It’s rainy and quite chilly in Charlotte, and I’m one of those weirdos that doesn’t hate rainy weather. Of course the arthritis is barking very loudly, but I’m still relishing the absence of searing summer heat. Stupid &%@#^*$ global warming. More big names are on the sidelines this week after testing positive for The Virus. Should make for a fascinating week 9.

NY Jets at Indianapolis – What do you do when your prize rookie QB gets hurt? You put in the backup who’s almost never taken an NFL snap and let him throw for 400 yards against the conference’s best team and get a win. Yeah, just like we all thought. So they should be competitive at Indy. But Indy is so dadgum stubborn, they refuse to roll over even when they should. Should be a good TNF contest. Colts 27, j-e-t-s jets jets jets jets jets jets jets jets jets jets jets 21

Atlanta at New Orleans – Just like NO’s blowout win over Green Bay seems like 20 years ago, NO losing to the Panthers the following week also seems like 20 years ago. Jameis is gone with a torn ACL, but Trevor Simeon is a veteran who can avoid screwing things up. Atlanta has lost it’s stud WR, who is sitting out to address emotional health issues. Good for him, rotten for the team. Aints 34, Falcons 17

Buffalo at Jacksonville – After a brief period of looking like a legit NFL team, the September Jags are back. Could be a long day in the city with the backward river. Buffalo, NC 33, Jags 10

Cleveland at Cincinnati – Both teams should be seething over losing a game they should have won last week. I think Cincy has a little more anger, because the refs were the #1 reason they lost last week. OBJ has probably played his last down in Cleveland after his daddy published a video blaming Mayfield for any and all struggles his boy has had this year. Ugh. Bengals 24, Browns 20

Denver at Dallas – Just like Carolina, the 3-0-turned-3-4 Broncos got a win last week. Also like Carolina, they enter the Metroplex off a win to find a high-flying team waiting for them. Horse meat for dinner today. Cowboys 38, Donkeys 14

Houston at Miami – So Watson didn’t get traded, mostly because teams aren’t sure if he’s going to request help paying his lawyer fees, which will probably exceed $50 million, no matter what the outcomes of the cases. Miami still needs him. Probably not a lot of entertainment value here. Fish 20, Texans 16

Las Vegas at NY Giants – LV lost their stud rookie WR after he decided it was OK to drink and drive, and subsequently ran over and killed someone. They probably still have just enough to take down this not-so-good squad. Raiders 23, Little People 21

Minnesota at Baltimore – All this purple in one place. Prince would be so proud. The road team probably sees the same thing as last week – a loss at the last minute. Ravens 27, Norwegians 20

LA Chargers at Philadelphia – Don’t be fooled by last week. Phily is still a hot mess. And they have a coach who makes motivational speeches like, “have you watered and fertilized your flower today?” Clippers 31, Eagles 21

Arizona at San Francisco – With an extra 3 days to rest and prepare, I think the Cards take this one, in spite of SF having Jimmy G for this round. Cards 24, 49ers 21

Green Bay at Kansas City – Rodgers is on the COVID list. We’ll get to see if he was right in pitching a hissy fit when the team drafted Jordan Love to eventually replace him. The “I told you so” speech will be interesting. Chiefs 23, Packers 21

Tennessee at LA Rams – The next Rams draft pick will occur sometime between 2023 and 2027. But adding Von Miller is definitely an example of the rich getting richer. The visitors have lost their best player to injury. They’re a good team, even if this week’s score says otherwise. Rams 34, Titans 10

Chicago at Pittsburgh – We now know Chicago was absolutely right in trading up to get Justin Fields. But they have many more holes to fill. The Melvin Ingram trade opens up more playing time for Charlotte 49er Alex Highsmith. Should be a good day for the home team. Steelers 23, Bears 14

New England at Carolina – Last time these teams played in Charlotte, it was the famous “Ice Up Son” game. Stephon Gilmore is being very diplomatic, but he’s clearly miffed about how things ended in Foxboro. So this is a revenge game for him. We’re either running an injured Darnold or a rookie, for all intents and purposes, against a coach that dominates such QBs. Both defenses are better than the offenses. I think Gilmore’s intel will be the difference. PANTHERS 19, Patriots 16

Last week’s record: 7-8

Season: 78-44

Bye: Detroit, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Washington 

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