2016 NFL Week 9 Bettor’s Guide
Last week may have been one of the worst weeks for handicapping that we have had across the board in quite some time. Several favorites lost games that no one saw them having the chance to lose, and there were some backdoor covers and a tie. We look to rebound in Week 9 with a favorable slate of games.
For Audio Analysis, Click Here: 2016 NFL Week 9 Audio Version
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City, Missouri
My Call: KC -7
Over/Under: Under 44
My oh my the things Bob Sutton’s defense is going to do to Blake Bortles (before backing off and allowing Bortles to do his weekly stat-padding in garbage time). The only question here is the potential for a backdoor cover. Charcandrick West will start for the Chiefs, in place of Spencer Ware, who is out, while Jamaal Charles is of course out for likely the rest of the season.
Kansas City 23
Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings
U.S. Bank Stadium
My Call: DET +6
Over/Under: Under 41
Vegas know something that we don’t? Have they been watching the relatively inept Vikes offense and not-so-opportunistic Vikes defense against a woeful Bears offense? Even though Minnesota garnered several turnovers from Carson Wentz, they did nothing with them, and did not turn over Jay Cutler once on Monday night. Maybe the Norv Turner-for-Pat Shurmur move will give the Vikings a jolt, but we don’t see it. They’re literally running behind a sieve of an offensive line, with only Stefon Diggs and Kyle Rudolph as reliable and consistent targets on offense.
The Lions are as enigmatic as any team in the NFL, so it makes it tough to ever take their money lines, but it is also equally difficult to trust the Vikes and the points here, either.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Football Giants
East Rutherford, New Jersey
My Call: NYG -2.5
Over/Under: Over 43
The Giants are coming off a bye week in which they hope to iron out several kinks that has led what has been a one-man act at WR into what could arguably be the best WR trio in the NFL. The defense has been very good, considering how much time it has spent on the field due to ineptitude on the part of the play caller and lack of execution from several players (including Beckham, at times).
The Eagles are a middling offensive team, and it has shown, as defensive coordinators have adjusted to Carson Wentz over the past four games. The Giants won’t give much in the way of rushing yardage to the Eagles, but Steve Spagnuolo’s propensity for running soft coverages at times may lend to the Eagles exploiting the Giants underneath all game.
The biggest question is whether the Eagles can cover downfield. Their front seven is very good, but their secondary is beat up and below average. And if you take away Malcolm Jenkins, it is outright bad.
The Giants have not been a good team out of bye weeks in the past decade or so, but you generally take the team coming off a bye versus a team whose defense had a very physical game the week prior.
NY Giants 26
Dallas Cowboys vs. Cleveland Browns
My Call: DAL -7
Over/Under: Under 48.5
Cody Kessler is back for the Browns this week, and you have seen the Browns’ modus operandi thus far this season: they often get leads, then the penalties, turnovers, lack of execution and youthful inexperience take over. The Browns may be in this game for a half, but their porous defense will wear down later in the game. Beware of a backdoor cover, although we still think Dallas will be so far ahead that it won’t matter.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens
M&T Bank Stadium
My Call: No Line (PIT)
Over/Under: No Line
We are treating this game as if Ben Roethlisberger will play. There is a chance that he might not, after being limited in practice all week — even if that could have been merely precautionary — and no definitive designation other than questionable from head coach Mike Tomlin.
The Ravens should be getting a few guys healthy for this pivotal match up for the lead in the AFC North. The Steelers have been a train wreck of a team on the road, and Roethlisberger potentially being out would only further exacerbate that point. This bears watching, as Vegas has not set a line, and likely won’t until there is a pronouncement on Roethlisberger’s status.
Again, this pick is being made under the assumption that Roethlisberger will play.
New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins
Hard Rock Stadium
Miami Gardens, Florida
My Call: MIA -3.5
Over/Under: Under 44
The Fins are coming off a bye, while the Jets have won two straight — albeit against a severely hamstrung team beset by injuries, and the worst team in the league, respectively — and up against a resurgent Miami team that has redefined its identity in recent weeks. The Jets are not really in any position to slow the Miami rushing attack, or whatever Jarvis Landry decides to do downfield, and Ryan Fitzpatrick is due to regress back to the mean after playing relatively well the past game and a half.
NY Jets 16
New Orleans Saints vs. San Francisco 49ers
Santa Clara, California
My Call: SF +4
Over/Under: Under 52.5
These lines are askew. The Saints are nothing more than a mediocre team at best on the road. No matter how bad the 49ers are defensively, the Saints are just as bad, and their offense is not portable away from domes. We admittedly may be reaching to say that the 49ers win, but the 52 1/2 is a bit of a stretch. In New Orleans, it would easily hit. Colin Kaepernick could have a huge rushing/passing game in this one, coming off a bye week.
New Orleans 23
San Francisco 26
Carolina Panthers vs. Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Los Angeles, California
My Call: LA +3
Over/Under: Under 44.5
Stay away from this game. The Panthers may have appeared resurgent against the Cards last week, but let’s see it for another week before we proclaim them to be back to anything close to resembling their 2015 team (particularly defensively, which is where they wreaked the most havoc against Arizona).
Los Angeles 20
Indianapolis Colts vs. Green Bay Packers
Green Bay, Wisconsin
AMERICA’S GAME OF THE WEEK
My Call: IND +7
Over/Under: Over 54.5
This will be a shootout, and depending on your stance on shootouts, probably won’t be the most aesthetically-pleasing type of shootout, either. It’s going to be more about bad defense incapable of standing up against decent offenses, rather than good offense beating good defenses. These are two of the worst pass defenses in the NFL and it will show.
Green Bay 31
Tennessee Titans vs. San Diego Chargers
San Diego, California
My Call: SD -4
Over/Under: Over 47
Even with the plethora of injuries that plague the Bolts, we expect them to cover and get the job done here. This is the last wild card that could potentially give them any hope of backing into the playoffs, and it is almost certainly evident to them that this is a must-win.
San Diego 29
Denver Broncos vs. Oakland Raiders
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum
SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
My Call: OAK -1
Over/Under: Over 43.5
Aqib Talib’s availability for this game hangs in the balance. Bradley Roby played well enough in his absence against San Diego last week, but this week it is Michael Crabtree, Amari Cooper and Seth Roberts. San Diego was down Tyrell Williams after a vicious hit early in that game, leaving only Travis Benjamin and a semi-concussed Hunter Henry.
Denver’s offense is not explosive, even with Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders in the fold. Oakland’s, however, is. The converse is true, however. The Raiders are 30th, 31st and, in a couple of areas 32nd in defensive categories. Denver is in the top 3 in almost every relevant defensive statistic. It will be a battle of wills.
The Raiders have not been good at home, remarkably. They’ve been road warriors, though. They’ve already won five games on the road this season. They’ll need to figure out their issues on that infield dirt at home or it will be detrimental to them come playoffs, should they make it there. This is the ultimate litmus test for the Raiders. We think they will pull it off, even if they may have 15+ penalties and have a wild finish in the process.
Buffalo Bills vs. Seattle Seahawks
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
My Call: SEA -6.5
Over/Under: Under 43.5
Rex Ryan is right: he’s glad (and should be) that his Bills won’t have to face Michael Bennett, who they cannot block. However, they are not getting a walk in the park with Frank Clark in there, either. Cliff Avril has also found the touch, after a slow start to the season.
The real question is whether Tyrod Taylor can do anything against Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas playing center field. There will be opportunities with some of the blown coverages we’ve seen on the weak side for Seattle, but do the Bills have enough to exploit this? Lesean McCoy is aiming to play, and the Bills need him, even if we do not expect him to do much against the Seattle front.
If Russell Wilson is moving better than he has in recent weeks, it’s going to be tough duty for Tyrod in that noisy stadium.
BYE: Chicago (2-6), Cincinnati (3-4-1), New England (7-1), Arizona (3-4-1), Washington (4-3-1), Houston (5-3).