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Hate Game: The fierce rivalry between the Steelers and Ravens was plain to see on Sunday night

The NFL is now 9 weeks old and the race for the play-offs is certainly hotting up. 

Its been building up all week and of course the headlines throughout the weekend were going to be all about the Pittsburgh Steelers facing the Baltimore Ravens. 

It may be my highlight game because of its history, but the game of the week certainly goes to the Green Bay Packers and the San Diego Chargers.

If the second half of the regular season is as exciting as the first then we could be in for an epic final run in to the play-offs.

Week 9 Highlight - Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers

The build up was justified on Sunday night as the Baltimore Ravens beat arch rivals  the Pittsburgh Steelers 23-20 in a classic at Heinz Field.

Superbowl XLV runners up the Steelers were left stunned at the death as Joe Flacco's final throw of the game found Torrey Smith to put the Ravens onto 6-2 and leave the Steelers a place below them on 6-3.

He let a definite touchdown slip through his hands a little earlier in the drive, but his hands stuck to the final one from Flacco to complete an impressive 92-yard drive.

Flacco finished with 298 passing yards opposed to Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger's 330 yards but Big Ben would not be the one laughing at the end. The Ravens complete a season double over the Steelers for the first time since 2006.

Round Up of Week 9
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Lift off: Jets look to be finally in flight after a struggling first half

New York Jets 21 Buffalo Bills 11
Jets made it 3 wins a row at the Bills with Mark Sanchez finding his form throwing one touchdown for 230 yards and with a 71% pass completion. The Jets are now settling in this year after a shaky first half of the season.

Seattle Seahawks 13 Dallas Cowboys 23
Tony Romo turned the game on its head after a poor first half display, throwing two touchdowns to bring the Cowboys from behind to claim victory over the Seahawks.

Cleveland Browns 12 Houston Texans 30
Another good day on the ground for Houston as running-back Arian Foster put on another explosive display for the Texans rushing for 124 yards who alongside fellow running-back Ben Tate (115 rushing yards) ran for a touchdown each to seal victory.

Atlanta Falcons 31 Indianapolis Colts 7
The Colts lost yet again and you cant say you're surprised now. The Super Bowl runners up from 2010 looking like a mere shadow of their former selves. Atlanta's rookie wide receiver Julio Jones caught two touchdown passes in the Falcons third consecutive game.

Miami Dolphins 31 Kansas City Chiefs 3
Former Superbowl Champion Reggie Bush finally arrived and looked to be back at his best rushing for 92 yards with a touchdown. Summer signing Matt Moore came in for the injured Chad Henne to put on a star-man performance throwing three touchdowns for 244 yards. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16 New Orleans Saints 27 
Drew Brees and Co. made sure they weren't to be upset again, and especially not in their own back yard. Brees threw for 258 yards and two touchdowns with a running back rushing total yardage of 195 yards.

San Francisco 49ers 19 Washington Redskins 11
The 49ers have now gone six-games unbeaten with Frank Gore rushing for 107 yards and the most formidable defence in the league kept the redskins at bay to improve to 7-1 for the season. 

Denver Broncos 38 Oakland Raiders 24 
Tim Tebow went from zero to hero this week as he single handedly won the game for the broncos with a helping hand help from running-back Willis McGahee (163 rushing yards). The quarterback's fame keeps rising with every appearance and he stole the show throwing two touchdowns for 124 yards and ran for a further 118 yards to prove that he's is one of the most athletic quarterbacks I have ever seen.

Cincinnati Bengals 24 Tennessee Titans 17
Rookie Quarterback Andy Dalton continues to impress as he threw for three touchdowns for 217 yards as the Bengals came from behind to steal victory in Tennessee. 

St Louis Rams 13 Arizona Cardinals 19 (Overtime)
After last weeks stunning victory over the Saints, the Rams could be excused for getting too excited; as a St Louis fan I may have got a little excited myself. But it was the Cardinals who would pick up a stunning victory after a sensational 99-yard punt return from rookie Patrick Peterson in Overtime to make me a very unhappy man.

New York Giants 24 New England Patriots 20 
There was an element of unfortunate deja vu for Patriots fans; Eli Manning late touchdown throw claims victory for the Giants. In the rematch from Superbowl 42, Manning found Jake Ballard with only 15 seconds remaining to get a comeback victory to recreate the 2008 game in Arizona.

Game of the Week - Green Bay Packers 45 San Diego Chargers 38
In one of the games of the season, the Packers were able to hang on after a late onslaught from the Chargers. The hosts could not handle Aaron Rodgers for pretty much the whole game with the Packers QB continuing his superhero status in the NFL throwing for 80% pass completion with four touchdowns and 247 yards. His opposite number in Philip Rivers gave a help to the unbeaten Green Bay throwing three interceptions, despite throwing for a mighty 385 yards and four touchdowns. Will the Pack-men be beaten? I don't think so. 

Monday Night Football -  Chicago Bears 30 Philadelphia Eagles 24
The Eagles yet again failed to hold on to a fourth quarter lead as Jay Cutler rallied his side to victory with two touchdowns for 208 yards on Monday Night.

Players of the Week

Mark Sanchez (Jets), Tony Romo (Cowboys), Arian Foster (Texans), Ben Tate (Texans), Julio Jones (Falcons), Matt Moore (Dolphins), Frank Gore (49ers), Tim Tebow (Broncos), Willis McGahee (Broncos), Andy Dalton (Bengals), Patrick Peterson (Cardinals), Eli Manning (Giants), Aaron Rodgers (Packers) Jay Cutler (Bears), Jordy Nelson (Packers), Vincent Jackson (Chargers), Philip Rivers (Chargers)


Winner of the Week -  Aaron Rodgers, Quarter Back (Green Bay Packers)

What else can I say about this man? Awesome. Truly awesome. He never fails to entertain and you cant point out a single fault about his game at the moment. His robotic nature is becoming annoying to some people and the team is becoming 'The New Patriots'. This in my opinion is insulting, the Packers are better. The Patriots had a little bit of luck that unbeaten season and yes Tom Brady was heroic. But not only is Rodgers the best quarterback in the league but he has a team who could make a complete pro bowl roster if they could. Rodgers is immense, and if this train doesn't stop. Superbowl XLVI Champions come February I'm afraid. 

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He isn't the MANning: Painter still in the shadow of injured Peyton

Loser of the Week - Curtis Painter, Quarterback     (Indianapolis Colts)

Am I being unfair? Does he have enough on his plate? Maybe, but Painter has been given an opportunity of a career with the fact that Peyton Manning, a player that never missed games, ended up being out for a season. But what has he done with this chance? Completely mess it up. Painter struggles to hit 100 yards passing and if he does its either luck or he's stumbled to the line.  



Its scary to think that it was only last year that they were at the tip of everybody's tongue. Face it Curtis, Andrew Luck is coming and whether Manning is a Colt or not next year, you certainly wont be starting.

 


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