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[Preview] Week 9: Cowboys to send a message

After this success for the Steelers at home against the Titans, it’s now time for the rest of the NFL. This weekend, the choice of match of the week is vast. Two or three meetings could have deserved this title, but the divisional duel in the NFC East still has a special flavor. The Eagles host Dallas on Sunday evening in an opposition that already smells of the playoffs. This is THE match not to be missed this week.

We will also talk about the match in Frankfurt, Frank Reich, the challenge for Justin Herbert, Bryce Young and the other rookie quarterbacks. Here is the program for week 9.

The match: NFC West duel

Kick-off Sunday at 10:25 p.m.
Philadelphia Eagles (7-1) – Dallas Cowboys (5-2)

We will have to wait until the second part of the evening to see what will perhaps be the biggest meeting of the day. After a superb warm-up between the Chiefs and the Dolphins (see below) and a main course between the Bengals and the Bills (see below), the two behemoths of the NFC East offer us an incredible dessert. In this match, Philadelphia can ensure its superiority, but it is especially the Cowboys who have the pressure. Firstly because they are already two games behind their opponents. Then, because they have to prove that they are made for this kind of game.

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In Pennsylvania, they have to prove they can beat a direct competitor. For this, they will be able to rely on a Dak Prescott-CeeDee Lamb duo in great form at the moment. But their main mission will be to stop the Eagles’ aerial attack. Their number 1 enemy is called AJ Brown. The receiver is, along with Tyreek Hill, the best ball catcher in the league. He seems unstoppable and the Cowboys will have a tough task ahead of them.

The duel: the Jets defense vs. Chargers offense

Kick-off on the night of Monday to Tuesday at 2:15 a.m.
New York Jets (4-3) – Los Angeles Chargers (3-4)

Last week, the Chargers reached the milestone 30 points scored for the first time since week 1. A good sign for a team that is still finding itself offensively. The squad orchestrated by Kellen Moore was supposed to be the engine of the franchise this season, but cannot really get the machine going. Now, after this great victory against the Bears last Sunday, Los Angeles must confirm. Consistency is now the key for Justin Herbert’s partners. Problem is, this weekend they face an opponent who is more defensively equipped than Chicago: New York.

The Jets remain on 3 consecutive victories. A series which is largely (not to say only) due to their defensive performance. Robert Saleh has one of the best pass defenses in the league with only 184.4 yards allowed per match (5th in NFL). In total, New York only takes 18.4 points per meeting (8th). You will therefore have to be very strong to maneuver this defensive squad. For Los Angeles, this trip to MetLife is a good test to know what they can hope for (or not) the Chargers for the future.

The statistic: 17-1

Kick-off Sunday at 7:00 p.m.
Baltimore Ravens (6-2) – Seattle Seahawks (5-2)

Here is Lamar Jackson’s record against NFC teams. At a press conference, the quarterback did not wish to answer a question concerning this record before facing the Seahawks. Certainly so as not to think about it and pollute your mind. But the statistic still remains notable. Only one team from the other conference managed to bring down the 2019 MVP. This Sunday, he will have the opportunity to bring this record to 18-1 against an in-form Seahawks team.

Lamar Jackson

Photo: Tiffany Amisse for DNA of Sports in London

Seattle regained the lead in the NFC West from the 49ers last week. With San Francisco at rest, Pete Carroll’s men have the opportunity to further establish their place at the top. For this, they will be able to benefit from the presence of Leonard Williams, recovered via a trade a few days ago. The former Giant brings his athletic qualities to the middle of this defensive line. Which won’t be any refusal to face Lamar Jackson. The Ravens saw the Steelers’ victory this Thursday and know that they cannot afford to slow down. They currently have one of the best teams in the AFC, but in the NFL you have to prove it every week.

The player: Joe Burrow

Kick-off during the night from Sunday to Monday 2:20 a.m.
Cincinnati Bengals (4-3) – Buffalo Bills (5-3)

Have we found the real Joe Burrow? This is the question that everyone is asking on the Cincinnati side. In difficulty at the start of the year, the quarterback found some momentum last week. A great performance against the 49ers which reassured. The pitcher finished with the highest completion percentage of his career (87%). Above all, the visual impression given reminds us of its last two seasons. Explosive and athletic, he also knew how to be calm and diligent in the pocket. With him, the Bengals have a second big match. A meeting which will be a revenge of last year’s playoff match, won by Zac Taylor’s men.

For the Bills, the schedule becomes very difficult starting this week. This match is not a “must-win”, but not far. Josh Allen seems to be injured in the shoulder and the defense will have a lot of work to do. The squad will have to contain the Cincinnati attack and will have to control Joe Burrow.

Coach: Frank Reich

Kick-off Sunday at 10:05 p.m.
Carolina Panthers (1-6) – Indianapolis Colts (3-5)

This reception from the Colts will necessarily have a special flavor for Frank Reich on Sunday. The Panthers coach faces the franchise he coached for four and a half seasons before being fired. If he has already explained at a press conference that he has no animosity towards Indianapolis, it should still be in the back of his mind. Especially since his team, Carolina, is coming off its first victory this season. It would therefore be the perfect match to continue a positive series.

To do this, we will have to deal with the offensive strength of Shane Steichen’s team. The Colts have the 6th offense in the league (25.6 points/game). Above all, Indianapolis is the only team to have exceeded the 20 points during his 8 matches this season. The Panthers will therefore have to be wary of Gardner Minshew’s gang and try to hit where it hurts: ball losses. The quarterback and his offense have already lost 13 balloons this season (6 interceptions and 7 fumbles). Frank Reich must therefore find the solution to take advantage of the weaknesses of his former team. He who leads a team which has only provoked 6 turnovers (32nd in the league) since the start of the season (1 fumble and 5 interceptions).

Frankfurt

Kick-off Sunday at 3:30 p.m. in Frankfurt
Kansas City Chiefs (6-2) – Miami Dolphins (6-2)

Rarely has a European match had so much at stake. This Sunday, the Germans (and all of Europe) will have the opportunity to see two of the best teams in the league face to face. Above all, this meeting could have direct implications for the playoffs. At a minimum, it will serve as a barometer for two teams who need to gauge each other. On the one hand, the Chiefs are not particularly reassuring offensively, sick last week, not up to their usual standards. And even if the defense performs quite well, Kansas City needs its offensive squad to hope to defend its title.

On the other hand, everything seems to be going well in Florida. The Dolphins explode offensively and manage to be solid defensively. Everything could have been perfect if it hadn’t been for these two defeats which raise questions. Miami has only lost twice this season, but both times were against big NFL teams. Mike McDaniel’s men have yet to prove their ability to beat a juggernaut this season. To clearly establish themselves as one of the main favorites in the league, the Floridians must strike a big blow. This match in Frankfurt is the perfect opportunity.

Rookie quarterbacks

Kick-off Sunday at 7:00 p.m.
Atlanta Falcons (4-4) – Minnesota Vikings (4-4)

Kick-off Sunday at 7:00 p.m.
Cleveland Browns (4-3) – Arizona Cardinals (1-7)

Kick-off Sunday at 7:00 p.m.
New Orleans Saints (4-4) – Chicago Bears (2-6)

Kick-off Sunday at 10:25 p.m.
Las Vegas Raiders (3-5) – New York Giants (2-6)

Beyond Bryce Young and CJ Stroud, already established on their respective teams, there are quite a few new pitchers trying to find a place in this league. If we saw the return to earth of Will Levis on Thursday, others will be on deck on Sunday, even if they are all in different situations. The first three, for example, have more interim roles for the moment. In Minnesota, Jaren Hall will play during the trip to Atlanta, between two teams who want to go positive. The Vikings should, however, field Joshua Dobbs, recovered via a trade this week, for the rest of the season in the absence of Kirk Cousins.

On the Cardinals and Bears side, same pattern. Clayton Tune and Tyson Bagent are awaiting the returns of Kyler Murray and Justin Fields. The first travels to Cleveland and will play against a solid defense. The second has a match in New Orleans ahead of him. Finally, for the Raiders, the situation is different with a new regime in place that wants to see what Aidan O’Connell gives. The young pitcher will therefore have the opportunity to show himself with the Giants reception, which is not necessarily a gift.

The rest

Kick-off Sunday at 7:00 p.m.
Green Bay Packers (2-5) – Los Angeles Rams (3-5)

Kick-off Sunday at 7:00 p.m.
Houston Texans (3-4) – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4)

Kick-off Sunday at 7:00 p.m.
New England Patriots (2-6) – Washington Commanders (3-5)

In the rest of the week’s matches, only teams with a negative record face each other. In the NFC, Green Bay hosts the Rams. Two teams in decline who hope to restore momentum to their season. The most interesting opposition is perhaps the one being played out on the Houston side between the Texans and the Buccaneers. The winner will find a balanced balance sheet.

Very smart is the one who knows who will win between two teams who are currently performing well in defense, but who are struggling in attack. Finally, New England welcomes Commanders who cleaned up at the end of the trade period. The Patriots currently have the worst record in the AFC and continue to rack up injuries. Another defeat at home would really hurt Bill Belichick and his men.

All posters

Kick-off Sunday at 3:30 p.m. in Frankfurt
Kansas City Chiefs (6-2) – Miami Dolphins (6-2)

Kick-off Sunday at 7:00 p.m.
Atlanta Falcons (4-4) – Minnesota Vikings (4-4)
Baltimore Ravens (6-2) – Seattle Seahawks (5-2)
Cleveland Browns (4-3) – Arizona Cardinals (1-7)
Green Bay Packers (2-5) – Los Angeles Rams (3-5)
Houston Texans (3-4) – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4)
New England Patriots (2-6) – Washington Commanders (3-5)
New Orleans Saints (4-4) – Chicago Bears (2-6)

Kick-off Sunday at 10:05 p.m.
Carolina Panthers (1-6) – Indianapolis Colts (3-5)

Kick-off Sunday at 10:25 p.m.
Las Vegas Raiders (3-5) – New York Giants (2-6)
Philadelphia Eagles (7-1) – Dallas Cowboys (5-2)

Kick-off during the night from Sunday to Monday 2:20 a.m.
Cincinnati Bengals (4-3) – Buffalo Bills (5-3)

Kick-off on the night of Monday to Tuesday at 2:15 a.m.
New York Jets (4-3) – Los Angeles Chargers (3-4)

At rest :
Jacksonville Jaguars (6-2), San Francisco 49ers (5-3), Detroit Lions (6-2) and Denver Broncos (3-5)

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