NFL Betting Predictions: Week 9 Opening Line Report and Picks
You know how the various sportsbooks usually have an "over/under" prop on the number of viewers in the USA for the Super Bowl each year. I think they should do the same thing for this Sunday night's incredibly attractive matchup between the Packers and Patriots from Foxboro. If this doesn't get the highest rating of any regular-season game not just this year but for the past few, I'll be stunned.
Yes, there's another spectacular matchup on Monday night in Week 11 from Mexico City as the Chiefs face the Rams, but with all due respect to those very good clubs they don't have the national cache that the Packers and Patriots do, and it's all because of the quarterbacks. Even the ladies will be tuning in to see Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady play - shoot, their significant others are world famous women.
It's quite possible this is a Super Bowl preview, but if it's not then it's probably the last time Rodgers and Brady face off in something other than a Pro Bowl. That's because teams in opposite conferences play once every four years in the regular season, and I seriously doubt Brady will be playing in four years no matter what he says publicly.
It seemed like Brady and Peyton Manning played each other every year, sometimes twice including the playoffs. They did square off 17 times. Amazingly, this is just the second time Brady and Rodgers have. In Week 13 of the 2014 season, Green Bay beat visiting New England 26-21 behind 368 yards passing and three scores from Rodgers. Brady threw for 245 and two scores. In 2010 when the clubs played in Foxboro in Week 15, Rodgers was out injured and Matt Flynn was the quarterback in a 31-27 Packers loss.
Still so hard to believe these two haven't met in a Super Bowl, but that's the Packers fault. They should have in that 2014 season but Green Bay blew a 19-7 lead in Seattle in the NFC title game with about two minutes left in regulation and lost 28-22 in overtime. Just say the name Brandon Bostick to a Packers fans and they will probably start crying. He botched an onside kick in that game or it would have been Packers-Patriots in XLIX in Arizona. New England won that game in shocking fashion over the Seahawks. The Pats opened as 6-point favorites here , but that number could change depending on what they do Monday in Buffalo.
Here are some Week 9 early lines that caught my eye. I won't touch on Thursday's game (Raidres-49ers - yuck), my in-depth Sunday matchup (since we addressed Packers-Patriots here, most likely Rams-Saints) or the Monday night game (Titans-Cowboys) as I will be previewing them here individually.
Chiefs at Browns (+8, 52): This feels like a bit of a letdown game for Kansas City. How ridiculous is young Patrick Mahomes? He had a seventh straight 300-yard game in Sunday's 30-23 win over Denver in throwing for 303 and four scores - his third straight with four TDs (first player to do that since Manning in 2004). Sammy Watkins had his best game as a Chief in catching eight for 107 and two scores. Seriously, how do you stop this team? Mahomes has 26 touchdown passes; Kansas City had 26 as a team last year with Alex Smith starting 15 of the 16 games. Just two QBs have thrown more than 26 touchdown passes in the first eight games of a season: Brady in 2007 and Manning in 2013 and both won the MVP Award. There were rumblings that change could be coming to Cleveland, which lost its third straight Sunday, 33-18. And those rumblings were true as ownership fired Coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley on Monday. The sole focus is doing what's best for the long-term growth of Baker Mayfield. We'll have more on this Friday. The pick: Browns.
Jets at Dolphins (-3, 45.5): Speaking of coaches in trouble, I give you New York's Todd Bowles as the Jets' rookie quarterback, Sam Darnold, seems to be regressing. He was held to 153 yards passing and completed just 14 of 29 on Sunday in a 24-10 loss at Chicago, which didn't even have its best defensive player, Khalil Mack. New York had 207 yards of offense and 12 first downs. In defense of Donald, he didn't have either of his top two receivers, Robby Anderson or Quincy Enunwa, due to injury. Rookie Deontay Burnett entered the game with one catch all season and led the club with four for 61 yards. We'll stick with our coaches on the hot seat theme and shift to Miami's Adam Gase. The Fins dropped their second straight last Thursday, 42-23 in Houston. Gase had a very puzzling onside kick call that completely backfired. Brock Osweiler started his third straight game in place of injured Ryan Tannehill and looked like Brock Osweiler, throwing for 241 yards and a pick. Tannehill probably sits again. These teams met Week 2 in New Jersey and Miami won 20-12. The pick: Dolphins and under.
Falcons at Redskins (-1, 48): Are the Redskins actually good? I don't think so, but at 5-2 they have a two-game lead in the loss column atop the NFC East over Philadelphia and Dallas. The Skins only have a point differential of plus-12, and that statistic is often more indicative of what a team is than record. Washington won its third in a row Sunday, 20-13 at the pitiful Giants. Adrian Peterson continued his amazing bounce-back season with 26 carries for 149 yards and a touchdown. He's pretty clearly the NFL Comeback Player of the Year leader right now. Remember how shot AP looked in 2017 with the Saints and Cardinals? He was without a team in camp until the Redskins were hit hard by running back injuries. Peterson passed Tony Dorsett Sunday to become the NFL's No. 9 all-time leading rusher. He's 396 yards behind No. 7 Eric Dickerson. The Falcons saved their season, temporarily anyways, with a 23-20 win over the Giants on Monday in Week 7 before going on the bye. Matt Ryan is putting up MVP-caliber numbers (he won't win it again) and threw for 379 yards and a score while completing his final 18 passes. Atlanta did lose yet another player to a season-ending injury with right guard Brandon Fusco hurting his ankle. The pick: Falcons.
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