As the leaves continue to fall and the weather turns distinctly colder, our attention starts to drift towards the NFL play-offs run as we dream of our team making it to the post-season dance. If your team is in the middle of the pack at the moment, fear not - they could make a run at the right time of the year and reach the play-offs. This time last year, Washington, Kansas City, Houston, Pittsburgh and Seattle did not have winning records yet all of them made the play-offs.Which leads me to the first of the six headlines that caught my eye in NFL Week 9. Expect the unexpectedIf the 2016 NFL season has taught us anything through its first nine weeks, it would be to expect the unexpected. Just look at how the fortunes of several teams have fluctuated over the first half of this season. A collection of fails, funnies and odd moments from Week Nine Minnesota were the darlings of the league at 5-0 but have since lost three in a row, New Orleans started 0-3 but have evened up their record at 4-4, the New York Giants have won three in a row, Miami have fought back from 1-4 to 4-4 with three consecutive victories and Pittsburgh, who were once in control of the AFC North at 4-1, are now tied at the top with Baltimore at 4-4 after dropping their last three.There are plenty of other examples of teams either turning things around or hitting the skids. Philadelphia have lost four of their last five, Detroit are back in the division race in the NFC North with a 5-4 mark - and can we rule Carolina out after they improved to 3-5 with a win in Los Angeles on Sunday night?Super Stafford does the businessThe Detroit Lions have trailed in the fourth quarter of every game this season yet they have a winning record of 5-4 and quarterback Matthew Stafford is a big reason for their dramatic successes this term. Highlights of the Detroit Lions win over the Minnesota Vikings And they dont come much more dramatic than Sundays 22-16 overtime win over Minnesota. Stafford just never knows when he is beaten and was undaunted when the Vikings took a 16-13 lead with 23 seconds left, even though the Lions were without a time-out.Stafford hit Andre Roberts on a 27-yard connection and raced to the line to spike the ball and stop the clock with two seconds remaining. Matt Prater kicked a monster 58-yard field goal that would have been good from 68 and Stafford fired the overtime winner 28 yards to Golden Tate to secure an improbable victory.But improbable victories are nothing new for Stafford and when a quarterback performs like that, the belief is infectious. You can see how the Lions, like their offensive leader, never quite know when they are done and certainly dont have any quit in them.Jay rumbles onA third straight 200-yard rushing day at the office was unlikely for British-born running back Jay Ajayi given that the Miami Dolphins were facing the leagues top-ranked run defence in the New York Jets. Highlights of the Miami Dolphins win over the New York Jets But Jay - who was born in London and also lived in Essex before moving to the United States - more than played his part once again as Miami recorded a 27-23 win. Ajayi rushed for 111 yards and one touchdown on 24 carries and the Dolphins seem intent on building their attack around him.The powerhouse rusher gives his team an emotional and energetic jolt every time he touches the football and his late first down runs allowed Miami to ice a hard-fought contest and escape with the win.Eagles miss their chanceThere is a fine line between winning and losing in the NFL and the Philadelphia Eagles discovered that in painful fashion on Sunday as they fell to a 28-23 defeat against the New York Giants.Eagles head coach Doug Pederson twice rolled the dice and went for it on fourth-and-short when field goals were available. The issue I have is not with going for it as Pederson did, but in the plays he called in those crucial moments. Highlights of the New York Giants win over the Philadelphia Eagles The first failure saw quarterback Carson Wentz trapped in the backfield on a read-option run and the second saw a run into the line on fourth-and-one from arguably the smallest player on the field in Darren Sproles.That failure was especially painful for the Eagles as it came just moments after Sproles was inches away from a huge punt return touchdown. He was pushed out of bounds in desperate fashion by the diving Keenan Robinson, saving seven points for the Giants.The Eagles also had a field goal blocked and still almost won the game late on, which was remarkable when you consider how many points they left on the field in a close contest.Niners embarrass themselvesThe San Francisco 49ers squad continues to tarnish the good name of one of the most successful franchises in NFL history.Colin Kaepernick threw for close to 400 yards but dont be fooled into thinking he is the heir apparent to Joe Montana and Steve Young - he still threw some terrible passes, including an ill-advised interception that set up one of several touchdowns in a 41-23 victory for New Orleans. Highlights of the New Orleans Saints win over the San Francisco 49ers But dont be fooled into thinking Kaepernick is the main problem in San Francisco. He is not, and although he is inconsistent and frustrating at times, it looks like he can do enough to get this team competitive, providing he has help from the defence.Unfortunately, this 49ers defence couldnt tackle a crossword and is truly terrible. The Niners came into this game allowing an NFL-worst 185 rushing yards per game and the Saints rumbled all over them to the tune of 248 yards on the ground. Mark Ingram rushed for 158 yards and a touchdown, becoming the seventh 100-yard rusher to face the 49ers in as many games.Raiders for realIm going to ignore my own warning at the top of this column about how quickly things can change in the NFL by telling you that I think the Oakland Raiders are for real and ready to last the course of the season in the AFC.That was a statement win on Sunday Night Football as the silver and black recorded a 30-20 victory over the Denver Broncos in a fight for top spot in the AFC West. What I liked most about the win was that the previously pass-happy Raiders got physical with the best defence in the game. Highlights of the Oakland Raiders win over the Denver Broncos Latavius Murray ran hard and effectively behind one of the better offensive lines in the NFL, which featured another Brit in right tackle Menelik Watson. Murrays 114-yard, three-touchdown display showed there is more to this team than an MVP candidate at quarterback in Derek Carr.With that kind of performance available on the ground, an outstanding quarterback at the helm and a 5-0 record on the road thus far, the Raiders could travel anywhere in the play-offs and be considered genuine contenders. For now! Also See: NFL week nine highlights RESULT: Week 10 game choice WATCH: Sunday Blitz Latest standings China Jerseys Stitched . - The Toronto Blue Jays have optioned pitchers Kyle Drabek, Chad Jenkins and Sean Nolin to triple-A Buffalo. Cheap Jerseys From China .C. 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Zimmermann left Friday nights start against Philadelphia after 3 1-3 innings becaause of a right biceps injury.dddddddddddd Alvarez, a first-time All-Star, is 6-4 with a 2.63 ERA and three shutouts in19 starts. He pitched a no-hitter against Detroit on the final day of the 2013 regular season. The roster change was announced Saturday. ' ' '