RDR contributors Julius Kizzee and Wilton Jackson weigh in on a few games to watch in Week 9 of the NFL.
Dolphins vs. Bills
Julius: These two teams are hard to gauge week-to-week. A preseason, dark-horse playoff contender, the Bills have stumbled to a 3-4 record out of the gate. The Dolphins, on the other hand, are looking to continue a positive trend going 2-1 in their last three games. The Bills should be looking to capitalize on this one, since they will not host another team until Dec. 6 against the Texans.
Wilton: The Bills are 2-1 in their last three meetings against the Dolphins. The Dolphins are coming off a divisional loss against the Patriots and the Bills are coming off an embarrassing loss against the Jaguars. In a battle between the third and fourth best teams in the AFC East, this will be a good game in the return of Tyrod Taylor at quarterback for the Bills. The Dolphins are still finding themselves as a team under Dan Campbell. Dolphins wide receiver Percy Harvin will not play tomorrow but Sammy Watkins will pay. This makes for a good divisional game.
Raiders vs. Steelers
Julius: Before the season, one would chalk this one up as a win for the Steelers. Nine weeks into the season and nothing is guaranteed for either club. The Steelers will hope for a better showing than the one last week against the Bengals, but Derek Carr will not go down without a fight.
Wilton: This has the makings for a really good game. The Steelers lost running back Le’Veon Bell but they feel this will not stop them from winning. The Raiders are on a roll, defeating the Jets last week. The Derek Carr-Amari Cooper combination looks really good in Oakland. It will be tested tomorrow against the Steelers at Heinz Field.
Rams vs. Vikings
Julius: Teddy Bridgewater is having a relatively quiet season, throwing for only six touchdowns through seven games. Adrian Peterson will have to show up in this contest for Bridgewater to throw a TD against the Rams. Look for this one to be a low-scoring affair.
Wilton: The Vikings are 3-0 against the Rams dating back to 2010. Adrian Peterson is having a good season, however, he cannot win the game alone for the Vikings. Bridgewater will have to step up and make some big plays. He also must be consistent in doing this to help the Vikings as well. The Rams are not a sleepover team in the tough NFC West Division. This will be a very close game.
Packers vs. Panthers
Julius: The newly defeated Packers get to travel to Carolina, pitting Aaron Rodgers up against a top-10 Panthers’ defense. Cam Newton is on a tear so far this season and the Packers’ defense will not have an answer for him. The Packers will head back home with two losses on their schedule.
Wilton: Cam Newton is playing well for the Panthers. The Panthers’ defense is solid with Luke Kuechly leading the pack. Combine these two things and you get a Panthers’ team who has defeated teams, such as the Seahawks, Eagles and Colts. This game for the undefeated Panthers, however, will be a major test for them. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers (6-1) are coming off a loss against the Denver Broncos. Green Bay will look to bounce back and earn a win against the Panthers but it will not be easy. Rodgers will face a talented defense when he faces the Panthers on tomorrow.
Giants vs. Buccaneers
Julius: The Giants are playing a surprisingly weird Buccaneers team that is hard to gauge. One week, they lost to Houston 19-9. A little over a month later, the Giants defeated and shocked the Falcons at home. Look for this one to get a little weird. It only helps that you are never sure which form of Eli Manning you will get from week to week.
Wilton: This game can go in favor of either team. Buccaneers defeated the Falcons last week to earn a tough win on the road and the Giants lost in a thriller against the Saints. Here is something to think about. The Giants have the ability to beat you anywhere at anytime. Eli Manning, when he is in a rhythm, can put together some really good drives for touchdowns and lead the Giants to victories. While the Buccaneers return home with a little confidence from the road win, the Giants will look to redeem themselves on the road against a young Buccaneers team. The Buccaneers must get pressure on Manning early in the game to keep him from getting in a rhythm. As for the Giants, if they get after Jameis Winston, they have a really good chance in leaving Tampa Bay with a road victory.