By Week 9, the games start to mean a little more. More than half of the NFL season will be over after Monday night's Denver-Pittsburgh game. 30 teams will be done with their bye week. Only four games will remain in most fantasy playoff chases.
This should be the time of year we learn what direction a player is headed in. When the Bengals and Ravens face off Sunday, I'll be watching the quarterbacks especially closely.
Until Carson Palmer
's breakout five score game against the Bears, the Bengals quarterback has been a disappointment. Drafted as a borderline QB1 with the hope for much more, Palmer was instead providing middling value. His late-game heroics piled up wins for the Bengals, but his lack of production and accuracy during the rest of the game was frustrating for owners.
The Bears game changed all that and gave hope Palmer could begin to produce like it was 2006 all over again. The offensive line is right, Cedric Benson
will only get more attention, and the wide receiver group is arguably better than it ever was. (At least when Laveranues Coles
isn't on the field.)
Palmer's adversary Sunday, Joe Flacco
, is one of the football stories of the year. After getting carried by his teammates a year ago, Flacco has returned the favor to become one of the best players in the league. The more pressure in his face, the better throw he seems to make.
Flacco will face a Bengals defense that picked him off twice in Week 5 and limited him to 184 yards. It was Flacco's worst game of the season. If Flacco is the MVP candidate I think he is,
he'll adjust and respond in a rematch.
Week 9 won't tell us all the secrets to come this season. But it will get us closer to the truth, another piece of evidence in figuring out where the season will lead. The exciting part – especially for those fantasy teams on the playoff bubble – is that we're just getting started.Week 9 QuarterbacksNotes:
The notes are taking a one week vacation. No reads Goal Line Stand for the notes anyhow. It's like people reading Playboy for the articles.