NFL Week 9 Picks
Week nine begins on Thursday with the matchup of the Philadelphia Eagles at the Houston Texans. By this time, we will know how much progress Jalen Hurts has made in his second year as the Eagles' starting quarterback. Or if Gardner Minshew has replaced him. Hurts was a serviceable dual-threat quarterback in 2021, leading the Eagles to the playoffs. But a 31-15 wild card round loss at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was indicative of how far behind the Eagles truly are. Philadelphia would not have been in the playoffs if not for the expanded playoff format. Regardless the Eagles were not of true playoff caliber.
Meanwhile, the Houston Texans are coming off a lost season. Quarterback Deshaun Watson was out for the year because of sexual assault allegations. The Texans finished 4-13. Following the season, Watson was sent to the Cleveland Browns. Davis Mills is number one on the depth chart heading into training camp. He was a third-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft out of Stanford.
After the 2021 campaign, the Texans fired rookie head coach David Culley in a curious move. It was not like Culley was a failure. He had absolutely nothing to work with. What made matters worse was that the Texans hired failed University of Illinois coach Lovie Smith as the new headman. Smith had some success as the head coach of the Chicago Bears over a decade ago. But after flaming out with the Bears, he was a disaster at Illinois. Texan fans don’t see the coaching or quarterback changes as an upgrade.
BYE WEEK: Browns, Cowboys, Broncos, Giants, Steelers, 49ers
We get a rematch of the epic playoff game from 2021 between the Los Angeles Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Sunday afternoon late window. The Rams pulled one out of the fire at Tampa Bay last January in a game that looked lost.
NBC Sunday Night Football features the Tennessee Titans at the Kansas City Chiefs. Tennessee lost a lot of credibility with their terrible playoff performance in a home loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. The Chiefs are still smarting from a stunning home loss in the AFC Championship Game to the Cincinnati Bengals.
Tennessee quarterback Ryan Tannehill caught a lot of heat after the playoff flop. And then the Titans drafted Malik Willis in the third round. It was the ultimate vote of no confidence by the Titans' management. It is conceivable that Willis could start this game at Kansas City if Tannehill isn’t up to par.
ESPN Monday Night Football features the Baltimore Ravens at the New Orleans Saints. Baltimore is drawing some interest in the future market while the Saints are being ignored.
Baltimore is coming off a missed playoff season. What made the 2021 campaign so painful for the Ravens was that they had a playoff spot in hand at the start of December. Their collapse sent shockwaves through the NFL. But most observers believe that head coach John Harbaugh will set things right in 2022.
Meanwhile, there is a lot of uncertainty with the New Orleans Saints. The retirement of head coach Sean Payton has fans and gamblers on edge. Payton was an offensive mastermind and an elite developer of quarterbacks.
Saints respected defensive coordinator Dennis Allen was promoted to head coach. And Jameis Winston returns for a second crack at starting quarterback after a 2021 season lost to injury. Winston was improving under Payton’s tutelage, but now Payton is gone. Offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael and quarterbacks coach Ronald Curry have their work cut out for them.
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