It took a sneaky backdoor cover from the Packers on Sunday night, but we secured a winning 4-3 week in Week 8 to break out of our short and slight slump. It would have been an even better week had Derek Carr and the rest of the Raider offense actually made the trip to New Orleans and if the Colts hadn't allowed Taylor Heinicke and the Commanders to march down the field in less than two minutes to win that game. The Lock of the Week unfortunately bit the dust as the Jets failed to get anything going on offense until it was too late against the Patriots. (By the way, someone needs to edit the Jets' franchise Owner in Wikipedia to Bill Belichick at this point.)
But that's how betting goes... Sometimes you're on the right side of a wacky result and other times it bites you. We'll take our 33-24 season record and trot into Week 10 hoping for a little better luck this time. You can keep trusting the weekly Locks, which are 6-3 now on the season, until further notice.
Carolina Panthers at Cincinnati Bengals Over 42.5
I think Monday night's poor performance against Cleveland was a fluke for Cincinnati, which is why I look for a big bounce back game for Joe Burrow and his Bengal offense. The Panthers have been porous on all levels of the defense, and even without Ja'Marr Chase, Cincinnati should be able to both run and pass the ball with ease. Before last week, the Bengals scored 30 and 35 points against two fairly comparable defenses to Carolina's, and I expect them to eclipse the 30 mark again this week. Cincy's defense isn't all that great either, allowing 32, 17, and 26 points to their last three opponents, none of which having a spectacular offensive unit. I know the Panthers seem to be in full rebuild mode, but they actually would be first in the NFC South right now if D.J. Moore hadn't committed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after his Hail Mary bomb at the end of the game to lead to a missed extra point and overtime loss against Atlanta. I like a score of around 31-20 in this one.
Miami Dolphins -4.0 at Chicago Bears
It appeared as if the Dolphins were in for a terrific season after their 3-0 start, but they dropped their next three when Tue went out with a couple scary head injuries. Now they're essentially back to full strength and ready to seal their second 3-0 stretch of the year. And they'll do it against a Bears team that surrendered nearly 50 points to Dallas a week ago. Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle are going to torch Chicago and Tua will pass for nearly 400 yards as a result. Chicago's offense has looked pretty respectable the last two games and they'll receive a boost at the receiver position after acquiring Chase Claypool from Pittsburgh. But it won't make a difference this game. Miami will win by at least a touchdown in the Windy City.
Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots Under 40.5
As a Colts fan, I hate to say this... But Sam Ehlinger is the type of quarterback the Patriots feast upon. Indy has only surpassed 20 points in a game once this year, and this Sunday, they'll be without their best two running backs. Jonathan Taylor has already been ruled out with an ankle injury and the franchise traded Nyheim Hines to Buffalo this past week. With a downgrade at running back, lack of production at receiver, and a second-year quarterback in his second career start, I'm not sure if the Colts will reach double digits. The Patriots aren't an offensive powerhouse in their own right, and Indianapolis has actually been pretty strong defensively this season. Bill Belichick will know that his team won't need to score much on Sunday to pull off the win and will gameplan accordingly. I'm thinking a 20-13 final in favor of New England, and that's being generous.
Las Vegas Raiders at Jacksonville Jaguars Under 48.0
I have Derek Carr, Davante Adams, Josh Jacobs, and Darren Waller on one or more of my three fantasy teams, so I know better than anyone how pathetic Vegas' offense played last week in New Orleans. I mean, how do you get shut out by the Saints? Especially when you have a top 3 receiver in the league and a running back who's been playing among the league's best so far this season. Jacksonville's offense has been struggling in recent weeks and are riding a five game losing streak after their surprisingly strong start. This is a must win for both teams, who each find themselves near the bottom of their respective divisions and conferences at nearly the midpoint of the season. It'll be a grind-it-out game dominated at the line of scrimmage and on the ground which ultimately falls comfortably below the point total.
Arizona Cardinals -2.0 vs. Seattle Seahawks
I know the Cardinals haven't been very good so far this season, but it's clear that their offense has been completely revitalized by the return of DeAndre Hopkins from his six-game suspension. They put up 42 points in his first game back and had their chances to exceed the 26 they mustered against Minnesota last week, but were held back by turnovers. Seattle has been much better than anticipated under Geno Smith and hold the top spot in the NFC West, which makes this game massive for both teams. As good as the Seahawks have been this year, I can't see them beating Arizona twice this season. Kyler Murray will have a significantly better day than he did against them a few weeks ago and Hopkins will make a couple big plays down the stretch to secure a win for the Cardinals, if only by a field goal.
Tennessee Titans +12.0 at Kansas City Chiefs
I can see this game going one of two ways: either the Chiefs roll in a 20-plus point blowout, or the Titans keep it close enough to give themselves a chance to win in the closing minutes. A lot of that will depend on if Ryan Tannehill is available and how well Tennessee's defense contains Patrick Mahomes. Kansas City looked dominant in their most recent appearance in San Francisco and have had a bye week to prepare for the Titans, a gameplan that consists largely of slowing down Derrick Henry and the Titans' rushing attack. As much as I wanted to side with the Chiefs in this one, I just have a feeling that Mike Vrabel's team will come out and surprise us against one of the conference's perceived top two contenders. I don't think they'll win, but the Titans have kept games close enough this year to where I think they'll stay within a score by the time they hit triple zeros on Sunday night.
Lock of the Week: Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Under 42.5
This is a battle of the two most disappointing teams in the league this season by my estimation. And it's been because of offensive woes for each squad. The harsh truths are that it appears the Rams lost focus after their Super Bowl season (or didn't deploy their roster funds effectively), and Tom Brady looks like he would have been better off staying retired, for the sakes of both his football career and his marriage. I can't see either team getting much going in their clash this Sunday afternoon. It certainly won't resemble last season's 30-27 matchup in the postseason that favored L.A. Neither team is going to hit 20, making this a prime candidate to improve my Lock of the Week season record.
Written by Nick Swatson