LOS ANGELES, November 1, 2018 — Halloween is over, but November brings sheer terror in the form of a ghoulish, ghastly Week 9 Thursday Night Football game. Those growing up watching football in the 1970s and 1980s are witnessing a completely different NFL world. Back then, the Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers were each winning multiple Super Bowls. Now, they are two of the worst teams in football. They both collapsed last week in the fourth quarter. The Raiders are 1-6 because last week they lost at home to the previously 1-5 Colts. The 49ers are 1-7 because last week in the final seconds they lost to the previously 1-6 Cardinals.
Back in the last century, the Patriots were the joke of the NFL, known as the Patsies. Two other awful teams were the Packers and the Buccaneers. The Bucs were so bad that when asked after a game about their team’s execution, Coach John McKay replied, “I’m in favor of it.” The Patriots changed their uniforms and won multiple Super Bowls. The Buccaneers turned into Pewter Power and won a Super Bowl. The Packers lucked into two phenomenal quarterbacks who each delivered a Super Bowl victory.
Back when the Packers and Buccaneers played terrible games twice per year, ESPN uber-announcer Chris Berman had a great nickname for the bad matchup. Green Bay against Tampa Bay became “The Bay of Pigs.” After both teams improved, Berman had to alter the nickname of the game to “Baywatch.” We letterheads of love Chris Berman, so let’s bring back the original nickname. This is the only way to shame bad teams into playing better (in addition to multiple improved draft picks). The San Francisco Bay team in Santa Clara is battling the Oakland Alameda East Bay team headed for Las Vegas. The Oakland Raiders battle the San Francisco 49ers. Welcome to the 2018 version of the Bay of Pigs.
With that, here is the NFL 2018 Week 9 Preview and Bettor’s Guide, with point spreads provided by OddsShark and all times Eastern.
Week 9 Preview and Bettor’s Guide
Thursday, November 1, 2018, 8:20 p.m.
Oakland Raiders at San Francisco 49ers (-2.5)
The battle of who wants it least has to go to the Raiders. They have no defense, and their once vaunted offense has large stretches of futility. League rules prevent this game from being canceled. Al Davis and Bill Walsh re rolling over in their graves. 49ers cover
Sunday, November 4, 1:00 p.m.
Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings (-4.5)
The Vikings defense is not the same unit as last year, but trusting the Lions on the road in Minnesota is too much for ask. Mike Zimmer’s defense will get to Matthew Stafford and force turnovers. Vikings win but fail to cover.
Chicago Bears (-10) at Buffalo Bills
The Bills fought New England hard at home for three quarters before collapsing in the fourth. Nathan Peterman starts, and is determined not to be the worst NFL quarterback in league history. The spread is too high to trust a Bears team that is only average. Buffalo has a defense. Bears win but fail to cover.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers (-6.5)
Ryan Fitzpatrick and his magic beard return to the field. Sadly for him, Carolina is the better team who just beat a good Baltimore team. Cam Newton can win a shootout or a slugfest. Panthers win but fail to cover.
Kansas City Chiefs (-8.5) at Cleveland Browns
The Browns finally put Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley out of their misery. The Chiefs are rolling, the Browns are reeling, and the Chiefs have too many weapons. Chiefs cover.
New York Jets at Miami Dolphins (-3)
A pair of boring teams play a game that nobody outside the AFC East cares about. The Jets defense is better than Miami’s offense, and the Jets tend to win road games and lose at home. Upset special, Jets win outright.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens (-3)
This game is always good. Home field means nothing. The hits will be hard and the game could go down to the final play. John Harbaugh is using his backup quarterbacks in very creative ways, which could be the difference between these mirror-image teams. Ravens cover.
Atlanta Falcons at Washington Redskins (-1.5)
Washington has gotten to a very surprising 5-2 while Atlanta is the team struggling. On paper, Atlanta is the better team. This will be a test of whether the records are truthful or illusory. Upset special, Falcons win outright.
Sunday, November 4, 4:00 p.m.
Los Angeles Chargers at Seattle Seahawks (-1.5)
The Chargers are 5-2, but the Seahawks have found their groover. At home with the 12th man roaring, expect Russell Wilson to do enough. Seahawks cover.
Houston Texans at Denver Broncos (-1)
Houston now has a new toy for DeShaun Watson to throw to. The Texans have won five straight games. Denver is a tough place to play, but the trading deadline improved the Texans significantly. Upset special, Texans win outright.
Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints (-1.5)
The Rams remained unbeaten after surviving a thriller against Green Bay while the Saints went on the road and throttled Minnesota. Both teams are legitimate Super Bowl contenders. At home, trust Drew Brees to finally knock the Rams from talk of going undefeated. If the Rams win this game, the rest of the NFC can go home. Saints cover.
Sunday, November 4, 8:20 p.m.
Green Bay Packers at New England Patriots (-5.5)
Forget the meaningless debate of whether Aaron Rodgers is better than Tom Brady. Brady is the king of fake humility. Football is a team game, and Brady has a much better team. Rodgers is burning with rage after being denied his chance to knock off the unbeaten Rams. Nevertheless, on Sunday Night, expect Brady to shine. Also, New England’s defense is vastly improved. Patriots win but fail to cover.
Monday, November 5, 8:20 p.m.
Tennessee Titans at Dallas Cowboys (-6.5)
A pair of overage teams that get more attention than they deserve face off in a battle of mediocrity. At home, give Dat Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott the chance to show that they are as talented as Jerry Jones thinks they are. Cowboys win but fail to cover.