Best NFL Straight Up Picks Week 9 2021
Jets vs. Colts
The Jets are still right in the middle of their rebuild. Zach Wilson is suffering through a knee injury and their defense hasn’t been able to stop anybody, outside of the Tennessee Titans apparently. Meanwhile, the Colts have been turning it on as of late. Carson Wentz has been far better than people give him credit for and Jonathan Taylor is one of the best young backs in the league. Their defense is also far better than what New York is working with right now. I would take the Colts with a lot of confidence this week, especially if Wilson isn’t able to go and either Mike White or Joe Flacco gets the call to play.
Patriots vs. Panthers
What is happening to the Carolina Panthers? They went from 3-0 and looking like a playoff caliber team to losing multiple games and even benching Sam Darnold at one point. Yes, Christian McCaffrey hasn’t been on the field lately, but that shouldn’t kill their chances of winning this drastically. The Patriots haven’t been consistent in their own right but Mac Jones has had a few pretty great games for a rookie quarterback. They also have a stellar running back room with Damien Harris, Brandon Bolden and a few others. I like the Panthers defense a lot more than New England’s, but with the poor play of Carolina lately I want to roll with the Patriots in what should be a toss-up.
Bills vs. Jaguars
Well, just like the Jets game from earlier, this won’t take much explanation. The Bills have without a doubt been one of the best teams in the league. Josh Allen is continuing to make an MVP case and their defense has just been flying all over the field making big plays. The Jaguars have had off the field issues, specifically regarding their new head coach Urban Meyer. Trevor Lawrence has had rough patches and their defense is just atrocious. The only real bright spot of this team consistently is James Robinson, who may not get much action if his team is blown out straight from the start. I think Buffalo handily wins this game.
Falcons vs. Saints
The Falcons have been genuinely surprising this season. They started out really bad but have gotten nice wins over some bad teams to keep themselves afloat in the division race. Matt Ryan, Calvin Ridley and Kyle Pitts are one dynamic offense. If only their defense wasn’t nearly as bad as it currently is. The Saints have been a much better team this season but just don’t have the necessary weapons on offense to really set themselves apart. If Michael Thomas comes back, this is an entirely different game. For now, it is likely to be a really close one that comes down to the wire. At the end of the day though, I just the Saints defense far more than Atlanta’s and think that they will pull out a tough rivalry victory.
Raiders vs. Giants
Well, the Giants seem to play good football whenever they feel like it. They grab a huge win and follow it up with a blowout loss. It just hasn’t made any sense. Granted their entire offense is battling through a number of injuries. Daniel Jones has at least been great this season, reducing his turnover total. The Raiders have been improved as well, though far more consistent. Derek Carr was seriously in the MVP category a few weeks ago and they have seemingly shifted head coaches without any problem. Their defense needs some work but they have enough young and fast playmakers to keep themselves alive in close games. This is the definition of a toss-up game but I will roll with the Raiders in this one. Hopefully the Giants don’t come out looking like a Super Bowl contender again.
Vikings vs. Ravens
The Vikings have shown incredible fight in them despite having a rough defense. Kirk Cousins and company have consistently found ways to stick around ball games and take it down to the last few seconds even when they are heavy underdogs. Meanwhile, the Ravens were able to stomp a few good teams and barely squeak out wins in games they shouldn’t have. Lamar Jackson has been great but this team could easily have a losing record right now. In what should be a game where both teams score more than 28 points, I am going to have to roll with the Ravens due to Jackson being on their offense.
Browns vs. Bengals
Health is probably the biggest factor heading into this game. Cleveland is devastated by injuries at the moment. Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt are just a few players battling different issues right now. If any of them miss this matchup, then I am going to have to roll with the Bengals. Cincinnati has been so surprising this year and Joe Burrow has been stellar passing the football. We already saw them stomp the Ravens a few weeks ago as well. If they face a Browns team without multiple offensive starters than this is pretty much a wrap.
Broncos vs. Cowboys
So much for the Broncos being Super Bowl contenders. They have quickly fallen off the face of the Earth offensively. Teddy Bridgewater is a good quarterback, but he doesn’t bring any explosiveness to an offense that barely has many strong weapons with Jerry Jeudy just now getting back from injury. Their defense has kept them in games but Dallas has just been so good that they are likely to get past them eventually. I don’t think that Denver has enough in the tank to even remotely keep up with a healthy Dalals offense. Pick the Cowboys this weekend.
Texans vs. Dolphins
The battle of two of the worst teams in the league right now. Obviously, this prediction changes if the Dolphins pull the trigger on a Deshaun Watson trade, but for now it will be a close call. The Texans have looked pitiful on offense all year but Miami has been equally bad on defense. Unsurprisingly, Houston has been bad on defense but the Dolphins offense has shown some life under Tua Tagovailoa even if it wasn’t a lot. I think that little advantage is going to be the difference maker in this game and will help them barely squeak out a close game.
Chargers vs. Eagles
I am going to be picking the Chargers with a lot of confidence this weekend. We have been shown in the past that the Eagles are just not reliable at the moment. They are horribly inconsistent on both sides of the ball and their run game just hasn’t even been remotely effective. Meanwhile, the Chargers have an excellent young quarterback in Justin Herbert, a strong defense with a lot of playmakers, and weapons all over the offense. I can’t see this team walking into Philadelphia and getting blown out, it just won’t happen. They will walk out of here with a nice win.
Packers vs. Chiefs
The Packers have been back to the Super Bowl contender role that they were hoping to be during the offseason. Outside of a smackdown in Week 1 against the Saints, Green Bay has come to life. Aaron Rodgers and Davante Admas have once again been the best offensive duo in football and despite suffering a bit of a setback, they should be ready to go once more this weekend. As for the Chiefs, they must be cursed or something. Not only is their defense dead last in almost every major statistical category right now, but Patrick Mahomes and this offense have turned the football over the most in the league to date. That doesn’t happen very often with this many playmakers on an offense. I still think the Chiefs are going to bounce back at some point, but with the way that they are playing I just can’t pick them right now. Roll with the Packers.
Cardinals vs. 49ers
Divisional games are normally close, but I have a feeling this one won’t be. It’s only a matter of time before the 49ers pull Jimmy Garoppolo and throw in Trey Lance because this offense just isn’t cutting it right now. They can’t score consistently and their pass game is wildly mediocre. Defensively, they are just getting gassed for being out on the field so long. The Cardinals on the other hand are unbelievably good this season with Kyler Murray dishing out beautiful passes on a consistent basis. This defense has also gotten after the quarterback quite a lot with JJ Watt and Chandler Jones working on the defensive line. I can’t see Arizona losing to San Francisco with the way that these two teams have played all year long.
Titans vs. Rams
Every part of me wants to pick the Rams here, but the Titans just keep on surprising me. They knocked off both the Bills and the Chiefs with solid wins, and now travel to Los Angeles. Derrick Henry is still the best running back in football and Ryan Tannehill has been great at times, but this defense is just so untrustworthy. Matthew Stafford will be able to rip right through this offense with Cooper Kupp and company and force a shootout. If that happens, I like the Rams chances at winning. However, I learned my lesson to never doubt Henry in a shootout, he just wears down opposing defenses as the game goes on. This will be the best game of the week in my opinion. I’ll go with the underdog, give me the Titans
Bears vs. Steelers
I genuinely feel so bad for Justin Fields, the man is getting manhandled in the backfield consistently. He has zero time to throw the football and it seems like their head coach is hoping that he fails. David Montgomery is still out with an injury which makes this offense horribly one dimensional. The Steelers haven’t been great in their own regard, but have a few great wins under their belt and far more offensive talent than Chicago has right now. I don’t see Fields and this offense putting up a ton of points, Pittsburgh takes full control of this game right from the start and improves their record at the end of it.