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NFL 2012 Season — Week Nine Preview

2012 Week 9 Preview
Larry French, Christian Petersen / Getty Images

Several key intra-conference matchups highlight the schedule for Week 9 of the 2012 NFL season. Here’s a preview of this week’s games:

Thursday, Nov. 3

Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers — 8:20 P.M.

Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego
Kansas City (1-6) is tied with three other teams for the league’s worst record. The Chiefs have committed an NFL-high 25 turnovers, including six in a 37-20 Week 4 loss to the Chargers. Quarterback Matt Cassel, who has 16 turnovers, will start for the injured Brady Quinn. San Diego (3-4) has the league’s second-ranked run defense, giving up an average of just 80 yards per game. Chargers running back Ryan Mathews could see additional carries as the Chiefs defend the pass better than the run.

Sunday, Nov. 4

Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals — 1 P.M.

Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati
Armed with the league’s best passer rating (109.0), Peyton Manning leads Denver (4-3) against a Bengals defense that has 23 sacks, which ties them for third-most in the NFL. Cincinnati (3-4) could opt to use running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis as its main offensive weapon against a Broncos defense that stifled Drew Brees and the Saints passing attack last week.

Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns — 1 P.M.

Cleveland Browns Stadium, Cleveland
After its offense over-performed early in the season, Baltimore (5-2) has seen lackluster production from Joe Flacco and Ray Rice recently. Facing a Browns defense that ranks 26th in the league in total defense could help. Cleveland (2-6) can be very effective when rookie running back Trent Richardson is piling up yards. The depleted Baltimore defense wants to contain Richardson and force Cleveland quarterback Brandon Weeden into mistakes, like the interception returned for a score he threw in the 23-16 Week 4 loss to the Ravens at Baltimore.

Arizona Cardinals at Green Bay Packers — 1 P.M.

Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wis.
Losers of four straight games, Arizona (4-4) needs its 31st-ranked offense to produce more than the three points and seven rushing yards they managed against the 49ers on Monday. The Packers’ defense will look to intercept Cardinals quarterback John Skelton. Green Bay (5-3) must give Aaron Rodgers time to throw. He has been sacked a league-high 28 times this season. The Cardinals are tied (with the Packers) for the NFL lead with 26 quarterback sacks.

Chicago Bears at Tennessee Titans — 1 P.M.

LP Field, Nashville
Chicago (6-1) is winning with a dominating defense that ranks first against the run and in total interceptions, second in points allowed and third in sacks. The Titans will need a big game from running back Chris Johnson if they want to compete. Tennessee (3-5) gives up 32.1 points per game, the second-highest total in the league. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler should be able to produce points on the Titans’ defense.

Miami Dolphins at Indianapolis Colts — 1 P.M.

Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis
Miami (4-3) is most effective when Reggie Bush is running the ball. Bush’s contributions will be key as the Colts’ defense ranks 27th against the run and seventh against the pass. The Dolphins could start Matt Moore in place of quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who was injured early in last week’s win over the Jets. With a mediocre running game, Indianapolis (4-3) will rely on rookie quarterback Andrew Luck to move the ball. The Dolphins have the league’s third-ranked run defense, but yield an average of 281 yards per game through the air.

Carolina Panthers at Washington Redskins — 1 P.M.

FedEx Field, Landover, Md.
Two dynamic and athletic young quarterbacks meet at FedEx Field. Carolina (1-6) hopes second-year starter Cam Newton can find his targets against a Redskins defense that ranks last in the NFL against the pass. Washington (3-5) sends Robert Griffin III out to attack the Panthers’ defense. The Redskins can be very effective when Griffin and Alfred Morris are create pressure on the defense with the running game.

Detroit Lions at Jacksonville Jaguars — 1 P.M.

EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Fla.
After rallying to beat the Seahawks last week, Detroit (3-4) will send quarterback Matthew Stafford and the NFC’s best total offense against a Jaguars defense that has recorded an NFL-low seven sacks. Even before Jacksonville (1-6) lost running back Maurice Jones-Drew with a foot injury, its offense was anemic. The Jaguars rank last in the league in points (14.7) and yards (250.9) per game. The Lions’ defensive front will look to make those numbers even worse.

Buffalo Bills at Houston Texans — 1 P.M.

Reliant Stadium, Houston
Led by Arian Foster, Houston (6-1) has the NFL’s sixth-best rushing offense. The Bills allow 176.9 rushing yards and 32.4 points per game, both league-highs. With C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson pacing the offense, Buffalo (3-4) has the league’s fourth-best rushing attack, averaging 150.3 yards per game. The Texans’ defense matches up well against most teams, ranking fourth against the run, fifth against the pass and third overall.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Oakland Raiders — 4:05 P.M.

O.co Coliseum, Oakland, Calif.
Tampa Bay (3-4) is improving offensively, with the running of Doug Martin helping to open up passing lanes for Josh Freeman. The Buccaneers will miss offensive lineman Carl Nicks, who is out with a foot injury. The Raiders have given up 26.7 points per game, which needs to improve if they want to chase a playoff spot. Oakland (3-4) has the league’s 10th-best passing attack, averaging 264 yards per game. Quarterback Carson Palmer must be careful against a Buccaneers’ defense that has 10 interceptions this season.

Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks — 4:05 P.M.

CenturyLink Field, Seattle
Minnesota (5-3) runs its offense through Adrian Peterson, the NFL’s rushing leader with 775 yards. Peterson will face a stiff challenge from the Seahawks’ fifth-ranked run defense, giving up just 84.9 yards per game. Seattle (4-4) has its own franchise back in Marshawn Lynch, the NFL’s second-leading rusher with 757 yards. The Vikings’ defense must contain Lynch and allow Jared Allen and the pass rush to disrupt Seahawks’ rookie quarterback Russell Wilson.

Pittsburgh Steelers at N.Y. Giants — 4:25 P.M.

MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
Pittsburgh (4-3) sends quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the seventh-ranked passing offense in the league against the Giants’ 26th-ranked pass defense. The Giants have recorded 21 sacks, and Big Ben is a big target. New York (6-2) has posted an NFC-high 29.3 points per game thanks to the productive passing of quarterback Eli Manning. The Steelers have the NFL’s best pass defense, giving up just 182.6 yards per game.

Dallas Cowboys at Atlanta Falcons — 8:20 P.M.

Georgia Dome, Atlanta
If quarterback Tony Romo didn’t have 15 turnovers, Dallas (3-4) would be happier with its third-ranked pass offense averaging 297.3 yards per game. The Falcons defend the pass better than the run, so Cowboys’ running back Felix Jones could help take the pressure off Romo. Atlanta (7-0) is difficult to stop when quarterback Matt Ryan stretches the field with Julio Jones and Roddy White. The Cowboys’ third-ranked pass defense matches up well against the Falcons’ talent.

Monday, Nov. 5

Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints — 8:30 P.M.

Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans
Despite many offensive weapons, Philadelphia (3-4) has averaged just 17.1 points per game. The Eagles may fare better against a Saints’ defense that allows 474.7 yards per game, the most in the NFL. New Orleans (2-5) still has the best passing offense in the league. Don’t count on Philadelphia to get pressure on Drew Brees. The Eagles have just nine sacks on the season, the second-lowest total in the league.

Bye Week:
St. Louis Rams, New England Patriots, New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers

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