NFL Predictions Against the Spread, Week 9: Bucs beat Brees in NFC South battle

NFL Week 9 opened up on Thursday Night Football with the Green Bay Packers beating out a beat up San Francisco 49ers. With one game down, there are still 13 games to look forward to. There’s more divisional rivalries, more mouth-watering matchups, and another team steps up to try and bring the Pittsburgh Steelers unbeaten run to an end. Not sure who’s winning in Week 9? We’ve got you covered with NFL predictions, including what that would mean when it comes to picking against the spread, for every Week 9 clash.

All spread lines are provided by DraftKings and were correct at the time of writing. They are, of course, subject to change the closer we get to kickoff.

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NFL predictions against the spread, Week 9

Before we get to the remaining 13 games, let’s take a look at how the Thursday Night Football prediction played out.

Thursday, November 6, 8:20 pm ET

Green Bay Packers 34 San Francisco 49ers 17

When I sat down to write the original prediction for this game – Green Bay Packers 31 San Francisco 49ers 27 – the Packers were a slight favorite with a spread line of -2.0. Although the game-winner and spread predictions were spot on, injuries and COVID protocols to the 49ers had a dramatic impact on the scoreline and flow of the game.

The Packers have struggled massively against the run in 2020, and I anticipated a dominant 49ers ground game would have their way with the Green Bay defense. In reality, a banged-up San Francisco offense could only muster 55 rushing yards and were actually more successful in finding defensive flaws in the passing game.

As predicted – “Aaron Rodgers somehow always seems to follow a defeat with a furious flurry of touchdown throws and will be fired up on Thursday Night Football” – it was a fired-up Aaron Rodgers who drove the Packers to a comfortable win. Rodgers threw for 304 yards with four touchdowns, and the Packers move to 6-2 on the season.

Sunday, November 8, 1 pm ET

Denver Broncos (+4.0) @ Atlanta Falcons (-4.0)

The Denver Broncos comeback win over the Los Angeles Chargers was a thriller, but it also revealed some holes that the Atlanta Falcons could exploit when the two teams meet in Mercedes Benz Stadium for their Week 9 matchup.

Before the AFC West shootout, the Broncos ranked fifth in passing yards allowed in the 2020 NFL season but were exploited early and often by Justin Herbert. The Broncos defense also gave up over 200 yards on the ground before being bailed out by some last-minute Drew Lock heroics.

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The Falcons have one of the most potent passing offenses in the NFL in terms of yardage, with Julio Jones playing like the best wide receiver in the league at times. They’ve found the end zone 10 times on the ground, providing a multi-faceted offense that could prove too hot for the Broncos to handle.

NFL prediction against the spread for this Week 9 matchup: The Falcons win but fail to cover the spread.

Final score prediction: Denver Broncos 24 Atlanta Falcons 27

Seattle Seahawks (-3.0) @ Buffalo Bills (+3.0)

Russell Wilson continued his MVP campaign with four touchdowns in a comfortable 37-27 win over the San Francisco 49ers. Simultaneously, Josh Allen’s Buffalo Bills team grabbed victory from the jaws of defeat with a forced fumble on Cam Newton as the New England Patriots looked likely to hand Buffalo their third defeat of the year.

Instead, we have two six-win teams facing off in a Week 9 showdown. We have two dynamic quarterback/wide receiver combinations in Allen and Stefon Diggs versus Wilson and D.K. Metcalf.

The Seattle defense has been porous if we’re generous, a liability if we’re not. The Bills defense has also had their difficulties. This game likely comes down to a shootout, and if it does, you have to believe that Wilson will put the Seahawks in a position to succeed.

NFL predictions against the spread for these two six-win teams in Week 9: The Seahawks win and comfortably cover the spread.

Final score prediction: Seattle Seahawks 34 Buffalo Bills 28

Chicago Bears (+5.5) @ Tennessee Titans (-5.5)

The Tennessee Titans have suffered back to back defeats in the last two weeks and will be determined to return to winning ways when they welcome the Chicago Bears to Nissan Stadium. The Bears have their own slippery slope to stop having lost to the Los Angeles Rams, before coming out on the wrong side of a close one against the New Orleans Saints.

The Bears did an excellent job of shutting down Alvin Kamara on the ground against the Saints, holding him to just 67 yards. If they are to have any chance of getting out of Nashville with the win, they’ll need to repeat that performance to stop Derrick Henry.

The Bears’ biggest problem continues to be the quarterback situation, an issue the Titans don’t have with Ryan Tannehill. Even if Chicago contains Henry, Tannehill can lead the Titans to victory.

NFL predictions against the spread for this Week 9 matchup: Titans win and cover the spread easily.

Final score prediction: Chicago Bears 21 Tennessee Titans 31

Baltimore Ravens (-3.5) @ Indianapolis Colts (+3.5)

The Baltimore Ravens travel to the Indianapolis Colts for a clash of two 5-2 teams coming off the back of very different Week 8 results. The Ravens will be looking to immediately bounce back after a divisional defeat by the Pittsburgh Steelers. In contrast, the Colts are looking to make it three wins in a row after destroying the Detroit Lions last time out.

The Ravens put up 265 yards on the ground against the NFL’s best rushing defense, and they face another formidable run defense unit in the Colts. Although the Colts defense may be up to the task of limiting the Ravens offense, their own offense will struggle to go toe to toe with the Baltimore unit in the same way that the Steelers did despite putting up 41 points on a poor Detroit team.

NFL predictions against the spread for this Week 9 matchup: The Ravens win and cover the spread.

Final score prediction: Baltimore Ravens 27 Indianapolis Colts 21

Carolina Panthers (+11.5) @ Kansas City Chiefs (-11.5)

The Kansas City Chiefs continued their pick your poison approach to punishing the opposition as Patrick Mahomes threw for five touchdowns in a massive win over the New York Jets. Simultaneously, the Carolina Panthers slumped to three straight defeats with their Thursday Night Football loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

Unfortunately for the Panthers, things aren’t going to turn around against the NFL’s most diverse offense miraculously. Through eight games, Carolina has allowed the most fantasy points to running backs in the NFL, so you can expect either Rookie of the Year candidate Clyde Edwards-Helaire or Le’Veon Bell to have a productive night.

NFL predictions against the spread for this Week 9 clash: The Chiefs win but narrowly fail to cover the spread.

Final score prediction: Carolina Panthers 21 Kansas City Chiefs 31

Detroit Lions (+3.5) @ Minnesota Vikings (-3.5)

With Matthew Stafford on the injured reserve list and potentially out of Sunday’s game, this NFC North rivalry game between the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings takes on a very different complexion. If Stafford can start, then the Lions could play the Vikings – who come into the game off the back of an unexpected win over the Packers – extremely close. If he can’t, then Chase Daniel doesn’t offer the same level of quarterback play, and it would be an easier night for Mike Zimmer’s team.

Either way, I expect the Detroit Lions defense to struggle with the Vikings run game led by Dalvin Cook. The Lions have allowed amongst the most rushing touchdowns in the NFL so far this 2020 season. Cook torched the Packers to the tune of three touchdowns last week, and he could hit multiple scores for the second week in the row.

NFL predictions against the spread for this Week 9 NFC North rivalry game: The Vikings opened the week at -3.5, but at the time of writing, no spread is available due to the uncertainty of the Stafford situation.

Final score prediction: Detroit Lions 21 Minnesota Vikings 28

New York Giants (+2.5) @ Washington Football Team (-2.5)

Although the New York Giants still have to play their Week 8 fixture against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the time of writing, it is highly likely this NFC East rivalry game pits the 1-7 Giants against the 2-5 Washington Football Team.

Washington put an end to their five-game losing streak with a win against the Dallas Cowboys, putting up over 20 points for the first time since their season-opening win over the Philadelphia Eagles. In what is the worst division in the NFL this season, another divisional rival offers the opportunity to notch up their third win.

Related | NFL Power Rankings, Week 9: New teams enter the top 15

The Giants don’t have enough on defense to stop Terry McLaurin if Kyle Allen can put together some consistent quarterback play. On offense, the Giants line could struggle massively against a Washington defense that has racked up 22 sacks so far this year.

NFL predictions against the spread for this NFL East grudge match: Washington win and narrowly cover the spread.

Final score predictions: New York Giants 18 Washington Football Team 21

Houston Texans (-6.0) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (+6.0)

The Jacksonville Jaguars will be looking for revenge after being soundly beaten by the Houston Texans in the first matchup between these two 1-6 AFC South sides. The Texans outgained the Jaguars by over 100 yards, and Deshaun Watson found Will Fuller and Brandin Cooks for touchdowns in the fourth quarter that decided the match.

On paper, the two sides are evenly matched. They have similar average points scored and allowed, with their average yardage allowed separated by just four yards. The Jaguars have had a slightly more potent rushing offense, whereas the Texans have a marginally more potent passing game.

That is all on paper, and as the old adage goes, “football isn’t played on paper, it is played on grass.” When the Texans take to the TIAA Bank Field turf, they’ll have a real difference-maker driving their offense in Watson while the Jaguars quarterback situation remains unknown.

NFL predictions against the spread for this Week 9 AFC South rematch: The Texans win but with a push on the spread.

Final score prediction: Houston Texans 27 Jacksonville Jaguars 21

Sunday, November 8, 4:05 pm ET

Las Vegas Raiders (+1.5) @ Los Angeles Chargers (-1.5)

The fierce AFC West rivalry returns. After winning the last two matchups between the bitter rivals, the Las Vegas Raiders hold a 65-54-2 advantage over the Los Angeles Chargers. Can they add to that advantage in the first game of the late afternoon Week 9 slate?

After beating the Cleveland Browns, and the Chargers collapse to the Denver Broncos, the Raiders have emerged as the closest contender to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West. However, their pass defense will face a stern test against the Justin Herbert led Chargers offense. The Chargers defense allowed 6.8 yards per carry against the Broncos, and if Josh Jacobs gets that level of production early on, then the Raiders will ride him all night long.

NFL prediction against the spread for this AFC West rivalry in Week 9: The Chargers win and cover the spread.

Final score prediction: Las Vegas Raiders 27 Los Angeles Chargers 30

Sunday, November 8, 4:25 pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers (-14.0) @ Dallas Cowboys (+14.0)

The Pittsburgh Steelers stand alone as the only remaining undefeated team in the NFL entering Week 9. In the past two weeks, they have faced their most stringent tests of the season so far in beating the Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens. Whether the Dallas Cowboys start Andy Dalton or Ben DiNucci under center on Sunday, this isn’t going to be the Steelers’ most significant obstacle in their quest for the perfect season.

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Although the Cowboys offense has some genuine superstars, they haven’t been able to perform without Dak Prescott, while the Dallas defense has rapidly risen to the level of laughing stock in the league. Before their dire Sunday Night Football performance against the Philadelphia Eagles, they’d allowed the most points in the 2020 NFL season while ranking near the bottom of most defensive metrics.

NFL predictions against the spread for this Week 9 mismatch: The Steelers win, cover the spread, and it’s not even remotely close.

Final score prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers 38 Dallas Cowboys 17

Miami Dolphins (+4.5) @ Arizona Cardinals (-4.5)

Two teams on three-game win streaks. Two of the most exciting young quarterbacks in the NFL in Tua Tagovailoa and Kyler Murray. The Miami Dolphins taking on the Arizona Cardinals in the late afternoon slate could possibly be one of the most enticing contests of the entire Week 9 schedule.

So, who comes out on top?

For all the excitement of Tua’s debut, the Dolphins win over the Los Angeles Rams was a combination of defensive and special teams touchdowns and the Rams’ inability to convert their overwhelming time of possession and number of plays into points on the scoreboard. The Cardinals have one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL, and their efficiency in the ground game – they led the NFL in rushing yards through Week 7 with the most rushing touchdowns in the league – could prove to be the decisive factor.

NFL predictions against the spread for this Week 9 clash: The Cardinals win and comfortably cover the spread.

Final score prediction: Miami Dolphins 24 Arizona Cardinals 31

Sunday, November 8, 8:20 pm ET

New Orleans Saints (+4.5) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-4.5)

The first installment of the Brady versus Brees battle for the NFC South ended in a victory for the New Orleans Saints on opening day. Since that game, the Saints have lost two games and won three tight games they could have lost. Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have run up the score on several teams with an ugly loss to the Chicago Bears, the only blip since Week 1.

What can we expect when the two NFC South foes go to battle on Sunday Night Football?

Tampa Bay has one of the best defenses in the NFL in 2020 and has been exceptionally solid against the run. Shutting down Alvin Kamara will be critical to their chances of victory, and they have the talent to do so. The Saints rush defense is also incredibly strong, leading the game into a shootout between the two elder statesmen of the NFL.

Brady and the Buccaneers have far more offensive weaponry and should emerge victorious.

NFL predictions against the spread in the Week 9 battle for the NFC South: Brady outlasts Brees, and the Bucs win and cover the spread.

Final score prediction: New Orleans Saints 24 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30

Monday, November 9, 8:15 pm ET

New England Patriots (-7.5) @ New York Jets (+7.5)

The year is 2020. A global pandemic is sweeping the globe. People are told to wear masks and stay socially distant from each other. NFL and college football stadiums across the nation are filled not with fans but with cardboard cutouts and manufactured crowd noise. The New England Patriots and the New York Jets battle it out at the AFC East’s bottom on Monday Night Football. If you didn’t know it to be accurate, you’d swear it was some dystopian novel.

The Patriots couldn’t hope for an easier matchup as they seek to stop an unprecedented slump in which they’ve lost their last four games. The Jets defense ranks in the bottom 10 for both pass and rush defense, and New England should lean on the ground game that at times seemed unstoppable against the Buffalo Bills. The Jets have scored the fewest points in the NFL and shouldn’t pose any threat to the Patriots defense that should return star cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

NFL predictions against the spread for Week 9 Monday Night Football: The Patriots get a bounce-back win and cover the spread, just.

Final score prediction: New England Patriots 21 New York Jets 13

If sports betting is your thing, and we urge you to gamble responsibly, check out the “Against the Spread” podcast.

Oliver Hodgkinson is an NFL Draft and NFL analytics contributor for the Pro Football Network. You can follow him on Twitter at @ojhodgkinson.


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