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Week 9 2016 NFL Picks: Challenge Athlon Sports Experts!

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The NFL season hits the midway point this week, and the competition off the field among fans is nearly as heated as the competition on the field on game day.

The Athlon Sports Pro Football Experts Club presented by New Era gives you the chance to compete with your friends and our experts each week.

Think you’re up for taking on our experts every week? Think you can beat the writers and editors each week? Join our weekly pick ‘em game and compete for tons of cool prizes.

Here are this week’s picks from Athlon Sports senior editor John Gworek:

Thursday's Game

Atlanta at Tampa Bay

The Bucs won the first meeting in Week 1, but they also allowed Derek Carr to pass fro more than 500 yards last week. That’s not a good sign with Matt Ryan and Julio Jones coming to town.

Gworek's Pick: Atlanta, 30–26

Sunday’s Games

N.Y. Jets at Miami

These teams have both won two in a row but they could not be more similarly mediocre. Miami has had success running the ball, but no one stops it better than the Jets. 

Gworek's Pick: N.Y. Jets, 26–20

Pittsburgh at Baltimore

Big rivalry game between two rested teams coming off of the bye. Baltimore has won three in a row at home against Pittsburgh. The Steelers might get Ben Roethlisberger back from injury, but he has struggled on the road.

Gworek's Pick: Baltimore, 21–17

Philadelphia at N.Y. Giants

Philly has lost three of four by a total of 14 points and still ranks second in the NFL in point differential (plus-62). The Giants have won four games by a total of 15 points and are 20th in point differential at minus-8.

Gworek's Pick: Philadelphia, 27–21

Jacksonville at Kansas City

The Chiefs have not turned the ball over during a three game winning streak, and that likely won’t change against a Jaguars defense that has only five takeaways, fewest in the NFL.

Gworek's Pick: Kansas City, 30–20

Detroit at Minnesota

The Vikings are reeling after two straight losses on the road and the resignation of offensive coordinator Norv Turner. Matthew Stafford has been great, but Minnesota is the best defense he has faced this season.

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Gworek's Pick: Minnesota, 16–13

Dallas at Cleveland

Even with rookie quarterback Dak Prescott, the Cowboys continue to have a top-five offense that leads the NFL in rushing. Cleveland has the league’s worst defense. Let’s move on.

Gworek's Pick: Dallas, 33–17

New Orleans at San Francisco

The Saints are the Saints, great offense and bad defense. But don’t expect the Niners to  take advantage; San Francisco is so bad passing the ball that it ranks last in total offense despite ranking fourth in rushing. If you can’t throw and score points, you can’t beat Drew Brees.

Gworek's Pick: New Orleans, 34–21

Carolina at Los Angeles

Carolina snapped a four game losing streak last week but still can’t stop the pass. Fortunately for the defending NFC champs, the Rams really can’t throw it much, either.

Gworek's Pick: Carolina, 28–24

Tennessee at San Diego

The Titans have been sneaky good, winning three of four and ranking in the NFL’s top 10 in both offense and defense. But they don’t force many turnovers (just seven, 26th in the NFL), which will help Philip Rivers.

Gworek's Pick: San Diego, 27–26

Indianapolis at Green Bay

The Packers need this one before hitting the road for three straight. Green Bay’s pass rush (fifth in sack rate) must be licking its chops as the Colts have allowed 31 sacks of Andrew Luck, most in the NFL.

Gworek's Pick: Green Bay, 29–21

Denver at Oakland

If the Raiders take care of the ball and don’t allow the Denver defense to set the offense up for easy scores, David Carr will do just enough to push Oakland to the top of the AFC West.     

Gworek's Pick: Oakland, 21–17

Monday’s Game

Buffalo at Seattle

The Bills don’t turn the ball over (NFL-low four giveaways), but the defense has stopped taking it away. After forcing 10 turnovers during a four-game winning streak, Buffalo has forced none while losing two in a row. They can’t win in Seattle without big plays on defense.

Gworek's Pick: Seattle, 23–16

Week 8 Record: 8–4–1

Overall Record: 64–54–2