2021 NFL Expert Picks: Week 9

2021 NFL Expert Picks: Week 9

by November 4, 2021 1 comment

Three NFL experts from the Prime Time Sports Talk staff came together to share their picks for Week 9.

These three writers will make their picks for the entire season, earning two points for any correct win-loss outcome and an additional three points for correctly predicting the exact score. (Failure to accurately predict a tie will be treated as a loss.) A cumulative points total and record will be listed at the bottom of every article. An archive of all 18 regular-season and four playoff editions can be found here.

Sam Schneider, Joe Heller, and Andersen Pickard contributed to this article.

New York Jets vs. Indianapolis Colts

Sam: Jets 23, Colts 20

Carson Wentz and the Colts blew it against Tennessee, and the team is banged up. On the other hand, the Jets took down Cincinnati while making a solid defense look like Swiss cheese. It’s unrealistic to think that Mike White can go over 400 yards two weeks in a row, but the AFC Offensive Player of the Week is going to get help. Michael Carter keeps getting better and better, and in a ball-control game, he’ll get New York a second-straight victory that leaves Indianapolis searching for answers… especially at quarterback.

Joe: Jets 24, Colts 20

Jets quarterback Mike White follows up the magic of his first NFL start with another win, this time on the road. The Colts, with yet another loss, fall further behind in the AFC South.

Andersen: Colts 28, Jets 18

Mike White’s first NFL start was fun, but it wasn’t out of the ordinary. The Bengals had no idea how to prepare for the former fifth-round pick which is why they struggled. Now that the Colts have film on White that they can study, they’ll understand his tendencies and know how to stop him. The Jets will stay within two scores and the running backs will flourish, but New York still tacks on another loss.

Las Vegas Raiders vs. New York Giants

Sam: Giants 23, Raiders 20

Two New York teams, two identical scores. The Giants played valiantly but fell to the Chiefs in Kansas City on Monday night. The Raiders are returning from a bye, but their week has been anything but quiet. Although they played well heading in, the Jon Gruden hangover is bound to hit and the Henry Ruggs incident (and subsequent release) will be a distraction. New York has not played as poorly as their score would indicate, and Daniel Jones gets the best of Derek Carr on Sunday.

Joe: Giants 24, Raiders 20

The Raiders once again find themselves with another distraction stemming from off-the-field issues. The Giants are playing well without their full complement of offensive weapons due to injuries. Daniel Jones does just enough to lead his team to the win.

Andersen: Raiders 27, Giants 24

When Jon Gruden parted ways with the Raiders, the team stood strong and won. They’ll shake off another distraction in the form of Henry Ruggs III, edging out New York by three. A late-game turnover on downs from the Giants seals Vegas’ victory.

Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints

Sam: Saints 27, Falcons 19

Assuming Taysom Hill clears concussion protocol, he gets a gift matchup in his first start replacing Jameis Winston at quarterback. Atlanta has been an offensive disaster (save for Cordarrelle Patterson), and Matt Ryan has lost wideout Calvin Ridley indefinitely. The Saints can field a good defense and are going to literally run away from the Falcons with Hill and Alvin Kamara.

Joe: Falcons 27, Saints 20

The Falcons will bounce back from their loss to the Panthers with a win. Saints quarterback Trevor Siemian will play well in his first start in place of Jameis Winston, who was lost for the season to an ACL, but come up just short of getting the win.

Andersen: Saints 17, Falcons 13

Trevor Siemian beat Tom Brady because why not? It looks like he’ll start this week, which isn’t great for the Saints, but he’ll get bailed out by a fairly easy matchup against the Falcons. Atlanta, on the other hand, is now without Calvin Ridley, which is another brutal blow. The Saints should win under Siemian.

Buffalo Bills vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Sam: Bills 41, Jaguars 17

Vegas installed Buffalo as 10.5-point favorites before bettors immediately ballooned that number to over two touchdowns. It’s still not enough. The Bills’ defense is finally getting some of the credit it deserves this season, and the team is arguably the class of the AFC. Jacksonville pulled off a win two weeks ago against a not-good, very bad Miami Dolphins team before getting ripped apart in Seattle by a cast of backups. This is going to be a trainwreck in Florida.

Joe: Bills 34, Jaguars 17

Josh Allen leads his offense south as the unit returns to its high-scoring ways. The Jaguars will struggle against the Bills’ defense, much like they did against the Seahawks last week.

Andersen: Bills 42, Jaguars 13

You’re going to need two hands to count the number of Buffalo touchdowns in this one. Josh Allen will throw for four scores by himself while the ground game accounts for two more. The Bills cement themselves as the best team in the AFC and possibly the best in the NFL.

Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Sam: Bengals 27, Browns 24

Who would have thought that in Week 9 of this season Cincinnati would be favored over Cleveland? The Browns are beat up on both sides of the ball, and while Nick Chubb has returned along with D’Ernest Johnson filling in well for Kareem Hunt, they have to be able to throw the ball. If they cannot, they’ll have trouble keeping up with the Bengals’ offense. Baker Mayfield has not looked good and is dealing with a torn labrum and hairline fracture. The defensive front of Cincinnati is not going to let up after falling for the trap game against the Jets last week.

Joe: Bengals 34, Browns 30

The Bengals, coming off their loss to the Jets, will get back to their explosive ways against their division rivals. Baker Mayfield and the Browns will keep it close. Ja’Marr Chase will find the end zone twice.

Andersen: Bengals 31, Browns 23

The Bengals had a rough Sunday, losing to the Jets. But this past week was not great for the Browns, either. Odell Beckham Jr. was not traded, and now his tenure in Cleveland is likely done due to his father’s beratement of Baker Mayfield on Instagram. The Bengals are better and involved in far less drama. They should win.

New England Patriots vs. Carolina Panthers

Sam: Patriots 23, Panthers 16

Carolina is in a complete tailspin and will likely be without Sam Darnold (concussion) this week if he doesn’t clear protocol. Normally that would not be such a bad thing, but P.J. Walker doesn’t exactly instill much confidence. On the bright side, the Panthers have Christian McCaffery back at practice this week. Regardless of who is able to suit up or not, expect Bill Belichick to bring a defensive gameplan that has served them well this season. Overall, New England is playing much better football in recent weeks after thumping the Jets and beating the Chargers in Los Angeles.

Joe: Patriots 27, Panthers 24

The Patriots will get the road win. Stephon Gilmore will get his second interception in as many games, the first against his former team, but his current team will lose another close game.

Andersen: Patriots 31, Panthers 16

The Patriots will cruise to victory over the Panthers, who are likely without Sam Darnold and might not have Christian McCaffrey. New England has looked very solid as of late and is coming off a pair of commanding wins over the Jets and Chargers.

Denver Broncos vs. Dallas Cowboys

Sam: Cowboys 30, Broncos 20

The defense that defined Denver to begin the season is showing some cracks. They have only allowed 27 points in the last two games, but it was against the Washington Football Team with Taylor Heinicke and a depleted Browns offense. Prior to that, they had coughed up 84 points in their previous three contests. Dallas is not going to be messing around while looking for their seventh win. Against an inferior opponent, they’ll get it, while the Broncos tag on a garbage-time touchdown to make it look less embarrassing. 

Joe: Cowboys 31, Broncos 17

Dak Prescott should get the start after being held out last week. The Cowboys’ offense will put up another 30-point performance. For the Broncos, they will begin life without Von Miller in the middle of their defense.

Andersen: Cowboys 31, Broncos 17

The teardown continued for the Broncos this week as Von Miller saw himself traded to the Rams. On the other hand, the Cowboys are looking very strong after defeating the Vikings without Dak Prescott. Prescott’s return and an easier matchup against Minnesota give Dallas a big victory.

Minnesota Vikings vs. Baltimore Ravens

Sam: Ravens 28, Vikings 17

Baltimore is coming off their bye week after an absolute beatdown at the hands of the Bengals in Week 7. They’ll make the necessary adjustments with a defense that had been playing well in the few weeks prior. Minnesota does not have the defense to spy Lamar Jackson, and he’ll do it all in this game both running and passing. Dalvin Cook will get a lot of room to move for Minnesota, but Kirk Cousins is in for a bad day.

Joe: Ravens 31, Vikings 30

Lamar Jackson and the Ravens come off of their bye week and will be playing on fresh legs. The Vikings will go score-for-score for most of the game but fall short and suffer another tough loss.

Andersen: Ravens 27, Vikings 20

The Vikings looked woeful against the Dak Prescott-less Cowboys last week. They won’t be as miserable against Baltimore, but the Ravens still represent a very strong matchup, especially coming off their bye. Baltimore should win.

Houston Texans vs. Miami Dolphins

Sam: Texans 26, Dolphins 26

In a game that someone has to win, no one will. These are two of the worst teams in the league and will play to a tie through overtime. It’s hard to believe that Tyrod Taylor (assuming he plays) may look like the better quarterback in this one but it’s a real possibility as Tua Tagovailoa continues his growing pains. Both offenses find room to operate, but each will fail to capitalize on good opportunities. If Taylor remains out and Davis Mills starts under center for the Texans, I take it all back and it’s Miami in a landslide.

Joe: Texans 27, Dolphins 17

The Texans will get their second win of the season. The only question is if they stick with Davis Mills or choose Tyrod Taylor. Look for the Dolphins to lose their eighth straight game.

Andersen: Texans 17, Dolphins 16

Tyrod Taylor should be back for this game. He looked very good earlier in the season and should have no trouble picking up where he left off. On the other hand, the Dolphins have played pathetic football as of late. Assuming Taylor plays, Houston should have no trouble picking up its second win.

Los Angeles Chargers vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Sam: Chargers 34, Eagles 16

I’m not buying the Chargers only being two-point favorites in Philadelphia at all. They’ve had a rough couple of weeks in losses to Baltimore and New England, but this team is far better than that on paper. Meanwhile, the “Iggles” were able to take apart Detroit on Halloween, but that’s sort of a Lions thing. Jalen Hurts has shown flashes but is not where he needs to be. Otherwise, there would have been no Russell Wilson-to-the-Eagles talk before the deadline. Miles Sanders is on injured reserve, so they’ll likely be relying on Boston Scott. L.A. is going to be relentless on both offense and defense in the City of Brotherly Love.

Joe: Chargers 34, Eagles 30

Justin Herbert and the Chargers will get the win to keep pace with the Raiders in the AFC West. The Eagles, on the heels of their blowout win, will have a turnover in the waning moments. The loss will drop them further behind the Cowboys in the NFC East.

Andersen: Chargers 24, Eagles 20

The Chargers may be coming off a loss to the Patriots, but they’re still much better than the Eagles. Look for Austin Ekeler to run wild in this game, posting triple-digit scrimmage yards totals while finding the end zone twice. Jalen Hurts throws for two touchdowns but also gets picked off twice.

Green Bay Packers vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Sam: Chiefs 33, Packers 24

Everything about this game has shifted since Aaron Rodgers was declared out due to testing positive for COVID-19. As I said in last week’s picks, the Chiefs are not playing well but are a threat to turn the corner at any moment. That moment is this week, aided by a few Packers turnovers. Aaron Jones will have a day as Green Bay leans on him to carry the game, but at home, Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs will put their collective heads down and blast the Packers as they look to get back on track.

Joe: Chiefs 31, Packers 20

Andersen: Packers 27, Chiefs 24

Aaron Rodgers will miss this game due to COVID-19, and it’s possible that he is out for an extended period of time due to his blatant dishonesty and disobedience towards the NFL and its protocols. Still, Jordan Love has had plenty of time to learn under Rodgers and prepare for a game like this, and Green Bay will need him to give them steady football. He doesn’t need to light the world on fire. Rather, the Packers can win if he limits turnovers and gets aid from the running game and defense.

Arizona Cardinals vs. San Francisco 49ers

Sam: Cardinals 24, 49ers 23

This should be a dandy. Expect there to be plenty of big defensive stops that continually stall the momentum for either team in the first half. George Kittle has been expected to participate in practice this week for San Francisco, and he would be a huge boon to an offense in need of a playmaker. Arizona has no shortage of playmakers on their side, but in a divisional battle against the 49ers’ defense, all bets are off. In the end, quarterback Kyler Murray finds a way to move the Cardinals down the field in crunch time for a come-from-behind victory as the clock hits triple-zeros.

Joe: Cardinals 27, 49ers 20

Fresh off of their first loss of the season, the Cardinals will rebound against the 49ers. With the loss, the 49ers will drop to a tie for last place with the Seahawks.

Andersen: Cardinals 27, 49ers 17

The Cardinals are cruising and will have Kyler Murray this week, even if he isn’t 100 percent. Both of these teams are good, but Arizona finds itself in a whole different tier. They should topple San Francisco by two scores.

Tennessee Titans vs. Los Angeles Rams

Sam: Rams 33, Titans 17

Well, Derrick Henry has had foot surgery and that just about sinks Tennessee’s season. Say what you will about the rest of the offense’s capability, but the door is open for Indianapolis to creep back into AFC South contention with the Titans missing their All-Pro running back. Los Angeles is 7-1 and not letting their foot off the gas. With no Henry to worry about, they’ll have their way in the backfield against quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The Rams win a laugher and it’s back to the drawing board for Tennessee. 

Joe: Rams 31, Titans 27

Life without Derrick Henry, which the Titans hope is for the short term and not the whole season, begins. The Rams added another Pro Bowl player to their defense in Von Miller. Matthew Stafford and the offense will be too much for the Titans’ defense.

Andersen: Rams 35, Titans 20

Derrick Henry is done for the year. On the other hand, the Rams are only getting better after dealing for Von Miller. Tennessee’s run without Henry gets off to a painful start as they fall to Los Angeles by 15 points.

Chicago Bears vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Sam: Steelers 23, Bears 7

Pittsburgh comes in on the strength of three straight wins (two at home) and gets yet another home game against Chicago. The Steelers’ defense has been playing well, and Chicago’s is headed in the opposite direction. Justin Fields used his legs last week (103 yards rushing, one touchdown), but his passing has left much to be desired so far. On Monday Night Football, Keith Butler’s defensive unit in the Steel City stands to throw the kitchen sink at Fields and the entire Bears offense, while Najee Harris keeps the clock ticking in a low-scoring affair.

Joe: Steelers 24, Bears 17

Andersen: Steelers 23, Bears 17

Fields looked good last week on the ground, but the Steelers’ defense won’t give him the same opportunity to show off his mobility. Pittsburgh will force him to pass, knowing very well that he struggles when throwing the ball.

Point Totals

Sam: 146
Joe: 152
Andersen: 150

Records

Sam: 73-49
Joe: 76-46
Andersen: 75-47


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Sam Schneider on Twitter @BuyAndSellYou
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Andersen Pickard on Twitter @AndersenPickard

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Andersen is a teenage sportswriter and reporter whose articles have appeared across the Prime Time Sports Talk, Sports Illustrated Kids, FantasyPros, and SB Nation platforms. He has also received credit from RotoWorld, CBS Sports, ESPN, Bleacher Report, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, The Athletic, SB Nation, NBC Sports, NY Post, and dozens of other sports sites for his reporting work.

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