Brad’s Baker’s Dozen For Week 9 Of Your NFL Season

Brad’s Baker’s Dozen For Week 9 Of Your NFL Season

This week Brad makes some adjustments to his list of the top 13 teams in the NFL through week eight. 

1. Kansas City (TOTAL GRADE A)
The Chiefs maintain the top spot after plowing past the Jets on Sunday.  Kansas City has the greatest x-factor in the game in Patrick Mahomes.  Their defense isn’t great, but they are opportunistic and they have very good special teams, which often can be the difference between winning and losing close games.

2. Tampa Bay (TOTAL GRADE A)
The Bucs have now won 6-of-7 and appear to be picking up steam.  They have one of the better defenses in the league and what some would say is the greatest quarterback in the history of the game.  Now they get Antonio Brown to help what was an already talented offense, making them one of the only teams that could challenge Kansas City for the Super Bowl.  Don’t let Monday night persuade you otherwise.  This team is loaded. 

3. Pittsburgh (TOTAL GRADE A)
The Steelers are one of the adult organizations in football.  Pittsburgh always seems to have a knack for winning close games, which was evident this past weekend against Baltimore when they were outplayed for a large portion of the game and yet made just enough plays to win.  They are good in all phases of the game.  They can run the ball.  They can throw the ball.  Their defense makes plays.  Their coaching staff is top-notch and their kicker hasn’t missed a kick all season.

4. Baltimore (TOTAL GRADE B+)
The Ravens are at the top of the second tier of teams in the league and really stand alone in this category.  Baltimore has a very good defense and a gimmicky offense that will likely keep them from playing for any big prizes.  Here’s the reality that some Ravens fans may not want to hear.  Lamar Jackson is not a great passer of the football.  As great as he is at running around and making plays with his legs, a good defense will mitigate his talents. 

5. New Orleans (GRADE B)
The Saints have been playing short-handed all season and still managed a 5-2 start playing a tough schedule.  New Orleans plays Tampa Bay this coming week and then enters the soft part of their schedule, which should have them 10-3 or 9-4 after 13 games.  They have leadership on offense and when healthy has some of the best offensive weapons in the game in Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas.  The problems for New Orleans is on the other side of the ball where the defense always seems to make a handful of mind-numbing blunders throughout the games. 

6. Arizona (GRADE B-)
The Cardinals are a team with a lot of talent on both sides of the ball.  The problem is, most of that talent is very young and untested.  With veterans like Larry Fitzgerald and Patrick Peterson, I expect to see this team continue to grow throughout the season in what could end up being one of the feel-good stories of the year.  The Cardinals’ fate could end up coming down to Kyler Murray, who still needs to add some consistency and better decision-making into his repertoire if the Cardinals are going to threaten to be able to make any kind of run.

7. Las Vegas (GRADE B-)
The Raiders are going to be a team that can cause problems for any team in the league.  If you don’t believe me, just ask Kansas City. Las Vegas has young talent on both sides of the ball and has a coach that will teach them how to prepare.  Las Vegas has played one of the toughest schedules in the NFL so far, as opponents are 33-20 for the year.  If Derek Carr can minimize mistakes in key moments, they could be one of the surprise teams in the league at the end of the year.  So far, so good as Carr has the No. 4 QB Rating in the league. 

8. Seattle (GRADE C+)
The Seahawks continue to beat up on bad football teams.  With some of the top offensive talent in the league, they could have one of the worst defenses on the planet and still win games.  Seattle has great coaching and finds ways to win, which is a great quality to have in the NFL.  The reality, however, is far different when it comes to the playoffs.  Giving up 461 yards-per-game will never cut it when it comes to the post-season.  Seattle will become a better team when Chris Carson comes back, allowing them to eat minutes on the clock and keep the defense off the field. 

9. Green Bay (GRADE C+)
I said it last week and I’ll say it again…Green Bay’s defense is not very good.  Take away any of the two weapons for Rodgers on offense (Adams & Jones) and the Packers quickly become a .500 team, at best.  Take away Rodgers and they fall off into the abyss.  As long as he is upright, Rodgers will keep the Packers in front of the pack in the NFC North, but they aren’t a real threat to make a run with a defense that gives up 4.7 yards-per-rush and allows quarterbacks to complete 71.5% of its passes. 

10. Indianapolis (GRADE C+)
The Indianapolis defense is very good, but not quite on the level of Tampa, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, or Chicago.  The problem is, the offense is not very good at all.  The Colts still haven’t managed to add any difference-makers on offense, which makes them a pretender.  Philip Rivers is a game manager at this point but really isn’t capable of guiding a comeback with the tools around him. 

11. Miami (C+)
Don’t look now, but the Dolphins may be the best team in the AFC East.  Miami has outscored opponents by 58 points, which ranks No. 6 in the league.  If you take out the Jets, the Dolphins opponents are 24-21 for the year, which isn’t bad.  Miami’s defense has been very opportunistic by creating 13 turnovers, which ranks second in the league for teams that have played seven games.  With games remaining against the Chargers, Broncos, Jets, Bengals, and Patriots, the Dolphins could find themselves in the playoffs for just the third time in the past 19 years. 

12. Buffalo (C)
The Bills are an average football team on both sides of the ball.  They’ve scored 198 points and given up 199.  With the lack of a running game, Buffalo has been hurt by injuries on offense and really doesn’t have enough threats to make any real run in the playoffs.  Josh Allen is doing his best with a short deck of cards, but Stefon Diggs has been the only real consistent weapon in his arsenal and they have almost no threat at tight end.  Buffalo has Seattle and Arizona on deck, which could tell us a lot about how far this team is going in 2020.   Right now they look like a “C” student in school, which I know a lot about. 

13. Tennessee (GRADE C-)
You can’t get beat by Cincinnati by double-digits and consider yourself a real contender.  At 5-2 on the season, Tennessee was an eyelash away from being 1-6 with narrow wins against Denver, Jacksonville, Minnesota, and Houston.  Take Pittsburgh out of the equation and Titan opponents are just 15-28-1 on the season.  The Tennessee defense is absolutely terrible on third down.  The Titans are dead last in the league by a wide margin, giving up over 8.5 first downs-per-game on third down (next closest team is 6.7).  The only thing keeping them above water is the fact that they have a +8 turnover differential.  If that turns upside down during the second half of the season, so will the Titans’ record.  Others to keep an eye on Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, and Chicago Bears

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