NFL picks and predictions: Week 9

Eight weeks in, the NFL landscape has taken shape. Week 9 gives us a number of intriguing matchups -- most notably the Denver Broncos traveling to the Bay Area to take on the Oakland Raiders for the AFC West lead, and the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles sparring at the Meadowlands in a battle between two 4-3 teams.

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We picked all of this weekend's games below. Take a gander and let us know where you disagree.

Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings (MIN -7.5)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Minnesota's Week 8 loss to Philadelphia was easily its worst performance of the year, but now get the chance to host Detroit, also coming off a loss. After lighting it up for most of the season, Matthew Stafford was contained by Houston last week. If the shotcaller comes in with a chip on his shoulder after being humbled a week ago, Detroit may make it interesting -- but we see the Vikings pulling it out.

Pick: Vikings

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens (BAL -3)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

The expectation is that Ben Roethlisberger will start for Pittsburgh on Sunday, but just weeks removed from a knee procedure, expect some rust. Not enough rust to put the Steelers at risk of losing to Baltimore, which hasn't won since Sept. 25.

Pick: Steelers

New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins (MIA -3.5)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

The Jets have now won two straight games after getting out to their 1-5 start. The Dolphins, too, are winners in their last two, and behind the strong running of Jay Ajayi, seem like they can compete. We just don't have faith in Ryan Fitzpatrick to lead the Jets to a victory here on the road.

Pick: Dolphins

Dallas Cowboys vs. Cleveland Browns (DAL -7)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Josh McCown is a legitimate NFL quarterback. The Browns have that much going for them. But that's not enough to win a game, especially against a first-place Dallas team.

Pick: Cowboys

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Kansas City Chiefs (KC -7.5)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

NFL: OCT 30 Chiefs at ColtsGetty

The Jaguars haven't looked competitive all season, and Kansas City only seems to get stronger as the season goes on. Alex Smith won't be active, but that's just a chance for the Nick Foles-Andy Reid bromance to go into effect once again.

Pick: Chiefs

Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants (NYG -2.5)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

An NFC East matchup between a pair of 4-3 teams should be a close with, with neither team playing up to snuff over recent weeks. The two sides are evenly matched, but we're inclined to go with the team that has one of the biggest playmakers in the game in Odell Beckham.

Pick: Giants

Carolina Panthers vs. Los Angeles Rams (CAR -3)
Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET

Carolina may finally be piecing their season back together after the bye week, and they'll have a chance to improve to 3-5 with a win in Los Angeles against the Rams, who haven't won in more than a month. We'll take a resurgent Panthers team.

Pick: Panthers

New Orleans Saints vs. San Francisco 49ers (NO -3.5)
Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET

Seattle Seahawks v New Orleans SaintsGetty

The Saints are fresh off an impressive win over Seattle, while the 49ers have yet to win a game since their Week 1 victory. San Francisco may be one of the only offenses that won't be able to take advantage of the futile New Orleans defensive corps.

Pick: Saints

Tennessee Titans vs. San Diego Chargers (SD -5)
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET

Tennessee has been playing well of late, but on the road against a decent San Diego team, their good fortune will likely come to an end. It should be a close one, with Tennessee playing for a potential AFC South lead, but we're siding with the home team.

Pick: Chargers

Indianapolis Colts vs. Green Bay Packers (GB -7.5)
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET

The Packers have yet to find the groove, but a matchup against the awful Colts defense should help them assert themselves as one of the league's best. At Lambeau, we don't see it ending any other way.

Pick: Packers

Denver Broncos vs. Oakland Raiders (EVEN)
Sunday, 8:30 p.m. ET

NFL: OCT 30 Raiders at BuccaneersGetty

A rare even-odds matchup in Oakland on Sunday night, and it should live up to the hype. The winner takes firm control of the AFC West lead by moving to 7-2 -- and while we'd love to see Oakland make the leap, they're just not ready yet. We'll side with Denver's defense leading the way to victory.

Pick: Broncos

Buffalo Bills vs. Seattle Seahawks (SEA -7)
Monday, 8:30 p.m. ET

Buffalo has now lost two straight after four consecutive victories, and travels to perhaps the most difficult stadium to play in as a visitor. Coming off a close loss to a lesser Saints team in Week 8, it's unlikely Pete Carroll's crew drops another winnable game in a row.

Pick: Seahawks

Week 9 Power Rankings:

NFL Power Rankings: Week 9
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NFL Power Rankings: Week 9

32. Browns (0-8)
Last Week: 32

For a while, it looked like the Browns were finally about to come out on top. But after allowing 21 unanswered points to the Jets' offense in the second half, that dream died hard.

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

31. 49ers (1-6)
Last Week: 30

San Francisco will look to come out of its bye week strong against a beatable Saints team. They haven't won since Week 1, so any sort of momentum would be welcomed.

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

29. Bears (2-6)
Last Week: 31

Chicago soundly beat Minnesota on Monday night in their most impressive performance of the season. If Jay Cutler can keep that type of intensity up the rest of the way, the Bears may have a run in them. But history tells us to temper expectations.

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

28. Jets (3-5)
Last Week: 24

They salvaged a win against the Browns after falling behind big in the first half, but came dangerously close to being Cleveland's first victim.

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

27. Dolphins (3-4)
Last Week: 22

Led by Jay Ajayi, the Dolphins strung together a bit of momentum before their ill-timed bye week. They'll try to ramp back up against the Jets at home this week.

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

26. Saints (3-4)
Last Week: 28

New Orleans held on in the final minutes to knock off the Seahawks, limiting Seattle to just 20 points. The defense will need to perform this well on a more regular basis before the Saints will have a real chance, though.

(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

25. Ravens (3-4)
Last Week: 23

The Ravens will have a chance to earn their first win since Week 3 this week against Pittsburgh, who may still be without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Even if Roethlisberger suits up, he won't be far removed from knee surgery, leaving the Steelers vulnerable regardless.

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

23. Rams (3-5)
Last Week: 25

The Rams have the misfortune of hosting a Panthers team that finally has some momentum behind it. Not great timing for a team that hasn't won in a month.

(Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

22. Panthers (2-5)
Last Week: 29

Carolina won its first game in more than a month, and now travels to California to take on the Rams. The team's defense finally showed some of its 2015 dominance, and will look to carry it into Week 9 as the Panthers try to claw their way back into the playoff picture.

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

21. Buccaneers (3-4)
Last Week: 20

Tampa Bay was gifted with a record amount of penalty flags from Oakland last week, and still couldn't find a way to translate it into a victory. Granted, the Raiders are among the league's top teams, but that was a game the Buccaneers had to win.

(Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

18. Chargers (3-5)
Last Week: 19

The bad news for the Chargers is that they're coming off a loss to Denver -- the good news is that the Broncos don't appear on their schedule anymore this season. San Diego seems to have figured it out of late, and a relatively easy schedule could help them rise back into postseason contention by season's end.

(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

16. Giants (4-3)
Last Week: 16

New York is one of three NFC East teams with four wins, and they'll take on Philadelphia in Week 9. They didn't exactly impress before their bye week in London, beating the Rams only after Case Keenum lofted a pass directly to the Giants secondary late in the fourth quarter -- but a win over Philadelphia could solidify them as the East's second-best squad.

(Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

15. Redskins (4-3-1)
Last Week: 15

Washington heads into its post-London bye week disappointed, after a botched kick cost the team a victory just before the overtime expired. Instead of a firm second-place spot in the NFC East, Washington is a step behind the Giants and Eagles, with a challenging schedule lying ahead.

(Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

14. Texans (5-3)
Last Week: 18

The Texans currently lead the way in the brutal AFC South with a respectable 5-3 record, despite Brock Osweiler averaging less than six yards per pass attempt thus far. They'll get a chance to recharge on their bye, but as of now, only Tennessee seems to be serious threats to their top spot.

(Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

13. Bills (4-4)
Last Week: 13

The Bills failed to complete the improbable season sweep of New England at home in Week 8, but with a 4-4 record, are still in a position to grab a Wild Card spot if they play their cards right. Matchups with the Browns, Dolphins and Jets to close out their regular season campaign could help make that a reality if they hold their own against decent teams in the coming weeks.

(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

11. Eagles (4-3)
Last Week: 10

The Eagles blew a chance at staying on pace with Dallas for the division lead, and instead lost their third game in their last four tries. Still, both sides of the ball still seem to be clicking well, and a win against the Giants this week would firmly keep them among the league's more formidable squads.

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

10. Steelers (4-3)
Last Week: 9

Pittsburgh may have Ben Roethlisberger back for Week 9, but even if that's the case, just weeks removed from knee surgery, there's reason for concern on the road in Baltimore.

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

9. Falcons (5-3)
Last Week: 12

Atlanta rebounded well from back-to-back losses by outlasting Green Bay, extending their NFC South lead over Tampa Bay and New Orleans. They'll face a short week this Thursday night against the Bucs, but a win would do well to prove that this year's Falcons team is cut from a different cloth than the Birds of 2015.

(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

8. Raiders (6-2)
Last Week: 11

The Raiders pulled out a road win in overtime, but only after setting a new NFL single-game record for penalties. They're on their way to success, but these are things Oakland needs to iron out before they'll truly be considered among the class of the league.

(Photo by Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

7. Seahawks (4-2-1)
Last Week: 2

Still leading the way in the NFC West, Seattle couldn't pull off a comeback win in the final play last week in New Orleans. That's two straight weeks without a win, as the team heads back home to host Buffalo next Monday night.

(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

6. Vikings (5-2)
Last Week: 4

Minnesota came out flat in Chicago and was dominated in every facet. We're certainly not giving up on them yet, but they're in need of a strong performance against the Lions on Sunday.

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

5. Packers (4-3)
Last Week: 6

Green Bay lost by a point to Atlanta, and while they're in desperate need of a convincing victory, the Falcons are no pushover. Against Indianapolis at Lambeau this week, they'll have their chance to dominate.

(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

4. Chiefs (5-2)
Last Week: 7

Kansas City finds itself in the thick of a three-horse race in the AFC West, but now could be down a quarterback heading into a Week 9 matchup with Jacksonville. Still, entering 5-2, the Chiefs should be able to escape unscathed.

(Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

3. Broncos (6-2)
Last Week: 3

Denver will be taking on their two primary AFC West competitors over the next three weeks, which should give us a firm grasp on where they truly stand. They were able to handle San Diego after dropping a primetime matchup against the Bolts earlier in the month, but more challenging competition awaits.

(Photo by Steve Nehf/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

2. Cowboys (6-1)
Last Week: 5

The Cowboys asserted themselves as the class of the NFC East by taking down Philadelphia, and now have the luxury of playing Cleveland in Week 9. Dallas is rolling, and it doesn't seem like many teams can stop it.

(Photo by Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters)

1. Patriots (7-1)
Last Week: 1

Head and shoulders above the pack lies New England with a 7-1 record. At this point, anything less than a 14-2 finish would be a surprise.

(Photo by Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters)


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