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NFL Week 9 game picks: Broncos edge Patriots; Seahawks roll

Let's talk some game picks ...

Look, I'm not dumb. I know you usually skip this part to get straight to your team's blurb. I can write all I want about "The Cannonball Run" or "13 Going on 30," and you'll never notice. I could tell you Jennifer Garner is in fact prettier than Angelina Jolie, and you won't argue. I might even be able to sneak some Power Rankings opinions through without thousands bashing me for not ranking the Detroit Lions and their back-to-backone-point wins higher.

What are your feelings on Cole Beasley? Is he the blond Rambo?

So you're selling a teal 1993 Probe GT with an equalizer, too?

E.H., if there's anything I know, it's this: 1) You shouldn't power rank, 2) you have an incredibly sexy name, and 3) pick the Broncos this week. You'll sound cool. Good luck with your hamstrings (I read y'all's Twitter walls. Be wary.)

Speaking of hamstrings, it's nice to see Arian Foster healthy this year. Nobody seems to notice that No. 23 in Houston is rolling. How will his Texans do? See below. If you disagree with that or any other pick, please tweet the right Elliot Harrison, OK? It's @HarrisonNFL.

Now, let's get to it!

Elliot Harrison went 10-5 on his predictions for Week 8, giving him a record of 76-44-1 so far this season. How will he fare in Week 9? His picks are below.

Show of hands: How many people have been eagerly awaiting this blurb? Jags at Bengals, man ... Jags at Bengals. Give Blake Bortles credit, as he doesn't play stiff. Of course, while Jacksonville's rookie quarterback moves better than the Old Spice robot, the latter is slightly more accurate. Do you realize Gus Bradley's defense has allowed just three offensive touchdowns in the Jaguars' past four games? Andy Dalton must be more careful with the football than he was in the fourth quarter of last week's win against the Ravens. It would help if the Bengals' offense, which has missed A.J. Green, could manage to be more explosive. Cincy is ahead of just the Raiders and Bucs in terms of plays of 10-plus yards. That's awesome company. #JAXvsCIN

It's a matchup matched only by Jaguars-Bengals in anticipatory excitement: Bucs at Browns. Glennon! ... Hoyer! ... It's the NFL on Fox! Cleveland has allowed a mere 47 points over the past three weeks. Of course, that stretch included games against the Jaguars and Raiders. Still, the Browns look better on tape. Tampa Bay, on the other hand, has looked terrible on tape. In the unbelievable stat category, the Bucs are averaging 9.08 yards to go on second down. Say what? Hey, give that offense credit: It's grinding out almost 34 inches on first down. Think this will be a 25-attempt week for Brian Hoyer, and the Browns will improve to 5-3. #TBvsCLE

EDITOR'S NOTE: This pick was made before the Cowboys announced Tony Romo would be inactive against the Cardinals.

Can Carson Palmer put together four productive quarters for the Cardinals? Can Tony Romo stay *upright* for four quarters for the host Cowboys? Romo was walking around between plays during overtime of Monday's loss to the Redskins like that Spartan who switched sides in "300" ... Gollum looked more mobile. And, like Aaron Rodgers with a tweaked hamstring, Romo was doing his best Tim Wakefield impression. If Romo can't get any juice on his fastball, the club must turn to Brandon Weeden. And maybe run DeMarco Murray until the De falls off and he's just Marco Murray. Thinking Dallas' nickel and dime coverage will have trouble with Arizona receiver John Brown. You can expect Cards back Andre Ellington to get 20 touches after what Alfred Morris did against the Cowboys on Monday (85 total yards and a touchdown). #AZvsDAL

This will be a tough day at the office for Nick Foles and that Philly offense. Between the Eagles' line problems and the presence of Jadeveon Clowney and J.J. Watt (a mismatch for anyone), points might be scarce down in Houston. That goes for the Texans, as well, as Ryan Fitzpatrick has been no stranger to turnovers in his career. Bear in mind that Philadelphia leads the NFL in defensive and special teams touchdowns. Thinking this game features two: one by the Eagles' defense and one by backup Houston running back and special teamer Alfred Blue, who pulls a double-dip with his second blocked-punt score of the season. It's gonna happen, folks. I don't want to give away too many of Blue's clues, but he won't vulture any touchdowns from Arian Foster, who will score again and top 100 yards for the seventh time in 2014. Check out his per-game rushing yardage this season: 103, 138, 6, 157, 109, 102 and 151. #PHIvsHOU

The last time the Jets (1-7) dropped eight games in a row, Ki-Jana Carter was the next big running back, the Ford Probe GT had women swooning across the continental United States and Rich Kotite was sporting Jets Zubaz on the sideline. You remember that era of Jets football, complete with Keyshawn Johnson hating on a receiver who was better than him, and also featuring Hugh Douglas, years before he anointed himself "badassador" of the Eagles.

Now that we got that out of the way, how will Michael Vick fare against a Kansas City defense that's been dominant on pro football's most important down? The host Chiefs are holding opponents to a 32.9 percent conversion rate on third down, the third-best mark in the NFL. You want bananas stats, consider this: Alex Smith averaged 2 air yards per throw in last week's win over the Rams. He might not be Checkdown Charlie, but he certainly isn't Big-Air Al, either. Not that he needs to be. Just think that's a cool stat. #NYJvsKC

Now here's a great game -- at least, in theory. It's a rematch of both an outstanding contest from last season -- which included a heckuva bulldozing run after the catch by the Dolphins' Charles Clay -- and an NFL classic from the 1981 playoffs. Kellen Winslow was the man for the Chargers that day in Miami, turning in the best all-around outing a tight end has ever had in the postseason. The man playing his position for the Bolts today, Antonio Gates, gets at least one touchdown this weekend. Will it be enough?

These two teams will presumably be fighting for an AFC wild-card spot, unless Denver or New England falls off. The cool thing is that the Broncos and Patriots are playing each other Sunday, meaning Week 9 might present the best chance for the winner of this one to gain ground in their division, depending on the outcome in Foxborough. Miami still has no vertical game, as evidenced by the fact that the host Dolphins are the only team in the league that has scored zero offensive touchdowns from outside the red zone. #SDvsMIA

Remember the halcyon days of Week 4, when we all thought Teddy Bridgewater was going to ball out after watching him throw for 317 yards and run for a touchdown in his first career start? Yeah, everyone's bailing on that notion now. The Vikings' offensive line has had its struggles, and Bridgewater's yards-per-attempt mark in October (5.58) is indicative of a quarterback who either can't get the ball down the field or doesn't have enough time to do so. Coincidentally, Minnesota produced 558 yards in the aforementioned game, a win over the Falcons.

Of course, most fans outside of Lake Minnetonka are wondering about the readiness of Robert Griffin III, who's been out of action since Week 2. Let's just say this: If Washington's pass rush and blitz packages get going in Minnesota like they did in the upset win over the Cowboys at JerrahWorld, what RGIII does won't matter so much. #WASvsMIN

"Well you know the Rams are gonna win, because now they have Mark Barron."

-- @ChristensenDrew, NFL stats maven.

Spoken like a true Raider fan (which he is). As for the Rams' trade with the Buccaneers to acquire Barron, St. Louis could use some quality safety play. Forget coverage duties; how about having an extra guy in the box to stop the run? (The Rams are allowing 144.3 yards per game.) Or how about a safety blitz? That St. Louis pass rush has six sacks on the year -- a figure the group exceeded in two different games last season. I anticipate the host 49ers, who are coming off their bye, running right at the Rams, with a rested Frank Gore getting 15 to 20 carries and Carlos Hyde being sprinkled in. Which old 49ers receiver will make the big plays this week? Anquan Boldin? Steve Johnson? Brandon Lloyd? Iheanyi Uwaezuoke? Maybe Tai Streets? Unless Austin Davis goes for 350 yards and three scores against zero picks, I don't see the Rams winning. #STLvsSF

This game will obviously be a ratings magnet. One of the more interesting things I heard discussed on the radio this week was how the Broncos' back seven is almost all new, thanks to free-agency defections, injuries and additions. Middle linebacker Nate Irving, who started just a handful of games last year, has been made a full-timer, as has outside linebacker Brandon Marshall. The other outside linebacker, Von Miller, missed almost half of last season. Ditto for safety Rahim Moore. Safety T.J. Ward, meanwhile, was signed this offseason, along with corner Aqib Talib.

Can the host Patriots' high-powered offense (ranked third in points scored) rack up touchdowns against a Denver defense that is ranked sixth in points per game allowed? Will New England tight end Rob Gronkowski pull a Smaug again a week after swatting Bears defensive backs away like a bunch of clunky Dwarves? Will Bill Belichick use his ground attack more than he did in last year's AFC Championship Game, when the Pats ran the ball just 16 times?

Hmm. Is there anything else about this one that I'm missing? #DENvsNE

I was thinking there'd be absolutely, positively no chance the Raiders could win in Seattle -- until the other day, when I encountered two male staffers at NFL Media who had never seen "Predator," a fact that made me question everything I thought I knew. Seriously, how is that even possible?

The final score you see above is not so much an indictment of the Raiders as it is a reflection of my feeling that Seattle is ready to explode. Historically, the Seahawks have played cruddy teams tight at home -- think of the 20-13 win over the Titans or the 27-24 win over the Buccaneers last season -- but I'm not seeing it this Sunday. In other news, Raiders running back Darren McFadden broke the 4-yards-per-carry barrier for just the second time in 13 games last Sunday in Cleveland. At least his teammates made up for it by averaging 1.2 yards per rush. Good stuff. I still like rookie quarterback Derek Carr, just not this week. #OAKvsSEA

Oh boy is this a crucial game. If the Ravens win, they sweep the all-important head-to-head series. If the host Steelers win, Baltimore falls to 2-3 in the AFC North. Obviously, this is a huge matchup for both teams. Given the way Ben Roethlisberger has played his year, I feel he'll have another solid performance for Pittsburgh, maybe 22 of 29 for 285 yards, two touchdowns and a pick. The key is really this: Which Joe Flacco shows up? Check out the week-by-week passer rating for Baltimore's quarterback: 71.0 in Week 1, 109.3, 79.6, 137.4, 65.1, 146.0, 91.8 and 43.1 in Week 8. That's pretty much all over the map. #BALvsPIT

While watching "Up in the Air" the other night, I wondered a) why I was watching "Up in the Air" again, and b) why the Colts don't turn to the ground game more often. Indy runs the football just 38 percent of the time. Given how effective Ahmad Bradshaw has been (4.9 yards per carry on 76 attempts), why not give the man the rock five to eight more times per game? For what it's worth, Bradshaw will also be going against his former team in New Jersey, where he was a nice complement for Eli Manning and whomever else the Giants were throwing out there, from Derrick Ward to Brandon Jacobs.

Speaking of New York's running backs, with Rashad Jennings out for another week, Manning will be leaning on Andre Williams, who has plenty of opportunity here. That said, the rookie's production has been limited. Look for Manning to take his shots against a Colts defense that just gave up over 500 yards to Ben Roethlisberger. Hey, this is a rematch of "The Greatest Game Ever Played." #INDvsNYG


Dear diary ... I love Drew Brees. If I could have a football boyfriend, he would be it. How does he do it, week in and week out, with a hit-and-miss running game, a mostly-miss defense and his best receiver being a rookie ( Brandin Cooks) who is still learning what he's doing out there? The host Panthers had better have an answer for Cooks and tight end Jimmy Graham, who is obviously back in the mix. Yet, the real concern might be Saints running back Mark Ingram. We remember what happened to Carolina's run defense the last time this team played in prime time: Pittsburgh racked up 264 yards. And yes, Luke Kuechly played that night. #NOvsCAR

Follow Elliot Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonNFL.

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