New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts
The New York Jets (2-5 SU and ATS) visit the Indianapolis Colts (3-5 SU, 5-3 ATS) on “Thursday Night Football” with the Jets fresh off the biggest upset of the season. They defeated the Bengals 34-31 as 11-point underdogs, amassing 511 yards of offense on 6.6 yards per play. They visit a Colts team that is fighting for its season and just lost in overtime to the division rival Titans. The Colts were held to 307 yards of offense and just 4.3 yards per play. Quarterback Carson Wentz threw an interception for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, and another interception in OT to set up the Titans’ winning score. The Colts are favored by 10.5, down from 14 on the lookahead line. Mike White, who played well in his first career start, will be under center for the Jets as Zach Wilson is still recovering from a knee injury. The total is 44.
Houston Texans at Miami Dolphins
The Houston Texans (1-7 SU, 4-4 ATS) visit the Miami Dolphins (1-7 SU, 2-6 ATS) in a matchup of teams that are winless since Week 1. The Texans had one of the more miraculous covers of the season last week against the Rams. After trailing 38-0, they ripped off 22 straight points to beat the closing number of 17, falling 38-22. They were gashed on defense, allowing 467 yards during the competitive portion of the game, but have simply been non-competitive since Davis Mills took over for injured QB Tyrod Taylor. The Dolphins were on the other end of a miraculous cover, as a late touchdown by the Bills covered the 14-point spread with a 26-11 final in what was a 3-3 game at halftime. The Dolphins mustered just over 200 yards of offense. Both the Dolphins and the Texans are at the bottom of the league, averaging under 5 yards per play on offense. The Dolphins are favored by 7 and might be an unconventional yet appealing option for survivor players. The total is 46.5. Taylor remains out but seems to be trending toward returning in the near future.
Denver Broncos at Dallas Cowboys
The Denver Broncos (4-4 SU and ATS) captured their first win since Week 3, defeating Washington 17-10 last week. They will look to do what no team has done in 2021 — cover against the Dallas Cowboys (6-1 SU, 7-0 ATS). The Cowboys held quarterback Dak Prescott out of Sunday’s game against the Vikings but came from behind to win 20-16. Prescott looks to be a full go for practice this week, putting him on track to play. The Cowboys are elite in most offensive categories, ranking at or near the top of the league in points per game and yards per play on offense. The Broncos have myriad injuries to their front seven and just traded franchise icon Von Miller to the Rams. The Cowboys are favored by 8.5, and the total is 49.5.
Minnesota Vikings at Baltimore Ravens
The Minnesota Vikings (3-4 SU and ATS) visit the Baltimore Ravens (5-2 SU, 3-4 ATS) with the Ravens favored by 6.5, up a point from the lookahead line. Both teams are off their most disappointing performances of the season. The Vikings were defeated by backup quarterback Cooper Rush and the Cowboys, producing under 300 yards of offense and squandering multiple second-half leads. The Ravens have had an extra week to stew on their blowout home loss to the Bengals, as they are off a bye. A key matchup is the Ravens’ rushing attack, which is third in the league averaging nearly 150 yards per game, against a Vikings rushing defense that is 27th in the league, allowing 4.6 yards per carry. The Vikings could be on the brink of falling out of contention with a loss, as the schedule features games against the Chargers, Packers and Rams over the next month. The total is 49.5.
New England Patriots at Carolina Panthers
The New England Patriots (4-4 SU and ATS) have won consecutive games to even their record after beating the Chargers despite losing in total yardage and yards per play. The Carolina Panthers (4-4 SU and ATS) won Sunday for the first time since Sept. 23, holding Atlanta to 4.3 yards per play and 213 yards of total offense. Sam Darnold did not finish the game for the second straight week. A week after being benched, Darnold left with a concussion, and P.J. Walker replaced him again. If Darnold can play, it’s worth noting that he has faced Bill Belichick three times, going 0-3 while his teams have been outscored 99-17. The Patriots were favored by 2 on the lookahead line but are now favored by 3 after their strong performance. The total is a modest 42. Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey has not played since Week 3, and his status will be something to monitor as his return is expected in the coming weeks.
Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars
For the second straight week the Buffalo Bills (5-2 SU and ATS) are favored by about two touchdowns. They covered last week depending on where and when you bet them, beating the Dolphins by 15 in a game that was 3-3 late in the third quarter. The Bills visit the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6 SU, 2-5 ATS), who were defeated soundly by Seattle and will have their hands full against Bills quarterback Josh Allen. The consensus 2-1 favorite to win the MVP will go against a Jaguars defense that allows over 6 yards per play, 28th in the league. The Bills are 14-point favorites, up from 11.5 on the lookahead line, and will likely be a popular survivor pick despite playing on the road. The Bills are first in the league defensively, allowing 4.6 yards per play. The total is 49.
Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals
The Cleveland Browns (4-4 SU and ATS) visit the Cincinnati Bengals (5-3 SU, 4-4 ATS) with the home team favored by 2.5 points. The Bengals were the darlings of the league just a week ago but were humbled by the Jets, losing as double-digit favorites. The Bengals entered last week in the top four of the league in both offensive and defensive yards per play but were gashed for over 500 yards in the loss. The Browns have been one of the more disappointing teams in the league. They were held to just 306 yards of offense and 10 points in last week’s loss to the Steelers. Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield continues to play through a left shoulder injury, while running back Kareem Hunt remains on IR. The total is 46.5.
Las Vegas Raiders at New York Giants
Despite all the turmoil, the Las Vegas Raiders (5-2 SU, 4-3 ATS) surprisingly sit atop the AFC West and visit the New York Giants (2-6 SU, 4-4 ATS) as 3-point road dogs. The Raiders are coming off a bye, while the Giants let one get away Monday night against the Chiefs, blowing a chance to pull a big upset. The Giants are in the bottom half of the league, averaging fewer than 20 points per game, and will try to keep pace with a Raiders offense that is eighth in the league at over 6 yards per play. Giants running back Saquon Barkley and wide receiver Kenny Golloday are nearing returns after missing the last several weeks. The total is 47.5.
Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints
It’s a key NFC South battle as the Atlanta Falcons (3-4 SU and ATS) visit the New Orleans Saints (5-2 SU, 4-3 ATS) with the home team favored by 6 points. The Saints are off an upset victory over the Bucs but lost starting quarterback Jameis Winston to a torn ACL. Trevor Siemian played well in place of Winston and will be under center Sunday. The Falcons were held to 13 points and 203 yards of offense in last week’s loss to the Panthers. They will try to bounce back against a Saints defense that is in the top 10 in the league in yards per play allowed. The low total is set at 42.5.
Los Angeles Chargers at Philadelphia Eagles
The Los Angeles Chargers (4-3 SU and ATS) got off to a hot start at 4-1 but are now in danger of falling to .500 as they take on the Philadelphia Eagles (3-5 SU, 4-4 ATS). The Chargers were favored by 3 on the lookahead line, but that line has ticked below the key number, down to 2.5, after the Eagles’ decisive 37-point victory over the Lions. The Eagles will be looking to exploit a porous Chargers run defense that is dead last, allowing over 5 yards per carry and nearly 160 yards per game on the ground. Eagles running back Miles Sanders remains on IR, while the team ranks near the bottom of the league with just over 200 passing yards per game. The total is 50.5.
Green Bay Packers at Kansas City Chiefs
In each of the last two seasons, the Green Bay Packers (7-1 SU and ATS) were one win from playing the Kansas City Chiefs (4-4 SU, 2-6 ATS) in the Super Bowl. They finally get their chance this week, as they will have 10 days to rest and prepare for a reeling Chiefs team that will be playing on a short week after squeaking by the Giants on Monday night. The Chiefs have struggled defensively all year and are dead last in the league in yards per play allowed. The issues are not only on defense, however, as the potent offense has found the end zone only twice in the last two games. The Packers are in the middle of the pack in many categories, including yards per play on offense and defense, but continue not just to win games but to cover the spread. The Chiefs are favored by 1, and the total is 55.5.
Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers
The Arizona Cardinals (7-1 SU, 6-2 ATS) will have extra time to recover from their first defeat of the season Thursday night as they travel to play the San Francisco 49ers (3-4 SU, 2-5 ATS). The 49ers may have saved their season last week, erasing an early deficit to beat the Bears for their first win since Sept. 19. These teams met earlier, with the 49ers losing 17-10 but outgaining the Cardinals and having a better yards-per-play average. The Cardinals are expected to have star quarterback Kyler Murray for this game, but his legs that are such a weapon may be compromised as he is dealing with an ankle injury. The Cardinals are 3-point favorites, and the total is 47.5.
Tennessee Titans at Los Angeles Rams
These teams were in the news Monday for very different reasons. The Tennessee Titans (6-2 SU and ATS) sit atop the AFC South and hold the top seed in the conference, having just defeated the Colts in overtime. The joy of that win was tempered when news broke that star running back and MVP candidate Derrick Henry would be sidelined for most if not all of the season with a foot injury. The Titans signed veteran running back and future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson to fill Henry’s void. The Los Angeles Rams (7-1 SU, 4-4 ATS), on the other hand, added to their roster with the acquisition of a future Hall of Famer via trade. Von Miller was acquired from the Broncos, and his addition coupled with the loss of Henry swung the lookahead line of 4.5 all the way up to 7.5. The total is 53.5.
Chicago Bears at Pittsburgh Steelers
The Chicago Bears (3-5 SU and ATS) and Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3 SU and ATS) wrap up Week 9 on “Monday Night Football,” with the Steelers favored by 6.5. Both teams have struggled on offense, with the Steelers 25th in the NFL at 5.2 yards per play and the Bears dead last at 4.4. The Bears are also last in passing yards per game with 127. The total is predictably low at 40.5, the lowest on the board. The Steelers will likely add a kicker before the game, as Chris Boswell was injured on a fake field goal in the win over the Browns. Despite both teams’ inability to score at times, the Steelers and Bears remain in the playoff race at the midpoint of the season.