The NFL trade deadline has come and gone, so what you see is what you get when it comes to the NFL field.
That being said, let’s get right to our Week 9 against-the-spread picks from NESN.com’s Mike Cole, Ricky Doyle and Andre Khatchaturian.
Here’s how they fared last week.
Mike Cole: 7-8 (61-59-1 overall)
Ricky Doyle: 10-5 (69-51-1)
Andre Khatchaturian: 7-8 (59-61-1)
Here are their Week 9 picks.
THURSDAY, OCT. 31
(-10) San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals, 8:20 p.m. ET
Mike: 49ers. Lots of points to lay on a Thursday night on the road in the division, but the Cardinals’ best numbers likely are inflated by wins over teams with a combined record of 3-21.
Ricky: 49ers. Offensively, the Cardinals will struggle to get the ball rolling against the 49ers’ defense, as Arizona ranks 22nd and 28th in run success rate and pass success rate, respectively, on first and second downs, per Sharp Football Stats. Defensively, the Cardinals will struggle to contain the 49ers’ creative rushing attack, as Arizona ranks 29th in run defense, per Pro Football Focus. This smells like a blowout.
Andre: Cardinals. Arizona has the fewest giveaways in the NFL this year. Jimmy Garoppolo is averaging one interception per game. San Francisco’s defense is elite, but they’re 20th in rushing yards allowed per carry. Arizona is 10th in the league in yards per carry. Arizona has a good chance of winning the turnover battle and controlling the ground game in order to keep this one within the number.
SUNDAY, NOV. 3
(-1.5) Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars, 9:30 a.m. in London
Mike: Jaguars. The Texans have been ravaged by injuries, including a pair of banged-up offensive tackles, which isn’t great against a Jaguars pass rush that’s 11th in hurry percentage, third in QB knockdown percentage, third in sacks and tied for first in QB pressures.
Ricky: Jaguars. The loss of J.J. Watt obviously is deflating for Houston. It’s also huge from an on-field standpoint, as Watt is a matchup nightmare — he had been double teamed on 29.8 percent of his pass rushes as an edge rusher this season (second-most in NFL) — who teams must game plan for weekly. Couple that with Leonard Fournette’s elusiveness, Gardner Minshew’s scrambling ability and Houston’s frequent tackling woes, and Jacksonville should cover, especially since the Jags have made the trip to London in each of the last six years and therefore have some familiarity with how to prepare for overseas contests.
Andre: Jaguars. The Texans have allowed the most receiving yards to running backs this year. The Jaguars also have nine rushing plays of 20+ yards (third-most in NFL), and four rushing plays of 40+ yards (most in NFL). Texans are susceptible of giving up the big play — they’ve allowed six rushing plays of 20+ yards (sixth-most). Jacksonville’s pass rush (first in pressures, third in sacks) will disrupt Deshaun Watson and force him to have to make plays out of the pocket.
Chicago Bears at (-5) Philadelphia Eagles, 1 p.m.
Mike: Eagles. The Eagles will be able to attack the Chicago run defense with a versatile two-headed attack of Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders. The Bears are also the most-targeted defense with running backs out of the backfield, and Sanders ranks first among NFL running backs in yards per reception (14.4).
Ricky: Bears. We’re just two weeks removed from the Eagles coming off a second straight blowout loss. (Some) people don’t forget. While the Bears are a mess offensively, their defensive upside remains too high to lay this many points. Chicago really must improve its red-zone efficiency, however, as the Bears totaled just 17 points last week against the Chargers despite five trips past their opponent’s 20-yard line.
Andre: Bears. If the Bears are going to cover or win, they’re going to have to be able to run the ball. Philadelphia has allowed more than five yards per carry over the last two weeks and David Montgomery is coming off a career game. The Eagles were able to run the ball against the Bills last week, but the Bears’ rush defense is at another level allowing just 3.6 yards per carry this season.
Indianapolis Colts at (-1) Pittsburgh Steelers, 1 p.m.
Mike: Steelers. Every Colts game this year has been decided by seven points or less, and Indy has just a plus-seven point differential this season despite its 5-2 record. The steadily improving Steelers defense (sixth in yards per play allowed the last three weeks) gets it done, and the Steelers find a way.
Ricky: Colts. This feels a lot like the Colts’ Week 8 showdown with the Broncos, who pushed Indianapolis to the brink before Adam Vinatieri drilled a 51-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter to secure a 15-13 victory. Let’s bank on a similar result, with the Colts’ line play standing tall against the Steelers’ pass rush.
Andre: Steelers. Pittsburgh’s elite offensive line (first in sacks allowed), stifling defense (second in yards allowed per play since Week 4) and strong pass rush (third in QB hits and sixth in sacks) might be too much for the Colts. Indy also is tied for 25th in yards allowed per carry.
(-2.5) Minnesota Vikings at Kansas City Chiefs, 1 p.m.
Mike: Vikings. Kirk Cousins has turned it around (137.1 passer rating in his last four games), but this has to be a run-heavy game plan for Minnesota. Just go to KC and bully that Chiefs defense that really hasn’t shown much in the way of improvement against the run.
Ricky: Vikings. Hats off to Andy Reid for coming up with an offensive game plan that kept Matt Moore and the Chiefs competitive with the Packers last week. The task only gets tougher this week, though, as the Vikings’ defense arguably is a top-five unit.
Andre: Vikings. Even if Patrick Mahomes miraculously played, the Chiefs are at a major disadvantage. Their rush defense stinks and Dalvin Cook leads the league in rushing yards, scrimmage yards and rushing touchdowns.
(-3) New York Jets at Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m.
Mike: Dolphins. The Jets might be more dysfunctional than the Dolphins at this point, especially following a trade deadline in which they entertained trading everyone. Miami has also been far more competitive since Ryan Fitzpatrick took back the QB job midway through the Washington game in Week 6.
Ricky: Dolphins. The ‘Fins showed some fight Monday night in Pittsburgh. Maybe that moral victory leads to an actual victory this week? Miami typically plays better at home, whereas New York is 3-17 SU and 6-13-1 ATS in its last 20 road games.
Andre: Jets. The Jets’ stock was pretty high after their win against Dallas, but fell sharply after two turnover-filled performances against two solid defenses in New England and Jacksonville. But the truth is, if Sam Darnold isn’t turning the ball over, the Jets can do some damage. The Dolphins have the league’s fewest takeaways and the NFL’s worst turnover differential. Miami has lost every game, but one, by double-digits.
Tennessee Titans at (-4) Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m.
Mike: Titans. We mentioned this on “The Spread” this week, but it’s worth mentioning: Since Mike Vrabel took over last year, the Titans are 8-5 as underdogs. As favorites, they’re just 3-7-1. I think Vrabel and Co. find a way to muck up this game and keep it close.
Ricky: Titans. Tennessee’s defense isn’t as imposing as San Francisco’s, which wreaked havoc on Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen in Week 8, but it could pose similar problems for Carolina’s offense. The Titans rank first in run defense and second in tackling, per Pro Football Focus’ grades, and their offense is coming around since replacing Marcus Mariota with Ryan Tannehill.
Andre: Panthers. Tennessee has allowed the fifth-most receiving yards to running backs and Christian McCaffrey has the third-most receiving yards among running backs. Carolina is also second in the league in sacks and they’re going up against an offensive line that has allowed the most sacks in the NFL.
Washington Redskins at (-9.5) Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m.
Mike: Bills. Buffalo burned me last week and pretty much all year, but I’ll lay the points again and hope things with the Redskins start to even themselves out. Two weeks ago, Washington covered without scoring. Last week, the Skins covered without forcing a punt. I’ll play the averages here.
Ricky: Redskins. Only the 49ers, Ravens and Vikings have run the ball at a higher rate than the Redskins in the three weeks since Washington fired Jay Gruden and appointed Bill Callahan the interim head coach. They’ll likely lean on a similar approach against the Bills, who rank 24th in run defense, per Pro Football Focus’ grades, after allowing the Eagles to rush for 218 yards in Week 8. A moving clock could mean few points, in which case this spread is too large.
Andre: Redskins. The Redskins haven’t eclipsed the 10-point mark in four of their last five games (only time they did was against Miami), but the Bills haven’t eclipsed the 14-point mark in three of their last four (only time they did was against Miami). This will be a low scoring game and the Redskins will be able to keep it within the number.
Detroit Lions at (-2) Oakland Raiders, 4:05 p.m.
Mike: Raiders. The Raiders haven’t played in Oakland since mid-September, so that place should be rocking. More importantly: The Raiders actually have one of the NFL’s most productive offense (fourth in yards per play), and they’re going up against a Lions team allowing 440 yards per game since the bye.
Ricky: Lions. Detroit has 12 takeaways to Oakland’s five. In a game where each offense racks up yards and points, one defensive swing will be the difference.
Andre: Raiders. Oakland has allowed the second-fewest sacks this year and Detroit has the sixth-lowest sack rate. If Derek Carr has time to throw, he will shred a Lions defense that allows more than six yards per play.
Tampa Bay Bay Buccaneers at (-6) Seattle Seahawks, 4:05 p.m.
Mike: Seahawks. I don’t love the Seahawks, but the turnover issues for Tampa are too hard to ignore. Only the Giants have turned it over more this season, while the Seahawks rank in the top five in takeaways. The discrepancy between Seattle’s turnover differential (plus-7) and Tampa’s (minus-5) is the biggest of any game this week.
Ricky: Bucs. Seattle is a tough place to play. We accept this as fact. Yet the Seahawks are 0-5 ATS in their last five home games (3-2 SU), and their knack for keeping games close — win or lose — suggests taking the points here isn’t a bad thing.
Andre: Bucs. Seattle loves to run the ball, but they’re not particularly good at it. Despite having the fourth-most rush attempts, the Seahawks are 18th in yards per carry. Tampa’s rush defense is the best in the league. If Seattle relies too much on the run, this might be closer than expected.
(-3) Cleveland Browns at Denver Broncos, 4:25 p.m.
Mike: Broncos. Only the Jets, Dolphins and Bengals have worse early-down offenses than the Browns right now, while the Broncos have excelled in similar situations, ranking 14th against the pass and ninth against the run, respectively (per Sharp Football Stats). And if you put the Browns in tough third-down spots, they’ll screw it up. I’ll take the points.
Ricky: Broncos. Simply not comfortable laying points for anyone when it comes to the Browns, who keep finding new ways to shoot themselves in the foot and prove the preseason Super Bowl hype was both premature and absurd.
Andre: Broncos. The Broncos aren’t as bad as their record suggests. They’re 0-3 in games decided by two or less and they allow just five yards per play. They’re at home and should be able to take advantage of a Browns team that has the second-most giveaways this season and the third-worst turnover differential.
(-3.5) Green Bay Packers at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:25 p.m.
Mike: Packers. Square bet but whatever. The Packers’ offense is hitting on all cylinders and might be getting Davante Adams back, and this will be a de facto home game with the best-traveling fan base in the NFL invading the worst home market in the league.
Ricky: Packers. The Chargers fired offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, and quarterbacks coach Shane Steichen now will call the plays. This might mark an improvement, but it’s an unknown quantity, and Aaron Rodgers meanwhile is on a tear.
Andre: Chargers. Is this the game Melvin Gordon finally gets it together? Green Bay allows the fifth-most yards per carry. L.A. also has a knack of keeping games close. Seven of their eight games this year have been decided by one possession. 48 of their 73 games (65.7 percent) since 2015 have been decided by one score. Give me the points.
(-3.5) New England Patriots at Baltimore Ravens, 8:20 p.m.
Mike: Ravens. The Ravens are by far the best offense the Patriots have faced this season (New England hasn’t faced a passing attack rated higher than 23rd on PFF; Baltimore is 13th). Most importantly, the Ravens take care of the ball (third-fewest in NFL). If they can sustain some longer drives (they’re tied for most first downs per game in the NFL) and keep the New England defense off the board (weird, I know), the Ravens should be able to keep this one close.
Ricky: Ravens. Baltimore ranks third in the NFL in rushing play percentage (52.02), trailing only San Francisco (57.51) and Minnesota (53.35), which might be the perfect way to attack New England’s vaunted defense. The Ravens have had success on the ground (first in rushing yards per game), and the Patriots looked vulnerable against the run in Week 8. Pounding the rock can mitigate New England’s ball-hawking secondary, and you better believe John Harbaugh — the best coach the Patriots have faced to this point — is well aware.
Andre: Patriots. The Patriots once again face an inexperienced quarterback in Lamar Jackson. Since 2016, the Pats are 18-0 SU and 13-5 ATS vs. QBs with 20 or fewer games of experience. This Ravens defense is also nothing like the ones the Pats used to face back in the day. They allow 6.1 yards per play (29th in NFL) and have the fifth-fewest sacks and hurries.
MONDAY, NOV. 4
(-7) Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants, 8:15 p.m.
Mike: Cowboys. The Cowboys have won five straight over the Giants behind Dak Prescott’s brilliance, with the QB passing for 13 touchdowns and not a single interception.
Ricky: Cowboys. Dallas is 10-1 SU and ATS in its last 11 divisional games, a stretch that includes five consecutive SU and ATS wins over the Giants. The ‘Boys should roll, especially coming off a bye preceded by a potential momentum-gaining win over the Eagles.
Andre: Cowboys. Dallas leads the NFL in yards per play and the Giants allow more than six yards per play. The Giants also have the most giveaways in the league.
Thumbnail photo via Mitchell Layton/USA TODAY Sports Images