The trade deadline in Major League Baseball and the NBA are both big events. There's always a ton of action in terms of player movement as well as futures odds shifting. The NFL? Very little if nothing happens. Might that change this year? The deadline is 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday.
I think we will see a few moves but nothing earth-shaking like a starting quarterback being dealt (although I'd love to see Washington trade former starter Robert Griffin III somewhere). Carolina could use a receiver. Pittsburgh now could use a backup running back (more on that below). The 49ers reportedly have made tight end Vernon Davis available as their season is over at 2-6 and Davis is in the final year of his contract. Chicago would listen on tight end Martellus Bennett, running back Matt Forte, receiver Alshon Jeffery (Forte and Jeffery are pending free agents, but Forte was hurt in Week 8 and likely now misses a few weeks so he's not tradable now) and pretty much any defensive player. The Browns are listening on linemen Joe Thomas and Alex Mack as well as defensive players Paul Kruger and Barkevious Mingo. Baltimore and Detroit also figure to be sellers. The Ravens might have listened on receiver Steve Smith, but he suffered a season-ending injury in Week 8; thus if Smith keeps his word about retiring after 2015, his career is over.
Here are some Week 9 games and opening lines that caught my eye. As usual, I won't touch on the Thursday night game, my Sunday featured game (most likely Rams-Vikings) or the Monday nighter.
Raiders at Steelers (-4.5, 48): Easily the most significant injury of Week 8 was to Pittsburgh running back, Pro Bowler and 2014 team MVP Le'Veon Bell. His season is over with a torn right MCL. If you saw Pittsburgh's loss to Cincinnati on Sunday, you knew it was bad right away with the way Bell's knee was bent while being tackled. It's really a shame if you are Steelers backer because Sunday was the first game this season they had Bell, QB Ben Roethlisberger and their top three receivers all healthy/eligible at once. Bell, who was suspended two games earlier this season for marijuana use, and Roethlisberger, who missed four games with a knee injury, played a total of just 39 snaps together this season. DeAngelo Williams will be a popular pickup in your fantasy football league this week as he takes over for Bell. Williams was very good when Bell missed those first two games. Oakland, meanwhile, beat the Jets Sunday to improve to 4-3, the team's first winning record this late in the season since 2011. Key trend: Pittsburgh 4-6 ATS in past 10 as home favorite of at least four points. The pick: Steelers.
Titans at Saints (-8, 47.5): New Orleans has won three straight to get to .500 and should climb over break even here. How much fun was Sunday's 52-49 Saints win over the Giants? Drew Brees tied an NFL record with seven touchdown passes while New York's Eli Manning had six. The 13 combined touchdown passes were the most in NFL history in a single game. The teams' combined total of 101 points tied for the third-highest single-game total ever and was the most since Nov. 28, 2004. It was Brees' 10th career game with at least five TDs, also a league record. It was like watching a Big 12 matchup between Baylor and TCU. The big question for this one is whether Titans rookie QB Marcus Mariota plays. He has missed the past two games with a sprained MCL. Zach Mettenberger hasn't been very good starting in his place. Key trend: New Orleans 4-6 ATS in past 10 as home favorite of at least 7.5. The pick: Saints.
Packers at Panthers (+2, 45.5): This is probably the best game of the week; obviously the line could change depending on what Carolina does at home Monday night against Indianapolis. Green Bay remains the +200 favorite to win the NFC despite losing Sunday at unbeaten Denver, 29-10. Aaron Rodgers had one of the worst games of his career, passing for just 77 yards on 22 attempts (14 completions). He had never finished with fewer than 142 passing yards in a game he started and finished, though Scott Tolzien played the last 1:06 vs. the Broncos. Green Bay was held to 140 total yards. That Broncos defense is good, but wow. Interesting that Denver's Peyton Manning didn't throw a touchdown pass but won in Week 8 while brother Eli had six and lost. Needless to say, the winner of this game would hold a potentially crucial head-to-head tiebreaker for perhaps the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs. Key trend: Carolina 5-5 ATS in past 10 as home dog. The pick: Packers.
Jaguars at Jets (-2.5, 40): Who will be at quarterback for New York in this one? Both starter Ryan Fitzpatrick and backup Geno Smith were injured in Sunday's loss in Oakland. Fitzpatrick's is worse as he suffered torn ligaments in his thumb. Smith thinks he will be ready to play despite a left shoulder injury. But the Jets are in the market for a QB this week. How about calling the Redskins about RGIII? Ryan Mallett is on the market after being released by Houston, but apparently the Jets aren't interested in that knucklehead. This game has the lowest total on the board for Week 9, and I'd be shocked if it's not the lowest-scoring game even though that once-vaunted Jets defense has allowed 64 combined points in back-to-back losses. The Jaguars are off their bye week. Key trend: New York 4-6 ATS in past 10 as home favorite of three points or fewer. The pick: Jets.
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