By Brien O’Donal
Follow me on Twitter @ODonalsVanguard
An up and down week 9 saw me low on the spread and high on the over/under. I guess that’s neither here nor there. Things continue to run their course in the NFL, injuries and suspensions are piling up, and the cream will continue to rise to the top. With any luck, I will pick more winners than losers and win some money.
All odds are courtesy of mybookie.lv on Wednesday night.
Bye week: Ravens, Chiefs, Raiders, Eagles
Seahawks (5-3) at Cardinals (4-4)- Thursday 7:25 p.m. CT; NBC, NFL Network, Amazon Prime
Seahawks -6 1/2, O/U 41
This sounds like a trap. The Seahawks’ offense is so inconsistent they can’t be trusted to win a game by 6 1/2. Sure, they can put up big numbers when they have to. I don’t think this will be one of those weeks. Their defense should be able to stop the Cardinals only weapon, old man Peterson. Drew Stanton is not capable of winning games through the air so I don’t consider them an offense that force the Seahawks to put up a big number on the scoreboard. But…this is a divisional game and the Cardinals could be susceptible to turnovers so I will go against my gut and say the Seahawks win and cover the 6 1/2 but I will stick with the under 41.
Packers (4-4) at Bears (3-5)- Sunday 12:00 p.m. CT; Fox
Bears -5 1/2, O/U 38
Oh, how the mighty have fallen! Aaron Rodgers would never be a 5 1/2 point underdog. But I can’t blame the odds makers, Brett Hundley was relegated to short passes and sacks on Monday against Detroit. This is another divisional game and the Bears defense has helped young Trubisky get more possessions. Top that off with a Packers defense that looks like it couldn’t defend a pop warner team and you have the lowly Bears thinking they can steal a game they didn’t expect. But I’m not buying it. I think McCarthy won’t doubt Hundley again after he showed late in last weeks’ game that he has the ability to make good throws beyond 5 yards. I think McCarthy will make good on his statement to “open up the offense” with Brett 2.0 and the Packers make some noise at Soldier Field. I’ll take the Packers to win and the over 38 as well.
Browns (0-8) at Lions (4-4)- Sunday 12:00 p.m. CT; CBS
Lions -12, O/U 43 1/2
The Lions offense is getting better and better as the season goes along and as evidenced by their 30 points against the Packers Monday night, they can take advantage of a bad defense. The Browns are just such a team. They haven’t won a game for a reason. They are bad all around. Their defense doesn’t stop people and their offense can’t score. I expect the Lions to roll in this one and if they can cover 12 against the Packers I think they will against the Browns. I will take another over too.
Steelers (6-2) at Colts (3-6)- Sunday 12:00 p.m. CT; CBS
Steelers -10, O/U 44
I think the O/U in this one is an easy call for me to make, I’m definitely hitting the over. The Colts have a propensity to hit one or two big plays and can get a couple touchdowns. I am picking the Steelers to win this one because they are just a better team and after a bye week should be rested and ready to win another game to keep them in the hunt for a playoff bye week. I think they can put something together offensively and cover 10 points against a lesser Colts team.
Chargers (3-5) at Jaguars (5-3)- Sunday 12:00 p.m. CT; CBS
Jaguars -3 1/2, O/U 41
Not a clue in this one. The Chargers are an underperforming team who could break out any moment and the Jaguars are just happy to have a winning record. I think the Jaguars can win at home but I don’t think they will cover the 3 1/2 points. I will take the over though. I think these teams can get enough points to beat that.
Saints (6-2) at Bills (5-3)- Sunday 12:00 p.m. CT; Fox
Saints -3, O/U 46 1/2
The Saints have now won 6 in a row. Can they make it 7? I believe they can. But with the Bills, I think it really is anyone’s game. They have had flashes of solid play all year and each week is different than the next. The Saints defense has been a surprise but they aren’t exactly world beaters just yet. I will take the Saints to win and cover the three points but I will take the under 46 1/2.
Jets (4-5) at Buccaneers (2-6)- Sunday 12:00 p.m. CT; CBS
Jets -2 1/2, O/U 43
I’m guessing that line is so close because Ryan Fitzpatrick is better than Jameis Winston? He probably is this year. But the Jets just housed to Bills and have a lot of momentum on their side. The Buccaneers have started to sink back into that losing mentality and their record proves it. Maybe they bounce back this week and have a good game but I will still take the Jets to win by a field goal. I’ll take the under here though because this could be one of those games where things don’t go they way they feel like they should.
Vikings (6-2) at Redskins (4-4)- Sunday 12:00 p.m. CT; Fox
Vikings -1, O/U 42 1/2
I hate lines this close. I really do. Keenum seems to be settling into his role right now and he has just enough weapons on offense to get the points he needs. I really like their defense though. They are playing well and had a bye week to rest up and prepare for a good Redskins team that just stunned the favored Seahawks. There’s a possibility they stun the Vikings but I’m not betting on it. I’m taking the Vikings to win and stay atop the NFC North and I will also take them to win by more than a point. I will go against my initial instinct here and take the under.
Bengals (3-5) at Titans (5-3)- Sunday 12:00 p.m. CT; Fox
Titans -4 1/2, O/U 40 1/2
I’m not sure how I feel about this. I just can’t believe that the Titans would be favored by more than a field goal. I know they have potential, but the Bengals aren’t that bad, are they? Ok, they’re definitely not good. The Titans are on the come up though and fighting with the Jaguars for control of their division. I am picking them to win, but not by more than a field goal. I will pick the Bengals to cover the 4 1/2 and I will barely take the over 40 1/2.
Texans (3-5) at Rams (6-2)- Sunday 3:05 p.m. CT; CBS
Rams -11 1/2, O/U 45 1/2
Um, yeah. The Texans are a trash heap without Deshaun Watson. Oh, and uh, the Rams have a pretty good team. If Watson was still on the field I think it would be a great game to watch. But since he’s not I am looking forward to watching what should be another blowout win for the Rams. I’m going to punch a ticket on the Rams at 11 1/2. I don’t know about the over under but I think the Rams defense is good enough to keep the Texans from scoring so I will take the under.
Cowboys (5-3) at Falcons (4-4)- Sunday 3:25 p.m. CT; Fox
Falcons -3, O/U 50 1/2
Man alive! The Falcons have now lost more regular season games before the halfway point than they did all last season. Maybe they are favorites because it’s anyone guess as to the status of Ezekiel Elliot. Today the world finds out. If Elliot is suspended then maybe the Falcons win but I wouldn’t count on it the way they have played this year. Their offense really misses Kyle Shanahan calling plays. I think either way the Cowboys win. If Elliot is out then I will take the under, if he plays I will take the over.
Giants (1-7) at 49ers (0-9)- Sunday 3:25 p.m. CT; Fox
Giants -2 1/2, O/U 42
All I keep hearing about is how dysfunctional the Giants are. Their play on the field bears that out. I used to love Ben McAdoo when he was with the Packers. I thought his offense was great. But as a head coach he seems to be terrible. The players there have given up on him and they are only favored because they might be better than the winless 49ers. But of any games left this season that the 49ers have a chance to win it might be this one. They are at home against another horrible team and they are still giving it their all each week. I’m going to once again pick San Francisco to win because in one of these games they are going to actually do it. I will take the under because these are still two terrible teams and they probably won’t suddenly figure out how to be good for just one week.
Patriots (6-2) at Broncos (3-5)- Sunday 7:30 p.m. CT; NBC
Patriots -7 1/2, O/U 46 1/2
I don’t like either of these numbers. I know Tom Brady is great but they haven’t been that great. I know Denver’s defense has been exposed but they still have talent. The Patriots defense has struggled in some games this year but the Broncos offense has struggled more. I think this one is an interesting play and they are teasing us with a 7 1/2 point spread. I won’t bite and I will take the Patriots to win, the Broncos to cover and the over 46 1/2.
Dolphins (4-4) at Panthers (6-3)- Monday 7:30 p.m. CT; ESPN
Panthers -9, O/U 40
This is another strange line to me. I don’t know who the Dolphins are but I know their offense isn’t very good. I know the Panthers have been a scrappy team that has found ways to win. I feel pretty confident they will win again on Monday night but I’m not sure this will be a big win. I will take the Dolphins to cover the 9 points and I will also take the over 40, somehow.