Week 9 NFL picks against spread: Seahawks rout Redskins; Jets upend Bills

If you went with NFL schedule chalk in Week 8, you were very happy. Every favorite except for a bad Tampa Bay team won, and many strong home teams came through with solid covers.

But that all means nothing without a stellar Week 9, when we get past the halfway point of the 2017 season. With six more teams on bye, we also get to celebrate Halloween a little longer with another appropriate 13-game slate.

Here are this week’s predictions and prognostications, both against the spread and straight up. As usual, thanks to Bovada for the Week 9 betting lines.

MORE: Week 9 NFL picks straight up

Week 9 NFL picks against the spread

(All times ET)

Game of the Week

Kansas City Chiefs at Dallas Cowboys (n/a)

Sunday, 4:25 p.m., CBS

The Chiefs have a tough short-week trip after some understandable struggles against Denver’s defense, but Alex Smith will get revved up for a shootout with Dak Prescott, who’s set up to deal with no Ezekiel Elliott for the first time. On the other side, Kareem Hunt, coming off his most frustrating game as a rookie, will return to playing second-half closer.

PICK: Chiefs win 27-24.

Game of the Midweek

Buffalo Bills (-3 1/2) at New York Jets

Thursday, 8:30 p.m., NFL Network

The Bills won this matchup in ugly fashion, 21-12, way back in Week 1. They’ve been a much better home team (4-0), especially offensively. The Jets have done better at cleaning up mistakes of late to keep them in just about every game. Here, Josh McCown’s good play finally delivers a late field-goal drive to steal this one from Tyrod Taylor.

PICK: Jets win 23-20.

Lock of the Week

Seattle Seahawks (-7 1/2) over Washington Redskins

Sunday, 4:05 p.m., Fox

Russell Wilson has taken on the whole Seahawks offense, as it’s clear they suddenly won’t run the better with limited personnel, and adding Duane Brown at left tackle will give the QB more time to pick apart defenses. Seattle’s defense had some major lapses against Houston, but those are corrected against one-dimensional Washington with single-threat QB Kirk Cousins. Seattle comes through in this home tilt without a comeback.

PICK: Seahawks win 31-20 and cover the spread.

Upset of the Week

New York Giants over Los Angeles Rams (-3 1/2)

Sunday, 1 p.m., Fox

The Giants’ defense got its groove back right before the bye, the offense will keep taking steps forward to respectability with an improved line and rushing attack. It also helps Eli Manning to get Sterling Shepard back for the passing game. For the Rams, also coming off a bye, this is a tough cross-country jaunt for Jared Goff.

PICK: Giants win 24-23.

Rest of the Week

Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers (-2)

Sunday, 1 p.m., Fox

Neither the Falcons nor the Panthers have looked impressive in victories, and they’ve both looked inexplicably lost in defeats. For some reason, Cam Newton and Carolina save some of their worst play for home games. The Falcons, still getting used to their new dome, have won some wacky ones on the road. Matt Ryan, fresh off a much-needed strong game, out-duels Newton here, with the help of Atlanta running the ball better than its opponent.

PICK: Falcons win 21-17.

Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans (n/a)

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS

The Ravens look like they’ll have Joe Flacco back with a chance to exploit a bad Titans pass defense. But he still doesn’t have the most explosive receivers, and Marcus Mariota will get Corey Davis back on the other side. Baltimore’s run defense played well in Week 8, but it’s a lot more difficult against Tennessee’s line with a well-rested DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry rushing behind it.

PICK: Titans win 23-17.

Cincinnati Bengals at Jacksonville Jaguars (-5)

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS

Andy Dalton and the offense should have had their way against the Colts, but that didn’t materialize. The Bengals’ inability to run the ball effectively with anyone with hurt here, because it will set up the Jaguars’ nasty pass defense to tee off on Dalton and force turnovers once it has held A.J. Green in check downfield. Leonarrd Fournette will have healed up during the bye and will be ready to run all over worn-down Cincy in the second half.

PICK: Jaguars win 27-16 and cover the spread.

Denver Broncos at Philadelphia Eagles (n/a)

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS

The Broncos are debating a QB change, which will come down to if they think Paxton Lynch is healthy enough to be active and replace Trevor Siemian. Regardless, their offensive line matches up poorly with the Eagles’ front four. Carson Wentz to Zach Ertz will be the best way to go after Denver’s daunting defense, and it will open things in time against a tired unit. Expect a strong rushing debut for Jay Ajayi.

PICK: Eagles win 30-17.

Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans (-13)

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS

The Colts are in free-fall and are full of dysfunction. Sure, they were able to hang around in Cincinnati, but they were facing a team closer to their level. Houston’s defense at the moment is rivaling to be bad as Indy’s, but try as he might, Jacoby Brissett doesn’t have the same help around him as Deshaun Watson does.

PICK: Texans win 33-17 and cover the spread.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints (-7)

Sunday, 1 p.m., Fox

The Bucs’ defense finally decided to show up against Carolina, and then Jameis Winston went into the tank. Unfortunately, both are bound to let them down here. Doug Martin can keep the Bucs in it early, but eventually, Drew Brees will get hot again picking apart their secondary. That will leave Winston facing the takeaway-oriented blitz of New Orleans with the loud Superdome crowd in the background.

PICK: Saints win 27-13 and cover the spread.

Arizona Cardinals (-1) at San Francisco 49ers

Sunday, 1 p.m., Fox

The 49ers are antsy to get started with Jimmy Garoppolo as a starter, but that probably won’t happen until Week 12, with two game weeks and a bye to learn Kyle Shanahan’s offense. Until then, they’ll will need to see rookie C.J. Beathard take more lumps. Although the QB difference in his game isn’t much now with Drew Stanton starting for the visitors, the 49ers’ first win won’t come here in the rematch of an OT thriller in the desert.

PICK: Cardinals win 20-17 and cover the spread.

Oakland Raiders (-3) at Miami Dolphins

Sunday, 8:30 p.m., NBC

The Raiders don’t run well, and the Dolphins stop the run well in general. But the Raiders pass very well, and that’s the big weakness on the Dolphins’ defense. Derek Carr’s high volume to wide receivers sets up nicely here, while Miami, even with Jay Cutler back, loses a legitimate part of their offense in Jay Ajayi. Oakland keeps its fading return playoff hopes alive on SNF, squashing those of the Dolphins.

PICK: Raiders win 27-19 and cover the spread.

Detroit Lions (-3) at Green Bay Packers

Monday, 8:30 p.m., ESPN

The Lions have been presented with previous no-Aaron Rodgers opportunities at Lambeau Field, so they’ll attempt not to get Matt Flynn’d in this one by Brett Hundley. Look for Hundley to have settled in much better during the bye, and coach Mike McCarthy will be ready to feature more of Aaron Jones to help. Matthew Stafford will make some big plays against the Packers’ secondary, but that will be more late as Green Bay’s D overachieves for most of the game in prime time. The season’s not quite on the line for the Packers, but they will play that way.

PICK: Packers win 24-20.

Stats of the Week:

Week 8 record straight up: 13-1
Week 8 record against the spread: 8-5
Season-to-date record straight up: 75-45
Season-to-date record against the spread: 49-63

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