December 11, 2017, 21:25

NFL Predictions Week Nine: Sky Sports News’ Jim White and Richard Graves go head to head

NFL Predictions Week Nine: Sky Sports News’ Jim White and Richard Graves go head to head

In Week Nine, Sky Sports News’ Jim White takes on his esteemed colleague, NFL reporter Richard Graves, for our weekly predictions.

Graves continues to flirt at a .500 record on the season – he jumps up to 4-4 after getting the better of England rugby union international Anthony Watson in Week Eight, finishing with one of his best marks of the season (11-2).

2017 Prediction Results Richard Graves Opponent’s score Graves’ season record v Paul Merson 9-6 10-5 0-1 v Sam Quek 13-3 12-4 1-1 v Vernon Kay 10-6 6-10 2-1 v Laura Wright 9-7 10-6 2-2 v Anya Shrubsole 7-7 4-10 3-2 v Gethin Jones 4-10 7-7 3-3 v Jen Welter 11-4 12-3 3-4 v Anthony Watson 11-2 9-4 4-4

His opponent this week is White who, following the mayhem of this week’s trade deadline – the NFL equivalent to Transfer Deadline Day – is “honoured” to step up and face Graves.

“The thought of beating Richard was just too good an opportunity not to take up,” said White. “Does he not know who he is dealing with? I have a beeline into the ear of the most successful owner in American Sports, Robert Kraft.

“As a result, I’m backing his New England Patriots, as well as another good friend of mine, John Mara’s New York Giants. I can’t go against those guys.

“Don’t put your house on my predictions. But much like Deadline Day, expect the unexpected.”

Here’s a look at Jim’s, and Richard’s, Week Nine predictions…

Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets, Thursday Night Football
Sky Sports Action (407), 12.30am, Friday

Graves: If people aren’t taking notice of the Buffalo Bills yet….now is the time to do so. They’ve already knocked off the Denver Broncos and the Oakland Raiders en route to a 5-2 record. The one word of caution though, is that both their defeats this season have come on the road.

The addition of rangy wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, before the trade deadline, from Carolina gives them another offensive weapon and a big redzone target. Their defence, meanwhile, is one of the meanest in the league – tied for second, giving up an average of just 16.4 points per game. They also lead the league in takeaways (17) and in turnover differential (+14).

The Jets have been surprisingly competitive for the most part this season but one of their five defeats came against these same Bills on opening weekend.

PICK: BILLS

White: A ‘New York’ derby of sorts. You’ve got to fancy the Bills in this one, especially after their blockbuster deadline day trade for Benjamin. His move has the Sky Sports breaking news yellow ticker all over it and so, for that reason, I’m backing the Bills.

PICK: BILLS

Denver Broncos @ Philadelphia Eagles, NFL Sunday LIVE
Sky Sports Action (407), 5.30pm, Sunday

Graves: The Eagles possess the fourth-ranked scoring offence, with 29 points per game, and this week bolstered their running attack even further, adding Jay Ajayi in a stunning trade with Miami.

As for the Broncos, enough is enough! Monday night’s dismal showing from starting QB Trevor Siemian was the final straw and this Sunday, Brock Osweiler is set to return. Whether that will be enough against the Eagles, and their league best 7-1 record, remains to be seen but something had to change.

Philadelphia Eagles v Denver Broncos

November 5, 2017, 5:30pm

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The Broncos do boast the No 1 ranked defence in the NFL though, and this will be a good litmus test of the 2017 Eagles. If they win, it’s safe to say this is a legitimate contender. If they don’t, it may kick start a faltering season.

PICK: EAGLES

White: I don’t know a lot about gridiron, but one thing I do know, Britain’s (there’s some Scottish blood there somewhere) very own Jay Ajayi is a human wrecking ball! Even with a strong defence like Denver’s, I can’t see them keeping the combination of LeGarrette Blount and Ajayi quiet all day.

PICK: EAGLES

Kansas City Chiefs @ Dallas Cowboys, NFL Sunday LIVE
Sky Sports Action (407), 9.25pm, Sunday

Graves: The Chiefs got back on track with an impressive win over the Broncos on Monday night last week. At 6-2 they hold a clear two-game lead in the AFC West, and they have a ball-hawking defence complimented by the NFL’s third-ranked offence.

Dallas Cowboys v Kansas City Chiefs

November 5, 2017, 9:00pm

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However, Kansas City rank a lowly 28th against the run and that could be an issue against a Cowboys offence which is the second-best rushing team in the league. Of course, that’s an offence which has leaned heavily on Ezekiel Elliott, who is set to be out this Sunday after losing his appeal against a six-game suspension. Can back-ups Alfred Morris, Darren McFadden and Rod Smith be as effective as Elliott?

PICK: CHIEFS

White: Sometimes the biggest dramas on Deadline Day involve the transfers that don’t happen. That seemed to be the case with the Cowboys, who didn’t add help at wide receiver or running back despite being rumoured to be sniffing around Martavis Bryant and DeMarco Murray.

It would have been great to see Kareem Hunt v Elliott this weekend, but it looks like that’s not to be. So, I can see the Chiefs doing what the Redskins failed to do last week, and that re-enacting the battle of Little Bighorn on the football field.

PICK: CHIEFS

Oakland Raiders @ Miami Dolphins, NFL Sunday LIVE
Sky Sports Action (407), 1.20am, Monday

Graves: Dolphins head coach Adam Gase heralded the dawn of a new era in Miami, trading away starting RB Jay Ajayi to the Eagles for a fourth-round draft pick before the trade deadline. He’s made no secret of his disappointment at an offence which was shut out for the second time this season, in defeat to the Ravens last week.

Miami Dolphins v Oakland Raiders

November 6, 2017, 1:00am

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By contrast, the Raiders offence can be explosive but, this season, has been inconsistent and last Sunday’s loss in Buffalo was hugely disappointing. Marshawn Lynch is available again after serving a one-game suspension, but the veteran runner hasn’t lived up to expectations so far this season.

PICK: RAIDERS

White: The Raiders looked like Celtic last season. This year they’re more like my beloved Rangers. Also, how Miami are 4-3 is beyond me… Surely the Raiders have to show up sometime, and I predict Sunday will be that day.

PICK: RAIDERS

Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers, Monday Night Football
Sky Sports Action (407), 1.15am, Tuesday

Graves: At the start of the season, this may have been seen as the game of the week but Green Bay’s loss of quarterback superstar Aaron Rodgers, and the expected disappointing dip in form, means this game doesn’t quite have the same appeal it had just a few weeks ago.

Green Bay Packers v Detroit Lions

November 7, 2017, 1:15am

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As for Detroit’s QB Matthew Stafford – his offensive line has struggled to protect him, but yet he’s been remarkable in finding ways to keep Detroit in games and give them a chance late on.

PICK: LIONS

White: A big divisional battle! The Lions have talent; the Packers have injuries. I know my good friend, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, is a big fan of Aaron Rodgers. It doesn’t take an NFL expert – and I’m not one – to know Green Bay are not the same team without him at quarterback. I’m predicting a crucial win for the Lions.

PICK: LIONS

Week Nine Predictions Richard Graves Jim White Bills @ Jets Bills Bills Broncos @ Eagles Eagles Eagles Colts @ Texans Texans Texans Bengals @ Jaguars Jaguars Jaguars Buccaneers @ Saints Saints Saints Rams @ Giants Rams Giants Falcons @ Panthers Falcons Falcons Ravens @ Titans Titans Titans Chiefs @ Cowboys Chiefs Chiefs Cardinals @ 49ers Cardinals Cardinals Redskins @ Seahawks Seahawks Seahawks Raiders @ Dolphins Raiders Raiders Lions @ Packers Lions Lions

Follow the 2017-18 NFL season with us on Sky Sports and through our website skysports.com/NFL also our app for mobile devices and iPad, or follow our Twitter account @SkySportsNFL

Sourse: skysports.com

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