NFL Sunday was full of all kinds of surprises in Week 9.  What looked on paper like a lackluster NFL Sunday turned into some slam-bam, nail-biting action-packed football games in the afternoon.  There were some upsets and some almost upsets, as well.

The season is now half over, and it can be said with confidence that a couple of teams are a lock for the playoffs.  On the other hand, there are a couple that are right on the edge, and there is at least one that might as well start packing things up now.

NFL Action Continues Through Week 9

Everyone knew that the San Francisco 49ers were beat up.  With George Kittle, out along with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, the Injured Reserve (IR) list looked like half the team.  But, they still had head coach Kyle Shanahan on the sidelines and, for a while there, the 49ers put up a valiant fight against Aaron Rodgers and a Green Bay team happy to be out of the cold weather for a few days.

Backup quarterback Nick Mullens did an admirable job running the San Francisco offense, with 291 yards passing and a touchdown to boot.  But Aaron Rodgers put up 305 yards including four passing touchdowns out in Santa Clara, California at the Levi’s Stadium.  The final score was 34-17 in favor of Green Bay.

Against all odds, the Dallas Cowboys, with their third string quarterback, actually led the lethargic Pittsburg Steelers for most of the game until Big Ben Roethlisberger finally showed some life and scored 15 points in the fourth quarter to take the lead and win the game by a final score of 24-19.

Dolphins Give Cardinals Hell

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray scored all four of the team’s touchdowns – three in the air and one rushing.  He finished with over 100 yards rushing, which is highly unusual.  Murray may well be the best running quarterback in the NFL.  He also threw for 283 yards in what turned out to be a losing effort to the Miami Dolphins led by Tua Tagovailoa out of Alabama, who is earning his stripes early on throwing for 248 yards and scoring two touchdowns in the process.  He led the Fins to a come-from-behind, 34-31 victory over a very active Arizona squad.

Over bettors came out as winners when the Seattle Seahawks took on the Buffalo Bills and combined to put up 78 points between them, thanks to two very active quarterbacks.  Russell Wilson threw for 390 yards and scored 2 touchdowns while Josh Allen of the Bills had 415 yards in the air scoring four touchdowns.  Buffalo finally wore down Seattle in the second half and won the shootout, 44-34.

Another big shootout occurred when the Carolina Panthers went to play the Kansas City Chiefs, led by Patrick Mahomes, who passed for 372 yards and picked up four touchdowns.  But, even with all of that, the Chiefs just barely beat quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and the Panthers.  Bridgewater threw for 310 yards and two touchdowns.  Once again the over bettors came out winners as the two teams put up 64 points as the 8-1 Chiefs snuck by the 3-6 Panthers by just two points, 33-31.

Dalvin Cook continues to lead the Minnesota Vikings, rushing for 206 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, while Kirk Cousins put up 220 yards in the air and three touchdowns beating the Detroit Lions by a final score of 34-20.

Tampa Bay Disappoints

The biggest surprise of the weekend came on Sunday night when Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, against all the odds on every sportsbook available, shut out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers led by Tom Brady in the first half and went to the locker rooms ahead 31-0.  Fans were shell-shocked; Brady was not happy.  He did not cross the Saints goal line all evening and threw three interceptions.  Meanwhile, Drew Brees passed for 222 yards and added four touchdowns.

The Saints defense continued to shut down the high-powered Bucs offense allowing just one field goal in the third quarter.  Final score in this highly unusual game was Saints 38-Buccaneers 3.  The Saints now take over first place in the NFC South followed by Tampa Bay, Atlanta and Carolina.