Some of the more interesting games this weekend are divisional games as the Indianapolis Colts hit the road to face the Houston Texans on the Sunday Night Football game while the Chicago Bears, without starting quarterback Jay Cutler and starting linebacker Lance Briggs, face the Packers up in Green Bay on Monday Night Football.
The Packers are without most of their starting wide receiver corps, but with the suddenly resurgent running game and QB Aaron Rodgers continuing to be his usual brilliant self, the Packers (5-2) lead the NFC North division at the season's halfway point.
The Colts (5-2) have been rolling all season long while the Texans (2-5) have been one of the league's biggest disappointments so far. A loss at home to Indy would pretty much doom any hopes of another division title for Houston, let alone any real shot to reach the playoffs.
The Cincinnati Bengals (6-2) are in Miami to face the Dolphins (3-4), which has lost four straight games after winning their first three games this season, on the Thursday Night Football game. That is not a divisional match, but if the 'Fins are to get back into the thick of the AFC playoff hunt, they need to get a win in the worst way.
Two teams chasing the Bengals in the AFC North face off this weekend as the Cleveland Browns (3-5) host the Baltimore Ravens (3-4) in what is an important game to help determine position for the wild card chase.
The following capsule style previews look at each game for this weekend, with the Heftyinfo predictions following up.
(Denver, Detroit, Jacksonville, Arizona, NY Giants and San Francisco have the Bye Week.)
Cincinnati (6-2) at Miami (3-4) - Can the Dolphins get a win? Not if the Bengals have anything to say about it.
Kansas City (8-0) at Buffalo (3-5) - The Chiefs better be ready because the Bills are tough at home.
San Diego (4-3) at Washington (2-5) - RG3 and company need to get a win while the Chargers have been riding high so far this season. Should be a close game.
Atlanta (2-5) at Carolina (4-3) - Cam Newton and company are on a roll while the Falcons have stunk it up this year.
Minnesota (1-6) at Dallas (4-4) - The Cowboys are still in shock after blowing late lead in Detroit last week. The Vikings are simply a bad team this year.
Tennessee (3-4) at St. Louis (3-5) - This could be one of the more exciting game around the NFL this week. Both teams are in a MUST WIN situation already.
New Orleans (6-1) at NY Jets (4-4) - The Jets have been on a win-loss pattern through eight games, but the Saints will end that pattern this week.
Tampa Bay (0-7) at Seattle (7-1) - Seahawks . . . ROLL!!!
Philadelphia (3-5) at Oakland (3-4) - The Raiders are playing like they are on a mission of sorts. The Eagles have been grounded in recent weeks.
Pittsburgh (2-5) at New England (6-2) - This had to be a game that fans everywhere were looking forward to ... not so much any more.
Baltimore (3-4) at Cleveland (3-5) - If the Ravens are real Super Bowl title contenders, they better start showing it on the field, where it matters.
Indianapolis (5-2) at Houston (2-5) - What is up with the Texans? The Colts have looked good all season.
Chicago (4-3) at Green Bay (5-2) - The Packers are headed in the right direction while the Bears appear to be headed in the opposite direction.
The Heftyinfo picks for Week Nine . . . . . (Home teams are listed in BOLD; Lock of the Week pick is listed in BOLD CAPS)
Cincinnati over Miami
Kansas City over Buffalo
Washington over San Diego
Carolina over Atlanta
Dallas over Minnesota
Tennessee over St. Louis
New Orleans over NY Jets
SEATTLE over Tampa Bay
Oakland over Philadelphia
New England over Pittsburgh
Baltimore over Cleveland
Houston over Indianapolis
Green Bay over Chicago
Last Week's Record: 11-2
SEASON RECORD: 74-46
Lock of the Week Record: 7-1