Posted: Thursday November 1, 2012 12:11PM ; Updated: Thursday November 1, 2012 12:45PM
Peter King
Peter King>WEEKEND PICKOFF

NFL Week 9
 
Last Week: 10-4 (.714); This Season: 70-48 (.593)
 
Thursday, Nov. 1
 
8:20 p.m. ET (NFLN) Kansas City Chiefs (1-6) at San Diego Chargers (3-4)
The Chargers have scored zero touchdowns in the last six quarters, so where will this offensive explosion come from? From playing the Chiefs, of course. Kansas City's equally generous against the run (allowing 4.6 yards per rush) and against the pass (a 103.2 opponents' passer rating).
 
Sunday, Nov. 4
 
1 p.m. ET (CBS) Denver Broncos (4-3) at Cincinnati Bengals (3-4)
See where Marvin Lewis wants Andy Dalton and Rey Maualuga to be better leaders. Well, OK. That's not going to help against 343 yards and three more touchdowns from Peyton Manning.
 
1 p.m. ET (CBS) Baltimore Ravens (5-2) at Cleveland Browns (2-6)
Why is this closer than you think? Because I don't know which Joe Flacco is going to show up. And because of Brandon Weeden and Josh Gordon ... and the Baltimore secondary. The rookie Gordon's average catch is impressive -- 22.3 yards.
 
1 p.m. ET (FOX) Arizona Cardinals (4-4) at Green Bay Packers (5-3)
The schedule gods are very, very nice to the beat-up Packers, giving them a Rams-Jags-Cards-bye stretch before coming back to the rigors of at Lions, at Giants, Vikes, Lions, at Bears. Cards opened 4-0, averaging 23 points a game. They're 0-4 since, averaging nine.
 
1 p.m. ET (CBS) Buffalo Bills (3-4) at Houston Texans (6-1)
Mario Williams returns to Houston. He'll get a close-up view of the man whose impact he was expected to have but rarely did in his six Texans seasons: J.J. Watt.
 
1 p.m. ET (FOX) Detroit Lions (3-4) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6)
The Lions get to .500, but can they stay there, or better? Next five: At Vikes, Pack, Texans, Colts, at Pack.
 
1 p.m. ET (FOX) Chicago Bears (6-1) at Tennessee Titans (3-5)
When Brandon Marshall was acquired, Bears fans hoped he'd have an impact like Calvin Johnson, or at least, approaching that of Calvin Johnson. You make the call. Catches: Marshall 50, Johnson 41. Yards per catch: Johnson 15.6, Marshall 13.5. Touchdowns: Marshall 4, Johnson 1. Drops (per ProFootballFocus.com): Johnson 7, Marshall 5. Folks, we've got ourselves a legit competition.
 
1 p.m. ET (CBS) Miami Dolphins (4-3) at Indianapolis Colts (4-3)
I'm starting to be bullish on the Dolphins, who last week, playing with a stale backup quarterback (Matt Moore), routed the Jets, relying on defense and special teams. The Dolphins became the first team in two decades to block a punt, block a field goal and recover an onside kick in the same game. Regardless whether Ryan Tannehill (knee and quad contusions) plays, Miami's most significant player in this game is probably ace pass-rushing defensive end Cameron Wake, because Andrew Luck is going to make his share of plays. A Miami win makes them 5-3 with five of eight remaining games against teams .500 or below. Miami, playing in January. Wow.
 
1 p.m. ET (FOX) Carolina Panthers (1-6) at Washington Redskins (3-5)
Thought this game would be more than a matchup of fun, young quarterbacks with massive expectations. But Washington and Carolina are a combined 4-11, and the most-watched Panthers moments this season have been Cam Newton's post-game press conferences. Robert Griffin III's a more accurate downfield thrower than Newton, which will come in handy against a rejuvenated Panthers pass rush.
 
4:05 p.m. ET (FOX) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4) at Oakland Raiders (3-4)
Battle of 3-4 "meh" teams. But one of them comes out of this Black Hole tussle with a playoff pulse. I'll take the Bucs, who, somehow, have scored 34 points a game in the last three.
 
4:05 p.m. ET (FOX) Minnesota Vikings (5-3) at Seattle Seahawks (4-4)
At some point, though I expect Percy Harvin to line up all over the map for the Vikings Sunday, he's going to be face-up with Richard "I Harangued Tom Brady And Lived To Tweet About It" Sherman, and I can't wait to see the matchup. This is the toughest game of the week to pick, because Adrian Peterson (with his 276 yards the last two weeks) is absolutely back to normal. But I'll take Russell Wilson over Christian Ponder in the fourth-quarter play-making category.
 
4:25 p.m. ET (CBS) Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3) at New York Giants (6-2)
I've said this many times, and I'll say it again, with a Giants-Steelers focus: I do not like AFC teams playing NFC teams once a year. This is the ninth year for Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger in the NFL. This is their third meeting; they met in 2004 (Steelers, 33-30) and 2008 (Giants, 21-14). Odds are, barring a Super Bowl set-to, they'll meet only once more, in 2016, when Manning is 35 and Roethlisberger 34. The NFL shouldn't change teams playing two games against the three division foes. But the other 10 games, annually, should be played equally against the other 28 teams in the league, so the Giants and Steelers meet more often than the World Cup convenes.
 
8:20 p.m. ET (NBC) Dallas Cowboys (3-4) at Atlanta Falcons (7-0)
If I were Jerry Jones, I'd have picked up the phone and dealt a fourth-round pick to St. Louis for Steve Jackson. He's the missing piece in a terminally disappointing running game -- and the type of player who could make a difference in games like this.
 
Monday, Nov. 5
 
8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN) Philadelphia Eagles (3-4) at New Orleans Saints (2-5)
Mike Vick saves his job. Todd Bowles endangers his.
 
Week 9 Fantasy Projections               Start 'em, Sit 'em
 

 
SI.com
Hot Topics: NBA Playoffs NHL Playoffs Golden State Warriors Bryce Harper Paul Pierce Masai Ujiri
TM & © 2014 Time Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you. Read our privacy guidelines, your California privacy rights, and ad choices.
SI CoverRead All ArticlesBuy Cover Reprint