(WA) Will Andreycak

(RL) Rory Leland


Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Atlanta Falcons

“We’re the best team in the NFC. Yeah, I said it. We’re excited.” That was the quote from Bucs head coach Raheem Morris after Tampa Bay’s 18-17 week seven win over the St. Louis Rams. While I wouldn’t exactly agree with that assessment — the combined record of the teams they have beaten is 8-18 — the Bucs have to be in the conversation. I think it’s less a statement of arrogance and more something to propel his young team forward. If the upstart Bucs can beat the Falcons this week, they have a legitimate shot at the playoffs.

Expect a smash-mouth, hard-fought game and outstanding play from both Matt Ryan and long-shot MVP candidate, 22-year-old quarterback Josh Freeman. Looking at the numbers, all indications point toward the Falcons. They have the sixth-ranked rushing offense in the league going up against a Tampa Bay defense that ranks next to last in rushing defense, allowing 157.7 yards per game on the ground. That being said, the numbers sometimes fly out the window in an interdivision matchup like this. Call me crazy but I love the attitude of Raheem Morris and the Bucs. Winning this game is worth way more to the Bucs than the Falcons. I think Morris and Freeman will inch out the Falcons in this one.


(WA) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

(RL) Atlanta Falcons

Kansas City Chiefs @ Oakland Raiders

I promise you that if you looked at the week nine games before the season began, this would be one of the least intriguing games. Well, you’d also think the Green Bay versus Dallas game would be one of the best. Instead the script is turned. The two best teams in the AFC West are the Chiefs and Raiders instead of the Chargers and Broncos.

Looking at the numbers the teams match up pretty evenly. The Raiders are fifth in the league in offensive production — 25.6 points per game — and the Chiefs are right behind them — 25.0 points per game. Defensively, both rank middle of the pack in terms of yards allowed. I think the difference here is the running game. Led by Thomas Jones and company, the Chiefs rank first in the league in rushing offense — 176.5 yards per game. Can’t argue with winning games on the ground, Chiefs win a close one.


(WA) Kansas City Chiefs

(RL) Kansas City Chiefs


Indianapolis Colts @ Philadelphia Eagles

At this point it’s impossible to determine the best team in the AFC. You could make a case for the Steelers, Jets, Ravens, Patriots, Titans and Colts. You have to wonder who will pull away from the pack and earn a bye in the first round of the playoffs. The Colts play in an extremely competitive division — they have to play the Texans and Titans twice — which makes it difficult to see them pulling away.

In order for the Colts to earn a top seed in the playoffs, they need to beat up on teams outside their division. The Eagles are a decent club, there’s no doubt about it. But this is the type of game the Colts, and Peyton Manning, win. The Colts need to make a move in their division and this is the game that could kick-start a winning streak that is needed in Indianapolis. Most importantly, it’s harder than you think to pick against Peyton Manning. He can singlehandedly beat any team in the NFL on any given day. It’s hard to pick against that.


(WA) Indianapolis Colts

(RL) Indianapolis Colts

Chicago Bears @

Buffalo Bills

Surprised to see this game getting attention? I don’t blame you, it will be a terrible game, but the Bills are going to win.

The timetable of The Cynic’s release is such that we have to predict games before the previous week. So unless the Bills upset the Chiefs in week eight, this will be their first win. Chicago is overrated and, as long as Jay Cutler continues to play his reckless brand of football, any team can beat the Bears.

Jay Cutler is the poor man’s Brett Favre. And considering Brett Favre’s stats this year — seven touchdowns, 10 interceptions — that’s saying a lot. After Cutler threw four interceptions to D’Angelo Hall of the Redskins in week seven, Cutler insulted Hall by saying he’d attack Hall anytime, despite the fact he picked him four times. Well, Mr. Cutler, that’s why you’re a mediocre football player and one of the most disliked quarterbacks in the game.


(WA) Buffalo Bills

(RL) Chicago Bears