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What to watch for: Viewing tips for Week 9 games

  • By Gregg Rosenthal and Marc Sessler
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Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills


On Wednesday's "Around The League Podcast," we called Jamaal Charles an MVP candidate, and we don't regret it. The Chiefs runner is the first player since Edgerrin James in 2005 to record 100-plus yards from scrimmage in each of the first eight games of the season.

Further reading:
Did Chiefs keep No. 1 spot in latest Power Rankings?
Lewis, Tuel or Flynn? Bills among teams with QB uncertainty
Further viewing:
Billick, Mariucci on challenges of coaching undefeated team
Watch: Best of Week 8 'Sound FX'

Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers


Atlanta's offensive line was overwhelmed last week by Arizona's athletic front. The burden of carrying the Falcons' offense finally got to Matt Ryan, and we'd look for more of the same this week. Carolina can get pressure without sending extra blitzers.

Further reading:
Jonathan Stewart 'ready' to play vs. Falcons
Elliot Harrison picks all the Week 9 games
Further viewing:
Steve Smith excited about Panthers' future
Are Panthers legit NFC South contenders?

Minnesota Vikings at Dallas Cowboys


Leslie Frazier won't say if Christian Ponder or Josh Freeman will start at quarterback, but neither will come close to the beating Matthew Stafford dropped on the Cowboys' secondary last week. The Lions' quarterback threw for 488 yards, marking the third time this season Dallas has allowed 500 yards of offense.

Further reading:
Irvin: Romo must give Dez a chance to be like Megatron
Witten says he loves playing with Bryant
Further viewing:
Vikings' Kyle Rudolph: We can still make this season special
Hear Dez Bryant's sideline rant for yourself

New Orleans Saints at New York Jets


Two stats that work in the Jets' favor: Rex Ryan has beaten his brother Rob all four times they have faced off as a coordinator or head coach; Drew Brees' QB rating is 40 points lower on the road, and the Saints offense generally has not looked that explosive this season away from the Superdome.

Further reading:
Ryan tries to boost rookie Milliner's confidence
See where playoff picture stands at the midway point
Further viewing:
Santonio Holmes helps Geno Smith grow
Saints DE Cameron Jordan on 'Sound FX'

Tennessee Titans at St. Louis Rams


Jake Locker is on pace for 18 touchdowns and just two interceptions, but he'll be tested by a Rams pass rush that ranks fifth in sacks and dropped Seattle's mobile Russell Wilson seven times on Monday night. St. Louis pass rushers Chris Long and Robert Quinn have 15.5 sacks between them and will give Titans tackles Michael Roos and David Stewart their biggest test of the year.

Further reading:
More Shonn Greene, less CJ2K for Titans
Around The League's writers offer their Week 8 picks
Further viewing:
NFL Films previews Fisher's first game vs. Titans
Watch: Best of Week 8 'Sound FX'

San Diego Chargers at Washington Redskins


Based on the tape, this isn't a good matchup for Washington. The Redskins gave up 45 points and 499 yards to the Bears in Week 7 before allowing Denver to roll up another 45 points on Sunday. Enter the Chargers, fourth in the league in total offense behind Philip Rivers, who ranks in the top six in pass yards per game, passer rating, touchdowns and completion percentage.

Further reading:
'Conniving' Shanahan rips 'lazy' Haynesworth
Elliot Harrison picks all the Week 9 games
Further viewing:
NFL Films previews bicoastal interconference battle
Watch: RGIII says it 'sucks' to be playing poorly

Philadelphia Eagles at Oakland Raiders


Terrelle Pryor gets all the attention, but the Raiders defense is one of the most overachieving groups in the league. Oakland's offense had one first down in its last nine drives last week, yet the Raiders defense held the fort. This is a favorable matchup; Philly's big plays go way down when Nick Foles is behind center.

Further reading:
Battista: Kelly must right QB for Eagles' future
Elliot Harrison picks all the Week 9 games
Further viewing:
Foles to start Sunday: What's Vick's future in Philly?
Ten wackiest moments of the season so far

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Seattle Seahawks


One bright spot for the winless Bucs is the steady growth of Mike Glennon. The rookie passer hasn't been perfect, but he's posted a higher completion percentage, more passing yards per game, more touchdowns and a higher passer rating than Freeman did in Tampa this season before his release. Still, Glennon has been a Jekyll-and-Hyde act, posting a 100-plus passer rating in the first half of games and the NFL's third-worst rating in the second half.

Further reading:
Carroll: Harvin won't play vs. Buccaneers
Around The League's writers make their Week 9 picks
Further viewing:
Charley Casserly breaks down Seattle's weaknesses
'A Football Life: Warren Sapp'

Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns


We were high on Cleveland's defense early on, but it's showing cracks: After allowing 17.5 points per game over the first four weeks, they've given 27.3 since Week 5. They haven't forced a turnover since Week 6 and Cleveland hasn't beaten the Ravens since 2007. That makes Joe Flacco a perfect 11-0 against the Browns.

Further reading:
Harbaugh not bluffing about changes: Ravens waive Huff, Spears
See who made our midseason All-Pro teams
Further viewing:
NFL Films previews AFC North battle
Jacoby Jones says Ravens will get it rolling

Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots


Undrafted rookie Chris Jones has been a find at defensive tackle for the Patriots. He's disruptive in the run game and the pass game, and is playing nearly every snap. The Patriots are 6-2 because their defense is carrying them, even after Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo's season-ending injuries.

Further reading:
Big Ben calls Pats game a 'must-win' for Steelers
Elliot Harrison picks all the Week 9 games
Further viewing:
Watch: What's the deal with Tom Brady's injured hand?
Watch: Best of Week 8 'Sound FX'

Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans


The Colts or Texans have won the AFC South nine of the last 10 years. Indianapolis can all but end Houston's chances this year by winning Sunday. The Colts have the best strength of victory in the NFL, so they've proved they can beat quality teams. Can they win when they are big favorites?

Further reading:
Colts' Robert Mathis: 'Kill or be killed'
Around The League's writers make their Week 9 picks
Further viewing:
NFL Films previews Sunday night NFC North clash
How will Colts replace WR Reggie Wayne?

Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers


Aaron Rodgers seems to play better with every weapon that is taken away from him. The Bears have done a nice job slowing Rodgers down over the years, but this is not the same Bears defense. Even before injuries struck, this was a leaky squad that is too reliant on turnovers. There's no reason to think they can slow the Packers down.

Further reading:
Cutler might be back sooner than planned
Midseason report: Our analysts' playoff predictions
Further viewing:
What scares Bears CB Charles Tillman more than Aaron Rodgers?
'NFL Total Access' crew debates who'll win the NFC North

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