NFL Week 9: Games, players, teams to watch | Sporting News

The Steelers actually have a chance to salvage their season.

After losing Ben Roethlisberger in Week 2, Pittsburgh thought its year was over. But after starting 0-3, the Steelers have won three of their last four and have a chance to move back to .500 against the AFC South-leading Colts (5-2).

The challenge for the Steelers: The Colts are tough on both sides of the ball and probably are the best team Pittsburgh has faced since the Seahawks in Week 2. And with Frank Reich as its head coach, Indianapolis will be ready to play in a hostile environment at Heinz Field.

“Pittsburgh’s a fun place to play at,” Reich said Wednesday. “I mean, it’s a great football environment as well — tough place to play, hostile environment. Good football team, well-coached, physical team, so we’re gonna have to have a great week of practice and play our best game of the year this week.”

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The Colts and Steelers face off at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.

In the meantime, here’s your NFL Week 9 countdown:

NFL week 9: Games, players, teams to watch

Three games to watch

Titans (4-4) at Panthers (4-3), 1 p.m. ET Sunday (CBS)— Kyle Allen was just dealt his first loss as a starter for the Panthers while Ryan Tannehill started his QB1 job with the Titans with a win. Both of these defenses have been under-the-radar great this year, so both QBs will have a challenge on their hands.

Packers (7-1) at Chargers (3-5), 4:25 p.m. (CBS) — The Chargers had a big issue earlier this year with Steelers fans taking over their stadium in Los Angeles, and they will likely deal with the same situation again. But Philip Rivers is still a great quarterback, and Los Angeles has talent on both sides of the ball. While the Packers might be playing a home game away from home, the Chargers likely won’t fall easily.

Patriots (8-0) at Ravens (5-2), 8:20 p.m. (NBC) — The Patriots have faced teams with a combined 14-37 record so far this season. The Ravens are the best all-around team they will have faced. The only issue is Bill Belichick destroys young quarterbacks, and Lamar Jackson is in his second year. 

Two players to watch

Deshaun Watson vs. Jaguars defense — The Jaguars don’t have Jalen Ramsey anymore, but they still have a good defense and a solid pass rush. Watson may be 3-1 in his career against Jacksonville, but he has thrown just two touchdowns to one interception in four games while taking 15 sacks. He may have been great over his last three games, but the Jaguars could have something tough for him in store.

Travis Kelce vs. the Vikings secondary — Matt Moore may still be at quarterback for the Chiefs (Patrick Mahomes has been a limited participant in practice this week because of his knee), so Travis Kelce will be huge against a good Vikings defense. For the Chiefs have any hope they will have to move the chains on third down and there may be no better player in football at that than Kelce.

One bold prediction

Mitchell Trubisky will lead the Bears past the Eagles — There has possibly been no player who has taken more criticism this season than Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky — and understandably so. But this week he faces an Eagles secondary that has had its issues. Philadelphia has a great run defense, but Bears coach Matt Nagy has opted not to run the ball already this year. So Trubisky will have a chance to lead Philadelphia to a win and won’t completely let his defense bail out the Bears. It has to happen eventually right?