The week 9 NFL schedule has a number of intriguing games, including a Seattle vs. New York Giants game that could prove if one of those teams is ready to step up and take control in the NFC. Both Seattle and the Giants have had some big struggles in the 2010 NFL season, but now the Giants appear to be on a nice roll. They have improved to 5-2 and have taken over first place in the NFC East. Now all the Giants need to do is prove that they can win on the road at one of the hardest stadiums for a visitor to leave with a win. Seattle can stay on top of the NFC West with a win of their own on Sunday.
The biggest let-down game of the NFL season could be on Sunday night, when NBC is broadcasting Dallas vs. Green Bay as their game. This was supposed to be a battle of NFC powerhouses, possibly deciding who would be in first place at this point in the season. Now Green Bay is trying to recover from injuries and Dallas has basically thrown their season away. What looked like a great ratings opportunity during sweeps month for NBC might end up being a black hole in their Sunday night scheduling. Green Bay still holds on to the lead in the NFC North (5-3), but has also become less exciting with how bad the rest of the division has been.
Another game that could be fun to watch is the Kansas City vs. Oakland game on Sunday afternoon. If someone had told me that at the beginning of the 2010 NFL season, I would have smiled politely and turned to another network, but now both the Chiefs and the Raiders have become fun to watch again. The Chiefs have a very impressive 5-2 record and are in first place in the AFC West. They are just ahead of these Raiders, who improved to 4-4 last Sunday by crushing Seattle. Both teams have distanced themselves from the San Diego Chargers in the standings, but that makes their head-to-head game even more important if they want to keep things that way.
In addition to those games, there is a very interesting defensive-minded game between the Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens, and an intriguing offensive-minded game between the San Diego Chargers and the Houston Texans. It all leads to a Monday Night Football game that could be as disappointing to NFL fans as the Sunday night game, as Pittsburgh travels to play the Cincinnati Bengals. Cincinnati is now in a must-win situation, and unless they want their season to end at the halfway point, they have got to find a way to beat Ben Roethlisberger on Monday.
The league just drew much closer to itself with several upsets in week 8, making the standings even more convoluted than they were. It just means that even more teams have the chance to surprise their fans with a late season playoff push, and that both the AFC and the NFC is still very wide open this year.
Week 9 NFL Schedule
*New York Jets vs. Detroit (10 a.m. PT)
*Miami vs. Baltimore (10 a.m. PT)
*New England vs. Cleveland (10 a.m. PT)
*San Diego vs. Houston (10 a.m. PT)
*Chicago vs. Buffalo (10 a.m. PT)
*Arizona vs. Minnesota (10 a.m. PT)
*Tampa Bay vs. Atlanta (10 a.m. PT)
*New Orleans vs. Carolina (10 a.m. PT)
*New York Giants vs. Seattle (1:05 p.m. PT)
*Indianapolis vs. Philadelphia (1:15 p.m. PT)
*Kansas City vs. Oakland (1:15 p.m. PT)
*Dallas vs. Green Bay (5:20 p.m. PT / Sunday Night Football)
*Pittsburgh vs. Cincinnati (5:30 p.m. PT / Monday Night Football)