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By Darius Boamah
NFL Week 9 Preview
The NFL is now onto the next half of the season as we’ve got the top games of Week 9 coming in hot…
Miami Dolphins vs. Arizona Cardinals Sunday @ 4:25 PM EST CBS
The 4-3 Miami Dolphins travel to Arizona to take on the 5-2 Cardinals. The Dolphins are coming off of a three-win streak and will look to carry that fire into the game against Arizona. The Cardinals are coming off a bye week. In week 7 they had a very tough game against the Seahawks and now they have had their rest. Last week, the Dolphins beat the Los Angeles Rams. Miami’s rookie quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, started his first game against the Rams. His performance was far from impressive, he threw for only 93 yards and one touchdown. Tua still has some time to get into form, but this game against the Cardinals will be tough. Coming off a big win against the Seahawks where their defense showed out, the Cardinals will be hard to break. Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray has been playing very well this season and has lots of options around him. So far, Murray is throwing for over 350 yards per game, he’s at a 66.8 completion percentage, and has thrown 13 touchdowns. Arizona running back Kenyan Drake is unlikely to play this weekend. This could be a plus for the Dolphins as it is one less weapon that the Cardinals have. The Dolphins defense is what has aided them the most this season. While their defense is not amazing, they have improved compared to last season. This year they have held teams to under eight yards per pass attempt and less than five yards rushing. This will be a good game to watch as both of these teams are strong in their own rights.
Los Angeles Chargers vs. Las Vegas Raiders Sunday @ 4:05 EST FOX
The 4-3 Las Vegas Raiders head to Los Angeles to take on the 2-5 Chargers in a rival AFC West showdown. The Chargers’ record is misleading, while they have lost five games, they have been close in every single game, they have even been leading in the 4th quarter in most of them. Los Angeles rookie quarterback Justin Herbert has been on fire this season and is making a name for himself. On the year, he is averaging over 300 yards per game and has thrown 15 touchdowns. The Chargers’ pass game is their strength and they may be able to exploit the Raiders this weekend. Keenan Allen is the top receiver for the Chargers and Herbert’s favorite target. The Raiders have a strong run game with running back Josh Jacobs. This season Jacobs has rushed for 523 yards and will be a threat to the Chargers’ faulty run defense, which has allowed almost five yards per carry. Las Vegas quarterback Derek Carr has been solid this year as well, throwing for 275 yards per game and 14 touchdowns. Chargers Raiders games always prove to excite and this game will be fun to watch.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Indianapolis Colts @ 1 PM EST CBS
The Baltimore Ravens travel to Indianapolis to take on the Colts this Sunday. Both teams are 5-2, looking to get to the top of their divisions. The Ravens are coming off of a loss to the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers. Despite the loss, Baltimore showed that they have lots of weapons on offense and defense. Baltimore’s run game is their strength and they showed it by gaining the most rushing yards against the best rushing defense in the league last week, with 265. This past week, Baltimore has faced problems with COVID-19. Cornerback Marlon Humphry tested positive and was placed on the COVID-19 reserve list. Seven other players who were in contact with Humphry were also placed on the list and must test negative through Saturday to play against the Colts. Three of these seven are starters. Indianapolis has also had some problems with the virus, however, their’s are not as serious. The Colts have a fairly strong pass offense under quarterback Philip Rivers, however, their run game is weak. They are averaging only 3.5 yards per carry on the run. They can find success on the pass game because the Ravens pass defense is not too strong, but if they want to find more success their run game will need to be stronger. On the other hand, the Colts have the second-best run defense in the league after the Steelers. This is extremely important this week because they are playing a team with a very strong run game. Indianapolis has only allowed 3.4 yards per carry, so the Ravens will need to look more to their pass game.
Seattle Seahawks vs. Buffalo Bills @ 1 PM EST FOX
The Seattle Seahawks head to Buffalo to face off against the Bills this Sunday. Both teams top their divisions, the Seahawks are 6-1 and the Bills are 6-2. Both teams are coming off of wins and will be looking to continue this Sunday. The Seahawks have a strong offense both passing and rushing. Russel Wilson has been on fire, averaging almost 350 yards per game. This season he has continuously found receivers DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Seattle is averaging 8.4 yards passing and Russ has a 71.5 pass completion rating. Seattle running back Chris Carson has been playing well and will be able to find some holes in the Bills defense. This season the Bills have allowed about five yards per carry. Their pass defense is not any better averaging 7.3 yards per reception against them. The Seahawks can expose Buffalo on the offensive side. Buffalo also has a strong offense under quarterback Josh Allen who has thrown for about 300 yards per game this season. His offensive weapons include wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasly, along with running back Devin Singletary. Diggs and Beasly have combined for 130 targets and the receiving core as a whole is averaging 7.8 yards per reception. Singletary has been solid this season, he has a total of 385 rushing yards and is running about 4 yards per carry. Seattle’s defense also is not very strong, especially defending the pass. Josh Allen and co. can exploit the defense and find success in the air. This game will be a battle between the offenses and will come down to who can drive the best.
New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ 8:20 PM EST NBC
The New Orleans Saints travel to Tampa Bay for a rematch game against the Buccaneers for primetime Sunday Night Football. These teams faced each other in the first week of the season, New Orleans won that game, and now will be fighting for the top spot in the NFC South. The Bucs, 6-2, are sitting at the top of the division with the Saints, 5-2, right behind. If New Orleans wins this game they will take the top spot. This will be a very close game, both of these teams are strong. Tampa Bay’s offense will get a little stronger this week with Antonio Brown being eligible to play. Tom Brady now has another option out wide to strengthen the offense. Brady has settled in and is now finding success on the team, he is throwing an average of 274 yards per game and has a 66.2 completion percentage. Brady does not really have a favorite target, he uses all his receivers at different points and this has worked well for the Buccaneers. The receiving core is putting up good numbers averaging 7.1 yards per reception. The Saints do not have the greatest pass defense, allowing about eight yards per attempt, the Bucs may be able to exploit them here, especially with AB possibly playing this weekend. Brady and the Bucs will look more to the pass game this weekend, the Saints have a great run defense keeping teams to just under 4 yards per carry, so the rush option won’t be too open. New Orleans offense has faced some problems recently, quarterback Drew Brees has had issues with his shoulder and is listed as a limited participant for this weekends game. Along with this, Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas still is not expected to play. If Brees can play most of the game, the Saints will be in good shape, he is averaging 271 yards per game this season. If Brees cannot play too much of the game, New Orleans will need to open things up with quarterback Taysom Hill and running back Alvin Kamara to try and get some better running plays going. Tampa Bay also has a very good rush defense that will be hard to break. The best possibility for the Saints is to have Brees play, this is an important game and will dictate the outcome of NFC South. The Buccaneers will be looking for revenge this Sunday and this game will be very fun to watch.
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