NFL Week 9: Picks & Predictions

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I finally got back in the win column for Thursday after back-to-back losses thanks to the Colts’ 45-30 win over the Jets. I took what I thought was the easy over at 45-pts and that wound up being true, but I didn’t expect these teams to combine for 75-points.

Nyheim Hines pooped a 34-yard TD run and still had energy for the backflip

I took the Jets to cover 10-points and they just might have had Mike White not injured his throwing arm on the early touchdown drive that tied the game at 7-7. Once White got hurt, the Colts spent the rest of the first half pulling away with a dominant ground game to take a 28-10 lead in the half. By the end of the game, Indy had piled up 260-yards rushing and 172 of those came courtesy of Jonathan Taylor.

It’s the Jonathan Taylor show in Indy and he’s proving himself as an elite NFL back

It was 42-10 in the 4th quarter when the Colts took their foot off the gas and the Jets sort of clawed their way back into it with 14-points in the 4th quarter. Josh Johnson is technically the Jets’ 3rd or 4th QB depending on where you slot Joe Flacco into the equation, but he acquitted himself well once the pressure dissipated.

Credit to the Jets for not packing it in when they were out of it, but the better team put on a clinic early and mostly coasted to victory. With that one out of the way, let’s get into the rest of the games on deck in Week 9.

(+205) Texans at (-250) Dolphins (-5.5, o/u 46.5)

You couldn’t get a less interesting or less meaningful matchup in Week 9 as the (1-7) Texans take on the (1-7) Dolphins in Miami. This game has no playoff implications, so there’s nothing on the line but pride and that could make for an entertaining game. Tyrod Taylor finally comes back at QB for the Texans which should give them a boost. but it’s still tough to tell which team is better. They’ve both had very difficult schedules so far which helps explain the records and both teams are winless since Week 1. Favoring the Fins by 5.5-points seems very generous, especially when the best we’ve seen of the Texans is better than the best we’ve seen of them.

Pick: Texans | Vs Spread: Texans +5.5 | O/U: Over 46.5

(+360) Broncos at (-475) Cowboys (-10, o/u 49.5)

The Broncos finally ended their 4-game skid and, as a reward, they get to take on one of the best teams in the league in the Cowboys. Dak is back for this one and they showed last week on the road against the Vikings that their team is well rounded enough to get the job done even without their starting QB. Denver just traded away their franchise player for basically nothing, so that’s a sign that they’re going nowhere fast. At 4-4, the Broncos aren’t completely out of it but they are the weakest link in their own division and it seems like they know it.

Pick: Cowboys | Vs Spread: Cowboys -10 | O/U: Under 49.5

(+220) Vikings at (-270) Ravens (-6, o/u 50)

It could be a great game or a clunker between these two

Picking Vikings games has become one of the things I enjoy least about this season. They are the kind of team to lose the games they’re supposed to win and vice versa. That means they could be in for an upset here, but is Baltimore coming off a loss and the bye week so I suspect they are very ready. Despite good QB play from Kirk Cousins, the Vikes only have 3 wins to show for it and that’s because their offense doesn’t produce against good defenses. However, this isn’t the Ravens’ defense of the past. Oddly though, the Ravens’ offensive leaders have been more productive than Minny’s. Lamar Jackson has more rushing yards than Dalvin Cook, only 10 fewer yards than Cousins on 40 fewer completions, and Hollywood Brown has more receiving yards and TDs than Justin Jefferson. With the defenses being fairly even BAL has a slight edge on offense and the best player on the field, plus they are at home. If the Vikes play up to their capabilities they’ll be in the game. So, that means the Vikings will probably win.

Pick: Ravens | Vs Spread: Vikings +6 | O/U: Over 50

(-180) Patriots at (+155) Panthers (+3.5, o/u 41)

Christian McCaffrey is due back for the Panthers in Carolina, but it looks like that hasn’t moved the needle for the oddsmakers who still favor the Patriots. That says a lot about what the Pats have done over the last month of the season. Sam Darnold cleared concussion protocol for Carolina but the last thing he wants to see coming back is the Patriots. He hasn’t been playing well lately and he’s 0-3 vs New England with 1-TD and 6-INTs and 2-fumbles lost in his career. Mac Jones is playing the position better right now for NE, but he’s still a rookie. Carolina statistically has the better defense but the Pats have closed the gap this last month so we’ll see what impact McCaffrey’s return has on that. Speaking of defense, Stephon Gilmore will get a crack at his old team when the Patriots’ offense takes the field so that’s a nice little subplot to keep an eye on. I have to roll with the Pats based on how they’ve played lately, but the Panthers could get a big left getting their franchise player back.

Pick: Patriots | Vs Spread: Pats -3.5| O/U: Over 41

(-1100) Bills at (+700) Jaguars (+14.5, o/u 48.5)

There isn’t too much to say about this one. The Jaguars’ only win of the season came two weeks ago against a team the Bills have already beaten twice by a combined score of 61-11. Jacksonville also just got beat 31-7 by a Seahawks team that has one of the worst defenses in the league and their star RB James Robinson got injured. Maybe the Jags pull off some crazy surprise, but there’s nothing to make me think that. Bills by a Billion.

Pick: Bills | Vs Spread: Bills -14.5 | O/U: Under 48.5

(+115) Browns at (-135) Bengals (-2.5, o/u 47)

This is an important game in the AFC North as the (4-4) Browns look to pick up a key game against their divisional and inter-state rivals the (5-3) Bengals. Both teams took Ls last time out but Cincy losing to the Jets is concerning. Cleveland didn’t look good in a 15-10 loss to the Steelers, but their defense showed up. And the story of this matchup, Cleveland’s defense vs Cincy’s offense. The Browns have the most dominant run game in the league but their passing attack has only mustered 7-TDs…a big part of the reason they are 4-4. Both teams have pretty stout run defenses but Cincy has more way to score. Aside from the Chargers game Baker Mayfield hasn’t led the offense to do much over the last month scoring 7,14, & 10 in his three other starts. This was already a close matchup last season when these teams met and Cincy got better while it appears Cleveland got worse. I gotta go Bengals, but maybe the Browns can get it done with a defense and ball control approach

Pick: Bengals | Vs Spread: Bengals -2.5| O/U: Over 47

(-170) Raiders at (+145) Giants (+3, o/u 46.5)

The Raiders organization continues to go through serious off-the-field issues and their bye week should have been a respite. Their No. 1 wide receiver Henry Ruggs III is gone after a felony DUI resulted in someone’s death and CB Damon Arnette is on the chopping block after a video surfaced of him threatening someone with a gun. The proverbial shit has hit the fan in Vegas and it’s hard to think that they can just continue to have their heads in the right place this week. Additionally, they have to go play the morning game at the Meadowlands against a Giants team that’s better than their record indicates. The G-Men narrowly lost to the Chiefs last Monday night and they showed they can take away the tight end position and make life difficult. Life is bigger than football and I think it’s just too much for the Raiders this week.

Pick: Giants | Vs Spread: Giants +3 | O/U: Under 46.5

(+235) Falcons at (-290) Saints (-6.5, o/u 42)

You all know my disdain for the Falcons by now and the Saints just showed us what they are capable of against the Bucs last week, and they did that without their starting QB. It remains to be seen if Trevor Siemian is the guy, but Taysom Hill is back and will be involved in the offense. Plus, Mark Ingram II and Alvin Kamara are reunited in the backfield and that should be enough to dispatch an Atlanta team that doesn’t have much firepower. If New Orleans can just contain ATL tight end Kyle Pitts a little bit, they should dominate with defense and power football.

Pick: Saints | Vs Spread: Saints -6.5| O/U: Over 42

(-130) Chargers at (+110) Eagles (+1.5, o/u 49.5)

A couple of weeks ago, this would have been a fairly easy decision but the Chargers’ recent stumbles have muddied the waters. The Eagles have shown that they aren’t exactly a good team yet and I can’t stand watching their janky offense operate. However, they manage to start figuring it out at some point late in games and Jalen Hurts is a dangerous playmaker. Mike Williams has nearly vanished from the Bolts’ offense over the past month but he’s still their leading receiver and they have to get him involved. The Eags are going up against the league’s worst rush defense but their run game is a mess despite a plethora of short-yardage TDs last week. These teams are very similar in their rankings but, in a close matchup, I have to take the Chargers.

Pick: Chargers | Vs Spread: Chargers -1.5| O/U: Over 49.5

(+280) Packers at (-350) Chiefs (-7.5, 48)

Time to see what Jordan Love can do in a massive spot vs Patrick Mahomes

This was supposed to be a monster of a game but, with Aaron Rodgers sitting this one out with Covid, that’s not how the cookie crumbles this week. The Packers can still find a road to victory with a dominant ground game, much like we saw when they were underdogs against the Cardinals. However, even without their two best receivers in that one, they still had Rodgers. Jordan Love steps in to fill that void but he’s thrown 7 passes as a pro and he’s got Patrick Mahomes and a desperate Chiefs team to contend with. While Kansas City clearly isn’t the same team we’ve seen the last couple of years, they are desperate. It’s a must-win for KC, but not for Green Bay.

Pick: Chiefs | Vs Spread: Packers +7.5| O/U: Over 48

(+145) Cardinals at (-170) 49ers (-3, 45.5)

What started as a pick ’em game has moved to see the Niners as reasonably big favorites. That’s because of the injury situation regarding Cardinals’ QB and WR dynamic duo, Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins. Both their injuries are mobility-related and that’s not good for their style of play. Neither guy has practiced this week, so that’s what moved the line and A.J. Green is out too. Plus, the absence of J.J. Watt on the defense was seen loud and clear on national TV last week. It may not be worth it for AZ to force those guys out there this week given their current standing and the 49ers desperately need this game. It’ll come down to who plays and who doesn’t but, until further notice, I have to go Niners.

Pick: 49ers| Vs Spread: 49ers -3 | O/U: Under 45.5

(+300) Titans at (-380) Rams (-7.5, 53.5)

This is another game that was destined for big things, but some of that air was let out of the sails when Derrick Henry was lost for the regular season. Adrian Peterson got the call and will probably get a reasonable workload, but this isn’t the game to start him. Some good news for the Titans is that Julio Jones is back, but A.J. Brown is questionable. These guys have hardly played together and without Henry to force the Rams to stack the box, getting one-on-ones against this defense is going to be a tall order. I would have liked to see these teams square off at full strength or at least somewhat close to it but, as is, the Rams seem like a fairly straightforward favorite at home on Sunday night.

Pick: Rams| Vs Spread: Rams -7.5 | O/U: Under 53.5

(+230) Bears at (-280) Steelers (-6.5, 40)

The Steelers have gotten themselves back on track while the Bears have begun to come off the rails. Pittsburgh has won three in a row while Chicago has lost three in a row and it looks like both of those streaks will continue. Khalil Mack is out again for the Bears and so is backup RB Damien Williams while DB Eddie Jackson is doubtful. Matt Nagy is trying to hang onto his job here but I have no idea what he wants to do with the QB situation and I don’t think he does either. The Steeler’s defense is going to be too much in this one so, even though they don’t score that much, they should be in control.

Pick: Steelers | Vs Spread: Steelers -6.5 | O/U: Under 40

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