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Vilardo: 2023 Week 9 NFL West Power Rankings & Previews

The Raiders make some big midseason changes, firing their head coach and General Manager

Posted on November 1, 2023

  By Stephen Vilardo, SuperWest Sports

Last week we saw some struggles on the field for the NFL teams in the West.

In games against teams outside the west, SuperWest teams went a combined 2-4, with the Seahawks and Chargers supplying the wins.

The Broncos ended a 16-game losing streak against the Chiefs with their win Sunday afternoon in Denver.

I managed to put together a much better week than I had for week seven. For my picks across the entire NFL, I went 12-4 with an 8-8 mark against the spread and an 11-4-1 on over/under totals.

Season-long, I’m 76-46 overall, 66-54-1 ATS, and 71-48-3 O/U.

Below are my Week 9 Power Rankings for the eight teams with a quick look at the upcoming week’s matchups and my game picks.

1. Kansas City Chiefs (6-2) ◄►

Broncos Review

The Chiefs’ six-game winning streak came to an end in Denver.

Kansas City had a leg up on the rest of the AFC as the only one-loss team in the conference entering week eight. Now they are on equal footing with all four division leaders in the AFC sitting at 6-2.

In the loss to Denver, Patrick Mahomes was held without a TD pass for the first time since December 2021, when he also failed to throw a TD pass against Denver.

On the day, the Chiefs were a very un-KC-like 0-for-3 in the red zone.

Miami Dolphins Preview – Frankfurt, Germany

Sunday, November 5
6:30 am PT, NFL Net  

The upcoming matchup in Germany with Miami takes on a whole new level of importance.

As mentioned, all four division leaders are tied at 6-2, both these teams and Jacksonville and Baltimore.

This becomes almost a must-win game in the conference as both teams are fighting for the potential No. 1 seed in the playoffs.

The Chiefs got pressure on Russell Wilson in their loss and will need to have a good pass rush if they hope to slow down Miami’s offense.

On paper, this one looks like it is about as even as it gets. KC has an edge on the defensive side of the ball but Miami has a stronger offense.

I look for this one to be a shootout but give the Dolphins the advantage in Frankfurt.

My Pick: Dolphins 30, Chiefs 27

[Advice: Kansas City is favored by two, and I think we’ll see Miami pull the upset with the total going over 50.5]

2. Seattle Seahawks (5-2) ▲1

Browns Review

Ieattle got a four-point win over the Browns, but the defense had some issues against a Cleveland offense being run by PJ Walker.

The Seahawks made plays when they needed to with three sacks and three turnovers forced. The defense allowed just 79.2 yards rushing per game through the first five games of the season.

In the last two weeks, that unit has allowed 141 yards rushing per game. The defense had a tough time getting off the field against the Browns as Cleveland had the ball for nearly 37 minutes.

The Seattle offense did not do much to help with the time of possession. The acquisition of Leonard Williams should help the pass rush and he is a space eater against the run.

Baltimore Ravens Preview 

Sunday, November 5
10:00 am PT, CBS

Both Arizona and Cleveland are good running teams, so the struggles against the run may be in some part due to opponents’ strengths.

Well, Baltimore is another exceptionally good running team ranking third in the NFL with 143.1 yards per game on the ground. They are sandwiched between the Cards and the Browns.

Seattle will need to hold the Baltimore running attack if they hope to have a chance. They won their last two games despite giving up yardage, but Cleveland and Arizona are not nearly as good at passing the ball as the Ravens.

Seattle has a chance to show the rest of the league that they are a team to be taken seriously not only in the division but league-wide.

Baltimore might be the best team in the AFC and the road trip might be too much for Seattle to handle.

My Pick: Ravens 26, Seahawks 21

[Advice: Baltimore is a six-point favorite at home, I think the Ravens will win, but I like the Seahawks to cover the spread. The offenses will put up enough points to push things past the 43 points offered as the total]

3. San Francisco 49ers (5-3) ▼1

Bengals Review

The 49ers have now lost three straight games and the team that was nearly a lock for the Super Bowl has some soul-searching to do during their bye week.

The defense has struggled to get off the field in the losses. They have been unable to put pressure on opposing QBs, they have missed tackles and had coverage breakdowns in the back end of the defense.

The 49ers addressed the pass rush issue at the deadline with the addition of Chase Young from Washington.

On offense, a team that looked unstoppable is now making errors. San Francisco has turned the ball over seven times during the last three games with six in the last two alone.

During their five wins, the 49ers are +7 in the turnover department. During their three-game skid, they are –3.

BYE Week Preview

The Bye week comes at a good time, San Francisco can use it to get healthy as some key pieces of the puzzle have been banged up.

The 49ers can also use the week off to try and correct the issues that have led to the losing streak.

4. Los Angeles Chargers (3-4) ▲1

Bears Review

Justin Herbert finally looks like he might be back to 100% after his fractured finger in week 4.

Herbert had the worst three-week stretch of his career but looked comfortable against Chicago. The QB opened the night by connecting on his first 15 passes.

Austin Ekeler also looked to be back to himself after returning from his ankle injury. Ekeler returned in week six but looked like he was fully recovered against the Bears. The back led the Chargers in receiving against Chicago.

New York Jets Preview 

Monday, November 6
5:15 pm PT, ABC/ESPN

Ekeler’s return to form in the passing game did not translate to the rushing game returning, however. The Chargers have been dreadful running the ball all season and the Bears defensive line closed up holes in a hurry.

The Jets defense is much better than what Chicago offers. The Chargers will have to start being able to run the ball. New York enters this one hot having won three in a row and their defense will make a lot of plays.

I think Los Angeles has too many weapons to be fully held down.

My Pick: Chargers 21, Jets 17

[Advice: The Chargers are favored by three, I look for them to cover that. The Jets defense keeps the total under 41.5]

5. Los Angeles Rams (3-5) ▼1

Cowboys Review

The Rams lost to the Cowboys and it would appear they may have lost their QB for some time.

Matthew Stafford suffered a thumb injury during the loss and if he misses any time the Rams will turn to Brett Rypien.

Rypien completed five of his ten passes on Sunday in relief. The LA offense struggled last season without Stafford.

Last year they were also missing Cooper Kupp at the same time and Puca Nacua was still at BYU. The offensive weapons are better in 2023.

The Rams’ pass defense was not good against Dallas, but Aaron Donald was able to get to Dak Prescott a couple of times. Outside of that, there was not a lot of good at all in Dallas.

Green Bay Packers Preview 

Sunday, November 5
10:00 am PT, Fox

The Rams will remain on the road for another week as they travel to Green Bay. The Packers are having all sorts of problems themselves this season but are coming off a loss to Minnesota.

Jordan Love has thrown an interception in his last five games, the longest streak by a Packers quarterback since Matt Flynn. If the Rams can put pressure on Love, I think they will be able to fluster him enough to get a win.

Points could be at a premium and it will come down to who takes better care of the football. Green Bay has lost four in a row and that streak will continue.

My Pick: Rams 17, Packers 14

[Advice: The Rams are getting 3.5 on the road. I have them covering and winning outright. The QB issues for both teams keep the points under 39]

6. Denver Broncos (3-5) ▲1

Chiefs Review

The last time Denver beat Kansas City the QB matchup was Peyton Manning vs. Alex Smith. It was a 16-game losing streak for Denver against the Chiefs and it is now over.

Denver has now won two in a row and heads into the bye with a lot of momentum and can be thinking about a wildcard spot.

The key for Denver is to run the ball—their offensive strength. They controlled the line against KC. This season Denver has been among the best in the NFL in explosive runs and block win rate at the line on run plays.

When they throw the ball bad things happen. Russell Wilson only had 114 yards against Kansas City and Sean Payton needs to keep the run the focal point of the offense and Wilson is a mere manager of the attack.

BYE Week Preview

Denver gets a midseason bye after eight weeks and will look to continue to build on the momentum they have riding a two-game win streak.

It is a Monday nighter at Buffalo in two weeks, so making it three in a row will be tough.

7. Las Vegas Raiders (3-5) ▼1

Lions Review

Jimmy Garoppolo returned for Monday Night in Detroit and had his struggles; the Raiders did not complete a single pass to a wide receiver in the first half.

The second half was not much better. The only points for Las Vegas after the break came via a pick-six. The Raiders are the only team in the NFL that has yet to score more than 21 points in a game this season.

The offense is a complete mess at the moment, and that was with an “offensive genius” as the head coach. Ultimately the inept offense cost Josh McDaniels his job.

Garoppolo was sacked six times and the Lions created pressure on 71.4% of his dropbacks. He simply had no time to find anyone.

Maxx Crosby and the Raiders defense continues to be a bright spot, even producing points this week, but there is only so much that unit can do.

New York Giants Preview 

Sunday, November 5
1:25 pm PT, Fox

Daniel Jones is cleared and should be good to go for New York at QB. That will be a huge lift for the Giants. When Tyrod Taylor went down the offense could not get anything going with Tommy DeVito at the helm. T

he Raiders couldn’t keep Detroit out of the backfield on Monday. The Giants traded Leonard Williams to the Seahawks on Tuesday morning, that may be the best news the Raiders get this week.

The Giants have seen their season unravel since Week One. The Raiders should be able to get a home-field win in this one and end their slide, even briefly.

My Pick: Raiders 17, Giants 13

[Advice: The Raiders will get the win and cover the three points. This one will stay well under the 38 points on offer.]

8. Arizona Cardinals (1-7) ◄►

Ravens Review

Arizona has now lost five straight games, but boy have they been in every game this season. The Cardinals might be the best 1-7 team we have seen.

This week it was Baltimore, perhaps the class of the AFC, and Arizona kept things tight. The offense was able to score against the Ravens, but they need more consistency on that side of the ball.

The run game is very good, ranking third in the NFL in rushing yards. The offense just gets stagnant at some point in every game, and they can’t get past it.

With Josh Dobbs traded to Minnesota it looks like Kyler Murray should be back to leading the offense in the next week or two.

Cleveland Browns Preview 

Sunday, November 5
10:00 am PT, CBS

Cleveland is another very good running team with some issues of their own at quarterback.

The Browns defense can change a game. Cleveland sits at 4-3 but probably should have at least one more win as they let the Seahawks off the hook last week.

The Cardinals will keep this one tight again, but in Cleveland, the Browns will be too tough for Arizona to beat.

My Pick: Browns 23, Cardinals 17

[Advice: The spread favors the Browns by 8, and Arizona will keep it within that number. The total points are set at 37.5. I think this one goes over.]

—More from Stephen Vilardo—