As Week 9 of the NFL season gets underway, here are five things to look out for in the upcoming games.
Green Bay Packers travel to hostile Arrowhead Stadium without QB Aaron Rodgers
In Rodgers’ place will be second-year quarterback Jordan Love, making his first ever NFL start. With 68 career passing yards and no touchdowns thrown, Love is some way behind three-time NFL MVP Rodgers’ 53,071 yards and 429 touchdowns.
The Green Bay Packers sport an NFL-leading 7-1 record, but the 4-4 Kansas City Chiefs have begun to find their form and will be desperate for a win to climb back into the AFC West race.
Titans begin life without Derrick Henry against the 7-1 Rams
The 7-1 Los Angeles Rams will host the 6-2 Tennessee Titans at LA’s SoFi Stadium in the week’s marquee matchup.
The Tennessee Titans will be without star running back Derrick Henry, who went on injured reserve after a foot surgery earlier this week.
Henry, who has more rushing touchdowns by himself (10) than 24 NFL teams, will be a major loss for the Titans as they attempt to maintain their lead in the AFC South and hope that Henry can return later in the season.
The Rams will be looking to extend their winning streak to five games and keep pace with the NFC West-leading Arizona Cardinals.
AFC North grudge match with a key absence
Cross-state rivals Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns will square off in The Queen City.
This rivalry never lacks intensity, but this year the AFC North is one of the most tightly bunched divisions in the NFL with all four teams still firmly in contention.
The Cleveland Browns announced on Friday that the team had released star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who had been disgruntled of late over his role with the team. Beckham caught seven touchdowns in 29 games during his tenure with the Browns.
“After careful consideration, internal discussions and conversations with Odell and his representation, we’ve determined that it is in the best interest of all parties involved that Odell no longer play for the Cleveland Browns,” Browns General Manager Andrew Berry said in a statement.
“We appreciate all his efforts and contributions while in Cleveland, but we’ve just reached a point where it is best that we move forward as a team without Odell. We are finalizing the process of granting Odell his release and we wish him well as he continues his career.”
Draft position on the line for two of the league’s worst teams
For a pair of teams well out of playoff contention, there is still something to play for (and maybe to lose for).
When the 1-7 Houston Texans head to South Florida to face the 1-7 Miami Dolphins, the loser will emerge with the second-worst record in the NFL.
That will put the loser hot on the heels of the 0-8 Detroit Lions for the top pick in next spring’s NFL Draft. The Lions are mercifully on their bye in Week 9.
Five Super Bowl rematches
Among the remained week 9 NFL games, there are five repeats of previous Super Bowl match-ups.
Jets at Colts (played on Thursday night with the Colts winning 45-30) — Super Bowl III won by the Jets
Broncos at Cowboys — Super Bowl XII won by the Cowboys
Patriots at Panthers — Super Bowl XXXVIII won by the Patriots
Packers at Chiefs — Super Bowl I won by the Packers
Titans at Rams — Super Bowl XXXIV won by the Rams
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