2022-11-01 · 6 min read · NFL/Football
Seattle Seahawks and Chicago Bears | Toronto Star

As we reach the midway point of the NFL season, only one team remains unbeaten, while every team has registered at least one victory in 2022.
Here is a breakdown of my Week 9 picks beginning with the Eagles looking to make franchise history on Thursday Night Football.
Philadelphia Eagles at Houston Texans
Fresh off a convincing 35-18 victory last Sunday against their Pennsylvania rivals, the Eagles can improve to 8-0 for the first time in their history when they battle the Houston Texans.
Jalen Hurts and AJ Brown were a force to be reckoned with in Week 8, as the Philly QB found him for three touchdowns, while CJ Gardner-Johnson had a sack and an interception as he is tied for the league lead with four picks.
Lovie Smith’s return to head coaching has been rough and although his Texans have lost three contests by a single score, Houston have struggled defensively, allowing an average of 5.6 yards on the ground.
Davis Mills and the offense have struggled all season, ranked 31st in the league, 28th in passing and rushing as Dameon Pierce is only averaging 4.1 yards per carry.
  • Prediction- Philadelphia Eagles 40-14 Houston Texans
Houston have faced many formidable opponents so far this year, but their dismal offensive unit could have a hard time against a team that leads the league in turnover differential (+14) not to mention the fact that Hurts and Brown are as deadly in the open field as anyone in the NFL.
Los Angeles Chargers at Atlanta Falcons
It has been an up and down season for the Chargers so far in 2022 and Brandon Staley’s team were handled by the Seahawks two weeks ago, losing 37-23.
LA are fourth in terms of passing, averaging 279.4 yards per game, with Justin Herbert third in the league for completions (203), while they have allowed an average of 5.7 yards per attempt on the ground.
In one of the bigger surprises of the season so far, Arthur Smith’s Falcons lead the NFC South with a record of 4-4, winning a thriller last weekend 37-34 in overtime versus the Carolina Panthers.
The Falcons running attack has been a key to their success moving the ball, averaging 158.1 yards on the ground per game in 2022, while they have forced 11 turnovers on the defensive side of the ball.
  • Prediction- Los Angeles Chargers 24-21 Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta have managed to hang around in games this season, but they are also the worst ranked defensive unit in the league and rely a little too heavily on the run game, ranked 29th in passing, while the Chargers passing attack should be able to shred their secondary this weekend.
Miami Dolphins at Chicago Bears
Things are looking up in Miami with the Dolphins improving to 5-3 on the season thanks largely to their offensive resurgence, currently ranked second in the NFL and first in passing.
Tyreek Hill and Jalen Waddle have made life much easier for Tua Tagovailoa as Hill leads the league with 961 yards receiving with Waddle in fourth at 727.
Chicago were dismantled last week by the Cowboys, losing 49-29, dropping down to 20th in the NFL in that department.
They are the top running attack in the NFL with Khalil Herbert averaging 6.2 yards a carry this season, while Justin Fields has struggled to find a reliable pass catcher as the Bears rank dead last in passing.
  • Prediction- Miami Dolphins 24-21 Chicago Bears
The field conditions in Chicago might favour a running team, however that Miami offense alone is reliable and as explosive as anyone in the league at the moment.
Carolina Panthers at Cincinnati Bengals
It was another heartbreaker for Baker Mayfield and the Panthers last weekend as they suffered a third loss this year by three points or fewer, dropping them into the NFC South basement with a record of 2-6.
Their 29th ranked offense has not been able to get going much this year with Mayfield completing just over 54% of his passes, while they have left their opponents in too many manageable second and third downs, allowing an average of 5.4 yards per play defensively.
Primetime on the road continues to hamper the Bengals who looked ordinary on Monday Night Football against the Browns without Ja’Marr Chase, putting up just 13 points in a 32-13 loss.
Joe Burrow was sacked five times in that contest, while they continue to struggle running the ball, ranked 30th in the NFL.
  • Prediction- Carolina Panthers 20-30 Cincinnati Bengals
Cincy are ranked fourth defensively, while Carolina do not have any reliable receivers who I believe will trouble an impressive secondary.
Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions
The Packers have already lost more games this season (five) than they did in their entire 2021 regular season as they find themselves in the unfamiliar position of chasing a team in the NFC North, their arch-rivals the Minnesota Vikings.
Aaron Rodgers is still trying to find a receiver with the game breaking capabilities of Davante Adams as they sit 17th in the passing game, while they are among the best defensive units in the red zone, allowing only 10 touchdowns to their opponents on 22 trips to that area of the field.
Jarod Goff has done well in the passing game for Detroit, completing nearly 64% of his throws, putting them 11th in the league.
Defensively though they have a lot of work to do as the Lions are 29th, allowing a league-high 32.1 points per game.
  • Prediction- Green Bay Packers 22-17 Detroit Lions
Detroit’s passing attack has kept them alive, however even though the Green Bay offense has not been nearly as potent in 2022, the Lions are still young defensively and learning.
Las Vegas Raiders at Jacksonville Jaguars
It took a 24-0 loss in the Big Easy for Josh McDaniels to issue an apology to fans, something that should have done a long time ago when you consider what was expected of this team in 2022, as they currently sit dead last in the AFC West with a 2-5 record.
Derek Carr has completed 62.9% of his passes this season, though Davante Adams was the forgotten man in New Orleans with just one catch for three yards as Las Vegas ranks 28th offensively and 22nd in rushing.
Critical errors at the most inopportune moments by Trevor Lawrence have prevented the Jaguars from winning a number of games this season, as the Jags have turned the ball over 12 times this year, many in scoring territory.
The running ability of Travis Etienne has taken some pressure off Lawrence as his Clemson teammate has 571 yards on the ground this year as the Jags are sixth in team rushing, while defensively they’ve allowed 6.7 yards per attempt to opposing passing attacks.
  • Prediction- Las Vegas Raiders 20-17 Jacksonville Jaguars
As much as Jacksonville have improved Lawrence needs to be smarter and more efficient in the red zone, and their lack of production in that area of the field has me leaning towards a Raiders victory on Sunday.
Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots
It was close but no cigar for the Colts last weekend, as they allowed 279 yards through the air, while Sam Ehlinger threw for 201 yards in a one-point loss to the Commanders.
The biggest disappointment so far this year, besides the dismal play of Matt Ryan has been the struggles on Jonathan Taylor and the ground, game, with the Colts ranked 27th in the league when it comes to rushing.
How the mighty have fallen, Bill Belichick’s Pats are dead last in the AFC East despite beating the New York Jets 22-17 last Sunday.
His defensive unit has allowed 5.5 yards per play this season, and 6.6 yards per passing attempt, while they are 20th in the passing game offensively, but have gotten their share of pressure on opposing QBs, sitting fifth in the league with 23 sacks.
  • Prediction- Indianapolis Colts 13-17 New England Patriots
Give the Pats the edge because of their home field, while they have run the ball efficiently all year, currently 11th in the NFL.
Buffalo Bills at New York Jets
So far in 2022 the Bills have not disappointed as they lead the AFC East at 6-1, and are the top defensive unit in the league, while also fourth offensively.
Josh Allen and the offense lead the NFL in passing, averaging 307.7 yards per game this season, leading the league also in total yards per game (430.6), while Stefon Diggs has 764 yards receiving and Jordan Poyer is tied for the most interceptions this year with four.
The Jets have already exceeded their win total from a year ago as Robert Saleh’s defense is ranked seventh in the NFL.
All of this despite a difficult sophomore campaign for Zach Wilson who threw three picks last weekend in a 22-17 loss to the Patriots.
  • Prediction- Buffalo Bills 26-13 New York Jets
Consistency favours the Bills and while I expect the Jets defense to contain the Bills offense to a point, it seems like too much to ask of this young team to shut down the Super Bowl favourites for 60 minutes.
Minnesota Vikings at Washington Commanders
Kevin O’Connell returns to Washington as the rookie head coach is off to an excellent start to the season, with his Vikings leading the NFC North at 6-1.
What may be the biggest surprise about them this year is the fact that they have been successful despite being just ok offensively with Minnesota ranked 26th among NFL offenses, though Dalvin Cook had a breakout game against the Cardinals last week, rushing for 111 yards and a touchdown in a 34-26 triumph.
The Commanders pulled out another squeaker on Sunday, edging the Colts 17-16 for its third straight victory, but they remain bottom of the NFC East at 4-4.
Washington ranks 12th in passing, with Taylor Heinicke throwing for 279 yards against Indy, though Ron Rivera’s unit are 21st when it comes to rushing.
  • Prediction- Minnesota Vikings 19-21 Washington Commanders
Neither of these teams make a lot of mistakes, however Rivera has been in these close games before and the Commanders momentum and efficient passing game I believe will give them the edge in this one.
Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals
I don’t think anyone, myself included, would have predicted the Seahawks would be leading their division at the midway point of the season with a 5-3 record.
Geno Smith has made intelligent decisions all season long, throwing only three picks, while they have the 10th best rushing attack in the NFL.
Kyler Murray is a joy to watch as a fan, but as a coach Kliff Kingsbury must be having nightmares about what he has to do to get him to be smarter with the ball as his quarterback tossed two picks but threw for 326 yards and three scored in a 34-26 loss to Minnesota.
Arizona is the 11th best offensive unit in the NFL, and despite the errors made by Murray they are ranked fifth in turnover differential, currently at +3.
  • Prediction- Seattle Seahawks 24-20 Arizona Cardinals
I expect the veteran Smith to find a way to get it done once again, while Murray still forces the ball too much for my liking.
Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
A year on from their Super Bowl triumph Sean McVay’s team are in desperate need of a spark from somewhere as they were beaten handily by the 49ers on Sunday 31-14.
The O-line did a better job at protecting Matthew Stafford, allowing just two sacks last weekend, but as good as their defense is (third in the NFL) they have not gotten it going offensively all season, with the worst rushing attack in the league and the passing attack relying heavily on Cooper Kupp.
Like Tom Brady’s marriage, the Bucs have fallen apart in recent weeks, dropping three straight games.
The good news for Todd Bowles is that they only trail the Falcons by one game in the division, as they rank second in the league for passing, but are second last in rushing.
  • Prediction- Los Angeles Rams 19-22 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Brady and Mike Evans will find a way to get it done I believe this weekend and avenge their narrow defeat in the Divisional Round last season.
Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs
Without Ryan Tannehill, the Titans have managed to ride their dependable back to the top of their division as Derrick Henry ran for 219 yards against the Texans.
That along with a solid defensive unit and a weak division has this team at 5-2 with the Titans ranked 6th defensively, but dead last on offense.
The Chiefs have an identical 5-2 record, as Patrick Mahomes and his offense are averaging 296 yards through the air per game, good for second in the NFL, while also second to Buffalo in total yards (403.3).
Andy Reid’s defense has been stingy against the run this year, but they have not been great running the ball, as they rank 25th in that department.
  • Prediction Tennessee Titans 24-34 Kansas City Chiefs
Expect Henry to get plenty of touches, but as much as Mike Vrabel will probably want to grind it out with 10-12 play drives, the KC offense only needs a play or two to answer back.
Baltimore Ravens at New Orleans Saints
Baltimore’s 28th ranked defense should get a shot in the arm on Monday with the addition of Roquan Smith, who leads the league in tackles with 83.
Lamar Jackson is having another exceptional season, tossing 15 touchdown passes as his team are sixth offensively in 2022, while he and Kenyan Drake have given them plenty of production on the ground as Baltimore are second in the NFL in rushing.
The Saints put together their most complete performance of the season last weekend, shutting out the Raiders 24-0, allowing just 145 through the air and 38 on the ground.
Andy Dalton and New Orleans are the top ranked offensive unit in the league averaging 394.4 yards a game, while Alvin Kamara has 413 rushing yards.
  • Prediction- Baltimore Ravens 27-17 New Orleans Saints
Look for the Ravens to be better against the run, while Lamar Jackson and company should be able to move the ball effectively against a defense who are near the middle of the pack.
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By: Joel Lefevre


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