NFL Week 9: Winners, Losers, and The Steady

Written By: Justin Alberto

Welcome to the fourth edition of winners, losers, and the steady! This is where we take a dive into all the 1 PM and 4 PM Sunday game action. This article will be used to analyze each team and see if your team is a winner, loser, or just staying steady this week. Keep reading to find out where your team stands.

***Teams on their Bye Week: Rams, Bengals, Eagles, Browns. 

Panthers vs. Chiefs: Chiefs 33, Panthers 31

Panthers: The return of Christian McCaffrey gave this Panthers offense more fire power. McCaffrey had 18 carries for 69 yards and a TD. As a receiver, McCaffrey had 10 receptions for 82 yards and a score. Teddy Bridgewater looked great, going 36/49, with 310 yards, 2 passing TD’s and a 4-yard rushing TD. This game was all about offense for both teams. This game came down to the 4th quarter. With the Panthers down 9, McCaffrey scored with a minute and change left, cutting the deficit to 2 points. They tried an onside kick and they were unsuccessful. The Panthers forced a 3 and out, thanks to a beautiful read by Brian Burns on a read option. The Panthers got the ball back and they got close enough where they felt comfortable with leaving the game in the hands of Joey Slye. They sent Slye out for a 67 yard field goal! Yes 67 yards. The kick was very wide right and the Chiefs hung on to win a nail biter.  I have the Panthers as STAYING STEADY this week. Even though they lost, they lost to one of the best teams in football by only 2 points. Their offense was clicking on all cylinders.   

Chiefs: Patrick Mahomes played like Patrick Mahomes. He was 30/45, with 372 yards and 4 TD’s. Mahomes connected with Demarcus Robinson for a 1-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. In the third quarter, he hit Edwards-Helaire for a 4-yard TD, and he connected with a wide-open Tyreek Hill for a 28-yard TD. In the fourth quarter he connected with Hill yet again on a 2-yard TD pass. Travis Kelce (10/159), and Tyreek Hill (9/113/2TD) had big games through the air. The running game was non-existent in this one. Their leading rusher was Edwards-Helaire with 5 carries for 14 yards. There isn’t much to talk about on the defensive side, as it was all offense for both teams. I have the Chiefs as WINNERS this week, as their the most high-powered offense in the NFL. 

Bears vs. Titans: Titans 24, Bears 17

Bears: A very boring first half for the Bears. They scored 0 points. Nick Foles turned it up in the second half though. His final stat line was 36/52, 335 yards, and 2 TD’s. Foles spread the ball very well in this one, connecting with 8 different receivers. Allen Robinson led Bears receivers in catches and yards (7/81). Rookie WR Darnell Mooney led the team in targets with 11. Foles hit Graham for a TD, and he hit RB Ryan Nall for a TD. The running game was also a non-factor as they only mustered 56 rushing yards. Most of the yards came from David Montgomery (30). Anthony Miller and David Montgomery both coughed the ball up, but the Titans couldn’t get any points off those turnovers. I have the Bears as LOSERS and pretenders, not contenders.

Titans: This Titans offense just seemed out of whack the whole game. Ryan Tannehill was 10/21 for 158 yards, and 2 TDs. 101 of Tannehill’s yards went to AJ Brown. Brown 4/101/1 was really the only one that could get things going. Jonnu Smith also found the end zone on a 2-yard pass. Newly acquired Desmond King joined the action by recovering a fumble, forced by Jeffrey Simmons, and returned it 63 yards to the house. I have the Titans as WINNERS. They got a much needed win against a tough Bears defense to keep them in front of the Colts in the AFC South. 

Broncos vs. Falcons: Falcons 34, Broncos 27

Broncos: This Broncos offense was held to just 3 points in the first half by a terrible Atlanta defense. In the second half, they turned it up. Drew Lock had 3 TD’s in the fourth quarter. He hit Jerry Juedy for a 20-yard TD, Tim Patrick for a 9-yard TD, and he also ran for a 10-yard TD. Lock has his moments where he looks like a franchise QB, he just has to stay consistent. Jerry Juedy had a big time game, reeling in 7 for 125 yards and a TD. He’s starting to get comfortable and when Courtland Sutton returns next year from his ACL injury, this can be a top-5 WR duo. I have the Broncos as LOSERS this week though, due to their inconsistency.  

Falcons: The Falcons held on, although it looked like they could’ve choked this one. This Falcons offense looked good, even without Calvin Ridley. Matt Ryan was 25/35, with 284 yards, 3 TD and an INT. In the absence of Ridley, Olamide Zaccheaus stepped up catching 4 passes for 103 yards and a TD. Brandon Powell also got in on the action catching his lone target for a 9-yard TD. Julio Jones reeled in Matt Ryan’s third TD on a 21-yard pass. Other than the Justin Simmons interception, the Falcons air attack looked great. Todd Gurley also contributed to the scoring by logging 53 yards and a TD on 19 carries. Ricardo Allen had an interception on the defensive side for Atlanta but other than that, there’s not much to speak of for that defense. I have the Falcons as STAYING STEADY because they almost blew this one.

Lions vs. Vikings: Vikings 34, Lions 20

Lions: Coming into this one, we were not sure who was going to be starting at QB for Detroit, due to Stafford contracting COVID-19. But, after two back to back negative tests, Stafford ultimately ended up starting. Stafford got injured and left the game, but even before that, Stafford didn’t look sharp. He was 23/32 with 211 yards, 1 TD, and 2 INT. His lone TD went to Marvin Jones JR for 15 yards. Chase Daniel didn’t do much better in relief, going 8/13 with 94 yards, a TD, and an INT. Daniel hit TJ Hockenson for a 2-yard pitch and catch. Rookie D’Andre Swift had a decent day on the ground with 13 carries for 64 yards.  This Lions defense got absolutely shredded by the Vikings. There’s not much positives to take out of this one for the Lions, that is why they find themselves in the LOSERS category and they should clean house this offseason.

Vikings: Dalvin Cook. What an absolute monster. Cook carried the ball 22 times for 206 yards and 2 TD’s. He is worth every penny the Vikings paid him. Cook averaged 9.4 yards a carry. My goodness. But I can’t let Cook overshadow the excellent day for Kirk Cousins. Cousins was 13/20 for 220 yards and 3 TD’s. He hit Ameer Abdullah for a 22-yard TD. He also found Irv Smith Jr in the endzone twice. Irv Smith was easily Cousins favorite target in the red zone. Harrison Smith, ERic Kendricks, and Eric Wilson all had interceptions. An overall nice day for the Vikings as they find themselves as WINNERS, and what looked like a lost season for Minnesota, now looks like a huge turn around. 

Ravens vs Colts: Ravens 24, Colts 10

Ravens: This game was all about the return of Dez Bryant. If you thought he would have at least a catch I’m sorry to disappoint you. He didn’t even have a single target. The Ravens offense wasn’t great either. Lamar Jackson was 19/23, for 170 yards. The Ravens did all their scoring on the ground. Lamar found the endzone on a 9-yard run and Gus Edwards scored on a 1-yard run. The Ravens defense was a huge part in why the Ravens won. Chuck Clark had a 65-yard fumble recovery TD. Also Marcus Peters had a controversial INT. To me, it was obviously incomplete, but NY had different thoughts on it. The Ravens are WINNERS this week. They are led by a strong defense and good rushing attack. 

Colts: The Colts couldn’t do much on offense. Phillip Rivers looked bad out there. Rivers was 25/43 for 227 yards, and an INT. The only Colts touchdown was on a 1-yard run by rookie Jonathan Taylor. Taylor had a crucial fumble that led to a Chuck Clark 65 TD return. Rookie WR Michael Pittman led the Colts in receiving yards with 56 on 4 receptions. The Colts find themselves as LOSERS, it was a tough matchup but they need to show they can win against these powerhouse teams. 

Texans vs. Jaguars: Texans 27, Jaguars 25

Texans: Deshaun Watson has to be happy none of his receivers got traded. Watson was 19/32 for 261 yards and 2 TD. He hit Brandin Cooks on a 57-yard pass that resulted in 6. He then connected with Will Fuller on a deep pass for a 77-yard TD. Fuller (5/100/1) and Cooks (3/83/1) had a field day against the vulnerable Jaguars secondary. The Texans lost David Johnson early on due to a concussion but Duke JOhnson did enough in his absence. Duke Johnson had 41 yards and a TD on 16 carries. Vernon Hargreaves had an INT but other than that, this Texans defense let rookie QB Jake Luton get too comfortable. I have the Texans as STAYING STEADY in what is a lost season. 

Jaguars: Rookie QB Jake Luton looked impressive in his first ever NFL game action. Luton was 26/38 for 304 yards 1 TD and 1 INT. Luton’s favorite target was DJ Chark, and why not, he is Jacksonville’s best receiver. Chark (7/146/1) made this Texans secondary look foolish. James Robinson is one heck of a player. The undrafted rookie had 25 carries for 99 yards and a TD. Laviska Shenault left the contest with a hamstring injury. Once the Jaguars find out who their franchise QB is going to be, this offense can be very special with the young talent it has with Robinson, Chark, Keelan Cole, and Shenault. I have the Jaguars as LOSERS in what is a lost season for them. They should look to the draft for their franchise QB, whether it’s Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Trey Lance, or Zach Wilson.

Seahawks vs. Bills: Bills 44, Seahawks 34

Bills: Man oh man did the Bills make a statement. Yes, I know the Seattle secondary is very, very bad, but the Bills played poorly the past two weeks against the Jets and Patriots. Josh Allen looked like the guy he did in the beginning of the season. Allen was amazing completing 31/38 for 415 yards and 3 passing TD’s.  Allen also added a TD on the ground. Allen hit Isaiah Mckenzie on a 25-yard TD. He connected with Tyler Kroft on a 1-yard TD. Allen also connected with rookie WR Gabriel Davis on a 4-yard TD. Stefon Diggs was the Bills leading receiver with 9 catches for 118 yards, but he did not find the endzone. Zack Moss found the endzone on the ground on a 1-yard run. The Bills as a team only had 34 yards on the ground, but it worked out for them today. The Bills defense wreaked havoc on Russell Wilson and this Seahawks offense all game. The Bills had 5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, which were recovered by Buffalo, and 2 interceptions. The Bills are WINNERS with this big time win and if Josh Allen continues to play like this, we can see Buffalo make a run deep in the playoffs. 

Seahawks: This was a tough loss for Seattle, who are seen by many to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Russell Wilson had one of, if not his worst game of the season. Wilson was 28/41 390 yards, 2 passing TD’s, 1 rushing TD,  2 INT’s, and 2 fumbles lost. Wilson was under pressure a lot and the Bills had a great plan to stop Seattle’s high-powered offense. DK Metcalf is continuing to blossom into a bonafide superstar catching 7 passes for 108 yards and 1 TD.  The Seahawks, as good as they are, have many holes on the defensive side. They don’t generate much pressure and they are burnt toast in the secondary. The Seahawks are STAYING STEADY this week, just because they’ve been dominant all year long and their offense made this game closer than it should have been and Wilson probably won’t look this bad in any other game this year. 

Giants vs. Football Team: Giants 23, Football Team 20

Giants: Let’s start off by saying Daniel Jones did NOT have a turnover today. Jones is still undefeated against Washington in his young career. Jones was 23/34 for 212 yards and a TD. Undrafted rookie WR Austin Mack (4/72)  led the Giants receivers in yards. Jones’ only TD was a 16-yard pass down the seam to TE Evan Engram. The Giants ground game was big for the success today as Wayne Gallman had 14 carries for 68 yards and a TD and Alfred Morris had 9 carries for 67 yards. Jason Garret is getting creative with the play calling, running the ball well will definitely help open the play book and take pressure off of Daniel Jones. THe Giants defense was the headline in this one. Blake Martinez and Jabrill Peppers both had INT’s, but Logan Ryans INT was the biggest one, as it iced the game for the Giants. You have to feel good about that interception for Ryan, who went through a lot this past week, with his wife having to get emergency surgery. Jabrill Peppers had a fumble recovery on a ball that was knocked out of Antonio Gibson’s hands by Logan Ryan. The Giants also had a fumble recovery early on special teams, Cam Brown forced the fumble and Madre Harper recovered. The Giants defense forced 5 turnovers today. The Giants are two different teams. They start off great but they start to collapse late. They hold on to win this one. They are WINNERS this week because in what would be a lost season for most teams, the Giants find themselves only 1.5 games out of first place in the embarrassing NFC East.

Football Team: First, my thoughts go out to QB Kyle Allen who left the game with a dislocated ankle. Alex Smith (24/32, 325 yards, 1 TD, 3 INT’s)  played well in relief besides the 3 crucial interceptions. The one to Blake Martinez wasn’t his fault, as JD McKissic slipped on his route. Alex Smith had his first TD since November 11th, 2018.  What a Cinderella story it would’ve been if Smith would’ve led this team to a comeback. Terry McLaurin (7/115/1) and Cam Sims (3/110) had big days through the air. The Washington Football Team finds themselves as LOSERS this week but still very much alive in the NFC East, as they are just behind Philly. 

Raiders vs. Chargers: Raiders 31, Chargers 26

Raiders: In a nail biter, the Raiders prevail. Derek Carr (13/23, 165 yards, 2 TD’s, and 1 fumble) looked good today. Carr found Nelson Agholor (2/55/1) for a 45-yard TD and Waller (5/22/1)  for a 2-yard TD. The Raiders didn’t have big yards through the air but their running backs did the most damage. Josh Jacobs had 14 carries for 65 yards and a TD, and Devontae Booker had 8 carries for 68 yards and a TD. This Raiders team has a sneaky good RB duo. The Raiders escape this one as WINNERS and hope to keep winning and sneak in the playoffs.

Chargers: The Chargers lost in the most Chargers way possible. Justin Herbert played his heart out, to only be handed the loss in the end. Herbert (28/42, 326 yards, and 2 TD’s) played great. Should have been 3 TD’s but Donald Parham couldn’t come down with the game winning TD as time expired. It was great defense by Isaiah Johnson to cause the ball to move in Parhams hands. Kallen Ballage was surprisingly the lead back for the Chargers and the most effective. Ballage had 15 carries for 69 yards and a TD. Keenan Allen (9/103/1) had a good day. Good thing Herbert was okay after appearing to injure his leg. Maybe it’s time to start looking for a new head coach in LA, this team has lost so many games they should have won. I always have liked Lynn but they can never seem to close out games. The Chargers find themselves as LOSERS due to the fact they can’t win the games they should. 

Dolphins vs. Cardinals: Dolphins 34, Cardinals 31

Dolphins: The Dolphins are building something special with Head Coach Brian Flores. First of all the Dolphins defense started this game on what they did against the Rams often last week, with a strip sack TD. Emanauel Ogbah got back there to force Arizona QB Kyler Murray to fumble and Shaq Lawson scooped it up and brought it 36-yards to the house. Tua Tagovailoa had a great game against a good Cardinals team. Tua was 20/28, for 248 yards and 2 TD’s. Tua played like a franchise QB today. This has to feel good for him. Tua’s 2 TD’s went to Preston Williams (4/60/1) on a 9-yard pass and Mack Hollins on a 11-yard pass. The Dolphins rushing attack couldn’t get going. They were down Myles Gaskin and Matt Breida, so Jordan Howard, who has been healthy inactive for the past couple of weeks, led the team with 10 carries. He had only 19 yards but found the endzone. Salvon Ahmed was the team’s leading rusher with 38 yards on 7 carries. The Dolphins are huge WINNERS this week. Could this team be a dynasty for many years to come under coach Brian Flores?

Cardinals: Let’s get one thing straight. Kyler Murray is electric, especially as a runner. Kyler through the air was 21/26, 283 yards, 3 TDs and a fumble. Kyler was also the Cardinals leading rusher with 11 carries for 116 yards and a TD. Chase Edmonds had a decent day on the ground with 25 carries for 70 yards. Does Kenyan Drake get his job back after he returns from injury? Will he be the same player the Cardinals traded for last year? So far this year, that hasn’t been the case Christian Kirk (5/123/1) remained hot after the bye week. Darrell Daniles had a controversial 21-yard TD reception. To me, he didn’t have possession of the ball as he went down out of bounds with Byron Jones also having his hands on the ball. With less than 2 minutes left, the Cardinals got in field goal range. Zane Gonzalez lines up for a 49-yard FGA. It looked good at first glance, it was on target, but just inches short and the Dolphins were able to run out the clock. I have the Cardinals as STAYING STEADY, even though they lost, the Seahawks lost also. So they didn’t lose ground, but failed to gain ground. 

Steelers vs. Cowboys: Steelers 24, Cowboys 19

Steelers: WOW! How embarrassing would it have been if the Steelers lost to 4th-string QB Garrett Gilbert. Ben Roethlisberger was 29/42 for 306 yards and 3 TD’s. It was a scary sight just before the first half ended for the Steelers, as Ben appeared to have suffered a knee injury. Mason Rudolph came in for the final drive with short field position and they got a 59-yard field goal from Chris Boswell to end the half. Good thing Big Ben was healthy enough to return, or else who knew how this game would have ended. JuJu Smith-Schuster (6/93/1), Diontae Johnson (6/77), and Chase Claypool (8/69), had good receiving games. Is this receiving core the most underrated in the NFL? Eric Ebron had the game’s most important catch which was an 8-yard TD, in which Ebron hurdled a Cowboys defender to get into the endzone and ultimately put this game away. It got scary in the end as Gilbert and the Cowboys drove down the field but came up short. Although this game should not have been this close, the Steelers remain undefeated and they are WINNERS this week. 

Cowboys: So close, but somehow still in playoff contention at 2-7. Garrett Gilbert was a huge difference from Gucci DiNucci. Gilbert actually threw the ball to Amari Cooper (5/67) and CeeDee Lamb (4/71/1). Throwing it to those playmakers will keep you in the game. Take notes DiNucci, if you ever get a chance to play again this year. If Dalton can’t return after the bye week, Gilbert should be the guy. Gilbert threw a pick into the hands of Minkah Fitzpatrick but other than that, he played exceptionally as a 4th string QB who got named the starter in the middle of the week against one of leagues top defenses. I have the Cowboys as STAYING STEADY because they improved this week on offense and defense, and they lost to the 8-0 Steelers by only 5 points. The Cowboys are still very much alive in the laughing stock NFC East.

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