Week 9 of the NFL season kicked off with the Miami Dolphins winning a wild one over the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday Night Football. Now, we're back with the first half of the Sunday schedule. Sunday's schedule is fairly well balanced, with six games at 10 a.m., and then four games in the 1:05 and 1:25 p.m. slots. It is interesting to note that when the first 1:05 p.m. game wraps, that will be game No. 128. In a 256-game regular season, that means we will be exactly halfway through the NFL season.
The AM games features some rather interesting matchups. The most notable for our purposes is probably the Kansas City Chiefs visiting the Buffalo Bills. The Chiefs reached the eight-win mark last week (boosting the Alex Smith pick to a second rounder), which means Chefs Watch goes from rooting for Chiefs wins to potentially rooting for them to lose some games. Of course, at this point, the Chiefs are going to the playoffs, so the nature of the 49ers pick will probably be more dependent on how the Chiefs do in the playoffs. And while a collapse to 8-8 would provide a better pick, I am curious to see how far the Chiefs can take this streak, and this season. They travel to face an inconsistent but dangerous Buffalo team. I think this one will be a close one.
The San Diego Chargers travel east to face Washington in an inter-conference matchup that is pretty important for both teams. The Chargers are more or less resigned to playing for the wild card given the strong start of the Chiefs and Broncos. Every win is essential. Washington is scuffling along, but thanks to the horrible NFC East, they are right in the thick of the divisional race. If Washington can get things together, they could still make some noise.
The game I find most intriguing is Saints-Jets. New Orleans is back to their 2011 form, while the Jets are looking surprisingly solid. The Saints are running away with the NFC South, but they better not overlook the Jets. They could beat the Saints handily, but they could also slip up on the road. We'll see how they come out of this one.