We finally got our first major carnage of the NFL season last weekend when the Cincinnati Bengals lost to Mike White and the New York Jets. Forty-seven percent of my survivor pool was eliminated and the beauty of this league was on full display. We also saw the Cardinals, Chargers and Buccaneers all go down as substantial favorites. We correctly identified these three teams as the most likely big favorites to go down last week.
Week 9 is now upon us, and we’re dealing with nine big favorites on the board at BetMGM. Who has the potential to trip these teams up this week?
New York Jets @ Indianapolis Colts
Mike White absolutely set the league on fire last weekend, but his Jets are still +425 underdogs in Indianapolis on Thursday night against the Colts. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to see White in action again in prime time. On paper, this game looks disgusting and like it should be extremely one-sided, but the intrigue is there for me. What if Mike White isn’t a one-hit wonder? The Colts basically lost all chances at a division title with their loss last week, highlighted by Carson Wentz throwing a left-handed interception in the end zone. Are the Jets going to win this game? Did you think they were going to win last week? You don’t want to be on the wrong end of the Mike White prime-time display.
Denver Broncos @ Dallas Cowboys
Doesn’t it feel like things are going too well for the Cowboys? They’re 6-1, they haven’t lost since opening night, they’ve covered in every game, they have a 3.5-game lead in their division and now they’re expected to get Dak Prescott back after he missed just one game. Dallas is a 10-point favorite and -500 on the moneyline against the Broncos this weekend. Denver just snapped a four-game losing streak last weekend, but they were hardly impressive in their win over the lowly Washington Football Team. Nevertheless, the Broncos have a decent defense which should be able to keep Dallas’ offense somewhat in check. The question becomes whether Teddy Bridgewater will be able to move the ball.
Houston Texans @ Miami Dolphins
I swear, there are much better ways to spend your money than laying -240 on the moneyline with a 1-7 Miami Dolphins team. Yes, the Houston Texans are awful and the Dolphins have at least been competitive in their games. However, the Dolphins haven't been winning and they’ve even found impressive ways to lose games. There’s a reason this team hasn’t won since Week 1. The organization has done everything in their power to ruin the confidence of Tua Tagovailoa. If Tyrod Taylor returns, I think the Texans have a decent chance of winning this game. Taylor led the Texans to a win in Week 1 and then was tied with the Cleveland Browns at halftime before leaving injured. He can make this team competitive.
Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints
New Orleans had a huge win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week, and now the Saints are -250 home favorites against the Falcons. Last week’s win came at a price, as Jameis Winston will be out for the year due to a torn ACL. Taysom Hill is likely to return from injury and start this game for the Saints. New Orleans has a tremendous defense, but it'll still need to score. Hill is a good gadget player, but he leaves a lot to be desired as a passer. New Orleans’ offense is also limited in skill position players outside of Alvin Kamara. The Saints are going to be a threat to lose a 13-10 game every week for the rest of the season, unfortunately.
Buffalo Bills @ Jacksonville Jaguars
It’s very hard to make a case against the Bills here as 14.5-point favorites and -1100 favorites on the moneyline. It’s a road game? Does that matter? The Bills struggled offensively last week against the Dolphins for most of the game, but Jacksonville’s defense is unlikely to offer the same resistance that the Dolphins did. Jacksonville’s offense really struggled against the Seahawks last week, and it’s hard to envision them faring any better here. The best argument against the Bills is that they sleep-walk through the game. I wish I could offer more here.
Minnesota Vikings @ Baltimore Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens return from their bye week in time to be -250 favorites at home on the moneyline against the Minnesota Vikings. The last we saw the Ravens, they were manhandling the Los Angeles Chargers in what was their best performance of the season. The last we saw the Vikings, they were embarrassing themselves in prime time and losing to Cooper Rush. Maybe this is the week that Mike Zimmer and company realize they have a top-three running back and two elite wide receivers. They should feature them in the offense, throw the ball down field and abandon C.J. Ham and Tyler Conklin. If Minnesota ever does that, it'll become an extremely dangerous team. Baltimore’s defense has been suspect throughout most of the season, so if the Vikings play calling on offense wakes up, it could be a back-and-forth affair.
Green Bay Packers @ Kansas City Chiefs
I was supposed to get a week off from writing about the Chiefs this week, but then Aaron Rodgers tested positive for COVID-19. With Jordan Love expected to start for Green Bay, the Packers are now +275 on the moneyline. Rodgers might be the most important player in the sport to his team, but don’t forget that it’s been less than two years since the Packers drafted Love to be the heir apparent. How will he look? We have no clue. With that being said, Matt Lafleur is a brilliant play-caller and Love had the talent to be a first-round pick. It’s also safe to say the Kansas City Chiefs are not who we thought they were. We keep waiting for them to hit rockbottom, and a loss to Jordan Love would definitely be rockbottom.
Tennessee Titans @ Los Angeles Rams
This game looked tremendous on paper, but a bit of the luster has been taken off with the news that Derrick Henry will miss extended time for the Titans. This has helped the Rams to balloon out to a 7.5-point favorite and a -350 favorite on the moneyline. If you’re into analytics, you’ve probably heard people say that the art of play-action passing isn’t impacted much by how good you are at running the ball. You can still be a great play-action team even if your running attack isn’t great. If that ends up being true, maybe the Titans’ offense will survive. Ryan Tannehill will have something to prove without King Henry. The Titans are hot and have had three straight statement wins over the Bills, Chiefs and their divisional rival Colts. Can they make it four straight huge wins?
Chicago Bears @ Pittsburgh Steelers
We have a doozie on Monday night this week, as the Steelers are -275 favorites at home over the Chicago Bears. Justin Fields played probably his best game as a pro last week for the Bears, and they’ll need him to build on that performance. Both teams have decent defensive units and question marks at quarterback, so this should be a low-scoring game as evidenced by the low total, which currently sits at 39.5 points. If the Bears shut down Ben Roethlisberger, which isn’t a huge ask these days, then they’ll only need a few plays from Fields and the offense. I’d be leery of any team being such a big favorite in a game where so little offense is expected.
Below are my rankings of this week’s favorites. These rankings indicate my confidence of them winning their game in descending order.