Last week was another strong week for the man behind the curtain making the picks at 10-4 straight up, but once more wasn’t quite the same against the spread at an even .500 going 7-7. Week 9 has a couple marquee games on the slate including the 8-0 Rams traveling to New Orleans to take on the red-hot Saints and Tom Brady vs. Aaron Rodgers in a Sunday Night showdown.
Time to dive right in. All lines courtesy of Bovada in Las Vegas.
Thursday Night Football: Oakland Raiders (1-6) at San Francisco 49ers (1-7): OAK +3 Confidence: 7
Kyle Shanahan has been tested in year two. He’s trying to get this team to buy-in, but just doesn’t have the talent on his team to compete week-in and week-out. His starter is done for the year, and his backup may not play this week with a wrist injury leaving something named Nick Mullens to start. I don’t care how bad the Raiders are, if Jon Gruden and Derek Carr lose this game on Thursday Night to a third string QB off the street and a bad football team, this team isn’t winning another game all season. Oakland wins and covers.
Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2-1) at Baltimore Ravens (4-4): BAL -3 Confidence: 7
The Ravens, just a few weeks back looked like one of the most complete teams in the league from top-to-bottom. Now back-to-back losses to NFC South teams have them reeling, especially the beat-down they took in Carolina last Sunday. This will be a hard-fought rivalry game, but I’ll take John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco to win at home and cover against the Steelers still without Le’Veon Bell.
Chicago Bears (4-3) at Buffalo Bills (2-6): CHI -10 Confidence: 8
The Bears have a fantastic defense, good offense and young head coach who appears to have a clue. Oh and they’re traveling to Buffalo to take on a putrid Bills offense that will feature Nathan Peterman. 10 points is a lot to swallow, but I bet the Bears defense creates more than that off turnovers from Peterman. Bears in a rout.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4) at Carolina Panthers (5-2): CAR -6.5 Confidence: 7
This one isn’t as easy as it looks on the surface. The Buccaneers have turned back to veteran journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick over Jamies Wisnton who appears to have blown his last opportunity to lead the franchise in Tampa. The problem with Fitz is throughout his career he’s either boom or bust. Against a very good Panthers defense, I’ll go with the latter especially how dominating the Panthers were last week at home over the Ravens. It won’t be quite Fitztragic, but I’ll take the Panthers to win and cover at home.
Kansas City Chiefs (7-1) at Cleveland Browns (2-5-1): KC -9 Confidence: 10
It’s going to be a blood-bath in Cleveland this Sunday. The Browns just fired their head coach and offensive coordinator on the week they play the most explosive team and offense in football. Gregg Williams is the interim head coach and the only chance the Browns can even cover is if he goes full Bountygate on Mahomes’ Chiefs. I feel for Baker Mayfield having to cope without any of his key offensive staff in place for the remainder of the season, but it’s a move that’s probably best for his long-term success with the Browns.
New York Jets (3-5) at Miami Dolphins (4-4): MIA -3 Confidence: 7
Dolphins are the much more complete football team despite another week with Brock Osweiler starting under center. The Jets are just a team that wasn’t very good to begin with and has been depleted by injuries up and down their roster. I’ll swallow the field goal for a Dolphins team at home looking to get back above .500.
Detroit Lions (3-4) at Minnesota Vikings (4-3-1): MIN -5 Confidence: 8
The Vikings are coming off a home loss to a very good Saints team have an opportunity to right the ship against the Lions this weekend. Kirk Cousins will have a big game and lead the charge as the Vikings come out with a win covering the spread over a Detroit team that just traded one of their top weapons this week.
Atlanta Falcons (3-4) at Washington Redskins (5-2): WSH -1.5 Confidence: 9
I bought stock on this Redskins team a few weeks back and I’m not giving up now. At home the skins will look to rattle off their fourth consecutive win led by veteran Alex Smith against a Falcons team that has suffered far too many hits to their depth chart to pull this one out, especially to their defense. Matt Ryan & Julio Jones are going to give it their all to keep this one tight, but Washington increases their hold over the NFC East with another impressive showing at FedEx Field.
Houston Texans (5-3) at Denver Broncos (3-5): HOU pick Confidence: 7
The Texans are the much more talented all-around team with better coaching, but I would’ve taken the Broncos if they were getting any kind of advantage on the points spread. I like the Broncos defense and had them to cover last week, but Houston on a few days extra of rest should be able to handle Denver in their own building. Add in the recently acquired Demaryius Thomas who switched teams this week, and that revenge factor, not matter how few snaps he plays, will be the difference. Texans win.
Los Angeles Chargers (5-2) at Seattle Seahawks (4-3): LAC +1 Confidence: 8
The Seahawks looked really good overall in their decisive win over the Lions, but now draw a home matchup with a very complete football team well-rested off a bye. It’s tough for any team to go into Seattle and beat the Seahawks, but I’m siding towards that very good Chargers defense to hold Russell Wilson in check and the veteran Phillip Rivers to head into Centurylink Field and grind out a win. Take the Chargers and the points.
Los Angeles Rams (8-0) at New Orleans Saints (6-1): NO pick Confidence: 7
At one point this line was Rams +3, but clearly all the money that went on the undefeated team from Los Angeles worked this down to a straight pick. The Rams are a force and are on track to have one of their top weapons for Jared Goff back in Cooper Kupp, I just don’t see them winning the game this Sunday in New Orleans. Drew Brees and Sean Payton in their house with that crowd in that environment over a defense that can give up some big plays. This game will be a high-scoring shootout, but I’m leaning towards the Saints to pull it out late and hand the Rams their first loss of the year.
Green Bay Packers (3-3-1) at New England Patriots (6-2): NE -6 Confidence: 9
No disrespect to Aaron Rodgers, this Packers team just isn’t very good and the trades this week of shipping away their starting safety Ha Ha Clinton Dix and running back Ty Montgomery sure aren’t going to help them buy-in for a trip to Foxboro on Sunday night. Multiple reports signal there’s a serious rift between the QB and head coach and this could be a breakup scenario after the season. Meanwhile, the Patriots keep on rolling after an ugly but still decisive win over the Bills on Monday night. I’ll take the Patriots to cruise to a relatively smooth win at home despite all of the hype surrounding this game because of one opposing player. Tom Brady should have some fun against this not so good Packers defense at home on primetime television.
Tennessee Titans (3-4) at Dallas Cowboys (3-4): DAL -6 Confidence: 8
I like the Titans overall as a competitive football team week-in and week-out with Mike Vrabel as their head coach. I just don’t like them in this spot, on the road in Dallas for Monday Night Football against a Cowboys team that is fresh off a bye and has added a legit play-maker at WR in Amari Cooper. Marcus Mariota has struggled for the Titans mounting just one score in his past three games and has more interceptions than touchdowns on the season. I’ll take the Cowboys to win and cover getting back to .500 at home.