Another mid-season coaching change, an unexpected playoff contender, Colin Kaepernick’s benching and continued unbeaten runs from a handful of teams highlight some of the big storylines heading into week nine of NFL action.
Let’s take a look at what to expect.
Questions Going into NFL Week 9
How are the Titans going to move on from firing Ken Whisenhunt?
The Titans are going into New Orleans with an interim head coach as they fired Ken Whisenhunt on Tuesday. It seemed like it was an early firing because for the past two weeks, Whisenhunt hasn’t had his rookie quarterback in Marcus Mariota. The organization didn’t even give Whisenhunt time to work with Mariota and now they seek a new head coach.
This coming game could be ugly considering the Saints are coming off a 52 point performance at home and they have another team, who just fired their coach, at home. I’d say we’re probably going to have until the end of the season to see who Whisenhunt’s true replacement is, but it’ll be interesting to see where they explore with this decision.
Is Oakland primed to make a Wild Card run?
After Oakland looked really good at home versus the New York Jets, the league is now starting to consider Oakland as a team that could possibly end up the playoffs. It certainly seems possible with how Derek Carr has been playing. With the rest of their schedule mostly being versus teams below a .500 winning percentage, it is pretty easy to consider this a possibility. If their offense stays hot like this and Carr seems to establish himself as a franchise quarterback, expect this team to compete for a long time.
What is happening in San Francisco?
The 49ers are basically giving up on this season. First, they benched their quarterback Colin Kaepernick and then they went and traded one of their few targets on offense in Vernon Davis to the Denver Broncos. What’s even more head-scratching about Kaepernick’s benching is that they just signed him to an extension in the offseason. After hearing the reports of the locker room basically turning their back on Kaepernick, this situation has gotten ugly and it doesn’t seem to be getting bright anytime soon. I expect either a trade to happen or they are just shutting down Kaepernick for next season.
Which teams will still be undefeated after Week 9?
Carolina (7-0) vs. Green Bay.
Denver (7-0) at Indianapolis.
New England (7-0) vs. Washington.
Cincinnati (7-0) vs. Cleveland.
The only game that looks very possible of seeing an undefeated team go down would be Carolina at home versus the Packers. Aaron Rodgers got completely shut down in Denver last week and looks for redemption by taking out an undefeated team after his own chance at an unbeaten season was halted. Along with that, Carolina almost blew a 20 point lead versus the Colts at home last week but their defense was able to finish the game. This will be a great game to watch.
The other possibility to consider though would be Denver on the road versus Indianapolis. The Colts are in desperation mode for a win to stay atop their division and Andrew Luck does keep showing his moments where he struggles but then seems to figure out the offense late in the game. With the Broncos offense looking like they found balance on offense last week versus the Packers, though, they could drive up and down the field on the Colts defense. It’ll be a toss up to see who wins this game but with Peyton Manning looking to tie for the most wins as a quarterback and a chance to do it where he started his career, how can you not see this happening?