NFL Week 9 Picks: Bucs Look To Save Season; Can Titans Pull Major Upset?

We’ve already mentioned this a few times this week, but the slate for Week 9 of the NFL season isn’t great at all.

There are six teams on bye this week, and of the 13 games we have to watch, three of them include betting spreads of 12 points or more. Two of those three games are in primetime. Rough. But that’s what betting and fantasy football are for.

Despite the lackluster schedule,’s Mike Cole and Ricky Doyle were both able to find three best bets they liked for this week’s episode of the “The Spread,” NESN’s football picks podcast. The duo is a combined 14-4 over the last three weeks with those picks, so you don’t want to miss those.

And if you want all of their against-the-spread picks for Week 9, we’ve got that, too.

But first, here’s how they fared last week.

Now, here are their Week 9 ATS picks, with consensus betting lines from the NESNBets live odds page.


(-14) Philadelphia Eagles at Houston Texans, 8:15 p.m. ET
Mike: Texans. I’ll probably end up contradicting myself at some point, but having to make a pick, it’s hard to lay 14 whole points on the road on a Thursday night with anyone.
Ricky: Texans. … and the Eagles win 13-0.


(-3) Los Angeles Chargers at Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m.
Mike: Chargers. There’s a chance the Falcons run all over the Chargers here. LA’s run defense is unimpressive, and the Falcons have one of the NFL’s best rushing attacks. The more likely scenario, though, might be the Chargers just throw all over Atlanta and completely blow up that game plan — kind of like the Bengals did a few weeks ago.
Ricky: Chargers. Atlanta’s defense ranks 29th in dropback EPA, 30th in dropback success rate and dead-last in pressure rate. That feels like a problem against Justin Herbert, much like it was a problem two weeks ago when Joe Burrow threw for 481 yards as the Bengals hung 35 on the Falcons.

(-5) Miami Dolphins at Chicago Bears, 1 p.m.
Mike: Bears. Feels a point or two high given how Miami hasn’t really taken it to anyone this season. The Dolphins’ biggest win was 13 points in Week 1 against the Patriots. Here’s another thing to consider: Chicago has some of the worst turf in the NFL, and it’s worth wondering whether that slows down the Miami offense just enough to throw them off.
Ricky: Bears. Justin Fields’ arrow is pointing up, and the Dolphins have allowed the fifth-most rushing yards to quarterbacks this season.

Carolina Panthers at (-7.5) Cincinnati Bengals, 1 p.m.
Mike: Panthers. The Panthers were dead-last in offensive EPA and 13th in defense under Matt Rhule. Since he was fired, they’re 20th and 10th, respectively. PJ Walker showed he has undeniable physical traits that give him the ability to change a game (on the point spread, at least) in an instant. This number is just too high to lay with a Cincy offense that looked broken without JaMarr Chase.
Ricky: Bengals. Don’t love that the number creeped back up over a touchdown, after dropping down to -7 early in the week on the heels of being -9 on the lookahead. Still going to roll around in chalk, though, banking on regression from the Panthers’ offense and a bounce-back effort from the Bengals after a listless performance Monday night in Cleveland.

(-3.5) Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions, 1 p.m.
Mike: Packers. This is going to be a super unpopular pick, but the Packers should be able to run all over the Lions, who have allowed 155 rushing yards per game. Detroit ranks 30th in rush defense DVOA and is even worse (32nd) against the pass. If the Packers are going to save their season, it starts here, and I think they have one more last gasp in them.
Ricky: Packers. Feed Aaron Jones. If the Packers do that, both on the ground and through the air, they should have no problem taming the Lions, who can’t stop anyone.

(-1.5) Las Vegas Raiders at Jacksonville Jaguars, 1 p.m.
Mike: Raiders. This game is the epitome of Week 9 in the 2022 NFL season.
Ricky: Raiders. The Raiders spent the week practicing at IMG Academy in Florida rather than heading home after their Week 8 shutout loss in New Orleans. That could work to their benefit on and off the field, especially with the Jaguars returning from London in the midst of a five-game losing streak.

Indianapolis Colts at (-5.5) New England Patriots, 1 p.m.
Mike: Patriots. It’s a high number in what should be a low-scoring game, but it’s just hard to believe Bill Belichick won’t have a game plan cooked up that limits the Colts’ ability to run the ball and puts it in the hands of Sam Ehlinger, who’s making his second career start. Typically, that hasn’t gone well for young quarterbacks.
Ricky: Patriots. The Patriots were fortunate to fend off the Jets last week, when a back-breaking roughing-the-passer penalty on New York completely swung the game in New England’s favor. But Belichick vs. Ehlinger is too much of a mismatch. Just know it won’t be a pretty cover, by any means.

(-12.5) Buffalo Bills at New York Jets, 1 p.m.
Mike: Jets. Tell you what, it doesn’t feel great to take the Jets in any situation against the Bills. That said, the Jets can generate pressure up front, and the secondary might be one of the best in football. Is that enough to muddy the water enough for Zach Wilson to not completely suck and cover the number? Fingers crossed.
Ricky: Jets. One of those games where you swallow hard and take the points, acknowledging Buffalo is the far superior team but that laying well north of double digits on the road in a divisional matchup is a tough ask. Maybe the Bills take their foot off the gas late?

(-3.5) Minnesota Vikings at Washington Commanders, 1 p.m.
Mike: Commanders. Taylor Heinecke isn’t especially good, but Washington has been undeniably better with him pulling the levers. That’s especially true for Terry McLaurin, who has 11 catches for 186 yards the last two weeks, and the Vikings pass defense is average at best. The back door might get left open here.
Ricky: Commanders. There’s evidence to suggest the Vikings aren’t quite as good as their 6-1 record. And this certainly feels like a matchup where they play down to the level of competition, squeaking by in a game decided by a field goal.

Seattle Seahawks at (-2) Arizona Cardinals, 4:05 p.m.
Mike: Cardinals. Seattle has played one of the easier schedules in the NFL, and it’s going to be tough to beat a divisional opponent twice in the span of a few weeks. Kyler Murray has shown signs of life since the return of DeAndre Hopkins, too.
Ricky: Cardinals. The market has been slow to adjust on Seattle, suggesting there’s value in backing the Seahawks (probably the better team) against a Cardinals squad that hasn’t been great at home or as favorites under Kliff Kingsbury. But keep in mind: the Seahawks are traveling to Germany to face the Buccaneers next week, adding a lookahead layer that must be taken into account while trying to pinpoint Seattle’s inevitable hiccup.

Los Angeles Rams at (-3) Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 4:25 p.m.
Mike: Bucs. LA might just stink, starting with the quarterback. Matthew Stafford’s 48.3 QBR would be the lowest he’s had in any season since 2014 with the Lions. Defensively, only Atlanta has a lower pressure rate than LA this season, and Tom Brady’s passer rating is 44 points higher this season when he’s been kept clean as opposed to under pressure.
Ricky: Bucs. As mentioned on “The Spread,” I’d lean toward the under (42.5) here given the state of both offenses. From a side standpoint, the Bucs are the safer play, with their (much-needed) rest advantage and some uncertainty over whether Cooper Kupp (the Rams’ clear-cut best offensive player) will be operating at 100 percent after tweaking his ankle Sunday.

Tennessee Titans at (-12.5) Kansas City Chiefs, 8:20 p.m.
Mike: Titans. Going back to the start of last season, the Titans are 8-3 straight-up and against the spread as underdogs. Under Mike Vrabel, they have outright wins in three of six games when getting a touchdown or more. The quarterback situation is a concern, but that’s a ton of points for a team that was the AFC’s top seed literally a year ago.
Ricky: Chiefs. Yes, it’s a ton of points. Yes, Vrabel is an excellent motivator who usually has his team prepared, particularly in back-against-the-wall situations such as these. But the Chiefs are coming off a bye at home — a spot where they’ve dominated under Andy Reid — and either will face a rookie quarterback who threw just five passes in his first career start or a compromised Ryan Tannehill. This will serve as a reminder that Kansas City and Tennessee are in two different weight classes.


(-2.5) Baltimore Ravens at New Orleans Saints, 8:15 p.m.
Mike: Saints. Baltimore has some pretty significant offensive injuries right now, with Rashod Bateman out and Mark Andrews questionable at best. We just saw the Saints’ defense shut out Vegas, so it appears the New Orleans unit is coming around.
Ricky: Saints. Wrote after Tampa Bay’s loss to Baltimore last Thursday that New Orleans +700 to win the NFC South was sneaky-good value, seeing as that division is a total cluster. Well, after the Saints’ dominant win over the Raiders, they’re now +450 at DraftKings Sportsbook. Jump on the bandwagon while there’s still room.

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