NFL GAMES OF THE WEEK – WEEK 9: Rams-Bucs, Titans-Chiefs, Packers-Lions, Bills-Jets, Seahawks-Cards | Daily Mail Online

Week 9 of the National Football League season gets started Thursday night with the severely underwhelming prospect of the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles on the road at the struggling, 1-5-1 Houston Texans.

While an NFL Sunday always springs a surprise, with Week 9 likely to be no exception, the slate is not quite as eye-catching as previous weeks. 

NFC frontrunners Dallas (6-2), the New York Football Giants (6-2) and the San Francisco 49ers (4-4) are all on a bye week. So too, are Russell Wilson’s potentially resurgent 3-5 Denver Broncos, the plucky 2-6 Pittsburgh Steelers and AFC North rival Cleveland (3-5).

Though there are always games of intrigue to go around in the NFL and without question Tom Brady sits at the apex of fascinating storylines within the league. His Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the flailing Super Bowl champion LA Rams, Aaron Rodgers returns to road comforts — or does he? 

Tennessee face a tough trip to Arrowhead, can Geno Smith continue his ascension toward MVP status and will Josh Allen haunt the past and future of the New York Jets? 

Tom Brady and football adversity don’t usually last together for long – will it change this week?

Game 1: Seattle Seahawks (5-3) @ Arizona Cardinals (3-5)

The Geno Smith MVP train continues to roll, making its next stop in Arizona where the Seahawks will face NFC West division rival; the last-placed Cardinals. 

Pete Carroll and his Seattle team travel south on a three-game win streak which ironically began against Arizona in the Pacific Northwest on October 16. 

Seattle’s defense started the season slowly and were the No. 32 ranked defense when the Cards came to town. Following six sacks of Kyler Murray and defensively allowing just three points in the 19-9 win. 

It is a must-win game for Kyler Murray (R) and the Cardinals against the Seattle Seahawks

Arizona were 4-16 on third down — Seattle was 4-14 — and 0-2 in the red zone, additionally allowing six sacks of Kyler Murray. Admittedly, star wideout DeAndre Hopkins is back in what will be a welcomed addition. 

One would expect Geno Smith to have a much bigger say in proceedings after not throwing a touchdown last time the teams met. 

Smith has been on a tear this season and currently ranks first in completion percentage (72.7%), and third in passer rating (107.2) and pass TD-INT ratio (13-3). 

DeAndre Hopkins has starred since his return from NFL suspension for an in-need AZ team

Game 2: Buffalo Bills (6-1) @ New York Jets (5-3) 

A matchup of this magnitude between the Bills and Jets has been over a decade in waiting. For the first time since 2011, the pair face each other with a winning record. 

As Buffalo make the short trip to New Jersey, hopes are not as high as they were before arch-nemesis New England rolled into town and snapped Gang Green’s four-game win streak. 

The man most culpable for the loss, publicly at least, was Zach Wilson. The sophomore quarterback threw three interceptions, including a careless and equally pivotal late pick in the 22-17 loss. 

While Wilson did set a career-high passing yardage of 355, he did so with a paltry, season-low 48.8 percent completion rate. Without the slicing speed of rookie running back Breece Hall and new recruit James Robinson not fully up-to-speed, Wilson will be required to take control. 

Seemingly, Zach Wilson will need to be relatively flawless if the Jets are to overcome Buffalo

Though not in the way he finds most comfortable, rather knowing when the play is dead and resultantly throwing it away to live another down, as opposed to the opposing team. 

New York’s defense will face its toughest test of the season and despite its fearsome front, have encountered nothing like Buffalo’s quarterback, Josh Allen. The Wyoming star was at his bruising, captivating best on Sunday night in the Bills’ 27-17 win over the Packers. 

Buffalo are 6-1 for the first time since 1993 in what is already proving to be an historic season in Orchard Park. Allen’s offense are the No. 1 overall in football and unsurprisingly hold the same position in the passing game. 

If New York are to have any hope they’re going to need an improvement on the offense’s third downs. They have gone 9-39 over their previous three games.  

The New York Jets can ill-afford a second consecutive loss to another AFC East rival in BUF

Game 3: Tennessee Titans (5-2) @ Kansas City Chiefs (5-2) 

Tennessee travel to Missouri to take on the almost all-conquering Kansas City Chiefs in a primetime Sunday Night Football slobber knocker. 

Well, that’s what the Titans will be hoping for anyway. A Derrick Henry-inspired performance provided the road team with a truthfully uninspiring 17-10 win at Houston vs. the Texans. 

Mike Vrabel’s team have feasted upon the inconsistent AFC South this season, with three of their five wins coming from inside their division (Indianapolis twice and the win in Houston). 

Tennessee snuck past the Raiders 24-22 by the skin of their teeth on a goal line stand. Interestingly, the same occurred vs. Washington, where they left the capital with a 21-17 win. 

It will be a battle of styles in Missouri, with the Titans needing a big game from Derrick Henry

Meanwhile, Kansas City — who incidentally lost at Indianapolis in Week 3 — are fresh off a bye following a 44-23 beatdown of the San Francisco 49ers in Week 7. 

New acquisition Kadarius Toney is ready to be unveiled after a series of hamstring injuries plagued his season while in New York with the Giants. Though he may find it difficult to get an enormity of reps given the talent at wideout in Kansas City. 

Tennessee’s rookie quarterback, Malik Willis, may be in line to start again if veteran signal-caller isn’t ready to roll on primetime. Willis was 6 of 10 for 55 yards with an interception last week against Houston.

Most of Tennessee’s offense ran through Derrick Henry, quite literally, as he gained 219 rushing yards and two touchdowns from 32 attempts. If the Titans are to produce a big upset on the road, Henry will be more crucial than any other. 

The two teams are tied for the second-best record in the AFC. Make no mistake, this game will have playoff implications in the conference. No matter what you think of Tennessee’s wins thus far. 

Ex-New York Giants wide receiver, Kadarius Toney, is set to make his debut for the KC Chiefs

Game 4: Green Bay Packers (3-5) @ Detroit Lions (1-6) 

While the Packers and Lions have less combined wins than the Bills, Jets, Titans, Chiefs and Seahawks, this is a must-watch game for a variety of reasons. And no, it isn’t merely because they have a pooled nine-game losing streak. 

Aaron Rodgers and his Green Bay team may not quite be on the precipice of playoff extinction in the NFC, to generate any momentum they must beat the lowly Lions. Green Bay looks to already have lost out on the NFC North crown with the Minnesota Vikings flying at 6-1.

Detroit, meanwhile, are a consistently thrilling watch for the neutral with one not quite sure what to expect next. If they were to beat Rodgers and Co., extending their losing streak to five games (yes, five) fans across the nation would flock to praise them — and mock the Packers.

Green Bay fans are already on edge following their recent slump, and more pertinently, lack of tangible action at the trade deadline. The storied franchise were reportedly in talks for wideout Chase Claypool before Chicago snatched him for their own. 

It’s last-chance saloon time for Green Bay as they head to Detroit desperately needing a win

Aaron Rodgers insisted this week ‘there’s no tanking. There’s no rebuild,’ however there may need to be if Detroit topple the reigning three-time NFC North champions. 

Conversely, Detroit were active in the trade market, dealing away star tight-end T.J. Hockenson to Minnesota of all teams. While they might be preparing for the future, the opportunity to take down a wounded Green Bay will unlikely get better than the present. 

While Green Bay have been riddled with injuries at receiver and struggled for overall consistency at the positioned, they will be buoyed by Detroit’s paper-thin defense which has allowed the most yards per game (421.3) and average points per game (32.1) in the league. 

Game of the Week: LA Rams (3-4) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5)

Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Bucs are always at the forefront of the NFL world. Though currently they reside in the spotlight for reasons largely uncommon. 

This week’s home team are two games under .500 but somehow remain within a whisker of the NFC South’s apex. Losses to Baltimore, Carolina and Pittsburgh have soured what was a solid start to the season. 

Brady has been in the headlines for his play, future, and of course, the divorce between he and supermodel wife, Gisele Bundchen. There seems to be no man who has better compartmentalized the game. 

Tom Brady dressed up as the grim reaper for Halloween, so, that has to mean a win Sunday

While the Rams front is not the same force it was with Von Miller in tow last season, they still have No. 99 Aaron Donald who can still single-handedly wreck a game on his own. 

The Rams have endured a Super Bowl hangover to this point of the season, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. The losses of All-Pro left tackle, Andrew Whitworth – to retirement – and Odell Beckham Jr., to free agency, have mightily disrupted their profligacy. 

Quarterback Matthew Stafford has thrown more interceptions (8) than touchdowns (7) this season. What’s more, Cooper Kupp is questionable for Sunday’s game in Tampa. 

While the Rams could quite feasibly further the Buccaneers’ hole, there has to be a point in time where Brady and the Bucs turn it around. Doesn’t there? 

Sean McVay (R) and quarterback Matthew Stafford have failed to repeat the success of 2021

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