  The 10-year, $100 million contract may be one of the worst mistakes in franchise history.

Atlanta Falcons (3-4) vs. Washington Redskins (5-2) 1 p.m.

It would be an understatement to say the Redskins defense is really good.  They’re 4th in the league in yards given up per game and 2nd against the rush.  One thing they aren’t very good at: offense.  Their offense ranks 25th in the NFL and they have to go up against Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Co.  Granted, the Redskins did beat the Packers, but Aaron Rodgers wasn’t 100% and lacked many of his weapons.  The Falcons have been inconsistent this year, but will find a way to get back on track against a dangerous Redskins team.  Falcons 27, Redskins 20.

Detroit Lions (3-4) vs. Minnesota Vikings (4-3-1) 1 p.m.

Two odd teams fighting in a division in where the bottom place team is only a game behind the team in first.  The Vikings, who lost to the Saints last week, in the rematch of the Minneapolis Miracle will look to recover against a Lions team who traded away Golden Tate earlier this week.  The latter will determine the winner of this contest.  The Vikings haven’t been impressive, but Adam Thielen cannot be stopped, even if Darius Slay is tracking him.  Vikings 30, Lions 16.

Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2-1) vs. Baltimore Ravens (4-4) 1 p.m.

It wasn’t too long ago that many people had written off Pittsburgh this season.  The entire LeVeon Bell situation and a porous defense had many questioning whether Ben Roethlisberger was done.  On the other side of the ball, the Baltimore Ravens have been a definite week-to-week team.  Much of that can be blamed on the inability of Joe Flacco to find receivers, but the defense had a rough day against Cam Newton last week, and now get their division rival to compound their problems.  The Ravens did leave the field victorious last time these two teams met, but expect a different outcome in Baltimore. Steelers 30, Ravens 22.

Los Angeles Chargers (5-2) vs. Seattle Seahawks (4-3) 4 p.m.

The Seattle Seahawks have won four of their last five contests; their only loss being a narrow one to the undefeated, Los Angeles Rams.  The other L.A. team, the Chargers, have a very difficult encounter with a hot Seahawks team, who seemed to have found their stride.  The Seahawks have the fifth best defense in the NFL and boast a wide range of options for Russell Wilson and Co. to exploit.  The 12th man will be too much for the warm weather Chargers.  Seahawks 33, Chargers 27.

Los Angeles Rams (8-0) vs. New Orleans Saints (6-1) 4 p.m.

This would be Game of the Week, if it weren’t for the Sunday Night Football showdown after.  The Saints rush defense is tops in the league and will make it difficult, for a second consecutive week, for Todd Gurley to find much traction.  The Saints pass defense, however, is an entire different story.  It’s pretty much non-existent as they sit four spots ahead of the bottom.  It would be ideal if Todd Gurley was only effective as a rusher, but Goff gets him involved in the pass game too, spelling trouble for the Saints.  The Saints do have a dynamic running/receiving back of their own in Alvin Kamara.  The also have Drew Brees, in a dome setting, where he excels like no other.  A huge game for home field advantage in the playoffs, the Rams would’ve likely lost last week had Ty Montgomery kneeled. This week, they won’t be so fortunate. Saints 35, Rams 33.

Green Bay Packers (3-3-1) vs. New England Patriots (6-2) 8 p.m.

Aaron Rodgers vs. Tom Brady.  The match up that has only been featured once before, in 2014, where Rodgers and the Packers came out on top at Lambeau Field.  This one, however, is at Gillette Stadium.  Analyzing defenses, the Packers defense, is much better than New England’s, at least in terms of yards.  The Patriots defense as has trouble keeping mobile quarterbacks contained and with Aaron Rodgers, that’s no small deal.  If they can’t do that, it’ll be a repeat of what happened in Jacksonville back in Week 2 where and Chicago in Week 7 where Bortles and Trubisky ran circles around the linebackers.  The Packers defense has to find a way to slow down Julian Edelman who has been annihilating defenses since his return.  In a shootout, expect a Bill Belichick defense to force a crucial turnover, which they’ve done 16 times this season, twice as many as Green Bay.  Patriots 38, Packers 35. 

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