We’re through nine weeks of the NFL season, and things are just getting interesting.

Last week, the New England Patriots showed they weren’t unstoppable, as Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens downed them on Sunday Night Football. In the AFC North, a resurgent 4-4 Pittsburgh Steelers will look to put some pressure on the Ravens. But after their big win, Baltimore has their eyes set on a bigger prize: a first-round bye.

This leaves the San Francisco 49ers as the only undefeated team in the league at 8-0, but they’ll have a tough test against the 7-2 Seattle Seahawks this Monday night.

Other important games include an NFC clash on Sunday night between the Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys, and the Green Bay Packers looking to bounce back against a good Carolina Panthers team.

Click here to see my Power Rankings for all 32 teams after Week 9.

Picks Record

Week 1: 9-6-1

Week 2: 9-7

Week 3: 11-5

Week 4: 6-9

Week 5: 10-5

Week 6: 9-5

Week 7: 10-4

Week 8: 12-3

Week 9: 9-5

Overall Record: 85-50-1 (63.0%)

After two great weeks, just a solid one in Week 9. I correctly had the Dolphins winning their first game of the season, and I could’ve swore I picked the Ravens over the Patriots. But I went with my brain instead of my gut: I didn’t want to look foolish picking against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.

In Week 9 I incorrectly predicted:

  • Browns over Broncos
  • Packers over Chargers
  • Lions over Raiders
  • Colts over Steelers
  • Patriots over Ravens

Thursday Night Football

Los Angeles Chargers (4-5) at Oakland Raiders (4-4)

Line: Los Angeles Chargers (-1.5)

The Chargers are heating up, with back-to-back wins after a 2-5 start. The Raiders have also been playing well recently, with three wins in their last five games. Oakland’s four losses have all come to extremely quality opponents: the Packers, Chiefs, Vikings, and Texans.

I think this should be a fun Thursday night game decided in the final quarter. I like Oakland to get it done at home and snap the Chargers winning streak.

Raiders win 31-28, Raiders win ATS

Sunday Day Games

New York Giants (2-7) at New York Jets (1-7)

Line: New York Giants (-2.5)

The MetLife Stadium Bowl happens every preseason, but just once every four years in the regular season. Unfortunately, the stakes couldn’t be lower for this Week 10 matchup between the stadium co-tenants.

The two teams records are nearly identical, but I’d argue the Giants have been much more competitive in recent weeks. I wouldn’t call them a shoo-in, but I can see why they’re the slight favorite.

On one hand, Sam Darnold gets a softer defense than hes’s faced in recent weeks. Although, his former teammate Leonard Williams is on the Giants now, so he could look to make his former quarterback see “ghosts” again. The Jets defense is more talented, and if Daniel Jones continues to turn the ball over, this could be a very close game.

Giants win 26-20 in overtime, Giants win ATS

Detroit Lions (3-4-1) at Chicago Bears (3-5)

Line: Chicago Bears (-2.5)

Both teams are reeling, desperate for a win. Last week, the Bears failed to put up many points against the Eagles, while the Lions lost a higher-scoring affair to the Raiders.

Chicago’s defense, easily Top 5 in the league in terms of talent, is going to waste this season. With Mitch Trubisky’s offensive woes, they’re put in far too many bad positions.

Matthew Stafford grinds out a road victory, chipping away at a tired Bears defense in a slugfest.

Lions win 18-16, Lions win ATS

Baltimore Ravens (6-2) at Cincinnati Bengals (0-8)

Line: Baltimore Ravens (-10.0)

The Bengals come off their bye week with a new signal-caller under center: rookie Ryan Finley. He’ll have as many as eight chances to avoid a winless season, and I truly don’t see Cincinnatti going 0-16. But I don’t see any chance of an upset victory over Lamar Jackson and the high-flying Ravens.

Ravens win 33-17, Ravens win ATS

Buffalo Bills (6-2) at Cleveland Browns (2-6)

Line: Cleveland Browns (-3.0)

Sure, I was pretty low on the 6-2 Buffalo Bills in my Week 9 Power Rankings. But Vegas is even lower apparently, making the Bills underdogs against the Browns, losers of four straight games.

Cleveland is also 0-3 at home this season, so there’s no reason to think “home-field advantage” should play a role here.

To be fair, the Browns schedule has been pretty daunting at times. But last week’s loss to the Broncos felt like part of a trend, a regression back to the “same-old Browns.”

Buffalo is the beneficiary of a soft schedule, but at 7-2, they won’t really care what you think about them.

Bills win 20-13, Bills win ATS

Kansas City Chiefs (6-3) at Tennessee Titans (4-5)

Line: Kansas City Chiefs (-5.5)

The Chiefs endured a rough four-game stretch, dropping three games, all by a score or less. With Matt Moore under center, the Kansas City was narrowly outdueled by Aaron Rodgers before beating Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings.

After two tough matchups, the Chiefs get a softer opponent in the Tennessee Titans. They’re no push-over, but Kansas City’s winning formula should work against them. The Chiefs are 4-0 away from Arrowhead Stadium this season.

Chiefs win 24-17, Chiefs win ATS

Atlanta Falcons (1-7) at New Orleans (7-1)

Line: New Orleans Saints (-13.0)

You couldn’t really have a more uneven matchup: I ranked the Saints the #1 team in the NFL in my latest Power Rankings, with the Falcons coming in at #29.

Drew Brees and the Saints are on a tear this season, and haven’t lost since Week 2. Barring catastrophe, this game shouldn’t even be close.

Saints win 27-16, Falcons win ATS

Arizona Cardinals (3-5-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-6)

Line: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-4.0)

The Buccaneers can play with literally anyone: from taking the Seahawks to overtime last week to hanging 50+ points in a win over the Rams. They can also lose to anyone, like when they allowed the New York Giants to come into town and get their first win of the season.

Tampa Bay is 0-3 at home, while rookie Kyler Murray comes in with a decent 2-2 road record. Arizona has lost back-to-back games after a three-game win streak, but it’s hardly fair to fault them for losing to the two best teams in the league: the Saints and the 49ers (and only by three to San Francisco.)

With last week being a relatively good game for Tampa Bay, they respond with a dud to stay in accordance with their roller coaster season.

Cardinals win 30-23, Cardinals win ATS

Miami Dolphins (1-7) at Indianapolis Colts (5-3)

Line: Indianapolis Colts (-10.5)

After beating the Jets last week, there’s a legitimate case that the Dolphins might not be the worst team in the NFL. The Jets, Redskins, Bengals, and Falcons all have compelling reasons why they could be even worse. Miami has been competitive for a couple weeks before breaking through with a win.

Look, I’m not going to predict another win for Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Dolphins, but the Colts like to keep their games close. Dolphins cover the spread.

Colts win 23-15, Dolphins win ATS

Carolina Panthers (5-3) at Green Bay Packers (7-2)

Line: Green Bay Packers (-5.5)

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are looking to rebound from a head-scratching loss to the Chargers. Was it a sign of concern for Green Bay or just a fluke?

Last time the Panthers played an elite team, they were obliterated by the 49ers. Will they fare better against this Packers team, which ranks among the best in the NFL?

I think this should be a fun game, and potentially a second-half shootout. The Packers will have to contain Christian McCaffery to keep control of the game. Rodgers gets it done in clutch time, at home.

Packers win 27-24, Panthers win ATS

Los Angeles Rams (5-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (4-4)

Line: Los Angeles Rams (-3.5)

On paper, this looks like a very close game. The road team holds just one more win, and the home team (the Steelers) is on a 3-1 tear.

Both teams have been beating mostly inferior opponents recently (save for the Steelers win over the Colts) and this should be a good barometer test for both teams. I expect the Rams will find they still have the tools to beat most teams, while the Steelers will come up short against their superior opponent.

Los Angeles is also coming off a bye week, giving them an added advantage.

Rams win 26-14, Rams win ATS

Sunday Night Football

Minnesota Vikings (6-3) at Dallas Cowboys (5-3)

Line: Dallas Cowboys (-3.0)

An important NFC clash will go down in Jerry World on Sunday night. The Vikings are trying to catch the Packers in the NFC North, or at least stay ahead in the NFC Wildcard race. The Cowboys need a win to maintain outright control of the NFC East, while a loss would see them tied with the Eagles.

The Vikings defense will look to contain Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot. The question is, which Cowboys team will show up, specifically in primetime? The one that grinded but narrowly lost 12-9 to the Saints on a Sunday night? Or the team that blew out the Eagles in the same timeslot?

It’s interesting, I think the Vikings are the better team. If this game was in Minnesota, I’d say they win. Even if this was a 1 PM game on Sunday, I’d probably pick them. But I don’t see Kirk Cousins and the Vikings offense showing up in primetime. It’s an internal team problem: they have so much talent but often find ways to let it go to waste. Dallas capitalizes and takes a hard-fought win.

Cowboys win 23-22, Vikings win ATS

Monday Night Football

Seattle Seahawks (7-2) at San Francisco 49ers (8-0)

Line: San Francisco 49ers (-6.5)

There’s been a few Monday night duds, but in Week 10, the best is saved for last. Two teams clash with the highest win total of any matchup this week: a whopping 15 wins and just 2 losses between these NFC West rivals.

Of course, the 49ers don’t have either of those losses on their record. They’ve beaten the Rams, blown out the Panthers, and now they face their new toughest test yet: the Seattle Seahawks.

Seattle hasn’t been blowing teams out of the water like the Niners have been, but almost every week, Russell Wilson finds a way to pull a close game out of his pocket in the fourth quarter.

Seattle’s defense won’t be the toughest that Jimmy G has faced this season, but they’re certainly opportunistic. Wilson will have to beat the 49ers defense on the road to emerge victorious.

I see Wilson working his magic again, in the national spotlight, to down the last undefeated team in the NFL. The win will make the NFC West a tight two-team race all the way through the end of the regular season.

Seahawks win 26-17, Seahawks win ATS

Teams on Bye

  • Denver Broncos (3-6): Denver is 3-6, last place in the AFC West, but 3-2 in their last five games. Things are actually looking up with Joe Flacco out of the equation. Next two weeks come tough matchups with the Vikings and Bills.
  • New England Patriots (8-1): The Patriots enter the meat of their schedule over the next four weeks: facing the Eagles, Cowboys, Texans, and Chiefs.
  • Philadelphia Eagles (5-4): Carson Wentz and the Eagles just needs to hang with Dallas in the standings until their Week 16 matchup in Philadelphia.
  • Washington Redskins (1-8): Washington has two winnable games remaining this year: against the Giants and Jets.
  • Jacksonville Jaguars (4-5): Gardner Minshew did an admirable job as starter. But Nick Foles returns for the season’s second-half, and the division could still be in play if he rattles off a win streak.
  • Houston Texans (6-3): Houston sits atop the AFC South, but their next three games are brutal: playing the Ravens, Colts, and Patriots. This stretch could make or break a promising season for the Texans.

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Header Photo: Seahawks.com

 

 

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