NFL Week 9 Picks, Predictions: Cowboys dominate, Panthers continue resurgence

Photo: Keith Allison via

Photo: Keith Allison via

Thursday, Nov. 3

Atlanta Falcons (5-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4)

The Falcons still have one of the best offenses in the league, led by Matt Ryan‘s league-high 2,636 passing yards.

That spells trouble for the Bucs, who allow more than 274 yards per game through the air and aren’t much better at stopping the run.

Cue Devonta Freeman who is one of the most underrated assets on the Falcons’ offense, averaging 4.7 yards per carry. He’s also the only running back in the league’s top-10 for rushing yards who hasn’t fumbled the ball this year.

Q’s Pick: Falcons, 31-23

Sunday, Nov. 6

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-5) at Kansas City Chiefs (5-2)

The big news from this game is the fact that Nick Foles is expected to start ahead of Alex Smith for the Chiefs.

Foles hasn’t started a game since last year, but he threw for 223 yards and a pair of touchdowns last week off the bench in his only appearence of the season.

Jacksonville has a good secondary but their offense has been one of league’s most inconsistent and will have a tough test on the road against Kansas City.

Q’s Pick: Chiefs, 27-21

Detroit Lions (4-4) at Minnesota Vikings (5-2)

The Vikings defense has been absent in their last two games, leading to consecutive losses.

Last week, Minnesota’s once league-leading defense allowed 153 rushing yards to a rookie half back, their most allowed since Week 1 of last season. They also allowed more than 400 total yards for the first time since last December.

One of two things will happen against the Lions — they will return to their usual selves and dominate Matthew Stafford and company, or they will continue to struggle and the Lions will get their first win against Minnesota since 2014.

Q’s Pick: Vikings, 27-22

Philadelphia Eagles (4-3) at New York Giants (4-3)

The Eagles’ lack of offense has been apparent as they’ve lost three of their last four games.

The Giants haven’t been much better, but they lack a run game to challenge the Eagles weak run defense.

Philly’s secondary should be able to match Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr., and if they can stop the pass game they can win the rest of the game as well.

Q’s Pick: Eagles, 29-22

Dallas Cowboys (6-1) at Cleveland Browns (0-8)

This could be considered a “trap game” for the Cowboys, but they’ve been so consistent this season that something would have to go horribly wrong for them to lose to the winless Browns.

Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys’ No. 1 run offense (164.9 ypg) should have a field day with Cleveland’s run defense, which is second-worst in the league (143.8 ypg).

The Browns offense has a solid run game too, and it’s really the only threat they have against the Cowboys. Unfortunately for Cleveland, Dallas’ run defense only allows 92.9 yards per game.

Q’s Pick: Cowboys, 30-17

New York Jets (3-5) at Miami Dolphins (3-4)

The Dolphins finish off a four-game homestand against the Jets with an opportunity to get back to .500 for the first time this season.

Miami’s offense has been clicking behind Jay Ajayi, who has rushed for more than 200 yards in each of his last two games.

If any team can stop Ajayi, it’s the Jets; they allow a league-low 74 rushing yards per game.

That means Ryan Tannehill needs to step up his game, but what better opportunity than against the league’s worst pass defense.

Q’s Pick: Dolphins, 24-20

Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3) at Baltimore Ravens (3-4)

The Steelers offense has been in a tail-spin their last two games, scoring fewer than 16 points in each.

Baltimore’s defense only allows 19.9 points per game and their 301.9 yards allowed per game is the fourth-best mark in the league.

Ben Roethlisberger “has a chance” to play according to recent reports, and if he does the Steelers have a chance themselves. If he doesn’t play, the Ravens should get the win at home.

Q’s Pick: Ravens, 24-20

New Orleans Saints (3-4) at San Francisco 49ers (1-6)

The Saints scored an impressive win over the Seahawks last week and now get to face a 49ers defense that has struggled to stop anyone this season.

New Orleans usually relies on Drew Brees and the passing game to win, but they may try to look at how to exploit the Niners run defense which allows a league-high 185 yards per game on the ground.

Tim Hightower rushed for 102 yards last week against the Seahawks so he may be in line for another big game on Sunday.

 Q’s Pick: Saints, 31-24

Carolina Panthers (2-5) at Los Angeles Rams (3-4)

The Panthers are getting closer to their usual selves — they looked impressive last week against the Cardinals and their two losses before that were by a combined six points.

The Rams have lost three-straight and their defense has fallen out of the top-10 in yards per game allowed.

Cam Newton is still struggling to get his feet underneath him, but his defense is getting better and they should be able to contain Case Keenum.

Q’s Pick: Panthers, 29-24

Indianapolis Colts (3-5) at Green Bay Packers (4-3)

The Packers have lost two of their last three games but they’ve been against teams much better than the Colts.

Aaron Rodgers is due for a big game at home and he has a solid chance against a Colts team that allows 287.8 yards per game through the air, second-most in the league.

The Packers’ D continues to play well and their run defense is still in the league’s top-3 so Andrew Luck will get very little help on the ground.

Q’s Pick: Packers, 31-23

Tennessee Titans (4-4) at San Diego Chargers (3-5)

The Titans are continuing to win behind DeMarco Murray and the run game.

San Diego has the answer with a defensive line that’s only allowing 86 yards per game on the ground, but the defense as a whole has been somewhat inconsistent in stopping teams.

On the other side of the ball, Philip Rivers leads a solid passing game against a Tennessee defense that struggles in the secondary.

As long as the Chargers don’t blow a late-game lead — a problem all year — they should get the win at home.

 Q’s Pick: Chargers, 31-27

Denver Broncos (6-2) at Oakland Raiders (6-2)

It’s a battle of teams atop the AFC West. The Raiders won the last matchup between these two, but prior to that the Broncos had won eight-straight.

Derek Carr went off last week throwing for 513 yards but the Broncos have the best secondary in the league and allow the fewest passing yards per game.

On the other hand, Denver’s offense has been average at best and may not be able to take advantage of the Raiders defense which is statistically the worst in the league.

I’m not sure if it’s considered an upset, but I’ll take the Raiders and their offense at home.

Q’s Pick: Raiders, 31-28

Monday, Nov. 7

Buffalo Bills (4-4) at Seattle Seahawks (4-2-1)

The Seahawks return home for another primetime game at CenturyLink Field.

They always seem to make something happen at home on national television, and against a defense like Buffalo’s even Seattle’s average offense has a chance to put something together.

Russell Wilson‘s struggles continue, but Christine Michael has a chance to produce against a Bills defense that allows more than 118 yards per game on the ground.

Q’s Pick: Seahawks, 27-23

Last Week’s Record: 9-3-1

Season Record: 72-46-2

** Bye Week: Arizona Cardinals, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Houston Texans, New England Patriots, Washington Redskins

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