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Week 9 NFL game picks: Jordan Love-led Packers stun Chiefs; Browns nip Bengals in Battle of Ohio

Gregg Rosenthal went 7-8 straight up and against the spread on his Week 8 NFL picks, bringing his season totals to 73-49 and 62-58-1, respectively. How will he fare in Week 9? His picks are below.

The lines below provided by Caesars are current as of 11 a.m. ET on Thursday, Nov. 4 unless otherwise noted below.


New Orleans Saints
ML: -270 · 5-2
Atlanta Falcons
ML: +220 · 3-4
  • WHERE: Caesars Superdome (New Orleans)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | FOX
  • SPREAD: Falcons +6 | O/U: 42

Sean Payton has played coy about who will start at quarterback this week. Taysom Hill makes so much money it's hard to imagine he'll sit if he's back from his concussion, but Payton is full of surprises. Either way, the Saints coach must have loved watching the Falcons get bullied last week in Carolina. His team is as healthy up front as it has been all season and has the size to win in a similar fashion to Carolina. Just don't expect it to be easy; these Saints love drama and the downgrade at quarterback is real.

UPDATE: Payton confirmed Friday that QB Trevor Siemian will start against the Falcons, while Taysom Hill will play and rookie Ian Book will be active.

Dallas Cowboys
ML: -475 · 6-1
Denver Broncos
ML: +360 · 4-4
  • WHERE: AT&T Stadium (Arlington, Texas)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | FOX
  • SPREAD: Cowboys -10 | O/U: 49.5

Just when it looked like the Broncos' offense was getting its players back, left tackle Garett Bolles was hurt and tight end Noah Fant got COVID-19. The Broncos' defense, given a one-game reprieve from Taylor Heinicke, just isn't equipped to deal with this Cowboys' offense, assuming Dak Prescott returns to the starting lineup. If Prescott is out, I'd make the score closer, because Teddy Bridgewater could still put up points for Denver, especially if the Broncos are trailing throughout.

New England Patriots
ML: -190 · 4-4
Carolina Panthers
ML: +160 · 4-4
  • WHERE: Bank of America Stadium (Charlotte, N.C.)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
  • SPREAD: Patriots -3.5 | O/U: 41

Bill Belichick must have cracked a smile watching the film of the Panthers running 47 times and throwing it only 25 last week in a tight game -- at least until the game-sealing interception by ex-Patriot Stephon Gilmore. Carolina's defense is different with Gilmore in the mix, and with linebacker Shaq Thompson continuing his torrid season after missing three games to injury. Whether Sam Darnold or P.J. Walker is at quarterback, the Panthers are built to slow down the pace of play -- and they're built to slow the improving Patriots offense. This figures to look like a game that a young Matt Rhule, decked in Giants gear, would have enjoyed watching Belichick coordinate back in the late 1980s.

Baltimore Ravens
ML: -270 · 5-2
Minnesota Vikings
ML: +220 · 3-4
  • WHERE: M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | FOX
  • SPREAD: Vikings +6 | O/U: 49.5

The Week 8 bye didn't solve all of Baltimore's injury problems, with wideout Sammy Watkins, starting tackle Patrick Mekari and a trio of starting defensive linemen out of practice Wednesday. But vital blocking tight end Nick Boyle is coming back, and there's reason to believe the Ravens will learn how to cover up their weak spots, because they always have in the past. Losing pass rusher Danielle Hunter for the season, on top of cornerback Patrick Peterson's absence, limits what Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer can do defensively. This feels like a spot where the Vikings play better than most people expect, yet find a way to lose painfully.

Cleveland Browns
ML: +115 · 4-4
Cincinnati Bengals
ML: -135 · 5-3
  • WHERE: Paul Brown Stadium (Cincinnati)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
  • SPREAD: Browns +2.5 | O/U: 47

The bad vibes in Cleveland got worse this week, with Odell Beckham Jr. being told to stay home Wednesday and Thursday. The Browns entered the week with more injury questions than their opponent, as usual, and with the inferior quarterback in a Cleveland-Cincinnati game for the first time in a long time. Yet I still trust their coach and roster more overall than those of the frisky Bengals. An energy-and-execution defense like Cincinnati's has smaller margins for error, and Cleveland's running game is built to steamroll.

Buffalo Bills
ML: -1100 · 5-2
Jacksonville Jaguars
ML: +700 · 1-6
  • WHERE: TIAA Bank Field (Jacksonville, Fla.)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
  • SPREAD: Bills -14.5 | O/U: 48.5

This is the year of the double-digit favorite in the NFL. More times than not, the double-digit favorite has covered. Somehow, the Jaguars haven't been involved in any of these games. That speaks to their easy schedule, which also speaks to their reasonable claim to being the league's worst team. That's a long way of saying the Bills have the most trustworthy defense in football, and there isn't a number big enough to convince me to take the Jaguars on Sunday.

Miami Dolphins
ML: -250 · 1-7
Houston Texans
ML: +205 · 1-7
  • WHERE: Hard Rock Stadium (Miami Gardens, Fla.)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | FOX
  • SPREAD: Texans +5.5 | O/U: 46.5

When I was under the impression Davis Mills would start this game for Houston, I wasn't willing to take the 6.5 points of bait on the Texans' side. Houston is the rare team that won't be able to pressure Tua Tagovailoa, and I figured Brian Flores would cook up enough third-down heat to force Mills into rookie mistakes. So, at initial publishing, this space predicted a 28-17 Dolphins win. But on Thursday, Texans coach David Culley announced Tyrod Taylor would retake the quarterbacking reins. The line changed -- dropping a point to 5.5 -- and so did my calculation. Taylor looked terrific in his six quarters of play before injury. He dramatically upgrades this Texans offense, so I'm not comfortable giving away too many points in a matchup of one-win teams.

UPDATE: Tua Tagovailoa, who was limited this week with rib and finger injuries, will not start Sunday against the Texans, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.

Las Vegas Raiders
ML: -160 · 5-2
New York Giants
ML: +140 · 2-6

I write these picks on Wednesday, when Giants player availability is total guesswork. Even if I know, there's no way to identify which four Giants will leave with new injuries in the first half on Sunday. I've believed that New York is better than its record for a while now, and Daniel Jones is mostly holding up, but the fact Joe Judge's squad has been outscored 42-0 in the final two minutes of first halves is an indictment of his coaching ability. The Giants are bad in all the situational football ways he's supposed to be good. In a battle of special teams mavens, I'm rolling with the BISACCIA BUMP.

Philadelphia Eagles
ML: -110 · 3-5
Los Angeles Chargers
ML: -110 · 4-3

The Eagles keep getting these opportunities to return to relevance in the wide-open NFC race for the seventh seed, and they keep coming up short. I liked some of the Chargers' post-bye defensive adjustments, even if injuries at cornerback short-circuited their day. Justin Herbert and offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi were flummoxed by two of the league's best defensive minds in back-to-back games, but Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon is not in that league, despite a blowout win in Detroit. Lay the points.

UPDATE: The more I studied this matchup, the more I worried about how the Chargers would handle the Eagles up front on both sides. Once starting corners Michael Davis and Asante Samuel were ruled out for the Chargers, I flipped my pick (originally Chargers 28, Eagles 24, with the Bolts favored by 1.5 points).

Green Bay Packers
ML: +280 · 7-1
Kansas City Chiefs
ML: -350 · 4-4
  • WHERE: GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City, Mo.)
  • WHEN: 4:25 p.m. ET | FOX
  • SPREAD: Packers +7.5 | O/U: 48

The Chiefs are 3-15-1 against the spread in their last 19 games, a stretch that puts some data on the concept of being overrated. They have played so consistently below expectations without the expectations changing, at least until this week. This game was a pick 'em, at home, against a strong -- if flawed -- Packers team. The market correction was here, at least until Aaron Rodgers got COVID-19. Now Kansas City's a heavy favorite against a team that could/should get Davante AdamsDavid Bakhtiari and Allen Lazard back in the lineup. Jordan Love showed off his talent in the preseason, and his Week 1 cameo is enough to believe that ever-resourceful Matt LaFleur is a strong pick to cover that number. I believe the Packers can win outright because of their stout running game. Plus, I'm here for the chaos that would ensue after.

San Francisco 49ers
ML: +105 · 3-4
Arizona Cardinals
ML: -125 · 7-1
  • WHERE: Levi's Stadium (Santa Clara, Calif.)
  • WHEN: 4:25 p.m. ET | FOX
  • SPREAD: Cardinals -1 | O/U: 46

I was all ready to lock up the Cardinals to win this game on the Around The NFL Podcast this week ... until Kyler Murray missed practice Wednesday with his ankle injury. Murray is capable of winning from the pocket even if he's not 100 percent, but A.J. Green is on the Reserve/COVID-19 list and DeAndre Hopkins' hamstring makes him a shaky proposition. The return of George Kittle gives Jimmy Garoppolo a chance, but an offense this dependent on Deebo Samuel making magic is hard to trust, especially with Samuel aggravating his calf injury.

UPDATE: Murray and DeAndre Hopkins are both game-time decisions Sunday, head coach Kliff Kingsbury announced Friday. Considering that both players missed practice all week, I'm going to consider them unlikely to play. Thus, I changed the predicted score above, which originally had the Cardinals winning, 23-20. With Colt McCoy throwing to a depleted receiver crew, the pick isn't too complicated. If Murray does start, I'd lean Arizona but generally it's a game to avoid because no one knows how close to 100 percent he'll be.

Los Angeles Rams
ML: -380 · 7-1
Tennessee Titans
ML: +300 · 6-2
  • WHERE: SoFi Stadium (Inglewood, Calif.)
  • WHEN: 8:20 p.m. ET | NBC
  • SPREAD: Titans +7.5 | O/U: 53.5

It's Adrian Peterson vs. Von Miller in a Titans-Rams game, just like everyone expected. The Titans have toppled the Billsdestroyed the Chiefs and finished a sweep of the Colts in the span of three weeks. While they are overdue for a letdown game and now without Derrick Henry, Julio Jones' presence at practice Wednesday was welcome news. Peterson ran with surprising juice a year ago, and the Rams may take time to adjust to a quality opponent after their three-game tour through the bottom of Dan Hanzus' Power Rankings. With a spread of 7.5 points, that's just too much to give a Titans squad this feisty.


Pittsburgh Steelers
ML: -280 · 4-3
Chicago Bears
ML: +230 · 3-5

Justin Fields is coming off his best game, as is the Steelers' defense. Pittsburgh's offensive line is improving at run blocking and Mike Tomlin is enjoying winning without much help from his passing game. I would love to know the status of Khalil Mack and Eddie Jackson before picking the score in this game. If the Bears' defense is close to full strength, they get my vote to keep this game low-scoring enough to make it interesting.


Indianapolis Colts
ML: -550 · 3-5
New York Jets
ML: +400 · 2-5

Who knew that the presence of Mike White would make TNF more intriguing? Making his first NFL start against the Bengals this past Sunday, the fourth-year pro showed a better command of Mike LaFleur's offense than rookie Zach Wilson, but I'm hesitant to fully buy in before seeing him do it again. And while the Jets' run defense got a boost from the returns of Jarrad Davis and C.J. Mosley last week, the Colts' upswing has lasted five weeks, not one. Indianapolis has three convincing wins against lesser squads and two heartbreakers against the AFC's best, a class I’m not ready to put White in. Yet.

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