Teams prepare for their first game in November, as the season turns up a notch. Plenty of intriguing matchups are set for Sunday throughout the day, with playoff implications already blooming.
This is a look at all the contests scheduled for Sunday. With so many surprising results in Week 8, will there be more upsets in Week 9? Or will everything go back to normal, with the favorites winning convincingly?
Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs -7.5
Although many still have this as the game of the week, it lost a little bit of luster when Aaron Rodgers was ruled out due to testing positive for COVID-19. Many believe that the Packers now have no shot at pulling off the road upset, but can they keep it within a touchdown and still cover?
Sign up for a FREE Trial Consultation to start working with Legendary Sports Bettor Jon Price
All eyes will be on Jordan Love, assumed to be the predecessor of Rodgers. He will be facing one of the toughest crowds to play around at Arrowhead Stadium, but he does have some weapons to throw to in Davante Adams and Allen Lazard.
Kansas City is just too unpredictable to take with this much of a point spread. They are likely going to win, but blowing out Green Bay seems like too much to count on. Patrick Mahomes will put up points, but the Chiefs will give up too many on defense to lead to a blowout.
Pick: Green Bay Packers +7.5
Houston Texans at Miami Dolphins
Miami Dolphins -7
For a team like Miami to be favored this much despite struggling all season long, they must be facing a poor team in Week 9. That’s exactly the case, as the Houston Texans don’t seem to care about winning at this point in the year. They might get Tyrod Taylor back to start at quarterback, but it probably won’t matter as far as winning and losing is concerned.
Miami has its own problems, including their defense that is not consistent at all. Tua Tagovailoa has looked pretty good since returning, but there is not much incentive to win at all for the rest of the year. This could be a battle of two teams not really caring about winning, which means taking the underdog and the points.
Pick: Houston Texans +7
Los Angeles Rams at Tennessee Titans
Los Angeles Rams -7.5
How can one of the top teams in the last few weeks be such a heavy underdog at home? For starters, they are playing one of the most complete teams in the NFL in the Los Angeles Rams. They also have a pretty big challenge of making up for Derrick Henry, who’s out with an injury. The best running back in the NFL was very reliable for them all year long, but how can the offense stay strong now?
Los Angeles will try to beat up on Tennessee’s secondary as much as possible with Matthew Stafford airing it out. The coaching staff for Tennessee will look to shorten the game as much as possible, limiting the offense. As tempting as it is to take the Los Angeles Rams in a rout, Tennessee finds a way to make this much more competitive than it should be.
Pick: Tennessee Titans +7.5
Denver Broncos at Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys -8.5
Teddy Bridgewater started the season off looking like a brand new quarterback, but he’s slowing down a bit in the middle of the season. Even though Denver pulled off a victory last weekend against Washington, they are facing a much tougher team on the road in the Dallas Cowboys in Week 9.
To make matters worse, Dallas is likely to have Dak Prescott back and ready to go. If that’s the case, the offense should be clicking on all cylinders, and a double-digit victory is well within reach. Look for Dallas to take it to Denver in a pretty convincing win.
Pick: Dallas Cowboys -8.5
Minnesota Vikings at Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore Ravens -5.5
It seems like Minnesota can only play close games this year. They are always in it, win or lose, but they don’t always seem to find a way to blow teams out when they pick up victories. They are an underdog against Baltimore in Week 9, but as many would predict, it’s less than a one-score advantage.
It’s not been a good go from Minnesota so far this year against the AFC North, losing to Cincinnati and Cleveland. Baltimore is just as good as those teams, and they are coming off a bye week. The defense could cause Kirk Cousins to have a lot of problems, and Baltimore has shown they can put up points just fine. In a game that’s going to be back-and-forth quite a bit, Baltimore pulls away and wins by at least a touchdown.
Pick: Baltimore Ravens -5.5
New England Patriots at Carolina Panthers
New England Patriots -3.5
After watching a few teams go down with injuries, the New England Patriots are in a position to have a pretty good stretch for a potential playoff push. That is, if they can take care of business against teams they should be beating on paper. This is their first test, going on the road to Carolina and trying to claw out a win against a weaker team.
It helps quite a bit for New England that Carolina‘s offense has been dreadful. Other than DJ Moore, everyone else has been struggling to get going. New England’s offense always tries to find the weaknesses of the other team, so expect a lot of running against a weak run defense from Carolina. They like to take their chances on passes, so New England will likely ground Mac Jones unless they have to make a comeback. The Patriots will win, and 3.5 points sounds like too little.
Pick: New England Patriots -3.5
Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars
Buffalo Bills -14
A two-touchdown favorite on the road means that these two teams are nearly polar opposites. Buffalo is thought of as one of the Super Bowl favorites, while Jacksonville is mostly playing out the year and looking towards the future.
Buffalo looked like they were struggling early on in Week 8, but then they routed the Miami Dolphins later in the game. Expect something very similar, or even worse against Jacksonville. The Jaguars aren’t putting up nearly the same amount of fight, and Buffalo fans will likely turn a road game into a home one when they show up.
Even if the spread was a little bit higher, it would be hard to pick against Buffalo. They have too much offense, and Jacksonville won’t be putting up a ton of points.
Pick: Buffalo Bills -14
Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers
Arizona Cardinals -2.5
Now that they finally have a loss on the record, the Arizona Cardinals can get back to playing a bit more freely. They’ve played most of the year with a target on their back, but now they’ve had a few extra days to get healthier and ready to go. That’s bad news for the San Francisco 49ers, even if they do get a chance to play at home.
Kyler Murray and the offense will look to beat up on San Francisco’s secondary with a few deep passes. He’s also a mobile quarterback who should be able to get plenty of yardage against a lackluster defense. San Francisco’s offense will keep the game competitive, but Arizona scores too much for them to be tripped up two games in a row.
Pick: Arizona Cardinals -2.5
Los Angeles Chargers at Philadelphia Eagles
Los Angeles Chargers -2.5
Maybe the biggest weakness for the Los Angeles Chargers through the first eight weeks of the regular season is their run defense. That could potentially be an issue for this matchup, as the Eagles are relying more and more on running the football. To make it even more challenging, Jalen Hurts has shown that he’s a dual-threat quarterback, so he’ll try to take off on a few runs to open up the game.
The Chargers have plenty of offense themselves, as Justin Herbert is really coming into his own. He’ll be looking to chip away on each drive, going for short and medium gains instead of the home run. That’s how they win and cover.
Pick: Los Angeles Chargers -2.5
Las Vegas Raiders at New York Giants
Las Vegas Raiders -3
The Los Angeles Raiders are coming off a very well-timed bye week to get as healthy as they have been since the beginning of the year. Meanwhile, the Giants are battling with a short week following a hard-fought game against Kansas City. This has all the makings of a Las Vegas win, so it’s a little surprising to see that they are only three-point favorites.
Derek Carr has shown a lot more versatility at quarterback since John Gruden was let go. The Raiders defense is pretty good at defending the pass, so they could put quite a bit of pressure on a raw Daniel Jones.
Anything could happen in the NFL, but this looks like a good chance to take Las Vegas on the road as -3 favorites. They are the better team even without the added rest, but they’ll be ready to come firing in this one.
Pick: Las Vegas Raiders -3
Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints
New Orleans Saints -6
Matt Ryan has been having a very challenging year so far, and the past rush from New Orleans won’t make it any easier. Expect points to be at a premium for Atlanta, but can New Orleans score enough to cover?
No one knows for sure who the New Orleans Saints will start a quarterback, but they do have plenty of Alvin Kamara to keep the offense going strong enough. This is a rivalry game, and that means that it is usually closer than it should be, but New Orleans should be able to win by at least a touchdown and cover.
Pick: New Orleans Saints -6
Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals -2.5
There seem to be a lot of NFL fans just waiting to see if the Cincinnati Bengals are for real, or if they are bound to collapse. They face another pretty stiff test this week going up against the rivals Cleveland in a matchup that both teams need.
The Ohio battle comes at a time when Cleveland seems to be in turmoil. Baker Mayfield isn’t playing his best, and there’s controversy around some of the other players not happy with how the season is turning. Meanwhile, Joe Burrow is turning into one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL for the Bengals, and he’ll have the home crowd behind him.
Cincinnati’s defense needs to be better than they played against the New York Jets. Cleveland’s offense hasn’t been great recently, but they could kick-start it if the Bengals play the way they did last week. It will be a close one, but the home team should win by at least a field goal.
Pick: Cincinnati Bengals