Madden Ratings: Week 9 Predictions

So I have this friend. I don't want to name him here, but let's just say his name rhymes with Vince. OK, so his name is Vince. Doesn't matter. Anyway, we were chatting in the middle of the less than glorious tie between the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals. He mentioned he wasn't too glued to this NFL season because there weren't enough interesting story arcs.

In all fairness, he's a Chicago Bears fan. So there's not a lot to be excited about when stuff like this happens to his team. He's also a Cubs fan, so I guess that's how the Force stays in balance.

In honor of that conversation with my friend who's totally not named Vince, and since we're pretty much at the mid-season mark, here's some story arcs to get excited about:

» The Raiders are good again. They've had a great run lately and QB Derek Carr is coming through in the clutch. He just had a monster game and they won despite their best efforts to lose with 200 penalty yards. They play the Broncos this week and it's the first time the two teams have been 6-2 or better after eight games since 1998.

» Matthew Stafford is quietly having the best year of his career, oddly enough without Calvin Johnson. I know it's common practice to not talk positively about the Lions, but he's on pace to set career highs in completion percentage and passer rating this season. He's also thrown 9 TDs and 0 INTs in his last four games. If he comes away with a win against the Vikings, he could start becoming a dark horse MVP candidate.

» What's a collection of story arcs without the Cowboys? There's still drama surrounding what will happen when Tony Romo is healthy again. Romo has been great for the Cowboys, but Dak Prescott is giving them VERY little reason to look back. You compare both of their first seven games as starters, and Prescott has a better passer rating, more total TDs, less picks and a better record. Granted, Prescott has a much better team around him than Romo did back when he took over. But this could be the start of an era.

Enough with the rambling. Let's get to the ratings

Moving On Up

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce went up after his solid game against the Colts. His 101 yards and a TD were enough for a five-point bump. He's now at 93 OVR.

Derrick Henry started getting more involved last week when DeMarco Murray got a little banged up. The Madden gods were kind and gave him a bump in nearly every category including strength, agility, awareness, carrying, and elusiveness. He's up to 78 OVR.

Chicago Bears' signal caller Jay Cutler went up one point. Wait... what? I know it was linked above, but the guy that did this, went up? Well, I guess Alshon Jeffery could've looked for the ball, and it was a solid game against a Minnesota Vikings' defense that looked unbeatable two weeks ago. Cutler is now at 79 OVR.

Moving On Down

Jadeveon Clowney is officially out of the 90s club. That's a tough pill to swallow after a win at home against the sneaky good Detroit Lions. But the Houston Texans D isn't the same without J.J. Watt on field and the Madden gods make Clowney suffer for it. He's down one point to 89 OVR.

Oh Markus Wheaton. This season was filled with nothing but opportunity for him with Martavis Bryant out for the year on suspension. But he hasn't done much this season and it shows in his Madden ratings. Wheaton is down two points for a 75 OVR.

The Jags defense were lit up by the Titans last week. Air or ground, Tennessee was scoring at will. Defensive back Jalen Ramsey is a victim of the Madden ratings because of it. He's down to 82 OVR.

MJD's Madden Hot Take

Six bold predictions for Week 9

maddenweek9

EA Sports

6.Andrew Luck goes into Lambeau and upsets the Packers. This is a dangerous one, both secondaries have been beat up, so this could be a shootout. But I'm leaning towards the speed the Colts have at receiver to be an explosive edge here.

5.OK, so saying Dez Bryant is going to have a big game against the Browns might not be THAT bold. But I'm looking to Cleveland to stack everything they can in the box to stop Ezekiel Elliott, leading some one-on-one matchups for Bryant. The Cowboys fed Bryant with 14 targets last week. Look for that to continue.

4.Jay Ajayi has been on a tear. That stops against the Jets. Todd Bowles will force Ryan Tannehill to beat them in the air, and he will. I'm calling three passing TDs from Tannehill. Look for Jarvis Landry to be too much for an aging Darrelle Revis.

3.As an LA native, this is a little painful, but I see the Carolina Panthers waking up and their defense will make its presence known. The Rams' best player, Todd Gurley, will get shut down against a defense that's only allowing just 3.3 yards per carry. That's an NFL best. This one is going to get ugly for Rams fans.

2. Why not keep the tie trend going? Let's have another one in prime time, this time on Monday night with the Bills in Seattle. Buffalo's offensive inconsistencies will continue against the Legion of Boom and the Seahawks will be on their heels all day as the Bills attack their weak offensive line. The world might end after this election, so why not end things off with a tie!

1.Just hearing the name Allen Robinson will immediately cause nausea from some fantasy owners and Jags fans alike. I don't think all their problems will be solved by ditching an offensive coordinator, but Robinson is their best offensive weapon. He had 15 targets last week, and look for the Jags to keep feeding Robinson. He'll get over 150 yards and a TD for his best game of the year.

Daniel Williams is a Digital Features Editor for NFL.com. You can follow him on Twitter @_danielwilliams.

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