With week 9 of the NFL hours away from kickoff lets preview the game and pick out the likely winners.
New Orleans Saints @ Carolina Panthers - PANTHERS WIN
It's the Thursday night game and the golden rule of Thursday night games is pick the home team. The Panthers have problems. Outside of Cam Newton the running game is none existent and they are set to play an undrafted rookie free agent at tackle.
They are at home though against a Saints team that is not only a terrible road team but just hasn't been that good this season full stop. Home advantage should allow the Panthers to pick up a narrow win and further throw the NFC South into chaos. Perhaps even leaving the door open for the Falcons.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Cincinnati Bengals - BENGALS WIN
The return of A.J. Green is huge for the Bengals offense. Green is to the Bengals offense what the QB position is to the typical NFL team. Green will revitalize a Bengals attack that has been flagging.
Jacksonville meanwhile have one win all season and their rookie QB leads the league for interceptions despite not playing in weeks one and two. Bengals win.
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Cleveland Browns - BROWNS WIN
Tampa Bay are an awful team. What's more the front office knows this and by trading Mark Barron and Jonathan Casillas away has already given up on this season.
The Browns meanwhile have a legitimate chance of making the playoffs from a wide open AFC North. It won't be a blowout but Cleveland will have too much for the Buccaneers.
Arizona Cardinals @ Dallas Cowboys - CARDINALS WIN
I wouldn't be amazed to see the Cowboys win this game but right now there are just too many question marks over Tony Romo to back Dallas. Brandon Weeden looked solid enough on Monday against Washington but he's the backup and not the starter for a reason. Furthermore, the Cardinals have the third best rushing defense in the league and they should be able to restrict the effectiveness of DeMarco Murray.
New York Jets @ Kansas City Chiefs - CHIEFS WIN
There isn't a bigger train wreck in league right now than the Jets. Geno Smith has gone the way of Mark Sanchez and whilst Ryan had no choice but to ditch his QB it's hard to see Vick as much of an upgrade right now.
Playing at home in arrowhead the Chiefs should dominate. Given the state of the Jets secondary (they are playing converted wide receivers at corner) Alex Smith might even throw a passing touchdown to a wide receiver.
San Diego Chargers @ Miami Dolphins - DOLPHINS WIN
With home advantage and an offensive scheme that seems to be coming together the Dolphins should have enough about themselves to beat a Chargers team that is dangerously dependent on Philip Rivers playing like an MVP.
Something he will struggle to do against a defensive front seven that gets after the QB and is ranked third in the league in stopping the pass.
Washington Redskins @ Minnesota Vikings - VIKINGS WIN
It's hard to come up with any strong feelings for this match up. Neither team is dreadful but neither are they very good. Considering that they are at home and have a top 10 defense you've got to make Minnesota favorites here.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Houston Texans - EAGLES WIN
With center Jason Kelce back into training and guard Todd Herremans playing through bicep injury the Eagles offensive line seems to be coming through its injury glut and returning back to full fitness.
This will be key to the Eagles as their return should improve LeSean McCoy's production and improve their woeful red zone efficiency. This should be enough to give the Eagles an important win on the road.
St Louis Rams @ San Francisco 49ers - 49ers WIN
Despite beating the Seahawks a couple of weeks back the Rams aren't a very good football team. The offense wasn't great to begin with but the season ending injuries to Brian Quick and Jake Long are the Rams death rattle.
The 49ers by contrast welcome back star linebacker Patrick Willis and will be fresh after coming off their bye week. At home the 49ers will run rampant over the Rams.
Denver Broncos @ New England Patriots - BRONCOS WIN
In the premier AFC match up between Denver and New England it is safe to say that there are going to be passing touchdowns. In a shootout you go with the team that has the better defense and without doubt that's the Broncos whose defense is one of the top two or three in the NFL.
Despite, being on the road Denver will cruise to a win here.
Oakland Raiders @ Seattle Seahawks - SEAHAWKS WIN
After the Dolphins hammered them in London an month ago I tipped the Raiders to go winless this season. Despite, some encouraging signs from rookie QB Carr I'm sticking to my prediction. The Raiders chances of winning on the road in Seattle are somewhere below 1%.
Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers - RAVENS WIN
Ben Roethlisberger isn't going to throw for 500 + yards against the Ravens defense and in the absence of an all-time great quarterbacking performance It's tough to have much faith in the Steelers.
The Ravens offense should have plenty of success rushing against a Steelers defense that isn't great at stuffing the run. Joe Flacco and Steve Smith will pick up a win that is likely to be crucial in the super competitive AFC North.
Indianapolis Colts @ New York Giants - COLTS WIN
This is a tough game to call. On the one hand the fact that Rashad Jennings isn't going to be fit and therefore the Giants will struggle to run the ball. On the other hand though the injury to Vontae Davis threatens to derail what has been a strong Colts defense.
In the end then you've for to go the better quarterback and without doubt that is Andrew Luck.