As the NFL heads into Week 9, the competition intensifies with a group of teams holding two or three losses, all vying for postseason spots. Neil Sadaka's famous line, "Breaking up is hard to do," aptly captures the tight race in the league. However, November is here, and it's the time when the contenders start to pull away from the pack.
Teams with two or three losses entering Week 9 significantly boost their chances of reaching the playoffs. Historical data shows that 84.8% of couples with two losses and 63.4% with three losses through Week 9 make it to the postseason since 1990.
Week 9 of the 2023 NFL season will be thrilling, featuring three marquee matchups involving teams with two or fewer losses. It's the most such games in a single week this late in a season since 2020.
Game 1: The AFC's top-performing teams, Kansas City (6-2) and Miami (6-2), are set to make history by playing the league's first regular-season game in Frankfurt, Germany, on Sunday at 9:30 a.m. ET, live on NFL Network.
Game 2: Baltimore (6-2) will face Seattle (5-2) in a cross-conference battle between first-place teams at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday on CBS.
Game 3: Philadelphia (7-1) puts its impeccable record on the line in an NFC East showdown against Dallas (5-2) at 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday, televised on FOX.
Set your alarms early on Sunday, as the action begins with an exciting morning matchup. After witnessing these games, you'll be grateful for the extra rest from that additional hour of sleep you gained on Saturday night.
Here are the starting 11 highlights for Week 9:
Showdowns and Super Bowls: The game between Miami and Kansas City, two teams with two or fewer losses, is rare but not unprecedented. Interestingly, three of the last four matchups in Week 9 or later have produced Super Bowl champions. Keep an eye on this game as it unfolds at Frankfurt Stadium.
Close Contests Continue: This season, the NFL has seen 85 of 122 games, almost 70%, being within one score during the fourth quarter. The trend of close games has continued into 2023, making every game an exciting battle.
Midpoint of the Season: Week 9 marks the midway point of the 2023 NFL season. The Chargers (3-4) take on the Jets (4-3) on Monday Night Football at MetLife Stadium, setting the stage for the second half of the season.
Player Spotlight - Daron Bland vs. A.J. Brown: Two standout players, Daron Bland and A.J. Brown, have been making waves in their respective positions. They will face off when Dallas challenges Philadelphia, promising an exciting matchup.
Team Matchup to Watch: Keep an eye on the turnover margin when Buffalo and Cincinnati go head-to-head. Buffalo has one of the highest takeaways this season, while Cincinnati has one of the lowest giveaways. The result will hinge on this critical statistic.
Lamar Jackson's NFC Dominance: Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson boasts an impressive record against NFC opponents, with five consecutive wins. This week, he faces the first-place Seattle team, looking to maintain his dominance.
Record-Breaking Rookie: Minnesota's Jordan Addison is on pace for 14 touchdown receptions in a 17-game season, threatening Randy Moss's rookie record. He's a player to watch for the remainder of the season.
Under-the-Radar Storyline: Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon returns to Northeast Ohio, where he was born, as Arizona faces Cleveland. It's a homecoming for Gannon, and the game could hold surprises.
Division Turnaround: Atlanta and New Orleans want to complete worst-to-first turnarounds in the NFC South. The NFL has a history of such transformations, and the two teams are hunting for the division crown.
Speedster Alert: Kenneth Walker hit remarkable speeds in Week 8, making him one of the fastest players this season. His breakneck pace adds an electrifying element to the game.
Shanahan's Legacy: The game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Green Bay Packers reunites two coaching giants. Mike Shanahan oversaw a coaching staff in Washington that featured future NFL head coaches. It's a match of wits and legacies.
Week 9 of the 2023 NFL season promises intense competition and intriguing storylines as teams battle for supremacy and playoff positions.