NFL Week 9 Preview
Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars (Jacksonville -1 ½)
In this AFC South battle, the Texans enter coming off a 27-24 win against the Raiders. They are 5-3 on the season and 2-2 on the road. Jacksonville is looking to get above the .500 mark with their third straight win and are 2-2 at home. Both teams are excellent defensively, but the Texans will be hurt significantly without J.J. Watt, who is out for the season with a torn pectoral muscle. In a low scoring game, go with the Jaguars at home.
Washington Redskins at Buffalo Bills (Buffalo –9 ½)
The Bills are coming off a 31-13 loss to the Eagles at home and although are 5-2, their wins have come against opponents with a combined record of 7-31. Good news for them is they face the dreadful 1-7 Redskins, who have been outscored 195-99. The Bills aren’t as good as their record indicates, but can only play who is on their schedule. Look for another easy win and cover for the Bills to move to 6-2 on the season.
Tennessee Titans at Carolina Panthers (Carolina – 3 ½)
The Titans are in a four-way tussle in the AFC South with a 4-4 record. Carolina’s four-game winning streak was snapped in a big way in their last game, a 51-13 loss to the 49ers. The Panthers are struggling to put points on the board and face a Tennessee defense that has allowed an average of only 16.9 points per game. In addition, the Panthers have been poor at home, just 1-2 so far this season. Look for the Titans to stay hot and pull off the upset victory.
Chicago Bears at Philadelphia Eagles (Philadelphia – 5)
The Eagles got a much-needed win last week against the Bills after being dismantled on the road against the Vikings and Cowboys. Chicago has lost three straight and although are giving up a stingy 17.4 points per game, their offensive woes are real. Philadelphia may have found their blueprint to success, pounding the ball on the ground for over 200 yards against Buffalo. If the Eagles keep the turnovers to a minimum, they should head into the bye week at 5-4. Go with the Eagles to win and cover.
Minnesota Vikings at Kansas City Chiefs (Kansas City – 2)
Minnesota is on a four-game roll and sit at 6-2 on the season. They face a Kansas City team that Is 6-3 and uncharacteristically poor at home, winning just one of four so far this season. Patrick Mahomes was a limited practice participant on Wednesday and the gut feeling is he will still not be ready to return to action this week. The Vikings have enough firepower on offense and a stifling defense against backup quarterback Matt Moore to pull off an upset. The Chiefs home woes will continue and the Vikings will emerge from this one as a top contender in the NFC.
N.Y. Jets at Miami Dolphins (N.Y. Jets – 3)
This game features two of the worst teams in the NFL. Miami has been outscored 238-77 and the Jets have been outscored 185-78. Although the Jets are bad, they have one player in quarterback Sam Darnold who is capable to making plays, as he did in their lone win over Dallas. It’s hard to determine if this will be a high scoring game, given both defenses are quite poor or low scoring due to the ineptitude on the offensive side of the ball. Miami had an early 14-0 lead against the Steelers last week and blew it. That might have been their best chance all season to win a game. The Jets will win and cover.
Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh Steelers (Indianapolis – 1)
Pittsburgh bounced back from a two-touchdown deficit against the lowly Dolphins to avoid a 2-5 start. They are 2-2 at home and face a Colts team that is first in the AFC South at 5-2. Indianapolis has also been solid on the road and on a three-game winning streak. The matchup is very even with both teams very solid on defense and questionable and inconsistent offensively. Really a toss-up of a game, this pick Is strictly a home field advantage game. Since the Colts are at home, go with them for a win in a game decided by a field goal.
Detroit Lions at Oakland Raiders (Oakland – 2)
The Lions need a win to stay within distance of the Packers and Vikings in the NFC North. Oakland has lost their last two after a 3-2 start. The biggest issue for the Raiders has been putting points on the board, averaging less than 20 per game. Although the Lions aren’t a force on offense, they have enough weapons with quarterback Matthew Stafford at the helm against the Raiders who are giving up nearly 24 points per game. In an upset, the Lions will come out of Oakland with a win to improve to 4-3-1 on the season.
Tampa Bay Bucs at Seattle Seahawks (Seattle – 6)
After a home loss to the Ravens two weeks ago by a 30-16 score, the Seahawks got back on track with a 27-20 road win over the Falcons. At 6-2 they are one of the top teams in the NFC. On the flip side, the Buccaneers can’t get out of their own way right now, losers of three straight and 2-5 on the season. Interestingly enough, the Bucs are better on the road than at home and Seattle is 4-0 on the road and just 2-2 at home. Seattle doesn’t possess the defense it did during their years of dominance, but Russell Wilson is making enough plays to compensate. He will do more than that against a Tampa Bay defense that has been scorched for over 30 points per game. Seattle will win and cover.
Cleveland Browns at Denver Broncos (Cleveland – 3 ½)
After a solid 2-2 start, the Browns have dropped their last three. Surprisingly, they have been decent on the road at 2-2 and face the Broncos, who are also having serious issues. At 2-6, Denver has lost their last two and are just 1-3 at home, typically a tough place for opponents to play. There’s no secret that both teams have had issues putting points on the board. Therefore, this game will come down to which team is stronger defensively. The Browns are giving up nearly 26 points per game and won’t have enough on the road to overcome their offensive woes. Denver will cover the spread and outright win at home.
Green Bay at Los Angeles Chargers (Green Bay – 3 ½)
It’s becoming abundantly clear that the Packers are really starting to be a cohesive unit under new head coach Matt LaFleur. They have won four straight and scored over 30 in three of those contests. The Chargers are 3-5 on the season, averaging under 20 per game and just 1-3 at home. Their defense has kept them in most games, but it’s difficult to envision the Chargers putting up enough points against an overall solid Green Bay defensive unit. The Packers will win and cover.
New England Patriots at Baltimore Ravens (New England – 3 ½)
Once again the Patriots are the cream of the crop in the NFL. The dominance week in and week out has been amazing, despite the fact they are playing in a poor AFC East. The Patriots are averaging over 30 per game and allowing under eight. Baltimore is no slouch of a team and are 5-2 for the season, averaging 30 and allowing a little more than 20. Despite playing at home, it’s too difficult to pick against the Patriots at this point, seemingly always finding a way to get it done. New England will move to 9-0 and cover.
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants (Dallas – 7)
The Cowboys looked terrible in their loss to the Jets and world beaters in their win over the Eagles. So which Dallas team shows up in this one? Against the Giants, it likely won’t matter. Rookie quarterback Daniel Jones shows promise, but he’s raw and the only real threat is running back Saquon Barkley. However, if Dallas jumps out early, that will force the Giants to abandon the run, taking away their biggest star. Since this is a divisional rivalry game in New York, expect the Giants to keep it competitive. Dallas will win but pick the Giants to cover.