As we enter Week 9 of the NFL season, teams are still jockeying for position within their divisions, as some are at the make-or-break point where they are going to need to either make a push or accept a season without the playoffs.
With that in mind, there are a few interesting matchups this week. Let’s take a look at some of those matchups and other news from around the league:
New England Patriots (8-0) at Baltimore Ravens (5-2)
In probably the most intriguing matchup of the week, the undefeated Patriots travel to Baltimore to take on the Ravens. The Patriots’ Tom Brady comes into this one having thrown for 2,251 yards, 13 touchdowns and four interceptions. His leading receiver is Julian Edelman (53 catches for 574 yards and four touchdowns), but he will also have rookie K’Neal Harry and Mohamed Sanu at his disposal.
The Ravens are looking to defeat the unbeaten Patriots, most likely utilizing a rushing attack driven by running back Mark Ingram (99 rushes for 470 yards and seven touchdowns) and quarterback Lamar Jackson (83 rushes for 576 yards and three touchdowns). Jackson has also thrown for 1,650 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions.
Chicago Bears (3-4) at Philadelphia Eagles (4-4)
These two teams have gotten off to slow starts after having made the postseason last year. Truly, this is a make-or-break week for both teams this late in the season. For the Bears, Mitch Trubisky has to get it figured out for his team to have a chance. This season he has thrown for just 1,092 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions. Allen Robinson has been the most productive wide receiver for Chicago, going for 46 receptions, 526 yards and three touchdowns, while David Montgomery has led the rushing attack with 98 rushes for 366 yards and three touchdowns.
Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz has thrown for 1,821 yards, 14 touchdowns and four interceptions. Tight end Zach Ertz has led the way with 37 receptions for 424 yards and a touchdown, while former Bear Jordan Howard has led the rushing attack with 100 rushes for 443 yards and five touchdowns.
Minnesota Vikings (6-2) at Kansas City Chiefs (5-3)
This matchup loses some of its luster as it is likely that Patrick Mahomes will be out another week (especially after the Chiefs activated Chad Henne to presumably back up Matt Moore). Still, the Chiefs will look to pick up the win against a tough Vikings team. Moore has thrown for 384 yards and three touchdowns since taking over for Mahomes. On the ground, the Chiefs have been led by LeSean McCoy, who has 69 carries for 362 yards and two touchdowns.
Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins has started to play a bit better since a rough start to the season. Thus far, he has thrown for 1,997 yards, 13 touchdowns and three interceptions. The most impressive player on the Vikings offense, though, has been Dalvin Cook. The running back has 156 rushes for a league-best 823 yards and nine touchdowns. He also has 29 catches for an additional 293 yards.
Gordon Released, Picked Up
It has been quite a couple of weeks for Josh Gordon. After suffering an injury, getting placed on injured reserve, feeling he was ready to come back, and getting cut by the Patriots, he has now found himself on a new team.
The Seattle Seahawks claimed the wide receiver off of waivers from the Patriots. Pete Carroll, Russell Wilson and the rest of the Seahawks are likely shocked that they got him given they had the 28th position on the waiver-wire list. Still, Carroll will have another playmaker to add to his offense.
This season, Gordon has 20 catches for 287 yards and a touchdown. If he can stay healthy and out of trouble, it could be a huge boost to the Seahawks’ wide receiver corps.
Broncos Put Flacco On IR
To say that it has been a bit of a tumultuous start to Joe Flacco‘s tenure with the Denver Broncos might be an understatement. After steering the Broncos to a 2-6 start in his first year in Denver, Flacco has been placed on injured reserve with a neck injury. This may also be the end to Flacco’s time with Denver, as he is owed $20.5 million in 2020, but the Broncos can save about half of that if they cut him loose beforehand.
Given his performance prior to the injury, that might be the best route at this point. This season, Flacco had a .653 completion percentage for 1,822 yards, six touchdowns and five interceptions.
Harry Activated By Patriots
The New England Patriots will finally be utilizing their first-round pick from this year’s draft. N’Keal Harry, the standout wide receiver from Arizona State, had been on the injured reserve with an ankle injury since before the regular season. However, Harry started practicing in October and has now been activated to the main roster.
Harry will give Tom Brady an interesting weapon to pair alongside players like Julian Edelman and Mohamed Sanu. While he likely won’t turn into an elite receiver this season, he will help to solidify a wide-receiving corps that has been consistently in flux with players like Antonio Brown and Josh Gordon being added and then subsequently subtracted from the team.
Haskins To Get First Start
At 1-7 on the season, the Washington Redskins don’t exactly have a whole lot to lose at this point. As a result, they have decided to turn their quarterback reins over to first-round pick Dwayne Haskins for Week 9.
Haskins has only played in parts of two games thus far and hasn’t exactly inspired with his play. He has gone 12 for 22 with no touchdowns and four interceptions.
Picked 15th overall in the 2019 draft, Haskins is now going to try to grab his opportunity firmly but will be doing so against one of the tougher defenses in the league in the Buffalo Bills. For Redskins fans, there has been quite a bit of frustration this season, but at least they get to see what they have in their first-round pick.