LOS ANGELES, November 2, 2017 — The weather is getting colder, the Halloween ghosts have been put back to bed, and the NFL Super Bowl contenders are starting to gain separation from the pretenders. The trade deadline just passed, and several teams are coping with devastating injuries.
As Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs used to say, it is not the best team that wins the Super Bowl, but the best healthiest team.
On Saturday night, the clocks get changed as we fall back. So enjoy an extra hour of sleep but get ready for the intensity level to fly sky high. Forget the distractions. Football is about football. With that, here is the NFL 2017 Week 9 Preview and Bettor’s Guide with point spreads provided by FootballLocks.com and all times Eastern.
Thursday, November 2, 2017, 8:30 p.m.
Buffalo Bills (-3) at New York Jets — The Bills are 5-2, have a good defense, and Tyrod Taylor just got a new toy to play with at wide receiver in Kelvin Benjamin. The 3-4 Jets have overachieved. The Bills should win this game, but at home this just feels like one the scrappy Jets can pull out. Upset special, Jets win outright.
Sunday, November 5, 1:00 p.m.
Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers (-1) — These teams are both inconsistent. Why the Panthers would trade away Kelvin Benjamin is a mystery. Carolina’s offense has looked sluggish. In a close game, Graham Gano is a good kicker but Matt Bryant is as well. This could go down to the final play. Go with Atlanta, as Newton curses losing his best receiver. Upset special, Falcons win outright.
Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans (-7) — The Colts are terrible and the Texans are improving. With the Houston crowd celebrating the Astros, expect emotions to be high for the Texans. However, the situation changed drastically on Thursday with the news that DeShaun Watson tore his ACL in practice and is done for the year. The spread dropped from 13 to 7 points on the news of Watson’s injury. Emotion will fuel the home team. Meanwhile, the Colts got the news Thursday that Andrew Luck will go on injured reserve and will not play at all this season. Texans cover.
Cincinnati Bengals at Jacksonville Jaguars (-4.5) — Cincinnati’s offense is not what it was in past years, and Jacksonville’s defense is very good. Blake Bortles makes his share of mistakes, but now he is asked to do less. However, the Bengals have enough offense to prevent a blowout. Jaguars win but fail to cover.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints (-7) — The Saints are 5-2 with 5 straight wins. The pinball offense of Sean Payton and Drew Brees is back. The Buccaneers have regressed. The spread is high, and a garbage touchdown could defeat it. Saints win but fail to cover.
Los Angeles Rams (-3.5) at New York Giants — The Giants are a mess. Now Janoris Jenkins has been suspended indefinitely. The Rams are on the rise. Expect Todd Gurley to run over the Giants and the Rams defense to visit Eli Manning in the backfield often. Rams cover.
Denver Broncos at Philadelphia Eagles (-8.5) — The Broncos have dropped to 3-4 and Brock Osweiler has taken over for the benched Trevor Siemian. On a short week, Denver now travels to take on the 7-1 Eagles. The spread is high, but the quarterback change could spark Denver. Eagles win but fail to cover.
Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans (-4) — Joe Flacco cleared concussion protocol and will play. Neither team is particularly impressive, especially on offense. However, after watching Baltimore win 40-0 last week, it is tough not to give them the benefit of the doubt. Upset special, Ravens win outright.
Arizona Cardinals (-2) at San Francisco 49ers — The 49ers are winless, but they have had Arizona’s number in recent years. A few years ago the 49ers went 2-14, sweeping Arizona. The Cardinals are not the same team as two years ago and most of the 49ers losses have been close. They finally get a win. Upset special, 49ers win outright.
Washington Redskins at Seahawks (-7) — Seattle won a shootout last week. Rookie DeShaun Watson gashed them, and Kirk Cousins can play. However, Cousins is not the same player on the road as he is at home. This could be another game where a garbage touchdown defeats the spread. Seahawks win but fail to cover.
Kansas City Chiefs (-1) at Dallas Cowboys — Nobody wins ugly like the Chiefs. The defense gives up yards but forces turnovers. The offense is methodical but does not make mistakes. The Cowboys finally lost Ezekiel Elliott to a six-game suspension. This may be counter-intuitive, but losing Elliott could force the team to rally together in the short run. At home, go with emotion. Upset special, Cowboys win outright.
Oakland Raiders (-3) at Miami Dolphins — The Raiders were one play away from a six game losing streak. The offense is out of sync and the secondary cannot stop anyone. However, Miami lost 40-0 last week to an average Baltimore team. The 3-5 Raiders are desperate, and this week their desperation will keep them alive. Carr is a leader, and he will lead. Raiders cover.
Sunday, November 6, 8:30 p.m.
Detroit Lions (-2.5) at Green Bay Packers — With Aaron Rodgers, the Packers win comfortably. Without him, this will be a struggle. The Lions just do not seem to be maximizing their talent. The players will rally around Brett Hundley and not let their season fold on Monday Night Football. Matthew Stafford is not getting enough help on offense. Upset special, Packers win outright.