NFL Week 9 is here, and so far I’m 1-0 with this week’s picks, as the Philadelphia Eagles did exactly what they were supposed to do against the Houston Texans on Thursday Night Football. They didn’t cover the spread, but there was no doubt who the better team was. Let’s take a look at this Sunday’s games.
All lines provided courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
This spread is closer than one would expect. Coming into the season, I assumed the Chargers would be battling for the top spot in the AFC West. But injuries and a few upsets later, they don’t look like the dominant team we expected. Now, the Falcons are actually leading their division and have a reason to play hard. Atlanta has their fan base excited, and that continues this weekend.
Falcons win at home in an upset over the visiting Chargers.
If I’m picking with my heart, the Bears would destroy the Dolphins every time. But in reality, Tua Tagovailoa has been the best quarterback in football this season when healthy. The Dolphins’ defense added some firepower on the defensive line, as Bradley Chubb is looking forward to proving he’s worth the contract extension after the trade.
Dolphins win and cover the spread on the road.
The Bengals don’t have their best weapon on offense, and they were just embarrassed by Cleveland during primetime. The Panthers benched Baker Mayfield in favor of P.J. Walker, and now the offense looks better. I don’t anticipate the Panthers being good enough to win the game, but the spread makes me uneasy after seeing the Bengals struggle to move the ball against the Browns.
I think the Bengals win, but they don’t cover. Hopefully, receiver Ja’Marr Chase finds his way back onto the field sooner rather than later.
There’s no way the Packers lose five games in a row, right? The Lions have been pretty bad themselves, but that’s almost expected coming into the season. The Packers were supposed to be a lot better than their record shows.
Based on quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ reputation alone, I’m picking the Packers to win and cover the spread.
The Jaguars have looked better than their 2-6 record shows, but winning is the name of the game. The Raiders have been disappointing, as well, after trading for arguably the best receiver in football in Davante Adams and adding pass rusher Chandler Jones defensively. Running back Josh Jacobs has been destroying run defenses this season, and I expect that to continue.
Raiders win and cover on the road.
This game was tough for me to pick until I realized the Colts have the recipe cooking for a classic tank job. They have a beat up offensive line, they benched veteran quarterback Matt Ryan, and they seem to prefer trading away talent on their team for additional draft picks. Mac Jones is one week healthier, and the Pats are coming off a big division win. He’ll put the last of the “QB controversy” debates to rest.
The Patriots will make the AFC East more interesting and cover the spread at home.
The Vikings have been pretty good this year. They have a good record at 6-1, and they seemingly have a good handle on their division since the Packers have been struggling. But are they as good as we want to believe? There are big questions surrounding this team, even though their record has them in the conversation as one of the best teams in the league. Taylor Heinicke always provides a spark whenever he’s put into the starting lineup. He inspires his teammates, and he seems to always give the team a chance to win.
I’m going with the upset: Washington will beat Minnesota at home and shake up the power rankings for the Vikings.
The Bills are without their All-Pro safety tandem. But they might get cornerback Tre’Davious White back, and they traded for Dean Marlowe to fill some of the void left by the loss of Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde. This game will come down to offensive performance. Both teams have good defenses. But Zach Wilson has struggled this year against teams other than the Patriots. In five starts, he’s put up three touchdowns to five interceptions. Rookie running back Breece Hall is gone for the year, and James Robinson is a completely different kind of runner. We’ll see if the Jets can hold the Bills’ offense in check and if they can keep up with the No. 1 seed in the conference.
Bills cover this massive spread and win on the road.
DeAndre Hopkins is back, and the Cardinals needed him. Kyler Murray and the rest of the offense looks to have come back to life after being lethargic for the first six games of the season. The Seahawks continue to amaze everyone, with quarterback Geno Smith showing up this season as one of the most accurate passers in the league.
This one will be a close game, but I’ll take the Cardinals at home to win and cover the spread. They’ll make this division fun for the second half of the year.
Defensive tackle Aaron Donald is salivating when he thinks about Tampa Bay’s offensive line. The Bucs have given up 25 sacks this season, and Tom Brady has not been happy about it. Offensively, both teams have struggled. Outside of Cooper Kupp, the Rams can’t generate consistent offense. Brady and his receivers just haven’t been on the same page. Home-field advantage will play a role in this game.
The Buccaneers will win and cover the spread as the Rams will have trouble putting up points.
Tennessee Titans @ Kansas City Chiefs — 8:20 PM ET, NBC
This spread would have made a lot of sense to me if rookie quarterback Malik Willis was starting. But with Ryan Tannehill back in the lineup, and with running back Derrick Henry looking like he did prior to his injuries last season, I don’t see the Chiefs covering the 12.5 points. I do think Patrick Mahomes will still find a way to win this game, maybe even still by double digits. But 10 points is more likely.
Take the Titans to beat the spread, but the Chiefs to win.