Bears (4-3) at Bills (2-6): 1 p.m. ET, Fox
Point spread: CHI -10 | Matchup quality: 19.0 (of 100)
Jeff Dickerson’s pick: The Bears enter Week 9 tied for first in the NFL with 11 interceptions. Chicago is also the only team in the league to not allow a rushing touchdown this season. And the Bills will start Nathan Peterman at quarterback Sunday. What else needs to be said? Bears 27, Bills 6
Mike Rodak’s pick: The Bills lead the NFL in throwing interceptions on 5.4 percent of pass attempts, which would be the fourth-highest rate by any team in an entire season since 2001. The Bears lead the NFL in intercepting opposing quarterbacks on 4.5 percent of pass attempts. Peterman’s 11.1 percent interception rate is the highest among any active quarterbacks. Bears 21, Bills 9
FPI win projection: CHI, 79.6 percent. Peterman has a 9.2 Total QBR in his career, the second lowest of any QB to throw at least 75 passes in the QBR era (since the start of the 2006 season).
Want to take the Bills in a home upset. The issue here is that, unlike the Titans team Buffalo bested a few weeks ago, Chicago does have at least a morsel of a passing game. Another thing weighing on your gallant prognosticator? Something known as the Nate Peterman Complex. A rather new phenomenon, which requires forsaking your sensical approach to picking games because you want a much-maligned player to do well, and you happen to love the Buffalo Bills, or something like that. I love Joe Cribbs, Don Beebe and Aaron Schobel as much as the next guy — heck, more than the next guy — but … Bears win. That defense will be too much for Buffalo. Anticipating a knuckleball of a contest, with less-than-stellar quarterback play.
Jets (3-5) at Dolphins (4-4): 1 p.m. ET, CBS
Point spread: MIA -3 | Matchup quality: 17.1 (of 100)
Rich Cimini’s pick: Coach Todd Bowles said this will be “an AFC East bloodbath.” He’s right. It won’t be pretty. Both teams are struggling, but the Jets have a rookie quarterback (Sam Darnold) on the road. They’re not a good road team, having dropped 10 of their past 12. In fact, they haven’t won in Miami since 2014. Dolphins 19, Jets 17
Cameron Wolfe’s pick: Miami can secure the second series sweep of its northern rival this decade in what appears to be a fairly even battle between middling AFC East teams. In the 20-12 September victory at New York, the Dolphins’ defense was the difference as it notched three turnovers and three sacks. Miami has struggled to stop the run recently, but it spent 10 days working on adjustments to fix things. Expect a close, back-and-forth matchup, but the Dolphins’ opportunistic defense and use of Kenyan Drake as a receiver on offense should lead them to a much-needed win. Dolphins 23, Jets 20
FPI win projection: MIA, 61.1 percent. The Dolphins are only team currently ranked in the bottom 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency this season, according to FPI. The Jets rank sixth in defensive efficiency overall, but just 18th on the road, so the Dolphins are favored at home.
What to watch for in fantasy: The Jets have the fifth-highest blitz rate in the league, sending added pressure on 31.6 percent of opposing dropbacks. Brock Osweiler has the eighth-highest interception rate per attempt when blitzed and the fourth-fewest yards per attempt (6.19) under such duress. Read more.
While I think the Jets are close to becoming a playoff-caliber group — and certainly equal to the Dolphinsat this point — picking the home team to win this week. New York’s troubles against the run are inexplicable, given the players this team has up front (as well as a safety like Jamal Adams in run support). Miami should work Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore in this contest, similar to what the Fins did in their Week 2 meeting with the Jets — but with more volume. Give those guys 30 carries instead of 20; don’t make Brock Osweiler feel the need to force throws. Drake is averaging 4.9 yards per carry, Gore 4.6. Ride ’em.
Packers (3-3-1) at Patriots (6-2): 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC
Point spread: NE -6 | Matchup quality: 70.9 (of 100)
Rob Demovsky’s pick: The Packers nearly upset the Rams in Week 8, but do they have anything left mentally? Could their best performance be a galvanizing moment that turns their season around? Aaron Rodgers won the only previous meeting in 2014 at Lambeau Field, but Tom Brady gets the nod this time in what could be their final head-to-head showdown. Patriots 27, Packers 24
Mike Reiss’ pick: Anyone up for another overtime game? All week, Patriots players have said this will be a 60-minute game likely to come down to the wire. That would be fitting in a matchup pitting Brady vs. Rodgers, and with the Packers 0-3 on the road, the edge goes to the home team. Patriots 33, Packers 30 (OT)
FPI win projection: NE, 68.2 percent. The Patriots rank in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency, according to FPI, but actually rank higher in defensive (fourth) than offensive (eighth). In our data set (since the start of 2008 season), the Patriots have never finished a season ranked higher in defensive efficiency than offensive efficiency.
What to watch for in fantasy: New England has allowed the seventh-most fantasy points in the slot, so Randall Cobb is a potential upgrade, though he’ll need to run more than the 16 routes he was limited to in Week 8. Read more.
The stellar group of researchers at the NFL West offices — Jack Andrade, Bill Smith, Eric Lemus and the gang — put together a book of knowledge on the Aaron Rodgers-Tom Brady faceoff that rivals the booklet that used to be offered on late-night TV by the guy in the Riddler suit promising that the government could bankroll your life. Well, this Packers-Patriots game is so money, it knows it’s money — NBC will hype it up to Madden-Favreian proportions. And the truth is, this matchup is special. Green Bay came a deeper kickoff away from potentially knocking off the undefeated McVays last week. And when the Pack and Pats last faced off, Green Bay pulled out one of the top games of 2014, with a 26-21 win at Lambeau. Both Rodgers and Brady posted passer ratings north of 100 in that contest. Because these two reside in separate conferences, as well as Rodgers’ injury history, the future first-ballot Hall of Famers have only played against each another as starters that one time. This is Meeting 2.0 — similar to Joe Montana and Dan Marino, who only duked it out twice. Ditto Brett Favre and Peyton Manning. Hopefully this Rodgers-Brady bout replicates the Packers-Colts classic from 2004. Since 2014, Brady paces the NFL in touchdown passes; Rodgers is second on that list. More relevant is that Brady is 9-2 during that span at home in prime time, while Rodgers is 3-6 on the road.
Non-QB intrigue: How does Green Bay handle James White? If the Packers play in dime coverage, White won’t necessarily have the advantage of beating linebackers to the spot Brady is throwing to. White might be the key figure in this game, especially if Sony Michel can’t go.
Today’s key word: SUCK
Last week 2-0, Season total 16-9
Bears @ Bills: 24-10
Bills D is not as bad as stats show, however, that O SUCKS! Hence the D has to play way more than it needs to!!
Bills right now are contending with Raiders/Cards/Giants as who sucks the most! The Bears are a well put together team, with a way better HC than a year ago. I do think that the Bills D will frustrate the Bears Polish version of Josh Allen. I mean would you rather have Polish kielbasa or a cheap American version?
In the end, the Bears will win easily, but as I predict weekly, Bills D will keep them in the game for maybe a half, let’s say a quarter.
Up next? Bradford in Bills uniform.
Jets @ Dolphins: 24-16
I had the Fins here, because Jets are an injured mess on both sides of the ball, but then I started to think………
The Jets D is better than the Dolphins D, even with most DBs out. Dolphins D played well for 3 games, has sucked since! Dolphins O is as bad as if the great 7 year rookie was under center (He may have bought another year in this rookie status). Brock is bad, but I’m sure he is now God, Down/Under! Jets O is better than Dolphins O, even with no real NFL WR on the roster. In the end, the Jets DL will frustrate pathetic Dolphins OL and Brock becomes the man the Texans gave away plus a draft pick, just to get him out of town!
My pick totally contradicts “experts” above……..Raat ammo???….or not
Packers @ Patriots: 33-39
This is being labeled Tom vs. Aaron, and it will be! Both Ds SUCK!!!
The Pats however are the better team on O, Aaron is a great QB, but one that has never played to a system. Rodgers tends to do Rodgers things and extend games, even if the play calling gets Allen the credit. In GB the name of the game is simple: Let Aaron decide and HC looks good. He is in a bad system headed by one of NFL worst HCs.
Packers will score a lot, but Pats will score more!