NFL Betting Predictions: Week 9 Opening Line Report and Picks
Not long ago, I read a story titled "Ozzie Newsome was the most important GM of his generation." That might have been right. Newsome, an excellent tight end in his NFL playing days, was named the first general manager of the Baltimore Ravens in November 2002 and also the first African-American to occupy that position in the NFL.
Newsome wasn't just a trailblazer in that regard, he was spectacular at his job with the Ravens as annual contenders under his reign and winning one Super Bowl. Frankly, if Baltimore hadn't been stuck in the AFC with Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the Patriots, there's no doubt the Ravens would have made a few more Super Bowls. It seemed like every year that Baltimore lost some of its best players to free agency and Newsome would find lower-paid talent to replace them who would become just as good.
It was announced before the 2018 season that Newsome would retire after it. His last big move as GM? In that April's draft, Newsome traded into the back end of the first round with the Philadelphia Eagles to select Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Lamar Jackson. Many scouts doubted Jackson's ability in the NFL because of his size and accuracy problems, but look at him now. He's an MVP candidate largely because of his feet and could bring about a new wave of quarterback prospects. Newsome could scout talent like no one else.
Jackson and the Ravens come out of their bye week and host the New England Patriots on Sunday night in clearly the marquee game of Week 9. It's the first time the Patriots have played a good team all season - sorry Bills fans. And I think all that 16-0 Patriots talk ends by about 11:30 on Sunday night because Baltimore is going to win despite being a 3.5-point dog at Mybookie.
Here are some other Week 9 early lines that caught my eye. We won't touch on Thursday's game (49ers at Cardinals) or Monday's (Cowboys at Giants) because we will be previewing them individually here at Doc's. Atlanta, Cincinnati, the LA Rams and New Orleans are on the bye. NFL Week 9 Picks are ATS.
Texans vs. Jaguars (+2.5, 47): The final London game of the season and it's a 9:30 a.m. ET kickoff from Wembley Stadium. It's not the final international game, though, as the Chiefs and Chargers play in Mexico in a couple of weeks. Houston's 27-24 home win over Oakland on Sunday was costly because three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt was lost to yet another season-ending injury. He's not quite what he used to be - largely due to injuries - but still one of the most disruptive defenders on the planet. The 30-year-old did not miss a game in the first five seasons of his career, but he has finished the year on injured reserve in three of his past four seasons. The Jags got to .500 with Sunday's 29-15 win over the Jets. Gardner Minshew had three TD passes and vastly outplayed the much more touted Sam Darnold. Pick: Texans.
Bears at Eagles (-4.5, 44): All week Bears fans will be subjected to replays of Cody Parkey's double-doink in last season's playoff game that cost Chicago the win at home against the Eagles. Frankly, the Bears haven't been right since. It looked like they capably replaced Parkey with Eddy Pineiro as Pineiro won a Week 2 game in Denver on a 53-yard field goal as time expired. However, he missed the potential winning 41-yarder on Sunday in a 17-16 home defeat to the Chargers. The Bears had no right losing that game in holding the Chargers to 231 yards offense, but QB Mitchell Trubisky simply isn't very good and you are going to hear talk about benching him for Chase Daniel. Doubt it happens yet. Philadelphia snapped a two-game slide with a 31-13 win in Buffalo on Sunday. The Eagles rushed for 218 yards and three scores. Pick: Eagles.
Packers at Chargers (+3, 45.5): Third straight game vs. an AFC West team for the Packers and they go for the division sweep following last Sunday's 31-24 win in Kansas City. While we didn't get Aaron Rodgers (threw for 305 yards and three scores) vs. Patrick Mahomes in that one, we will see a matchup of future Hall of Famers here in Rodgers vs. Philip Rivers (yes, he's a Hall of Famer). Probably the last time they ever face off because there's no way Rivers will be playing in four years and I don't see the Chargers making a Super Bowl anytime soon. They did save their season temporarily with Sunday's fortunate win in Chicago. I promise you there will be more Packers fans in attendance at that soccer stadium outside L.A. for this one than Chargers fans. Pick: Chargers.
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