NFL Betting Odds: Week 9 Line Movements & Last-Minute News
Sometimes I struggle to come up with a lead topic on these Friday stories if there hasn't been a major injury, line move, etc. This week? I could write five of these stories easy. It was perhaps the newsiest week I can ever remember.
The biggest and saddest news was Thursday when Texans superstar rookie Deshaun Watson tore his ACL in practice. Honestly, that blindsided me so much that I need the weekend to gather my thoughts and will go in depth on that Monday. It has wide-reaching effects.
The Colts finally told the world what we all pretty much knew: Andrew Luck isn't playing this season. Now it's time to wonder whether he ever will be the same guy again if that shoulder is still bothering him all these months after surgery. Someone needs to get fired over how that whole Luck matter was handled.
The Cardinals admitted that star running back David Johnson wasn't going to get back this season as hoped - also crushing the hopes of fantasy football owners who were hanging onto DJ for their playoffs.
The NFL reinstated mega-talented but drug-troubled Browns receiver Josh Gordon, although he won't be eligible to play until the final five games of the season assuming no setbacks. Gordon, 26, has not played in a game since Dec. 21, 2014. That guy was spectacular in the 2013 season.
Then there was Tuesday's trade deadline, which was unlike anything the NFL had ever seen. It was truly thrilling, like an MLB or NBA deadline day. There were three shocking deals: New England trading Jimmy Garoppolo to San Francisco for a 2018 second-round pick, Miami sending Jay Ajayi to Philadelphia for a fourth-round pick, and Carolina shipping Kelvin Benjamin to Buffalo for a couple of picks.
Yet arguably the news that stole the trade deadline? A deal that didn't happen. The Browns agreed to pay the outrageous price of a second- and third-round pick in the 2018 draft to Cincinnati for backup QB A.J. McCarron. Except the absurdly inept Cleveland front office didn't send the paperwork into the NFL in time (4 p.m. ET Tuesday). No deal. That's one of the most embarrassing things in league history. Some believe that the front office purposefully screwed this up because it thought paying a second and third for McCarron was way too much - and it would be right (more than Garoppolo? Come on!). Coach Hue Jackson was enamored with McCarron from his days as the Cincinnati offensive coordinator and apparently won that power struggle to get him.
The owner's wife went ballistic on Browns officials on Wednesday. I mean, this front office has now blown chances at Carson Wentz, Watson and McCarron. Owner Jimmy Haslam really was hoping for some stability with this new setup, but it's now clear he has to hire one true football mind to clean house yet again. The Factory of Sadness lives on! At least the Browns won't lose on the field this week. They are off.
Here are some line moves or potential game-changing injury notes for Week 9.
Falcons at Panthers (+1.5, 42.5): Carolina had been as high as a 2-point favorite. I truly don't get why Benjamin, the team's best receiver, was traded. Yes, he was a similar type player to No. 2 Devin Funchess - i.e. both are big but without a ton of speed. One could argue they were redundant when were on the field at the same time. And, yes, Benjamin could be inconsistent. GM Marty Hurney believes getting more speed at receiver, be that Curtis Samuel or Russell Shepard for now, will help open up the middle of the field and thus help the running game and tight end Greg Olsen when he returns from injury. Still, especially with Olsen still out, isn't that Benjamin trade a move you make after the season considering you are fighting for a playoff spot in 2017? Carolina would have had to pay Benjamin $8,459,000 in 2018 or sign him to a long-term deal that would cost that or more per year. Falcons running back Devonta Freeman was limited in practice this week with a shoulder injury but will play. Freeman has been very quiet the past three games with just 39 total touches. Steve Sarkisian at work!
Redskins at Seahawks (-7, 45): While I'm sure Ajayi will help the Eagles, Benjamin the Bills and Garoppolo the 49ers (although he's not playing this week), perhaps the best trade ahead of the deadline was Seattle plugging easily the biggest hole on the roster, left tackle, with Texans three-time Pro Bowler Duane Brown. It was costly, though. Originally, Seattle gave up cornerback Jeremy Lane, a 2018 fifth-round pick and a 2019 second-round pick to Houston. However, Lane failed his physical so now Seattle will get Brown and Houston's 2018 fifth-round pick in exchange for the Seahawks' 2018 third-rounder and their 2019 second-round pick. Brown returned just last week from a holdout and played 68 out of 71 offensive snaps against Seattle. So apparently the Seahawks liked what they saw. Because of an injury to George Fant this preseason, Seattle had been starting overwhelmed 2016 third-round pick Rees Odhiambo to cover Russell Wilson's blind side. Brown should start Sunday as he began his career in a zone-blocking scheme similar to the one Seattle runs under offensive line coach Tom Cable. Thus, less of an adjustment. The Skins, meanwhile, could be without up to three starting O-Linemen again due to injury plus tight end Jordan Reed.
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