NFL Week 9 Breakdown

by Will Rogers

BEST GAME -- Tennessee at Los Angeles Rams (-6.5)

Tennessee -- 6-2 SU, 6-2 ATS

Los Angeles – 7-1 SU, 4-4 ATS

Just when things were about as good as they can get for the Titans, word is out that they may have lost the NFL’s top rusher, Derrick Henry, for the season with a foot injury. On the plus side, Tennessee may have already locked up the weak AFC South. Houston and Jacksonville are already playing out the string, and second-place Indianapolis is three back in the loss column with two losses to Tennessee. So we’ll see how hard the Titans go after the Rams this coming Sunday night. LA needs this one badly to keep pace with 7-1 Arizona, and the Cardinals have a soft November schedule before the two teams meet in mid-December in what could be the deciding game in the NFC West. That might account for the somewhat heavy 6.5 number.

WORST GAME -- Houston at Miami (-7)

Houston 1-7 SU, 4-4 ATS

Miami 1-7 SU, 2-5-1

When a team with playoff expectations loses seven straight games and is out of the running before Thanksgiving, critics use one eye to look at the coach and the other on the quarterback. So it is in south Florida today, where Brian Flores and Tua Tagovailoa both have to wonder if they’ll be around next season when the Fins try again to turn things around. Miami’s offense struggled for four quarters this past Sunday against the Bills, setting up a Week 9 battle in a game that has implications for the No. 1 draft choice next spring. Despite Miami’s issues, early bettors still like the Dolphins at -7.


Buffalo at Jacksonville (-14)

Buffalo 5-2 SU, 4-2-1 ATS

Jacksonville 1-6 SU, 2-5 ATS

You figure that the Jags would have shown a little more fight in their 24-points loss to Seattle, what with coming off a bye week and their first win of the year – and the Seahawks forced to use Geno Smith at QB. But it all fell apart early, and now Jacksonville’s mediocre offense has to face the best defense in the NFL. Not many takers for the Jaguars even at +14 and playing at home, even against a Bills team that had trouble moving the ball for three quarters against the Dolphins before breaking it open late. With New England starting to make some noise in the AFC East, the Bills need to maintain focus.

SMALLEST SPREAD – Cleveland at Cincinnati (-2.5)

Cleveland 4-4 SU, 4-4 ATS

Cincinnati 5-3 SU, 4-4 ATS

Weird season so far in the AFC North, the land of tight betting lines and where no one seems to be able to dominate. Neither the Browns not the Bengals will be devastated by a loss, but a division win is a division win. The Browns will spend the week trying to repair an offense that sprang numerous leaks in an odd 15-10 loss to Pittsburgh this past Sunday, in some way screwing up nearly every offensive possession. Don’t expect much sympathy from the Bengals, whose problems were on the defensive side of the ball in a loss to the Jets and backup QB Mike White.

BIGGEST TOTAL – Green Bay at Kansas City (55.5)

Green Bay 7-1 SU, 7-1 ATS

Kansas City 4-4 SU 2-6 ATS

The Chiefs are trying desperately to battle their way back into contention. A .500 record heading into the second half of the season at least keeps them alive although maybe not kicking, and they’ll be emptying the playbook against the Packers in a game that could make or break their season. Green Bay, meanwhile, has been a crummy Over team. In fact, five straight games have gone Under, and the Pack have been unable to break 30 points since the end of September.

SMALLEST TOTAL – Chicago at Pittsburgh (40)

Chicago 3-5 SU, 3-5 ATS

Pittsburgh 4-3 SU, 3-4 ATS

No one figured that scoring points would be THIS much of an issue in Chicago, especially after drafting Justin Fields. But here we are, eight weeks in the books, and the Bears have scored more than 20 points only twice this season. The Steelers, who will be on the lookout for a QB of their own when the season in all likelihood ends Ben Roethlisberger’s career, haven’t had a breakout offensive game of their own. It all adds up to a 40-point total on the books – a rarity in today’s NFL.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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