Spread picks and scores for every Week 9 NFL Game

Mike Renner makes score predictions for every Week 9 game of the NFL season.

| 2 years ago
(AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

(AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

Spread picks and scores for every Week 9 NFL Game

As with every week, I’ll be giving a primer of all Week 9 games, as well as highlighting the key match-ups. I’ll give you my picks and how confident I am in each, from a betting perspective. The confidence grade is on our patented -2 through +2 scale.

A positively graded prediction means that I feel good about the bet. If it’s zero, I’m on the fence. And if it’s negative, I really don’t like the line either way. For the season, I’m 27-21 on positively-graded picks against the spread, and 32-35-4 on all others.

Packers (-3) at Panthers

As bad as last week’s game was for Green Bay, I’m not giving up on the Packers yet. Their offensive line weakness on the edge is far less likely to get exploited this week against the Panthers edge rushers that have been around average this season. Aaron Rodgers hasn’t had back-to-back negatively graded games since 2010. On the other side, Cam Newton has been doing it all for the Panthers offense, but I’m not sure he fits the blueprint for beating the Packers defense. Green Bay has been susceptible to accurate quarterbacks and short and intermediate routes. Newton’s 71.0 accuracy percentage is 23rd among quarterbacks and his 11.2 average depth of target is second highest.

Prediction: Packers 28, Panthers 24

Confidence grade: +0.5

Redskins at Patriots (-14)

What line is too high for the Pats in this one? As our own Jeff Dooley pointed out this week, Tom Brady is playing at the highest level of his career, even better than 2007. There hasn’t been anything a defense has thrown at him that Brady hasn’t had an answer for. And if the Jets and Bills couldn’t slow him down, the Redskins have little chance. So With the Pats all but guaranteed to put up 30+ points, the question becomes can Washington score in the mid-20’s to at least cover. They’ve scored 23 points or more in only three games this season. Against the Pats surprisingly good secondary that has only one player graded negatively, I don’t see the Redskins scoring enough to cover.

Prediction: Patriots 38, Redskins 21

Confidence grade: +0.5

Titans at Saints (-8)

Is it possible that the Saints are a legit contender this year? There are some glaring holes that have cost them, but there’s a lot more talent shining through on this roster than we thought through the first few weeks. Once Keenan Lewis can get healthy enough to relegate Brandon Browner, our lowest rated corner, to a more limited role their secondary will finally be competent. That being said their linebackers worry me a tad in this one. When Marcus Mariota is healthy, the Titans do a lot of things that put pressure on opposing linebackers. Quick play action, options, and Mariota’s ability to scramble will all stress a linebacker corps that has every member graded negatively this year.

Prediction: Saints 27, Titans 21

Confidence grade: -1

Dolphins at Bills (-3)

These teams have looked considerably different since Buffalo took the Dolphins to the woodshed in Miami for a 41-14 win. The Bills have lost three of their last four, although the ineptitude of E.J. Manuel played a big role in two of those losses. The Bills will have Tyrod Taylor back this week, but he won’t be facing the same team he saw in week 3. The Dolphins newfound offensive balance makes them much more dangerous. They’ve been doing a great job of getting Lamar Miller the ball out in space and that’s a bad matchup for Nigel Bradham and Preston Brown, who both rank among the bottom 10 at their respective linebacker positions.

Prediction: Dolphins 27, Bills 24

Confidence grade: +0.5

Rams at Vikings (-2)

The Todd Gurley train rolls into Minnesota this weekend where he faces a defense that has been among the stingiest in the NFL. The Vikings haven’t given up more than 23 points in a game all season long. The problem in Minnesota is that they’re only averaging 21 points per game, the 24th best in the league. So expect a low scoring affair in this one. What tips the scales for me is the play of the Vikings’ linebackers this year against the run. Backup Audie Cole is filling in for Eric Kendricks and Gurley has made a living out of beating linebackers with the cutback on the Rams split zone runs.

Prediction: Rams 17, Vikings 14

Confidence grade: -0.5

Jaguars at Jets (-7)

The Jets defense is not nearly as bad as the last two weeks have suggested. Against a young quarterback like Blake Bortles, who is still mistake prone, I think they right the ship this week. The defining matchup in this one is the Jaguars offensive line, which is been in the bottom 10 for pass protection, facing the trio of Sheldon Richardson, Leonard Williams, and Muhammad Wilkerson. While I still expect Todd Bowles to blitz heavily, those three should cause enough havoc for them to play more soft coverages on the outside and still be effective.

Prediction: Jets 27, Jaguars 17

Confidence grade: +0.5

Raiders at Steelers (-4.5)

Ben Roethlisberger definitely didn’t look 100 percent last week. With another week of healing, and without Le’Veon Bell, the Steelers offense should open up much more this week. That’s going to put a lot of pressure on this Raiders’ secondary to perform and I’m not confident they can hold up. The same thing can be said about Derek Carr against the Steelers secondary, but I’ll trust the veteran Roethlisberger at home.

Prediction: Steelers 35, Raiders 28

Confidence grade: -1.5

Giants (-3) at Buccaneers

Jameis Winston has graded out positively since his week 1 disaster and has already led the Bucs to more wins this season than they had in all of 2014. Doug Martin is our top graded running back at the moment and looks like the guy everyone expected he’d be after a fantastic rookie year.  Jason Pierre-Paul might be back Sunday, but it’s unlikely that he’s back to a form already that can turn around a reeling defense. What worries me is the Giants deficiencies against the run of late. They have a team run defense grade of -28.6 over their last four games. If they let the Bucs protect Winston with a strong ground game, they’ll put up some points at home.

Prediction: Buccaneers 27, Giants 23

Confidence grade: 0

Falcons (-7) at 49ers

Blaine Gabbert is the starting quarterback for the 49ers Sunday.

Prediction: Falcons 21, 49ers 10

Confidence grade: +0.5

Broncos (-5) at Colts

The Last time these two teams met, Vontae Davis put together one of the best individual performances we’ve ever seen from a cornerback and the Colts advanced to the AFC Championship game. Now they both look like completely different teams. The Broncos defense is playing at a level we’ve never quite seen here at PFF. They rank in the top three in team run defense, pass rush, and pass coverage. That sort of dominance is unheard of. With Andrew Luck struggling to our second lowest quarterback grade this season, I don’t see how the Colts have much of a chance in this one.

Prediction: Broncos 27, Colts 20

Confidence grade: +1.5

Eagles (-2.5) at Cowboys

The Matt Cassel experiment has been about as successful as the Brandon Weeden experiment. Which is to say it’s been a nightmare. He just can’t get anything going down the field. In two games Cassel completed one pass targeted between 10-20 yards downfield. In their last meeting, the Cowboys employed a ton of man coverage and locked down the Eagles receivers, but everyone was locking down the Eagles then. Philadelphia’s offense has developed as the season has gone on, especially on the ground where they’ve run for over 150 yards in three straight games. Missing Jason Peters is a concern, especially with Greg Hardy manning the right end now for Dallas, but I think the Eagles still have success moving the ball.

Prediction: Eagles 23, Cowboys 16

Confidence grade: 0

Bears (-3.5) at Chargers

The Bears last four games have been decided by a total of nine points. The Chargers meanwhile have lost four straight games, but none by more than one score. So everything points to this one being a close game. Every weak I keep mentioning the Chargers fatal weakness: their offensive and defensive lines. Both of which grade extremely negatively. But the Bears lines themselves haven’t been proficient enough to make me believe they’ll exploit either of those weakness. Jay Cutler and Philip Rivers have both been playing grading out slightly above average, so I’ll side with the home team in this one.

Prediction: Chargers 24, Bears 23

Confidence grade: -1


Season Record: 73-46 (59-56-4 ATS)


| Senior Analyst

Mike is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has also been featured on The Washington Post, ESPN Insider, and 120 Sports.

  • crosseyedlemon

    In his analysis of the 49ers game, Mike decided to use one word for every point the Niners might score….lol. I’m also not convinced Big Ben is 100% recovered and without Bell that just makes it that much harder for the Steelers. Raiders are gaining confidence with their recent performances and look like a reasonable upset choice here.

    • Andy Vinakos

      on the flipside, the Raiders defense hasn’t given up a ton of TD’s lately, but they are still giving up a bunch of yards and catches to WRs… something Big Ben, Brown, Bryant, and even Miller can excel in. Combine that with the Raiders traveling East and I think it’s a big game for him.

      • crosseyedlemon

        Should be one of the better games this week. At one time you could count on this rivalry producing a SB participant and although that is no longer true both these clubs leave it all on the field when they square off against each other.

  • JS

    2-8 ATS going into Sunday night game? Yikes. Didn’t even pick the correct outright winner in most of the positive graded games.

  • Dave

    In the past four weeks I’ve outpicked this guy by 10 games against the spread. I was thinking about buying a subscription, but whats the point if the guy that does their picks can’t out pick a normal guy like me?