Sports

NFL: Week 9 Picks Against the Spread

Drew Brees

Last week was another exercise in treading water. A 7-7 mark puts the season record at 62-54-5 against the spread. This week’s slate is a bit light with six teams on a bye. Picks are bolded, outright upsets have an asterisk, and all spreads are from rtsports.com at the time of writing.

Thursday:
*Raiders at 49ers (-3)- A pair of single win teams will do battle in an underwhelming start to this week’s action. The Raiders have shown the ability to score somewhat consistently this year. They have put up 26+ points three times this season. Outscoring a 49ers team that will be led by either a banged up C.J. Beathard or a totally unknown Nick Mullens may not even require that many points. Oak 21 SF 13

Sunday:
*Falcons at Redskins (-1.5)- Hold off on buying Washington for one more week. Atlanta is off a bye and the one thing we know they can do is score on any defense in the league, even ones that are playing well like the Redskins right now. This will be a shootout, the one situation we have not seen the Redskins in. They are not really a big play offense. So, this will be a tough one for them. Atl 31 Was 28

Bills at Bears (-10)- The Bears rank top 10 in total defense and the Bills appear to be circling back to Nathan Peterman at starting quarterback again this week due to injuries. This will be ugly. Chi 27 Buf 10

Lions at Vikings (-4.5)- These two teams were the biggest disappointments of last week, but both are still very relevant in a crowded NFC North race. However, the Vikings are at home and now have a clear edge on the perimeter with Golden Tate exiting Detroit. Min 27 Det 17

Chiefs (-9) at Browns- Despite completely obliterating the coaching staff this week, the Browns have been competitive in almost every game this year, including two wins. The offense is not terrible. They won’t score enough to beat the Chiefs but should be able to cover this number against a Kansas City defense that has given up 23+ points in all but two outings this year. KC 38 Cle 30

Kenyan Drake
Photo: USA Today

Jets at Dolphins (-3)- Brock Osweiler and Sam Darnold are both average NFL quarterbacks at this point in time. Osweiler is playing at home and the Dolphins are healthier at the skill positions. Kenyan Drake snap count is still not what it should be, but he has been lightning in a bottle the last two weeks. That element will be the difference here. Mia 26 Nyj 20

*Steelers at Ravens (-3)- This line makes no sense. The Ravens have lost three out of four since beating Pittsburgh in their first matchup of the year. On the other side, the Steelers have not lost since that game and James Connor is making everyone forget about Le’Veon Bell. Games featuring two teams going in opposite directions are the simplest to pick. Pit 28 Bal 21

Bucs at Panthers (-6.5)- The return of “Fitzmagic” makes this pick a little flimsy, but Carolina might be the most underrated team in the league. They have been underdogs the last two weeks and won outright, including thumping Baltimore last week. The Panthers are rolling right now and will remain that way as long as Cam Newton is completing anywhere close to 66% of his throws. Car 33 TB 21

Texans at Broncos (-1)- It will be odd to see Demaryius Thomas on the opposing sideline at Mile High. The only word to describe Houston this year is streaky. Both teams have been in a lot of tight games, but Denver is more battle-tested in the last month and playing at home. Even though the Broncos are 3-5, the Jets are the only team that has blown them out. This will be a close one and it has been a while since the Texans have been in that situation. It is tough to say how they will react. Den 27 Hou 24

Chargers at Seahawks (-1.5)- The Chargers might be a very good team and prove this pick to be stupid, but a four-game win streak against the Browns, Titans, 49ers, and Raiders doesn’t tell us a whole lot about this team. Going on the road to deal with a hot Seattle team that has found a running game feels like too tall an order. Sea 27 Lac 23

Rams at Saints (-2)- An 8-0 undefeated team as an underdog might be a first. Simply put, from quarterback to kicker, these rosters are both Super Bowl worthy. With a combined record of 14-1, there is not much between these teams. The difference will be the Saints being at home. If you only watch one game this week, make it this one. NO 38 Lar 35

Packers at Patriots (-5.5)- The slow death of Mike McCarthy in Green Bay enters its second chapter this week. Much like last week against the Rams, Aaron Rodgers alone is not good enough to beat good teams anymore, the Patriots certainly qualify. McCarthy’s team will have at least six losses headed into December when they get done with this month. That is unacceptable in Packers’ land. As he has done throughout his career, Rodgers will escape all blame, which means McCarthy will be gone. NE 31 GB 21

MNF:
Titans at Cowboys (-6.5)- Both streaky teams are coming off byes, but this is just a bad matchup for the Titans. Tennessee has not scored over 20 points in a non-overtime game this year and Dallas leads the NFL in total defense. Dal 28 Ten 14

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