The Patriots are once again playing in the Sunday night primetime slot, but it will be impressive if this one even comes close to matching the thrill ride they gave us last time.
The last time we saw the Pats on Sunday Night Football, they battled Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs to a 43-40 victory in what will probably be the game of the year. This time around, they get Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. Even if this is a less-than-stellar Packers team, it will still be a matchup of the two best quarterbacks in the league.
That fact alone will make this an absolute must-see matchup.
While Green Bay is only 3-3-1 and doesn’t present quite the same offensive threat that Kansas City did, you can never not view Rodgers as a threat. He’s the most naturally gifted quarterback the NFL has to offer, and maybe even of all time. He has the skills to always make the Packers dangerous, even if the team around him isn’t much to behold.
With that being said, the Packers almost became the first team to beat the Rams last week, until a costly fumble killed any chance they had of pulling out the victory. They will present another interesting test for the Pats, who struggled to get the offense rolling in Buffalo this past Monday night.
Simply put, these are two imperfect football teams with all-time great quarterbacks. And any time Rodgers and Tom Brady share the field, it’s going to be a great game.
And with that, let’s get to the picks for Week 9…
(Home teams in caps, and all spreads courtesy of OddsShark.com)
REDSKINS (-1.5) over Falcons
The Redskins have been the biggest surprise of the season so far. I, like many others, thought their season was cooked in training camp when Derrius Guice went down with a torn ACL. But then Adrian Peterson came in and somewhat revived his career, and Washington is stunningly in first place in the NFC East, even ahead of the defending Super Bowl champs. Color me shocked.
Bears (-10) over BILLS
Without Josh Allen, you just can’t expect this Buffalo offense to do anything. Derek Anderson was their quarterback last week, and they managed two field goals against the Patriots. And the Bears have a more deadly defense than the Patriots do.
If you don’t believe me, the Bills are only averaging 10.9 points. You aren’t going to cover many spreads that way.
Lions (+5.5) over VIKINGS
I’m not sold on either team in this game, but the Lions are 5-1 against the spread in their last six games and are 6-1 straight up in their last seven divisional games.
Chiefs (-8.5) over BROWNS
The Browns have actually been a pretty decent team to bet on this year as they are 5-3 against the spread. But against this Kansas City offense? No way.
DOLPHINS (-2.5) over Jets
The Dolphins seem like a safer bet at home than the Jets — who failed to cover last week against a Bears team that was missing both Khalil Mack and Allen Robinson — do on the road.
Steelers (+2.5) over RAVENS
This one is tricky. The Steelers haven’t lost since the Ravens handed them a 26-14 defeat in Week 4. At the same time, the Steelers are also 1-5 against the spread in their last six games against Baltimore. How’s that for a dilemma?
PANTHERS (-6.5) over Buccaneers
We all got sucked into the whole FitzMagic thing two months ago. Let’s not do that again.
Texans (+1) over BRONCOS
It’s the return of Demaryius Thomas to Denver just days after the Broncos traded him away. Anyone else think it would be fun to see him go off for three touchdowns and like 180 yards?
SEAHAWKS (-1) over Chargers
I’m still over waiting for the Chargers to collapse. It’s taking much longer than I hoped.
SAINTS (+2) over Rams
The Rams have to lose at some point, right? They showed signs of vulnerability last week against the Packers, surviving in the final minutes thanks to a Ty Montgomery fumble. Now they face the Saints at home, who are 6-1 and 5-2 against the spread. If the Rams are going to lose a game this season, it might be this one.
PATRIOTS (-5.5) over Packers
The Pats have won 11 straight home games and nine of them have been by at least seven points. As great as Aaron Rodgers is, I don’t think the Packers are going to have it at Gillette Stadium this weekend. If the game was being played at Lambeau Field, then it would be a different story.
COWBOYS (-5.5) over Titans
This one is a tossup. Neither team can be trusted. I guess the Cowboys at home seems fair, but I’m not really sure. Too bad we can’t trade this Monday night game out with the Steelers-Ravens game or something like that.
Last week: 7-7
This week: 0-1