LOS ANGELES, November 11, 2020 — On this Veteran’s Day, let us honor and cherish those who fought for America’s freedom and were blessed enough to come home safely.
We thank those who served, and on Memorial Day we mourn the fallen. Veteran’s Day is a celebration of those who were willing to give their lives but were blessed by God to keep their lives. After Vietnam, Veterans were met with scorn. In a desperate attempt to right that grievous wrong, America’s heroes are now given their just due and then some.
America’s most famous NFL veteran on self-proclaimed America’s team is Captain America himself, Roger Staubach. After an honorable Naval career during the Vietnam War, Staubach led the Dallas Cowboys to two Super Bowl victories. He may have been Roger the Dodger on the field, but he was no dodger when it came to his American military responsibilities.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are the NFL’s lone unbeaten team in 2020.
Helping keep quarterback Ben Roethlisberger upright is offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva. An offensive tackle with the Steelers since 2014, Villanueva did three Army tours in Afghanistan from 2010 until he entered the NFL.
The New England Patriots have a veteran on their team who is in the military and the NFL simultaneously. Joe Cardona is the long snapper and a member of the Naval Reserves. In 2018 during the offseason, Cardona partook inactions on the Korean peninsula. Like Staubach, Cardona is the other Navy graduate with a pair of Super Bowl rings.
Rocky Bleier was on all four Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl teams of the 1970s. He joined the team in 1968 but after his rookie year was drafted into the Army. Wounded in combat in Vietnam, Staubach defied the wisdom that said he would never play football again. He rejoined the Steelers in 1970 and gradually worked his way back into the lineup.
So let us enjoy the men who play hard on Sunday while honoring those who keep us free and safe so we can do exactly that.
With that, here is the NFL 2020 Week 9 Preview and Bettor’s Guide, with point, spreads provided by DraftKings and all times Eastern.
Thursday, November 12, 2020, 8:20 p.m.
Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans (-2) —
The Colts lost at home to a Baltimore team with a solid defense. The Titans have a solid defense. Philip Rivers may throw touchdown passes to both teams. Derrick Henry is a bulldozer. Go with running and defense. Titans cover.
Sunday, November 15, 2020, 1:00 p.m.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Green Bay Packers (-13.5) —
The Jaguars are 1-7 because they lost at home to a previously 1-6 team who can only beat them. This game could get ugly very early. Aaron Rodgers should light it up. Packers cover.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-4.5) at Carolina Panthers —
Tom Brady just had the worst game of his career. The Panthers did give defending champion Kansas City all they could handle, and the return of Christian McCaffrey immediately upgrades the Panthers. However, it is hard to bet against an enraged Brady. Buccaneers win but fail to cover.
Philadelphia Eagles (-3.5) at New York Giants —
COVID has canceled many things, but league rules prevent this NFC Least matchup from being canceled. With all respect to COVID victims, these two teams are sick. Daniel Jones can be expected to fumble with the game on the line. Eagles win but fail to cover.
Houston Texans at Cleveland Browns (-3.5) —
Houston can beat Jacksonville but the other 30 teams are a problem. Cleveland is improved. Give them the benefit of the doubt because they can run the ball. Browns win but fail to cover.
Washington Election Chaos at Detroit Lions (-4) —
If not for Washington, the Giants would be as winless as the Jets. The Lions have more talent and Matthew Stafford has not forgotten how to play, but the Lions never seem to win easily. Lions win but fail to cover.
Sunday, November 15, 2020, 4:00 p.m.
Buffalo Bills at Arizona Cardinals (-2) —
Josh Allen and Kyler Murray are both playing well, but it is hard to trust Arizona after their home loss to Miami. Buffalo has a better defense. Upset special, Bills win outright.
Los Angeles Chargers at Miami Dolphins (-2.5) —
This game mattered in the 1981 playoffs, but Dan Fouts and Don Strock are long retired. Justin Herbert has been playing well. Nobody loses games like the Chargers, and their loss to the Raiders was particularly gut-wrenching. Miami is coming off an emotional at Arizona and Tua Tagovailoa is 2-0. Yet Herbert is playing better. In a shootout, the Chargers should finally fail to collapse. Upset special, Chargers win outright.
Denver Broncos at Las Vegas Raiders (-5.5) —
The Raiders needed tons of luck to survive the Chargers. The Raiders do not close out games. Their secondary is still substandard despite last week’s heroics. Derek Carr is airing it out and Josh Jacobs is a punishing runner. Drew Lock is playing well, and the Broncos have shown the ability to overcome deficits. Every time people are about to believe in the Raiders, they take a step back. This could be the week they finally move forward. Raiders win but fail to cover.
Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams (-1.5) —
Russell Wilson took a beating last week and the Seattle pass defense is uncharacteristically porous for a Pete Carroll team. Wilson can’t do it all himself. Jared Goff is playing well, and the Rams can keep pace in a shootout. Aaron Donald is as much a wrecking machine as ever. However, if this comes down to one play, trust Wilson. Upset special, Seahawks win outright.
San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints (-9) —
After watching the Saints humiliate Tom Brady and Tampa Bay by 35 points, do you want to be the fool betting against the Saints at home? Sean Payton and Drew Brees are as good as ever. The 49ers are suffering from injuries. With Michael Thomas back, expect the Saints pinball offense to go full tilt. Saints cover.
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers (-6.5) —
The Steelers barely survived a Dallas team playing their fourth-string quarterback. Mike Tomlin teams often play down to the level of their competition. Joe Burrow is a leader, but the Bengals are a couple of years away from making this game competitive in Pittsburgh. Steelers cover.
Sunday, November 15, 2020, 8:00 p.m.
Baltimore Ravens (-7) at New England Patriots —
New England is coming off a short week where they barely survived the winless Jets. Baltimore is winning with defense. John Harbaugh is one of the few coaches who can go toe to toe with Bill Belichick, but this year Harbaugh also has the personnel. The spread is too high given that New England is at home, but Baltimore has what it takes to win a slugfest. Ravens win but fail to cover.
Monday, November 16, 2020, 8:20 p.m.
Minnesota Vikings (-3) at Chicago Bears –
Minnesota started out 1-5 but has won two straight while the Bears started 5-1 and then lost three straight. Chicago has no offense. Minnesota has a punishing running back in Dalvin Cook. Go with the momentum. Vikings cover.