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#408648 - 10/31/18 01:27 AM NFL Week 9
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Oakland Raiders vs. San Francisco 49ersL

The Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers each harbored lofty aspirations of franchise-changing seasons entering 2018, but the Bay Area rivals are mired in downward spirals in what has become a battle of attrition for both teams. When the Raiders visit the 49ers on Thursday night, the most noteworthy similarity is the number of wins by each club: one.

"This is going to fun for the fans and fun for both teams," said Oakland coach Jon Gruden, who was lured back to the Raiders' sideline with the hope of bringing back the team's glory days. [censored], the Raiders traded away both their best player (Khalil Mack) and arguably their top offensive talent (Amari Cooper), and have been increasingly non-competitive during a three-game slide, losing by an average of 18 points. Injuries have victimized the 49ers, who lost their starting quarterback (Jimmy Garoppolo) and top running back (Jerick McKinnon) to season-ending torn ACLs and have dropped an NFL-worst six games in a row -- with the last three on the road coming by a combined eight points. "We're fighting," San Francisco cornerback Richard Sherman said. "Unfortunately we're not getting the results. These have been some of the toughest losses I've seen."

TV: 8:20 p.m. ET, FOX, NFL Network. LINE: 49ers -3. O/U: 46

ABOUT THE RAIDERS (1-6): Despite rumors of more moves at Tuesday's trade deadline, Oakland opted to stand pat, although cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie announced his retirement on [censored]. Derek Carr registered a season-high 136.6 passer rating in last week's 42-28 loss to Indianapolis, throwing for three touchdown passes before the Raiders were torched for 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter. Doug Martin rushed for 72 yards in place of an injured Marshawn Lynch and tight end Jared Cook continued his stellar season with four catches for 74 yards and a score. Mack's loss has killed the pass rush, which has an NFL-low 7.0 sacks.

ABOUT THE 49ERS (1-7): Its losing streak aside, San Francisco has a major injury concern as quarterback C.J. Beathard was unable to practice Tuesday due to a sore right wrist. "We feel C.J. would be good if we were playing on Sunday but it's going to be a test for Thursday and we probably won't know until then," said 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, who would go with undrafted free agent Nick Mullens if Beathard can't go. The one reliable offensive option for San Francisco is tight end George Kittle, who has a team-high 37 receptions and at least five in six of eight games. The 49ers are surrendering 262.5 yards passing and have posted only two interceptions.

EXTRA POINTS

1. The 49ers rank 28th and Raiders 31st in points allowed with 29.5 and 31.1, respectively.

2. Kittle and Cook are third and fourth, respectively, among tight ends in yardage with 584 and 474.

3. Carr has thrown for 901 yards in his last three road games.

PREDICTION: 49ers 23, Raiders 20
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#408853 - 11/01/18 10:32 PM Re: NFL Week 9 [Re: FREAK]
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Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings

After having their three-game winning streak snapped last week, the Minnesota Vikings look to get back on track when they begin a string of three straight division games Sunday against the visiting Detroit Lions. Minnesota occupied first place in the NFC North before a 30-20 home loss to New Orleans in Week 8 dropped it one-half game behind Chicago in the tightly contested division.

Adam Thielen made league history in the Vikings' setback against the Saints, becoming the first player to record at least 100 receiving yards in eight straight games to start a season. Thielen, who leads the NFL in receptions (74 - most in his team's first eight contests in league history) and receiving yards (925), has made a touchdown catch in each of his last five games. Detroit was attempting for a three-game winning streak of its own last week but dropped a 28-14 decision at home to Seattle. Matthew Stafford will need to find a new favorite target as the Lions, who are just one game behind the Bears in the NFC North, traded leading receiver Golden Tate (44 catches, 517 yards - both team highs) to Philadelphia on Tuesday.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Vikings -5. O/U: 49

ABOUT THE LIONS (3-4): Marvin Jones Jr. figures to become Stafford's new main receiver, especially after his impressive performance last week. The 28-year-old, who is in his third season with Detroit after spending his first four with Cincinnati, made seven catches for 117 yards and two touchdowns in the loss to the Seahawks. T.J. Jones, who has just four receptions this season after registering a career-high 30 last year, also figures to see more action with Tate gone while defensive tackle Damon Harrison seeks another strong performance after recording seven tackles and a sack in his team debut last week.

ABOUT THE VIKINGS (4-3-1): Thielen's eight straight games with at least 100 receiving yards ties the NFL record set in 2012 by Calvin Johnson of the Lions. He can join Atlanta's Julio Jones (80, 1,029 in 2015) as the only players in league history with at least 75 catches and 1,000 yards in their teams' first nine contests this week. Safety Harrison Smith, who has made an interception in each of his last two games, is the only player in the NFL with at least 20 picks (20) and 10 sacks (12) since he entered the league in 2012.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Vikings QB Kirk Cousins has thrown 16 touchdown passes and only four interceptions in his first season with the team.

2. The Lions signed LB Kelvin Sheppard, who intercepted Cousins twice on Dec. 31 while with the New York Giants, to replace Tate on the roster.

3. Minnesota ranks fifth in the league in rushing defense at 91.8 yards allowed per game while Detroit is 31st at 144.6.

PREDICTION: Vikings 33, Lions 20
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#408854 - 11/01/18 10:32 PM Re: NFL Week 9 [Re: FREAK]
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Kansas City Chiefs vs. Cleveland Browns

After a tumultuous week off the field, the Cleveland Browns face a major challenge between the lines Sunday, when they host the Kansas City Chiefs and their dynamic offense. It's a matchup of two of the league's most exciting young quarterbacks, as Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes and Cleveland's Baker Mayfield go head-to-head in a throwback to their days as Big 12 Conference rivals.


Mayfield has been a bright spot for a Browns team that seemed to be making strides but was loaded with dysfunction that came to a head this week. Coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley were fired Monday, and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was elevated to interim head coach. The Browns' defense faces a stiff test against Mahomes and a Chiefs offense that leads the NFL in scoring and ranks third in total offense. "They have done a good job of surrounding (Mahomes) with people that take a short play and turn it into a long play, or take a space play and turn it into a miss for the defense," Williams told reporters. "Andy (Reid) has always done a very good job with formation things to create those open areas for an athlete to make you miss. We have to do a good job in space defensively on the plays that they will create."

TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Chiefs -8. O/U: 51


ABOUT THE CHIEFS (7-1): The Chiefs are loaded with a group of offensive talent that includes versatile running back Kareem Hunt, speedster Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce, who have combined for 22 touchdowns. They're coming off their lowest offensive output of the season with 340 total yards last week, but it was enough to hold on for a 30-23 win over Denver that kept Kansas City in command in the AFC West. The defense ranks 31st and struggled against the pass early in the season but has improved in the last two weeks and has recorded 10 takeaways in the last five games.

ABOUT THE BROWNS (2-5-1): After playing well to start the season, Cleveland's defense has surrendered more than 400 total yards in five straight games while the rushing defense has been especially bad in recent weeks. The unit's only saving grace has been a league-best 22 turnovers, including 12 interceptions. The offense has shown promise with Mayfield and fellow rookie Nick Chubb providing a glimpse of what may come, but the Browns sputtered to a season-low 237 total yards in last week's 33-18 loss at Pittsburgh.


EXTRA POINTS

1. Mahomes is only the fourth quarterback in NFL history with four or more touchdown passes in three consecutive games.

2. The Browns have forced at least one turnover in all eight games and have at least two takeaways in seven contests.

3. Hunt has scored a touchdown in seven consecutive games.


PREDICTION: Chiefs 31, Browns 23
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#408855 - 11/01/18 10:32 PM Re: NFL Week 9 [Re: FREAK]
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Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens' once-impenetrable defense is beginning to show some cracks, sending the team tumbling down the standings. The Ravens will try to avoid a three-game slide and jump back into the race in the AFC North when they host the rival Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.

Baltimore was torched for a season-high 36 points in a 15-point loss at the Carolina Panthers last week after dropping a 24-23 home decision to the New Orleans Saints. "It's apparent that two weeks in a row we weren't very sharp," defensive tackle Michael Pierce told reporters. "For whatever reason that is, that's got to get corrected ASAP. We got Pittsburgh coming up. It's personal pride. You have to man up to what everybody's doing and see what's going on." The Steelers are trending in the opposite direction with wins in three straight games since a 26-14 home loss to the Ravens in Week 4, and running back James Conner is leading the charge. Conner is making fans forget about Le'Veon Bell by piling up a total of 526 yards and six touchdowns in the last three contests.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Ravens -3. O/U: 47

ABOUT THE STEELERS (4-2-1): Bell, who is holding out after refusing to sign his franchise tender, is expected to return before Week 10 but has given little indication of when that return might come, leaving Conner to grab all the touches available. "He wants to be that guy," guard Ramon Foster told reporters of Conner. "He plays with a passion that's out of this world." Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is completing 67.7 percent of his passes during the winning streak but will play with a fractured left (non-throwing) index finger this week after suffering the injury in the 33-18 drubbing of the Cleveland Browns last week.

ABOUT THE RAVENS (4-4): Baltimore slid into third place in the AFC North behind Pittsburgh and Cincinnati (5-3) with the loss to the Panthers and knows it faces an uphill climb. "We are obviously not in the most ideal situation possible, but we still have eight games left," quarterback Joe Flacco told reporters. "I feel like we have the opportunity to play really good football. We just have to make sure to keep the focus on that. I think there is obviously a bigger threat now to let this stuff affect you mentally, let it affect the team and how we are gelling together. We just have to combat that just by being ourselves and being as tough as we possibly can." The Ravens are 24th in the league with an average of 96.6 rushing yards and made a move to improve that area by trading for Green Bay Packers running back Ty Montgomery prior to Tuesday's trade deadline.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Steelers CB Cody Sensabaugh (foot) sat out practice on Wednesday and is questionable.

2. Ravens starting offensive linemen LT Ronnie Stanley (ankle), G Alex Lewis (neck) and RT James Hurst (back) are all questionable.

3. Baltimore snapped a three-game losing streak in the series with Week 4's triumph.

PREDICTION: Steelers 26, Ravens 17
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#408856 - 11/01/18 10:33 PM Re: NFL Week 9 [Re: FREAK]
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers aim for their 10th consecutive home victory dating to last season when they host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for an NFC South clash on Sunday. The Panthers have won two straight contests and four of five overall to remain one game behind division-leading New Orleans, while the Buccaneers are making another change at quarterback after dropping four of their last five.


The Panthers are trying to stay within striking distance of the Saints, whom they will face twice in the final three weeks of the regular season, while Tampa Bay needs to turn things around to stay on the fringe of the playoff picture. The Bucs have turned back to Ryan Fitzpatrick as their starting quarterback after the journeyman relieved Jameis Winston and nearly led them to a comeback win in last week's 37-34 loss to Cincinnati. "What I've learned is that you've always got to stay ready, and you've got to take advantage of your opportunities when you get them," Fitzpatrick told reporters. "Because the biggest thing about the NFL is, it's a performance-based league and you have to go out there and perform, and if you don't, there are other guys that are going to be able to. That's something that I've learned, and I've been on both sides of it plenty in my career." Winston has thrown 10 interceptions in 13 quarters of play, which was a concern against a Carolina defense that thrives on turnovers and has 13 takeaways - including nine picks.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Panthers -6. O/U: 55


ABOUT THE BUCCANEERS (3-4): Fitzpatrick took over late in the third quarter last week and flashed some of the magic he showed in leading the Bucs to a 2-0 start while Winston was suspended. Regardless of which quarterback is at the helm, Tampa Bay has put up NFL-leading passing numbers thanks to a dynamic receiving corps, and Peyton Barber is emerging as a rushing threat. The defense has been a disaster, however, allowing at least 400 total yards in six of seven games and forcing only one turnover over the last four contests.

ABOUT THE PANTHERS (5-2): Carolina possesses the league's second-best rushing attack that is led by versatile back Christian McCaffrey and quarterback Cam Newton, who also is on pace for career-best passing numbers. Newton should be able to have success throwing against Tampa Bay's porous secondary, although he could be without receiver Torrey Smith (knee) for a second consecutive game. The Panthers' defense was stout in last week's 36-21 win over Baltimore, allowing 325 total yards and forcing three turnovers - giving Carolina 12 takeaways in its five wins.


EXTRA POINTS

1. Carolina has allowed only 10 sacks, tied for the second-fewest in the NFL and the second-lowest total through the first seven games in franchise history.

2. Tampa Bay WR DeSean Jackson has 24 touchdowns of 60 or more yards, the most in NFL history.

3. Newton has thrown at least two touchdown passes in six straight games.


PREDICTION: Panthers 30, Buccaneers 23
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#408857 - 11/01/18 10:33 PM Re: NFL Week 9 [Re: FREAK]
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New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins have answered a sterling start to the season with four double-digit losses in their last five outings to cloud their visions of grasping a third postseason berth since 2008. The Dolphins bid to turn the page as they begin the second half of their season on Sunday versus the New York Jets, against whom they've won four of their last five encounters.

With Ryan Tannehill (shoulder) sidelined for a third straight game, Brock Osweiler completed just 56.8 percent of his passes with one interception in a 42-23 loss at Houston on Thursday. Miami has fared better a home, however, posting a 3-1 mark while its lone win on the road came at MetLife Stadium, courtesy of a 20-12 victory over New York on Sept. 16. Rookie Sam Darnold tossed a pair of interceptions in that contest, but has been picked off five times in his last four and threw for a career-low 153 yards in Sunday's 24-10 setback in Chicago. "(It's) very frustrating," Jets coach Todd Bowles said of his team losing two straight and residing at 3-5 for the third straight year. "... We got to put our heads down and we got to correct this and we got to try to come out and win some ballgames. The season is not over. ... You don't like where you are, but we dug ourselves this hole, we have to dig ourselves out."

TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Dolphins -3. O/U: 43.5

ABOUT THE JETS (3-5): Wideouts Quincy Enunwa (team-leading 22 catches) and Robby Anderson (club-best 314 receiving yards) missed practice on Thursday and are in line to sit out their respective third and second straight games due to ankle injuries. A depleted passing attack hasn't done any favors to New York's rushing game, which has been stuck in neutral with a league-worst 2.8 yards per carry over the last three contests heading into a meeting with Miami, against which it amassed just 42 yards on 19 attempts in Week 2. Isaiah Crowell rushed for 35 yards in that contest and has followed a 219-yard performance versus Denver that earned him AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors with 94 yards on 37 carries over the last three games.

ABOUT THE DOLPHINS (4-4): Like New York, Miami is also dealing with injuries to its wideouts, although former first-round pick DeVante Parker stepped up in the absence of the injured Kenny Stills (groin) and Albert Wilson (hip, injured reserve) with six catches for a career-high 134 yards versus the Texans. "I already know who I am as a player. I still got the talent," said the 25-year-old Parker, who missed five of the team's first seven games of the season. Parker was inactive in the first encounter versus the Jets, but gashed the club with eight receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown on Sept. 24, 2017.

EXTRA POINTS

1. New York S Jamal Adams has recorded a sack in each of his last three games versus Miami.

2. Dolphins RB Kenyan Drake, who found the end zone in the previous meeting with the Jets, has three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving) over his last two contests overall.

3. Miami (334.3) and New York (314.1) are ranked 27th and 29th, respectively, in average yards per game on offense.

PREDICTION: Dolphins 24, Jets 16
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#408858 - 11/01/18 10:34 PM Re: NFL Week 9 [Re: FREAK]
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Atlanta Falcons vs. Washington Redskins

Running back Adrian Peterson continues to defy both critics and Father Time to help the NFC East-leading Washington Redskins win three straight games. The 33-year-old Peterson and the Redskins look to continue their strong performances on Sunday when they host the Atlanta Falcons, who are 0-2 away from home this season and play six of their final nine games on the road.

"He's a guy that we feed off of, I know the mindset and attitude that he brings certainly fits with what we want to be about up front and our style of play," Washington coach Jay Gruden said of Peterson, who earned NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors after scoring twice and rushing for a season-high 149 yards in Sunday's 20-13 win over the New York Giants. While Peterson has been getting rave reviews, Alex Smith hasn't done much with the Redskins' aerial attack as the offseason acquisition has averaged a paltry 173.0 passing yards his last three contests. Matt Ryan has encountered no such difficulty, eclipsing 355 passing yards in four of his last five contests while throwing 13 touchdowns against zero interceptions in that stretch. The 2016 NFL Most Valuable Player sent the Falcons into their bye with a two-game winning streak after completing 31 of 39 passes for 379 yards and a score in a 23-20 victory over the Giants on Oct. 22.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Redskins -2. O/U: 48.5

ABOUT THE FALCONS (3-4): The running joke gaining steam is that there's no stopping Julio Jones ... well, until he reaches the red zone. Sure, the five-time Pro Bowl selection has yet to find the end zone this season, but Jones is doing his best to turn Atlanta's fortunes around by averaging an NFL-best 116.0 yards per game. "We just have to continue to keep building," the 29-year-old Jones said. "We just have to figure out ways to win games. We need to continue to execute in winning situations." The Falcons have struggled to get much established with their 30th-ranked ground attack, although running back Tevin Coleman has a touchdown in two straight games while rookie Ito Smith has found the end zone in three of his last four.

ABOUT THE REDSKINS (5-2): Atlanta's third-ranked passing game will be put to the test against a Washington secondary that features D.J. Swearinger (NFL-high four interceptions) as well as fellow safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who was acquired from Green Bay on Tuesday. "If you can add a good player to the team, you have to do it," Gruden said of the 25-year-old Clinton-Dix, who had three interceptions this season with the Packers and provides a bit of insurance with safety Montae Nicholson nursing a hip injury. Swearinger, who recorded his second multi-interception game of the season last week, has forced a fumble in back-to-back contests.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Atlanta has won the last five meetings with Washington, although the clubs last played in 2015.

2. Redskins TE Jordan Reed recorded a season-high seven catches -- albeit for just 38 yards -- last week.

3. Falcons DE Takkarist McKinley has 5.5 sacks in his past six games.

PREDICTION: Falcons 27, Redskins 21
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#408859 - 11/01/18 10:34 PM Re: NFL Week 9 [Re: FREAK]
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Chicago Bears vs. Buffalo Bills

The Chicago Bears will play five of their final eight games against their NFC North rivals, and they are assured of beginning that stretch in first place if they can win Sunday at the Buffalo Bills. The Bears got past the New York Jets 24-10 last week to snap a two-game slide and improve to 4-2 since their one and only division game -- a one-point loss at Green Bay in Week 1.

Mitchell Trubisky threw for two touchdowns and Jordan Howard ran for another while Chicago's defense dominated without injured leader Khalil Mack in the win over the Jets. Trubisky has averaged 305.8 passing yards and 58 rushing yards over the past four weeks while accounting for 14 touchdowns, and the 24-year-old ranks second among NFL quarterbacks with 296 yards rushing. While Trubisky has settled in nicely in his second season as a pro, the Bills remain lost at the position and will turn once again to Nathan Peterman, who steps in for his fourth career start with Derek Anderson (concussion) and Josh Allen (elbow) sidelined. Peterman has completed just 13-of-32 passes with one TD and four interceptions this year, performing mop-up duty in Monday's 25-6 loss to the New England Patriots.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Bears -10. O/U: 37.5

ABOUT THE BEARS (4-3): Mack (ankle) and wide receiver Allen Robinson (groin) both sat out the win over the Jets and are questionable entering this one, while the team is considering placing right guard Kyle Long (foot) on injured reserve. Howard, Trubisky and Tarik Cohen combined for 172 rushing yards last Sunday and Chicago enters the week ranked seventh in the NFL with 137.6 yards on the ground per game. A defense that leads the NFC with 11 interceptions -- three by cornerback Kyle Fuller -- will be licking its chops against Peterman.

ABOUT THE BILLS (2-6): Buffalo has scored 87 points on the season, its lowest through eight games in franchise history, and being forced to turn back to someone like Peterman as the offense sputters gives the impression of a team going nowhere. "I know we're getting it turned in the right direction," coach Sean McDermott told reporters. "We have a vision for this football team -- (general manager) Brandon (Beane) and myself. ... Sometimes we're not getting the results necessarily on the scoreboard, and that's frustrating. I know it's frustrating for our fan base. But I know we're doing things that are right, that are going to lead us to that down the road." The Bills incorporated veteran running back LeSean McCoy into the passing game a bit more against New England and the results (six catches, 82 yards -- his best total since 2013) were favorable.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Cohen has 23 catches out of the backfield over the last four weeks with 350 yards and three TDs.

2. The Bills signed WR Terrelle Pryor, who had 14 catches with the Jets before being released, and QB Matt Barkley -- a former Bear -- to back up Peterman.

3. The teams have not met since 2014, when Buffalo won 23-20 in overtime at Soldier Field.

PREDICTION: Bears 23, Bills 12
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#408860 - 11/01/18 10:34 PM Re: NFL Week 9 [Re: FREAK]
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Houston Texans vs. Denver Broncos

The Houston Texans knew they were a better team than they showed in the early part of the season and have proven themselves right, turning things around and soared to the top of the AFC South. Houston will have a new weapon in its arsenal on Sunday as it seeks a sixth consecutive victory when it visits the Denver Broncos.

The Texans began the campaign with three tough losses - all by seven points or fewer - but have reeled off five straight wins, including a 42-23 rout of Miami on Oct. 25. Houston has had more than a week to prepare for Denver and will have someone very familiar with its opponent at its disposal in wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, who was acquired from the Broncos on Tuesday. Denver's season has been almost completely opposite of Houston's, as the club won its first two games before losing four in a row and five of six after falling 30-23 at Kansas City in Week 8. Rookie Phillip Lindsay was a bright spot in the setback as he recorded a career-high 112 yards from scrimmage (95 rushing) while running for a touchdown for a second straight week.

TV: 4:05 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Broncos -1. O/U: 46

ABOUT THE TEXANS (5-3): Deshaun Watson had a field day against the Dolphins last week, completing 16-of-20 attempts for 239 yards and five touchdowns without an interception. The 23-year-old has thrown 34 scoring passes in 15 career games and needs one to join Kurt Warner (39) and Dan Marino (35) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history with at least 35 in their first 16 contests. Thomas, a five-time Pro-Bowler, is Denver's all-time leader in 100-yard receiving games (33) and ranks second in both receiving yards (9,055) and TDs (60), and made 36 catches for 402 yards and three scores this season.

ABOUT THE BRONCOS (3-5): Denver has another impressive rookie on the other side of the ball in linebacker Bradley Chubb, who was named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month for October after recording 5.5 sacks, 14 tackles and five tackles for loss. The 22-year-old is the first Broncos rookie to register multiple sacks in consecutive games since Elvis Dumervil in 2009 and first NFL rookie since Aldon Smith of San Francisco in 2011 to collect at least 5.5 sacks in a three-game span. Case Keenum, who appeared in 10 games for Houston from 2012-14, has thrown for 1,118 yards and five touchdowns in four starts at home this year.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Thomas was acquired by the Texans to replace WR Will Fuller V, who was placed on injured reserve and will undergo knee surgery that will sideline him for 6-9 months.

2. Denver LB Von Miller is tied for second in the league with eight sacks while Chubb has registered a rookie-high seven.

3. With a victory on Sunday, Houston will join the 1970 New York Giants as the only teams since that year to win six straight contests after losing their first three.

PREDICTION: Texans 31, Broncos 27
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#408861 - 11/01/18 10:35 PM Re: NFL Week 9 [Re: FREAK]
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Los Angeles Chargers vs. Seattle Seahawks

Philip Rivers will make his 200th consecutive regular-season start when he leads the Los Angeles Chargers into battle against the host Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. Rivers will become only the fourth quarterback to reach the milestone, joining Brett Favre (297), Eli Manning (210) and Peyton Manning (208).

Rivers, who turns 37 next month, has been Mr. Reliable since becoming the Chargers' starter in 2006 and takes pride in his ability to answer the bell on game days. "I think there is a small element of toughness involved, but then again, shoot, lots of prayers for me from many people on Sundays and guys' protection that allows me to be out there each and every week, whether dealing with minor things or big things," Rivers told reporters. "Then just that competitiveness to want to be out there and play every week, and I have that same passion in this 200th one that I had in the first one. That's what excites me for the next handful of years." Seattle is on a hot streak with four victories in five games after getting off to a slow start. Russell Wilson is performing well with three touchdown passes in each of his past three contests.

TV: 4:05 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Seahawks -1. O/U: 48

ABOUT THE CHARGERS (5-2): Rivers has passed for 2,008 yards and 17 touchdowns against three interceptions this season while helping the offense average 27.9 points. The Chargers are hoping to have running back Melvin Gordon (466 yards, six touchdowns) back on the field after he missed a win over Tennessee due to a hamstring injury and also had a bye week to recuperate. Defensive end Joey Bosa (foot) still isn't ready to make his season debut for a unit that is allowing 23.3 points per game.

ABOUT THE SEAHAWKS (4-3): Wilson, who has thrown for 1,556 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions, earned a perfect quarterback rating (158.3) in last week's 28-14 win over Detroit as he completed 14-of-17 passes for 248 yards. The running game ranks third in the NFL with an average of 137.4 yards as Chris Carson (457 yards) has stepped up as the primary ball carrier by topping 100 yards in three of his last four games. Defensive end Frank Clark has registered six sacks to help a unit that ranks fifth in total defense (327.3 yards per game) and is tied for third in takeaways (16).

EXTRA POINTS

1. Rivers passed for 455 yards in his last visit to Seattle in 2010 - a 27-20 loss.

2. Seattle DE Rasheem Green (ankle) is expected to play after missing the last four games.

3. Chargers WR Keenan Allen (41 receptions) has made just one touchdown catch, with his longest gain being for 25 yards.

PREDICTION: Seahawks 27, Chargers 24
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#408862 - 11/01/18 10:35 PM Re: NFL Week 9 [Re: FREAK]
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Los Angeles Rams vs. New Orleans Saints

The Los Angeles Rams almost saw their perfect record go by the boards last weekend, but they will face perhaps a more daunting challenge this weekend in what could be a battle for supremacy in the NFC. The lone undefeated team at the midway point of the season, the Rams will square off against another surging team when they visit Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints on Sunday afternoon.

Los Angeles will be facing an elite quarterback for the second time in as many weeks, having squeezed out a 29-27 victory over Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. "You're looking at another week where a guy, first ballot Hall of Famer, all-time leading passer, completing 77 percent of his balls," Rams head coach Sean McVay said of the prospect of facing Brees. New Orleans owns the league's second-longest winning streak -- behind only Los Angeles -- with six consecutive victories after knocking off Minnesota 30-20 in a rematch of last season's NFC playoff game. "When we're able to execute at a high level, I don't think there's anybody on the field that can stop us," Saints defensive end Cam Jordan said. "We have to be able to do that for all 60 minutes though."

TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Rams -1.5. O/U: 59.5

ABOUT THE RAMS (8-0): Todd Gurley has been unstoppable for Los Angeles, rushing for 800 yards and 11 touchdowns -- both league highs -- and posted 31 catches for 351 yards and four scores after accounting for 195 yards from scrimmage against Green Bay. Quarterback Jared Goff has 17 TD passes versus five interceptions and will get one of his top targets back in Cooper Kupp, who has a team-best five touchdown receptions despite missing the past two games with a sprained knee. Reigning Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald has registered an NFL-high 10 sacks for a unit that acquired pass-rushing linebacker Dante Fowler from Jacksonville at this week's trade deadline. "We feel like he's going to help us, specifically from a rush perspective," McVay said of the former No. 3 overall draft pick.

ABOUT THE SAINTS (6-1): After squeezing out a one-point win at Baltimore when the Ravens missed a tying extra point, New Orleans relied on its defense to avenge last season's loss at Minnesota with an interception return for a score and a fumble return that set up a TD. Brees tossed his first interception last week but has 14 touchdown passes and sports a league-leading 77.4 completion percentage and gaudy 118.2 passer rating. Alvin Kamara's workload has been reduced with the return of fellow running back Mark Ingram from a four-game suspension, but he had a rushing and receiving score last week to boost his season total to nine touchdowns. Kamara is expected to play despite missing practice Thursday due to illness, but rookie defensive end Marcus Davenport did not practice for a second straight day.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Saints WR Michael Thomas has 14 receptions for 160 yards and two touchdowns in two games versus Los Angeles.

2. Gurley joined Jim Brown and Priest Holmes as the only players with at least 15 TDs through the first eight games.

3. Brees has thrown for 1,045 yards with eight touchdowns and zero interceptions in his last three at home.

PREDICTION: Saints 30, Rams 27
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#408863 - 11/01/18 10:35 PM Re: NFL Week 9 [Re: FREAK]
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Green Bay Packers vs. New England Patriots

Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers often are mentioned in the conversation as the best quarterbacks in the game, but the former NFL Most Valuable Players rarely share the same field. That will change on Sunday night as Brady and Rodgers will square off for only the second time in their stellar careers when the Green Bay Packers pay a visit to the streaking New England Patriots.

Brady and Rodgers are the only active players in the league to have won multiple MVP awards, among the many reasons for the hype surrounding Sunday's matchup. "If you want to study how to play quarterback, you need to watch that game Sunday night because you're going to see all the little things," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "From pure quarterback play, I think this is definitely one you want to watch." Rodgers came up short in his bid to hand the Los Angeles Rams their first loss a week ago and now must fly to the opposite coast to face Brady and a New England squad that has won five straight and is unbeaten at home. "The challenge from my standpoint is knowing we have to be incredibly productive as an offense," Brady said. I know we can't turn it over, I know we're going to have to possess the ball. I know we're going to have to score in the red area."

TV: 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC. LINE: Patriots -5.5. O/U: 56.5

ABOUT THE PACKERS (3-3-1): Green Bay has been fairly one-dimensional on offense as Rodgers is third in the league with an average of 326.1 yards while throwing for 13 touchdowns against only one interception. Although injuries have hindered two of Rodgers' top receivers, Davante Adams has six touchdown catches on the season and has amassed 24 receptions for 405 yards and three scores over the past three games. A cluttered backfield was thinned out this week with the trade of Ty Montgomery, leaving Aaron Jones poised the lead the ground game after posting season highs with 86 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries against the Rams. The Packers are No. 5 against the pass (221.7 yards per game) but traded starting safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to Washington this week.

ABOUT THE PATRIOTS (6-2): Running back Sony Michel was limited in practice again Thursday after sitting out last week's game due to a knee injury and one of the surprise replacements was wideout Cordarrelle Patterson, who had 10 carries for 38 yards. Tight end Rob Gronkowski, who has not scored since the season opener, did not practice Thursday and was held to three catches in each of his last two games. Brady threw for 324 yards in last week's 25-6 victory at Buffalo, connecting with Julian Edelman nine times for 104 yards (both season highs) and running back James White 10 times for 79 yards, hiking his team-leading totals to 55 catches, 459 yards and six receiving touchdowns. New England is vulnerable to the pass, allowing 277.3 yards per game to rank 27th in the league.

EXTRA POINTS

1. New England seeks its 10 consecutive home win against a Green Bay squad that is 0-3 on the road.

2. Rodgers has a 100-plus passer rating in his last three overall and has at least two TD passes in five of his last six versus AFC foes.

3. Brady has eight TD passes and zero interceptions in his past three at home versus Green Bay.

PREDICTION: Patriots 33, Packers 30
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#409330 - 11/05/18 08:09 AM Re: NFL Week 9 [Re: FREAK]
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Tennessee Titans vs. Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys and Tennessee Titans each have the luxury of playing in mediocre divisions, but both teams are in danger of falling too far back in their respective conference playoff pictures with another loss. The Titans and Cowboys also share the similarities of owning identical 3-4 records while coming off a loss and a bye heading into Monday night's clash in Dallas.

The game will mark the Cowboys debut of wide receiver Amari Cooper, who was acquired from Oakland for a first-round draft pick to put some juice in Dallas' struggling offense. "He's electrifying. He's one of those guys you hold your breath every time he catches the ball," running back Ezekiel Elliott told reporters regarding Cooper. "He's a great addition to this offense and I'm excited." The bye week couldn't come soon enough for Tennessee, which followed a three-game winning streak by scoring a total of 31 points during a three-game slide that includes a pair of one-point defeats. "It's our fault, you know what I'm saying?" Titans Pro Bowl safety Kevin Byard told reporters. "We're not doing the right things to win these games, and we have to find ways to turn that around."

TV: 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Cowboys -5.5. O/U: 40.5

ABOUT THE TITANS (3-4): Marcus Mariota injured his elbow in the season opener and has been dealing with numbness in his throwing hand, but he finally was able to discard the glove he's been wearing since getting hurt. That, and the loss the of tight end Delanie Walker to a season-ending injury in Week 1, has contributed to Mariota's woes - he has thrown three touchdown passes and five interceptions while being held to 129 yards or fewer in four of his six games. The running back tandem of Dion Lewis and Derrick Henry also has struggled, although Lewis gained 155 yards from scrimmage in Tennessee's last contest. The Titans rank 19th in the league against the run, permitting 112.3 yards per game.

ABOUT THE COWBOYS (3-4): The offseason departures of Dez Bryant and Jason Witten has grounded Dallas' aerial attack, prompting the move to bring in Cooper to jump-start a passing offense ranked 29th in the NFL (183.1 yards). Whether Cooper is the answer for Dak Prescott remains to be seen - the former No. 4 overall pick had 48 receptions and seven touchdowns last season while recording 22 catches and one score for the Raiders this year before the trade. The Cowboys have the league's fourth-ranked ground game thanks to Elliott, who is second in the NFL in rushing with 619 yards and has three 100-yard performances. Dallas ranks third overall in total defense (313.7) and against the pass (217.4).

EXTRA POINTS

1. Dallas (17.6) and Tennessee (18.1) rank second and third, respectively, in the NFL in points allowed.

2. Mariota has thrown 24 TD passes and seven interceptions in his last 12 games versus NFC opponents.

3. Cowboys DE Demarcus Lawrence has registered seven sacks in his last five home contests.

PREDICTION: Cowboys 23, Titans 20
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