We saw a 4-3 record in week 8 of the NFL season, which was a huge bounce back from our 1-6 performance two weeks ago. We stand at a paltry 25-28 on the year, but watch out, because the Fade of the Week is getting a little hot now at a 3-5 record this season. Let's get into the seven plays I like best in week 9, where I'm on several road teams to cover.
Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints Over 41.5
It's obvious why this point total is so low, as the Saints lost their starting quarterback, Jameis Winston, in last week's win over the Bucs. Furthermore, the Falcons are again without their best receiver, Calvin Ridley, who is missing time for some mental health reasons. But in reality, the only guy who's been consistent offensively for Atlanta this season is Cordarrelle Patterson, and he'll be suiting up on Sunday. Winston was injured fairly early in the game against Tampa, and backup Trevor Siemian proved to be able to carry the load against a tough defense. I don't think New Orleans was very dependent on Winston to begin with in terms of their offensive efficiency, so I don't think his absence will be that big of a factor for the Saints. I don't think this game will be incredibly high scoring, but 41.5 points seems quite low to me with the over having a really good value.
New England Patriots -3.5 at Carolina Panthers
Until they beat the Falcons last week, the Panthers were on a four game skid in which they looked quite awful. They didn't look good last week either, but it's not hard to outplay the Falcons. The Patriots, on the other hand, are coming off five straight stellar performances, which include wins over the Chargers and Texans, two close losses to quality teams (Tampa Bay and Dallas), and an obliteration of the New York Jets. New England isn't necessarily built to blow teams out consistently, but I'd say the Patriots are about a touchdown better than Carolina while Christian McCaffrey remains out and the offense is in disarray.
Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals Under 48.0
I honestly just love the unders in Cleveland's games as of late. Drama has consumed the team this week with the release of O'Dell Beckham, Jr., and Baker Mayfield hasn't been very impressive the last few weeks as he is dealing with a shoulder injury. The Browns like to try to dominate on the ground, which is obviously a gameplan that favors the under. While Joe Burrow and the Bengals have been very good this season, I think Cleveland will be able to at least slow down their offense simply by running the ball and chewing clock. If Cincinnati starts racking up points, the Browns won't be able to catch up. I nailed Cleveland's matchup with the Steelers last week, and while I don't think the offenses will struggle quite as much here as they did in that game, I still love the under here.
Los Angeles Chargers -2.0 at Philadelphia Eagles
Does anyone out there actually believe that the Chargers and Eagles are in the same stratosphere in terms of quality of teams? Yes, L.A. has dropped two in a row and Philly is coming off a drubbing of the Lions, but the Chargers are unquestionably better in every aspect. Justin Herbert and that offense are going to right the ship against a mediocre defense and pile on the points in Philadelphia en route to a big win.
Arizona Cardinals +3.0 at San Francisco 49ers
It feels like you have to take the Cardinals as underdogs against pretty much anyone based on how dominant they've been for the most part this season. I know they struggled to beat the 49ers the last time they faced off and are coming off their first loss, but it's impossible for me to think that the Niners should be favored here even at home. San Francisco lost four straight before defeating the woeful Bears last week, and they have no reason to be the favorites against a much superior team. While there is, of course, a chance that the 49ers find a way to win this game, it would no doubt be a tight one in which the Cards would be able to cover.
Tennessee Titans at Los Angeles Rams Under 52.5
No Derrick Henry or Julio Jones for the Titans plus newly added Von Miller for the Rams equals limited scoring for Tennessee. This play is really a bet against Ryan Tannehill, as I don't think he's going to be good enough to put up a lot of points without his workhorse running back in the lineup. The danger is that Matthew Stafford and the Rams exploit Tennessee's defense and put up 35+ on their own, which would potentially lead to some Titan scores late in the game. However, I think these teams get out to a bit of a slow start in primetime and the game is a little more slower paced as a result.
Fade of the Week: Houston Texans +5.5 at Miami Dolphins
Two words: Tyrod Taylor. The Texans have been a night and day team with and without Taylor at QB, as they pounded the Jags in their season opener and were up on the Browns in week 2 before Tyrod left with a hamstring injury. Houston has been absolutely pitiful for the most part with Davis Mills starting, but I believe they'll be able to compete with their original starting QB back and possibly even steal a win on the road against a very bad Dolphins team. To be honest, Miami shouldn't be favored by 5.5 points against anyone right now. Give me the Texans and give me the financial profit that'll inevitably come with it.
Written by Nick Swatson