#NFL Week 9; Previews, predictions, picks and punts.

So, are we halfway now? Or last week? I guess with 18 weeks we’re hitting the halfway point this week, so I’ll update the P/L sheet during the week. I do know I had a good weekend last week due to the 2 or more TDs for Henry and McCaffrey, something I put in a Trixie with Kamara for a very nice weekend for myself. (Yes past-posting is stupid and pointless, but you know)

I do a look ahead post at https://www.miamiherald.com/betting/nfl/article267905527.html which is always interesting to look at as we hit that week to see how my opinion or the news has changed the bets I thought were sensible a couple of weeks ago. I definitely won’t be taking the Chargers to beat the Falcons any more…but I don’t mind the rest of the top 5 I took on there.

Anyways… hopefully a few winners and a bit of useful information picked out tonight.

Join our DraftKings league – $5 entry, top 3 win, I have been terrible this year, so should be a good chance for you to take my money at least – https://www.draftkings.co.uk/draft/contest/135651346

Dolphins -4 at Bears: 45.5

The first game on Sky this week comes from Soldier Field as the Bears host the Dolphins. Maybe a weird choice, but they have good historical fanbases in the UK and, in fairness, both have looked good in recent weeks, something I wasn’t expecting to say about the Bears this season.

The weather could be an issue here although 16 MPH winds aren’t anything that should affect any QB in the league, not even noodle-arm Tua… Tua has been brilliant in fairness, he gets the ball to Tyreek Hill and Jaylon Waddle on time and they do what they do, Hill is on target for o2000 yards this year, Waddle just the 1500 or so. They have assembled a hugely fun duo to watch. Hill will be hoping to find the endzone more regularly as that part of his game is strangely lacking, maybe because he rarely gets any balls in stride? – (For the record I think Tua has been fine, it’s just fun to wind up Dolfans who bite quicker than Bengals fans when someone says they should have taken Sewell)

They brought in Jeff Wilson to bolster the run game which Raheem Mostert had taken over in recent weeks, I think he’ll be straight into the lineup as he knows the system from San Francisco so shouldn’t be a whole lot of adjusting to do. They also brought in, and gave a huge deal to Bradley Chubb from Denver, he’ll add to a weak pass rush and should help them on that side of the ball especially against a shite Bears offensive line.

The Bears know their issues though and in recent weeks we’ve seen them use a lot more designed runs for Justin Fields as he’s averaged more than 50 on the ground over their last 6 games as part of them leading them league in rush yards this year. David Montgomery is who he is, and it looks like they’re finally ceding more carries to Khalil Herbert who is a much more exciting runner to watch and adept catching the ball too.

They have been relying on the run and then going for a lot of chunk plays to the likes of Darnell Mooney, Velus Jones and Eq St. Brown and it’s been working fairly well for them, so this week they traded for Chase Claypool from the Steelers. Obviously I don’t rate him very highly, but it could be a chance for him to re-ignite his career with a QB who can throw the ball more than 10 yards downfield.

They have traded away pieces on defense so you’ve got to think that unit will be susceptible, both from a talent standpoint and a “why the fuck are we trying” standpoint, but we’ll see on that one.

I still have to take the Dolphins to cover, and I like (along with many others) Justin Fields o50.5 rush yards, or Herbert o41.5 rush yards… either, both…scratch that. Herbert longest rush o12.5 yards – He’s had that in 6 of 8 games this year.

Chargers -3 at Falcons: 49.5

Chargers gonna Charger. They come into the season as the hype team every year, and every year they get destroyed by injury and have their season ruined. Justin Herbert ribs seemed to hamper him and the farcical way they’ve dealt with Keenan Allen sums them up really as they played him a few snaps before the bye and seemingly aggravated his hamstring meaning he misses out again. Mike Williams is out as well, so they’re down to Joshua Palmer, Deandre Carter and Michael Bandy for tonight.

So that should mean a lot of targets for TE Gerald Everett and of course Austin Ekeler who has had a lot of the ball in recent weeks with the injuries at pass-catcher. Rough times for the Chargers.

The Falcons have looked fun and currently sit top of the NFC South, albeit at 4-4 on the season. Their redzone efficiency has been key and the likes of rookie Tyler Allgeier and Caleb Huntley have done well on the ground with Cordarelle Patterson out of the last 4, but he’s back and activated tonight so we’ll have to wait and see how that area of the game looks for them.

They do seem to have got Kyle Pitts more involved recently and Drake London has shown sparks too, and Damiere Byrd has been a useful deep threat for them. But they are run-first so it’s tough to take anything in the passing game.

On paper I’d be saying Chargers 9 games out of 10 but the injuries are really hurting them. I have to lean to the Falcons winning this one and obviously covering. Nothing on total, would lean under.

Panthers +7 at Bengals: 42.5

Amazingly Eddy Piniero is still on this team after costing his team the game in a thriller against the Falcons last weekend. They traded away Christian McCaffrey and the run game came to life with D’onta (I finally got the apostrophe in the right place) Foreman who put up 118 yards and 3 TDs on the ground last week. He’ll get the bulk of the carries again here with Chuba Hubbard again missing out.

PJ Walker has an arm on him and gets the start again ahead of the top 3 draft picks Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold, humbling for them, but it’s the right decision as they are finally able to get the ball to DJ Moore who hauled in a beautiful hail mary last week. He and Terrace Marshall should be able to get open as the Bengals are down to the bone at cornerback this week with Chidobe Awuzie and Mike Hilton both missing out, probably their best two cover players.

The Bengals always lose to the Browns so while it’s easy to blame MNF on Ja’marr Chase not being there (and he’s a huge loss) it’s just a matchup they don’t seem to be able to overcome. Joe Burrow however has been the best in the league off a loss in his time so he’ll should be able to lead a bounce back here.

Joe Mixon is fine, but most of the action here should come from Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd and Hayden Hurst as they look to figure things out without Chase. Higgins finished with a respectable stat-line last week after “mossing” the Browns CB for his TD score.

I actually like the Panthers to at least cover here, they can generate a pass-rush and showed last week they can get the ball out. The Bengals should score as well so I love the OVER, might be worth a look at alt. overs in this one too. Joe Mixon o3.5 receptions – 5/6 – He’s been getting a lot more dump-offs in recent weeks.

Packers -3.5 at Lions: 49.5

Fuck knows on this one, I can’t judge either of these teams, I do think the Packers are terrible at the moment although if the run-heavy game-script they went with against the Bills is something they’ll do going forward then they might be able to get some wins finally.

The Lions? I had the under in their game last week and that was dead by half-time, so I clearly don’t know how they’re going to be.

Aaron Rodgers does own most of the NFC North and this matchup is no different having won 5 of the last 6 against them, the Lions though are decent against the spread in this matchup… interesting.

Aaron Jones is the one bright spot of the Packers this year getting the ball on the ground and through the air while AJ Dillon finally had some carries last weekend, both of them ran well and really should do for the rest of the season, but I do think Rodgers is an egotist and handing the ball off takes attention away from him, so in a matchup he’ll feel he should take advantage of they may go back to throwing the ball.

Not much to say at pass-catcher really, Romeo Doubs is a typical hit or miss rookie, Allen Lazard is probably back although with a shoulder injury still, Robert Tonyan at TE seems like he should get more of the ball than he does, and Samori Toure might be their new deep threat.

The Lions are back near full strength on offense and it obviously worked well last week, they are similar this week although have said that D’Andre Swift is on a snap-count after “over-using” him last week according to Dan Campbell. Jamaal Williams has been putting up numbers with or without Swift and should again.

Amon-Ra St. Brown continued his fine season but having traded away TJ Hockenson they’ll need more from Josh Reynolds and the other pass-catchers – Kaliff Raymond is a name I’ve been told should have a big game with Hock out of the picture, he’s been largely a deep threat – annoyingly there doesn’t seem to be any rec. lines on him, so TD scorer it is. – Oh, Brock Wright is the TE, I guess in theory he’s in line for more targets.

I hate the Packers, I like the Lions. I think the Lions win, but it’s a low spread and while I think the issues on the Packers aren’t just going to turn around on one good Rodgers game it’s something I can’t rule out. I’d probably lean over on the total now too, although again, I’m not going near it. Aaron Jones anytime – 4/5 (Skybet) – I can’t take Raymond at 3/1, I thought it’d be 5 or over.

Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Colts +5 at Patriots: 40.5

Fairly simple one here, it’s Bill Belichick against a “rookie” QB – That’s about all I’ve got on it.

Sam Ehlinger was expected to run a lot last week, he didn’t, he threw 23 times for 201, no TDs. Michael Pittman was his favoured target as you’d expect, so it seems their best players will still get the ball at least – They are without Jonathan Taylor again and traded away Nyheim Hines so it’s another Deon Jackson boom game, 56.5 his rush line, which he went way over when given the full load earlier in the year.

It looks like Damien Harris is out with illness though, so the main look for me here is Rhamondre Stevenson who has looked the better RB anyway even with both of them on the field, 76.5 is a rather high line for him but he should go over it, and he’s been involved in the passing game a lot as well although with him being the only pure runner they may limit his usage there.

Mac Jones threw one of the worst interceptions I’ve ever seen last week only to be reprived on a roughing the passer call so it’s safe to say I won’t be trusting him on this team, so basically the entire passing game is off the table for me.

Patriots win and cover, Stevenson has a big game – Stevenson anytime – 5/6 (365), 2 or more – 4/1 (365 as well)

Bills -11 at Jets: 46

Not the toughest handicap here either, the Bills are the best team in the league. The Jets have Zach Wilson at QB.

A lot of this is how much the Bills want to score, maybe they’ll try and get Nyheim Hines involved on debut? I do think it could be a lesser game for Stefon Diggs as Sauce Gardner is having an incredible rookie season, that’s probably the highlight of the game in fairness, watching how they go against each other. Gabe Davis should have a big game though.

Zach Wilson is terrible and with the Bills getting pressure without rushing more than 4 they will be able to scramble him here. Corey Davis is out, so more for Mimsy again? Amazingly the two rec. yard props 365 have are Tyler Conklin and Garrett Wilson, that’s what they think of the Jets passing game.

The run game isn’t fun without Breece Hall either, Michael Carter is bleh and they didn’t use James Robinson much last week either.

Bills win and cover, not a lot to say here really. Zach Wilson o0.5 interception at 1/2 seems like a banker.

Vikings -3 at Commanders: 43.5

The Vikings are 6-1 yet aren’t getting a single ounce of respect for their record. They’ll be making the playoffs and more than likely hosting a game as NFC North winners (1/16) but are they any good? They obviously think so after trading for TJ Hockenson to replace Irv Smith this week.

They have a very solid core through Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook and Justin Jefferson and they have pieces around them as well with Mattison, Thielen, Osborn and now Hockenson on offense, so there’s not a lot to dislike about them really other than the issues of Kirk Cousins in pressure situations – But this is a 6pm kick off so he should be fine.

The Commies have been fun with Tayolor Heinicke at QB, he’s been finding their best player Terry McLaurin more and while the run game isn’t efficient it is working better with Brian Robinson back and Antonio Gibson far better in a more restricted 3rd down role where he’s been catching with regularity 7 from 7 and a TD last week.

Neither team has an intimidating defense, so I guess I’d be leaning to the over. I do think the Vikings cover although the “sharps” don’t like that, so I’m going against money there. Antonio Gibson o3.5 receptions – 11/10 (Skybet, 365) is my bet for this.

Raiders -2.5 at Jaguars: 48

Despite being shut-out last week the line has moved towards the Raiders on this one, I’m willing to say the illness going around the Raiders camp played a significant part in their failure and they’ve stayed in the east coast so weirdly have less travel this week than the home team who return from London after losing to the Broncos.

Yeah, last week was a shambles for the Raiders, they couldn’t move the ball at all but had been doing very well with Josh Jacobs getting an increased workload before that, you’ve got to think they’ll revert to form and give him a lot of carries again.

They need to get Devante Adams more involved, it’s stupid having one of the best in the league and not using him (although maybe he was a product of extreme targeted usage in GB and not that great…) and the likes of Hunter Renfrow need to step up with Darren Waller probably missing out again with his hamstring injury.

I’ve been critical of Trevor Lawrence, I had slowed on that, but I’m right back there now, his interception last week was terrible, it’s a throw that no NFL QB should be making and unfortunately I’m harsher on him than others due to the “generational talent” that he’s supposed to be. He also floundered with the game on the line last week too showing, to me anyway, that he’s not great when the pressure is on. Due to that, I’m out on that side of the ball entirely.

Travis Etienne is VERY good though, he looked fantastic running the ball last week.

I think the Raiders bounce back, nothing on the total or props.

Seahawks +2 at Cardinals: 49

The second class between these two in a month as the Seahawks look to wrap up a divisional sweep of the Cardinals after beating them in a low-scoring game in Week 6.

The Seahawks continue to impress and while Geno Smith has been fine, the defensive improvement has been the main feature of their team in recent weeks as it;’s greatly improved from the first few weeks of the year.

Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf are both available and looked good last week and Kenneth Walker is the de facto OROY leader after Breece Hall went down, so they’ve got a very solid core running through the offense. I do like a bit of Will Dissly too at TE, a useful bit-part player for them.

The Cardinals have looked a lot better with Deandre Hopkins back in the team and he’s been heavily targeted from the minute he came back with 10 and 12 receptions, 262 yards and a TD. Not bad that. It seems to have got Rondale Moore looking better and Zach Ertz has been reliable all year for them at TE. They might have James Conner back at RB which they really need, but I’d lean to him not being available for this.

I’ve got to lean to the better coached team, the Seahawks, but I’m not betting on the main markets here, I do like Hopkins o6.5 receptions despite that being a high line, you’re looking 8/11-ish on him.

Rams +3 at Buccaneers: 42.5

With only two late games this week we’ve got the Rams at Buccs, a re-match of the divisional round last season as the late Sky game… one that is a lot more fun on paper than in reality as they’ve both really struggled for any type of form this season. It might be early in the year but it’s probably a must win for the Rams, who will fall behind in division with a loss, while the Buccs benefit from being in a terrible division and are still faves for the NFC South.

It’s been a horrible season for the Rams, due in large part to their offensive line being awful, they don’t seem to be able to work around that at the moment and the lack of trust that Matthew Stafford has in anyone but Cooper Kupp seems evident as well. It makes them very hard to trust in any way in the passing game. Allen Robinson at least has over 50 yards in the last couple of games as they look to get him going and Van Jefferson returned from injury to do nothing last week. They do have a worry over Kupp after he picked up a knock at the end of last weeks game, so it may mean more for the others? Tyler Higbee gets a lot of targets too.

The run game has been dismal too,n and after a weird few weeks they are brining Cam Akers back into the fold with Ronnie Rivers and Darrell Henderson failing to take their chances last week, it was Malcom Brown who got redzone carries, so he may be worth a nibble if at big odds (4/1 is not anywhere near big enough)

The rumours were everywhere in the summer and last week Tom Brady’s divorce was made official, he’s clearly been distracted this year although, in fairness his numbers have been more than fine, but the connection with players seems off and they aren’t getting any kind of consistency going, I have a feeling that changes here.

Mike Evans remains largely reliable when not dropping 70 yard TDs, he’s the favoured target still but faces Jalen Ramsey here, someone who did well against him last time they played so it could be a big game for Chris Godwin alongside him and Julio Jones who had a good week of practice finally. That’s their main 3 and should do them well.

The running game has been rough with Lenny Fournette nowhere near his playoff levels, they have been brining in Rachaad White more frequently to give him chances 18.5 rush and 17.5 rec for him is reasonable (up from 16.5 last week)

You may have guessed where I’m going here, I like the Bucs to win and cover – Props are between Godwin and White, Godwin o65.5 gets the nod from me. I will be betting the OVER too.

Titans +12.5 at Chiefs: 46

Two of the top 3 in the AFC Seeding as we hit halfway, and yet one is nearly 2 TDs behind on the spread? Crazy stuff. Well, the Titans might have Malik Willis starting and the Chiefs are coming off a bye, which inflates the lines due to Andy Reid being a genius.

Malik Willis attempted 1 pass in the second half last week, it was a throw away. If he plays here it’s safe to say he might need to try a few more than that. They game planned that match perfectly though knowing that Derrick Henry dominates against the Texans, so fair play to one of the better coached teams in the league. Ryan Tannehill may be back but won’t be at full healthy putting a big question mark all over the passing game.

Derrick Henry is a incredibly fun to watch, he’ll get a ton of carries here as they try to restrict the amount of drives that the Chiefs get, but the Chiefs run D is surprisingly good so it won’t be as easy as last week for him.

That’s about all there is to talk about on the Titans side.

The Chiefs look very good with options all over their offense since Tyreek Hill left, they had two WRs with over 100 yards for the first time in 20 years last game, and Travis Kelce is still brilliant despite getting up there in years now. Juju Smith-Schuster is settling in well, MVS seems all right, and even Mecole Hardman is finally doing something, when you then bring in Kadarius Toney from the Giants you’ven got adaptability and speed all over the offense and Reid is more than capable of unlocking that, for what it;’s worth he has said that Toney should have a role tonight… I really like that kid, so I’ll be looking for highlights in the morning.

The run game isn’t much though, Clyde, Pacheco or McKinnon, it’s not really worth talking about in all honesty, half because it’s not great and half because I don’t know who will get the ball. Not great for bettors.

Have to lean to the Chiefs covering that big spread – 6/1 at BetVictor for Toney is fair, but they’re a terrible bookmaker.

Right, that’ll do for a Sunday morning, hope you all had a good read and we have some more winners this week.


main image: AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

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