We break the lines for each game for Week 9 of the 2015 NFL season below and offer our predictions.
CLEVELAND (+11.5) at CINCINNATI
Johnny Manziel. Short week. On the road. Several players publically listed on the trade block just a few days ago. This game has the opportunity to be the perfect storm for Mike Pettine and the Browns. Cincinnati has been a destroyer of worlds this season and I don't expect that to stop any time soon. I would expect a heavy dose of Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard, and AJ Green should have a good game facing off against a banged-up Joe Haden.
BENGALS 24 BROWNS 9
GREEN BAY (-3) at CAROLINA
Carolina is still recovering from cardiac arrest after squeaking by the Colts in overtime on Monday Night Football. I think teams are starting to figure out this Panthers team, and they will be the next undefeated team to fall. Rodgers is going to come back this week with a vengeance after only throwing for 77 yards vs the Broncos defense last week. Unless some more banner hanging vigilantes at Bank of America Stadium can distract Rodgers and the Pack, I expect Green Bay to play the villain.
GREEN BAY 24 PANTHERS 17
WASHINGTON (+14) at NEW ENGLAND
Washington had a bye week to prepare for New England. Unfortunately, it's not going to matter. They are walking into a blender by heading to Foxboro this weekend, and I fully expect Rob Gronkowski to have a huge game vs a Redskins defense that simply doesn't have any athletic ILBs or Safeties to cover him. Patriots are going to stumble at some point this season, but this game will not be it.
PATRIOTS 38 REDSKINS 10
TENNESSEE (+8) at NEW ORLEANS
Mike Mularkey? Mike Mularkey. An interim head coach who hasn't had a full opportunity to install his system with a banged up rookie QB going into one of the most difficult stadiums to play against a quarterback fresh off tying the all-time record for passing touchdowns in a single game. This is a recipe for disaster for the Titans, and the red-hot Saints should win big in the Bayou.
SAINTS 31 TITANS 20
MIAMI (+3) at BUFFALO
With Tyrod Taylor back in the mix and an embarrassing loss vs the Jaguars in London in their rearview mirror, Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills are going to be out for blood in the Ralph this week. Buffalo should run away from this game comfortably now that the Dan Campbell invincibility cloak has fallen off.
BILLS 23 DOLPHINS 17
ST. LOUIS (+3) at MINNESOTA
Todd Gurley's emergence as a franchise-caliber RB has really added an element of mystery to Jeff Fischer's Rams, and the inspiring play of their defense this season makes the Rams a very tough team to bet against. The most amazing thing about Gurley is he is producing at a record-setting pace behind a horrendous offensive line, and if the Rams could invest in some talent up front, TGIII might be unstoppable. The Vikings should play the spoiler in this game, however, with Teddy building a new chemistry with rookie WR Stefon Diggs and defense stepping up to the task.
VIKINGS 17 RAMS 13
JACKSONVILLE (EVEN) at NY JETS
Has Vegas come down with Jaguars fever? When is the last time the Jags have been even vs a team with a winning record? With the AFC South in reach while being what seems to be the most stable franchise in the division, the Jaguars now have a little extra motivation and a more narrowed focus on victory. But this is the NFL, not a Disney movie, and Todd Bowles and this Jets team should take care of business despite an injured Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm. The most interesting part of this game will be gauging just how good Allen Robinson really is as he gets stranded on Revis Island.
JETS 27 JAGUARS 14
OAKLAND (EVEN) at PITTSBURGH
Sure, the injury to Le'Veon Bell really sucks for the Steelers, but DeAngelo Williams has shown that he can be a more than competent replacement in Todd Haley's offense. The bigger story is the fact that Big Ben is back, and he should be feeling more comfortable in his second game back from a knee injury. The Raiders might be overperforming at this point in the season. Or they might not be and they may in fact be one of the most improved teams in the NFL this year. I guess we will find out on Sunday.
STEELERS 21 RAIDERS 13
NY GIANTS (-3) at TAMPA BAY
This is going to be my upset pick of the week. Jameis Winston has been showing elite command of the pocket in the last four weeks, and I really think he is starting to have this Buccaneers offense gelling with the production of Doug Martin and Charles Sims. The defense also seems to be clicking on all cylinders after an NFC Defensive Player of the Week performance by Kwon Alexander, and it just seems like good timing for the Bucs to go on a little bit of a run here. The Giants are also playing miserable football on defense, and unless he can play cornerback, the return of Jason Pierre-Paul this week shoud be a non-factor.
BUCCANEERS 28 GIANTS 24
ATLANTA (-7) at SAN FRANCISCO
FALCONS 35 49ers 6
DENVER (-5) at INDIANAPOLIS
If Aaron Rodgers could only muster 77 passing yards against this Broncos defense, what kind of game is turnover machine Andrew Luck in store for? I do, however, like the Colts' decision to hand the offensive reigns over to new OC Rob Chudzinski and move away from Pep Hamilton, but this is a hell of a first test. Also, it's the return of Peyton to Indy, so you can bet that Manning's teammates are going to play inspired football and get him a final victory vs his old team before he rides off into the sunset.
BRONCOS 31 COLTS 13
PHILADELPHIA (-3) at DALLAS
This is the most intriguing game of the week for me, because much like the AFC South, it really doesn't seem like anyone wants to win this division. The Cowboys need to get a win here if they want a fighting chance on still winning this division with Tony Romo coming back into the fold in a few weeks, but Matt Cassel is probably going to keep them from doing so. I think the Eagles win this game with a Demarco Murray receiving TD but Dallas covers the spread in the end.
EAGLES 21 COWBOYS 20
CHICAGO (+4) at SAN DIEGO
I know Philip Rivers is on record-setting pace throwing the football, but he just lost his #1 target with Keenan Allen hitting IR with a broken kidney. Not only that, but it seems the entire Chargers team is just being ravished by injury with King Dunlap, Branden Oliver and Corey Liuget going down last week. Rivers will be running for his life and suffer from recurring nightmates of Pernell McPhee following this game. I think John Fox and the Bears impress everyone on Monday Night and launch the Chargers into panic mode.
BEARS 20 CHARGERS 17
All betting lines are from Bovada from ESPN.com.