The first football weekend of November featured salivating matchups, division foes facing off in key races, and a historical showdown of two of the game’s best to ever play.
Here are the Week 9 winners and losers:
Tom Brady: He lost the first matchup against Aaron Rodgers in 2014, but he comfortably took the second, as the Patriots beat the Packers, 31-17, in a showdown that didn’t quite live up to the hype. Still, it was a victory in which his connection with receiver Josh Gordon (five catches for 130 yards and one score) took the next step. That Brady and the offense clicked despite not having tight end Rob Gronkowski, running back Sony Michel and guard Shaq Mason showed that New England is steadily improving as the year wears on. In fact, with the game tied at 17 after three quarters, Brady posted a perfect passer rating of 158.3 in the fourth quarter on 6-of-6 passing for 104 yards and one touchdown. Now, the Pats are 7-2 and keeping pace with the AFC-leading 8-1 Chiefs.
New Orleans Saints: A masterful five-for-five day in the red zone sparked the Saints to a massive 45-35 victory against the previously undefeated Rams. Running back Alvin Kamara tied a career high in touchdowns (three) before halftime. Drew Brees was surgical. New Orleans’ defense stepped up and its offense — behind Brees, Kamara, receiver Michael Thomas and coach Sean Payton’s innovative play calling — might be the most dangerous in the league. This game could very well be a tiebreaker that determines home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. And in the Superdome, the Saints are close to unstoppable.
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