Back in 2016, a University of Oklahoma team featuring Baker Mayfield travelled to Lubbock to take on Texas Tech, who had Patrick Mahomes at quarterback. The result was a ludicrous 66-59 to the visitors but the two passers’ statistics were just as video game-esque. Mayfield set a university record with seven touchdowns to go with his 545 yards, while Mahomes attempted an eye-popping 88 passes, completing 52 for 734 yards and five scores. The pair’s combined 1,279 passing yards were the most ever in a college football game.
Cleveland rookie Mayfield and Kansas’s second-year man Mahomes meet for the first time as pros on Sunday on very different trajectories. Mahomes leads the league in passing yards and touchdown passes with his 7-1 Chiefs two wins clear at the top of the AFC West. Mayfield, on the other hand, this week saw first his head coach then his offensive co-ordinator fired with the Browns in the AFC North basement at 2-5-1. If the former Oklahoma passer can repeat the result of their previous head to head that really will be news but expect KC’s roll to continue.
Two quarterbacks of a different vintage – Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers – are a couple of the best to ever don shoulder pads and they face off in primetime on Sunday night. It’ll be the third time they’ve been on opposite sidelines – Rodgers came off the bench in the second quarter to relieve Brett Favre with the Packers 21-0 down in Week 11 of 2006. Brady added two more scores to round out a 35-0 thrashing. Rodgers got his revenge of sorts eight years later, tossing two TD passes as Green Bay inflicted one of only four losses the Patriots would endure on the way to the Super Bowl XLIX title. With a side shorn of safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (traded to Washington this week) and RB/WR Ty Montgomery (to Baltimore), expect Rodgers to be on the losing team this time out.
@HarrisonNFL's Week 9 game picks!
Also busy at the trade deadline were the AFC South-leading Texans, who, having lost wide receiver Will Fuller to injury last Sunday, moved for Denver’s 31-year-old Demaryius Thomas. The wideout, drafted by the Broncos in 2010, gets an instant shot at redemption as his new franchise faces his old one. Expect a heartfelt reaction from the Denver crowd and a win for the visiting Texans.
Fitzmagic’s back! With the Buccaneers 18 points down to Cincinnati and starting quarterback Jameis Winston having thrown his fourth interception, Tampa coach Dirk Koetter summoned The Amish Rifle from the bench last Sunday. The bearded Ryan Fitzpatrick led his side to scores on three of his drives, including a tying touchdown with a minute and five seconds left. The Bengals had a drive of their own left in them, however, and the Bucs were downed 37-34 but Fitzmagic’s heroics saw him named as starter this week. Carolina’s defense is a tougher prospect though so it’ll be a fifth loss on the year for Tampa.
Game of the week takes place in the Superdome, New Orleans, venue of seven previous Super Bowls. In a showdown worthy of the NFL’s showpiece, the 6-1 Saints host the high-flying Rams, undefeated at 8-0. LA were lucky to escape their game against Green Bay with a win last week when the aforementioned Montgomery ignored team orders and fumbled the kickoff return that denied Rodgers a chance to guide his team to victory. New Orleans meanwhile won their sixth straight game with quarterback Drew Brees throwing for his fewest yards since 2006 (120). In the deafening Superdome, the Saints will be the team that finally makes the Rams ‘0’ go.
Chiefs over Browns
Patriots over Packers
Panthers over Buccaneers
Texans over Broncos
Saints over Rams