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Week 9 NFL: Late Afternoon Games!

The late afternoon games this week should be wildly entertaining, so buckle up and let's take a look at my picks against the spread for these 3 games.

Late Afternoon Games

Los Angelas Chargers (+105) vs. Las Vegas Raiders (-125)... Spread: (-1.5)

The Raiders are 4-3 on the season and looking to avoid going to .500 in week 9. In week 8, they won an ugly 16-6 game against the Browns where RB Josh Jacobs took over. Week 8 was a perfect example of Raiders football as Jacobs managed to get 131 rushing yards on 31 carries. He had to make up for QB Derek Carr's off night where he was only able to muster up 112 pass yards against a Browns defense that has allowed a lot of points this year. That output is a tad concerning, but the most important stat is getting the win and they were able to do that. Also, the Raiders defense looked solid as they only allowed 6 points to the Browns, which is almost unheard of in modern day football. They will have a tougher test this week against a Chargers team that is averaging 32 points for in their last 4 games.

Even through the Chargers have looked like a promising team, they're only 2-5 on the season. But, they have had heartbreaking losses this season and that was the case for them in week 8. In week 8, they blew a 4th quarter lead and gave up a late touchdown to the Denver Broncos on route to a 31-30 loss. Despite the loss, rookie QB Justin Herbert continued his solid season after taking over the starting QB position, and is making his case to be the offensive rookie of the year. This game is basically a 'pick-em' and I feel the Chargers' record doesn't fully represent how good they are. Herbert should continue to progress as he learns how to be successful in the NFL, but he's very turnover prone and I think that will be the difference in this game. I think the Raiders can implement their smashmouth gameplan and squeak out a close victory on the road in Los Angelas. Look for Jacobs to have another huge game this week.

Prediction: Raiders -1.5 (-105)

Arizona Cardinals (-260) vs. Miami Dolphins (+215)... Spread: Cardinals (-6)

Are the Cardinals legit Super Bowl contenders?? We may have to put them in the conversation after last weeks 37-34 overtime win over the Seattle Seahawks where they proved that they can be the best team in the NFL on any given night. However, the Cardinals are without LB Chandler Jones for the rest of the year, which is a major hole to fill on the defensive side of the ball. But, their offense is stellar with QB Kyler Murray leading the charge. In week 8, he threw for 360 yards and 3 TD's and added 67 yards on the ground with 1 TD. His dual threat of passing and rushing the ball is nearly impossible to stop throughout the game. Also, RB Chase Edmonds is in line to get lead back duties with Kenyon Drake out, so look for him to take advantage of this opportunity to take over the RB1 duties in Arizona permanently.

For the Dolphins, it's officially the Tua Tagovailoa era. He had his first career NFL start last week against the Los Angelas Rams where the Dolphins won 28-7. To much surprise, the Dolphins are 4-3 in 2020! AND are ahead of the New England Patriots in the AFC East for the first time ever?? The Dolphins defense has been very good this year and are coming off a game where they had 2 TD's from turnovers, which was the difference maker in their upset win over the Rams. Even though they won, Tagovailoa had a poor debut and only posted 93 passing yards with 1 TD. Also, the Dolphins will be without their top RB Myles Gaskin who was placed on IR. Tagovailoa is currently an unknown commodity and I can't trust him on the road in Arizona against a team that's hot right now. Let's take the Cardinals to cover the modest -6 spread and move to 6-2 on the season.

Prediction: Cardinals -6 (-110)

Dallas Cowboys (+650) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (-1100)... Spread: Steelers (-14.5)

Cowboys fans, you may want to avoid watching this game. After last week's abysmal performance against the Philadelphia Eagles, Jerry Jones and the Cowboys are coming to the realization that their season is unsalvageable without QB Dak Prescott. The 'Ben DiNucci' experiment was a disaster in week 8 as the Cowboys lost 23-9 to the Eagles. DiNucci only managed to throw for 180 yards and also lost 2 fumbles, and he has now lost the starting job to QB Garrett Gilbert. On the bright side, the Cowboys defense is getting healthier now, but it's at the worst possible time as their offense is really struggling without QB Dak Prescott. Unfortunately, it's basically a lost season for the Cowboys and they are most likely to fall to 2-7 after facing the best team in the NFL this week. Unless Gilbert can provide a much needed spark to this Cowboys team, this game could get away from them quick.

On the other side of the field, we have the undefeated Steelers. At 7-0, they are the only unbeaten team remaining in the NFL. They're coming off a very impressive win in week 8 against the Baltimore Ravens where they won 28-24. They were able to beat their division rivals and one of the top AFC teams despite being on the road and facing the Ravens after their bye week. The Steelers defense has picked up where they left off last year and have been turnover machines against opposing offenses. Also, on offense, the return of Big Ben has bolstered their point production with the help of WR's Juju Smith-Schuster, Dionte Johnson, and outstanding rookie, Chase Claypool. At RB, a healthy James Conner has provided the offense with another dynamic and has been a great compliment to Big Ben so far this year. From a betting perspective, this game is a shitshow and really not worth looking at. But, with the massive spread at -14.5 for the Steelers and an 'unknown' at QB for the Cowboys, a blowout seems inevitable in this game. I guess we'll have to hammer the Steelers at the massive -14.5 spread.

Prediction: Steelers -14.5 (-105)