NFL predictions and picks for Week 9 from the experts at ESPN are now here, and the playoff pictures in each conference are taking form. Critical divisional matchups are scheduled in the NFC East and AFC West, and many teams are in must-win mode. In addition to the predictions by the experts at ESPN, the latest NFL odds from Vegas Insider were also used as reference points. Here are a few of the notable games.
Dallas Cowboys at Cleveland Browns – WINNER: Cowboys
After escaping last week with an overtime victory against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Cowboys now sit at 6-1, which is good for first place in the competitive NFC East. While the Cowboys managed to defeat their hated divisional rival, the game unearthed a few glaring weaknesses. Rookie quarterback Dak Prescott has been stellar this year, but his play showed that he really is still a rookie. With Tony Romo healthy and apparently ready to go, the Cowboys are going to have a difficult decision to make down the stretch.
Regardless of the quarterback controversy, the Cowboys are going to win Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns with ease. As usual, the Browns are the laughingstock of the NFL, and they have an embarrassing record of 0-8. While there is a chance that they win a game this season, it is not going to come against Dallas. All nine ESPN experts believe the Cowboys will win this game.
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants – WINNER: Giants
After starting off with a record of 3-0, it appeared as though the Eagles were the team to beat in the NFC East. Rookie quarterback Carson Wentz looked a 10-year vet, and rookie head coach Doug Pederson looked like an early candidate for the coach of the year. While Wentz and Pederson have still been impressive, the Eagles have struggled since their hot start. The lack of talent at the wide receiver position has really been at the forefront, and the offensive line has failed to protect Wentz. They will take their 4-3 record into New York on Sunday, and it is really a must-win game if they have any hopes of making the playoffs this season.
The Giants also enter Sunday’s game with a 4-3 record, and this is a crucial game for them too. They have not made the playoffs in years, but defeating the Eagles could put them in a great position to qualify for a playoff spot in the NFC. While Dallas may be difficult to catch, they currently hold the second wild-card spot. This game should be close, but six out of nine ESPN experts believe the Giants will win.
Buffalo Bills at Seattle Seahawks – WINNER: Seahawks
While the Seahawks have sputtered over the past two weeks, their 4-2-1 record is still good for first place in the NFC West. Their ferocious defense looks as strong as ever, and quarterback Russell Wilson is his usual reliable self. Tight end Jimmy Graham has rejuvenated his career, and running back Christine Michael has finally put together a solid season.
While the Bills are an improved team this year, they are not yet ready to win in Seattle. Running back LeSean McCoy is expected to play, but he is battling a hamstring injury. The Bills should keep this one close, but the Seahawks are going to come out of this game with their fifth victory of the season. All nine ESPN experts believe the Seahawks will win this game.
More ESPN NFL Picks for Week 9
- Steelers Over Ravens
- Chiefs Over Jaguars
- Dolphins Over Jets
- Vikings Over Lions
- Rams Over Panthers
- Saints Over 49ers
- Chargers Over Titans
- Packers Over Colts
- Raiders Over Broncos
Arizona, Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, New England, and Washington are all on their bye weeks.
[Featured Image by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images]