Week Nine will mark the half way point for teams who have had their bye week. With that said, who is the favorite in each conference?
As of now the Houston Texans are the clear favorite in the AFC; in the NFC the Atlanta Falcons or the New York Giants head the list.
However I'm still bullish on my preseason picks of New England and Green Bay as both teams are starting to ignite.
Onward to Week Nine: Last Week: 11-3 Year: 79-39
TNF: Kansas City (1-6) at San Diego (3-4) - The Chiefs are not only the worst team in the league but in their current form - the worst organization in the league. The combination of Scott Pioli and Romeo Crennel has little or no chance at success.
It is time to blow it up from top to bottom. The Chargers will help expedite the dismantling as Phillip Rivers finally overcomes his recent struggles with a big performance. San Diego moves to .500. SD 31 KC 13
Baltimore (5-2) at Cleveland (2-6) - This was a tight contest in their earlier meeting with the Ravens narrowly escaping with the victory.
The result should be similar with Baltimore being well rested off their bye.
Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson will make plays but Flacco and Rice get the upper hand. BAL 27 CLE 23
Arizona(4-4) at Green Bay (5-3) - The Packers are finally back. Aaron Rodgers is playing at a very high level and the defense is starting to make plays.
Meanwhile, reality has set in for the floundering Cardinals who are on a four game losing streak. The Pack dominates from start to finish in Lambeau Field. GB 37 ARI 13
Buffalo (3-4) at Houston (6-1) - Two well rested teams will meet in Houston in a game that could have huge playoff implications.
Ryan Fitzpatrick will need a big day from his running backs if he has any chance of holding up against the fierce Texans' front line.
Mario Williams will be fired up and no doubt will make plays but Arian Foster will be too much for Buffalo's defense. The Texans continue to roll towards a top overall seed in the AFC. HOU 27 BUF 16
Miami (4-3) at Indianapolis (4-3) - A pivotal game between two surprising young squads who hope to garner a playoff spot.
The Dolphins could be without Ryan Tannehill but should be in good shape with veteran backup Matt Moore.
Indianapolis' defense has played well and should be able to hold Miami in check in what will be a tightly contested battle.
In the end, Andrew Luck makes just enough plays to eke out a Colts victory. IND 20 MIA 17
Chicago (6-1) at Tennessee (3-5) - It hasn't always been pretty but the Bears are finding ways to win. They are a well balanced team with a quarterback who can sling it as well as anyone.
They will face a solid Titans squad who will once again be without quarterback Jake Locker.
This will be another tight contest for Chicago who once again gains a close victory. CHI 24 TEN 20
Detroit (3-4) at Jacksonville (1-6) - The Lions have been a Jekyll and Hyde team this season but remain in the hunt for a wild card spot. They have the talent on both sides of the ball to make a run in the playoffs if they can put it all together.
Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson should have big days against a suspect Jaguar secondary.
For the Jags, Blaine Gabbert, despite a torn labrum in his non throwing shoulder, played very well against the Packers.
He appears to be a much better player with Jones-Drew injured.
Gabbert will play well enough to keep it close but in the end talent prevails. DET 34 JAX 24
Carolina (1-6) at Washington (3-5) - Few games between two teams under .500 will move the needle like Newton vs. RG3 will.
Newton has received a ton of criticism this year, mostly deserved, while RG3 has been the talk of the league.
For one week at least, Newton will put away his sulking and play well in this highly publicized matchup.
RG3 will make some highlight reel plays but Newton looks like his 2011 version as the Panthers get a much needed road victory. CAR 34 WASH 31
Denver (4-3) at Cincinnati (3-4) - Peyton Manning and the Broncos are starting to play at a very high level - the type of level that has fans dreaming of the Super Bowl.
Meanwhile in Cincinnati, the playoff dream is starting to fade. Andy Dalton has solid numbers but is turning the ball over far too much and has zero support from the running game.
This is a must win for the Bengals while the Broncos look to create space in the tight AFC West.
Dalton and crew will play better but they will not be able to keep up with Manning and Demaryius Thomas. DEN 34 CIN 27
Tampa Bay (3-4) at Oakland (3-4) - Both the Bucs and Raiders are still in playoff contentions despite rough starts to the 2012 season.
For Tampa, they can stop the run and quarterback Josh Freeman is playing much better.
For Oakland, Palmer and McFadden can be a difficult duo to stop. The key will come down to the Raiders' running game versus the Bucs' run defense.
Palmer will play well and most importantly McFadden has a very good game leading the Raiders to a victory in the Black Hole. OAK 23 TB 20
Minnesota (5-3) at Seattle (4-4) - Both the Seahawks and Vikings rely heavily on stout running games and defense.
This should be a very physical affair in a game which could impact wild card spots.
Russell Wilson should have a solid day while Marshawn Lynch will get plenty of work.
Seattle's defense will stack the box against Adrian Peterson and force Christian Ponder to beat them, he won't.
The shine is off the Ponder diamond as the Seahawks dominate in front of their home faithful. SEA 27 MIN 13
Pittsburgh (4-3) at New York Giants (6-2) - A matchup NFL fans have longed for will finally take place in Week Nine.
Although both teams have a blue collar reputation this game will come down to which quarterback makes the most plays.
Eli Manning (1st overall) and Ben Roethlisberger (11th overall) were both selected in the 2004 draft and both have two Super Bowl rings. They last met in 2008 where the Giants won 21-14 in a game dominated by the defenses.
In this go around, the opposite will be true as both offenses rule the day.
In the end, the Giants defense applies more pressure and Eli Manning is once again outstanding when it counts most. NYG 31 PIT 27
SNF: Dallas (3-4) at Atlanta (7-0) - This is exactly the kind of game the Cowboys win, heavy underdogs coming off another incredulous time management meltdown.
Dallas has the talent to compete against the undefeated Falcons but will need a turnover free game from Tony Romo and a good performance from their defense.
For the Falcons, they just need more of the same, solid defensive play and explosive offense. Dallas will keep it close but Matt Ryan and his dynamic receiving corps are too much in the dome. ATL 34 DAL 30
MNF: Philadelphia (3-4) at New Orleans (2-5) - A must win game between two teams who were thought to be Super Bowl contenders.
Michael Vick continues to struggle and at times it appears the impact of Andy Reid is diminishing quickly.
Philly has plenty of talent but far from a cohesive unit. New Orleans has struggled as well, understandably so with all of the bounty gate scandal.
No matter, both teams can position themselves back in the playoff race with a victory.
In front of a raucous Superdome crowd, the Saints get the victory as the defense harasses Vick throughout and Brees is superb once again. NO 37 PHI 27
Bye Week: New England, New York Jets, St. Louis, San Francisco